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RSPCA cattery in Nantwich makes neutering plea amid rising feline numbers

A litter of ‘pirate’ kittens are being looked after by the RSPCA in Cheshire after they were rescued from a shed at just two weeks old.

The six kittens and their two-year-old mum, who was not microchipped and thought to be feral, were found in Crewe last month by a caring member of the public.  

The cats are now at the RSPCA’s Stapeley Grange Cattery in Nantwich and have been given Pirates of the Caribbean - themed names. The mum with her black ‘eye patch’ has been called Keira, and her crew of six kittens have been called Jack, Pearl, Sparrow, Tia, Anne and Elizabeth.

The family are all doing well, but the RSPCA says their story is all too familiar and highlights what can happen if people do not get their pets neutered.    

Currently all of the RSPCA’s rehoming centres are at capacity, with nearly 140 cats currently being looked after in private boarding facilities on behalf of the charity until a space becomes available for them. This means animals are having to wait longer before they are able to be rehomed.

Nicola Chilton, Deputy Cattery Manager at Stapeley Cattery, said: “The kind person who found Keira and her tiny kittens was rightly concerned for their welfare and took the right course of action by seeking help.  

“Sadly they are among the thousands of cats who will find their way into the care of the RSPCA and other animal welfare charities this year. 

“It’s a particularly busy time as May to September is known as kitten season and we often see an influx of cats and kittens coming here at our rehoming centre in Cheshire and nationally across the RSPCA. 

“We see countless incidents of abandoned kittens - largely due to cats having unexpected and unplanned litters which then prove to be too much time, effort and money - and cases of seemingly unowned cats like Keira who are trying to get by living outside with no-one to care for them. 

“Once again we’re urging the public to help us reduce the unprecedented number of cats we’re seeing by taking the responsible course of action and neutering their pets.

“Not only does it help to reduce the unwanted cat population, it also means cats lead healthier and happier lives. Neutered cats are less likely to roam far from home or get into fights with other cats, both of which can increase their risk of injury or picking up illnesses.”

Over the last ten years, the RSPCA has neutered a whopping 46,000 cats, however, Cats Protection’s Cats and Their Stats Report 2023 and the PDSA PAW Report found that 1.4 million (13%) owned cats are still unneutered.

A female kitten can become pregnant at just four months old. She can have up to four litters a year, with an average of between three to six kittens per litter. A female cat can then become pregnant again only two weeks after giving birth.

With these numbers in mind, it’s easy to understand how quickly a situation can become out of control and why neutering is so important.

Keira's little band of pirates will be ready for rehoming after they’ve been spayed and neutered at around 12 weeks old. If you are interested in rehoming one or more of them please complete a perfect match form and if your application is successful you will be placed on the waiting list.

There are also lots of other cats at Stapeley waiting for a new home and you can help support their care by donating here

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