Kitten 'explosion' due to warm weather

SPCA Otago business development manager Kirsty Thomson with two of the scores of kittens...
SPCA Otago business development manager Kirsty Thomson with two of the scores of kittens available for adoption from the North Dunedin animal shelter. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
SPCA Otago has been inundated with kittens, unseasonably warm weather in Dunedin having extended cats' typical breeding season.

SPCA Otago business development manager Kirsty Thomson said the weather in May had led to an ‘‘explosion'' in the kitten population in Dunedin.

Niwa climate scientist Gregor Macara said in an ODT report on Wednesday it was ‘‘remarkable''' the average maximum temperature in Dunedin for May was 18.6degC, higher than January's average of 17.7degC.

This year, more kittens were taken to the shelter in May than January, Ms Thomson said.

As of yesterday, SPCA Otago had 40 kittens at the shelter and 82 kittens in foster care, where they were being raised to an adoptable age, she said.

For the six-week period from April 1, SPCA Otago received 134 kittens - 40% more than in the same period last year.

Cats normally started breeding during the warmer weather from November and cats bred less when it became colder in April, she said.

The warmer weather was ‘‘confusing'' the cats and they were continuing to breed.

SPCA Otago appealed to cat owners to be responsible and get their felines desexed.

‘‘A cat could have two or three litters in a season if they are really going for it and it causes a problem.''

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