The RSPCA has warned that a current cat overpopulation across the UK could “get worse” with lockdown with the birth of “hundreds” of unwanted kittens.
In light of this, animal welfare charities across the UK are now urging the owners of unneutered cats to help prevent a new ‘kitten season’.
However, the RSPCA added that the nationwide lockdown has made access to neutering more difficult, and warned that the “plight of unwanted kittens is set to worsen”.
In light of this, animal welfare charities have urged pet owners to keep unneutered cats indoors where possible, and call their vet as soon as possible if they believe their female cat has mated.
Alice Potter, an RSPCA cat welfare expert, said: “Whilst many parts of our daily lives have changed or been put on hold at the moment, the kitten season will not stop so it’s important that cat owners are prepared.
“Cats aren’t fussy about who they mate with and any related cats like brothers and sisters will mate so if they haven’t been done, it’s important to keep them apart.”
Meanwhile, Jane Clements, head of neutering at Cats Protection, said: “While access to veterinary care is limited we also strongly recommend keeping unneutered cats indoors. Any cat pregnancy can be risky and female cats can conceive from four months of age.
“We do recognise however that keeping an outdoor cat inside can be stressful and frustrating so those seeking help can visit our website, as well as other animal welfare charity websites, for tips on how to keep their cat happy and active.”
Caroline Allen, chief vet at the RSPCA, said: “Understandably vets are prioritising emergencies in the face of Covid-19 and restricting other procedures.
“Vets are advised to perform neutering only where it is essential for health and welfare during the current period.”
She added: “It is important to follow your vet’s guidance and understand if they cannot neuter your pet at this time, you will need to take other steps to avoid unwanted pregnancy.
“If you have a male/female pair or really can’t keep your cat inside, do call your vet to discuss options.”