An over-abundance of cats and kittens has forced SPCA Auckland to stop accepting healthy cats and kittens from the public for the next four to six weeks.
The charity will continue to rescue sick, injured, or endangered cats and kittens, but are asking people who want to surrender a healthy cat or kitten to either keep it a while longer or re-home it themselves.
"Our feline areas are full - there is no space for more cats. So we have no choice but to limit the number of incoming cats as a temporary measure," says SPCA Auckland CEO Christine Kalin. "We have 216 cats and kittens at the SPCA Auckland Animal Village in Mangere right now, 80 of which are ready for adoption. We have another 250 cats and kittens at SPCA Auckland foster homes that are unable to be put up for adoption because we have nowhere to put them."
In recent weeks, about 120 cats and kittens per week have been coming through SPCA Auckland's doors. The cat glut is most likely due to an exceptionally long kitten season brought on by last year's early spring and this year's warm autumn, according to Ms Kalin.
"We are still receiving young kittens in May and we would normally see a slowdown by April. This has put a lot of pressure on our resources, including our foster team and our foster carers."
SPCA Auckland advises people who want to give up a healthy cat or kitten to try finding a new home for it themselves, either by appealing to friends, family, work colleagues, and neighbours, or by advertising. Another option would be to simply hold on for four to six weeks and re-contact SPCA Auckland to see if more space has become available.
At the other end of the spectrum, people who are considering adopting a cat are urged to do so now - and to consider adopting a mature cat rather than a kitten.
"The upside to all this is there has never been a better time to adopt a cat from SPCA Auckland," says Ms Kalin.
"The range of cats available is huge and you will be rescuing an animal that really needs a home."
Kittens tend to be easier to re-home than mature cats but the organisation is keen to point out the advantages of adopting an adult cat rather than a kitten.
"Adult cats are generally calmer and lower-maintenance than kittens," says Ms Kalin. "They've already been through most of their life-lessons and can take care of themselves to a large degree.
"And when you adopt a cat or kitten from SPCA Auckland, you get a 'ready-made pet' that has been vet checked, de-sexed, micro-chipped, wormed, treated for fleas, and has had its initial vaccinations. It's a cost-effective way to get a pet and the money you pay us goes directly to saving other animals.
"We will monitor the situation in the coming weeks and advise of the public if more space becomes available at SPCA Auckland."
You can view cats available for adoption at SPCA Auckland, 50 Westney Rd, Mangere, between 10am and 4pm every day, or click here.