Napier and Hastings SPCA centres had more than 1000 kittens brought in during both 2019 and 2020, and this year is already shaping up to be as busy.
The warmer months, kitten season, brings a spike in the number of kittens and cats brought in.
SPCA area manager and Napier Centre manager Bruce Wills said they expected to see another busy year with a large number of incoming cats and kittens.
"Kitten season is SPCA's busiest time of year and the increase in incoming animal place a huge strain on our centres, resources and staff.
"We rely heavily on our volunteers and foster families who help us care for so many animals through this time."
Cats and kittens make up about 75 per cent of animals brought into the SPCA, with close to 20 already available for adoption and a further 120 in foster care, he said.
"The number of animals in our care is only expected to grow as we get closer to the peak of kitten season, and the number of kittens we have available changes regularly as some come back to the centres from foster care."
One such volunteer was 16-year-old Holly Gee, of Taradale, who started fostering kittens with her dad Chris during the lockdown.
"I've always loved animals and it was a way to help ones that needed it," she said.
Gee has so far helped foster 20 kittens, some as young as one week old.
She said the hardest part was saying goodbye to the kittens at the end, while the best part was regular cuddles.
"Lots of people come over to visit.
"It's worth it in the end."
Currently she has three eight-week-old girls - the most well behaved litter she had ever cared for, she said.
Like all animals adopted out from the SPCA, the trio would be headed to surgery to be desexed to help prevent unwanted litters.
The Hasting and Napier centres offer discounted cat desexing for $20.
Wills said it was important for people to do their research and take great consideration before making the decision to adopt.
"Cats can make great companions, but before you decide to take on this new responsibility, please look into and consider carefully the needs of cats and remember that these animals will rely on you to meet their needs every day of the year.
"It is a big commitment and a lifelong responsibility."
• Anyone interested in learning about the adoption steps should get in touch with the Napier SPCA Centre on 06 835 7758 or Hastings SPCA Centre on 06 878 8733.