A seemingly never-ending number of cats and kittens needing homes has one local animal charity permanently busy.
Daveena Taylor of the Taranaki Animal Protection Trust (TAPT) says she spends hours on the phone each week talking to people needing help with stray cats, abandoned kittens and other situations involving homeless felines.
"This season has been a really bad season for dumped and unwanted kittens, with many of the ones we are getting brought to us being sick with cat flu."
This leads to extra costs in vet bills, more work for the many "amazing" foster carers who help care for the kittens and cats before they are ready to be rehomed, and makes it even harder to keep up with the numbers of felines coming into their care, she says.
Fundraising is a constant worry for the team, which also runs a sanctuary for the cats who haven't been rehomed. Running a pop-up shop and cat cuddle lounge has been one way the group have been able to raise some of those much-needed funds, while also finding homes for just some of the many cats and kittens they have in their care currently.
The pop-up shop is running until Sunday, January 24 this week, open daily between 10am and 4pm including Sunday. Located in New Plymouth on the corner of Gill and Gower streets, the shop has run a few times over recent months, thanks to the generous owners of the building, says Daveena, who have let them use the space.
"We sell a range of pre-loved items in the shop and have our cats and kittens there for people to meet, and maybe find the perfect new pet for their family while they are there."
All funds raised from the pop-up shop go straight back into the trust helping with their vet bills and running costs.
Daveena says the trust is appealing for people to consider making a regular donation to help support them in the work they are doing in the community.
"Even just $1 a week would make a difference. If we can get 1000 people to donate $1 a week that would help cover our running costs, 3000 people a week would cover running costs and vet bills and so on. Every bit helps, no donation is too small."
People who want to help can contact the trust on Facebook - Taranaki Animal Protection Trust or call Daveena on 021 143 5861.
So far this kitten season, the trust has rehomed over 100 kittens and has just under nine more in the care of their foster homes currently. While people might think cats are easy to home, given their generally cute nature, Daveena says it can be a struggle. Many of the cats and kittens have been dumped in the wild, and can be semi-feral when they come into the foster homes.
"We really need more people to volunteer to foster semi-feral cats for rehabilitation."
She says would-be foster carers can contact the trust or herself directly using the details given above.
"People need to have an indoors area they can have the cats, as we don't want them escaping, etc ... the rest we provide or talk about at the time."
Other than that, people simply need to fill out a foster application form and have a quick house inspection before they are set to go, says Daveena.
For people who want a permanent new pet for their house, there are plenty of cats and kittens looking for homes through the trust right now, says Daveena.
"Our Facebook page is regularly updated with details of individual ones looking for homes, or people can come along to the pop-up shop and cat cuddle lounge or one of our adoption days held around the area - keep an eye on our Facebook for details of them."