Feral cat colonies out of control

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Packs of feral cats are coming in from the wild at night and roaming the streets of South Holland in search of food.

Two colonies have been spotted in Long Sutton and Fleet Fen – and there are signs of another establishing in Pennygate, Spalding.

As the number of kittens being abandoned at cat rescue charities and veterinary surgeries escalates out of control, it is feared strays on our streets will one day be as much the norm here as in countries such as Cyprus.

Philip Newhouse, trustee of PJ Cat Rescue in High Street, Long Sutton, says it has already started.

He said: “There are two or three colonies already. We think we have neutered them then another one appears. It’s getting out of control.”

The current epidemic of abandoned kittens was highlighted in last week’s Spalding Guardian when the eleventh litter in six weeks was left outside Vet Savers surgery late at night.

Registered veterinary nurse Suzhy Winfield said, as a result of the newspaper appeal, all of the six kittens were rehomed and there had been numerous enquiries about neutering pets.

She said: “The response has been tremendous and we are so grateful to the readers.”

However, PJ Rescue reported 24 more abandoned kittens – with some being kept in baths because foster homes have run out of cages.

Mr Newhouse said the charity had capacity for 66 cats but has as many as 120 in foster homes around the area.

He said: “The serious is so bad we are having to keep an emergency cage at the shop and some of the kittens are being kept in baths in the foster homes.

“It’s not ideal, but it’s either that or they starve.”

Statistics show that one cat that hasn’t been neutered can produce 18 kittens in a year and have 20,000 descendents in five years.

The cause of the current epidemic in South Holland is the milder weather, which has extended the breeding season from five months a year to 11.

Mr Newhouse said: “It’s not just homes that are desperately needed but also food.

“We are getting through 1,200 pouches a week and desperately need help with this as we can no longer access discounted food.

“We also need more foster carers to support our already stretched team, who are working 24 hours a day, seven days a week to cope with the influx.”

“It really is a heartbreaking situation.”

If you can help in any way, call Mr Newhouse on 07866 060951.

Deals on neutering cats are still running at Vet Savers in Spalding - with spays £25 fown from £40 and castrations £18 from £24.99.

For more information call the surgery at 49 St Thomas Road on 01775 724333.