Local animal shelter inundated at start of kitten season

RSPCA Port Lincoln has appealed for people to adopt and foster cats and kittens locally after a recent influx of animals to the shelter.

ADOPT OR FOSTER: Kylie Earl, Elly-May Peroff and Julia Churchett hold the rescue kittens found in a plastic bag. They have been nicknamed Sissy, Little Girl and Action-man.

ADOPT OR FOSTER: Kylie Earl, Elly-May Peroff and Julia Churchett hold the rescue kittens found in a plastic bag. They have been nicknamed Sissy, Little Girl and Action-man.

Port Lincoln RSPCA centre manager Julia Churchett said one incident in particular stood out, as five kittens had been found in a plastic bag at only two weeks old.

"I would assume they had had a mum...they were in quite good condition, they'd obviously been eating quite well...and whoever put them in the bag took them away from their mum," she said.

Ms Churchett is now herself fostering the three surviving kittens because there is little room at the shelter and a lack of local foster carers for the animals.

"21 cats and kittens have come in since Monday, and it's only at the very very beginning of kitten season," she said last Thursday.

On Friday, the shelter sent 25 kittens and one adult cat to Lonsdale, before receiving one adult cat on the weekend, and 17 more cats and kittens on Monday.

She said the influx was due to a lot of people not desexing their cats and not being "responsible cat owners".

"There has been quite a lot of campaigning in relation to desexing and microchipping...pleading ignorance is not a valid excuse," she said.

In the 18/19 financial year, the shelter took in 183 cats, with eight reclaimed by their owners.

80 were adopted locally and 102 were sent to the Lonsdale shelter in Adelaide.

The same year 230 kittens were brought in to the shelter, of which one was reclaimed, 117 adopted locally and 147 were sent to Lonsdale.

"It's a common trend across the state...certainly Port Lincoln has one of the highest rates of animals needing shelter care," said Ms Churchett.

"Part of the reason they go to Lonsdale is our facility is not big enough to hold them all.

"We have to use foster carers, but there is a lack of foster carers in our region and we're always looking for people willing to foster."

She said she also encourages locals to adopt through the RSPCA or another reputable charity.

"When you adopt with us rather than get a 'free' animal, the animal is already desexed, vaccinated and vet checked - there's nothing else they have to worry about," she said.

Cat and kitten foster carer Kylie Earl said they loved seeing their foster animals change over time.

"That's what's lovely is seeing them come in so scared and seeing how they grow," she said.

"We also got to meet a lot of people who adopt the cats we fostered...which made it easier."

She said fostering was a great option for those who did not want to make a long term commitment if they traveled or for other reasons and that the RSPCA was always flexible to work with.

If you are interested in adopting an animal or becoming a foster carer, visit the local shelter or call them on 8682 3016.