RSPCA 'in meltdown' as 24 kittens dumped in one day
AN ANIMAL charity in Hull has become over-run with kittens after 24 were dumped in just one day.
The RSPCA blames owners who do not neuter their pets and breeders who think there is a market for selling kittens to make "a quick buck".
Centre staff are concerned at the startling numbers of abandoned kittens they are seeing this summer.
Ten of the kittens taken in by the RSPCA in Clough Road on Friday were found dumped in a wicker basket in a garden, just yards from the charity's base.
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When receptionist and animal care assistant Carina McLean-Smith went to collect them, they had escaped from the basket and climbed into a car.
She said: "A gentleman came on his mobility scooter and said the basket had been dumped in his front garden.
"I thought there would be a few, but when I got down there I couldn't believe it.
"They'd escaped from the basket and got into the man's car.
"I was sticking my hand in the engine and pulling out kittens from everywhere."
RSPCA staff found nine kittens in and around the car, but they were called back later to rescue another one they had missed.
Centre manager Alison Ripley said the kittens are all about four weeks old – far too young to be away from their mother.
She said: "It is at about four weeks when kittens stop feeding from their mothers.
"But they shouldn't be away from their mother so young.
"It is usual to separate them at about eight weeks – that is considered a safer age.
"Luckily, we've managed to get them feeding independently, but they really shoudn't have been dumped and especially not without their mother."
After the discovery of ten kittens just off Clough Road, another seven kittens were left at the rescue centre just an hour later.
A woman brought them in and said they had been found in a box dumped at the bottom of a block of flats.
Later in the day, animal rescue workers were told they would have to take in another seven kittens, picked up by the animal warden.
Alison said: "All the kittens are about the same age and should still be with their mother cat.
"It must be that owners are not neutering their adult cats and being responsible.
"I think some people think a cat having kittens is an easy way to make a quick buck.
"They think they can just sell the kittens for £10 each and get rid of them – but there isn't a market for pets right now.
"People cannot afford animals in these times."
With a total of 12 kittens dumped on Thursday and 24 dumped on Friday, the RSPCA has had to squeeze them into pens.
Alison said: "We know we're not the only charity in the area that is struggling – lots of other organisations have told us they are in the same dire straits.
"We've had to shuffle things around just to get them all in.
"We're absolutely overrun with them – some staff even took some home at the weekend to help us cope.
"We are in total meltdown."
Anyone who can rehome some of the kittens is urged to call the RSPCA on 01482 341331.