Tray shortage hinders charity

Invercargill foster kitten Bella is just one of the many felines who have been taken in by charity Furever Homes. Photo: Supplied

CAT and kitten fosters are unable to provide animals with the care they need because of a shortage of litter trays.

It is an ongoing issue for volunteers of Southland charity Furever Homes, who dedicate an enormous amount of their time to giving love to dumped or abandoned animals in need of rehoming.

Volunteer Emma Lindsay said kitten season, which came around every spring to summer, created added pressure for the organisation with only about 20 fosterers.

“We have heaps of cats in care… 73 cats and kittens.

“It’s supposed to be one cat to one litter tray but we have multiple cats going to the toilet in the one tray.”

Not only was it unfair on the animals, it also created a whole lot of extra cleaning for fosterers, many of whom worked full-time jobs and were balancing their responsibilities.

While the not-for-profit was “right on the tail end” of kitten season, cats could have up to three litters each time, with each litter consisting of about four kittens on average.

“The problem multiplies with great ease.”

While it was not necessarily always the owner’s fault; for example, in cases where the owner had died, Furever Homes was often left inundated with animals without a home.

Because of the constant flow of intake, the charity did most of its work out of the pockets of volunteers, and resources were scarce.

Kitten food and litter donations were appreciated year-round.

Mrs Lindsay said there was a simple solution to the recurring problem to desex cats.

People needed to realise the responsibility which came with owning a cat, and how important desexing was, so the animals could not breed at the level they were. It was all part of being a good pet owner.

While volunteers did their best to fundraise for resources as much as they could, it was not easy.

“The more we need to help animals, the less time we have to fundraise.

“You don’t have to be a cat or kitten owner to do it and it’s a great way for people to get involved if they can’t foster.”

Drop-off points for litter trays had been made available at Invercargill’s PetSmart, Animates and Countdown Waikiwi.