Cat charity volunteers in Angus remain in the grip of a pandemic kitten crisis.
Unprecedented numbers of unwanted or abandoned animals are coming to the local Cats Protection branch in the unrelenting “perfect storm” which has raged throughout Covid.
The cat situation has mirrored that of ‘lockdown puppies’ as people have sought new companions during the coronavirus crisis.
It has led to rocketing prices, vast numbers of un-neutered cats and litters of abandoned kittens which their owners have been unable to shift or look after.
The pressure on Angus volunteers has also ramped up through the closure of the Dundee adoption centre, which is not due to re-open until the autumn.
Arbroath and central Angus Cats Protection co-ordinator Sharyn Wood said: “It is a situation where things are absolutely awful at the moment.
“We have already found homes for 320 cats this year, so we expect to be over 500 by the end of the year.
“That is way beyond what we would normally see.”
The current situation at the group’s Kinaldie centre near Arbroath illustrates the scale of the problem.
Sharyn added: “We have four pregnant cats, three cats with litters and five fosterers who are looking after litters without mums. It’s just horrendous.
“We are taking calls every day for cats to come in for various reasons.
“A huge problem was that many vets were not offering neutering during the pandemic.
“We were very fortunate that Abbey Vets in Arbroath continued to help us but we have seen a huge increase in the work we have put through them.”
She said online selling sites have been flooded with kittens at exorbitant prices.
“£400 is nothing for a kitten online and we’ve seen people charging huge prices for what they describe as a ‘pure bred tabby’, which is just unbelievable,” Sharyn said.
Cats Protection charge £75 to would-be owners for a cat which is microchipped, neutered and vaccinated, with a month of insurance.
But the cat world has been flooded by stories of people paying big sums for kittens online which turn out to be in poor health.
Sharyn continued: “Some were able to make exorbitant prices and flooded the market with kittens.
“They’ve bred litters once or twice and then found that they can’t get rid of them so the cat’s then abandoned and it’s pregnant.”
Operationally, the Angus group is now returning to full strength with the easing of coronavirus restrictions.
“We have a team of around 70 volunteers who run a three-shift, seven day system,” Sharyn said.
Their Arbroath shop is also back up and running, generating valuable income for the charity.
“We were lucky that we had a small legacy last year and that helped us through, while a lot of branches struggled to cope.
“But the shop is our main funding source and we really need what it brings in.”
Anyone looking to re-home a cat or kitten can contact the branch on 01241 434605 or visit the group’s website where photos of the pets in their care are posted.