Kitten season continues

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Kitten season continues

New extensions have recently been built to accommodate more kittens and rescue cats as a local organisation continues to be inundated at a time when numbers typically start to dwindle.

Pet Essentials on Commerce Street have recently finished their feline enclosure, which will host an array of cats up for adoption from the SPCA.

General Manager Daniel Dunbar says the kitten season has extended longer than usual in recent years.

“I think it’s due to the weather staying warmer for longer, and obviously we have a warmer climate here in Northland than the rest of New Zealand too.”

The moderate temperatures extend the cat breeding season, which has resulted in a higher number of kittens later in the year.

“The breeding season is typically from October through to April,” says Mr Dunbar. “But it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon!”

The organisation has been working together with the SPCA in recent years to work as an extra adoption point.

“We could see these guys [SPCA] at capacity, and instead of selling cats and kittens from breeders it made way more sense to help out locally where we could,” says Mr Dunbar.

Mr Dunbar says the biggest struggle people find after adoption is settling their latest family member into their new home.

“It’s a huge adjustment period for a cat or kitten as they are typically very territorial,” he says. “If you’ve got other animals or even children in the house it’s definitely a good idea to create a space that they can call their own for the first few days or weeks.”

Here are Pet Essential’s top tips to settle your new cat or kitten:

  1. Fill a litter box with about 5cms of litter and place it in a room that your cat can use undisturbed- they are very private creatures.
  2. Set up food and water bowls away from their litter tray, because you wouldn’t want to eat your dinner in the bathroom would you?
  3. Try leaving the cat carrier that you took them home in in the space so that your cat has a little safe haven they can hide in.
  4. Provide your cat with a scratching post that is tall enough for them to extend themselves to scratch. Encourage them to use it by sprinkling catnip or dangling a toy at the top.
  5. Look for holes in the walls that a kitten could easily escape into. The last thing you want to be doing is pulling off the Gib board to rescue a tiny, scared runaway!
  6. Remind children of ground rules around your new cat or kitten. Remind them not to startle him or her and the keep the door shut until they are settled.
  7. It may take a week or two for you cat to get adjusted. Just be patient and let him or her come to you.
  8. As your cat adjusts, he or she’ll show signs of wanting to explore outside of their safe haven. Make sure pets or other family members don’t startle them as they explore this new territory.