The wild kitten trio from left to right are the girls Grover and Jules and a boy, Benni, soon to go to new homes after being found inside the Hawke’s Bay Today office roof. Photo / Paul Taylor
Hawke’s Bay Today got an early sign kitten season has well and truly arrived – a feral cat and her trio of kittens hiding in the roof of the Hastings office.
The find came as Hastings SPCA warned of another imminent kitten season and says people can help by getting their cats desexed and volunteering as foster homes.
Hawke’s Bay Today editor Chris Hyde said staff first noticed sounds coming from inside their roof above a meeting room about two weeks ago and everyone assumed the source was rats.
He said the noises gradually got louder until pest control was eventually called on Friday last week to investigate the situation.
“He opened it up and he spotted a kitten’s face, then he saw the mum, and he realised there was a mum and her litter of kittens hanging around in the roof,” Hyde said.
“A bit of chaos ensued in the newsroom, everyone was very excited at the idea of kittens.”
He said the dilemma was working out how to get the cats down from the roof, but one by one, deputy editor Mark Story was able to use a cage he had to trap and capture the stray cat and her three kittens over several days.
The mother cat was feral and found to be suffering from a broken and bleeding tail, so a vet decided to humanely euthanise her.
As for the three kittens, two girls and one boy estimated by Hastings SPCA to be about five or six weeks old, the girls have been named Grover and Jules, while the boy is called Benni.
Benni has found a home with the Story whānau, while Grover and Jules are going to a family relative and friend respectively.
SPCA Hastings feline leader Nadia Roos said she has seen a large influx of pregnant cats and young kittens coming into their centre in the past two weeks.
“We had two of them give birth last week, one on Thursday and one on Friday, one had four kittens and one had three,” Roos said.
“We already have 26 kittens and three cats in foster care for this kitten season, and we are expecting that number to increase as the warmer weather approaches.”
She said she had 180 kittens in foster homes at one point during last year’s kitten season with up to 16 delivered to Hastings SPCA in a single day and she expected to see another season similar to that this year.
“It seems like the seasons are getting bigger one after the other. It is a lot to do with our winters being a lot less cold and shorter,” Roos said.
“Because it is getting warmer sooner, it gets them to start breeding sooner so it makes the kitten seasons long.”
She said their next lot of kittens would be ready in early January for adoption when they were old enough.
She said they are urging people to get their cats desexed to prevent unwanted litters, and if they need help with desexing their animals, please get in touch with SPCA for assistance.
She said SPCA was always on the look-out for fosters now that kitten season is under way and would encourage anyone who is interested to get in touch.
“We supply all food, bedding, toys and everything else to make the animals comfortable while staying in your home.”