Just one of the many restrictions that Covid-19 has imposed this year is a limit on neutering; given how many animal welfare organisations and veterinary practices had to shut their doors to all but the most pressing of emergencies.
Image: Star, Jupiter, and Jasper.
Sadly, this has resulted in an increasing number of stray, feral, and owned cats giving birth, leaving owners overwhelmed and unable to cope with an influx of new mouths to feed.
Four-month-old siblings Star, Jester and Jupiter were handed over to a private vet last month, even though the clinic had no capacity to take in animals permanently. Star was limping, and Jester had an ulcer on his eye.
Two-year-old mum Deja was also left at a different private vets along with her four kittens Demi, Dottie, Dudley, and Darla just a few days later. Her litter was just eleven weeks old.
Luckily Mayhew had room in their Kitten Block to offer, and both feline families were quickly transferred to Mayhew and signed over into their care.
Jester’s eye had been treated by the private vet prior to him arriving, and thankfully Mayhew’s intake exam showed it was healing nicely and should not pose any issues for Jester in the future.
Star’s limp had been put down to a possible leg fracture, which was confirmed on intake. Luckily the x-ray showed the fracture was not too severe and only required cage rest to heal, so Mayhew made sure that their little family had a single level cabin and that Jester and Jupiter did not play too rough with her.
Deja, Demi, Dottie, Dudley and Darla were also settled down in a cosy cabin together, and mum and kittens were all in excellent health.
Although these eight cats now have a very good chance of finding their own happily ever afters’ when they are ready to go up for adoption, not every abandoned and unwanted animal will find a forever home. Cats and dogs who are dumped in cardboard boxes and on street corners do not always find their way to us, and with an increased demand on services expected over the winter months, Mayhew and other rescue organisations will inevitably be filled to breaking point.
The coronavirus pandemic has drastically reduced the number of neutering operations being carried out, and with the threat of Covid-19 looking likely to continue well into 2021, the problems posed by animal overpopulation and abandonment are only set to get worse.
If you are a pet owner, or a resident aware of a local feral or stray cat colony, please keep an eye out on your local veterinary clinic and animal welfare organisation websites to find out when private and community-based neutering procedures become available again.
If your cat or dog is not neutered, Mayhew strongly advise arranging an appointment as soon as it is safe to do so. Cats can reproduce from four months old and have three to four litters per year, whilst dogs can reproduce from six to 12 months old and have four litters per year.
You can find out more about Mayhew’s 'Trap, Neuter, Return' programme, and read their latest coronavirus advice, including information about current clinic services, on their website: www.themayhew.org