STAFF at Pet Connection have found a litter of four kittens abandoned in a cardboard box outside their shop on the busy Dublin Road in Newry.
The kittens are only seven weeks old and will be kept under the care of the Pet Connection staff for at least the next week before being rehomed locally.
It is not recommended for kittens to be separated from their mother before they reach eight weeks of age.
The abandonment comes less than a year after five kittens were found in a plastic bag outside the same shop, also under the eight weeks of age.
Roisin Morgan, owner of Pet Connection, commented, “While we are glad that these four kittens are now safe in our care, we are concerned that the trend of dumping unwanted kittens is continuing in our area.
“The best way to prevent unwanted kittens is to get your cat neutered, but if your cat does have kittens, we urge cat owners to speak to us about rehoming the kittens when they are born and let them stay with their mother until eight weeks, as those first eight weeks are a crucial period where kittens learn essential socialisation and survival skills.”
Pet Connection are urging cat owners to get their cat neutered. Cats can reproduce from around the age of four months. Many people are eligible for support from the Cats Protection League neutering schemes, which can reduce the costs of getting your cat neutered to as little as £5.
Local vets can advise on taking part in the Cats Protection League scheme.
Aside from preventing the birth of unwanted litters of kittens, there are other benefits to getting your cat neutered.
Neutering helps to keep your cat safe, as it reduces their instinct to wander further away from home in search of potential mates. It also prevents territorial behaviour, which helps to prevent spraying as a form of demarcation.
Neutering prevents certain types of cancer in cats. Female cats will no longer be susceptible to uterine cancer, while male cats will no longer be susceptible to testicular cancer.
Neutered male cats are usually less aggressive towards other male cats, reducing the likelihood of them being injured in a fight. This reduces the chances of them contracting diseases like FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) and FeLV (Feline Leukaemia Virus).
If you are interested in adopting a kitten through Pet Connection’s Kitten Rehoming Scheme, please contact the Dublin Road shop in Newry on 028 3083 4858.
If your cat has had kittens or is expecting kittens and you need to rehome them, Pet Connection will accept kittens over 8 weeks of age as long as they have been well socialised and will add you to the waiting list.