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Heat and kittens take their toll on cats

Charity’s plea to help stray mums this summer

Cat welfare experts from a Nottinghamshire animal charity are urging people to put down food and water for stray feline mums this summer after picking up a cat so poorly she had to be separated from her kittens or face certain death.

Jinty and her four kittens are now doing well in the homes of volunteers from Animal Accident Rescue Unit, but it could have been a very different story for her and the other families of mums and kittens currently being cared for by the charity.

AARU trustee and cat welfare officer Alex Hitchen said: “In this heat, food and water sources are scarce and cats, like all mums, need to keep their strength up.

“We would urge anyone who finds a stray cat with a brood of kittens to put down food and water for her and then call us. The weather, the kittens and the lack of food are leaving these animals exhausted and facing death.”

AARU provides an ambulance service for sick and injured birds and animals right across Nottinghamshire, and at this time of year particularly picks up a large number of female cats abandoned by owners once they’ve become pregnant.

“The mother cats we have in our care at the moment are very friendly and were almost certainly once pets, but the kittens are pretty wild and were tricky to catch. This would seem to imply that the cats were abandoned by their owners once they realised they were having kittens,” Alex said.

“Cases like this highlight the importance of having pet cats neutered or spayed. The number of kittens one female cat and her young can produce in seven years is 420,000. The average number of litters a female cat can produce in one year is three with the average number of kittens in each litter being four to six. One simple operation prevents an awful lot of unwanted cats.”

Elderly Stray Cat’s Dramatic Rescue

When rescuers from AARU were called to pick up an elderly stray cat, they were horrified to find that she was infested with crawling maggots.

But now thanks to the dedication of a volunteer fosterer from Animal Accident Rescue Unit, the cat - nicknamed Maggie – has the chance of recovery.

Alex Hitchen said: “This poor little ginger and white cat was a long-term stray who had been roaming the streets of Sneinton in Nottingham for years.

“She had obviously been fighting and had a large abscess on her back end, but because this wasn’t cleaned up right away it had become infected and was crawling with maggots. In this weather it takes just 12 hours for fly eggs to hatch into maggots and she was in a very bad way.”

A volunteer driver rushed to the scene after being called by a concerned member of the public. The cat was cornered and captured and taken straight to the vet. AARU funds the veterinary treatment of the stray animals it rescues.

“Thankfully Maggie is now being cared for by one of our fosterers who also happens to be a nurse,” said Alex.

“She has a horrendous hole in her skin that has to be treated and packed with gel every day. She is in a very bad way and we are taking it day by day but at least Maggie is being cared for properly now and has the chance of recovering.”

Maggie’s case is typical of the hundreds dealt with each year by AARU right across the county – rescues of vulnerable strays, domestic and wild animals and birds hurt in accidents on the region’s roads, ill-treated pets, the list is endless.

AARU deals with hundreds of cases each year right across Nottinghamshire – including rescues of vulnerable strays, domestic and wild animals and birds hurt in accidents on the region’s roads and ill-treated pets.

Rescued animals and birds are housed in the homes of dedicated volunteer fosterers where they are cared for until they can be considered well enough for rehoming or release into the wild. AARU funds the veterinary treatment of all strays.

The charity is always on the look out for new members to join its dedicated team of volunteers. It is currently recruiting new phone operators and drivers with the aim of providing cover for periods between 9am to 11pm, seven days a week.

To become a volunteer driver or offer assistance with the rescue work, contact Animal Accident Rescue Unit on 0115 9321 555.