A CONCERNED cat lover and charity volunteer says she is aware of more than 100 kittens that have been born outside and left to grow up wild by irresponsible owners.
Frustrated Irene Robinson said owners don’t get their cats neutered but are then not willing to take care of kittens which then become feral.
Irene, 59, who is a volunteer for Cat Orphanage, says she has been called out to cases of litters of kittens found in gardens across the town around 25 times already this year - more than double the call-outs she has had to other areas across Teesside.
Irene said the situation is the worst she has ever known in Hartlepool.
The retired council worker told the Mail: “What we have found this year is we are not getting call-outs to people mistaking pet cats for feral cats.
“These are kittens that have been born either outside or in a home and are then dumped outside or left behind.
“The problem is, if we don’t get to them these kittens are not being neutered and before we know it a situation which is already worsening will get a lot worse very quickly and the numbers will multiply.”
Irene said if kittens aren’t found and introduced to a home within the first seven weeks of their life they can’t be tamed.
Cat Orphanage is a charity which was set up more than 20 years ago and volunteers take in stray and abandoned cats as well as educating owners about the importance of neutering.
Irene has five cats in her cattery at her home in Billingham but said she can’t take any more in.
“To be honest I don’t know what the answer is,” admitted Irene.
“The situation is getting worse and I’m asking owners to be more responsible.”
Irene’s claims come as the RSPCA revealed its branches and animal centres across the north of England are facing a “cat crisis”.
Most of the centres are now unable to take in any more cats at the moment with many of them having more than 100 waiting for new homes.
An RSPCA spokeswoman told the Mail that the charity will attend cases of kittens that are dumped or left outside. The charity doesn’t take in feral cats but will attend if they have been hurt or injured.
For information about the Cat Orphanage contact Irene on (01642) 899396 or North Teesside and District branch of the RSPCA on (01642) 885520.