A CAT-LOVER and charity volunteer says animals being sold on social networking sites is resulting in diseases being spread and an increase in cats dumped on the streets of Hartlepool.
Irene Robinson, 58, says more cats are being flogged on Facebook and Twitter, without any vet tests on the animals or home checks.
She says the pets are being “delivered like pizzas” to people’s houses just hours after people agree to buy them online – and it is resulting in charities being unable to home cats they have picked up off the streets.
Irene, who is a volunteer for Cat Orphanage, said people who are buying the cats from social networking sites without any check-ups are not getting the animals neutered, meaning an increase in kittens being born on the streets and left to fend for themselves, which in turn results in an increase in diseases being spread.
“People think they can fend for themselves, but a pet cat can’t and won’t,” explained Irene.
“People are selling cats on Facebook and Twitter and other social networking sites and people are buying them without any checks whatsoever, they don’t even think about vets costs and the likes.
“Before you know it the cats are being dumped on the streets or they are having kittens on the streets and charities are left to pick up the pieces.”
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 currently has nine cats in her cattery at her home in Billingham, seven of which were picked up off the streets of Hartlepool.
She also has five pet cats, all of which she previously found dumped in the town.
The retired council worker says she doesn’t have the space to take in any more cats, and said a lot of her fellow volunteers are in the same position.
“I would ask people, regardless of how they buy the cats to make sure they get them neutered,” she added.
“There are a lot of myths about cats, one of which is people still think cats should have kittens before they are neutered but that isn’t true.”
As well as rescuing and working to re-home the cats, Irene also picks cats up for people and takes them to be neutered.
She says she does it all out of love for animals, but is calling on residents to be responsible animal owners.
For more information call Irene on (01642) 899396.