'Disposable' kittens dumped in Gloucestershire
RECORD numbers of kittens are being dumped in Gloucestershire, with welfare experts fearing cats are now seen as "disposable".
Animal sanctuaries across the county have seen a surge in cats and kittens being dropped by their owners, and fear it's the start of a worrying new trend.
Bosses at the Whitminster Teckels animal sanctuary said they had never seen anything like it in their 13-year history.
Owner Joan Barrett said: "I haven't seen anything quite this bad with people turning up with boxes of kittens before."
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She said they were at breaking point and could not taken in any more. "It is heartbreaking and really upsetting for my staff," she said.
"We hate turning animals away but it is the responsible thing to do because we simply cannot look after them. We just can't take any more."
A box containing two female cats and eight kittens was dumped there this week.
A Teckels volunteer, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: "Animals used to be considered part of the family. Now because of the disposable nature of society they are just being dumped without a second thought.
"It seems people can find money to pay for alcohol, cigarettes or the latest gadget – but don't want to pay for vets bills or food for their pets. Some cats are left homeless if their owners die or move house, but you do wonder if some owners just get bored with them."
Cats Protection in the Forest of Dean said it is also struggling to find new homes for the large numbers they have received recently.
And the Stroud branch said it is experiencing record numbers, with 60 cats needing to be re-homed.
Helen Munro, homing and welfare spokesperson, said: "There is a lack of demand for older cats, it is such a shame. We currently have a record number of cats in our care and it is becoming increasingly difficult for us to handle such a high volume, especially with more cats needing to come in all the time."
The charity is urging cat owners to get their pets neutered to stop the spread of more unwanted kittens.
New Start Cat Rescue in Gloucester has also reported large numbers of new kittens.
Susan Cowlishaw from the centre said: "It's kitten season and we are overrun. There are more than 30 kittens of all colours ready for adoption now. We are so full up that other cats are being turned away."