Last Litter Program
Did you know that one single unspayed female cat and her offspring can produce more than 400,000 cats in their lifetime?
Often cat owners don’t realise their female kitten can become pregnant from as early as 6months, with female kittens entering “heat” anywhere between 6-12months of age. Time can get away from an owner and before they know it, their little kitten has become sexually active and able to breed. These cats only have to get outside once or twice and risk becoming pregnant, with undesexed male cats able to sense a female on heat from great distances.
Whilst owners may think it is a cute and wonderful experience for their cat to have a litter, these kittens grow very fast. Owners will often then try to find homes for the kittens with friends or family members, many of whom then also neglect to desex the kitten. The cycle goes on and unfortunately, there are simply not enough homes for the volume of unwanted animals born as a result of unplanned pregnancies.
This poses a significant problem, not only to the welfare of the animal, but also potentially to the environment and the local community.
With the goal of helping to reduce the issue and associated environmental and community concerns around cat-overpopulation whilst ensuring that every cat has the opportunity for a healthy, loving and safe home, The Cat Protection Society now offer the Last Litter Program.
Funded with the support of our Cat Protection Society donors and members, the Last Litter Program aims to stop the constant cycle of yearly cat pregnancies, which will then have enormous benefits for the community and cat.
It’s about breaking the endless breeding cycle,” says Sarah Mitchell, The Cat Protection Society of Victoria’s Senior Shelter Vet. “Often cat owners think that it’s nice for the cat to have kittens, or it’s nice for their children to see a cat give birth to kittens, but it’s a huge burden on the cat. Often the cat will get pregnant when it is very young, and then again year after year.”
This constant breeding cycle for cats has an impact on the animal, as well as a huge burden on the environment and wildlife.
When stray cats live in colonies, they are prone to disease like cat flu, feline AIDs, worms, and they also become territorial, leading to fighting and injury. They can also wreak havoc to the natural environment and wildlife, not only in rural areas but in big cities.
The big picture goal of the Last Litter Program is prevention rather than intervention.
How does the Last Litter Program work?
Cat owners with a pregnant mother cat or a mother cat who has recently given birth to a litter of kittens can apply to The Cat Protection Society Last Litter Program. In doing so, the cat-owner must agree to surrender all of the kittens to the Society to be re-homed at 6-8 weeks of age while the mother cat is desexed, microchipped and vaccinated (if required) and returned to the owner. The cost of this is funded by The Cat Protection Society of Victoria.
If the kittens are under 10 weeks of age, the cat-owner must retain care of the kittens via a foster-care arrangement, with The Cat Protection Society providing food, bedding, litter and veterinary care to the kittens until they are 6-8 weeks of age.
The Cat Protection Society will house the kittens from 6-8 weeks to ensure they are healthy and eating on their own. They will receive all necessary treatments for worming and flea control and will also receive their first vaccination. Kittens will receive any other medical treatment that may be required if they are unwell.
When the kitten/s weighs 1kg, they will be scheduled for desexing and microchipping. When recovered, they are then made available for adoption into their furever home.
All Last Litter applications will be reviewed by The Cat Protection Society Adoption and Veterinary team and approved based on the capacity within the Adoption Shelter. All applications will be responded to and an outcome advised within 5 working days.
- Your cat is pregnant / has recently had a litter of kittens
- Apply to The Cat Protection Society Last Litter Program
If your application is approved:
- Mother cat and kittens bought into Society Veterinary Clinic for a full health assessment
- If the kittens are 10 weeks of age (or older), they are all surrendered to The Cat Protection Society. Each kitten will be desexed, vaccination and microchipped and made available for adoption. Appointment will be made for the mother-cat to be desexed, vaccinated and microchipped (if required) and retained into the care of the owner
- If the kittens are under 10 weeks of age, all kittens must be surrendered to The Cat Protection Society Foster Care Program and remain in the care of the owner with the mother-cat until they are 6-8 weeks of age. The owner will be responsible for bringing the kittens in for any veterinary appointments required and will communicate regularly with the Society Foster Care Coordinator. The Society will provide food, bedding, a litter tray and litter for the kittens. Any veterinary care that may be required for the kittens will also be funded by the Society.
- At 6-8 weeks of age, all of the kittens are returned to The Cat Protection Society. Each kitten will be desexed, vaccination and microchipped and made available for adoption. Appointment will be made for the mother-cat to be desexed, vaccinated and microchipped (if required) and retained into the care of the owner
The Last Litter Program is funded with the support of The Cat Protection Society donors and members and there is no cost to the cat-owner.