A young cat named Calibri has spent her first birthday in Battersea’s care after falling pregnant with kittens at just 9 months old. With today marking World Spay Day, the charity is using Calibri’s story to remind owners of the importance of neutering cats from a young age.
Calibri and her three kittens – Roman, Lucida and Comic – were brought into Battersea’s London centre at the start of this year as her previous owner was unable to afford the cost of caring for additional cats after their pet’s unplanned pregnancy.
With the kittens just 10 days old on arrival, after a thorough medical check the young family went to stay with a foster carer, where they were expertly cared for and socialised in the privacy and tranquillity of a home environment.
Last year, Battersea saw 133 kittens born across its three centres in London, Old Windsor and Brands Hatch – the highest figure in the past decade. The charity has already taken in 46 kittens so far in 2023.
These figures come as Battersea continues to see high levels of demand from owners looking to give their pet to its centres for rehoming, with a growing number citing financial pressures as the main reason for relinquishment. In January this year, 21 per cent of animals were brought into Battersea by owners who told them they could no longer afford to keep them or afford their vet bills – up from just 1 per cent in December 2021.
Commenting on Calibri’s story, Rehoming and Welfare Manager Bridie Williams said: “It’s not uncommon for us at Battersea to see cats like Calibri who are essentially still kittens themselves, having kittens of their own.
“Whilst we’re confident that Calibri will go on to a new, loving home, in an ideal scenario we’d never want to see owners forced to make the difficult decision to give up their pet because of a costly, unplanned pregnancy.
“With the cost of living remaining high, this World Spay Day we want to remind owners that getting their young cats neutered from an early age is the best way of preventing large, unforeseen expenses. At a time when household budgets are being squeezed, we’d urge people to remember that the up-front cost of neutering your cat pales in comparison to that of caring for a young mum and her kittens.”
Battersea research puts the average yearly cost of owning a cat at £1,500. With kittens able to reach sexual maturity at just four months old, the charity advises pet owners to get their young cats neutered between 9 and 12 weeks.
Bridie continues: “Cats can come into season again just six weeks after giving birth, so if your cat has had a recent accidental litter, make sure you speak to your vet to book in a spay to prevent any further unwanted pregnancies.”
For more advice on pet neutering, please visit Battersea’s website advice here: https://www.battersea.org.uk/pet-advice.