Abandoned kittens seeking loving Ulster homes
Prepare to have your hearts melted... here are some adorable little bundles of joy which are desperately hoping for new owners to come along and take them home.
These kittens have thankfully found a safe haven in the Assisi Animal Sanctuary in Conlig – but they’re just the start of the 400-plus expected to come through the doors of this rescue centre over the next six months.
They arrived last week and are now waiting for a family to adopt them. Meanwhile, Assisi and other animal shelters across Northern Ireland are bracing themselves for the start of the “kitten season”.
Cats tend to have most of their offspring between May and September when the climate is warmer.
Assisi manager Heather Oliver said they expect to see around 400 cats come through their doors and be re-homed in the next six months.
Space has been cleared in anticipation of the imminent arrivals.
“They come from all over, recently we received kittens from Maghera,” she said.
“We used to take in over 500 but that has dropped in the last few years. People have become more responsible and are getting their cats spayed.
“Now we are mostly getting outdoor cats. Sometimes people will be feeding a stray who suddenly gets a lot thinner and then brings them her litter of kittens – and people bring them into us.
“We would usually try to get the mother cat spayed if we can.”
Two tiny kittens, just a day old, arrived at the sanctuary recently, born to a young stray cat who couldn’t look after them.
The kittens require hand rearing, which includes feeds every two hours. They are currently being cared for by a foster family until they are strong enough to return to Assisi and be re-homed.
“This was the second litter this young stray cat has had, and she is just too young to look after them herself – attempts to trap her to bring her in for spaying have not been successful so far,” said Heather.
In the meantime, two litters of slightly older kittens have arrived.
Big-eyed and curious, these little marvels - named Prince, Pickles, Pinky, Paloma and Pablo – soon learn to love the camera and begin posing with aplomb.
In the compartment below is a quiet three-year-old tortoiseshell called Trinity and her six-month-old grey/blue kitten Twinkle. They were left at the gates of Assisi at the start of May.
However, as well as the kittens, Assisi has 45 older cats ready to be re-homed.
The Conlig centre is home to 80 cats in total, although some of these are long-term residents while others are not yet ready to be re-homed because they are too young or too ill.
At the age of 18, Holly is the veteran. She has been at Assisi since July 2010 when her owner died. She requires special care as she is epileptic.
People usually come to the sanctuary with a very precise idea of what sort of cat they want to adopt, said Heather, but they’re often forced to reconsider when informed that the colour of a cat can often provide a clue as to its temperament.
Ginger cats have the reputation for being quite feisty, tortoiseshell cats are usually female and can often have an attitude.
Pure white cats, which are fairly rare, tend to be quite aloof in temperament.
Tabby cats are among the most popular while Heather said many people overlook black and white cats even though they can make lovely pets.
Before adopting a cat, Heather urged people to give serious thought to whether they can afford its care and food as well as the commitment, as cats can live up to 20 years.
“As well as the food you also need to think about worming, spaying and bedding – although cats can be happier sleeping in a cardboard box than expensive bedding,” she said.
In addition to seeking people who can give a cat a good home, Heather said they are always on the look out for foster families who can give a high level of care to pregnant cats or kittens for up to six weeks.
Assisi also receives dogs, rabbits and guinea pigs. They are currently looking after 35 dogs and 32 rabbits.
If you are interested in giving an animal a home or becoming a foster family, contact Assisi on 028 9181 2622 .
Source: News Letter