A pet is for life, not just for Christmas.
That is the message animal rescue groups are desperate to reinforce in the lead up to the festive season, as their resources are stretched with higher than usual numbers of dumped cats.
South West Animal Rescue coordinator Tanya Adams said the organisation had taken in twice as many kittens in the past month compared with previous years.
She said February would be another busy time when children returned to school and pets received as Christmas gifts could no longer be cared for.
“Don’t get a pet for Christmas – it’s a lifelong commitment, it’s not a five-minute commitment,’’ Mrs Adams said.
“You don’t just buy them, there are ongoing costs with cats, there are yearly vaccinations, monthly flea treatments and sterilisation.’’
Saving Animals From Euthanasia volunteer Jackie Vincent said they had taken in a “ridiculous’’ amount of kittens recently because people were failing to sterilise their cats.
She said if people wanted to get a pet during the school holidays they should consider getting one from a rescue group.
“They have to think about what they are getting involved into if they’re going to get a pet it’s at least a 12 to 15-year sentence – and it does involve veterinary care, feeding and exercising,’’ Ms Vincent said.
“It’s a big responsibility. Don’t buy a pet on an impulse.’’
Mrs Adams said sterilisation was the main thing potential cat owners needed to consider.“Last year we found some kittens dumped in a bush. What about the ones that aren’t found?’’