20 feral cats in one street, kittens left for dead - Peterborough’s forgotten cats

Faith, Hope and Harmony.

Faith, Hope and Harmony.

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Back street alley cats, disease, unwanted pregnancies and abandoned kittens left for dead…

Surely this shouldn’t be happening in this day and age? Sadly, it is and feral cat colonies are on the rise across the city, says Sheridan Gaunt,the spokeswoman for Peterborough Cats Protection

A cat

A cat

Following a call to our helpline from a concerned member of the public, we visited the streets in the PE1 area and were shocked at the findings: over 20 cats, in just one small stretch of a main road, and all unneutered. Entire males, some heavily pregnant females, a nursing mum with kittens, just days old, born under a car in dangerous surroundings, and kittens as young as 8 weeks old running freely. All of these were living between several gardens and approximately a third carrying the disease, FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus), more commonly known as feline aids.

It mirrored being on holiday abroad, where colonies of cats, living together, are seen scouring bins and loitering around restaurants, in search of food and in poor health.

A feral cat’s life is full of hardship at the best of times, and if nothing is done to intervene with these prolific breeders, the numbers of these colonies will spiral out of control, leaving them susceptible to this disease. FIV is easily passed between cats via sexual contact but mostly through the kind of severe bite wounds and abscesses normally only seen in free-roaming Tom cats – or their victims if they are bully cats.

Our most disturbing find came a few days later whilst working in the area. Three kittens, aged three weeks old, dumped in a derelict building, left for dead. These kittens needed to be hand reared and fed every two hours if they were to have any chance of survival. They also needed urgent veterinary treatment as two were suffering with such severe eye ulcers, we still don’t know what level of sight if any, can be saved.

As a voluntary run branch our time costs nothing but veterinary treatment and surgery does. We have set up a just giving page for these kittens to help raise funds for their treatment and care. If you would like to help Faith, Hope and Harmony and follow their journey, you can donate today by following the just giving link, www.justgiving.com/fundraising/abandoned-kittens

Cats Protection promotes neutering as the only effective way to control the number of both domestic and feral cats and helps around 28,000 ferals per year in the UK, through its trap, neuter and return or relocation work. We urge you to contact our helpline on 0345 371 2750, if you need assistance with neutering or have noticed the volume of stray cats increase significantly in your area.

This week’s columnist is Sheridan Gaunt,pokeswoman for Peterborough Cats Protection