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Up to 80% more kittens dumped: "Animals have become throwaway articles"

Animal reception centres in Belgium are sounding the alarm: they are receiving up to 80 percent more kittens than last year. They are asking Flemish Animal Welfare Minister Ben Weyts to adopt a harder approach towards cat owners failing to comply with the new regulations.

The alarming message was spread by no fewer than 40 animal reception centres, after they received a lot more kittens than last year. Sabine Bovend'aerde of "Zwerfkat" in Leuven says that "we are seeing more kittens being brought to us each year, but this year it's almost a real tsunami. The kittens are below 6 months. They are the offspring of wild cats or private cats, whose owners dumped the kittens."  

Many wild cats survived the mild winter, while cat owners fail to comply with the rules

Apparently, while many wild cats normally die in winter, they survived this time as it was a particularly mild one. They can have babies two or three times a year, but now this has climbed to four. A second reason for the big number of abandoned kittens, is the fact that many cat owners are not complying with the new regulations. They should have their pet spayed or neutered, including any kittens it would have. 

"People often see animals as throwaway items", says Bovend'aerde. "They find them cute and like them while they are young, but when the first costs are coming, they bring them here or dump them. And the worst thing is that they sometimes purchase a new young animal to replace the other one, until it grows older."

In a letter, the 40 animal reception centres are asking Ben Weyts to introduce more checks for cat owners, and possibly also fines. They are now being confronted with more costs, as they have to pay for the vaccinations and sterilisation themselves, and are asking the minister for subsidies. "If we drown financially, we won't be able to help any animals."