Kitten foster carers in Canberra in short supply as Christmas approaches.

By Georgia Hitch

Love cats but can’t commit to having a pet in the long term? This could be the perfect solution.

The RSPCA is urgently seeking Canberra volunteers to foster kittens over the Christmas and New-Year period.

Milder winters and longer summers mean the “kitten season” in Canberra has become longer, causing a jump in the number of animals born each year.

Canberra currently has 47 active kitten carers, who are looking after about 180 kittens between them.

RSPCA ACT animal care manager Simon Yates said his team was looking for more willing and available carers — to help ease the burden.

“We don’t really want to overload people, because the kitten season goes for so long,” he said.

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“When kittens come back for the de-sexing and re-homing process we are trying to avoid giving people, foster carers, another litter straight away. We need to give them a bit of a break, otherwise they can burn out.”

Catherine Campbell has been fostering kittens for three seasons.

“It’s the best kind of volunteering you can do without leaving your house,” she said.

Call for catch, neuter and release program.

Ms Campbell said one of the most important parts of fostering kittens was getting them socialised and ready to be adopted.

“The kittens that we have in foster care just all come back really confident, they’re used to being around people, enjoying kids, small animals, all those sorts of things,” she said.

“They don’t tend to get that in just the shelter environment.”

But she did acknowledge the fostering came with some difficulties, especially saying goodbye.

“It’s tough,” she said.

“The more I’ve been doing it, in some ways it does get a little bit easier. We always have a cuddle before I put them in the carry cage. I have cried at the RSPCA when I’ve taken them back before.”

The call for new kitten carers comes as Canberra Cat Fix, a charity providing financial support for low-income earners to have their pets de-sexed, has called for the ACT Government to introduce a program to humanely trap, neuter and release stray cats in urbanised areas.

“We don’t have [a program] at the moment,” Canberra Cat Fix founder Alexandra Craig said.

“It’s actually illegal in Canberra, which is unfortunate because there would be so many people who’d be willing to volunteer [to help with] such a program.”

This post originally appeared on ABC News.


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