A LEADING pet charity is launching a new 'Sex Edu-cat-ion' campaign- after a spike in frisky cats falling pregnant.

Blue Cross, which has an animal rehoming centre on Blackburn Street in Radcliffe, is launching the campaign in an effort to reduce the number of unexpected pregnancies in young cats over kitten season, thus reducing the immense pressure on animal welfare charities.

Many pet owners are unaware that cats can become pregnant as young as four months old, so it is vital that they remain inside if they are unneutered, particularly over the summer months when cats predominantly breed - commonly known as ‘kitten season’.

Due to this lack of awareness, there is often a spike in unexpected cat pregnancies during April - September each year, leading to a significant increase in the number of kitten litters and pregnant young cats being left abandoned or unwanted - and putting a huge amount of pressure on animal welfare charities.

John Cahill, Interim Rehoming Manager at Blue Cross in Greater Manchester said: “We are already seeing unplanned, unwanted litters of kittens being abandoned, left to fend for themselves or handed in when owners can’t cope.

" Only the other day we took in a new mum and her litter of three unplanned kittens. They are now in the safe hands of foster carers until they can find homes of their own.”

Adding to the pressure this year is the fact that, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, vets have not been able to neuter kittens at their usual rate, which will inevitably lead to an increase in the number of pregnant young cats over the upcoming months if they are let outside.

However, Blue Cross has acknowledged keeping your cat indoors over the hot summer period is not always an easy task, as they can become agitated and destructive.

Alison Thomas, Joint Head of Veterinary Service at Blue Cross, said: “Year after year we see rising numbers of unwanted and abandoned kittens which need a lot of care in our Centres and Hospitals. Many of these kittens can need round the clock care which puts a strain on our resources.

But it isn’t just these kittens and often the pregnant mothers themselves need urgent care. With COVID meaning pet owners are often unable to neuter their pets we need this campaign to reach as many people as possible to say keep those kitties inside.

It may be hard to share a home with cats who are desperate to get out and roam, but many male cats get hit by cars as they desperately try to reach a neighbourhood female and litters of kittens can face an uncertain future when born outside. So, cat owners, please show some tough love – it’s the best thing you can do for them.”