ANIMAL charity workers are warning people against buying pets as presents after they were called to help a new cat owner at Christmas.
Gosport Cats Protection was contacted by a woman who had been given a kitten as a present by her children but had no idea how to look after it.
The charity has now praised her actions but wants to warn other people not to buy kittens as gifts.
Branch co-ordinator Chris Scott-Reid said: ‘People do just give kittens to people and they don’t know what to do with them; it’s scary.
‘This person emailed me saying they had been given a kitten for Christmas and didn’t know how to look after it or feed it.
‘I explained to her about how to feed it and about vaccinations and the costs and I think she was a bit shocked about that.
‘My message to anyone thinking about buying a pet as a present would be not to do it.
‘If you’re going to give a cat as a present I would talk to the person first. We have had people ring up to say they were given a cat as a present but they don’t want it.’
Gosport Cats Protection has rehomed 87 cats and kittens this year and currently has six cats and four kittens in care.
The charity says 2011 has been its busiest year yet with a huge increase in the number of unwanted cats.
Kate Stapleford, from the Gosport group, said: ‘Christmas may have been relatively quiet for Gosport Cats Protection but 2011 has been our busiest year yet.
‘Cats Protection champions neutering as the only effective way to reduce the number of unwanted cats in the UK but sadly the message doesn’t always get through in time.
‘Two kittens currently in care, Fred and Ned, came from a multi-cat household where the pets hadn’t been neutered and then the owners were unable to cope with the litter of kittens.
‘Their mum has now been neutered with financial assistance given to the owner by Cats Protection.’
The charity is looking for a home for the two kittens Fred and Ned.
If you could help rehome them, call (023) 9258 2601.