Cat breeder warns internet is powering surge in people looking to make 'quick money' from animals
Pedigree cats are being stolen in Tayside and Fife, while irresponsible breeders are producing sub-standard litters destined to be abandoned, it has been claimed.
Cat breeder Claire Lindsay
That is the shocking claim from Angus woman Claire Lindsay (42), who has hit out at pet owners allowing their cats to indulge in uncontrolled mating in a bid to make a ''quick buck''.Claire has been breeding Siamese and ragdoll cats as a hobby for 12 years and has run her own pet services business in Carnoustie for the past eight years.
She said the last few years had seen a ''flood'' in the marketplace for both pedigree and common cats, while animals charities struggle to cope with the rate the felines are being abandoned. ''The problem is that these days anybody can breed cats it's just horrific,'' said Claire, who only sells cats that have been neutered, inoculated and fully health checked. [continued below]....
''Between Gumtree and the amount of other internet sites, the amount of people trying to make some quick money out of animals is out of this world. ''I know the Cats Protection League and the Scottish SSPCA have been overrun with cats because people have cottoned on to the fact that it is easy money.
''Five to 10 years ago it was like gold dust trying to get hold of some of these breeds but people on benefits have found out that they can sit at home and watch daytime TV, let their cats breed away and then sell their kittens for 60 each. It is a big problem in Tayside and I think Fife is worse but it really is UK-wide.'' Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said the charity's animal rescue and rehoming centres are currently caring for a ''huge number'' of cats and kittens.
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He added: ''Irresponsible breeding for commercial gain, which we are opposed to, is certainly an issue which is adding to the problem. ''People are breeding kittens so they can sell them on but they're often bought on a whim and once the novelty of looking after a cat wears off, they end up being abandoned by their owners.'' Unwanted kittens are now remaining with charities for long stretches and it can take months, if not years, to find good homes for older cats.
Mr Flynn said the charity neuters every cat it rehomes and he appealed for owners across the country to do the same.
''Our centres always have lots of cats and kittens looking for loving homes and we'd encourage responsible owners thinking of taking on a pet to come along and meet them for themselves.'' On May 3 a seven-month old Siamese Claire reared named Milo went missing in Carnoustie and after the failure of an extensive search, she became convinced the cat was stolen.
''There's been no sign of him anywhere and Carnoustie is a small place,'' she said. ''He is wearing a collar with identification, he is micro-chipped and has really quite a severe kink in his tail that he was born with. ''I am concerned cats are being stolen to be used as bait in dog fighting and I'm also extremely concerned about the amount of animals being bred by people only interesting in making a quick buck, with no regard for the animal or its future welfare.
''Sometimes circumstances can change for the pet owner but any half-decent responsible breeder will be willing to take the animal back or help find it a new home.''
Milo is worth up to 200 and Claire said his owners, who are her neighbours, are heartbroken at his disappearance. Anyone who finds the cat should contact the Scottish SPCA on 03000 999 999.