HORSHAM People for Animal Welfare and Support has labelled the number of cats and kittens dumped at the pound as critical.
The number of felines needing new homes is at an all-time high since Horsham PAWS first formed in 2010.
President Carolyn Stow said the sudden influx of mothers, kittens and pregnant cats had left the group reeling.
“It’s been pretty shocking over the past week, with people just handing in cats and kittens,’’ she said.
“I think this year is worse than what we’ve had in the past.
“I thought we were on the right path but after the past week we’re reeling after the number of mum cats handed in with their kittens.’’
Ms Stow said many of the cats were friendly, suggesting they were someone’s pet.
She said feral cats and kittens were being euthanised because the pound and Horsham PAWS foster carers could not handle the influx.
The group has about five or six foster carers available to house cats and kittens while they wait for a permanent new home.
Ms Stow urged people to consider Horsham Pound as a last option for unwanted animals.
She said many people dumped animals at the pound with the hope they could be rehoused easily.
“It takes the responsibility off them, expecting Horsham PAWS will find a home for every one,’’ she said.
“We certainly don’t have the capacity to place them all in foster care.’’
Ms Stow said the situation meant more animals would be euthanised.
“At the end of the day, there’s not enough demand for them,’’ she said.
“People are just not adopting very quickly at all.
“It’s a very difficult situation.’’
Ms Stow said the group had seven adult cats and more than 20 kittens in its care.
She said Horsham PAWS was aware of at least about 30 other kittens being promoted via Facebook as free to good homes.
She encouraged people to try to rehouse the animals themselves.
“Our committee of 10 are dedicated volunteers and most of us work full-time,’’ she said.
“Because of the number of animals coming into the pound, unfortunately not all of them will make it through.
“Ten committee members can’t make the difference. We’re certainly trying but it’s a community responsibility.’’
PAWS member Tarni Rees said the group needed help to deal with the influx.
She said people could become Horsham PAWS members and foster carers at http://horshampaws.com.au.
Miss Rees said people could also donate cat food and kitty litter to help.
“We always start to brace ourselves for this time of year, but it is shocking how many have been handed in,’’ she said.
Horsham Rural City Council ranger Scott Brown reminded people it was important to desex their pets.
He said desexing would help prevent future seasons like this.
Mr Brown also encouraged people to have their pets microchipped.
He said the pound had received cats with collars but without a microchip, so it was difficult to return the animal to its owner.