ABSOLUTELY Fabulous star Joanna Lumley has backed a campaign by an Oxfordshire animal charity to cut down on the number of unwanted kittens with sex education classes for their owners.

The glamorous actress, who is a keen cat owner, supported Burford pet charity Blue Cross in launching its ‘Sex Edu-Cat-ion’ drive to teach cat owners how to prevent the arrival of unplanned kittens.

The effort is also backed by cat loving TV stars Anna Richardson and Asa Butterfield – who stars, appropriately enough, in Netflix series Sex Education.

The campaign aims to reduce the number of unexpected pregnancies in young cats over the forthcoming kitten season, thus cutting the pressure on animal welfare charities.

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It is reminding pet owners that cats can become pregnant as young as four months-old, and says kittens should be kept inside if they are unneutered, particularly over the summer months when cats predominantly breed.

The organisation says a lack of awareness leads to a spike in unexpected cat pregnancies at this time of year, leading to a significant increase in the number of kitten litters and pregnant young cats being abandoned or handed to Blue Cross to be cared for and rehomed.

The charity has taken more than 200 kittens into its care so far this year and is preparing for the numbers to rise.

Witney Gazette:

The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the problem with owners unable to neuter kittens at their usual rate, which the charity predicts will cause a spike in pregnant young cats over the upcoming months if they are let outside.

Ms Lumley – who lives with her two cats, Fleur and Pingu – said: “Adorable kittens taken on during lockdown will soon become typical adolescents who will be wanting to get out there and party. Their teenage hormones will also be in overdrive and that’s why the Blue Cross ‘Sex Edu-Cat-ion’ campaign is a brilliant idea to prevent young cats having unplanned pregnancies and unwanted litters being born without homes to go to.”

Mr Butterfield said: “I was lucky to get my cats Lyra and Atlas neutered before lockdown, but many kittens that went to their new homes haven’t been. Your cute little balls of fluff can turn into sex-obsessed hormonal teenagers quicker than you think. So, for the sake of your kitten, and the unwanted extra kittens that could spring into your world, get your kitty cat neutered.”

Witney Gazette:

Presenter Ms Richardson – who owns three cats called Toots, Marmaduke, and Dotty – said: “Kittens as young as four months can get pregnant. It’s Shocking. Kittens having kittens! We can’t tell them about the birds and the bees, but we can do what we can to help Blue Cross prevent thousands more unwanted kittens being born by accident. Keep boy and girl cats indoors until they can be neutered, it’s as simple as that.”

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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 – which puts a strain on our resources.”

For advice call 0300 790 9903 or visit bluecross.org.uk/contact-us