Animal rescuers: Cat breeding farms go hand in hand with health problems

One of the 118 cats rescued from a breeding farm in Tabasalu.
One of the 118 cats rescued from a breeding farm in Tabasalu. Source: ERR

Last week, ERR reported that 118 cats had been rescued from a breeding farm in Tabasalu. This week, ETV show "Ringvaade" visited the cats to see how they are getting along after being saved from captivity.

Liivi Kassihhin, who volunteers with Tallinn-based NGO "Cats Help," said, that 90 of the 118 cats rescued have already found new, hopefully permanent, homes.

"We are still working all the time to get them into homes so that they don't have to stay in cages in clinics," she said. Kassihin added, that the cats rescued from the Tabasalu breeding farm are all extremely friendly and have quickly become popular among the volunteers.

However, she also admitted that it took a little bit of time for them to get used to using some of the facilities at the clinic.

"The litter box seemed quite big for them at first, but the ones that have moved into the shelter are really friendly and confident. They figured out what the litterbox was for quite quickly in the end," she said.

Kassihin explained, that animals from breeding farms often have health problems as there are a number of conditions they are more susceptible to, if they have not gone through all the necessary veterinary procedures.

Since they arrived at the clinic, all 118 cats have been given the medical care needed to keep them safe and healthy. According to Kassihhin, Cats Help has calculated the cost to be an average of €300 per cat. Fortunately, the NGO has received €30,000 has been raised in donations so far to cover the costs.

One of the more common conditions cats can develop is feline herpes. "It's a fairly common viral disease in cats - they get a runny nose and their eyes become a bit inflamed," she said.

However, Kassihhin said, that while several other conditions have required treatment, given the number of cats rescued, there have been relatively few problems.

She added, that there are a lot of cat breeding farms in Estonia. "It's a business and people still want to buy these nice, pedigree animals," she said.

"When the conditions are really, really bad, tips start to come in [about them] from somewhere," she explained, adding that animal rights groups and government organizations both follow up on reports they receive.

Kassihhin explained, breeding farms do most of their business online.

"People look at (the animals) and say, 'Oh how cute. I don't really need these papers because I want a pet for my family.' Then they just come and take them and that's how the business works. They ask for a lot of money, but there are no procedures. However, often the kittens that come to the clinic are sick and so the owners have to leave double the money (they would have paid in the first place – ed.) at the clinic," she said.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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