We all love our pets, no-one more than myself.

I said I was never going to get another pet but yes, Travis the Labrador is probably the most spoilt dog in West Otago.

A story about cats has come to my notice this week — no, not your loving family pet who gets fed and watered and stays at home — this is about stray cats and kittens.

Central Otago Animal Welfare Network members had been contacted by someone in our community to see if they could attend to a colony of a mother cat and four kittens who have made residence in the back of a building in Tapanui.

The plan was to live-capture the family and see if they could be desensitised and socialised, so they could be desexed and given loving forever homes.

If this option was unrealistic, the other was TNR (trap-neuter-return), which involves capturing, neutering and releasing as barn cats to a forever home that wouldn’t require too much human interaction but having access to food.

This is being organised by a group of volunteers within our community who are giving their time, love and attention to looking after these animals, which sometimes is a long process.

The reports I have are that the four kittens, 4-5 months old, have been trapped, and mum is the last one to capture.

The word is no food is to be given to the mother cat while this process is happening.

This is where we can all help as a community, as all time and dedication is purely voluntary and all costs from private people.

They are asking if anyone wants to donate to this cause in the next week or two and also need food, cat litter etc.

They would be grateful for any donations, or if anyone would be interested in fostering or adopting the kittens, they would like to hear from you.

This problem happens in many small towns throughout our community, and it is up to us to be responsible pet owners.

It is up to us to do something about it — act now to save the problem becoming a much bigger one.

If you are willing to help in any way possible, please contact Victoria Bonham on 027 509-8041.

• West Otago Community Board chairwoman Barbara Hanna