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Public urged not to buy kittens on impulse
There was a 667 per cent rise in online searches for 'kittens near me' in July.
Online searches for kittens soared during lockdown.

Members of the public are being urged to do their research before getting a pet, as new figures reveal a sharp rise in the number of people wanting to buy or rehome kittens this summer.

According to figures published by the RSPCA, there was a 667 per cent rise in online searches for 'kittens near me' in July, a sixfold increase on the same period last year. The animal charity also noticed a sharp spike in searches for kittens during the coronavirus lockdown, with a 188 per cent increase within just a few months.

Cat welfare expert Alice Potter said: "It's fantastic that so many people are interested in bringing a cat into their home this year. However, with such high increases in people searching for kittens online, it's important that prospective owners are doing their research and not buying a kitten on impulse.

“This means making sure they have the time, money and resources to care for a cat for the rest of their lives, but also ensuring that if buying a kitten they're buying a healthy and happy kitten from a responsible breeder.”

The figures come during Adoptober, an initiative designed to showcase the benefits of rehoming a rescue pet. According to the RSPCA, there was a 114 per cent increase in the number of people searching for cats to adopt during the lockdown on its Find a Pet resource, compared to the previous year.

Alice added: "It's great to see so many people are looking to adopt a rescue cat with more than a million people visiting our Find a Pet during the pandemic.

"We are braced for a kitten season boom next year as routine neutering procedures had to be put on hold during the lockdown. This means that whilst the UK is already facing a cat overpopulation crisis, we may now see even more unplanned litters of kittens. If you've got a kitten during lockdown, it's so important to get them booked into your vets for a spay or a snip.”

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AWF Student Grant Scheme opens for applications

News Story 1
 The Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) is inviting applications to its 2021 Student Grant Scheme for innovative projects designed to impact animal welfare. The scheme welcomes proposals from undergraduates studying veterinary and animal welfare degrees, but students from other disciplines are also welcome to apply.

Grants will fund projects on animal welfare topics that are relevant to the veterinary profession and help develop the student's skills as a researcher. This year, the AWF is also accepting projects which are carried out alongside EMS so long as they are supervised. For more information and to apply, visit animalwelfarefoundation.org.uk 

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News Shorts
Bristol Vet School announces new PhD Studentship opportunities

Bristol Veterinary School has announced four new PhD Studentship opportunities with a focus on cattle welfare. The projects include:

Developing a novel approach to improve the welfare of dairy cows; The impact of early life programming on resistance to helminths in ruminant livestock; The impact of change and the ability to deal with it on an individual's affective state and welfare; Harnessing 3D cameras and deep learning for on-the-fly automated body condition and mobility analysis to improve cattle welfare.

For more details and how to apply, visit the University of Bristol's website.