We Need to Talk About The UK’s Homeless Cat Crisis

The RSPCA has received more than 11,000 complaints about abandoned cats from May to the end of August. The charity has also taken nearly 12,000 cats into its care this summer as the cat crisis reached its peak.

That’s 12,000 cats in just 4 months. We have a crisis here and we need to discuss it.

Every summer animal re-homing centres and branches end up bursting with cats and kittens as a result of unplanned litters born at this time of year and unwanted older animals.

This can lead to cats and kittens being abandoned in their droves, ending up in rescue centres.

Across England and Wales from May 1 to September 24, there were 11,313 cat abandonment complaints reported to the RSPCA.

The RSPCA is urging responsible pet owners to get their cat neutered from four months old to avoid unwanted pregnancies.

Alice Potter, RSPCA cat welfare expert, said: “They may look cute but having a litter of kittens to look after is hard work and costs money. Sometimes the reality of looking after them does not live up to the expectation and it is times like this when we see so many kittens abandoned.

“From being tied up in plastic bags, dumped in boxes, left on a bus, or thrown out with the rubbish, the RSPCA has sadly seen too many kittens abandoned this summer.

“There is a cat overpopulation crisis facing the UK and our centres struggle with the demand especially during the summer months. There are an estimated 10.3 million pet cats in the UK and although it is estimated that around 90% of owners have their cats neutered about 13% of owners of female cats say that their cat has had at least one litter. Of these owners, 70% said their cats pregnancy was unplanned which inevitably results in a lot of kittens*.

“Some people may think cats need to have a first litter to be healthy but this is an old wives tale. Neutering your cat allows them to go outside and do all the things they enjoy, such as climbing and playing.”

From May to September the RSPCA has neutered more than 4,000 cats.

The numbers of cats in RSPCA centres and branches in May reached a whopping 3,652 and June saw even more with 3,848. In July there were 2,492 and August there were 1,950 cats and kittens needing care.

Alice Potter added: “However, not all cats and kittens abandoned by their owners will have been lucky enough to make it into RSPCA care. Unfortunately there are kittens who have been dumped and will not make it, there is likely to be others who weren’t found in time, or never found at all.

“If your cat has had an unwanted litter please do not throw them out like rubbish. There are options and animal welfare charities like the RSPCA who can help.

“If your cat has reached about four months old or more there are voucher schemes which can help with the cost of neutering such as the Cat Smart scheme in Sheffield and the Cat Care and Control Consortium in London. Check with your local RSPCA branch to see what services are available.”

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