The cat population in the UK has reached crisis point with more cats being taken in than ever before and fewer people adopting them.
In a new report Tackling the Cat Crisis (PDF 2.73MB), it has been revealed the number of cats entering our care has increased from 29,269 in 2010 to 31,556 in 2012.
The number of new homes found for cats in the same period declined by 10 per cent.
We are full to capacity and at the end of 2013 had to rely on private boarding to home 30 per cent of the unwanted and abandoned cats in our care.
Our centres are now at crisis point
The cost of boarding has risen from £1.9 million in 2010 to £2.45 million in 2013.
Seventy-five per cent of the UK’s cat population are acquired as kittens, meaning that the market for rescue cats is already small.
RSPCA chief veterinary officer James Yeates said:
“The answer to the cat crisis lies in loving cat owners neutering their cats before they can get pregnant.
“Sadly one of the consequences of not neutering your cat means more and more cats are being brought into rescue centres as there is a shortage of available good homes for them.
“Our centres are now at crisis point with an increasing number of cats coming in to our care.”
Neuter at four months
Research found that many owners are delaying neutering because they incorrectly believe that cats should have one litter before they are neutered.
It also found that 85 per cent of litters are unplanned – as a result of owners being confused about when they should neuter their cats.
Cats can reach sexual maturity at around four months old, yet the traditional age for neutering is six months old. For this reason, we and other animal welfare organisations are calling on more vets to practise and promote neutering at four months of age to prevent unplanned litters.
Neutering at four months of age is supported by the British Veterinary Association and the British Small Animal Veterinary Association.
We can’t do it without you
If you would like to help the RSPCA, you can donate online or give £3 now by texting HELP to 78866 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).