RSPCA branches and animal centres across the North of England are facing a cat crisis with many reporting unprecedented numbers of felines in their care.
The crisis is so bad that most branches and centres are unable to take in any more cats at the moment and several have more than 100 desperately waiting for new homes.
Our staff and volunteers at centres and branches say the pressure facing them is escalating and they are calling on the public to help by offering some of these desperate cats a new home.
The cat crisis is believed to be due to a number of factors such as:
- Owners can no longer afford to keep them and are giving them up
- Their cat falls ill and owners cannot afford the vet bills
- Many cats are falling pregnant and having large numbers of kittens because their owner failed to neuter them
Caring for cats costs escalating
We have around 1,700 cats in the care of regional establishments and private boarding centres as there are no places in regional animal centres for them. This amounts to around 30 per cent of the cats in our care.
We estimate that it costs us around £9.40 a day to care for a cat depending on circumstances (some will need more veterinary care than others for example).
Of those cats in our regional animal centres, just over 500 are available for rehoming, but it is taking on average nearly 34 days to rehome each cat. This is an increase of nearly five days over last year and the extra five days costs around £250,000 per year.
However, alarmingly these figures do not include the number of cats currently in our local RSPCA branches, which are separately registered charities. Our branches can only take in so many cats, which are cared for in branch animal centres, private boarding or with fosterers, and often have long waiting lists of cats to come in when a space becomes free.
Nowhere for rescued cats to go
Around 60 per cent of our cat intake is due to cruelty or welfare concerns. However, every time an RSPCA inspector or officer picks up an injured or abandoned cat, they struggle to find somewhere to take it.
Peter Bolton, Animal Operations Manager, RSPCA Midlands and North Region, said:
The RSPCA is struggling on all fronts with this cat crisis. Our inspectors are being called out constantly to deal with sick, injured, neglected or abandoned cats; our hospitals are full with injured cats whose owners appeared to have dumped them; we have more cats than ever who have been cruelly treated and our centres across the region are just full with cats and kittens needing new homes.
Our staff across the region whether they are in an RSPCA centre, branch, hospital or are a field officer they all say the same – we are dealing with a cat crisis and it is getting worse.
How you can help
You can help us rescue, care for and rehome cats. Here’s how.