Paws for thought over cat crisis

The RSPCA has taken nearly 12,000 cats into its care this summer as the cat crisis reached its peak.

Every summer, 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.

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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.

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“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.”

To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit: www.rspca.org.uk/give

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11 thoughts on “Paws for thought over cat crisis

  1. Flap door, and access to the street of the cat not CASTRATED, ensure death and unwanted litters!

  2. I can understand that people could be overwhelmed by having a litter of kittens. However there is never any excuse to throw a litter out into the rubbish, leave them in a carrier bag, or abandon them in a box. That’s just totally irresponsible and cruel! Help is always available from a number of organisations, so just make a little effort and contact these organisations.

  3. That’s a lot of cats and kittens. Hope more people will neuter them in the future, especially since it sounds like you have several organizations that help. Sadly, we have the same issue here in the USA.

  4. You are preaching to the converts here. All the cat owners I know better (that is, enough to talk with them about their pets) have neutered cats from shelter organisations. My friend just took in a 10 year old who once was in the local animal shelter and hence is neutered. Every animal shelter organisation I know castrates their guests if they are old enough. All my cats were castrated.

    My first cat in 1984 was heavily pregnant when she came to us (a stray who just walked into our garden, our house and our hearts) – and she had 5 kittens 3 weeks onward. We castrated her when her kittens were 6 weeks old – and she had already been with a tom again was the information we got from the vet. But that was early in her next pregnancy so those kittens never came to live. She was about 8 years old when she came and after those initial 5 you could already see her carrying she never had a litter again. But since she was already 8 she must have had about 15 litters!!! And that is a conservative estimation with one litter in her first year and only two in all those that followed – cats can have up to 3 in year!!

    She lived another 8 years, That could have easily been another 10 to 15 litters … Though not all would have been 5 kittens that would still have been a lot of cats! Just take an average of 3 kittens per litter …

    So you see, you REALLY preach to the converted here, converted even before I was 15, because we had a tom at my parents when I was about 10 to 12 and I told our father to get him fixed, but he would not hear a word of it!

    Those people who you need to reach won’t read here, I suppose. People like the person who came to put up my wall-drier-apparatus – he said they only neutered their cat after she had a litter of 6. Because he thought his tom was too stupid for it. Well, it just shows that procreation does not need intelligence. Rather the other way round.

  5. Here at the Oregon Humane Society, we spay and neuter at 2 months 2 pounds. All cats are spayed and neutered before the go up for adoption. Our local animal welfare agencies, including the Feral Cat Coalition, have banded together to offer $10 or free spay-neuter to people on any sort of public assistance. In 10 years, this program has drastically cut the heartbreak of unwanted cats.

  6. That is such a big problem. Educating people, like you are doing, is probably the best way to solve the problem but, unfortunately, ignorant cat owners probably don’t read your blog, which is why they are ignorant.

  7. The divas both came from the SPA and had had their surgery before being placed. Would you believe there isn’t a single kitten here under 8 months old? It is recommended that the ideal placement would be much younger as Colette believes she is the Alpha male and would feel challenged otherwise and Simone longs for someone to mother… perhaps in the Spring?

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