RSPCA Reveals Seven Cats a day Suffer at the Hands of Humans

The charity received more than 16,000 incidents of deliberate cruelty to cats in the last six years

The RSPCA has released new figures which reveal that seven cats a day suffer at the hands of humans and this is expected to increase during the summer months.

Over the last six years (2016-2021), there were 16,212 incidents of deliberate cruelty towards cats reported to the animal welfare charity which equals a staggering seven cats a day suffering at the hands of humans. In 2021 alone, there were 1,387 reports of intentional harm to cats and this peaked during the months of July and August.*

Overall, there were 17,804 complaints made to the charity regarding cats in 2021 from abandonments, poisonings, mutilations, shootings, beatings and neglect.

The RSPCA also fears that new figures showing a recent boom in the kitten trade could see a worrying rise in unscrupulous breeders putting profits before welfare and could spell further cruelty to cats.

In the last five years, there were 825 reports made to Trading Standards, council officers who enforce consumer protection laws, across England and Wales involving kitten related complaints. Compared with 2017 figures there was a 185% increase in 2021 regarding the buying and selling of kittens**.

David Bowles, Head of Public Affairs at the RSPCA, said: “The demand for pets soared during the pandemic meaning backstreet kitten breeders have been able to make more money out of flogging pets online. We normally see a rise in kittens being sold at this time of year and coupled with the cost of living crisis, sadly we could see a boom in the kitten trade this year as a result. If you are considering buying a kitten, we would urge people to use the Kitten Checklist.”

To help prevent suffering the RSPCA has launched its Cancel Out Cruelty campaign which aims to raise funds to keep its rescue teams on the frontline saving animals in desperate need of help as well as raising awareness about how we can all work together to stamp out cruelty for good.

Sam Watson, cat welfare expert at the RSPCA, said: “It’s awful to think cats are suffering deliberate cruelty and to know that an average of seven cats every single day are suffering at the hands of humans is really distressing. Cats are one of the most popular pets in the UK with an estimated 11 million pet cats in UK homes but sadly they are the second most abused pet – after dogs.

“Tragically, we see hundreds of animals that come through our doors every year who have been subjected to unimaginable cruelty – being beaten, thrown across the room, had bones broken, been shot at, poisoned and drowned.

“As well as being hurt by their owners, cats are also more vulnerable as they tend to be out and about on their own which can leave them vulnerable to airgun attacks and other forms of cruelty by complete strangers.”

A much-loved cat was intentionally set on fire in Hampshire

An RSPCA inspector described her horror and upset after she was called to pick up a cat that was thought to have been deliberately set on fire.

The badly charred remains of the pet were found by an elderly woman driving along Kiln Road in Sherborne St John, Basingstoke.

The ferocious heat from the blaze had caused the surface of the road where the animal’s body was discovered, to melt.

Sadly investigations revealed, the male cat called Chris, a much-loved pet, had been intentionally set on fire.

It’s not known whether the cat was already dead before he was set alight but the charity continues to investigate.

A pet cat was found cruelly hanged by a washing line in Manchester

The body of the 10-year-old black and white cat, called Jack (pictured), was recovered from the back garden of a property after he was found tied to a tree branch by a washing line.

The line had been wrapped around his neck three times before being knotted up – suggesting the attack was a deliberate act of cruelty.

His distraught owner, Tracy McCormick, believes the shy rescue cat was seized by the perpetrator as he was usually timid in the company of strangers.

The RSPCA launched an investigation after his body was found in the garden of a house in Northcote Avenue in Wythenshawe on Tuesday, June 21.

A tiny kitten was abandoned in a box with a fractured leg which needed to be amputated

Thankfully a member of the public spotted the young tabby and white kitten, now called Maggie, hidden beneath conifers in a field in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, in January, and contacted the RSPCA who came to her rescue.

She was suffering from a serious injury to her back leg which saw her bone sticking out and the wound had become infected.

Animal Rescue Officer (ARO) Kate Hertherington rescued the kitten and took her for urgent veterinary treatment but sadly her back left leg could not be saved and the person responsible was never found. She has since been rehomed by the RSPCA.

Two cats were killed and one left with life changing injuries after being shot by an airgun in Pembrokeshire

Jemima, a two-year-old tabby cat, may never fully regain her mobility after she was targeted near her home in the Plas y Fron area of Fishguard. The pellet, which entered just below her neck, came to rest between her shoulder blades and just milimetres from her spine – was deemed too risky to remove.

Another female cat was also shot the previous evening in a neighbouring street, Dan y Bryn, and taken to a vet, where an x-ray revealed she had been shot twice with an air gun. She sustained a broken leg – which had to be amputated – and a shattered shoulder. Despite making good progress initially, she took a turn for the worst and sadly had to be put to sleep a few days later. A third incident occurred seven miles away in Newport at the beginning of the month, with a vet confirming that a cat’s fatal injuries had been caused by an air gun.

There were nearly 500 reports of animals being shot by airguns in 2021 and the charity is calling for tighter regulations and better education for anyone looking to buy an airgun to help stop this from happening.

Two emaciated kittens rescued after they were found dumped and dying behind a bin

The kittens were lucky to survive their ordeal when they were found abandoned like rubbish in Rosalind Street, Ashington, in March.

One of the cats, a male tabby, was found collapsed and was so underweight a veterinary surgeon struggled to attach an IV catheter into his veins. The other, a black and white female kitten, was also emaciated and lethargic and had a cut to her neck.

Both kittens were taken for emergency treatment by RSPCA Inspector Rachael Hurst and were taken into the care of the RSPCA’s Northumberland West branch, whose staff have called them Barney and Matilda and report they have made great progress regaining their health and strength. The tabby is pictured, above, after he was found (left of image) and after treatment (right).

“Both kittens would have died if they hadn’t been picked up. They had both been starved and there was no weight on them at all,” said Rachael. They have both since been rehomed.

Two young kittens suffered multiple fractured bones after being inflicted with blunt force trauma at the hands of their owner

Smudge and Bean, a pair of seven-month-old tabby kittens, were rescued by the RSPCA after they had both been taken to the vets with severe injuries over a period of months and vets began to grow suspicious that the injuries were non-accidental.

Poor Smudge suffered several rib fractures of different ages, a canine fracture and the fracture of her right femur. She had obvious lameness and was struggling to move around at all.

Her brother Bean also suffered similar injuries and had also previously been presented to the Blue Cross with a head trauma, a broken tail, a left hind femoral fracture, three fractured ribs and a possible dislocated jaw. Thankfully they were rescued by the RSPCA, rehabilitated and rehomed.

The RSPCA typically receives around 84,000 calls to its cruelty line every month and around 1,500 of those are about deliberate cruelty. But the charity sees a rise in the summer by around 400 calls, on average, per month, which equates to nearly 50 extra calls every day or two every hour.

The RSPCA’s rescue teams need support to stay out on the frontline as the only charity rescuing animals and investigating cruelty.

  • £2 could help to provide a meal for a cat or dog in our care
  • £6 could help pay to feed a dog for a day in our care
  • £10 could help pay towards bandages for a cat or dog
  • £15 could help pay for a cat or dog’s clinical exam
  • £20 could help pay towards a bird catching kit
  • £30 could help pay for a life jacket for an inspector
  • £100 could help pay towards water rescue equipment
  • £500 could kit out a 4×4 inspector van

Our frontline teams are working hard to rescue animals in need this summer but we can’t do it alone – we need your help to Cancel Out Cruelty. To help support the RSPCA, visit:

If you cannot donate, there are other ways you can help Cancel Out Cruelty, from volunteering with the RSPCA, holding a bake sale or fundraiser, or taking part in the #50MilesForAnimals challenge.

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8 thoughts on “RSPCA Reveals Seven Cats a day Suffer at the Hands of Humans

  1. Create-A-Holic Writer says:

    That just makes me want to cry. Thank God that there are a lot more good people in this world than bad ones. We have to start spreading news like this and making people everywhere more aware of what’s going on around them. And the punishments for animal cruelty need to be much harsher.

  2. Sakura Feels says:

    Reading this and seeing some of these images is both heart-breaking and sickening! It takes a particular sort of a sick person to torture animals like that. Fully support the RSPCA’s work and campaigns to help the suffering animals – not all humans are failing at being a decent person as their perpetrators!

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