Improving Cat Welfare in the UK: Cats Protection’s Priorities – Evidence Presented at Parliamentary Inquiry

Cats Protection – the UK’s biggest cat charity – set out its priorities for improving cat welfare in the UK at a parliamentary inquiry into pet welfare and abuse.

The charity’s Director of Feline Welfare Dr Maggie Roberts BVM&S MRCVS gave evidence on 4 July to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, which is considering the post-pandemic health and welfare of companion animals, including abuse and mutilation.

Dr Roberts raised numerous issues of concern in relation to pet cats, including the need for cat breeding licensing, the health and welfare problems associated with extreme breeds such as the Scottish Fold and Munchkin, and the life-long pain suffered by cats which have been declawed.

She also raised the need for cats to be included in any changes to pet travel regulations and pet abduction.

Dr Roberts said: “I was pleased to be invited as an expert witness to the inquiry to discuss the issues Government can address to ensure cats are given the protection in law they deserve. There are around 11 million owned cats in the UK, an increase of around 200,000 since 2021, so it’s clear they are becoming an increasingly popular pet following the pandemic.

“Sadly there are still far too many unscrupulous breeders, who care more about profit than welfare. Kittens bred in poor welfare conditions are all too often sick or poorly socialised, which can leave them with lifelong health and behavioural problems, and leave new owners with high vet bills. This is why Cats Protection is calling for the Government to push forward with the licensing of cat breeding to ensure the health and welfare of cats and their kittens is better protected.”

Cats Protection is the UK’s leading feline welfare charity and has helped an average of 157,000 cats and kittens a year over the last five years through its national network which includes around 210 volunteer-run branches and 34 centres.

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