The number of pet cats given up for rehoming due to financial issues from January to May 2023 increased by nearly 50% compared to the same period last year, according to the charity Cats Protection.
And as the cost of living crisis continues to take hold, the charity says it is seeing a rise in people from both low-income and well-off households giving up their cats due to higher costs.
Cats Protection Head of Field Operations Peter Shergold said: “We are now regularly hearing from struggling owners who have had to make the heartbreaking decision to give up their cat because they can no longer afford the costs of their care. For many people, cats are part of the family, so it is naturally very difficult to be facing such an upsetting situation.
“Families remain the largest group citing financial reasons for giving up their cats, but we are also seeing an increase in older people and pensioners finding themselves in this position. Our research has been showing us that it is both low-income households and those who would have previously been described as well-off who are struggling financially to keep their cats.
“We’ve been working hard to support owners during the cost of living crisis and have set up an online hub where owners can find lots of information and support. We are doing everything we can to help more owners keep their cats, and we are grateful for the many animal lovers who have been supporting this work by making a donation.”
As well as including hints and tips on keeping cat care costs down, Cats Protection’s online hub also includes details of the charity’s Community Kitty scheme. The scheme works with food banks and community partners to provide cat food to owners struggling with costs. Cats Protection is also part of the National Pet Food Partnership, a coalition of charities working with Fareshare and Petplan to redistribute pet food to those most in need.
There are also details of other agencies and organisations which can offer to support to cat owners, as well as details of Cats Protection’s free and low-cost neutering schemes.
Peter added: “As well as offering help and advice, the hub also includes details of how the public can help by donating cat food to our Community Kitty scheme, if they’re in a position to do so.”
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.