The RSPCA is bracing itself for an influx in cats and kittens as latest figures reveal on average they take in three cats every hour.
Last year (2018), the RSPCA’s centres and branches took in 28,986 cats and more than 90,000 cats over the last three years.
Most kittens are typically born between April and September, which means during the ‘kitten season’ the charity ends up with large amounts of young cats coming into its care.
July sees the most cats coming into the charity’s centres and branches with 2,622 in 2018, 3,386 in 2017 and 3,143 in 2016 in that month alone.
The charity has also seen a shocking peak in abandonments over the summer period with 58% more cats being dumped in July last year compared to January (July: 9,691. January 3,990).
Carrie Stones, the RSPCA’s Cat Population Control Manager, said: “With an average of 86 cats coming into our care every day and a peak in the number of abandoned cats reported to us in summer clearly highlights that the UK is facing a cat overpopulation crisis with so many cats ending up in rescue centres.
“We would always urge people to think about the long-term commitment that caring for a cat entails and avoid making a snap decision about whether to take on a cat or kitten, for example from family or friends or buying online.
“Sadly, we see so many litters of kittens dumped like rubbish in the summer months because often owners have made this quick decision and can no longer cope, or the kittens have been an unplanned litter and a shock to the owner of the moggy mum.
“There is no denying that kittens look cute but the reality of caring for them can be hard work, time consuming and costly. We, and other cat and vet organisations, believe the solution to this crisis is to neuter cats from four months old before they can become pregnant and therefore avoiding these unwanted litters.”
Kitten dumped in Costa Coffee toilets
A three-week-old kitten was found abandoned in the toilets of a Costa Coffee in Woodford Green in March.
The black kitten who was dumped in aplastic box with a little bit of cat food was too young to be away from his mum. When the café staff discovered him in the toilets, they contacted the RSPCA and Animal Collection Officer (ACO) David Eckworth came to collect the small kitten.
He said: “When kittens are so young often they can need hand rearing but luckily a foster mum became available at RSPCA Hamsworth Animal Hospital where the kitten was being looked after.”
The mother cat and her litter of three kittens came into the hospital on Monday 25 March after they were found on the same road as the kitten in Wallers Close. Staff at the hospital suspect they could actually be the same family and are now reunited.
Kittens dumped in cardboard box near bins
Four kittens were found after they were ‘dumped like rubbish” in a cardboard box and left at the side of some bins.
The shocking discovery was made by a woman in Scafall Drive, Birmingham in March (2018). She saw the box by some bins near to Wyrley House block of flats and as she walked past she noticed it move.
Inside were four black and white kittens – who are believed to be around ten-weeks-old.
Aco Cara Gibbon rushed the two female and two male cats to the Coventry branch of the RSPCA for care.
She said: “It is awful to think these kittens were just dumped like rubbish and left by the side of some bins. It is just lucky that the lady saw the box they were in moving abd cared enough to investigate.”
According to statistics from the RSPCA the top counties with the largest number of abandoned cats in 2018 are:
- Greater London 2,222
- West Midlands 1,596
- West Yorkshire 1,291
- Greater Manchester 1,018
- Lancashire 681
- South Yorkshire 672
- Essex 644
- Kent 629
- Merseyside 580
- Lincolnshire 560