RSPCA branches and animal centres across the East Midlands are facing a cat crisis with many reporting unprecedented numbers of felines in their care.
The crisis is so bad that some branches are unable to take in any more cats at the moment and some have more than 100 waiting for new homes.
The Northamptonshire branch currently has 52 cats and kittens in its care, including three kittens which were recently found dumped in a box in a Corby wood.
RSPCA volunteers and branch staff say the pressure facing them is at crisis point and are calling on the public to help by offering some of these cats a new home.
The cat crisis is believed to be down to a number of factors, including owners no longer being able to afford to keep them and giving them up, cats falling ill and owners being unable to afford the vet bills, and many cats falling pregnant and having large number of kittens because their owner failed to neuter them.
However RSPCA branches can only take in so many cats and when they become full they have to find fosterers and other temporary homes.
And every time an RSPCA inspector or officer picks up an injured or abandoned cat, they struggle to find somewhere to take it.
Paul Williams, RSPCA animal welfare manager for the East region, said: “No matter which RSPCA branch or centre you speak to, in no matter what part of the region, they all say the same: they are dealing with a cat crisis and it is getting worse.
“The problem just seems to be growing and growing, and now we are at a breaking point and many RSPCA venues are struggling to cope.
“It is simply that more injured and abandoned cats are coming into RSPCA care than are going out.
“It is really sad because these problems could be avoided if owners just acted responsibly.
“The RSPCA like other charities, needs help from the public – so please if anyone is thinking about taking on a cat, come to the RSPCA first – we have literally hundreds looking for new homes and a second chance.”
Even if you cannot take a cat on full-time, members of the public are being urged to become a cat fosterer and offer short-term homes to the felines which branches and centres simply don’t have the room for.
If you cannot foster or rehome a cat you could still help by making a donation to your RSPCA local branch or centre and this money will be used to pay for the rising food costs and vet bills and in some cases private boarding.
Owning a cat can be a long term commitment but if you feel that you can help a cat in desperate need of a home, contact your local RSPCA branch to find out more.
Further information can be found by visiting www.rspca.org.uk/cats or http://www.rspca.org.uk/allaboutanimals/pets/cats/factfile
The Northamptonshire branch currently has 52 cats and kittens in its care – to offer a new home to any of the cats or kittens at the branch call 07840 926122 or 07787 342601.