Rescue pet crisis continues: RSPCA faces biggest ever rehoming challenge

72% of people say they are not planning on getting a new pet*RSPCA Northamptonshire branch is facing an uphill battle as the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite and more people are relinquishing pets than adopting - in a trend seen by the RSPCA across England and Wales.
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Between 2021 and 2022, the RSPCA has seen a six percent increase in the number of dogs taken into care and a four percent increase in the number of cats.As the crisis continues, RSPCA rescue centres are “full to bursting” with unwanted pets.To try and revive adoption rates, the RSPCA’s month-long Adoptober rehoming campaign celebrates the wonder of rescue pets, and highlighting the many animals the charity has waiting to find their perfect match.However, across England and Wales, concerns are increasing for the number of animals coming into RSPCA care, as the number of animals being adopted are dropping. The number of animals rehomed dropped by five percent from 2021 to 2022 falling to 25,535 animals in 2022, compared to 26,945 during the previous year.This marks a longer-term collapse in rehoming rates, which have fallen by 34% from three years ago - when 39,178 animals were rehomed.

Michelle Billingham at RSPCA Northamptonshire branch said: “We’re lucky to have so many wonderful people adopting rescue animals from our branch all the time, but the reality is, it’s not enough.“The number of animals we’re taking in currently isn’t balancing with the number that are being adopted, and we are at crisis-point.“At RSPCA Northamptonshire branch, we currently have 71 cats in our care, 15 of which are long stay animals and desperate for a home.

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“This is just within our local branch, the same issue is occurring in every RSPCA centre and branch, this is a huge issue both locally and nationally. This year already, the national charity has received 9,748 calls about abandoned or unwanted animals, compared to 8,551 in the first six months of 2022.“That’s why we’ve launched Adoptober - one month dedicated to promoting amazing rescue pets, and why people looking to add an animal to their family should always choose to adopt.In addition to a rehoming slowdown, a YouGov survey* found that, when asked ‘When, if at all, are you planning to get a new pet?’, 72% percent of people stated that they were not planning to get a new pet.“Adoptober is a chance for us to celebrate how much pets can benefit our lives, shine a light on the many animals we currently have looking for new homes, and highlight support and advice for people to keep their animals safely during the cost of living crisis.” Michelle continued.“We’d never advise anybody to get a pet if they’re not fully committed or in a position to provide for that animal, but, for those who are looking for advice on how to manage, we’ve got plenty of information on our website - such as our cost of living pet tips as well as our pet cost calculator.Pets in the care of RSPCA Northamptonshire branch available for adoption can be found online.

Jet, Rhino, Wolf and HunterJet, Rhino, Wolf and Hunter
Jet, Rhino, Wolf and Hunter

Here are some of the amazing cats at RSPCA Northamptonshire branch waiting to find a loving home:

Jet and her brothers, Rhino, Wolf, and Hunter are 7 months old. They came into care as their owner was unable to afford veterinary treatment. They have been waiting for a home to call their own for 3 months. All four kittens love to be close to their foster mum, curled up for a nap on a warm lap, or enjoying lots of fuss! Apart from Jet, the kittens have all had flu symptoms that affect their eyes. They are okay at the moment but may have occasional flare-ups in the future which could need medication such as eye drops from a vet. The siblings are neutered, microchipped, and fully vaccinated. As they are so close, we would like to rehome them in pairs. Sadly, stress can make flu symptoms worse, for this reason we are looking for calm homes with no other cats, dogs, or children under 10.

Pretty Holly is 14 years old. She is looking for a new home as sadly her elderly owner was struggling to care for her. She has been in our care for 10 months now and is more than ready to find her forever home. Holly is an adorable kitty who loves being stroked and brushed. As soon as she is touched, she’ll give a little meow and start purring to show her appreciation. Holly is a sensitive cat and can easily be stressed. Very occasionally, when she is worried, she goes to the toilet by the front door but this has significantly lessened over time in her foster home. We understand that not everyone will be able to cope with this but there must be a special home out there for Holly somewhere! Holly is in good health for a cat of her age. She is vaccinated, microchipped, and neutered. Holly is looking for a calm, relaxed, adult-only home with no other pets.

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Handsome Bob was living rough for a long time before being taken to a local vet practice with an abscess on his chin. We think he is at least 10 years old.After weeks of TLC with one of our fantastic fosterers, Bob is feeling and looking much better. He is a friendly chap who likes to be stroked and spend time with people but he doesn't like to be fussed over too much. Bob only had 6 teeth when he first arrived. Unfortunately, they weren't in the best condition, and he had to have 5 of them removed! Other than his lack of teeth, Bob is in good health and is now fully vaccinated, microchipped, and neutered. Bob would probably prefer to be the only cat. He could live with respectful children over 10 years old.


Handsome young Theo is 9 months old. Along with 3 other cats, he came into our care via a local inspector. Theo is a happy and playful young fella who loves people. He is energetic and full of beans, spending his time playing with his balls and other toys. Theo is in good health and is now neutered, microchipped, and has had his first vaccination. He could live with another friendly cat after slow introductions or with sensible children.

*YouGov Profiles, 12 months ended 24/09/2023, GB Nat Rep (n=17,000)

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