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RSPCA warns cost of living crisis could lead to record high cases of cat abandonment and abuse

MyLondon logo MyLondon 29/05/2022 Sylvie Wilkinson
In 2021, the RSPCA took a whopping 20,188 cats into its care and received 53,388 complaints regarding cats in need © Vasiliki Varvaki/Getty Images In 2021, the RSPCA took a whopping 20,188 cats into its care and received 53,388 complaints regarding cats in need

The RSPCA is working to highlight the plight of kittens, as the cost of living is making animal care more difficult for Londoners. In particular, the animal welfare charity has stressed the importance of neutering as it braces for an influx of cats during the kitten season.

The charity sees a peak in cats coming into its care between May and September - when most kittens are born - but, as the nation also faces a cost of living increase, the RSPCA fears that this will result in a cat welfare crisis with more cats being abandoned or relinquished than ever before.

In 2021, the RSPCA took a whopping 20,188 cats into its care and received 53,388 complaints regarding cats in need. This year's figures could prove to be even higher as the cost of living crisis takes its toll on people's finances and makes it difficult for many pet owners to afford routine vet appointments like neutering.

READ MORE: RSPCA ‘inundated’ with offers to rehome ‘London’s loneliest dog’

At the same time, a shortage of vets and an increase in the numbers of pets means many practices are under a lot of pressure with waiting lists for procedures, or they aren't registering new clients. Planning ahead and registering with a vet as soon as possible, ideally before you get a pet, is strongly recommended by the charity. The charity urges London cat owners to speak to their vets about neutering as soon as possible and to keep any unneutered cats indoors with plenty to entertain them until they can be spayed.

Caroline Allen, Chief Veterinary Officer at the RSPCA, said: "We have long been highlighting the importance of neutering for cat welfare. Getting your cat neutered protects them from certain diseases, and prevents unexpected and costly litters of kittens being born.

"The RSPCA, along with other cat and vet organisations, encourage people to get their cats neutered from four-months-old before they can become pregnant as a responsible part of pet ownership. If you are waiting for an appointment to get your female cat neutered you must keep them indoors until they are 'done'. Even a short trip out could result in her getting pregnant! If you think this could have happened, contact your vet."

Caroline added: "As a charity we are under immense pressure, especially over the summer months and neutering can help tackle this issue. However, we know that many people are facing lots of financial pressures at the minute which is why we encourage cat owners to plan ahead, make sure they're registered with a vet, explore whether local charities can offer neutering vouchers in your area, and make sure to get pet insurance for those unexpected costs."

Cat owners may be eligible for support through Cats Protection's means-tested neutering scheme. The average cost of neutering a cat ranges from £80 to £150. To see if you are eligible, you can check online or call Cats Protection's neutering helpline (Mon-Fri 9.30am-1pm) on 03000 12 12 12.

To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please donate online or call our donation line on 0300 123 8181.

Do you have a story you think we should be covering? Email sylvie.wilkinson@reachplc.com

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