Wiltshire Publications

Cat crisis: RSPCA reveals it received 57 reports about cats in Wiltshire since lockdown

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As the kitten season gets underway, the charity warns it could see an influx of even more as unneutered cats give birth to unwanted litters

THE RSPCA is facing a cat crisis as the charity cares for more cats than any other pet with more than 1,000 felines currently in its care.

Sootie

Since lockdown*, the charity has taken 324 cats into its care, more than any other pet, and fears that the situation is set to get worse, as the traditional kitten season gets underway.

There is always an influx of youngsters at this time of year but lockdown means that it is harder for owners to neuter their pets and the charity’s experts fear they will see even more unwanted litters coming through its doors.

Since the start of lockdown, there have been 6,630 incidents reported to the charity’s hotline about cats with 57 incidents reported in Wiltshire.

This tiny kitten, who was rescued by an RSPCA officer after being discovered at an industrial estate in Salisbury, was one of the many cats helped during the coronavirus lockdown.

Animal carers at Bath Cats & Dogs Home were in for a surprise after she completely changed colour. The team initially thought she was completely black  – until they gave her a bath. She has now been named Sootie and is getting ready to move to her new home.

Animal rescuers at the charity have been designated key workers by the Government and the charity has launched an emergency appeal for vital funding which  is needed to help the RSPCA’s frontline staff continue this crucial work across England and Wales.

Dr Samantha Gaines, head of the RSPCA’s companion animal department, said: “We are currently caring for more cats than any other pet throughout the Coronavirus crisis. Every year, the scale of the cat overpopulation problem becomes even more apparent from May to September when most cats are born as the RSPCA is often overwhelmed with kittens. The kitten season this year will continue despite COVID-19 and so the charity is bracing itself for even more cats.”

The charity is currently caring for 1,013 cats (as of 13 May) which is more than any other pet in its care.

Last year (2019), there were 108,190 incidents reported about cats with 1,177 reported in Wiltshire.

Sam added: “Our frontline officers will continue to rescue as many cats as we can and our animal centre staff, hospitals and branches will carry on caring for the many cats coming into our care throughout the crisis. We rely on donations from our generous supporters to carry out this vital work and need their support now more than ever as our services become stretched to the limit.

“We believe neutering cats from four months old will help tackle the cat overpopulation problem the UK faces. This will reduce the amount of unwanted and unexpected litters of kittens that are born and sadly end up in rescue centres. We understand that many owners may not be able to get their pets neutered at the moment as understandably vets are prioritising emergencies in the face of Covid-19 and restricting other procedures. It is important to follow your vet’s guidance and understand if they cannot neuter your pet at this time. We would urge anyone with an unneutered female cat to keep them indoors. If you have a male/female pair or really can’t keep your cat inside, do call your vet to discuss options.”

The RSPCA has plenty of information on how to keep your cat entertained indoors on its website. There is also lots of advice on keeping pets happy and healthy during the coronavirus crisis, here.

To help the RSPCA keep rescuing animals like these and keep our animal hospitals and centres running for emergency treatment and round the clock care through these unprecedented times, please donate whatever you can spare at www.rspca.org.uk/covid 

To find out more about the Bath Cats & Dogs Home Spring Appeal, please click here.