ANIMAL rescue centres across the region face a rehoming crisis as they struggle to cope with an influx of cats.
The RSPCA has warned that most branches and centres are unable to take in any more cats and some have more than 100 desperately waiting for new homes.
Staff and volunteers say the pressure facing them from unprecedented numbers of abandoned felines is escalating and have issued a public plea for help to find them new owners.
Peter Bolton, animal operations manager for the RSPCA Midlands and North region, said: “The RSPCA is struggling on all fronts with this cat crisis.
“Our inspectors are being called out constantly to deal with sick, injured, neglected or abandoned cats; our hospitals are full with injured cats whose owners appeared to have dumped them; we have more cats than ever who have been cruelly treated and our centres across the region are just full with cats and kittens needing new homes.”
The charity’s animal centres at Great Ayton, in North Yorkshire, and Felledge, near Chester le Street, are both full and caring for more than 100 cats between them.
Already this year Great Ayton has dealt with 132, compared to 97 by September last year, and Felledge has had 183 in its care, 30 more than the same period in 2012.
It is the same picture at all of the charity’s branches, which raise money locally to care for animals at their centres, private boarding and fosterers.
Cats are waiting an average of 34 days to be rehomed which costs the charity around £250,000 more a year a deal with.
The RSPCA believes money troubles are a significant factor in the cat crisis with many owners giving up pets they can no longer afford to keep, unable to pay vet bills or failing to neuter a cat before it has a large litter of unwanted kittens.
Failure to get pets microchipped adds to the problem as injured animals that are picked up by RSPCA inspectors are more difficult to reunite with owners.
Mr Bolton said: “Our staff across the region whether they are in an RSPCA centre, branch, hospital or are a field officer all say the same- we are dealing with a cat crisis and it is getting worse.
“It is simply that more injured and abandoned cats are coming into RSPCA care than are going out.”
For more information or to rehome a cat visit the website rspca.org.uk/cats.