Homeless cats feel post-recession bite

Cats Protection is issuing an emergency plea for owners to adopt one of the many cats in the charity’s care following a significant drop in rehoming as a result of the tough economic climate.

The UK’s leading feline welfare charity, which constantly operates on full capacity, experienced a 16 per cent decrease in cat adoptions during the month of August compared to the same period last year and a 14 per cent rise in the number of stray and abandoned cats coming in.

According to Cats Protection, the number of cats being handed in is increasing but the funds to care for them are not.

“We take up to 30 calls a day from desperate people needing our help,” said Alison Dickinson, deputy manager of Cats Protection’s Birmingham Adoption Centre which has over 500 cats on its waiting list and only 105 pens. “Recently we took in a box of nine kittens which had been dumped at the side of the road and another kitten left in a plastic basket in the pouring rain.”

The picture is the same across the country so the charity – which usually looks after around 6,000 cats at any one time – is desperately appealing for people to consider offering a home to an unwanted cat to prevent the situation worsening.

“When I started working here six years ago, there would only be a handful of cats a year which were handed in because their owners could no longer afford to keep them or were moving to rented accommodation. Now I would say relinquishments are mainly financially driven,” said Louise Bradbury of the charity’s Exeter Axhayes Adoption Centre, which has only managed to home about half the number of cats this summer compared to last year.

“This surge in unwanted cats and kittens is extremely distressing,” said Peter Hepburn, Chief Executive of Cats Protection. “We have seen a steady decline in homing over the past 18 months and it appears to be getting worse. The toll of the recession on pets appears to be just as big as on people.”

Despite concerns that keeping pets is too costly, money-conscious owners adopting from Cats Protection have the peace of mind that their cat will have been examined by a veterinary surgeon, microchipped, vaccinated, neutered if old enough and will also come with four week’s free insurance.

To offer a cat a loving home, please call Cats Protection’s Boston & District Branch on 01406 424966 or email bostoncatsprotection@gmail.com