Cats Protection says the number of cats waiting to enter its 34 Adoption Centres rose by 46% in July 2022 compared to July 2021 (2,582 cats versus 1,766 cats), with the charity’s volunteer-run branches reporting similar increases, as cash-strapped owners relinquish their pets due to the cost-of-living crisis.
Interest in rehoming cats is also on the wane – with each cat or kitten spending four days longer in the charity’s care compared to last summer.
Peter Shergold, Head of Field Operations for Cats Protection, said: “This is the worst situation in organizational memory in terms of the pressure on our services to take in cats. A 46 per cent increase in demand on our waiting lists is well above our historical average and looks likely to continue for the near future.”
“The rise is directly linked to the cost-of-living crisis, such as not having the funds to afford the basics like cat food or cat litter or a much more serious consequence such as a loss of a job or having to move into rented accommodation where pets aren’t allowed.”
Advance findings from Cats Protection’s CATS Report, due for release this autumn*, shows that 30% of cat owners are worried that they will not be able to pay bills or living costs owing to price increases. Meanwhile, 19% of non-cat owners say they would like to adopt a cat but can’t for financial reasons.
Cats that were reluctantly given up to the charity by cash strapped owners include a pair of six-year-old cats, Tinkerbell and Wendy who were brought to Cats Protection’s Warrington Adoption Centre during July.
Both were well-cared for by their previous owner but a change in the owner’s financial situation meant he had to make the heartbreaking decision to give them up. The charity is hoping to find them a home together in a quiet household, or a home with older children.
Cats Protection is urging people to visit its website which contains practical advice on how to hold onto your pet, such as obtaining access to cat food banks or exploring practical ways to reduce vet bills. The charity can also assist owners on limited incomes with the cost of neutering their pet cat.
* From the CATS (Cats And Their Stats) Report 2022 produced by Basis Research for Cats Protection consisting of 10,519 interviews with cat owners and non-cat owners carried out during the Spring of 2022.