CAT CRISIS: UK overpopulation nightmare sees RSPCA make 60 rescues A DAY

BRITAIN'S cat overpopulation crisis is laid bare today by frontline rescuers having to save up to three animals every hour of the day.

Litter of four ginger kittens

Kitten crisis: RSCPA rescued 22,000 cats last year (Image: RSPCA)

Strays and unwanted moggies are creating a round the clock emergency nightmare for the RSPCA, with more than 150,000 calls flooding into its national control centre about pets in peril last year. Officers went on to save 22,000 cats from all kinds of welfare threats, making them the most rescued animal nationally. Cat and veterinary organisations are calling for wide scale neutering of kittens from four months to combat the huge numbers of unwanted animals needing care when there are not enough rescue home spaces.

Tomorrow marks World Spay Day, when animal welfare groups champion the need to control colossal cat and dog numbers globally to save them from the misery of dying on the streets.

While the UK does not face the threats of rabies, other animal-borne diseases or attacks from feral dog packs, there are huge concerns that not neutering animals, especially cats, is putting huge pressures on animal welfare charities.

Up to one million British cats have not been spayed, according to the PDSA’s Animal Welfare report 2018, with nearly a quarter of all owners admitting they had not considered having their pets neutered. Fifteen per cent said the reason was because their cats never went out while a similar number believed their animals were too young to go through the procedure.

Yet 70 per cent of owners whose pets went on to have kittens admitted their cat’s pregnancy was unplanned.

Tabby cat sitting on white rug

RSPCA says it received 150,000 calls about cat emergencies last year (Image: RSPCA)

Cute ginger kitten

Seventy per cent of cat owners say their pet's pregnancies were unplanned (Image: RSPCA)


The RSPCA has released details of the number of cat rescues it has carried out last year, with 2,350 coming into the charity’s care from the Greater London area and 1,887 from West Midlands. See top ten breakdown.

The Cat Population Control Group (CPCG) – made up of a number of animal welfare groups, including the RSPCA, Cats Protection, Battersea Cats and Dogs Home, Blue Cross, PDSA and Vets 4 Pets, believes having kittens spayed when they reach four months of age rather than at the traditional six months stage will help reduce these figures.

Carrie Stones, cat population control manager at the RSPCA, said: “Sadly, cats are the most rescued animal by the RSPCA and we receive hundreds of thousands of calls about their welfare each year.

“The UK is facing a cat overpopulation crisis as there are simply not enough homes for the large number of cats we and other charities see. We believe the answer is to neuter cats from four months old to ensure that no more unwanted litters are born.”

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Tabby cat resting on towel

Animal charities are warning of cat overpopulation on rescue centres (Image: RSPCA)

Table shows rescue numbers across England

Table shows top ten cat rescue areas in England (Image: RSPCA)

Both the RSPCA and Cats Protection are heavily involved in efforts in spaying animals, with the charities neutering 38,474 and 153,000 felines, respectively.

Jane Clements, head of neutering at Cats Protection, said: “The CPCG collaboration enables the charities to work together effectively to decrease the numbers of accidental litters born, which is fundamental to preventing cats and kittens ending up in shelter care or being born on the streets.”

For more information about charities and vet practices taking part in World Spay Day events this year, visit: www.cats.org.uk/worldspayday