'Tackling the Cat Crisis' report notes that the number of cats entering the RSPCA care system has increased from 29,269 in 2010 to 31,556 in 2012
Pussy control: the RSPCA want pet owners to neuter cats at four-months-old
The RSPCA says it is 'full to capacity' with abandoned cats.Frisky felines are causing a kitten boom which has the RSPCA overrun because fewer people can take them in or adopt them.
It has caused the cat population in the UK to reach crisis point and the animal welfare charity have published a startling new report.
'Tackling the Cat Crisis' notes the the number of cats entering the RSPCA care system has increased from 29,269 in 2010 to 31,556 in 2012.
It states the cat population in the UK is estimated to be between 9.5 million and 11.6 million with 24 per cent of the adult population owning cats. And the RSPCA found that a whopping 85 per cent of cat litters were unplanned.But worryingly the number of new homes found for cats in the same period declined by 10 per cent.
By the end of 2013 the RSPCA said they had to rely on private boarding to home 30% of the unwanted and abandoned cats in its care. 75% per cent of the UK’s cat population are acquired as kittens, meaning that the market for rescue cats is already small.
Despite the care and support for abandoned or poorly treated animals at the forefront of their actions, the RSPCA is full to capacity with cats. That means boarding the animals but that cost has risen sharply from £1.9 million in 2010 to £2.45 million in 2013.
RSPCA Chief Veterinary Officer James Yeates warned owners to neuter their cats before they can get pregnant to cull the growing population.
Mr Yeates said: “The answer to the cat crisis lies in loving cat owners neutering their cats before they can get pregnant. "Sadly one of the consequences of not neutering your cat means more and more cats are being brought into rescue centres. "There is a shortage of available good homes for them.
"Our centres are now at crisis point with an increasing number of cats coming in to our care.”
Research found that many owners are delaying neutering because they incorrectly believe that cats should have one litter before they are neutered.
It also found that 85% of litters are unplanned - as a result of owners being confused about when they should neuter their cats.
Cats can reach sexual maturity at around four months old, yet the traditional age for neutering is six months old.
So the RSPCA is calling on more vets to practise and promote neutering at four months of age to prevent unplanned litters. Neutering at four months of age is supported by the British Veterinary Association and the British Small Animal Veterinary Association.
The report, Tackling the Cat Crisis, was launched today at the British Small Veterinary Association congress in Birmingham.