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Cat "crisis" in UK
The RSPCA has warned of a cat crisis in the UK with its own rehoming centres at full capacity. Its says more cats are coming in and less are being rehomed.
The RSPCA has warned of a cat crisis in the UK with its own rehoming centres at full capacity. Its says more cats are coming in and less are being rehomed.

RSPCA report launched at BSAVA congress

The number of homeless cats in the UK has reached "crisis point" according to the RSPCA which is calling for veterinary practices to promote the neutering of kittens at four months of age.

In a new report, Tackling the Cat Crisis, which has been launched at the BSAVA congress, the RSPCA reveals it is taking in more cats than ever before – and that fewer people are adopting them.

In 2010, the organisation took in 29,269 cats – that figure grew by nearly eight per cent in two years, with the RSPCA taking in 31,556 felines in 2012.

During the same period the number of cats being rehomed decreased by around 10 per cent –  33,151 cats were rehomed in 2010, compared to 29,556 in 2012.

The RSPCA is full to capacity and at the end of 2013 had to rely on private boarding to home 30 per cent of the unwanted and abandoned cats in its care.

The cost of boarding meanwhile has risen from £1.9 million in 2010 to £2.45 million in 2013.

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. Seventy-five per cent of the UK’s cat population are acquired as kittens, meaning that the market for rescue cats is already small.

RSPCA Chief Veterinary Officer James 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 as 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 per cent 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.

The RSPCA and other animal welfare organisations are calling on more veterinary surgeons 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.

A PDF of the report is available at

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Cats Protection launches Christmas animation

News Story 1
 Leading feline charity Cats Protection has launched a heartwarming Christmas animation to raise awareness of the important work it does. The animation is based on a true story of a kitten that went missing earlier this year. Freezing cold and hungry, the kitten was dumped in a box on a roadside and somehow became separated from her brother and sisters.

Thankfully there is a happy end to this tail, and Libby - now named Misty - was eventually reunited with her littermates. Misty’s owner, Amy Smith, said: “Misty has settled amazingly well into our home, she has found a best friend in my daughter Lily and likes to follow her around the house. She also loves to chase bugs in the garden. We feel very lucky to have her.” 

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News Shorts
WSAVA launches certificate programme focusing on companion animals in One Health

The first certificate programme focusing specifically on the role of companion animals in One Health has been launched by the One Health Committee (OHC) of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA).

The online programme, which is free of charge for WSAVA members, has been developed in recognition of the growing impact of companion animals in human society. Pet ownership is becoming more popular globally, and this has increased the implications for One Health, regarding the human-companion animal bond. The WSAVA OHC hopes that this course will bridge the knowledge gap between veterinary surgeons and human physicians. New modules are being added weekly, with a total of 20 modules expected to be available by early 2020.