Cruelty to cats increased by 25% on last year

Cruelty to cats increased by 25% on last year

Five cats a day are suffering at the hands of humans - with reports of cruelty to cats increasing by 25% compared with last year.

Figures released today show, in 2022, the number of reports made to the charity about intentional harm to cats was 1,726 - around five a day. This is up from 1,387 in 2021, an increase of 25%.
Since 2016, there have been 17,938 reports of deliberate cruelty to cats.
In the summer months cases of cruelty rise and the charity braces itself for its busiest time of the year. Reports of alleged cruelty soar to 8,400 each month in the summer - a shocking 274 reports every day.

The charity has released the staggering figures as part of its Cancel Out Cruelty campaign, in a bid to raise funds to help its frontline rescue teams continue to save animals from cruelty and abuse.

Dr Sam Gaines, head of the RSPCA’s companion animal department, said: “Cats are one of the most popular pets in the UK with an estimated 11 million pet cats in UK homes but our figures suggest sadly they are the second most abused pet - after dogs. 

“It's heart-breaking to think that five cats every day are suffering at the hands of humans - it really is appalling - but sadly the RSPCA knows all too well that this cruelty is carried out on a regular basis.

“We see hundreds of felines come through our doors every year who have been subjected to unimaginable cruelty - being beaten, burnt, thrown around, had bones broken, been shot at, poisoned and drowned.

“In many cases these pets have been injured deliberately by their owners - the very people who are supposed to love and protect them. But cats are also more vulnerable as they tend to be out and about on their own which can leave them vulnerable to airgun attacks and other forms of cruelty by complete strangers.”

Cat who had boiling water poured on him survived against the odds

A cat was left in excruciating pain for five days after having boiling water poured on him in a deliberate attack.

Benny had extensive scald wounds across his head, neck, shoulders, body and legs and was unable to walk on his feet which were also affected by the horrific burns before he was rescued by the RSPCA from an address in Greater Manchester and taken to the vets for urgent treatment.

Vet staff worked hard to save his life after finding scalding across many different body regions, including his head, neck, right shoulder and side of the chest and some of the claws on his feet had fallen off. His wounds were cleaned and he was placed on a drip in an isolation pod to recover.

He later underwent six operations and was in the care of the RSPCA for six months until he was ready to be rehomed.

The RSPCA is highlighting Benny’s plight as part of the charity’s Cancel Out Cruelty campaign - after latest figures showing the charity saw a 22% increase in reports of beatings in 2022 (9,658 in 2022, compared to 7,857 in 2021). 

The figures released by the RSPCA also shows:

  • In 2022 the charity saw a 22% increase in reports of beatings (9,658 in 2022, compared to 7,857 in 2021)
  • The number of beatings reported to the RSPCA in 2022 peaked in August, when 1,081 reports were received - a staggering 35 a day
  • The number of animals killed in ‘suspicious circumstances’ increased in 2022 by 15% from by 2021 (891 in 2022, compared to 775 in 2021)
  • 77% of all cruelty complaints reported to the charity 2022 were beatings 

Animal cruelty happening on a massive scale

Dermot Murphy, RSPCA inspectorate commissioner, said: “Right now, animal cruelty is happening in England and Wales on a massive scale and rising. It is heartbreaking that we are seeing such sad figures which show animal cruelty is, very sadly, on the rise.

“While we don’t know for certain why there has been an increase, the cost of living crisis and the post-pandemic world we live in has created an animal welfare crisis.

“Each year, these reports reach its terrible annual peak in the summer months – when an animal is beaten on average every hour of every day. The cost-of-living crisis also means the cost of rescuing animals is at an all-time high and our vital services are stretched to the limit.”

As the only charity in England and Wales investigating cruelty and rescuing animals, the RSPCA needs support to stay out on the frontline:

  • £2 could help to provide a meal for a cat or dog in our care
  • £6 could help pay to feed a dog for a day in our care
  • £10 could help pay towards bandages for a cat or dog
  • £15 could help pay for a cat or dog’s clinical exam
  • £20 could help pay towards a bird catching kit
  • £30 could help pay for a life jacket for an inspector
  • £100 could help pay towards water rescue equipment
  • £500 could kit out a 4x4 inspector van

The RSPCA’s frontline teams are working hard to rescue animals in need this summer but we can't do it alone - we need your help to Cancel Out Cruelty.