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We take in more than 12,000 cats in just four months


This summer sees the cat crisis reach its peak as we take in more than 12,000 cats in just four months. 

Four kittens nested together in wool blankets © RSPCA

Every summer, centres and branches end up bursting with cats and kittens as a result of unplanned litters born. 

This can lead to cats and kittens being abandoned in their droves.

Across England and Wales from May 1 to September 24, there were 11,313 cat abandonment complaints reported to us.

We're urging responsible pet owners to get their cat neutered from four months old to avoid unwanted pregnancies.

Newborn kittens being abandoned

Alice Potter, our cat welfare expert, said:

Having a litter of kittens to look after is hard work and costs money. It's times like this when we see so many kittens abandoned.

From being tied up in plastic bags, dumped in boxes, left on a bus, or thrown out with the rubbish, we've sadly seen too many kittens abandoned this summer.

There's a cat overpopulation crisis facing the UK and our centres struggle with the demand especially during the summer months.

There are an estimated 10.3 million pet cats in the UK and although it's estimated that around 90 percent of owners have their cats neutered about 13 percent of owners of female cats say that their cat has had at least one litter.

Of these owners, 70 percent said their cats pregnancy was unplanned which inevitably results in a lot of kittens.

The numbers of cats in our centres and branches needing care:

  • May reached a whopping 3,652
  • June saw even more with 3,848
  • July there were 2,492
  • August there were 1,950

Financial help for neutering your cat

Alice added:

If your cat has reached about four months old or more, there are voucher schemes which can help with the cost of neutering. There's the Cat Smart scheme in Sheffield and the Cat Care and Control Consortium in London.

Check with your local RSPCA branch to see what services are available.

May to September we neutered more than 4,000 cats.

Abandoned cats stories

Tied in a plastic bag 

Ten day old black kitten being bottle fed © RSPCA

Three black kittens, Maggie, Chester and Jet were tied in a plastic bag and dumped underneath a vehicle at Manchester Airport on one of the hottest May days the UK had seen in 176 years. Luckily they were found in time and taken to our Cheshire and Altrincham branch. 

The kittens were just hours old and still had their umbilical cords attached but with round-the-clock care by fosterer Joanne Yoli they made a full recovery.

Found in a bin

Another tiny newborn kitten Misty was found abandoned in a bin in Salford also with her umbilical cord still attached. Fosterer Joanne Yoli also hand reared the brown kitten after she was found in August.

Dumped in a shoebox on a bus

Three kittens were dumped in a shoebox and left on a London bus in July. Arriva, Diesel and Oyster were rescued and taken to Harmsworth Animal Hospital where they got the care they needed.

Died after being dumped in a shopping bag

A poorly and weak kitten was found in a Disney Frozen shopping bag dumped in Kingstanding in August and taken to Birmingham Animal Hospital but sadly his condition deteriorated and he died.

Found in a garden, freezing cold and covered in flies 

White kitten Casper being bottle fed © RSPCA

Casper, a tiny white kitten was very fragile when he was kindly brought in to our North West Middlesex branch in London by a member of the public at the end of August. 

He was newborn when discovered in a garden in London, freezing cold and covered in flies and their eggs. It's believed he and his two litter mates were rejected by their mum.

One sadly died in the garden and the other one died a couple of days later. Though very weak and near death, Casper soon became stronger thanks to fosterer Sarah Blackband.

Could you give a cat a home?

We're certain you'll find your perfect match when you find a pet with us.

Help towards the care of cats in our centres

Some kittens require dedicated care as they can be in such a vulnerable state when taken in to our care. We can't do this without your help, please donate what you can online or text LOVE to 87023 to give £3

(Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message. Text to donate terms and conditions).

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