Growing numbers of cats are being abandoned as families struggle to afford to pay for vets and up keep bills in times of financial hardship.
Across North Yorkshire the RSPCA says it has seen a record increase in the numbers being found and taken into care, meaning many shelters are at capacity while they wait for people to come forward to offer the cats a good home.
The crisis is put down to a number of factors including owners no longer being able to afford to keep their pets and not being able to pay for vets bills, which in turn leads to more litters if kittens with owners not paying for cats to be neutered.
It costs the RSPCA around £9 to home a cat for a day and takes on average 34 days to find abandoned cats a home.
In Scarborough a proactive approach has been taken to try and stop the problem before it grows into more of an issue.
The Scarborough and District Branch of the RSPCA recently held an awareness day to try and ease the burden on cat owners.
Lesley Waters, honorary secretary of the Scarborough branch, said: “During the open day we did a lot of microchipping of animals and also handed out vouchers for the vets to allow people to get their cats neutered.
“If people cannot afford the procedure for their pets then it means that there are a lot more litters of kittens, which leads to more of them being abandoned.
“People are finding that their finances are very tight at the moment and, sadly, that means in some cases that they have to give up their pets as they can no longer afford the vets and feeding costs. “We always have a lot of cats but this year we are seeing an increase on the numbers for last year. We are already full and have a number that need re-homing. Anyone who wants to adopt a cat will get a home visit to ensure they are able to properly care for it before they are allowed to take it away.”
Mrs Waters added that the number of prosecutions for cruelty to cats was also on the rise.
She said: “In the Northern region, which Scarborough is part of, we have seen 300 prosecutions so far this year, involving 800 cats, this is up on last year.”
If you are interested in offering a cat a good home then contact the Scarborough RSPCA on 01723 369804 and leave a message giving your name, address and telephone number clearly so that they can return your call.
More information can also be found by visitingwww.rspca-scarborough.org.uk/cats.