ANIMAL welfare charity the RSPCA is facing a cat crisis in the Chester area with unprecedented numbers of felines in its care.
The crisis is so bad the Wirral and Chester RSPCA branch is unable to take in any more cats and has more than 75 desperately waiting for new homes.
RSPCA volunteers and staff say the pressure facing them is escalating and they are asking the public to help by offering some of the cats a new home.
Currently the Wirral and Chester branch has about 76 cats in its care and is full to capacity.
Only emergency cases involving sick and injured cats can be taken in and those cats are usually kept at the vets until space becomes available.
So far this year, the branch has dealt with 438 cats.
Peter Bolton, animal operations manager for the Midlands and the North, said:
“We’re struggling on all fronts with this cat crisis.
“Our inspectors are being called out constantly to deal with sick, injured, neglected or abandoned cats. Our hospitals are full with injured cats whose owners appeared to have dumped them and we have more cats than ever who have been cruelly treated.
“Our centres across the region are just full with cats and kittens needing new homes.
“Our staff across the region whether they are in an RSPCA centre, branch, hospital or a field officer all say the same – we’re dealing with a cat crisis and it’s getting worse.”
Inspectors believe a number of factors are to blame for the crisis including owners who can no longer afford to keep cats and are giving them up, cats falling ill and owners unable to afford the vet bills and cats falling pregnant and having large number of kittens because their owner failed to neuter them.
Mr Bolton said: “It’s simply that more injured and abandoned cats are coming into RSPCA care than are going out.
“It is really sad because these problems could be avoided if owners just acted responsibly. The RSPCA needs help from the public, so ifyou’re thinking about taking on a cat, come to the RSPCA first. Wwe have literally thousands looking for new homes and a second chance.
Branches and centres can only take in so many cats and often have waiting lists of cats to come in when a space becomes free.
It means that almost every time an injured or abandoned cat is picked up, it’s a struggle to find somewhere to take it.
Mr Bolton said: “Even if you cannot take a cat full time, you can become a cat fosterer and offer short term homes to the felines which branches and centres simply don’t have the room for”"
Anyone interested in finding out more about rehoming can call the RSPCA Wirral and Chester Branch on 0151 6386318.