Norwich man on benefits refused RSPCA rescue cat

A Norwich animal lover is angry after being refused a rescue cat from the RSPCA because he lives on benefits.

John White, 62, has previously given a home to two RSPCA cats, but said when he visited the charity's Paws Centre in Barrack Street, Norwich, intending to find another cat, he was told he would not be able to take one.

Mr White, who lives in a two-bedroom council flat in Old Catton, said: 'A woman there asked if I was on benefits, and I said I'm a pensioner and on housing benefit and council tax benefit, and she said 'No, you can't have a cat'.

'I think it's disgusting: just because you're on benefits it doesn't mean you can't look after a cat. I live alone so having a pet is good company for me.'

In a statement, the RSPCA said its key objective when rehoming any animal was to make sure its potential new owner could provide the right environment and a home for life.

'As part of the rehoming process, potential new owners are asked to fill in a form asking a range of questions such as their working hours, whether they have other pets, if they have suitable accommodation and also if they are in a stable financial position, as any animal can prove expensive especially if they suddenly unexpectedly require veterinary treatment,' it said.

'Each RSPCA branch is independent from the national RSPCA and will therefore adapt its own criteria and questions. However, each adoption request at the Norwich and Mid Norfolk branch is always looked at on a case-by-case basis.

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'We appreciate that this can sometimes be a contentious issue and management have pledged to review the way we communicate our policies in the light of this incident.'