RSPCA in crisis over unwanted cats - can you help rehome an animal?
- Credit: Archant
The RSPCA has reached crisis point on the east coast with the number of unwanted cats.
Debra Cook, manager of the RSPCA East Coast branch, said the charity is 'in desperate need' of help and cannot take in any sick or injured cats until it rehomes those already in care.
'We are completely full; we cannot take in one more cat,' said Mrs Cook.
'If an inspector called today and asked us to take an animal that is being neglected or is sick or injured, we would probably have to turn them away.'
Mrs Cook said she knew of at least eight pregnant cats that will soon need rehoming along with their kittens.
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The branch, which covers a wide area stretching from Mundesley on the north Norfolk coast through Great Yarmouth to Haddiscoe near the Suffolk border, is currently looking after 21 cats at Broadland Cattery in Ingham, near Stalham, and has more living with its six foster carers.
It is a similar situation at the RSPCA Norwich and Mid-Norfolk branch where animal care manager Claire Feek said there has been a huge reduction in the number of people adopting unwanted cats.
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She said: 'Usually, we have around five to 10 cats ready to go to new homes at any one time, but we currently have 22. They are a real mix of ages, sexes, colours and temperaments. We are noticing that the types of cats who would usually be rehomed in a matter of days are currently waiting weeks or even months to be adopted.
'Obviously this has a knock on effect on our intake, in that we can only take another cat in when one is rehomed. 'Our current situation means we are unable to take in cats who need our help that may be victims of cruelty, neglect, abandonment, sick or injured.'
Mrs Cook said it is always busier in summer with people on holiday, but there is a growing problem with unwanted litters.
'There are financial pressures,' she said, 'and it's often when cats gets ill or get pregnant that people realise they can't afford to keep them or take them to a vet.
'There is also a lot of neglect, unfortunately.
'Sometimes an inspector will get a call from someone who says they have found a cat and they have started feeding it and later we find out the cat had been living with them for three or four years.
Lesley Rogers, who runs the Broadland Cattery in Ingham, near Stalham, said some of the East Norfolk branch cats had been in care for months and she believes it could be down to their black and white markings, as the grey, tabby, ginger and tortoiseshell felines are always the first to go to new homes.
Dilly and Willy, who were left to the branch after their owner died, have been at Broadland Cattery for five months - the longest Mrs Rogers has had cats in care. Dilly, aged eight, and Willy, 13, have lived together for years and would ideally be rehome as a pair.
All RSCPA cats are vet-checked, neutered, microchipped and vaccinated before being rehomed. There are adoption fees and home-checks, but anyone considering a new cat is urged to call the charity and find out more.
To arrange a visit - any time of the week or weekend, call the Broadland Cattery on 07867 972870.
nRSPCA East Norfolk is opening a new charity shop at 49 High Street, Stalham, on July 6. Money raised instore will help fund animal welfare work. Anyone interested in volunteering can call the number above.
To help with the problem of unwanted litters, RSPCA East Norfolk has teamed up with Waveney Cats protection to hold a 'snip and chip' session at the RSPCA welfare clinic in Tarworks Road, Great Yarmouth, on Sunday July 28. From 11am to 1pm, people in receipt of housing or council tax benefit can get cats micorchipped for £8 and pick up vouchers to cover the cost of neutering.
nSome of the RSPCA cats in need are featured in a picture gallery in the top right corner of this page. Alternatively, see the Find Me a Home page published in the Great Yarmouth Mercury every Friday.