Nearly 600 cat call outs in Hertfordshire, RSPCA claims

PUBLISHED: 14:15 13 October 2020 | UPDATED: 14:15 13 October 2020

Junior from Southridge Animal Centre is looking for a home. Picture: RSPCA

Junior from Southridge Animal Centre is looking for a home. Picture: RSPCA

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There were 596 cat-related incidents in Hertfordshire this year and the RSPCA is concerned a boom in kitten buying could lead to more cats coming into rescue centres and needing new homes.

Charlie from RSPCA Middlesex North West & South Hertfordshire branch is looking for a home. Picture: RSPCACharlie from RSPCA Middlesex North West & South Hertfordshire branch is looking for a home. Picture: RSPCA

This July saw Google searches for ‘kittens near me’ increase sixfold compared to the same period last year, a 667 per cent increase, and during lockdown there has also been an 188 per cent increase in searches for kittens within just a few months.

Alice Potter, the RSPCA’s cat welfare expert, said: “It’s fantastic that so many people are interested in bringing a cat into their home this year. However, with such high increases in people searching for kittens online, it’s important that prospective owners are doing their research and not buying a kitten on impulse.

“This means making sure they have the time, money and resources to care for a cat for the rest of their lives, but also ensuring that if buying a kitten they are buying a healthy and happy kitten from a responsible breeder.

“It’s true that we see much higher cases of puppy farms than unscrupulous kitten breeders but it does happen, which is why it’s so important to do your research and make sure you’re buying from a reputable seller.

Bertie from Southridge Animal Centre is looking for a home. Picture: RSPCABertie from Southridge Animal Centre is looking for a home. Picture: RSPCA

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“Sadly, we do see cases of cats coming into our care who have been bought without the correct vaccinations, care or attention and the results can not only be devastating for the cats themselves but also the new owners who have to provide the time and cost it takes to look after these very poorly kittens.”

Since the start of the year, the RSPCA has dealt with more than 45,000 incidents relating to cats, meaning there are lots of cats in their care looking for homes – so it is better to adopt a cat than to buy one..

Alice added: “The UK is already facing a cat overpopulation crisis, we may now see even more unplanned litters of kittens.

Flick from RSPCA Middlesex North West & South Hertfordshire branch is looking for a home. Picture: RSPCAFlick from RSPCA Middlesex North West & South Hertfordshire branch is looking for a home. Picture: RSPCA

“If you’ve got a kitten during lockdown, it’s so important to get them booked into your vets for a spay or a snip. Kittens can get pregnant from just four months old and there may be a longer wait than usual at some vet practices due to the pandemic, so it’s important to get them booked in early.”

One cat is re-homed every 20 minutes – according to 2019 figures – across England and Wales.

For more see here rspca.org.uk/findapet.


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