The "House Cat" Crisis

Kitten season is here, though in reality it never really stops as cats can and do get pregnant all year round.

However in recent weeks we have had numerous pregnant cats, and cats with young kittens, signed over to us due to owners being unable cope...and the one overriding, common theme? These cats have all been "house cats".

The issue around keeping cats as indoor-only pets can be contentious. Here at RSPCA Worcester we believe that cats should be afforded the opportunity to go outside and explore wherever possible, and the fact that we see so many "house cats" escaping from their indoor-only lives gives further credence to the view that most cats do desire the freedom to roam.

Even more worrying are the numbers of "house cats" that are neither chipped nor neutered - owners wrongly believing that as they intend for their cats to live inside, microchipping and neutering isn't necessary. Yet when those cats get outside not only are they more likely to wander if unneutered (a female in season will travel to seek out a mate, and entire males will constantly roam in search of female cats, invariably fighting with male cats they encounter), they then can't be identified if they become lost or, even worse, get into an accident.

And in many cases the cats who DO find their way home will return having mated, and very soon yet more unwanted litters of kittens are being born-which is where we often find ourselves being contacted to find rescue space.

Whether you choose to allow your cat outdoor access or not doesn't necessarily mean that they won't get outside at some point in their life, therefore it is essential that ALL cats are vaccinated, neutered and microchipped. Kittens can become pregnant themselves from as young as four months and even if you are lucky enough that your cat never does manage to escape for this to happen, neutering also prevents many illnesses and cancers from developing longer term.

From the moment we bring an animal into our lives we take on a huge responsibility - it is down to us to look out for them and getting them microchipped and neutered is absolutely vital, regardless of whether you intend for them to go outside or not.

Cats are independent, free-spirited creatures and if you are lucky enough to share your life with one you will soon come to realise this! If a cat wants to
escape they most likely will, so please take the necessary precautions and get them chipped and neutered.

RSPCA and Cats Protection do run a discounted scheme for those on a low income so there really is no excuse.. you owe it to your cats, and it is also the number one way you can help animal rescue centres like ours. We never want to have to turn away a cat in need, yet sometimes our pens and foster homes are full of pregnant cats and newborn, unplanned kittens. It doesn't need to be like this. Something has to change so please do the right thing by your cats, and in doing so help us to help other cats in need!