HUNDREDS of cats have been abandoned by their owners, leaving RSPCA branches and animal centres in the south facing a crisis.

Some branches and centres are unable to take in any more cats and several have more than 100 felines waiting for a new home.

RSPCA volunteers and staff have said the pressure facing them is escalating and they are now calling on the public to help by offering the cats somewhere to live.

It is believed the crisis is down to a number of factors, including owners no longer being able to afford to keep their cat; cats falling ill and their owner not being able to afford the vet bill; and cats falling pregnant and having large numbers of kittens because their owner failed to neuter them.

The charity estimates that it costs around £9.40 a day to care for a cat, and it is taking the RSPCA around 34 days to rehome each cat.

The charity has also seen a rise in the number of prosecutions involving cats, increasing from 426 cases reported in 2011, to 501 in 2012. To the end of August this year, there have already been 306 cases reported.

Paul Williams, branch operations manager for the south, said: “The RSPCA is struggling on all fronts with the 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 appear to have dumped them.

“We have more cats than ever that have been cruelly treated and 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 are dealing with a cat crisis and it is getting worse.

“It is simply that more injured and abandoned cats are coming into RSPCA care than are going out into new homes.

“It is really sad because these problems could be avoided if owners just acted responsibly. The RSPCA, like other charities, needs help from the public. So, please if anyone is thinking about taking on a cat, come to the RSPCA first – we have literally thousands looking for new homes and a second chance.”

People can also foster a cat by looking after one for a short term period to help ease pressure on RSPCA branches.

The RSPCA recommends that all cats are neutered by four months and microchipped so they can be returned if lost.

For more information, or to make a donation to the RSPCA, visit