Animal charities have warned they are experiencing the worst cat crisis for at least 10 years, as hundreds of unwanted and dumped felines await a new home.
The RSPCA in Northamptonshire has revealed it has had to close its door to cats – as well as other animals – as it is now completely full of unwanted pets.
The charity currently has 91 cats and kittens in its care, but says it had well over 100 recently following a crisis across the county.
The problems are being shared by the Northampton Cats Protection, which has 41 cats in foster care and another 120 strays and abandoned cats awaiting care.
Both charities say they have seen an increase in animal owners leaving their homes and simply locking animals out before they go.
On Saturday, Cats Protection volunteers were called to Ecton Lane, Northampton, where two cats had been dumped in a box. They are both now awaiting homes.
The cats were left without food or water and were only discovered when a passer-by inspected what they thought was rubbish.
Diana Johnson, from Cats Protection in Northampton, said: “We have never known it like this. I have been involved for 12 years and it has happened during this last six months. We have always coped but this has just overwhelmed everybody.
“Animals in Need and the RSPCA have closed their doors to new admissions.
“We haven’t had to do that yet and as long as we can get more re-homed we can get more cats in.”
The organisation is to hold a homing day on September 1, at Spinney Lodge Veterinary Centre.
Dawn Smith, from the RSPCA in Northamptonshire, added: “We have a huge problem with cats at the minute.
“It is strays or abandoned cats or people not being able to cope with them at home. A lot of the cats that come in are coming in injured and if no owners are found we have them in branch, have them treated and try to get them homes.
“We have people leaving properties and just leaving cats behind, which seems to be a common one at the minute.”
On top of that she said the charity was seeing “two or three” cats going missing a day and urged owners to get their pets neutered and microchipped.
To contact Northampton Cats Protection, ring 0844 700 3251 or visit www.northampton.cats.org.uk. For the RSPCA, visit www.rspca-northamptonshire.org.uk or call 07840 926122.