The animal welfare charity believes breeding got out of control.
The RSPCA were called to rescue 25 cats and kittens who had been abandoned in a dingy flat in Merseyside.
The animal welfare charity was responding to concerns about the pets who were left in a rented property in Birkenhead when the owners had moved out.
Once there rescuers were shocked to find dozens of frightened felines inside with no food and water who were all hiding behind furniture and some were living in the sofa (pictured|) and it is believed some kittens were born inside the cushions (see below).
The RSPCA is highlighting this rescue as part of the charity’s Cancel Out Cruelty campaign which calls on the public to support its frontline rescuers to help them continue their vital work. Newly released figures from the charity show that a staggering seven cats a day suffer at the hands of humans with nearly 18,000 cat cruelty complaints being reported to their helpline in 2021.
RSPCA Inspectors Emma Dingley, Lisa Lupson and Helen Smith worked to safely capture all the pets in the property and set cat traps as they thought there were 14 felines in the flat. Over the course of three days a total of 25 cats and kittens were recovered – aged from one-week old to 4 years-old.
All the pets were infested with fleas and two young kittens had sadly died of flea anaemia in the property – as the fleas had drained so much iron from their blood.
They were taken to the Wirral and Chester branch of the RSPCA where they were all given flea treatment and are now being nursed back to health – including a mum – named by staff as Tulip – and her son and daughter who are one week-old.
Kay Hawthorn, the branch manager, said: “All the cats and kittens were in such a mess. They were flea-infested and filthy and obviously very hungry so we got to work helping them straight away.
“They were terrified and it is clear they had not had much human interaction so we are working with them now to help them overcome this fear. Despite this, they are all so beautiful and have lovely temperaments.
“With some patience and love they have come round and while some have been rehomed we are looking for suitable homes for the remaining cats in our care who are a bit timid but with a bit of time will gain confidence.”
Inspector Lisa Lupson said: “Whatever situation someone finds themselves in, abandoning animals is never okay. It was lucky that a neighbour spotted this situation and alerted us but there’s no guarantee that animals will be found when they are left like this and they would have been suffering from the flea infestations.
“They were living in filthy conditions with no food and water and were terrified. Sadly two of the kittens died from flea anaemia as their tiny bodies could not cope.
“We believe the owners probably started with a few unneutered cats and then the breeding got out-of-control and then they ended up with this situation and we are left to pick up the pieces as they walked away and left them. Or enquiries are on-goung to see if we can trace the owner.
“This goes to show how important it is for owners to get their cats neutered at the earliest opportunity.
“Not only does this prevent any unwanted litters and an increase in the ever-growing cat population, it also benefits the health and wellbeing of the cat.”
Some of the cats, rescued on April 16, have found loving homes but others are still available – Klaus and Kai, Elijah and Angelo, Pip and Skittles and also Dipsy.
The RSPCA is braced for one of the toughest summers it’s ever faced and is concerned that with the increase in pet ownership and the cost of living crisis putting a strain on people’s finances, more animals will be coming into its care during the next few months.
Our frontline teams are working hard to rescue animals in need this summer but we can’t do it alone – we need your help to Cancel Out Cruelty. To help support the RSPCA, visit: www.rspca.org.uk/stopcruelty
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