Abandoned: The cats their owners can’t afford to keep as cost of living crisis bites — after helping them through the loneliness of lockdown
- An animal charity said 148 cats were given up for financial reasons this year
- The number has doubled compared to 2021 because of the cost-of-living crisis
- Many were lockdown pets which their owners underestimated the cost of
- Of 10,000 cat owners, 30 per cent were worried about affording pet bills
These are the faces that helped their owners through the loneliness of lockdown and its aftermath.
But all have now been handed in to shelters – because their cash-strapped families, hit by the cost-of-living crisis, can no longer afford them.
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home said that 148 cats have been surrendered to it ‘for financial reasons’ this year, double the number compared with 2021.
Pictured: Dustin 2-month-old male tabby and white kitten gifted to Battersea his as owners were no longer able to look after him.
Many, it said, were lockdown pets and their owners had underestimated how much they would cost to care for.
Bridie Williams, Battersea’s rehoming and welfare manager, said: ‘People are concerned about rising living costs into the winter and fear that they won’t be able to afford to look after their beloved cat.
‘Often the owners are devastated and go through a grieving process because they are losing their cat. It’s a very emotional time for them.’
Battersea said it had not noticed a change in the number of dogs being handed to its shelter in South London.
Many of the cats that end up in its care are strays, but last year 5.9 per cent were from families who could no longer afford their pet.
In the first six months of this year, that number has reached 9.6 per cent – and that’s before energy bills begin to skyrocket this winter.
Pictured: Magpie 2-year-old black and white female Magpie was brought to us in April as her owner discovered she had fallen pregnant and was unable to cover the costs of managing her pregnancy and caring for the kittens
Pictured: Nori 2-year-old black female Nori was brought into Battersea with her 5 kittens in tow in April, as her owner could no longer afford the costs associated with caring for a pregnant cat
Amanda (not her real name) found her two cats were a huge support during lockdown but was forced to give them up in June for financial reasons.
She said: ‘I was struggling to afford things and I didn’t want my cats to suffer, so it was best to find them a better home.
‘I struggle with mental health and the cats were a big part of my life, so it was upsetting to get rid of them.’
Ms Williams added that Battersea is taking twice as long to rehome cats because people are wary about rising costs and hesitant to take on an added financial responsibility.
Pictured: Tibby 14-year-old cat, with brothers who were brought into us as their owner was no longer able to look after them
Cats Magpie and Nori, both two, were surrendered after becoming pregnant, with their owners saying they could not afford to take care of kittens as well.
Ms Williams added: ‘People think that cats are cheaper than dogs, but if you are doing the bare basics, a cat will cost about £1,500 a year.’
Fellow animal welfare organisation Cats Protection said a recent survey of 10,000 cat owners found 30 per cent were concerned about affording bills.
For more information, visit battersea.org.uk/cats or cats.org.uk