The RSPCA has declared that the U.K. is in a full-on "cat crisis," releasing a new report that found more than 30,000 unwanted felines ended up in shelters annually in the past few years. According to the report, "Tackling the Cat Crisis," the country's shelters are overrun with unwanted animals because of unchecked breeding within the U.K.'s massive feline population, estimated to be between 9.5 and 11.6 million cats:
[The] number of cats entering the RSPCA has increased from 29,269 in 2010 to 31,556 in 2012. The number of new homes found for cats in the same period declined by 10 per cent. The RSPCA is full to capacity and at the end of 2013 had to rely on private boarding to home 30 per cent of the unwanted and abandoned cats in its care.
The organization estimates that 85 percent of kitten litters are unplanned, resulting in a whopping increase in the cost of shelter boarding (from approximately $3.1 million in 2010 to $4 million in 2013). According to James Yeates, the RSPCA's chief veterinary officer, U.K. pet-owners must learn to ignore what the report characterizes as "a deeply ingrained social norm" -- that cats must have a litter before they're spayed or neutered.