More than 1,000 cats are currently being cared for by the RSPCA, following a rise in numbers during the ongoing pandemic.

Since lockdown began in March, the animal charity has rescued 324 cats – more than any other type of pet.

And with 'kitten season' underway, the team fears the situation is only going to get worse.

Dr Samantha Gaines, head of the RSPCA’s companion animal department, said: “We are currently caring for more cats than any other pet throughout the coronavirus crisis.

"Every year, the scale of the cat overpopulation problem becomes even more apparent from May to September when most cats are born, as the RSPCA is often overwhelmed with kittens.

"The kitten season this year will continue despite Covid-19, and so the charity is bracing itself for even more cats.”

In 2019, the number of cat-related incidents dealt with by the RSPCA reached 108,190, with 458 of these reported in Cumbria.

During lockdown alone, there have been 6,630 incidents nationally, 26 of which have taken place in Cumbria.

An emergency appeal for vital funding has been launched by the charity, as it fears an influx of unwanted kittens and unneutered cats will soon arrive through its doors.

Sam said: “Our frontline officers will continue to rescue as many cats as we can and our animal centre staff, hospitals and branches will carry on caring for the many cats coming into our care throughout the crisis.

"We rely on donations from our generous supporters to carry out this vital work, and need their support now more than ever as our services become stretched to the limit."

She continued: “We believe neutering cats from four months old will help tackle the cat overpopulation problem the UK faces.

"This will reduce the amount of unwanted and unexpected litters of kittens that are born and sadly end up in rescue centres.

"We understand that many owners may not be able to get their pets neutered at the moment, as understandably vets are prioritising emergencies in the face of Covid-19 and restricting other procedures.

"It is important to follow your vet’s guidance and understand if they cannot neuter your pet at this time. We would urge anyone with an unneutered female cat to keep them indoors. If you have a male/female pair or really can’t keep your cat inside, do call your vet to discuss options.”

For more details on the charity, and how you can help, visit