Number of Pet Owners Wanting To Give up Cats Doubles as Charity Stresses Importance of Neutering

27 Nov 2023

Battersea has seen a surge in pet owners looking to give up their cats, as the leading animal welfare charity reveals it has seen rehoming enquiries from owners more than double since 2022.

September 2023 saw the charity receive over 1,300 enquiries from cat owners wanting to hand over their felines to the rescue charity, the highest number it has seen in recent years and twice the number of enquiries the charity had received at the same point last year.

These new figures come as Battersea, which this year is marking its 140th anniversary of caring for rescue cats in need, has already seen a 22% increase in kittens being cared for across its three centres in London, Old Windsor and Brands Hatch as of the end of October, with more likely to come in before the year is out.  

Speaking about these latest statistics, Bridie Williams, Rehoming & Welfare Manager at Battersea’s London centre, said: “Whilst we understand and appreciate that a number of different factors can cause people to make the difficult decision to give up their cat, including a change in personal circumstances, we’re seeing a rise in the number of unneutered cats coming into our centres with young kittens. Cats can reach sexual maturity and get pregnant at just four months old and can leave owners struggling to care for young mums and their kittens in some cases needing to give them up to rescue centres like Battersea”.

Recently Battersea took in one-year-old Leena, an unneutered Domestic Short-hair who came into its London centre with her 4 young kittens- Lemur, Cosmo, Nova and Poppy. Leena is one of several cats who Battersea have seen come in unneutered with kittens, after being admitted by her owner who was no longer able to care for them. Having been looked after and socialised by dedicated staff at Battersea’s London centre, the kittens have now found new homes along with brave mum Leena. 

Bridie added: “Since 1883 we’ve been here for the cats who need us, finding them homes with new families and whilst it’s always a joy seeing cats and kittens going off to their new lives, getting young cats neutered from an early age is the best way of preventing unexpected pregnancies. We’d always remind owners that the cost of getting your cat neutered will in the long run be less expensive than having to care for a litter of kittens and a young mum. Neutering your cat also helps to prevent them contracting harmful diseases which can seriously impact their health”.  

As well as neutering cats and kitten on-site, Battersea supports and helps fund the London Cat Care & Control Consortium, which runs a scheme offering reduced neutering fees for low-income households for people living in Greater London.  To find out more about the scheme and eligibility, visit:

Battersea advises neutering kittens between 9 and 12 weeks. For more advice on pet neutering, please visit Battersea’s website advice here:

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Notes to editors   

•    Battersea categorises a kitten as an animal aged less than 6 months old.  
•    At Battersea we offer our love and expert care to dogs and cats who need us by rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals at our centres, and by sharing our knowledge and resources with rescue organisations around the world. We do this because we want to help every dog and cat, everywhere.   
•    In 2022 Battersea directly cared for 2,278 dogs and 2,253 cats at our three centres. We also helped thousands more through our Communities programme, campaigning work, supporting other rescues and animal welfare advocates, and sharing knowledge and advice with pet owners.  
•    In addition to the site in Brands Hatch, Kent, Battersea also has two other centres based in Old Windsor, Berkshire and South West London.    
•    To find out more visit our website or follow Battersea on Twitter @battersea_ , Instagram @battersea or