THE Isle of Wight is facing an unprecedented cat crisis.
For the first time, the RSPCA’s Godshill animal centre is full to capacity with 97 cats, 51 of them kittens, with a similar picture at the Cats’ Protection centre in Ryde.
This means the Godshill centre is now turning away cats and although it has appealed to mainland shelters to take in some of the surplus, it is being told the situation is as bad at the other shelters.
Conny Boon, of the RSPCA, said: "Nearly all cats coming into our care are in need of medical treatment. They are lucky if they are only riddled with fleas and worms.
"More often than not un-neutered cats are also not vaccinated, which increases the risk of cat flu, feline leukaemia virus and other illnesses.
"Every day we have calls from people finding cats with kittens in their sheds and outbuildings.
"Several days ago we managed to return a mother cat and her six kittens to the owner, the cat had given birth in the sail loft at the UKSA and had been missing for four months."
Now animal welfare charities are launching a new bid to get owners to have their female cats spayed, issuing vouchers for the procedure costing just £10.
The RSPCA Isle of Wight branch is contributing £2,000, RSPCA Regional Board £5,000 and Cats Protection £2,000 towards the project, which should cover around 200 cats.
The RSPCA van has already been parked in Newport, Shanklin and Ryde to hand out vouchers. People must be on low incomes to qualify.