New figures released by the RSPCA have revealed 205 cat cruelty complaints were made in Cornwall last year.
The statistics have been revealed as part of the animal charity’s Cancel Out Cruelty campaign.
Nationally, last year, there were almost 18,000 cat cruelty complaints reported to the RSPCA. Of those reports 1,726 were intentional harm incidents, which is around five a day. This is a 25 per cent increase from 2021 when the number was 1,387.
The figures come during a busy time for the animal welfare charity which sees cruelty peak in the summer with three reports made every single minute.
The cost-of-living crisis is also thought to be a contributing factor to an increase in deliberate harm to animals at a time when the cost of rescuing animals is at an all-time high and the RSPCA’s vital services are stretched to the limit.
Dr Sam Gaines, head of the RSPCA’s companion animal department, said: “Cats are one of the most popular pets in the UK with an estimated 11 million pet cats in UK homes but our figures suggest sadly they are the second most abused pet - after dogs.
“It is heart-breaking to think that five cats every day are suffering at the hands of humans – it really is appalling – but sadly the RSPCA knows all too well that this cruelty is carried out on a regular basis.
“We see hundreds of felines come through our doors every year who have been subjected to unimaginable cruelty - being beaten, burned, thrown around, had bones broken, been shot at, poisoned and drowned.
“In many cases these pets have been injured deliberately by their owners - the very people who are supposed to love and protect them. But cats are also more vulnerable as they tend to be out and about on their own which can leave them vulnerable to airgun attacks and other forms of cruelty by complete strangers.”
Richard Abbott, RSPCA chief inspector for Cornwall, said: “Right now, animal cruelty is happening in England and Wales on a massive scale and rising. It is heartbreaking that we are seeing such sad figures which show animal cruelty is, very sadly, on the rise.
“While we don’t know for certain why there has been an increase, the cost of living crisis and the post-pandemic world we live in has created an animal welfare crisis.
“Each year, these reports reach its terrible annual peak in the summer months. The cost-of-living crisis also means the cost of rescuing animals is at an all-time high and our vital services are stretched to the limit.”
“Together, we believe we can and will cancel out cruelty to animals by replacing violence with kindness. We are urging people to donate to our Cancel Out Cruelty campaign,every donation will help animals.”