Page last updated at 14:12 GMT, Wednesday, 2 September 2009 15:12 UK

More cats 'abandoned in downturn'

An RSPCA centre in Dorset has said its waiting list for unwanted and abandoned cats is the highest it has even been because of the recession.

There are currently 107 cats and 39 small animals, including rabbits and guinea pigs, waiting to get into the West Dorset RSPCA in Weymouth.

But the branch's 52 spaces are full, said deputy manager Tessa Every.

"I think it is due to the economic crisis. It costs about £400 to £500 a year to care for a cat," she added.

"With petrol prices rising you could spend that kind of money elsewhere," said Ms Every.

"People have [also] had their houses repossessed or have moved into council or rented accommodation and are not allowed to keep pets so they will come here."

New owners can expect to pay £50 to cover a cat's veterinary care at the centre, which includes micro-chipping and vaccinations.

Staff also conduct a home check before each adoption takes place.

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