NEW figures have revealed that more than 400 reports of cat cruelty were made to the RSPCA last year in Hampshire.

The shocking figures show an increase in the number of reports of cat cruelty complaints nationally.

In the last year, there were almost 18,000 cat cruelty complaints nationally. Of those reports, 1,726 were intentional harm incidents - a 25 per cent increase from 2021 when the number was 1,387. 

In Hampshire, there were 494 reports of cat cruelty last year. 

The charity has released the heartbreaking figures as part of its Cancel Our Crutley campaign to raise funds to help its frontline rescue teams continue to save animals from cruelty and abuse.

READ MORE: RSPCA figures reveal rise in animal beating reports in Hampshire

It comes 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 heartbreaking 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.

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“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.”

Paul Williams, chief inspector for Hampshire, added: “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."