CATS are the most neglected animals according to an animal welfare charity, which has received more than 11,000 calls about cats in the South West.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has revealed that last year it received more than 100,000 calls across England and Wales concerning cats, with 11,729 from the South West and 1,472 specifically from Wiltshire.

From abandoned moggies to finding them trapped or stuck, according to the RSPCA cats are the animals they rescue the most.

Alice Potter, RSPCA’s cat welfare expert, said the number of calls received by the charity is "sad", adding: "Cats end up needing our help for a variety of reasons, for example their natural curiosity can mean they need rescuing when they get into scrapes and tricky situations.

"There are also some real issues that we see time and again including cats and kittens being abandoned, cats having unplanned and unwanted pregnancies due to a lack of neutering and multi-cat households where breeding has sadly become out of control."

The charity has issued a list of tips on how to understand cat behaviour:

  • Cats who are feeling anxious or fearful like to hide away, so ensure there are cosy hideaway areas around the house.
  • Wait for cats to come to you as they prefer to initiate interaction.
  • Cats who roll onto their backs are showing they feel safe and comfortable, but most cats do not enjoy their bellies being rubbed.
  • And finally look out for any changes in a cat's usual behaviour, for example changes to eating or sleeping habits, and seek advice from the vet if necessary.

Alice added: “There are many cats who are much luckier and are very much a part of the family and loved by their owners who understand their likes and dislikes, their little quirks and routines.

"Every cat is an individual but there are some signs we can look out for to see how our cats are feeling through understanding their body language and behaviour to ensure they are happy and healthy.”

Loki, pictured above, has been at RSPCA Cornwall for nearly a year and is now looking for his forever home.

For more information about RSPCA and rehoming animals visit the charity website.