Cat crazy! Town has seventh highest number of furry friends says poll

Library image.
Library image.

A Cat Map of the UK has ranked Hemel Hempstead number seven in a poll of the top 10 areas with the highest proportion of cats.

Using data from the Petlog microchipping registry, the survey reveals that there are 14 people to every cat in the town.

Barton Lodge Vets director Roger Wickenden said: “50 per cent of our client base are cat owners, which is quite a large proportion - usually it is 70/30 if you look at veterinary practices in general.

“There was a point when we thought we were going to have more cats than dogs, but dogs have made a bit of a come back.”

He said cats suit the lifestyles of people living in Hemel Hempstead. “We have got a lot of people who commute. We have younger people in flats or small houses with less garden space, sp not absolutely dog friendly,” said Roger.

Despite the popularity of cats among Hemel Hempstead’s residents, there are still 44 unwanted felines waiting for new homes with animal charity Cats Protection.

Volunteers say they have seen a worrying number of dumped cats in Hemel Hempstead during recent months.

Days before Christmas, the charity’s rehoming and welfare officer took in two kittens that had been abandoned in separate incidents in the town.

She said: “I was gobsmacked. It is usually the older ones because their health is deteriorating and their owners can’t afford the vet bills.”

Since the new year, another four young cats have been dumped in the area.

Cats Protection advices people to consider their environment and lifestyles before committing to getting a cat and to always go through a rehoming shelter.

“We are talking about a 20 year commitment here,” said the Cats Protection spokesman. “It can sometimes even be 22 years, so it is a huge commitment.

“People take on kittens and don’t realise that they need working with, they need patience and they need time.”

Barton Lodge Vets, which is the on-call hub for Dacorum, is aware of the homelessness issue and Roger is urging cat owners to get their pets neutered as soon as possible as female cats will soon be coming into season.

“If you are thinking about getting your cat neutered, do it now,” said Roger.

Cats Protection and Barton Lodge both operate schemes to help with the cost of this.

To find out more about Cats Protection visit www.dacorum.cats.org.uk

If you already have a cat and it has not been neutered, find out more about discount vouchers for the procedure by contacting Ali on 01442 251536 or contact Barton Lodge Vets to find out about the scheme they operate on 01442 216048

To view cats that need new homes click here

The top 10 most cat crazy places in the UK:

Number of humans per cat:

1. Guernsey - 9

2. Jersey - 9

3. Tonbridge - 11

4. Guildford - 12

5. Redhill - 13

6. Brighton - 14

7. Hemel Hempstead - 14

8. Torquay - 14

9. Portsmouth - 14

10. Cambridge - 14