Cats and kittens are being left in unprecedented numbers at Scotland's animal rescue centres.

The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) reports that 2,262 cats and kittens have been rescued so far this year.

Mike Flynn, the SSPCA's chief superintendent, said: "We've never had such a bad year for cats and kittens; they are just through the roof. One week recently we had over 400 cats and kittens in our care throughout Scotland - that's unheard of. It's nearly double the norm."

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The animals are unwanted, abandoned or neglected, and more are coming into the SSPCA's 11 rescue centres every day. Many cattery places are filled on a medium to long-term basis, with expectant or nursing mothers, or cats that are not yet fit and healthy enough to be rehomed.

Every cat the charity rehomes is neutered.

Mr Flynn said there were a number of issues causing the increase, such as owners moving into rented accommodation where they were not allowed pets, owners being unable to afford vet bills or general care costs, and cats not being neutered, resulting in unwanted litters.

He said: "We have lots of cats who are longing to find their forever homes, and although we have great facilities and dedicated staff at our rescue centres it's a shame to see them living in a cattery when they could be enjoying life with a family."

Mr Flynn also reported that in recent years the SSPCA has had greater success than ever in catching some of those involved in badger baiting. He said: "There's always been badger baiting and badger digging going on, but for the last three or four years we've actually been able to catch people. A few have been through court and a few are still to go through court."