A pet charity warned that the cost-of-living crisis could lead to an animal welfare crisis. 

Not only has there been a rise in pets being given up, but Cats Protection has raised concerns over owners cutting back on essentials such as veterinarian care, vaccinations and insurance. 

One in three cat owners said they felt "greatly impacted" by soaring costs but one in five (18%) admitted to spending less on vet services, a survey of over 3000 cat owners showed.

This included missing essential vaccinations or not microchipping their pet.

READ MORE: 'Heartbreaking' research shows pets bearing brunt of energy bills rise

The charity has warned that the welfare of tens of thousands of cats could be at risk after owners expressed concerns of paying for both emergency and routine vet treatments.

Alison Richards, head of clinical services at Cats Protection said: “We know the cost of living is having a huge impact on people across the country, with many cat owners making difficult choices to make ends meet.

"Cutting back on insurance or vet treatment can ultimately lead to higher costs if a cat becomes injured, gravely unwell, or even pregnant. 

“We’ve launched a new information hub with lots of tips and ideas for looking after your cat on a budget, with everything from how to make free cat toys to how to access help with costs such as neutering.

"We want to provide access to information and resources that can help every owner look after their cat.” 

READ MORE: ‘It keeps me up at night’: Growing pet care crisis as cost-of-living drives families apart

The online hub seeks to help pet owners take care of their cat on a budget. 

Nearly one in three (31%) of cat owners said they are concerned about how they would pay emergency vet bills and 18% were concerned about routine treatments. 

But many owners are also making personal sacrifices in order to be able to keep their pets as adoption centres mark a rise in people giving up pets for financial reasons.

Cat owners also reported cutting back on spending, with more than half spending less on eating out or takeaways, days out, clothes, drinking and holidays.

Nicola Murray, deputy manager at Cats Protection’s Harrow Homing Centre, said: “The cost of living is having a greater impact on animal welfare than Covid.

"We’ve got desperate people turning up on our doorstep every week and our waiting lists for people wishing to give their cat up are several weeks long.

"People need more information and support for managing their cats during this time as no one should have to give up a much loved pet during a time of crisis.”