Missing Pet Numbers Increase Dramatically During the Festive Season

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One of the most difficult challenges we face at the Cape of Good Hope SPCA is the number of animals that come through our doors for various reasons that are in dire need of our assistance- especially before and after the festive season.

As the largest and oldest animal welfare organisation in the country, we are the only SPCA in Cape Town. 


We act as the Pound for the City of Cape Town.

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA should be the first stop to look for your missing pet. 

Below are a few reasons why we have an influx of animals over the festive period and simple ways you can help combat this:

Kitten Season

The time of the year when we’re our busiest.

Feline females first go into heat from six to eight months old. Peak mating seasons usually start from early spring through to the late summer months.

Sterilising your animals is the best way to avoid unwanted litters and preventing strays.

Our hospital in Grassy Park can assist you in making a booking to sterilise your pets.

If you are unable to bring in your pet to our premises, our Mobile Clinics are based in various places around Cape Town and can assist you with collecting your pet(s) for sterlisation.

Sick and/or injured runaways

Many people use fireworks during the festive season and whilst they may love them and use them as a form of celebration, animals are startled by loud noises and may dart in fear, even if it means running to an unfamiliar place with no idea how to get back home. As a result, the SPCA has an influx of runaways during this time.

To keep your pets from darting off in fear, keep your pets indoors and provide them a safe place for them to seek comfort with many toys to distract them from jarring sounds. Soothing music is also helpful.

No Collar

A collar that is too tight or otherwise ill-fitted may be uncomfortable for your pet and they may try to break free from wearing it. Ensure your pet’s collar fits adequately by running two fingers between the collar and their neck, and make sure it is not scratchy or too thick for smaller pets.  Collars should to include a form of identification and your contact details – a name and number of the owner.

Micro-chipping your pet ensures a higher chance of reunification  in the event that they do go missing – and we cannot stress this enough. A collar is simply not enough. 

Identipet Logo

Gift of a New Pet

It’s generally not a good idea to give a pet as a gift, even if you believe that he/she will be warmly welcomed. Many of these pets are returned because they have been gifted pets that they did not want or choose themselves.

Theft and Temptation

In unfortunate circumstances, a desperate person could steal your pet with the intention of selling/giving them to other people.

With a nose 50 times more sensitive than a human’s, a dog can easily be seduced away by scents of holiday treats such as a Christmas turkey, and all the wonderful festive season delicacies coming from another kitchen…

Secure Perimeter

Make sure that your pet is contained to your property with sufficient fencing with ample space to roam free without being able to escape and get lost.

Failing to plan ahead when going on holiday

The increase in the numbers of lost pets in December and January is also largely attributed to pet owners going away on holiday and neglecting to make appropriate arrangements for their animals prior going on holidays. This is easily avoided by booking kennels or house-sitters in advance, rather than dumping bewildered pets onto animal welfare organisations.


Covid-19 and layoffs means that many people can no longer afford to care for their pets for financial reasons, which could be especially exacerbated over the holiday period.

If you are unable to care for your pets, please do not abandon them. Rather consider surrendering your pet into the care of the Cape of Good Hope SPCA. We will never turn any animal away, regardless of health, age, breed or behaviour.

In the unfortunate event that your pet does go missing, it is quite likely that they will end up with us at the Cape of Good Hope SPCA.

Please call us on 021 700 4166 during office hours so that we can add his or her details to our missing pet database.

You can also complete this form which will be sent directly to our Lost and Found Department so we can contact you if your pet arrives our premises.

The holidays are a great time of the year, but it is important to note that this can also be a dangerous time for pets. By being aware of the top pet dangers during the holiday season, owners can take all the necessary steps to keep their pets safe, comfortable, and happy during every holiday celebration.

Missing pet numbers increase dramatically over the festive season

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