Sweden's total cat population is estimated to be more than a million. But around one in ten of the little felines has no home, according to new figures.
Some of the pets are thought to have run off, but many have simply been left to fend for themselves by owners who no longer want the responsibility of looking after them.
“They suffer. They fall ill and get injured, break their legs, lack food and get parasites,” said senior adviser Siw Ågren at Animal Rights Sweden (Djurens Rätt).
READ ALSO: Is Sweden's Missan the world's oldest cat?
Animal care centres around Sweden traditionally see a large influx of abandoned cats around this time of the year, particularly in the bigger cities, when holiday makers leave their pets behind as they spend their summer abroad or in the countryside.
But homeless cats know no season, according to Lotta Hell, chairwoman of Svekatt – an umbrella group that represents 16 cat organizations around Sweden.
“Cats are abandoned the year-round. What's special for this time of the year is that a lot of kittens are born, both to homeless cats and family pets,” she said.
A government inquiry on animal protection was completed in 2012, but a proposal for new legislation including ID tags on cats has not moved forward.
Sweden's government offices declined to give a comment, but told TT that the issue was being looked at by the centre-left coalition.
“I believe that we need the support of our politicians and decision-makers. Voluntary powers alone cannot put an end to this,” said Ågren.