The RSPCA has appealed for anyone struggling with the cost of owning a pet to contact them after a hamster was found abandoned on a London bus.

The unwanted pet was found with clean bedding, food and water, as well as a separate bag of food and bedding, on a west London bus. 

Picked up by RSPCA staff from Brent Cross shopping centre on May 6, the Russian dwarf hamster has since been named Ivana.

The characterful rodent has already made an impression on staff, as she loves to spin backwards in her wheel after building up a turn of speed.

RSPCA animal rescue officer Philip Heyes, who collected Ivana, said: “Ivana was alert and in good condition when she was left on the bus, with a full bag of food and bedding. 

Mr Heyes added: “Abandoning a pet in a public space like this is very undignified, presumably she used to be someone’s pet and a member of their family.

"It is very sad that she was left in this way, and we’re glad we could get to her before she came to harm.

“Sadly there is an increase in small pet abandonment, as people are struggling to afford to meet their basic needs.

"Abandonment is never the answer, and we’d urge anyone who is struggling to reach out for help and support.” 

Ivana, who is a Russian dwarf hamster, is now at Southridge Animal Centre for rehoming.

The RSPCA is providing dedicated cost of living support for worried pet owners, with a recently-opened telephone helpline on 0300 123 0650 and an online hub, which has lots of practical tips and advice, including details of pet food bank schemes.

Anyone with information about the incident with Ivana should contact the RSPCA’s inspectorate appeal line, in confidence, on 0300 123 8018.