The number of unwanted cats has hit crisis levels, with one rescue centre revealing that it has 1,000 animals on its waiting list.
Despite efforts to find new homes for more than 100 cats currently in its care, staff and volunteers at Haworth Cat Rescue are receiving a growing number of calls from owners unable to keep their pets and from passers-by who stumble across cats and kittens seeking shelter under bushes and in sheds.
Sara Atkinson, who founded the charity in 1992, said: “This year we have had more requests than ever to take in cats from people who are no longer able to care for them, or cats that have been found living on the street. I had to take a deep breath when I saw that we now have a staggering 1,000 cats on our waiting list.”
In 2011, the waiting list was only half as long and even shorter in previous years but difficult economic times and an explosion in the birth of unwanted kittens have left a staggering number of unwanted cats and kittens without a home.
Shelter manager Sam Davies said most rescues are full to the brink.
“We try to place all young kittens and their mothers in foster homes as soon as possible but foster places are limited too and with so many un-neutered cats in the area we have been inundated with calls about homeless cats with kittens,” she added.
With the help of foster families, Haworth Cat Rescue has already exceeded the number of cats it is able to care for.