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Cat Charity Sees Alarming Rise in Abandoned Pets

21 January 2015

UK - 2014 was a year that surpassed all previous records for a Yorkshire cat charity, with a 22 per cent rise in the number of rescued cats.

In 2013, Keighley-based Yorkshire Cat Rescue took in 688 cats and found new homes for 664. But 2014 boomed with abandoned and surrendered cats, which stretched space at the centre to its limits.

Between 1 January and 31 December 2014, the cat charity accommodated a fifth more cats than the previous year: taking in 865 new cats and kittens compared with 688 the previous year. On several occasions, as many as seven cats were dumped in crates and boxes outside the centre gates in one go.

What is even more troubling, according to founder, Sara Atkinson is that as many as 650 cats remain on the current waiting list.

“2014 was the busiest year in my 23 years of running the charity and although we’ve been able to save more cats than ever before, it’s sad to see that the number of animals in need is growing faster than our resources. One glimpse at our waiting list is enough to make anyone feel that relieving the region of unwanted cats is a fight we simply can’t win,” says Sara. “That, however, does not mean that we won’t keep trying.

“Last year we took in 86 per cent more cats than when we first opened our doors two decades ago. In fact, including the cats on our waiting list, the number of animals seeking a new home through us has grown 15 fold in the last 20 years. We therefore desperately need more donations to cope with both higher running costs and explosive demand for help.”

Yorkshire Cat Rescue relies entirely on public donations and fundraising and grants to keep its doors open. It now costs £200,000 each year to ensure the cats are fed, watered, living in warm facilities, treated for illness and injuries, and cared for around the clock by the centre’s staff and volunteers. Vet bills alone reached £86,340 in 2014 with a number of seriously ill and injured animals needing in excess of £1,000 worth of treatment each.

“We are currently in the process of updating our facilities, including adding extra pens to accommodate more cats on-site. This means that, in theory, we should be able to help in the region of 50-100 more cats per year. But I worry that we’ll have to stretch our resources further still unless things begin to change for the better, fast.

“I truly wish everyone would consider neutering their cats to curb the rise in the number of unwanted kittens born every single year. Because no matter how fast we run, we continue to be one step behind.”

Currently, 24 cats and kittens are residing at the charity’s Cross Roads re-homing centre with another 57 mum cats and young kittens being looked after in foster care.

Aside from making a donation to the charity, people can help by adopting a cat from a rescue instead of purchasing one.

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