A Dove Holes animal shelter has made a desperate plea for funding following an unprecedented surge in unwanted cats.
Dove Cat Rescue Sanctuary is in crisis after it recently reached capacity, forcing it to turn away abandoned felines daily.
Dorothy Lowe, owner, said: “It’s terrible. It’s absolute murder to get a cat in. I’ve just turned down two cats from Sheffield. People ring up and say they’ve rung round different shelters and ask me what they should do.
“I don’t know what to tell them. It really is horrible this year. It’s really disheartening. The number of calls we are getting is just awful. We’re just desperate for cash. It’s never been as bad as this.”
The Hallsteads centre, which was founded by Dorothy in Disley in 1985, currently houses 50 cats in its 30 pens from a large catchment area across Derbyshire and Greater Manchester.
She blamed the rise in homeless cats on changes in circumstances such as owners losing their jobs or moving into flats, or simply failing to get their pets neutered.
According to volunteers, the influx in demand for refuge comes at the same time as a lull in adopting adult cats, causing a dangerous stalemate for the voluntary organisation.
“What can I do? We’ve got too many adults. Everyone’s looking for kittens because they’re cute and cuddly. We had a mother with seven kittens recently and they were rehomed within a day,” said Dorothy.
The average age of the cats in Dorothy’s care is 18 months old, but some, such as Clarence, have been living at the centre for as long as 12 months.
“It’s not right,” she said. “Clarence has spent his kittenhood in captivity. We’re like a shop who’s had our stock for too long. All the cats are getting depressed.”
People willing to rehome cats from the Dove Holes shelter are required to pay a donation, from between £45 to £75, depending on how long the cat has been in care.
All the rescue cats are neutered, vaccinated and treated for worms and fleas.
If you would like to make a donation or can help re-home a cat, contact the sanctuary on 01298 816200.