A Torbay-based cat welfare charity has launched an appeal for help to deal with a looming crisis in Devon.
Hector’s House cat rescue was launched just over a year ago to take in and give a second chance to unneutered, abandoned stray cats.
But now there is a shortage of spaces.
Hector’s House has 10 outdoor pens at its Torquay base, but the charity is regularly full, leading to a waiting list.
The charity covers all its costs, from food and litter to vet bills and equipment, from fundraising and donations, and the work is done by a team of volunteers.
But founder Zara Oldfield is now appealing for help.
Zara said: “In the spring of 2020 there was an increasing number of reports of stray cats appearing in people’s gardens.
“The long-term strays were being seen because the cafes and restaurants where they scavenge food had closed.
“The stray cats, who usually hide away and no one sees, were suddenly being noticed.
“We urgently need more volunteers and fosterers, as well as funds."
Responding to requests from the public, volunteers use humane traps to catch cats which are reported to be strays.
They are scanned for a microchip and advertised, and returned to an owner where possible.
For those with no chip and no traceable owner, they are initially housed in a pen for assessment, given vet care, neutered, and then go into foster care before being found a permanent home. Since its launch, the charity has rehomed more than 200 cats.
It was named after Hector, a black long-haired cat owned by Zara which disappeared from her home near Torquay Academy in July 2018.
In one example of the charity’s work, Hector’s House was contacted by a man who said he had been feeding two cats in his garden for several years. A volunteer scanned the cats, and found both had been reported missing.
One was returned to his owner after being missing for seven years. The other was rehomed as his original owner could not have him back.
To find out more about Hector’s House cat rescue, see them on Facebook at Hector’s House Residents or see the website at www.hectorshousecatrescue.co.uk.
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