Hundreds of cats are being turfed out onto the street as the recession bites and owners look for a quick way to make or save money. Alison Goulding reports.
Facebook and a stricken economy are leaving animals on Wearside struggling to survive.
Now Southwick vet Wendy Rowntree and cat saviour Carol O’Brien are pleading for responsible families to offer homes to abandoned moggies.
Carol and Wendy takes in stray or unwanted cats on behalf of charity Animal Krackers until new homes can be found for them.
Both have no more room and Carol says it has been ‘the year from hell’ trying to cope with demand.
Carol said: “I desperately need a dozen homes for these beautiful, friendly cats.
“Animal Krackers are opening a new cat shelter, but the demand is so high I’m afraid they will be full straight away.
“People buy a kitten on Facebook and then they get fed up. I have 15 cats wanting homes, all between two and seven years.”
“If anyone feels they can give a cat a responsible home for life then I would love them to get in touch.”
Carol recently helped to rehome 30 kittens and says the problem has been made worse by the recession and people selling animals on Facebook to make quick money.
She said: “It is really bad and I am hearing some horror stories about how animals are being treated. I’ve set up my own page, Sunderland Cat Rescue, but generally Facebook has made things very tough on animals.”
Wendy Rowntree, 35, owns King’s Road Veterinary Practice, in Southwick.
“The situation is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” she said.
“Carol has had a lot of kittens come in from people who thought they could make some quick money.
“Sooner or later the animals get dumped. When people are looking for money they’ll do it however they can.”
Wendy believes better education and information could help the crisis.
She said: “I think more information about the importance of neutering would help.
“I was quite shocked at the number of strays all the charities are dealing with. I think it’s caused by the recession and people moving out of their own homes and into rented accommodation. Many people also can’t afford to get the animals neutered and don’t realise there’s help with this.
“The PDSA do means-tested veterinary care and the Cats Protection League can offer a voucher for people who can’t afford to have their cat neutered.
“We do a lot of veterinary work for Animal Krackers and we have a few cat cages so we help when they’re overflowing. Some of the cats have been here for three months and it’s really not ideal.
“They’re all lovely and deserve a home. Some have been found wandering the streets and some are bought in by their owners who can’t afford them any more. Most are very healthy, they just need warmth and comfort. We’re full at the moment and so it’s down to a juggling act. The other animal charities are in the same situation.”
To speak to Carol about rehoming a cat call 07977769109.
Or call Pawz for Thought on 07718771591.