Volunteer Cat Fosterers Desperately Needed as the Cost-of-Living Crisis Bites

Cats Protection has issued an urgent appeal for volunteer fosterers as it braces itself for an unprecedented number of cats coming in this winter.

The charity, which rehomes 36,000 unwanted and abandoned cats each year, says waiting lists for felines coming into the charity have risen by around 20% owing to issues related to the cost of living – with many areas of the UK seeing much greater rises than that.

One of the worst-affected areas is Northern Ireland where the charity’s small network of volunteer-run branches has seen its waiting lists more than double compared to this time last year (296 felines versus 144 felines).

Alison Hagan, a fosterer for the charity’s Coleraine Branch says: “All the signs are that this could be a very difficult winter in terms of unwanted cats coming in.

“Many owners are unable to afford the basics like cat food, litter and veterinary treatment, leaving them in the unfortunate position of having to give up their cat.

“It puts many of our branches and centres under pressure, especially in an area like Coleraine where we only have two volunteer fosterers who can look after cats.”

A survey of 2,000 owners conducted by Cats Protection shows that nearly a third (29 per cent) are struggling with the finances needed to support their cat while one in eight cat owners (13 per cent) have or would cut down on their cat’s daily food to make cost savings.

“No special equipment is needed to be a volunteer fosterer except a spare room in your house or outdoor space to house a cat pen, says Alison.

“Cats Protection will provide the cat pen and all the other support needed including cat food, litter, toys and so on.

“There are many emotional rewards to being a volunteer fosterer, especially when you can help to turn the life of a sick cat or kitten around and find them a good home where they are loved and cared for. If this sounds like a role you’d enjoy, then do get in touch.”

To find out more about becoming a Cats Protection fosterer, or to make a donation towards the cost of caring for cats this winter, please visit www.cats.org.uk/feels-like-home

The charity is particularly keen to hear from people in Essex, Kent, Northern Ireland, Suffolk and the West Midlands.

Cats Protection also has a website advice page containing helpful money management tips for cat owners, such as obtaining access to cat foods, and the charity can also help owners on limited incomes with the cost of neutering their pet cat. Please visit www.cats.org.uk/cost-of-living for more details.

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