Homes are desperately needed for 25 black cats which were found crammed into one small bedsit.
Staff at Cats Protection’s National Cat Adoption Centre, in Lewes Road, Chelwood Gate, received a call from a relative of an elderly man who had to leave his Haywards Heath home due to ill health.
The charity was asked to take in several cats but, after arriving at the property, was surprised to discover 25 packed into the small bedsit.
The cats, thought to be aged from four weeks to six years old, were all unneutered and had been breeding uncontrollably.
Cats Protection’s National Cat Adoption Centre manager, Danielle Draper, said that although all were in good health, many were very nervous.
“Finding homes for all these cats is going to be a huge challenge and we desperately need to hear from people who may be able to offer one a home,” she said.
“None of the cats had been neutered and so, in just a few years, the number of cats in the home had grown enormously.
“Cats are prolific breeders and this case shows how easy it is for things to get out of hand.”
One unneutered female can give birth to around 18 kittens every year and be responsible for up to 20,000 descendants within five years, as kittens can breed when they are four months old.
Cats Protection recommends all cats are neutered from around four months old.
Despite the cramped conditions, they are healthy cats, well-fed, with glossy coats and no signs of illness.
Danielle continued: “But with so many cats it seems that they were not properly socialised so they are very nervous of people.
“We’re doing a lot of work with them to help bring them out of their shells and we’re hoping that, in time, they will settle in well into new homes.
“We are bracing ourselves for a challenge – black cats are hard to find homes for anyway, as people often prefer different colours.
“And a nervous black cat is an even harder prospect to find a new home for.
“I really hope we can find some owners who can see past the nerves and spot the potential for these lovely cats to become family pets.
“They deserve to be in a nice new home so we’re hoping they won’t have to spend too long with us at the centre.”
Danielle urged anyone in a similar situation to come forward and ask for help before the situation gets out of control.
The charity offers financial assistance to owners struggling with the cost of neutering. To find out more, visit www.cats.org.uk/neutering or call the Helpline on 03000 12 12 12.
If you would like to find out more about adopting one of the black cats, please contact the centre on 01825 741 330.
Alternatively, the National Cat Adoption Centre is open for visitors seven days a week from 10am until 4pm.
The centre is situated in Chelwood Gate. For directions visit www.cats.org.uk/find-us/find-the-ncc
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