Today is World Cat Day – when countries across the globe celebrate how cute kittens and marvellous moggies enrich our lives.
But not all cats are fortunate to have a safe and permanent home.
The Sheffield Cats Shelter cares for vulnerable felines that have been abandoned, become strays, or have been given up by owners who can no longer keep them.
Originally established in 1897 by Sheffield woman Jane Barker, the shelter is now run by a voluntary team of trustees with the help of a small staff team and numerous volunteers.
They aim to find loving homes for the cats in their care while promoting responsible pet ownership to help reduce the number of rejected felines.
Trustee Christine Goddard says there are currently more than 50 cats at the shelter in need of adoption or fostering. “We pretty much always run at full capacity,” said Christine.
“But, in order to help a new cat, one has to be adopted, and there are far more requests for help than there are spaces available.
“While we try to encourage struggling owners to re-home their cats independently, unfortunately we can’t stop people dumping pets on our doorstep, which puts a real strain on the shelter.”
The charity relies wholly on donations and legacies to support its hefty running costs – in the region of £120,000 a year.
It costs around £120 to re-home one cat, with many arriving at the shelter in a poor state of health. Each is given necessary veterinary treatment and is vaccinated, neutered and microchipped before being put up for adoption.
The trustees also have to budget to maintain their building on Travis Street, Broomhall, which is currently in need of renovation and work to create an overflow maternity area for the many pregnant cats in its care.
Though it’s an ongoing struggle, there are numerous tales of success to celebrate.
Last year the charity re-homed 462 cats, and so far this year has found new owners for 250.
One of those happy re-homed cats is Duncan, who will be making a guest appearance at Sheffield Cats Shelter’s charity shop on Ecclesall Road today as part of its World Cat Day celebrations.
Duncan the kitten was featured in The Star this year after being rejected by his mum – and has now found his forever home with a shelter trustee.