One un­wanted pet a day

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - FRONT PAGE - by Kirsty Parkin

IN the year since it opened, at least one un­wanted an­i­mal a day has passed through the flap at Ash­ford’s cat­tery.

The RSPCA Ash­ford Gar­den Cat­tery, in Sta­tion Road, has to date taken in 459 cats, re­unit­ing some with their own­ers and find­ing new homes for oth­ers.

Its team of vol­un­teers have given cats of all kinds a safe place with cud­dles and care while they wait to be re-homed.

Man­ager Les­lie Young said: “We had no idea what to ex­pect when we opened.

“The re­sponse has been huge and we now have a wait­ing list.”

But the prob­lems are the same as when the cat­tery opened.

“Some of the cats com­ing in are in such bad health,” said Les­lie.

“About 90 per cent are not vac­ci­nated be­cause peo­ple think that if they are done as a kit­ten that is it. But they need a booster ev­ery year.

“They are also not be­ing neu- tered and many have their first lit­ter by the time they are one.”

Cats with health prob­lems in­clude Bright Eyes, whose cloudy eyes re­quire drops ev­ery day, and six-year-old Tinka, who is deaf and has only one tooth.

“We are as­sum­ing Tinka has had a head in­jury as she twitches her head,” said Les­lie.

“She gets stressed when she doesn’t know what is hap­pen­ing, but she won’t do any­thing.

“Most places would put a cat like this down, but she just needs to be in­doors, and to be the only cat in a house with no chil­dren.”

The staff are also de­ter­mined to find homes for kit­tens like the Jack­son Five, who were dumped in a wood with their mother.

“Their mother was FIV-pos­i­tive so they are be­ing tested,” Les­lie ex­plained.

“I am be­ing a rebel try­ing to re-home them but we refuse to put FIV cats down. They can live com­pletely nor­mal lives.”

There is also Crum­ble, who can­not be parted from the teddy bear he came with, and long­haired Bagheera, who sim­ply needs groom­ing ev­ery day.

With monthly vet bills usu­ally to­talling £1,500, car­ing for the cats is an ex­pen­sive busi­ness.

“We are con­stantly fund-rais­ing,” said Les­lie.

“Peo­ple think we get money from head­quar­ters but we are a branch and need to raise money our­selves. Peo­ple get pets and don’t con­sider the fi­nan­cial as­pect. If you can’t af­ford the vet, you can’t af­ford the pet.”

A FUN day will take place next month in aid of the Ash­ford and dis­trict branch of the RSPCA.

There will be pony rides, games and stalls at the event at Sham­blings, Bon­ning­ton, on Satur­day, June 23 from noon to 4pm.

En­trance is £1 for adults and 50p for chil­dren and OAPs.

For more in­for­ma­tion call 01233 646855.

Tito, one of a set of kit­tens called the Jack­son Five

Man­ager Les­lie Young with long-haired Bagheera

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