Cat rescue centre overwhelmed with pets people can no longer afford

The owner of a cat rescue in Cornwall has said the cost of living crisis is testing her centre's limits. With supermarket prices at record highs and energy bills about to skyrocket, more and more people are having to give up their beloved pets.

Sue Clinton, who runs an independent cat rescue in Redruth, takes on strays, palliative cases, and any other cat which someone can no longer look after. Her goal, usually, is to find them a new home - but it is becoming increasingly difficult.

As yet another owner brought in a pair of cats earlier this week they could not afford to feed anymore, Sue's rescue is becoming full to bursting. And with rising vet costs of their own, the shelter itself is having its budgets tested.

"We tend to take on a lot of harder to rehome cats on," Sue said. "A lot of them are due to be put to sleep or are elderly, have health problems or have temperament problems. They're the ones we concentrate on rather than the younger, prettier cats."

Sue runs the shelter on a voluntary basis with partner Pete. They look after around 50-60 cats in the centre. And at Sue and Pete's own home, a further 25 cats who can't be rehomed live.

Having been in the animal rescue game for about 30 years, Sue and Pete started focusing on cats about 10 years ago. The rescue, sadly, has only had to have grown in that time and now it is under threat as things get more and more expensive.

Sue continued: "The cats we can't rehome stay with us, and they get us two mugs to look after them. The main problem we're having now is rehoming is a bit slower.

"There are twice as many needing to come in, donations have dropped, and nearly every cat we get in needs vet treatment. The price of vet treatment has gone up over the last 18 months and it's easy to spend a lot on each cat."

As of Monday, September 5, Sue said the rescue has eight cats waiting for dental care alone which each will cost around £400.

"We always neuter everything, do home checks. I used to work full time as a gardener, but because the rescue is so big I do part time now. I go to work to rest and get away from it. It's every day, we don't have holidays.

"We want to get on top of it all but it's really frustrating. There's so many people who take cats in, but then they can't look after them because they're injured.

"And the financial crisis is making people worry and give up their cats. A lot of landlords also just won't allow pets, people are thinking twice about taking them on too."

As well as this, Sue said, a large problem is people not being sure whether to take on a stray. She added: "A lot of strays could be on the street for 8-10 years before someone takes them on. No one wants to take responsibility for the bills."

Then there there are kitten farms. Sue said that over lockdown, in particular, this became a particular problem. In turn, there are a lot of kittens who got tossed on the street and the fallout is immense.