HUGE numbers of mistreated and abandoned cats are pushing rescue centres to the limits.
But staff and volunteers from sanctuaries in the area say even though they are struggling to cope, they fear they cannot turn animals away as owners threaten to lose or even kill them.
The problem is so bad some centres are having to change rabbit hutches into cages and have a waiting list of up to four months.
Gayle Melvin, who runs Redditch Cat Rescue with Mel Booth and Julie Barry, said they had 25 kittens and 12 older cats all needing homes and they were in desperate need of donations.
“We are just full to the brim. We care for the cats at our homes, with some in Beoley and some in Redditch and it’s a huge concern for us. We are trying to do our best but there’s just no room because we are called out so often,” she said.
“We love all animals and it’s heartbreaking to see the state some of them are in, some of the kittens don’t make it. The one’s we have just had now have ulcers on their eyes and one is likely to have its eye removed.”
Carol Lowe, from Cramar Cat Sanctuary, said it was such a problem she even had seriously ill cats being kept in her office and animals were still being dumped on her every day.
“We are full to the brim, bursting, over flowing, you name it,” she said.
“I had one woman tell me if I didn’t take her kittens she would harm them. You just wouldn’t believe how bad it is.”
Jo Welsby, from Wythall Animal Sanctuary, added the centre received several calls a day including everything from abandoned older cats to unwanted litters.
“A lot of the calls are genuine, while others are from a lack of responsibility. It is not any particular time of year, but people do feed abandoned cats over the summer then in the winter we get calls of concerns because the weather is getting colder and wet.”
Louise Lee from the Blue Cross in Bromsgrove added the situation was ‘becoming unmanageable’ with a total of 37 cats in the sanctuary, staying with foster carers or at their current home.
She said they were desperate for potential owners or foster carers to come forward, while neutering was vital for all pets with one female cat being responsible for 20,000 kittens over five years.
“Some people often see cats as independent and self sufficient. Some will leave them if they move house and think they will be fine if they are fed, but all animals need love and affection.”
For more information, to donate, foster or rescue call Redditch Cat Rescue on 01527 547129, Cramar Cat Sanctuary on 0121 445 1840, Wythall Animal Sanctuary on 01564 823288 or Brosmgrove Blue Cross on 0300 777 1460.