Our Lewisham centre have taken in a large family of cats after their elderly owner became unwell and needed help.
We were contacted by health services because their owner needed an operation but would not go into hospital until he knew that his beloved cats were safe. They told us that he had "more than five cats"
Kelley and James from our rescue team visited his home and could immediately see that the situation had got completely out of hand. The majority of the cats were unneutered and were breeding uncontrolled, their owner was trying to find homes for the kittens but could not do so as fast as the cats were breeding. Conditions in his home were really poor, amongst the worst we have seen in a long time, there were overflowing dirty litter trays, the cats had destroyed the furniture , the house roof was leaking and everything was filty dirthy. Some cats were living in the loft and had become very nervous.
The cats however were all well fed, but their owner had more cats than he could possibly manage and numbers were growing. The "more than five" eventually added up to be forty nine cats and kittens - mainly shy ginger adult cats up to middle age.
Our vets have now neutered the cats and the majority are at our Lewisham centre, one litter of very young kittens are in a foster home and we have so far rehomed 5 adult cats and 11 kittens.
Their owner is now in hospital and will be staying with a relative for his recovery. He may be able to have a small number of neutered cats reunited with him in future provided his house can be cleaned up and repaired and he recovers sufficiently to be able to live independently and be able to care for the cats properly.
Taking in a large number of cats like this in one go in the Summer which is our busiest time of year puts our Lewisham centre team under a lot of strain with accommodating and caring for these cats.
Homes are needed for these cats in pairs, they do require homes with a garden and cat flap and will need experienced adult homes who can allow them time to settle in.
UPDATE 21st SEPT: We still have 25 cats from this group at our Lewisham centre, sadly these remaining cats are proving to be very nervous with people. They had been poorly socialised by their owner because he simply had too many cats. We are continuing to persevere with trying to gain the cats confidence but it is looking likely that some of these cats will need to be rehomed as semi-feral cats to suitable outdoor homes e.g Stables, Smallholdings etc
ADOPTION PROCESS: The coronavirus pandemic did mean that we have altered our usual homing procedures. Pre-coronavirus we would meet potential adopters in their homes (home visit) this was an informal visit to provide advice about caring for cats or kittens e.g health care, feeding, settling in and also an opportunity for us to feel reassured that you could provide a good home. We have replaced our usual home visit with a video call via What'sApp or similar to provide the same advice and so that you can also show us the cat relevant areas of your home e.g garden, location of a cat flap etc.
Following a successful home assessment we can make an appointment for you to come and meet our cats.
We are prioritising homes that are local to our centres. Lewisham Branch Homing catchment area: All SE London and BR (Bromley) postcodes. Also N.Kent (Welling, Bexley, Sidcup, Swanley, Dartford), Croydon and SW London (SW8, SW9, SW2, SW11, SW4, SW12, SW16) If you can offer a home to a 'harder to rehome' cat we will consider homes outside our usual rehoming areas.