South Ribble cat sanctuary's appeal for support to help care for abused and abandoned felines as far as Blackpool and Yorkshire

A gang of youths tried to set one on fire, and another is thought to have lost her nose and half an ear in a brutal attack.

By Laura Longworth
Thursday, 16th January 2020, 5:00 pm
Flo is completely blind.
Flo is completely blind.

These are just two of the felines being cared for by Julie Tattler and John Wareing at Noah's Ark Cat Rescue & Sanctuary, which they run from their home in Tarleton.

In order to continue caring for animals like these, the couple must find somewhere equivalent to the size of a garage to store their fund-raising items within less than a fortnight or they will be forced to give them away.

Julie, who looks after some cats who are so seriously unwell or injured they'll be kept at the rescue for life, said: "If we can't find another space, we might have to stop our fund-raising. We're getting bigger than ever. We receive so many calls. It never stops. So in order to survive, we need to hold fund-raisers. It's absolutely vital."

Phoenix was rescued from youths in Liverpool trying to set her on fire.

A friend, who volunteers for another charity, currently allows them to use a strip of the organisation's warehouse. But as she is leaving her role, the couple must relocate their donations by Monday, January 27.

"The current place is ideal because we can drive into it and unload everything. We have no more room for anything at home and we looked into hiring somewhere but it's so expensive. We couldn't justify it by what we earn from fund-raisers," Julie said.

Giving away the items would be a serious blow to Noah's Ark, she added, as it relies on the proceeds to not only re-home animals but permanently take on those requiring long-term care.

"We've made our home into a rescue centre and it's an ongoing battle. There's a constant need to take in animals. But we can only have so many at a time. It's heart-breaking at times," she said.

Precious is thought to have lost her nose and half an ear in an attack by a dog or fox.

"We have cats who will stay here for life because we don't know what problems they'll face in the future. One is blind, one is brain damaged and one only has three legs. Even if we were to stop the sanctuary tomorrow, they'll still need caring for."

The couple took in a cat named Layla, who was found by a passerby on January 5. She'd been tied with two dog leads to railings near Slater Lane in Leyland.

"That was awful. She was very, very hungry. Someone might have stolen her as no-one's come forward. We posted it on our Facebook group and someone commented to tell us about another cat that had been tied to railings in the area a few years ago," said Julie.

"At first, we thought maybe she's someone's cat but I honestly believe they've just got fed up of her. She's so stunning. It's just horrendous. There's no excuse for it.

John Wareing and Julie Tattler runNoah's Ark Cat Rescue & Sanctuary from their home in Tarleton.

"You tend to find the ones who have been the most badly treated are the most loving. Layla hid overnight in her litter tray but the following day, as soon as we showed her kindness, she was happy. When she's eating she growls so maybe there have been periods when she hasn't been fed."

Julie also remembers a Sphynx who was found in its own excrement in a cage in woods. She thinks it was possibly rejected by a breeder.

"People do dump them," she added.

But with a bit of love and attention, many felines enjoy happy lives at the Tarleton sanctuary, despite having chronic health conditions.

One rescue, Betty, struggled to open her jaw when she was a baby due to an extra lining of skin along her mouth.

"We had one kitten who could only open her mouth a tiny bit and the owners couldn't cope," Julie said.

"I took her to the super vets and they agreed to sign her under the rescue. She had two operations but unfortunately the tissue grew back. The vets hadn't seen anything like it before. They said if it grows back a third time, you'll have to consider euthanasia.

"We had to do intense physio with her but she was hissing and spitting at the other cats and that helped stop the regrowth. The vets think she has dwarfism in her face as her body has grown but her head hasn't."

Phoenix was rescued from youths in Liverpool trying to set her on fire while Precious is believed to have lost her nose and half an ear in an attack by a dog or fox.

Flo is completely blind while Stevie is a success story despite suffering from what Julie calls a "wobbly head".

"He's as happy as anything. He jumps and plays," she said.

"I'm not sure if he has fluid on the brain but the vets say he is absolutely fine. He's coming up to one-year-old now and he's doing brilliantly."

But helping cats like Flo, Precious and Stevie comes at a cost and the charity relies on continuing community support - whether by providing food, making direct debit contributions or filling up a donation tub - to stay afloat.

As Noah's Ark grows, more and more people are calling on Julie and John. And the need is coming from further afield.

It's a pressure that keeps them awake late at night, with Julie adding: "We've helped cats not only in Preston but also in Blackpool, Bradford, Liverpool and Manchester. We don't have any opening times and receive calls at 3am. We don't shut off."