I run Happy Cats rescue in Accrington and I can’t believe how many abandoned cats there are!

This cat rescue based in East Lancashire has seen unprecedented levels of cat abandonment over the past few months.
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Andy Richards runs a cat rescue called Happy Cats in Accrington which rehabilitates and rehomes stray and injured cats all year round.

The rescue, which is only small in size, is struggling to house the long list of felines and Mr Richards said that more cats are being abandoned.

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Aside from a lack of foster homes and spaces, the growing number of abandoned cats also creates financial problems for the rescue where fundraising is difficult.

The 62-year-old rescue owner said: “The main issue is people are not neutering their cats and the message just isn’t getting through as it’s getting worse year on year.

“This is causing such an explosion of unwanted cats and it never gets any better!”

Andy with Yogi, who found himself homeless and was living stray.Andy with Yogi, who found himself homeless and was living stray.
Andy with Yogi, who found himself homeless and was living stray.
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“It’s getting worse now due to global warming as,previously, a cat would only come into season during the summer months so kittens would only come in Spring and Summer.

“Now cats are coming into season all year round so we are absolutely inundated with them."

Whether it is a lack of education on when cats are pregnant or a general lack of care, the small Lancashire rescue is struggling to house the growing list of stranded cats.

Andy explained how there is a severe lack of rescue spaces in east Lancashire and Happy Cats themselves are made up of foster volunteers rather than a dedicated rescue centre.

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He said: “Owners at the minute will either put the cats out when they get pregnant or they let them have the kittens and they think they can give them away to friends and family.

“When they find out that they can’t, they will come and ask the rescue to come and clear up their mess.

“I think there is an utter ruthlessness with some cat owners, such as the thought that you can just move house and leave the cat behind on the pavement.

“This is so common now, all the time we are getting calls and messages saying ‘my neighbours have moved and they’ve left cats in the garden’, I just don’t get it."

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Happy Cats rely on the good will of their team of volunteers to take the cats into their own homes yet due to the size of the waiting list, they’ve had to adopt a one in one out policy.

Happy Cats which is located at 8 Blackburn Road, Accrington. Happy Cats which is located at 8 Blackburn Road, Accrington.
Happy Cats which is located at 8 Blackburn Road, Accrington.

The team is currently made up of around eight fosterers yet this number varies as some people decide to keep the cat which means they can’t foster anymore because they don’t have the space.

Speaking about his expectations on running a cat rescue, Andy said: “When I started the cat rescue, I never imagined it would be like it is.

“I first started rescuing cats in Blackpool as a volunteer working at Easterleigh Animal Sanctuary and Blackpool is well-served with cat rescues.

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“So the problem there is nowhere as bad as it is in Hyndburn because we don’t have that many rescue resources.

“The whole thing is very stressful because people put the responsibility onto me as they think once they’ve rang me, the problem is off their shoulders.

“The long list of cats waiting to come in are on my mind all the time, especially when it’s cold and raining at night.”

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