DOZENS of cats face an uncertain 2008 as they see out the festive season at Chippenham’s only feline rescue centre. Although the Cat Rescue charity, based in Monkton Park, finds homes for 200 cats a year, five cats are turned away each day because of lack of space. The volunteer run charity was set up by Jean Gilbert 20-years ago and has re-homed nearly 4,000 cats and kittens since it opened. Mrs Gilbert, who has converted her home in Sadlers Mead to accommodate the animals, has said that more cats than ever are being handed in. She said: “Each year we have to find homes for more and more cats and it’s heartbreaking when we have to turn some away. “We are always busy but more people come in with strays at this time of year because it is so cold. “The main problem we have is a lot of the cats are old or have health problems and many people see that as a reason not to re-home them. “Each cat has its own needs – some need an indoor home, some need a quiet home and some need lots of love and cuddles. “At one time this year we had 25 kittens in all at the same time and they were here for months before we could find them new homes.” The group has two main bases in Chippenham as well as a host of temporary foster homes throughout the county. The charity provides food, shelter and full veterinary treatment for all of the stray and abandoned cats. They run purely on charitable donations and money raised through car boot sales throughout the year. Among the cats that currently need homes are ten-month old Sophie and her 14-week old son Simon, both friendly black and white tabby cats. There is also Albert, an eight-year old moggy who loves to be petted and shown attention. Eighteen-month-old brothers Sammy and Tommy are also looking for a home, but must be taken as a pair. Mrs Gilbert believes that the Christmas and New Year period are the busiest times of year because she refuses to let cats go as Christmas presents. She said: “Cats are a responsibility for 24-hours a day, 365 days a year and people cannot just have one on a part-time basis. “I hope that 2008 brings prosperity for all of our cats and that they all find homes where they will be loved and cared for.” Anyone interested in re-homing a cat or volunteering at the centre should contact Mrs Gilbert on (01249) 653443

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