Cat lover Jean Gilbert has been inundated with abandoned cats and kittens this year as the recession continues to scratch away at people’s finances. Grandmother and owner of Cat Rescue in Chippenham, Mrs Gilbert, of Sadler’s Mead, said the charity re-homed 262 cats and kittens last year and expects to re-home a similar number this year. She said: “We have had another extremely busy year. We tend to have about 50 cats with us at any one time. “It is really bad at the moment, and we have had a lot of bad cases brought to us this year because of the financial situation, people are just abandoning their cats. All the centres are full and people feel they have no other option. “I always take their names and numbers and ring them as soon as I have spaces.” Retired Mrs Gilbert and husband Harry first adopted a kitten named Elliott from a cat rescue home 20 years ago. They had him until he died 18 years later. Mrs Gilbert said: “I told the rescue home if they ever needed any help to let me know and it sort of snowballed from there really. “Harry doesn’t mind it at all. It is like a full time job really as it keeps me busy 365 days of the year. “I spend about an hour every morning with the cats, feeding them, clearing out their litter trays and playing with them. You get to know all their dietary requirements and what types of food they all like.” Mrs Gilbert gets through dozens of tins of cat food on a daily basis, with just one cat and her kittens getting through six cans a day. She said: “I do really enjoy it, and you get used to all the work, but coming outside to feed them in the freezing cold weather like we have been having isn’t very nice.” Mrs Gilbert, who has three cats of her own, Chula, Skye and Thalia, has seen 1,429 cats and kittens pass through her home in the past 20 years. She has eight foster mothers dotted around Wiltshire who also care for the cats. Anyone who thinks they could give a cat or kitten a suitable home or would like to help the charity can contact Mrs Gilbert on (01249) 653443

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