Feline friendly? Cat cuddlers wanted

RSPCA branch manager Colin Andrews

RSPCA branch manager Colin Andrews

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The Harrogate RSPCA branch have the purr-fect job for cat lovers as they appeal for volunteer ‘cat cuddlers’.

The branch is looking for volunteers to help acclimatise rescued cats to human contact.

RSPCA in Harrogate are appealing for cat cuddlers

RSPCA in Harrogate are appealing for cat cuddlers

In the last year the branch

has seen an increase in the number of cats it has rescued and 100 more cats were rehomed in 2014 than 2013.

However not all of the cats are ready to go straight to their forever homes, many of the cats rescued by the branch are shy and frightened of new people.

Branch manager Colin Andrews said: “Cats are really friendly creatures and they love human contact, but some of them are more withdrawn and shy than others.

“I feel for them because if someone comes to adopt a cat, there are some very vocal cats who love attention and they are usually the ones who get chosen.

“We just want to be able to encourage the shyer cats to come out of their shell a little bit more.”

When I visited the branch’s shelter at Harlow Carr Cattery a dozen cats were being cared for by the RSPCA.

One of them, Lori, had arrived just 20 minutes earlier, but her kittens had to be taken to a foster home.

Mr Andrews explained: “The kittens were just a bit too feral to be in the cattery, they need extra attention, they need to be fed regularly, played with, it is like having a baby.

“We are lucky to have volunteer foster homes for them to go to where they can get all the attention they need.”

A trio of felines named after chocolate bars, Bubble, Wispa and Ripple, were too shy to be cuddled during my visit though eight-month old Ali Ash, named after Slovenian Strictly Come Dancing professional Aljaž Skorjanec, was by far the most vocal cat in the cattery.

“He just wants all the attention, all the time,” said Mr Andrews.

“He will get adopted really easily. The thing is all of these cats will make brilliant pets for people, they are all different.

“We want the volunteer cat cuddlers to help them be less nervous around people.”

The branch is also appealing for fundraising volunteers, after a bumper year of adoptions.

It costs the RSPCA around £100 per cat to rescue, and get ready for adoption. 167 cats (and one rat) were adopted during 2014.

Mr Andrews added: “We have seen a massive increase in adopters, which is great, it is fantastic to see cats going to a real home, but it means our bills have gone up too.”

Anyone wishing to get involved should contact Colin Andrews by emailing rspcaharrogate@hotmail.com, calling 07817 344139 or find the branch on Facebook, search Harrogate District Rspca.