Charity Launches Stray Cat Campaign



Charity launches stray cat campaign
12th April 2018

By Karen Pickwick
The UK’s first major study to track and help stray cats living on the streets has been started by charity Cats Protection.
The Cat Watch scheme will combine a ‘cat census’ to track numbers of homeless moggies in selected cities with one of the UK’s biggest neutering drives to control numbers of stray cats.
The project, which has so far been launched in Nottingham, Everton, Bradford and Luton, is being supported by more than 20 wide-ranging groups and organisations, including probation services and a leading veterinary college.
Cats Protection’s head of neutering, Jane Clements, said: “There has never been a project of this scale dedicated to finding out more and helping stray cats. We know that across the UK, there are scores of homeless cats – both in rural and urban locations – but information about them is limited. By tracking numbers and population densities, we can better target our neutering work in future to prevent numbers getting out of control.
“Although cats are very adaptable, life as a stray street cat is incredibly tough, and we want to do all we can to help improve their lives. Large numbers of unowned, unneutered cats can also be a nuisance to communities, so by carrying out this work we hope to improve the way cats and people live alongside each other.”
Since its pilot launch last March, the project has so far:
Developed a free mobile phone app to enable cat lovers to quickly and easily report stray cats in their community
Worked with Everton in the Community’s Neighbourhood Team to track and help cats living around its Goodison Park stadium
Formed partnerships with probation services in Bradford and Nottingham to enable offenders serving Community Payback sentences to build cat shelters to keep strays safe and warm
Worked with the Liverpool Vet School to help meet the demand for neutering of stray cats
Formed partnerships with scores of community organisations, housing associations and local authorities to help communities deal with stray cat populations.
Received reports of more than 2,000 stray cats in three city wards alone.
The Cat Watch scheme aims to track the number of stray and feral cats living in key areas throughout the UK, while ensuring identified strays are neutered, in good health and have access to safe, warm shelter.
Jane added: “The work we have started so far is really the tip of the iceberg and over the coming years we hope this will enable us to get a true picture of the stray cat population in the UK. We’re using new methods and focusing on working within communities to tackle the problem of unwanted cats in a way that’s never been done before.
“We’ve been working intensively in key cities – forging links with the community through partnerships with housing associations, local groups and vets – to get to the very heart of the stray cat problem. By helping these cats, we can then have a long-lasting effect by preventing numbers from rising, and we hope these approaches can be replicated across the UK.”