Cat gets lucky but the outlook is bleak for stray animals across south Shropshire and the Teme Valley

Ludlow Advertiser: Zoe with the rescue cat. Zoe with the rescue cat.

INNOCENT animals are suffering the impact of 'austerity Britain' with increasing numbers of homeless cats and dogs across south Shropshire and the Teme Valley.

A cat rescue centre in Cleobury Mortimer says it is bursting at the seams but for one lucky little cat 2014 has got off to a good start.

This is thanks to veterinary nurse Zoe Leighton, who comes from Ashford, and works for Teme Vets which has practices in Ludlow and Tenbury.

Zoe, aged 26, is based at the practice in Tenbury, where she now lives, and her partner Chris Young works at Bright's the electrical supplier in the town.

Chris and his mates became aware of a young black female cat looking lost in the yard of the business in Teme Street and scavenging for food, including stealing sandwiches, so he told Zoe who took the cat to work to see if it had a microchip but this drew a blank.

Thinking that the cat might be local they took it back to the yard but the little moggie, which is thought to be about six months old, became very distressed and so the couple took pity on the juvenile cat and took her in.

"We do not know where she came from but it could be that she got in a van when it was making a delivery ," said Zoe.

"She is generally in a good condition but was clearly in an unfamiliar environment."

Attempts to trace an owner through other veterinary practices and animal rescue projects have failed but the story has a happy ending because Andy Bright who owns the business has decided to give her a good home.

But happy endings are the exception rather than the rule as Marion Parsons from the New Bridge Cat Rescue and Re-homing Centre in Cleobury Mortimer knows only too well.

Marion has been helping homeless cats for five years and says that the last 12 months has seen the situation for stray and abandoned animals get much worse.

"I have found new homes for more than 100 cats this last year which has been horrendous," said Marion.

She says that many rescue centres and organisations are turning away animals.

"For every cat or kitten that goes out we have two or three come in needing a home," added Marion.

While Marion says that there will always be irresponsible owners some animals need help because of sad circumstances such as the death of an elderly owner, in many cases it is very often cost and in particular vets bills that cause owners to have to give up much loved pets.

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