The UK’s first major study to track and help stray cats living on the nation’s streets has been launched by leading feline welfare charity, Cats Protection.
The Cat Watch scheme will combine a ‘cat census’ to track numbers of homeless cats in selected cities with one of the UK’s biggest neutering drives to control numbers of stray cats.
The project has so far been launched in Nottingham, Everton, Bradford and Luton and is being assisted by over 20 wide-ranging groups and organisations, including probation services and a leading veterinary college.
Since it was launched in March last year, the scheme has received reports of over 2,000 stray cats in three city wards alone.
The 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.
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.”
Two of the groups helping the Cat Watch project are Community Payback schemes in Nottingham and Bradford, where people serving community sentences have been helping to build cat shelters to keep stray cats warm and safe.
Allan Fitzsimmons, placement coordinator at West Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC), said the boxes were being produced by low risk offenders serving Community Payback sentences.
He said: “It’s possibly the most unusual job we have done – building homes for stray cats. Cats Protection provided us with the design and materials, and we got cracking on producing the shelters. It’s good to know that such a simple design can make such a big difference, and we were very happy to have been able to help.”