An animal shelter in Croydon is appealing for donations after rescuing an unwanted cat colony in Dulwich in August.
Croydon Animal Samaritans received a call about a stray kitten which they soon discovered was part of a colony of cats gathered in a back alleyway near Sydenham Station.
Gerda Gladge, the voluntary manager of the animal shelter’s shop in East Croydon, was able to gradually trap the cats and take them to the shelter, which took around six days.
Shelter volunteer Karen Gray, 50, said: “That is one thing that is really important at Croydon Animal Samaritans, we will keep going back to the site until we’ve got everyone. We leave no cat behind.
“These cats were likely to be from the same household, and were likely dumped by an unscrupulous person in the area.
“We saw one of them throw up on the floor and we saw a tapeworm there. They were all so thin when they arrived.”
When Karen discovered how expensive the veterinary bill was that ensured the colony’s survival, she decided to appeal for donations on Go Fund Me.
All of the cats required treatment for tapeworm, as well as being vaccinated, spayed and neutered, and one required treatment for a womb infection.
The shelter rescued 13 cats in total: three males and ten young females, one of whom was pregnant with four kittens and gave birth in the shelter.
Two of her kittens died soon after birth.
After two months of care and healing, some of the cats are now ready for adoption, with two females, Dulcie and Desiree, finding their forever homes on Saturday, 16 October.
Over the past 18 months the shelter’s shop in East Croydon has been closed due to the pandemic, resulting in a drastic reduction of funds and donations used to subsidise the charity.
Barbara Allen, 74, who runs the animal shelter and has been rescuing animals for 50 years, feels let down by the larger animal charities in London who she said stopped taking in strays during the pandemic.
She added: “We all worked through the pandemic. We just managed as best we could. We were getting loads and loads of calls and we were just taking in here, there and everywhere.
“The cat population in London really worries me because we can only do so much, we can only take in so many.”
She feels that feral sites are becoming an epidemic in London and fears a time when there will be colonies of cats, similar to the one found in Dulwich, living in the streets.
Croydon Animal Samaritans has 25 foster homes and 16 chalets to take in cats from around London and the majority of these are completely full.
Barbara urged all cat owners to get their pets spayed or neutered to help impede this rapidly increasing stray cat population.
There is currently an initiative in south London, known as the C4 Scheme, which provides and funds free neutering for stray cats.
If you would like to donate to Karen’s appeal for the Dulwich colony, click here.