From Tabby cats to Calicos, all the furry felines at Iris’ Cats In Need really want is a bit of TLC. The rescue shelter takes in all cats in the spectrum; from orphaned kittens to feral cats.
Founded by Iris, who has donated her own home to the cats, the charity is run by her daughter, Lorraine, along with volunteers, Laura and Claire, an army of cleaners, and treasurer, Jean. The shelter can house up to 30 cats and 15 permanent feral, and currently have over 20 kittens in foster homes with their mothers. Along with this staggering number of cats, Claire is currently hand rearing eight orphaned kittens at home, and sticking to the strict schedule of a feed an hour for the first few weeks of their lives.
Although the shelter is a registered charity, they receive no money from the government, and rely entirely on the profits from their two shops in Stoke and Tunstall, public donations, and the work of their fundraiser, Julia. Last year, vets bills alone cost the rescue shelter over £80,000, so every penny helps. Those feeling extra generous can even donate items from their Amazon Wish List; everything from cat food to feline activity centres.
All the recruits at Iris’ Cats In Need, from Carol and the “shop girls”, to Jean, who provides the main foster home, work on a volunteer basis. Laura said, “We are paid in tea, coffee and cuddles with the cats!”
Many of the cats in the shelter are originally bought in through drop-offs at their shops and the shelter itself, however the majority come from owners who have moved houses. Lorraine said, “In nine out of ten cases, the owners have moved and left the cats who are then chucked out on the street.”
Some of the cats are badly treated and arrive at the shelter in desperate need of emergency veterinary care. Andy, a resident black and white tomcat, was bought to the shelter by the police; deaf, blind, peppered with cysts and completely toothless. Iris’ Cats In Need strive to ensure all their cats are fully vetted, neutered, and ready for adoption.
Although these cats are in the best hands possible, there are still many abandoned and mistreated cats that need support. To help combat the issue of overpopulation, the volunteers at Iris’ Cats In Need urge cat owners to make sure their feline friends are spayed and neutered.
If you are interested in giving one of their cats the “forever home” of their dreams, or if you want to donate to the charity, you can visit their Facebook page, “Iris’ Cats In Need”.
By VITANEE OLIVER