AN ANIMAL charity is becoming 'overwhelmed' due to the sheer number of felines around Newtown.

Kittens by the handful have been turning up at the side of roads in rural villages around the town, leaving Cats Protection’s Newtown and District Branch full to bursting with rescue cats needing to be rehomed.

The charity has been inundated with calls to rescue abandoned kittens.

“They are seemingly appearing at about five weeks old, possibly when a feral mum has had enough of them and leaves them to fend for themselves,” said volunteer fosterer Sheila Phillips.

But with just a handful of volunteer fosterers there is limited space to take in all the cats that need temporary homes, where they can live safely and securely until a new owner can be found.

To combat the overwhelming numbers of cats coming into its care, the branch has launched a fundraising drive to help cover expenses such as vet bills and food.

Anyone wishing to donate can do so at

Sheila currently has a number of kittens in her care awaiting rehoming, including mum Rula and her brood – Ria, Rory, Roxy and Robbie. Ria is very shy and will need to be rehomed with her mum.

Fleur is another cat who turned up at the branch heavily pregnant, and is now seeking a new family, as is her offspring Thyme.

As a rehoming officer, Sheila can travel up to 30 miles to carry out home visits to ensure cats and owners are well matched.

As well as rescuing abandoned or unwanted kittens, the branch also steps in when someone struggles with too many cats.

One recent case saw volunteers going into the home of a vulnerable woman who had amassed 16 cats, which were continually reproducing. Kittens can produce their own kittens from as young as four months old. The house had no electricity and the woman could no longer cope.

Branch volunteers also work closely with farmers who have feral cats living on their land, taking felines to get neutered to ensure their numbers do not grow.

This Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) work can be painstaking and time-consuming as it involves catching feral cats, taking them to a vets to be neutered and placing them back to a place of safety. They cannot be rehomed as they are unused to human contact.