The UK’s leading feline welfare charity is appealing for more fosterers to provide a temporary loving home for cats whose families are fleeing domestic abuse.
This comes after Cats Protection has expanded its specialist service (which used to operate only in the South East) to include more areas in the UK.
As many refuges are unable to accept pets, the newly named Lifeline service places cats in temporary foster homes, enabling survivors to get to safety knowing their cat will be looked after until they can be reunited again.
“Lifeline can offer people a much-needed way out as it’s even more challenging for them to leave if they are worried about what will happen to their cat if left behind,” says Amy Hyde, National Lifeline Manager for Cats Protection.
“This is especially the case for those who are financially dependent on the perpetrator, as well as those who have been isolated from friends and family and have limited other options to keep their cat safe.”
The need to expand the service became increasingly apparent after the charity conducted a survey of domestic abuse professionals which revealed that nearly eight in 10 have encountered cases where cats or kittens were physically abused, while nine in 10 said a pet cat can be used to control and coerce a partner or family member and stop them from leaving.1
“It feels so rewarding to foster cats in need but it’s an even nicer feeling to be able to help the cats settle as if they were still at home with their owners,” said Luke from East Anglia2 who’s currently fostering for Lifeline.
“Hopefully their owners have some pressure taken off, knowing that their pets are being cared for and safe until they can meet again.”
Referrals to Lifeline come from either the owner themselves or a support worker.
Once in the charity’s care, the cats are given a full health check before going to a fosterer who is provided with everything they need to make sure the cat remains happy and healthy.
The charity then sends regular updates and photos to their owners to reassure them until they can be reunited again.
Cats Protection is keen to stress that the service is totally anonymous and fosterers will not know who the owner is, or where they live, and the cat will be cared for in an area well away from its original address.
After supporting cats in the South East for almost 20 years, Lifeline was recently able to expand into Yorkshire, East Anglia and the Midlands.
“We’ve fostered around 250 cats this year, enabling over 150 owners to get to safety but we need more cat fosterers to turn it into a UK-wide service.” said Amy.
To foster cats, or to donate, please visit www.cats.org.uk/lifelineservice