An “explosion” in the number of needy kittens is set to leave a huge crater in the finances of the town’s RSPCA charity.
The Bedfordshire North branch is a self-funded charity that depends upon local people’s support.
But so far this year support has been lagging and donations are drying up, say officials.
“The kitten season is starting in earnest, which means we could be taking in up to four or five kittens a day at peak times,” said North Bedfordshire branch manager Caroline Williams.
“The animals we rescue inevitably have not had a good start in life. So the kittens, and especially the mum cats, will be in desperate need of care and attention.
“But all this costs money – and this is why we are putting out an appeal for help.”
The branch relies heavily upon its two charity shops in town to boost in funds. One is in Thurlow Street and the other is in the High Street.
Donations of clean, good quality clothing and bric a brac are urgently needed for the latter shop, which is sited between Wilko and Yates .
“Quite simply, the more the public donates, the more money is raised and the more animals we can help,” said Caroline, who is also appealing for more volunteers.
Some animals, such as three-week-old tabby kitten Raymond who is pictured, will be almost certain to find a purrfect new home.
“Ray is cute, cuddly and he and his mum have had the best of care with one of our volunteer fosterers. There should be no shortage of people wanting to adopt him when he is old enough,” said Caroline.
“Sadly, fewer people will be interesting in adopting one of the older cats we have. But they are just as lovely – and just as deserving.”
One such cat is three-year-old TJ, who has been in the care of the branch for more than six months.
He was found neglected and sick, with an abcess so large that it left a permanent hole in his head.
“He has cost us hundreds in vets’ bills but he’s made a great recovery,” said Caroline, who also needs homes for rabbits, guinea pigs and feral cats.
Anybody interesting in adopting an animal, volunteering or helping to raise funds can contact www.rspace.org/uk/local/bedforshire-north.branch or call 01234 266965.