A Keswick couple have helped over 7,000 cats and kittens to get new homes.

David and Joyce Walker run a lifeline for pets, literally, and in particular, for cats.

They are founder members of Keswick Pets' Lifeline, which they started in 1986, though they had been working with other charities prior to that for many years.

David estimates that they have helped around 220 cats and kittens every year with fostering, veterinary care and rehoming. Over 32 years this is an astounding 7,000 cats and kittens.

He said: "Every year we keep thinking we've got on top of it. It's fairly quiet in Keswick, but there is still lots of work coming out of West Cumbria."

Although the charity is based, a lot of its work comes from wider Allerdale and from Copeland, David said.

The charity has two main funding streams, a market stall and membership. Fundraising is a constant issue as it costs around £44,000 a year to run the charity. Money is needed for fostering, vets fees, expenses at the cattery such as heating the pens, bedding, food, and advertising for homes for the cats.

Membership has slowly increased over the years to 550 members.

The membership cost has remained constant at £5, but about 70 per cent of members donate more than this. "Some people are very generous, one man last year turned up and wrote us a cheque for £8,000 and we are occasionally left some in legacies," David said.

"One family came up from Lancashire - they must have seen our market stall in Keswick, and they donated £500."

Unlike other animal charities there is not a minimum donation to rehome an animal. If a home is deemed suitable, the person or family can give an amount that they are comfortable with when they take a cat or kitten.

David said that the vets that they use, Millcroft Group, are great with them.

"If we need a vet at 2am or 3am we can have one, they are very reasonable with us and their advice is always good," he added.

In May the charity had to take the difficult decision to remove their food collecting bin from Booths. People were mistaking the food bin for a rubbish bin and along with the cat food, biscuits and dog food there was always a quantity of rubbish to sort it from.

The charity has run a market stall at Keswick for 11 years, though David wonders how much longer they will be able to continue. A minimum of three volunteers are needed to run the stall, due to the different tasks involved.

Pets' Lifeline will also have a stand at the market on the green at Silloth on August 12 and regularly attends Keswick Victorian Fair, where plenty of items are collected throughout the year in order to sell.

Food and bedding donations, items for the market, or monetary donations can be left at 4 Crosthwaite Gardens or with the Pets' Lifeline market stall in Keswick on Thursdays (usually opposite The Golden Lion).


THE cats and kittens shown here, and more, are looking for new homes. Anyone interested in rehoming a cat or kitten should call Joyce or David on 017687 73723.