FOUR kittens have been taken in by locals in a tiny hamlet near to the Scottish border after they were abandoned.

Last week, residents of Kershopefoot were shocked to find four abandoned kittens wandering the hamlet, leading to one resident who runs a cat charity to offer free neutering for up to 100 cats.

Local reports say that the cats aren’t feral and that they are very friendly towards humans.

The cost-of-living crisis has forced many to have to give up their pets, with Cumbria seeing an 8 per cent rise in the number of abandoned pets last year and a survey revealed that 68 per cent of pet owners said their pet care costs were increasing and almost a fifth said that they were worried about how to afford to care for their pet.

Kershopefoot resident, Sue Graham, took one of the cats – which she has named Bramble – into her home.

“A week ago, a gentleman came over to ask if I’d lost a kitten, which I hadn’t,” said Sue.

“I picked up the kitten and straight away she began to purr, and I brought her home and gave her something to eat – she was absolutely starving.

“Others in the village have found four cats just wandering around and we’ve been putting food out just in case there are more.

“Lots of people are putting in time and effort to help the cats but the rescue centres are full and the cost-of-living crisis is definitely having an effect.”

Another local resident is Joan Clifford who runs Caring for Animals 2000 and has been involved with cat rescues for 40 years.

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“One of the kittens just hopped into my conservatory - I couldn’t believe it,” said Joan.

“We’ve got to rehome these cats but the fact that we haven’t got the mother is sad.

“The problem is people cannot afford to neuter their cats. When a vet quotes £90 to neuter a cat its not that surprising as vet bills have gone up so much.”

Joan is offering to pay for up to 100 cats to be neutered and anybody who needs help is urged to contact vet, Craig Robertson on 01228 521393 and quote Caring for Animals 2000.