‘Save them or they will die of hunger’

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A colony of 60 hungry and sick cats and kittens in Crowland are being rescued in a major operation involving a number of charities after a plea from a Lincolnshire Free Press reader.

The animals are roaming fields in Cloot Drove because their home is a filthy barn with “inadequate food and water”.

Lucy Milbank appealed to us to find help because some of the older ones were prowling the estate where her mother lives, frightening the local cats.

She said: “We have actually taken one in lately ourselves – taken it to the vets and paid for the kitten to get better. They are now looking after the poor soul.

“They are all hungry and look so ill. It’s a sad sight to see. The winter is coming and if something doesn’t get done, they will die.”

The Free Press joined Phil Newhouse, of PJ Rescue in Long Sutton, to investigate.

Inside the barn we found 13 cats and kittens, some showing signs of sickness and neglect.

Mr Newhouse said: “I can see 13 in the nest, which indicates there are probably 60 in the colony.

“There are bowls here but not a scrap of food, so some will be hunting or scavenging.

“Only the brave, frail or young stay.”

l Turn to page 8.

Mr Newhouse called the RSPC from the barn, but the line was continuously busy and so he rang PJ Rescue headquarters to report what had been found and discuss what action to take.

He said: “We’ve been hearing about a colony in Crowland for a long time but didn’t know where it was.

“In cases like this we call on the help of other cat rescue groups and plan to get as many out and neutered as we can.”

A resident out walking her dog came to see what was going on. She said: “The barn belongs to a retired farmer and the cats are fed every day.”

She directed us to the home of the owner’s sister, who lives in Crowland.

When we visited her, Mr Newhouse explained he was there to offer help and not to prosecute.

The sister said the RSPCA had visited and offered to take some away. She said: “In the end they didn’t. They are farm cats - there have always been some up there and they are fed and given water.

“But if you want to take them, then take them. Just leave the old tabby tom - he’s been there forever.”

Mr Newhouse said he was happy to return a few when they had been neutered.

The first cats and kittens were removed yesterday (Monday) and the operation is expected to take several days. If you are interested in taking on one of the cats or kittens, call Mr Newhouse on 07866 060951.