Increase in cat cruelty sees charity at ‘breaking point’ in Redbridge

PUBLISHED: 15:00 29 October 2016 | UPDATED: 11:14 02 November 2016

Celia Hammond in the cattery.

Celia Hammond in the cattery.


A charity which helps stray and unwanted cats is at breaking point due to an increasing number being neglected and dumped.

Caitlin the cat is looking for a loving owner. Can you help?Caitlin the cat is looking for a loving owner. Can you help?

Celia Hammond Animal Trust is the main cat charity serving east London and volunteer Sue Cunningham of Ilford said lots of cats in the borough would “really suffer” if they close.

“The volunteers from Redbridge rely on care and treatment that Celia Hammond clinic offers,” she said.

“Without them we wouldn’t be able to do this work and many cats in Ilford and Redbridge would really suffer.”

Trust founder Celia Hammond said the number of cats it helps has “trebled” in the last two years.

Staff are struggling to find space and are “heartbroken” that they can’t answer all incoming calls.

“We are about up to capacity, it is dire,” she said.

“I don’t think people realise how bad it is. It has been getting worse for the last couple of years and I have never known anything like this.”

The former Vogue model and charity CEO has spent a lifetime helping cats, but said she has never seen so many cases of cruelty before.

Kittens have had their legs broken, put in cardboard boxes and dumped in remote places and often starve to death.

“What kind of human does this thing, knowing they are going to die?” said Celia.

“The cruelty is deliberate and callous, I can’t imagine who is doing this.”

Celia worries that cats are not valued and they are being treated as if their lives are not worth anything.She is also concerned by the short notice the charity, based in Barking Road, Canning Town, is given to help animals.

“Some people are leaving their homes or the country and can’t look after the cat any more but we need more than a couple hours or days notice,” she said.

“I don’t know what people think we are doing and that we have an empty cattery, just waiting.”

Prevention is very much the key to dealing with the situation and Ms Hammond said owners can take small steps to help the cat crisis.

She added: “People need to help themselves. The offspring from one female cat can multiply to 210,000 in just seven years. Owners can get financial help to neuter a cat – there is no excuse.”

Celia said potential pet owners should also be wary of animals sold over sites such as Gumtree, as they are often bred to supplement income and many are reared in “horrible conditions”.

But despite being under strain, Celia said the service would disappear “over my dead body”.


Meet Caitlin who was rescued from Green Lane

The charity has lots of cats in need of a good home. Meet Caitlin, who is described as having a “face that just melts everyone’s heart”. She was rescued just a few weeks ago, found among some bins, and the one-year-old was very thin and anxious. With a bit of nurture she has developed a sweet temperament and loves to be stroked. She would prefer to be re-homed without other cats, but if the right owner came along this could be reconsidered. She would also love a quiet environment with outdoor access. To enquire about Caitlin or other cats that need a loving home call 020 7474 8811.

A spokesman for Gumtree said: “We take the welfare of animals very seriously and work hard to ensure our site is a safe place to find pets in need of rehoming. This includes educating users on how to buy pets safely and responsibly. As well as the RSPCA and DEFRA, we work with Pets Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG) and comply with all of their 18 standards. These industry-endorsed standards improve animal welfare in an ecommerce environment. We do not allow ‘wanted’ ads in our Pets category, as there are plenty of pets to choose from on the site and in sanctuaries across the country. We will delete any ads we believe are encouraging or indicate signs of animal cruelty. If you have any concerns about an ad on our site, you can use the ‘report an ad’ button on our website and our dedicated safety team will then investigate it. A full summary of our rules around listing for pets can be found on our website.”

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