Volunteer tackles cat crisis in Redbridge

PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 May 2016

Winner of the Making a Greener Redbridge individual award, Sue Cunningham

Winner of the Making a Greener Redbridge individual award, Sue Cunningham


Sue Cunningham may seem like any other resident but after she finishes work she heads out with a group of volunteers to save abandoned, stray and unwanted cats.

Domestic catDomestic cat

After she gets a tip off from a vet or a neighbour, armed with a cat basket, she collects unowned felines and takes them to the vet to be neutered before trying to get them rehomed.

“People do not realise but there are huge numbers of cats living on the streets and unfortunately a large amount were domesticated but have had to learn to be feral to survive,” she said.

“Cats are programmed to reproduce and can do so four times a year. If we don’t spay these cats that’s an extra 21,000 on the streets in just seven years.”

Elena Pedretti, a vet at Goddard Veterinary Group’s Ley Street branch, Ilford, said: “There is a big crisis in the area. We can offer neutering but we need more places to take the cats.


“So many charities have been closed down and even if they are taken to rehoming centres on the other side of London there can still be a six-week waiting list.”

Sue said the high numbers of strays was a growing problem and education is key in tackling the situation.

Potential owners need to be aware of ongoing “running” costs such as vaccinations.

With neutering costing between £40 and £60 on average, Sue said financial reasons should not be an obstacle, with people on a low income able to get support from the C4 scheme – a joint initiative by major animal charities working in Greater London to tackle the problem of too many cats..

Not being neutered can make male cats more territorial, and more likely to sustain injuries in fights.

Sue said her work would not be possible without volunteers, Goddard Veterinary Group and the Celia Hammond Animal Trust Group.

She added: “If you want to give a life long home to a cat please do not buy but go to a rescue center and make a donation.”

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