BRADFORD's cat rescues have told of mounting financial pressure as the crisis of neglect worsens amid the pandemic.

One cat rescue described the situation in the worse-affected areas as "hell" with many rescues taking in between 10 and 20 cats and kittens a week.

Alison Broadley, the founder of Ally Cats who has dedicated more than 10 years to the cause, says owners and volunteers are at breaking point.

"The cruelty is hard to bare some days," she said.

Before the working day in her full time job, Alison spends her mornings cleaning the rescue and litter trays, feeding the cats and giving medication to those on prescriptions. Evenings consist of answering messages, vet runs, feeding, cleaning and call outs to cats in need. Just recently, the rescue saved a very young kitten, abandoned in a bare metal cage on a doorstep in Thornton.

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"She was soaking wet covered in fleas and strangely glue," Alison said.

"She was also full of worms , starving freezing and cold. One of the Ally Cats volunteers held her at her home until she could be collected and taken in by Paula Thoma, Catwoman Rescue, as we had no room.

"All fundraising events have been cancelled, we usually do tombolas at supermarket, hold events at the church hall and other venues, also street markets which is a large chunk of our income to help with vet fees and food throughout the year. Of course this has been a huge blow to our finances. Homing has been very slow so if no cats are going out sadly we are not making space for new intakes although most of the rescues in Bradford work very closely together and all offer spaces when available."

Earlier this year Laura Westcough, who co-runs Pink Paws Cat Rescue, revealed her small charity was spending around £1,000 a week on vet bills.

The rescue has taken in more than 200 cats since March, according to Laura's estimations.

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She is among the city's cat rescues calling for help, adding: "We are exhausted, sick of seeing the suffering.

"We haven't stopped. The whole pandemic, we haven't stopped.

"The final straw last Monday, my sister and one member of my team went to a lady's house - they've taken quite a few cats and kittens from there. When they got there the cat was giving birth outside to dead, premature, lifeless kittens. Two kittens this cat had from a previous litter which were now seven months old and mum was giving birth again. The kittens, she wouldn't give us last time were also pregnant.

"It's really disheartening. We see it and we think, this didn't need to happen. This shouldn't be happening and it's totally preventable. It's not being prevented."

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The problem is partly a result of many Bradfordians failing to neuter and spay their animals.

Alison added: "There is help out there if you are on a low income. Cats Protection run a neutering scheme for low income families and if people have a stray in their garden they just have to call 0300 012 12 12."

Rescues have also appealed to the Government and larger animal organisations to help independent rescues with the cost of vet bills as well as fight for a law to protect cats. Alison would like the law to include making it illegal to breed animals without a licence, which should be renewed every year after "stringent welfare checks" as well as microchipping cats by law.

When asked if Laura would back the changes, she said: "It does need laws to come in.

"I think we're still a long way off these things becoming law. They've only just come in for dogs. Lucy's Law's just come in.

"I've seen a petition about this, making it compulsory to spay and neuter, but again it's just how far off doing something like that, is it achievable and how soon?

"Because of coronavirus it's going to be worse than ever.

"We don't want these things happening to the cats of Bradford. It's wrong, it's not acceptable. The scary thing is that it's becoming so accepted. It's not a way things should be done."