A Cross Roads-based charity which says it has endured its toughest year so far is not expecting improvements anytime soon.

Yorkshire Cat Rescue says it anticipates demand for its services will remain “relentless”.

During 2013 the charity had to make room for the highest number of abandoned and surrendered cats and kittens in its 22-year history.

And Sara Atkinson, founder of the organisation, said there doesn’t seem to be light at the end of the tunnel.

“As the New Year bells rang, we almost breathed a sigh of relief that 2013 had finally come to an end,” she said.

“In my 22 years of running this charity we have never faced so many challenges all at once and so unrelenting. More and more cats are finding themselves unwanted and homeless across Yorkshire, and the kitten season now extends pretty much across the entire 12 months of the year.

“Bills are going up and donations are down. It is the perfect storm and we are right at the centre of it.”

In 1994 the charity, which was then known as Haworth Cat Rescue, re-homed 124 cats. Ten years later that number had increased to 264, and this rose again to a daunting 613 cats by 2012.

Last year, despite being closed for two months over summer due to a virus outbreak, the charity found new homes for 664 cats and kittens.

Sara said: “Over the past decade, the floodgates have opened and the number of unwanted cats has been rising steadily. We’re coping in the only way we know how to – day by day and with support from volunteers and the community.

“But we desperately need more donations to cope with higher running costs, vets bills, food and blankets for our cats and kittens.

“One of the best things people can do for us is to make sure all their pet cats are neutered to avoid unwanted breeding, and to consider adopting a rescue cat.”

Currently, more than 50 cats and kittens are in the care of the charity with another 235 on the waiting list.

People can visit yorkshirecatres cue.org/donate to make a donation.