A Cross Roads-based charity claims a bias against charities helping animals rather than people is hampering its attempts to stay afloat.

Yorkshire Cat Rescue has warned as public budgets are cut, more charities are springing up to help plug the gap, “saturating” the market when many families already cannot pay bills let alone donate to charity.

Yorkshire Cat Rescue founder, Sara Atkinson, said: “I’d be lying if I said worrying about rising bills doesn’t keep me awake at night.

“We’ve seen a marked slow-down in donations, and that is having a direct impact on the number of cats and kittens we’re able to save.

“Although the perception might be we don’t help people, the reality is our work has a huge impact on people who might find themselves sick, evicted or who have died and left a much-loved pet behind.

“Without us, these cats would almost certainly end up on the street or making one final trip to the vet. Knowing a cat or kitten is safe and has a future with a new, loving family is something many people take great comfort in.”

Mrs Atkinson said the charity must often make room for cats and kittens with complex needs. It has recently taken in a six-month-old male kitten who is lame because of a congenital disorder.

“The costs involved in his treatment and care will be substantial, but it’s our ethos to look after the healthy as well as the sick and give them all a chance of a new home,” she said.

To help pay for his treatment and keep the doors of the centre open, Mrs Atkinson has urged district residents to put on community fundraising events.

“We will provide all the support we can and, if possible, we’ll happily come along with some of our kittens to tell people more about the work we do,” she added.

People can go to yorkshirecat rescue.org/donate/wish-list to donate goods included in the charity’s online wish-list, or call the charity on (01535) 647184 if you are interested in staging a fundraiser.