A Cross Roads-based cat and kitten welfare charity is back in action again after a virus forced it to close for five weeks.

Yorkshire Cat Rescue re-opened its shelter on Saturday.

Charity founder, Sara Atkinson, said: “The opening couldn’t have come soon enough – our pens were bursting with cats and kittens that we have been unable to re-home for what felt like an eternity.

“Our supporters have helped everyone keep their spirits up, but it wasn’t easy when bills kept flowing in and donations dropped as people were unable to visit.

“We did the right thing and, as a result, our cats and kittens are now safe and well. All we can do now is look forward to what will hopefully be a busy autumn.”

Several kittens being cared for at the shelter were unfortunately killed by the virus, which is called feline pan-leukopenia.

Yorkshire Cat Rescue’s centre manager, Sam Davies, has been overseeing the deep clean and vaccination programme, which was needed before the charity was able to open its doors again.

She said: “For everyone here, September and early October were challenging – seeing all those cats and kittens spend days on end in a pen when they could have been in a loving home.

“Thankfully, our volunteers did their best to keep them entertained, and cats do have a remarkable resilience to curl up and cope when things get tough.

“It was wonderful to be able to take down the ‘closed’ signs and open the gate to visitors again.

“We now desperately need to make room for all those cats that have been waiting for weeks to come in and be re-homed. If people are thinking about getting a cat, we’d like them to pay us a visit and tell everyone they know about our plight. It really makes all the difference.”

She added: “With as many as six cats in some of the pens – mums and their kittens – it will take a sustained effort to make new room.

“There is a very long way to go before we are anywhere near back to normal capacity, and this was already our busiest year.”