A Cross Roads-based charity has launched the first in a series of guides aimed at dispelling common myths about cats to curb unwanted breeding and improve animal welfare.

Yorkshire Cat Rescue devised Myths About Matings in response to last year’s record number of unwanted kittens, which put a huge strain on the charity’s resources.

Charity founder, Sara Atkinson, said: “One of the most common reasons we’re given from people who allow their female cats to have kittens is that they should be allowed to experience motherhood.

“As romantic as that sounds, there’s no scientific evidence to support the notion female cats are happier because they get the chance to raise kittens.

“On the contrary, the process of mating is rather painful for the female. Many young cats find themselves thin and distressed from becoming mothers too young. People should neuter their cats.”

Rescue centre manager, Sam Davies, who helped write the guide, said: “The ideas that neutering is painful and that cats are happier for being allowed to breed are fuelling an increase in the number of unwanted kittens.”

Visit yorkshirecatrescue.org/-leaflets_and_ posters to download the guide.