A CAT rescue organisation has made a desperate plea for people not to let kittens out until they are neutered or chipped.

Yorkshire Cat Rescue, based at Cross Roads, recently went to the aid of a tiny kitten found on a street after being hit by a car.

“The 19-week-old kitten, now named Winter, was given treatment at the vets and we’re hopeful that cage rest and painkillers will help him make a full recovery,” said a spokesman for the charity. “Sadly, Winter’s story is not unique. The number of kittens found on the streets is steadily increasing; this is one of the many reasons YCR continues to focus on the importance of not letting kittens out until they’re six months of age, and are neutered and chipped.

“This is to prevent unwanted litters and kittens getting lost. It’s a happy outcome for Winter as he has already been reserved and will be heading to his new home once he’s been given the all-clear by the vet. But we still have a very long waiting list and most of our adult cat pens are full.”

She added: “We ensure that every cat and kitten who comes to us is chipped and neutered before going to their new homes, and every person who adopts from us is given appropriate advice and information on settling their new cat or kitten in.”

The charity, formerly known as Haworth Cat Rescue, saves abandoned and unwanted cats and kittens across the region and parts of Lancashire.

Last October cat rescuers warned in the press that dead kittens lying in the district’s streets could soon become normal. Laura Westcough, co-founder of Pink Paws Cat Rescue, said she saves up to ten cats a day, often found trapped under rubbish. One volunteer was caring for 27 cats in her home.

Laura said: “We’re not really getting to the root of the problem. We’re picking up the pieces of a horrible mess. People get kittens and don’t follow through and give them the correct care they need. It’s the microchip, the vaccines and the neutering.”

Paula Thomas, who cares for 40 rescue cats, said the situation had become “horrific”, with people throwing cats out onto streets un-neutered and often with diseases.

She said: “I get messages all day regarding cats that need help and I try to make sure they have rescues to go to but the situation is not getting any better.”

For more about Yorkshire Cat Rescue, or advice on neutering cats, e-mail mail@yorkshirecatrescue.org or call 01535 647184. Lines are open from 1pm to 4pm weekdays and 10.30am to 4pm weekends.