Belfast Telegraph

Cat lover Helen opens her home to 45 rescue animals

By Christine Carrigan

Meet the Craigavon woman who is living with 45 cats in her three-bed semi-detached house.

Helen McFerran (35) manages Little Cat Rescue NI, a voluntary rehoming service for cats which she runs along with partner Matthew Simon (40).

The couple have converted their back garden into a secure cat run and turned two of the three bedrooms into play rooms. Helen told the Belfast Telegraph that they are "like my babies".

"It makes me feel amazing when I rescue a cat and can see the change in them, as they get happier and more relaxed around you," she said.

Helen, who also works full-time outside of her volunteer work, started rescuing cats in 2010 when she moved back home to Northern Ireland.

"I was away at university in Aberdeen and when I was there I got in with different groups who were involved in this kind of work," she explained.

"When I moved home, a friend of mine who is a vet told me about the problems these cats were facing and if I would take one in. It was then that I realised how big of a problem this was."

Helen rehomes between 250-400 cats each year.

"We take in kittens and cats of all ages, regardless of what is wrong with them," she said.

"For example, today I am waiting on a 10-week-old kitten being delivered to me. He will be vet checked tomorrow and put up on the Facebook page on Friday and hopefully rehomed by next week if everything is okay."

Little Cat Rescue NI also ensures the animals are healthy and receive treatment.

She said: "We are responsible for worming, fleaing and weaning, as well as seeking treatment for medical conditions.

"We pay for nearly everything ourselves. We do ask for a donation to be made from the families who are rehoming a cat and that goes back into the pot for those still in our care," Helen added.

Although she manages to cope with the pressure of looking after so many animals she said that it does come with trouble.

"A while back we got a threat that our cats would be poisoned."

But Helen will not let this deter her from her rescue work, adding: "We have had nearly 9,000 people like the page and the support we get from the public and volunteers is amazing."

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