It may look like an a-mews-ing publicity stunt but charity bosses hope it will get animal lovers to paws for thought.
Feline welfare charity Cats Protection laid out 500 cat bowls at Victoria Gardens in Leeds city centre in a bid to raise awareness of the number of cats desperately needing new homes.
Each feeding dish laid out in the ‘Feeding the 500’ display represented a cat that the charity’s new Gildersome Homing Centre aims to feed and rehome in its first year. Supporters and passers-by were urged to make a contribution, which will be used to provide unwanted cats with much-needed nutrition.
Those giving £10 or more were invited to write a message on cat-tags placed by the bowls, which will then be displayed at the new centre when it opens its doors in the New Year.
Tracey Wilson, Cats Protection’s capital appeals fundraiser, said the aim of the stunt was to “drive home the message that there are so many unwanted cats in need of new homes”.
She added: “It costs 18p a day to feed one cat, but to ensure that all of the cats we rehome in our first year receive the vital nourishment they need, this equates to 58,000 meals.”
She said a monthly contribution of £6.50 could provide more than 850 meals for Gildersome’s future furry residents, while £15 a month meant 2,000 meals.
At present the charity’s welfare work in and around Leeds is undertaken by five volunteer-run branches, who found homes for 733 cats last year.
But Tracey said: “For every one cat that we find a home for, there are many more waiting to come in.
“The new centre plans to find homes for an additional 500 cats each year so it will really make a big difference.”
The £500,000 project was launched by the UK’s oldest and largest cat charity after it noticed a rise in animal welfare issues in Leeds and the surrounding areas, as well as finding many cat owners were struggling to take proper care of their pets.
Tracey said changes in financial circumstances and living arrangements were some of the most common reasons cats needed rehoming, in addition to neglect or being abandoned.
To help the charity go to: www.cats.org.uk