Animal lover Emma Crompton hasn’t let her cat allergy get in the way of doing what she does best – rescuing the furry felines.
The 22-year-old has spent countless cold nights capturing cats and kittens and now runs Bay Cat Rescue, a rehabilitation organisation for stray and feral cats.
“I believe all cats can have a chance of getting a home,” said Emma, who also studies law at Lancaster University.
“My family thought I was crazy when I told them my plans, they said how can this one girl set up this on her own, but I did.”
Bay Cat Rescue, a not-for-profit organisation, was set up in 2013 and is run by Emma and 10 foster families, all volunteers.
They take stray cats and kittens in, to prepare them for their potential new home.
Emma’s passion began at the age of 12 when she got her first cat from her uncle and began to work for animal charities.
She said: “My uncle Pete, who lived on a farm, gave me two feral cats, they were hissing and were quite violent.
“My nan said ‘you won’t be able to turn them’ but I did and my love began.
“If I am just a child and I can turn these two kittens, then it is possible for a lot more cats out there.
“The more I worked for other charities the more I realised what some can’t do.”
Emma set to work on creating her rescue sanctuary, and has even skipped opening her presents on Christmas Day to go to the aid of the pussycats.
“My family would wait for me at home to open presents and I would be out finding feral cats,” said Emma.
“It was hard but my family were very understanding.”
As well running Bay Cat Rescue Emma is also studying for a degree and also works full time.
She said: “Sometimes people want me to come out at all times of the night to rescue cats, but I will always do my best whenever I can.
“If there is an emergency with one of the cats I just go.”
Bay Cat Rescue cares for cats in a home environment but don’t take all cats home that they capture.
Depending on whether they are feral or a stray cat is important as some can be very dangerous.
The rescue group is one of a few organisations that rehabilitate feral kittens.
Emma said: “You can’t pick up a feral cat, it will take your arm off. I would like to keep both my hands.”
The group catches feral cats to control the population - in her lifetime a female feral cat can produce thousands of kittens.
Emma uses a special metal wire box for capturing. Once captured they are taken to the vets to be vaccinated, neutered (depending on whether a female cat is pregnant) and micro-chipped.
The cats then wait to be homed and Emma arranges home visits for with potential new cat owners who wish to adopt.
“A lot of cats have very different needs, especially if they have been abused,” said Emma.
“When I go around and do my visits people often look shocked when they see a young girl, but I have been doing this for ten years.”
The number of cats and kittens being abandoned or sold-off is increasing, explains Emma.
She said: “The growing problem is pet owners who don’t have a clue and just put pets up for sale on Facebook. “People will buy a kitten for £10 and have no idea where it has come from or how it has been looked after.
“Some pets have lots of health problems and the new owners know nothing about it and suddenly don’t want them anymore, well what do you expect when you buy it so cheaply off Facebook.”
At Bay Cat Rescue some cats have been waiting for a very long time.
Jester, a black and white neutered male who is 10 years old, has been with BCR for seven months.
He was rescued from Silverdale after wandering the streets for 18 months.
Wendy, Jester’s fosterer said: “I have been a fosterer for BCR for almost two years and it has been one of the most rewarding things I have done.
“The cats/kittens in our care are rescued off the streets and after veterinary care are put into family foster homes to be rehabilitated, ready for their forever homes.
“This period in their little lives is so important, they have to be nurtured and learn to trust humans again, time, love and lots of patience is needed.
“It is most rewarding and with a hint of sadness when they leave for their forever home.
“Jester came in as a very scared and nervous cat, probably due to being chased off whilst looking for food and water. During his time with me he has grown into the most affectionate and happy cat with a nature to match his name.
“Jester desperately needs a loving home to call his own, which he truly deserves, preferably with outside space where he can wander freely in a safe environment.
“I feel he needs to be an only pet and would best suit an older person who could give him a quiet place with lots of company, which he deserves to enjoy his latter years.”
Poppy, one of four breeding Bengals abandoned in Lancaster, also needs a home.
Jade also needs a home, she came to BCR from a derelict building in June where she was raising her litter of kittens.
Kittens are also in need of a home, four were found dumped at the bin at Grange Hotel on September 24, three days old and on the brink of death from starvation. They are now two weeks old and now thriving.
If you wish to adopt a cat for a donation of £80 which includes all vaccinations, neutering and a leukaemia vaccination call 07460 636565 to arrange a home visit or visit baycatrescue.wixsite.com/bay-cat-rescue.