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RSPCA says Sheppey's feral cat problem is getting out of control and is encouraging holidaymakers not to bring their pets with them

By Emma Grove

The RSPCA is warning that a problem with feral cats at Sheppey’s holiday parks is getting out of control.

Nicola Honey, who runs the mobile neutering bus for the charity, estimates there are hundreds living on the Island’s camps.

She says it’s a historic issue, thought to have started with owners who would bring their pets along for their stay. It’s thought that the animals would either get left behind or run off.

The RSPCA's Nicola Honey with some of the feral cats at the Happy Valley holiday park, Leysdown
The RSPCA's Nicola Honey with some of the feral cats at the Happy Valley holiday park, Leysdown

Some of the cats are in a reasonable condition, but they do get sick and with no one to properly care for them they often die.

Populations can quickly escalate. Although park residents and holiday-makers often feed them there isn’t enough food for them, when the sites are closed out of season.

Mrs Honey says the solution is to neuter as many as possible.

“We are getting to the end of our tether,” she said.

“There is help available and we will neuter them, but people have to help us and help themselves and let us know where they are.

“We need to be proactive and try and prevent it because some of these cats and kittens are in an appalling condition and a lot of them will die.”

Ruth Hodder, manager at Happy Valley Chalet Park in Leysdown, is working with the charity.

She estimated that there were currently about 40 cats on the Warden Bay Road site, and that almost 200 cats have died in the past 25 years she says.

The park pays out for vet bills and spends more than £30 a week for the casts.

“It really is a terrible problem,” Ms Hodder said. “The population just escalates to such a degree you can’t control it.

“What do we do – see a cat suffer and die? We pay for it obviously.

“We are encouraging people to take responsibilty. If you have a cat don’t bring it down to the holiday park.”

To report feral cats at any of the Island’s parks, phone RSPCA chairman Angela Walder on 01795 874451.

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