A NEW Deeside cat charity is appealing for feline-loving residents to help them expand their rescue service.
Cat Protection's Deeside branch are urging people in the area to contact them if they have an interest in volunteering, and in particular, from the Braemar area.
Established in May, the branch aims to provide a cat re-homing and lost and found service.
There are currently eight volunteers working in Deeside but many more are needed to provide the full range of services and co-ordinators are looking for donations big or small to keep the branch running.
Volunteers also help with the neutering of owned cats, and the trapping, neutering and return of feral cats.
Joint branch co-ordinator Liz Robertson says volunteering is worthwhile: "It's something that I've been interested in for a number of years and when I saw the advert for volunteers I got in touch. We started the branch in May, but June was really the first month of looking after cats.
"Within the last couple of weeks we've rehoused three cats and the one I'm looking after looks set to be rehoused in the following weeks, so its been really successful and rewarding."
" We need to let people know we are out there, and especially for them to be aware that we need more volunteers."
Cats Protection has around 7,000 cats in its care at any one time across the country, all being looked after until new homes are found.
The Deeside branch is part of a national network of 253 volunteer-run branches and 29 adoption centres that together help over 193,000 cats and kittens a year.The branch's other co-ordinator Helen Bisset urges local people for their help.
"We would especially like people who can foster cats to come forward as they provide space for the cats before we find them a new home. However we would be grateful for anyone with any spare time. If someone is going to foster, they should have a spare room for the cats."
Helen continued: "Volunteering is a fun and rewarding experience, particularly if you have a skill that would benefit the charity or would like to develop new skills by taking on a fresh challenge. Our volunteers gain a great deal of satisfaction helping cats to get a second chance in life, whilst meeting like-minded people along the way."
There are a range of voluntary positions available for cat lovers including working to coordinate the trapping, neutering and return of feral cats. And you do not have to volunteer to help the Cats Protection, you can adopt a cat or kitten, make a donation, leave a legacy, sponsor a Cat Cabin or become a member or special friend.
Cats Protection will provide assistance and support materials to help fulfil the voluntary roles so there is no requirement to be an expert.
Founded as the Cats Protection League in 1927 the charity's vision is for every cat to be treated with kindness and an understanding of its needs.
Deeside's Cats Protection also supports Highland Tiger a charity which seeks to protect the Scottish wildcat. Experts believe there could be as little as 400 left in the wild, and with disease, vehicle collisions, habitat loss and interbreeding with the domestic cat taking their toll, they are one of Britain's most endangered species.
To find out about volunteering opportunities, neutering vouchers or if you need help or advice about homing a cat contact the branch on 07837342660. More information can be found about the charity at www.cats.org.uk.