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Meet the Hornchurch couple who’ve been rescuing unwanted cats for 15 years

Bill and Ann Holdsworth with some of their cats. They have run a cat rescue service for nearly 20 years. Picture by: Ellie Hoskins Bill and Ann Holdsworth with some of their cats. They have run a cat rescue service for nearly 20 years. Picture by: Ellie Hoskins

Monday, March 10, 2014
7:00 AM

Meet Ann and Bill Holdsworth – the couple who are helping Havering’s unwanted felines one at a time.

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Bill with some of the cats. Picture by: Ellie HoskinsBill with some of the cats. Picture by: Ellie Hoskins

From their small shop in Hornchurch Road, Hornchurch, the couple – both in their late sixties – help to re-home more than 200 cats a year while both working day jobs.

The RSPCA deals with more than 1,000 mistreated cats each year and these are only the cases it is aware of.

It fears that many more cases of cruelty or neglect go unreported.

This is why people like Ann and Bill are so vital.

The couple rescue around 200 cats a year. Picture Ellie HoskinsThe couple rescue around 200 cats a year. Picture Ellie Hoskins

Bill said: “We have been doing this for about 15 years now. It started when we re-homed a cat on behalf of a lady called Eileen Lewis who used to run a cat rescue operation around here. She’d been doing it for 30 or 40 years and sadly passed away not long after that.

“After that first pussycat, it just snowballed and we began taking on more and more. These days it’s getting harder to home them and there’s more that need our help. Over the course of a year we re-home about 200 adults and kittens. If we get a pregnant cat we keep her until she has her babies and then we have her spayed and try to find homes for her and her offspring.

“When it comes to finding new homes, if it’s a friendly cat then that makes it much easier, unfortunately people don’t have the patience for the more difficult cases. We have a lovely eight-year-old called Jane who hasn’t been able to find a home because she doesn’t take well to strangers at first, but we’ve grown to love her.”

It’s a job that has seen their own feline collection to swell to 16.

Bill said: “Once a cat has been unable to find a home for a very long time and has been here for a number of years, we start to consider him or her one of our own.”

The couple are determined to keep on helping cats for as long as they can.

“As long as we can walk we’ll keep doing it,” Bill added.

If you think you’d like to adopt one of their furry friends, call Bill and Ann’s cat rescue on 01708 440453.

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