How we are operating during COVID-19

Please be aware the situation changes daily and will will change the way we operate in accordance with the advice we receive from the government, DEFRA, The Association of Cats and Dogs Home (ADCH) and/or The Canine and Feline Sector Group (CFSG).

Is the centre open?

No.  The centre is closed and all cats are being cared for in foster homes.  You are able to drop off any donated items at the gate of the centre. We also have a COVID track and trace QR code at the gate. You can also donate cat food online through our wishlist.  Please see our guidelines on how you can help. Thank you.

Can I contact you?

Yes. Our Rescue Coordinators and Cat Care Team are working from home and are answering emails as normal.  Our phone lines (01535 647184) are open from 1-4pm weekdays (except Wednesday when there is no phone cover) and between 10:30 and 4pm Saturday and Sunday. Please note that we cannot pick up phone messages.  If you can't get through on the phone you can email us at [email protected] - please be aware however that we are receiving an unprecedented number of emails and there may be a delay before we can reply to you.

Can I adopt a cat/kitten?

Yes. We are now adopting out cats and kittens. Cats and kittens that can be reserved will be on our website hereWe are adopting out cats by moving them from their current foster home to the home of the adopter. Collection from the centre is also be possible, provided new owners adhere to the social distancing measures we have put in place. Paperwork and payment is done remotely using online forms and online payment. Adoption interviews will be done with new owners by video conferencing or by telephone. 

If you reserve a cat or kitten we will inform you about the adoption process and make an appointment with you for the adoption.  This is in accordance with government guidelines and will change when we are able to reopen the centre. If you want to reserve a cat or kitten that is on our website please contact us with the cat's reference number (this is on the cat's description). Please be aware though, that we are still facing delays in adoption as our vets are operating at a reduced capacity. You may have to wait before we are able to adopt your reserved cat or kitten to you.  If there are no kittens on the website then there are no kittens that can be reserved, please keep checking the website if you want to adopt a kitten.

Are you taking cats in?

All movement of cats constitutes some risk of transmitting COVID-19 between households. For this reason intake is restricted to emergencies. Emergencies are those cats and kittens that are at risk, where their health or welfare will be severely compromised if they do not come into rescue. All other owned and un-owned cats will remain on the waiting list. Please contact us if you need advice on how to care for a cat whilst the centre remains closed. You can still add a cat to the waiting list. We understand that people contact us because they are desperate for our help but we can only help in those circumstances we deem an emergency at this time.

I have become ill/I or someone I know is going into hospital and cannot look after a cat. Can you help?

Yes. To help owners who have become ill or have gone into hospital we have a limited number of foster homes available to temporarily care of their cat(s).  Please see our Respite Care page for details.

Can I become a foster carer?

We are taking applications for new foster carers but again we are using foster homes in different ways during the lock-down.  You can apply here and we will send you further information about the ways you can help by fostering cats. Our foster carers have always been important for us and now more than ever they are helping us to save lives.

Is there a risk to me catching COVID-19 if I become a foster carer?

We have changed our procedures with regard to the collection and delivery of cats to minimise the risk to our foster carers. We are maintaining social distancing during collection and delivery of cats and we are using PPE and cat-safe disinfectant when there is the possibility of the cat coming from a house that has COVID-19.  We have used guidance from DEFRA for our protocols on cat movement. Please note that the PPE we are using is either not needed by the NHS or it does not meet the standards they require.

Are the shops open?

Yes all our charity shops are now re-opened. To view opening hours and locations of all our shops please click  here

Can I still donate items for the shops?

Yes you can now donate items to all our shops. There are strict guidelines in place so we can safely take your donations so please read here for more information. This page will also tell you what we can and can't take and how to Gift Aid your donation.  Thank you

General queries about COVID-19, cats and rescue

What has the government said about Pet businesses and Rescues staying open?

In accordance with Government guidance, companion animal rescue and rehoming organisations can remain open to provide for the ongoing needs of animals in their care. 

All our procedures have been made in accordance with guidelines released by The Canine and Feline Sector Group. The Group responds collectively to Government consultations and provides expert advice to policy makers on all issues relating to dogs and cats.  The guidelines are accessible here

Can I catch COVID-19 from my cat?

COVID-19 has not passed from people to infect domestic cats so there is no evidence that it can pass from your cat to you or anybody else.  There is a very small risk that the virus could be transmitted from a cat to a person by being present on the cat's fur. 

Should I keep my cat in?

You do not need to keep your cat in but you may want to in some circumstances, for example if you have, or suspect you have, coronavirus infection, or if your cat is sociable with strangers or visits another house and you are in a high risk group. If your cat is used to going outside they may become frustrated if you restrict them to the indoors, so if you are keeping them inside then providing more environmental enrichment (toys, food mazes, new sleeping spaces, access to windows etc) will help them cope with the change.

I feed a stray cat/feral colony, should I continue?

If you are caring for a homeless cat or group of cats then stopping feeding them may cause a significant detriment to their welfare. Please continue to do so whilst adhering to guidance on social distancing. Transport to give essential care to animals is permitted by the guidelines on leaving your house. If you feed homeless cats and you can no longer do so because of illness or because you are self isolating then please get in touch with us using our respite form

I am struggling to feed my cats, what can I do?

Please contact your local food banks which may be able to help you with donations of cat food.  If you are struggling to get or buy cat food and you are local to YCR please get in touch with us as we may be able to help.

I rescue cats and I am struggling with caring for them during COVID-19, what can I do?

Please contact other rescues local to you as they may be able to help and offer advice.  We will help people who rescue cats in our area as much as we can.  Please get in touch with us.

How can I let people know I have pets in case I become ill and have to be taken into hospital?

At Yorkshire Cat Rescue we sometimes take in cats from homes where their owner has become ill or died.  If we never speak to the owner we don’t get a lot of information about the cat and we can’t tell the owner that their cat will be alright.   This is why we made our ‘I own a cat’ poster for owners to have in their house.

Other charities have made a poster specifically for use during the COVID-19 pandemic.  You can download and print this too.