A cat dumped unceremoniously in the car park of Yorkshire Cat Rescue several weeks ago has finally been captured alive.

The incident on 1 December angered many, not least staff at the re-homing centre in Keighley, when a woman became angry and upset because the charity was unable to take in a cat she had captured from her garden. The cat wasn't chipped so, sadly, tracing her owner was going to be extremely difficult.

Already bursting at the seams, staff told the woman who hadn't called ahead, that they did not have room for the cat that day. They suggested that she might be able to look after it at home until a rescue space could be found, at which point she decided to simply release the cat in the centre's car park instead.

Scared and in unfamiliar surroundings, the little tabby and white girl ran off into the trees and towards a busy road.

"We were really worried that this poor cat would find herself in immediate danger of being hit by a car, as she was clearly frightened and stressed when she ran off," says Yorkshire Cat Rescue's founder, Sara Atkinson.

Hoping that the cat might decide to remain in the area, staff put out food for her every day and miraculously finally managed to lure her in and catch her. Now named Rosali, she has proven to be a real little charmer.

Sam Davies, centre manager, says: "Once settled, Rosali turned out to be quite the little love bug - purring her head off and constantly wanting cuddles and treats. Sadly, this most likely means that she has been a much loved pet - cared for by someone who could be missing her terribly right now. But because we don't know where she came from, and because she isn't chipped, we have very little chance of finding her owners.

"Please share her picture and story far and wide. This is the only way we can help her find her way home, and with quite a story to tell too. Otherwise, she will be put up for adoption with us in the New Year."

Sadly, Rosali is one of many cats that are either lost and dumped each year. Without a collar or a microchip, it is nearly impossible for those who find them to help bring them back home.

Sara says: "We always try and focus on the good in people, but the lady who let this cat run away in this manner really wasn't very kind - least of all to the poor cat who had no idea where she was and in real danger of not surviving the winter outside. It was very likely that she would not even have made it through Christmas had our staff not stuck with the hope that she was still there, and continued to put food out.

"People with cats that need a place in rescue are often upset when they realise that we don't have space for them immediately. They really want that cat to get a new, loving home. So do we. And it's hard to explain to people on a daily basis that we have hundreds of cats waiting for a place, and that it can take months before we are able to find them one. That is the reality of Britain's unwanted cat problem right now, and we are doing our best to save as many as we can. But right now, there simply is no more room once we have taken care of the most vulnerable, urgent and tragic cases.

Finally, Sara offers a word of caution to anyone who thinks they might have a stray in their garden.

She says: "A hungry cat in your garden is not necessarily a stray. Before you capture and take it to a rescue and re-homing centre, try putting a paper collar on them - around 1cm wide and fastened around the cat’s neck. Write 'Please telephone me if this is your cat (your phone number)'. If they do have an owner, hopefully they will see it and get in touch, and save everyone a lot of heartache."