A long-term resident at Worthing Cat Welfare Trust celebrated her 21st birthday this week.
Leona marked her age of majority – approximately 100 in human years – with a miaow and a cuddle from charity co-founder Iris Green.
Iris said: “This dear little soul – and she is very little – was born in April 1998 and probably had a rough old life until she arrived here at the Trust in 2010.
“She had been in a household with various others felines and had produced numerous kittens.
“In fact, when she came to us, she was again pregnant and gave birth here at my home in Orchard Avenue.
“The kittens were all found good homes, but we nipped the problem in the bud – quite literally – by having her spayed, as we do with all cats coming into our care.”
Worthing Cat Welfare Trust has been an active registered charity here in Worthing and the surrounding villages since 1995 and in the last year alone rescued and re-homed over 180 cats and kittens.
Rather than operating from one fixed establishment the trust has a network of six dedicated temporary foster centres, where needy cats are sheltered, given veterinary treatment and prepared for re-homing.
One location specialises in mothers nursing their kittens.
For some cats, however, re-homing is very difficult due to old age, medical issues or life trauma.
Iris said: “After a certain age it is more difficult to find folks to adopt them and little Leona has been in this category.
“However, she has safe and happy haven here with us and is such a brave – and vocal – little companion.
“Last year she needed a lot of dental work and the removal of a tumour in her mouth, which grew back and required a second procedure.
“She was amazingly brave and now she’s back on form and eating more like a horse than a cat!”
Worthing Cat Welfare Trust has cats for adoption of all ages, from kittens right up to golden oldies, and even a special scheme to subsidise future veterinary costs for any cats over ten years old.
For more information visit www.worthingcatwelfaretrust.org