Cats Protection has launched a kitten crisis campaign to help fund the charity's efforts to find new homes for an estimated 32,000 unwanted kittens this spring and summer. Each spring Cats Protection is inundated with abandoned kittens.
"Cats are now the UK's most popular pet, but the downside of this popularity is that each spring brings tens of thousands of unwanted kittens," said Debbie Pearce, head of operations at Cats Protection.
The appeal was launched in February with a direct mail pack sent out to 75,000 previous donors. It consisted of a letter with a donation form, a flyer, a brochure and a postage paid response envelope.
This is being supported throughout March with a million inserts in the national press, women's magazines, general interest titles and specialist cat magazines. Titles include the Radio Times, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Own and Cat World.
Cats Protection's tradition of using gentle humour to express a serious point is continued through the campaign. The outer envelope of the mail pack carries the image of a parade of cats, tails in the air, alongside the message "Help! The kittens are coming". The campaign plays on the theme that one kitten is "a cute problem" but 32,000 unwanted kittens is an "acute problem".
"While most of us are familiar with the problem of unwanted pets at Christmas, this appeal publicises the fact that spring and early summer are the seasons when branches of Cat Protection face their biggest challenge," said Dylan ApIvor, account director at advertising agency TDA.
Cats Protection, which rescues a cat every seven minutes, hopes that the campaign will raise between £80,000 and £100,000 to help put a stop to the annual kitten crisis.
Mail packs and inserts explain that donations will help fund a national neutering programme and the opening of new rescue centres.
The appeal has been successful in capturing the public's imagination.
"We are very pleased with the response to date," said ApIvor.
"We don't have an exact figure of the amount raised because we have to wait for all the responses to be processed, but we are very encouraged."