Page last updated at 11:43 GMT, Sunday, 13 December 2009

Feral cats to be pest controllers

One of the cats being re-homed at a stables
Emma Holder said the new cat at her stables was lovely

An animal charity has been rounding up a colony of about 20 feral cats in the hope of re-homing them on farms as eco-friendly pest controllers.

Cats Protection in Bournemouth has been setting traps at a car park in Fordingbridge, Hampshire, in the hope of saving the cats from a short life.

The cats are caught, given medical treatment and neutered, before being sent out to farmers.

Cats Protection are appealing for more people to help look after the animals.

The cats will never be tame enough to become household pets so their perfect environment is stables, farms or garden centres, the charity said.

Busy road

One resident who lives near the car park in Ringwood Road has caught three of the animals in the past few days.

"We're near a very busy road," Daniel Hughes said.

"I just want them to be safe and I want them to be somewhere where they can live a happy life and not keep breeding."

One cat was recently re-homed at a stables with a mouse problem in Corfe Mullen, near Wimborne.

Emma Holder said of her new arrival: "She's lovely.

"She's really sweet, she's not as wild as I thought she'd be.

I just like to see them enjoy their outside existence
Frank Mitchell, Cats Protection

"Hopefully, maybe we can make her a bit more friendly towards the children."

Frank Mitchell, of Cats Protection, said the cats were "not going to last very long" at the car park "because they're just searching for food".

"All they can do is go around dustbins and things like that.

"I just like to see them enjoy their outside existence.

"Once it's released, it will be a happy cat, a happy ending."

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