A family who decided to adopt nearly 20 cats in lockdown have now had their house converted into a rescue centre where they live – with more than 130 felines.
Tina Lewis, 54, runs Filey Cat Rescue in the North Yorkshire coastal town with husband Mark, 68, and daughter Kate, 23.
The family decided to rescue 18 cats from a farm in lockdown.
But two years later, they have to convert the detached farmhouse where Tina had lived since she was a child into a rescue centre.
Tina currently looks after around 132 cats that live in her home, but that number is expected to increase – as several of the cats are pregnant.
Their entire home has been taken over by cats – a litter of kittens live in the bathroom and the attic has been turned into a mini vets where one cat had a blood transfusion.
Tina has also moved out of her bedroom into her dining room so she can look after even more cats.
But she has said that she only expected to have ‘eight or nine cats in at a time’ but now it’s ‘absolutely mad and mental.’
Tina said: “It really has gone massive.
“Obviously it is a complete full time job for me and a change of everything for everyone who lives here – it’s all cats.”
She added: “When we became a charity, I thought we might have eight or nine cats in at a time but it went absolutely mad and mental.
“There are just so many cats out there that are desperate.
“I’ve cleared waste areas, I’m everywhere because there are just so many cats that are desperate.”
Tina also spends around £7,000 a month on looking after the cats and has had to sell her car and her wedding ring so she can afford to care for them.
She said: “It’s just an unbelievable amount.
“We’ve been getting donations but just getting nothing like that.
“We are lucky to have a bed and breakfast so all that money goes into the charity but in winter, it’s a different story as the bed and breakfast is quite then.
“It was really, really worrying but now we can see light at the end of the tunnel for us to do this.
“We want to do this forever and leave it so that after our days, it’s here forever.
“I had a really nice Audi but that’s gone, which doesn’t bother me.
“With the wedding ring, I looked at my husband and said ‘what do we have to sell’ and looked at my hand and just thought ‘I don’t need this.’
“I’m still married, it doesn’t make a difference at all.
“I’m also going to sell my dad’s old Mercedes that he had before he passed away.
“I’ve had it in a little barn for 30 years, but that will be leaving as well.
“I’ve run out of things to sell now and obviously we don’t have any ornaments with the cats anyway so the house is pretty bland now.”
Despite the fact that the cats have completely taken over her house, Tina never wants to move the rescue centre and always wants it running out of her home.
The married mum-of-two said: “We’ve got about an acre of land, and it’s perfect for them, it’s just beautiful.
“We’ve got a wall going down one side and lots of trees.
“There are also 31 units where the cats live that are in there, so we’ve gradually got it exactly right.
“We can accommodate more cats, we have a barn and the dream would be to make another floor from that which could potentially have another 20 beautiful units in there.
“But that’s probably a dream but you never know.”