An animal welfare charity says it struggles to rehome unwanted cats during winter and after Christmas.

The National Animal Welfare Trust (NAWT) in Tyler's Way, Watford looks after cats, dogs, farm animals and other pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs.

But the charity, which relies on donations, says it finds it hard to cope with an increasing number of animals, especially cats.

It says many families do not realise they do not have the time or money to look after a pet until after they get one.

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Bonzo the dog. (Photos: Daisy Smith)

Watford branch supervisor Yasmin Menezes says the branch has around 50 cats at a time, and up to 40 kittens.

She said: “We do struggle in the winter months paying for heating and towels.

"We also need more food to help the animals maintain their body temperature.

“We have animals come in from Watford, Stevenage and St Albans and we do get cats from further afield.

"A lot of our strays are mothers and they then give birth to kittens.

“For kittens and other young animals it is harder to home them individually because they need a lot of attention and need someone who is there most of the day.”

Ms Menezes also said they receive a lot more dogs after Christmas once puppies reach adolescence and owners may not be able to cope looking after them.

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Sidney the Bichon Frise

She said: “We get a lot of dogs a couple of months after Christmas. They owners may realise it is not the dog they thought it would be or wanted.

“People also may be moving and decide not to take the dogs with them. It is unfortunate and unfair but a lot are handed over due to circumstances changing.”

The charity work to ensure that each animal is paired with the right owner and goes through a detail process including visits and questionnaires.

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Damien (left) and Raven

She added: “It is not uncommon for animals to be dumped, it can be frustrating especially if people know we provide a service.

“I think a lot if it is shame and people can’t bring themselves to face someone and say they need to give up their pet.

“But we don’t judge, we even have a room where they can hand them over without people looking in reception.”

The charity also pays for medical checks and make sure each animal is neutered, vaccinated and micro-chipped.

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