A cat sanctuary which used to house 600 animals every year is calling on the community to help as it tries to battle through funding cuts.

Chestnut Cat Sanctuary in Esgors Cottages, Thornwood, says it is struggling as donations fall and the number of unwanted cats in Epping Forest rises.

It has been re-homing cats for the past 14 years.

Manager Gillian Beard said that the sanctuary re-homed 600 cats per year six years ago, but now, that number has halved.

She said: “The way things are at the moment is pretty bad, but then we always find a way to muddle through.

“One minute we’ll be sitting there thinking what on earth will we do and then a cheque will come in.

“There are a lot of cats coming in and we are coming up to kitten season.”

Recently the RSPCA had to cut monthly funding for the charity, making it harder for them to feed, house and provide medical care for all of the cats.

As many as 26 cats are cared for at one time, including some which are pregnant.

In recent times it has taken up to a year to find a home for a cat.

Mrs Beard said that all help would be gratefully received.

She said: “We would really appreciate any kind of help, food or blankets and small donations.

“We want people who are serious about re-homing a cat to come and see them.”

To get in contact with the charity, call Mrs Beard on 01992 560 510.