A NEW Forest cat charity which is marking its 30th anniversary this year could face closure in 12 months unless it finds a major new source of funding.

Currently Lymington Cat & Kitten Rescue Centre founder Janette Frankland is looking after 67 animals and the cost of food, litter and veterinary bills is about £1,500 a week.

“The cats are living on the last legacy,” said Mrs Frankland. She said the centre would be in serious trouble when that money was gone in about a year’s time.

She said the cost of cat food is about £300 a week, then there are electricity and cleaning materials to pay for, plus wages for three part-time staff.

“We spend £50 to £400 a week on the vet. It fluctuates, it depends on the spaying and neutering to be done,” she added.

Add to the mix next year’s increase in VAT, and the future looks bleak.

The charity, which has actress Susan Hampshire as its patron, has run a shop at Pennington since 2002 and has recently opened a second at Milford thanks to a £5,000 donation.

Nevertheless, the situation remains critical.

“This should have been a landmark year of celebration, but looking ahead there is a real danger we may have to shut unless we can increase our income,” said Mrs Frankland.

“It’s a heartbreaking prospect and we need to pull out all the stops to keep going.”

The situation has been exacerbated by the economic climate which has forced some owners to give up keeping their pets and the recent closures of three other rescue organisations in the area.

The Lymington charity, based in Highfield Avenue, accepts cats from the New Forest, Bournemouth, Southampton and further afield.

Some owners do not phone in advance before delivering unwanted cats.

Mrs Frankland saw a man hurrying away down her path recently. “I went outside and found five black kittens abandoned in a box by the front door,” she said.

Log on to the charity’s website lymicat.org to find out more.