Cat charity boss at center of QUITS welfare scandal - petsitterbank

Cat charity boss at center of QUITS welfare scandal

Cat charity boss at center of welfare scandal after it was revealed she was keeping 18 pets in her £563,000 three-bedroom home STOP…but insists that his animals are “happy and healthy”

  • The number of cats Linda Upson took care of would have left other staff members desperate
  • Keeping too many cats on one property can stress them out
  • Charity CEO Charles Darley has already announced his resignation after the scandal broke

The chairwoman of the UK’s biggest cat charity has quit after it emerged she was keeping 18 cats in her £563,000 three-bedroom home, even though she insisted they were ‘happy and healthy’ in his first public comments on the matter.

The number of cats Linda Upson cared for had left other staff desperate, worried about how the charity might be perceived and ‘nervous to use her as a spokesperson’.

The Essex-based charity – Cats Protection – has itself commissioned research into the problems of multi-cat households in the past, which found that environments that don’t provide enough space can cause a considerable stress to pets.

Guidance from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says cats should be given “enough space to be able to move away from each other if they wish”.

The number of cats Linda Upson cared for reportedly left other staff desperate and worried about how the charity might be perceived.

The former charity director lives with her more than a dozen cats in this three-bedroom house

The former charity director lives with her more than a dozen cats in this three-bedroom house

Acting chief executive Charles Darley has already resigned after an internal inquiry concluded Miss Upson should keep her job – only asking her to assure them she would no longer house pets.

He disagreed with the decision, telling the Telegraph that his welfare concerns were shared by five other animal charities who had been consulted on the matter.

‘Make sure there’s enough space for them to get away from each other’: Defra’s tips for caring for cats

DEFRA has published a “Cat Welfare Code of Practice” to accompany the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

The document does not specify a maximum number of cats that can be kept in a home, but includes the following relevant sections:

“If multiple cats share a living space, provide enough additional resources (e.g. toys, beds, litter boxes, and hiding places) and give them enough space to stray from each other. each other if they wish.”

‘….many cats are happiest living without other cats and may be reluctant to accept new cats. A cat can suffer if it cannot avoid other cats it dislikes or if it has to engage in activities such as sharing food bowls or litter boxes.

‘…keeping too many cats together can create a stressful and unhealthy environment, which can make it difficult for you to meet the individual needs of your pets.

In a statement released yesterday, Miss Upson took a defiant tone and insisted she has always taken good care of her animals.

‘I have today resigned my role as Chairman of the Directors of Cats Protection and my role as a director on the Board of Directors because I passionately support Cats Protection and do not wish the recent media coverage harms the charity’s vital work of helping cats in need,’ she said.

“The welfare and welfare of cats has always been of primary concern to me and I have always ensured that my own cats and foster cats receive the best possible care.

“My cats are between nine and 19 years old. I believe they are happy and healthy because each has their own food bowl, litter box and other resources.

“They are all vaccinated and taken to the vet regularly. I don’t have any foster cats at the moment either.

Mr Darley – who was just three months into his 12-month contract when he decided to quit – previously described how Miss Upson said she ‘didn’t think it was a problem’ when faced with concerns about the living conditions of her pets.

He said: ‘I have been in and out of over a dozen charities and have never come across a position like this before.

‘A lot of [trustees] are avid cat lovers, so they may view this behavior in a different light than people who love cats but don’t love them quite the same way.

Cats Protection has 10,000 volunteers and 1,000 staff who help care for some 126,000 cats and kittens, and the charity receives £75million in donations each year.

Several corporate sponsors have reportedly contacted the charity to raise concerns after reports of the scandal first emerged last week.

Interim chief executive Charles Darley recently announced he was leaving just three months after a 12-month contract

Interim chief executive Charles Darley recently announced he was leaving just three months after a 12-month contract

Angela Swarbrick, its vice president, said: “We would like to thank Linda for her dedication to our organization’s work on cat welfare over the past two decades.

“We realize this has been a difficult time for Linda, particularly following her decision to step down as Chair between mid-December 2021 and January 2022 to consider her position with the charity.

“Cats Protection takes governance seriously and our trustees follow the charity’s governance code.

“The charity undertakes regular reviews and has committed to an external review of its governance procedures and processes to ensure that we are confident in delivering the next 10 years of our strategy so that we can do our best for the cats.”



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