Cats Protection launched a new doorstep delivery scheme called Hands-Free Homing in March to ensure cats could still be homed despite forthcoming lockdown restrictions.
The charity used interactive video to match prospective owners with potential pets, before transporting the animals to the new owner’s doorstep if a match was found.
Following the easing of lockdown measures, Covid-safe collection was also introduced at their centres using the same online matching process.
One of the first cats to be rehomed was Jess, who found a new home with North Yorkshire couple Claire and Paul McGinley.
Mrs McGinley said the couple wanted to adopt an older cat.
“It was hard choosing from the worthy cases on the website,” she said.
“There were a few tears shed by me when we had to choose one because I am so soft and felt sorry for the others we couldn’t have.”
The pair decided on a 12-year-old black and white cat whose owner had recently died.
“He has brought joy and laughter into our lives and once again our house is a home,” Mrs McGinley said.
“We renamed him Shane because he has lost quite a few teeth and my husband’s favourite singer is Shane MacGowan from The Pogues.”
Sandra and Anthony Fludgate, from Datchet in Berkshire, also used Hands-Free Homing to adopt a six-week-old kitten called Hans from Harrow Homing Centre.
Mrs Fludgate said: “We felt totally safe in their care, which was important to us as my husband is disabled and vulnerable and was shielding.
“He loves cats and, as we’ve discovered, kittens definitely keep you young.”
By November, the innovative new scheme had helped the charity home 10,859 cats since the start of lockdown.
Mike Elliott, Cats Protection’s director of field operations, said the 10,000-cat landmark was “an achievement worth celebrating”.
“Lockdown forced us to rethink how best to support the welfare of cats in need,” he said.
“We had to find new ways of working and fast.
“This milestone is testament to the teamwork, commitment and dedication of our volunteers, staff and fundraisers who pulled together for the sake of the cats,” he said.
Additional reporting by PA