A CHARITY is raising the importance of getting cats neutered as they are brought 'a higher number of strays than ever' over the summer months.

Andy Richards, from Friends of the Cats in Accrington, is encouraging owners to get older cats neutered and there are various health benefits in doing so.

He raised a number of concerns, such as the increased risk of disease and an increased risk of them being attacked by male cats, as reason why they should have the procedure.

This comes as the charity continues to see more and more stray cats brought to them than ever before.

Mr Richards said: "It's absolutely mad, every single day we're getting more and more requests to take cats in.

"A lot of them are young kittens.

"People think everyone wants kittens but when it comes to it they can't find a home for them and then they end up coming to places like us.

"It is something that happens a lot, sometimes they will keep them but they find they cannot cope with it and they get rid of them.

"It's really, really important that owners get their cats neutered.

"There is a problem with the number of stray cats in Blackburn and Hyndburn and I don't know why."

The calls come after the Lancashire Telegraph reported on Wednesday a seven-year-old tortoiseshell cat returned to its owner neutered in Burnley after disappearing for several days.

Mr Richards helps run the charity in Blackburn Road which aims to help stray cats in the Accrington and wider area.

He said there are also other benefits which female cats can receive by being neutered.

Mr Richards said: "It's a big thing for a female cats health.

"Some cats can end up having litters and litters of kittens, and it is not doing anybody any good.

"When cats get older there is an increased risk of the cats getting cervical cancer.

"It is not very responsible for owners to let their cats walk round the streets unneutered.

"Tom cats can also sense when they've not been neutered and they can rape them, it's really unpleasant to see, they're relentless.

"This can lead to cats catching a lot of serious and killer illnesses."

The cat charity has previously been called in to care for stray cats in a variety of situations.

Last year they helped Rufus, a stray who was shot in the nose by a pellet in Bold Street, Accrington.