Kitten sanctuary facing into pet food and costs crisis

Hannah McNamara

RISING costs have put a significant strain on an animal charity struggling to afford essentials for their animals.

The Kitten Cottage Animal Sanctuary in Virginia is facing its “worst pet food crisis in years” due to the increasing numbers of cats and kittens being surrendered or dumped and the rising costs in pet food.

The small non-profit organisation receives an annual grant of €12,900 from the State, however owner Máire Egan has said that it costs over €24,000 a year to run the shelter: “We do everything that we can but it's just getting harder and harder to manage.”

“Before Covid it cost €25 to neuter a kitten, now its €65. Food has increased approximately 40 per cent and then there's other costs such as cleaning equipment on top of that.”

“Petrol is something people don't even think about when it comes to the work of animal charities. I spend so much of my day travelling to and from veterinary clinics and the sanctuary.”

Learning of the struggles animal charities are facing nowadays with costs, Slane woman Sonia Fitzpatrick created a GoFundMe page for the sanctuary, encouraging people to donate and “relieve the suffering of the poor defenceless animals”.

“I have always been an animal lover, especially cats and I have become increasingly aware of how the animal charities across Ireland are struggling to cope with the costs and numbers of animals in their care,” explains Sonia.

“I wanted to help in any way I could. I'm delighted at how successful the fundraiser has become. I want to thank all the wonderful animal lovers who made donations, it will greatly help to cover costs of pet food and veterinary bills.”

With a target of €2,250, Sonia has raised €2,010 in under two weeks.

“I'm delighted with how successful the fundraiser has become and I want to thank all who made donations.”

Máire expressed how grateful she was to Sonia for organising this fundraiser.

“Fundraisers and donation pages help massively. I can't emphasise enough how generous people are.”

The Kitten Cottage Animal Sanctuary was founded 24 years ago.

“It all began by accident,” Máire said.

“I had not long moved from Dublin to Virginia and my two sons found an old, sick cat. It took them six weeks to tame the cat down and catch him. We then, took the cat to the vets who told us that the cat would have to be put down. There was nothing wrong with the cat just nowhere for him to go. I then agreed to take the cat home. Then one became 13 and then 13 became 30. Over the 24 years I've rescued over 11,600 cats.”

Over the years Máire has also found herself rescue other animals and wildlife such as birds, foxes, dogs and even once an otter.

“Of all the things I've done in my life, starting this sanctuary is absolutely one of my favourites. It's my chance to give back.”

You can find about the Kitten Cottage on