Ollie in front of Rachel's meadow painting | Credit: Rachel Hannah

A Fairwater artist is using her paintbrush to help save a cat rescue charity

Painter Rachel Hannah has raised hundreds within days for the struggling charity Usk New Start Cat Rescue

ARTIST Rachel Hannah is doing her bit to protect a Welsh cat charity – by raffling off one of her largest paintings.

Rachel heard that the charity Usk New Start Cat Rescue (USK) was struggling to stay afloat.

She adopted a cat from the charity in the past and decided she had to help.

If the worst came to the worst, the closure of Usk New Start Cat Rescue would result in 200 more cats on waiting lists for other animal rescues in the area each year.

This means many cats would miss out on the support the rescue provides and would be destined to lives as strays.

It is a grim prognosis for abandoned cats who often get injured and rely on the charity’s help for medical treatment.

Julie Lloyd, a representative of the charity, said: “Cats really get the sorry end of the stick. They end up strays and people just don’t bother which means they are then destined for the streets.

“If they get abscesses and they don’t get treated they can get septicaemia and die.”

A kitten rescued by USK New Start Cat Rescue. Image credit: USK New Start Cat Rescue

Artist Rachel Hannah saw the charity’s plea for help on Facebook and answered. Now, she has placed one of her large paintings, worth £700, up for grabs as part of a Crowdfunder. 

For every £2 donated, a contributor name is added to the raffle. One lucky person will win the large painting of a meadow. 

“It’s a selfless job that they do and as a cat person it just strikes a chord with me,” said Rachel, from Fairwater.

“Rescues are so easily overlooked. But it’s really important that they exist, and that people can go to them for help or to adopt.”

Rachel Hannah with her art at a show. Image Credit: Rachel Hannah

Rachel adopted her beloved pet Ollie from the charity nearly three years ago. He had to be rehomed along with his three siblings after a new baby in the home was allergic to cats. 

“All four of them went up for adoption and nobody wanted Ollie. My heart just went out to him,” recalled Rachel.

The British longhair cat inspired the artist to use her talent to help the charity that brought them together. So Usk New Start Cat Rescue can continue to help others like Ollie.

The charity takes in 150 to 200 cats and kittens annually, making sure they are fit for rehoming. When owners can no longer afford vet bills and must give up their cats, USK steps in to cover costs and rehome the animal.

The charity’s monthly vet bills come to between £5,000 to £7,000. Fundraisers like Rachel’s go a long way in helping them afford the food and vaccination costs, they incur while helping the cat population of south east Wales.

Julie added: “We’re totally reliant on people like Rachel, who step forward and help. Without volunteers helping us, we really can’t continue.”

The charity is 100% dependent on volunteers and fundraisers. It does not have paid members of staff, as the bigger cat charities such as Cats Protection do. And unlike big animal rescues like the RSPCA, it does not receive any government funding. 

All the money they raise goes back to helping cats. So, they can continue to rehome them and provide other services. Including, neutering feral cats to control the population in south east Wales and giving therapy cats to the elderly and neurodivergent children.

“We’re just desperate for people to come forward and help whether it’s with fundraising, fostering or running errands,” said Julie.

Rachel, who has previously raised money for Women’s Aid, NHS charity and Noah’s Ark, said: “USK just needs a few people like me that can do fundraisers, and it will have a big impact.”