The Filey family turns their home into a cat rescue center – with more than 130 felines


Tina Lewis, 54, who runs Filey Cat Rescue with husband Mark, 68, and daughter Kate, 23, decided to rescue 18 cats from a farm during lockdown.

But two years later, they must transform their independent farm, where Tina has lived since childhood, into a rescue center.

The family currently has around 132 cats living in their home, but that number is expected to increase as several of the cats are pregnant.

Tina Lewis and some of the cats she cares for at Filey Cat Rescue in North Yorkshire. Image: Lee McLean/SWNS

The whole house has been taken over by cats – a litter of kittens live in the bathroom and the attic has been turned into a mini vet where a cat has been given a blood transfusion.

Tina also moved out of her bedroom into her dining room so she could take care of even more cats.

She said she only expected to have “eight or nine cats at a time”, but now it’s “absolutely crazy and mental”.

Tina said: “Obviously it’s a full time job for me and a change of everything for everyone who lives here – they’re all cats.”

Tina Lewis and some of the cats she cares for at Filey Cat Rescue in North Yorkshire.Image: Lee McLean/SWNS

She added: “When we became a charity I thought we could have eight or nine cats at a time, but it got completely crazy and mental.

“There are so many cats that are desperate.

Tina spends around £7,000 a month looking after the cats and has had to sell her car and wedding ring to be able to look after them.

She said: “It’s just an incredible amount.

“We received donations, but nothing like that.

“We are lucky to have a bed and breakfast so all that money goes to the charity, but in the winter it’s a different story because the bed and breakfast is quiet then.

“It was really worrying but now we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

“I had a very nice Audi but it’s gone, which doesn’t bother me.

“With the wedding ring I looked at my husband and said ‘what do we have for sale’ and I looked at my hand and thought ‘I don’t need it .’

“I’m still married, it makes no difference.

“I’m also going to sell my father’s old Mercedes that he had before he died.

“I had it in a little barn for 30 years, but it will go away too.

“I have nothing to sell now and obviously we don’t have any decorations with the cats anyway so the house is pretty bland now.”

Despite the fact that cats have completely taken over her house, Tina still wants to run the rescue center from her home.

The married mother-of-two said: “We have about an acre of land, and it’s perfect for them, it’s just beautiful.

“We have a wall coming down one side and lots of trees.

“There are also 31 units where the cats live there, so we have gradually done things exactly right.

“We can accommodate more cats, we have a barn and the dream would be to make another floor which could potentially have another 20 accommodations.

“It’s probably a dream, but you never know.”