A woman who has spent more than two decades caring for abandoned and vulnerable cats is facing a race against time to find them new homes, as she has only months to live.
Marlene Brewer, 64, was given the devastating news she had lung cancer in July and after being told she may not make Christmas, is now looking to rehome the cats.
See the cats here: SLIDESHOW: Here are the cats that still need rehoming
The mother-of-four set up Cats in Crisis at her Bamber Bridge home 21 years ago and up until a few weeks ago had more than 80 feline friends.
Following a plea on social media and news outlets, she has managed to find loving families for half of them, but still needs help in rehoming the rest.
Marlene said: “I found out I had cancer on July 20 after a phone call from my GP. At first we thought it was a blood clot on my lung, but doctors confirmed it was cancer and it has now spread to my kidney.
“I ended up in A&E and had x-rays and scans. I was also put on antibiotics. I had a brain scan but I said to my doctor I didn’t want to know - all I wanted to do was go home and have a coffee and a chat with my cats.
“The doctor told me the cancer was terminal and I asked how long did I have? I asked do I need to go Christmas shopping so my nine grandchildren have presents from me this year? The doctor looked at me and said I should go shopping. So that was that - I went shopping and completed it in two days.
“I am devastated - it is such a shock.
“At the moment I am very tired, especially in the mornings. Over the last couple of weeks, my eye sight has been going and I have been feeling dizzy, with headaches.
“I have finished two lots of chemotherapy and have another bout next week. I haven’t got a clue if it is working or not.”
The former factory worker added that her beloved cats ease her suffering and help take her mind off her terminal diagnosis.
She said: “The cats are keeping me going and taking my mind of things. I just love them. I enjoy watching them play and cuddling them.
“It is horrible saying goodbye to them. I am gutted. Sadly, the ones that were not rehomeable and had health problems had to be put to sleep last week. That was just awful.
“I have had so many people come to offer to take the cats though.
“I know you shouldn’t have favourites, but my boy, Sonic, went to another family at the weekend. He got lost after being locked in my husband’s car and escaped in Kendal. He had been missing for three months and a vet there recognised him from the posters and we got him back.
“It is so heartbreaking to see them go.
“I make sure they all go to good homes. I meet the new owner face to face and visit their home. There have only been two homes I have refused as I had a gut feeling.”
If anyone can help find a loving home for one of Marlene’s cats call 01772 498053.