Mr Brown, who is also the vice chairperson of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Animal Welfare, met staff at the centre before enjoying a behind-the-scenes tour where he met some of the cats currently looking for new homes.
Cats are becoming increasingly popular in Northern Ireland, with Cats Protection’s new Cats and Their Stats (CATS) report, published in October 2022, showing the number of households owning a cat increasing from 22% to 26% over the past 12 months.
As the leading voice on feline welfare, Cats Protection is calling for politicians and decision makers to support measures including the introduction of Lucy’s Law to ban the commercial third-party sale of kittens. The charity is also calling for the compulsory microchipping of pet cats to be introduced in Northern Ireland, which is already in place for dogs.
Patrick Brown MLA said: “It was a huge pleasure to visit Cats Protection’s Belfast Adoption Centre and see the great work which goes into caring for and rehoming cats. People in Northern Ireland care deeply about their pets, and I was very interested to hear of the growing trend for cat ownership. This makes the work of Cats Protection all the more important, and I am looking forward to working closely with them to improve current animal welfare legislation and regulations and introducing much needed new legislation in Northern Ireland. I am also supporting their calls for improvements to feline welfare legislation across the UK.”
Cats Protection’s Advocacy & Government Relations Officer Alice Palombo said “We were so pleased to welcome Mr Brown to the centre to discuss the work we do to help cats, including our new campaign for compulsory microchipping of pet cats in Northern Ireland. It’s great to see politicians taking a keen interest in cat welfare, which is an important issue for many people.”
Cats Protection is campaigning for compulsory microchipping of pet cats in Northern Ireland, a measure that is already in place for dogs. Animal lovers can support the campaign by visiting Cats Protection’s website to sign a petition.