THOUSANDS of cats and kittens in North Devon have been able to find loving new homes after two decades of tireless work by a local charity. The Barnstaple and District branch of Cats Protection was joined at Fremington Parish Hall by volunteers, friends and supporters to celebrate its 20th anniversary. It was set up by a small group of volunteers that included Joan Walton, who had already set up branches in other parts of Devon, and Sheila Coe. Their aim was to help cats by finding them loving new homes and to promote neutering as the best way of reducing unwanted litters, whether domestic or feral. The branch covers a large area and has to cope with constant requests to take in cats and kittens, with only limited space available. Today, more than 200 are rehomed each year, all of which are checked, vaccinated, micro-chipped, treated for fleas and worms and neutered. The charity also offers practical services for owners such as vouchers for kittens to be neutered. The anniversary celebration saw long-serving fosterer Margaret Lethaby asked to cut the birthday cake. It was an opportunity to thank everybody who supports us in so many ways to ensure the needs of cats are met and that people are better educated about cats and their needs, said Sue Carder of Barnstaple Cats Protection.