A leading animal charity has made an urgent appeal for would-be cat owners to consider adopting older animals.
Cats Protection said medical advances mean cats are now living longer, healthier lives but when it comes to finding a new home, they are frequently overlooked in favour of fluffy, cute kittens.
Bel Livingstone, manager of the charity's Belfast Adoption Centre, said: "While 10 years ago the household moggy could have been expected to live to around 13, today's life expectancy is much higher and we have seen many cats surviving to their late teens and early 20s in remarkably good health.
"However, their longer existence places the Belfast Adoption Centre under strain because older cats can block up pen spaces for many months, which means we are unable to help other needy cats or kittens until the older ones are found new homes.
"It is a shame because older cats have a lot to offer, as they tend to be lap cats and have much more settled personalities.
"Though the Belfast Adoption Centre does its very best to care for all the cats in its care, life in a pen is no substitute for a permanent home so I would urge people to consider adopting an older cat."