She is young for a mother and looks lean, underweight.

Her background has left her cautious and uncertain but her four babies are bonny and curious.

The mother is Sunflower, a stray that fell prey to a tomcat and ended up with a litter of four.

Sunflower came to the attention of the Manawatū Alley Cat Trust when she turned up pregnant and had her litter under a house.

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MACT trustees Siobhan Hirst, Annie Reid, Lynn Cawood and Glenda Udy are four women who care about these stray moggies.

They have a lot of respect for stray cats.

The problem, they say, starts and ends with de-sexing.

"Households have cats, have not had their cats fixed and they continue to breed.

"When we trap them they are fixed and chipped."

There are many reasons that cats become strays.

Some cat owners have died and the family do not want to take on the cat, so it is left to fend for itself. There are other cats that get left behind because people move on.

All pet cats under the new Council bylaw must be chipped, says Siobhan.

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"Cats born after July 1 2018 are required to have a registered chip and be desexed by six months of age."

Annie says they had a feral cat problem in the Awapuni area, which started her being a fosterer of the cats.

She says she starts with socialising the kittens as she holds one of Sunflower's kittens.

These animals need love and care, which could have been a different outcome of neglect had the MACT not stepped in.

Lynn said she came across a woman who had a colony of 12 cats she was feeding.

"A lot were pregnant."

The trust was also caring for three cat colonies in Palmerston North which they are feeding.

Siobhan says the trust has a valued team of 20 volunteers who are helping out with fostering, transporting cats to and from the vet for de-sexing, feeding the strays and assisting with fundraising.

"People get in touch with us from various sources and we also have referrals from vets."

When Siobhan, who is the cat trapper, goes to catch a stray, she will ask if the household can take the cat once it has been desexed and chipped.

If the household agrees to adopt the cat they will be charged a fee that goes toward the cost of the care.

If they don't want the cat, it is released back into the area where the MACT volunteers feed them.

They say if the cats are fed, they will leave birds alone.

The trust works closely with Central Vets and Pets and Pet Doctors.

But this cat care takes a fair amount of money and Sunday March 15 the MACT is holding an open-day fundraiser.

"Come and meet the team," is their invitation.

"See how we trap stray cats/kittens for desexing, then foster and rehome, or return."

At the open day at 7 Frimley St in Awapuni you will see the post-op recovery room, a trapping demonstration, a kitten play area, kittens for adoption, and cat themed crafts and baking.

Entry is $5 with a $10 family pass, noon-4pm.

For more information: manawatūalleycattrust.org.nz which also has the trust's bank account number for donations, or Manawatū Alley Cat Trust on Facebook