There was delighted purring as friendly felines met volunteers for an animal welfare charity for the first time.

The branch of the Animal Centre in Lordship Lane in Wood Green held a recruitment day today to find people willing to be drivers, play with the animals, carry out technical work or give them a temporary home.

The charity currently looks after 16 cats of all ages; some abandoned, some whose owners were unable to look after them, and aims to find them all a good home.

The centre is seeking people who can give up a few hours of their time to sit and play with the cats in their cages, so they become accustomed to human company.

Rebecca Fisher, who works at the centre, said it was important for the cats to meet as many people as possible.

She said: “Many of our cats are nervous or frightened when they come in and need to get used to being around people. We want volunteers to come in and spend time with them to get them accustomed to human company, so it is easier to find them homes for good.”

Volunteer manager Barry Pridmore said there were plenty of roles available, from drivers to people to clean out the cats, to cat socialisers, to administration work, to people who could look after the cats to get them accustomed to home life.

He added: “It depends on how much availability you have and how much you want to commit.”

Volunteer Jamie Whear said he very much enjoyed sitting and playing with the cats.

He said: “It’s mutually beneficial. The cats learn how to socialise and get used to people, so I make a real difference to them, and it’s relaxing for me to sit and play with them."

The newest volunteer, Georgia O'Connor, said it was a "lovely job".

She added: "You gain a great sense of achievement from being here and seeing the cats you've played with and looked after rehomed."

Centre manager Caroline Johnson was delighted by the way the open day had gone very well so far.

She said: “We have had at least 50 people through the doors in the past couple of hours asking how they can help us, the response has been fabulous.”

To find out about how you can help, contact the centre on 0844 248 8181.