Leaving an abusive relationship is easier said than done, and almost always involves painful sacrifices. Sometimes, people stay in dangerous situations for this reason, or because they lack the resources to cover the potential costs of leaving.

One organization aims to alleviate the stress of leaving an abusive partner by offering a solution to one of the many factors that often prevent victims from starting over. Based in the U.K., Paws Protect is a non-profit that offers temporary foster care for pet cats while survivors of domestic violence focus on getting to safety and establishing a stable home away from their abuser.

For various reasons, having a cat often complicates the process of leaving an abusive partner. Often, landlords or shelters do not accept pets, and friends and family members are unable or unwilling to provide temporary housing. As a control method and to prevent their victim from leaving, abusers often threaten harm against pets. The person being abused must, therefore, choose between leaving their beloved cat with the abuser or staying with the abuser to avoid leaving the cat solely in their care.

The important services offered by Paws Protect enable victims of domestic violence to worry about one fewer thing on their already-full plates. In addition to fostering cats, the organization pays for the costs incurred during their stay, including food, vaccinations, and other pet supplies and medical care. When the cat’s owner has relocated and can safely accommodate their precious pet, their cat is returned to them.

Paws Protect is expanding and aims to help even more people and cats. To protect the privacy and safety of survivors, all cat fostering is kept strictly confidential. Referrals can be made through safe resources such as social workers, support workers, police, and pet owners themselves. Last year, the non-profit received over 100 referrals.

Domestic violence is alarmingly common throughout the world, and organizations like Paws Protect are imperative for helping people escape from abuse.