Leeds Rhinos rugby star Luke Ambler has joined forces with local volunteers at the site of the new Cats Protection Homing Centre in Gildersome to launch a fundraising appeal.
The charity needs to raise £50,000 towards the new centre, which is scheduled to open in 2013.
It will help provide welfare including cat food and warm beds to the thousands of stray and abandoned cats in Leeds and the surrounding area.
It blame the upturn in abandoned and neglected animals on changes in the financial circumstances of owners as a result of the recession, adding that the increase makes a new homing centre important.
Tracey Wilson, capital appeals fundraiser for the charity, said: "We've noticed that a considerable number of cat owners are struggling to take care of their pet's welfare."
It is estimated that the new establishment will help approximately 500 cats a year, as well as bringing about a 68 per cent rise in the number of cats provided for in Leeds by Cats Protection.