PET lover Paul Bennett got the shock of his life weeks after taking his new male cat home.

For Gadget, a ‘neutered male’ cat bought from Leigh Animal Sanctuary gave birth to kittens weeks later.

Paul took the rescue cat, to the vets when its stomach became swollen, fearing it was sick only to be told “he” was actually a “she” – and that his cat was pregnant!

The 38-year-old insurance company manager sued the animal re-homing centre’s boss, Linda Buxton, in the small claims court following the blunder, and now says he wants to warn other people to beware, adding: “I was conned.”

Mr Bennett, who lives in Leigh, went to the former Leigh Animal Sanctuary – now re-named Leigh Cats and Dogs Home following an investigation by the Charity Commission- to buy a companion for a female cat he already owned.

He said: “I paid £30 for a three-year-old cat called Ash who I renamed Gadget. I have paperwork from LAS signed by a vet saying Gadget had been checked and vaccinated and was a neutered male.

“To get something like that wrong is unbelievable.

“My cat wasn’t pregnant when I got her, but it happened soon after. A couple of months later I noticed Gadget’s stomach was looking swollen and was concerned he might have swallowed something like a toy.”

He took his cat to be examined by a vet who told him Gadget was actually female. The vet carried out an ultrasound which confirmed she was also pregnant.

Me Bennett said: “I was shocked and annoyed. I thought I had got a cat from a respectable charity. I felt I had been duped.”

Four days later his cat gave birth to five kittens. He looked after them until they were 10 weeks old and then re-homed four and kept one.

Mr Bennett rang LAS to complain to boss Linda Buxton, who also uses the name Clements.

He said: “I got to speak to her on about the 12th call. Before that I was told she was either ill, off work or not available.

Mr Bennett says she was “extremely rude” and swore at him during a ‘phone conversation.

He then decided to take her to court to claim £144 compensation to cover the cost of the ultrasound and 10 weeks worth of food and cat litter for the kittens.

In her handwritten, signed defence statement presented in court Linda Buxton/Clements argued: “You must understand that Leigh Animal Sanctuary runs as a charity…..We rely on donations and will have to close if this sort of claim happens and then only the animals will suffer.”

However when the Evening Post recently asked Linda Buxton whether she had tried to mislead the public into believing LAS was a charity her response was: “We are not a charity. We never have been a charity and we are not posing as a charity.”

Altrincham County Court ruled in favour of Mr Bennett and Linda Buxton was forced to pay up.

The court case was back in October 2004 but Mr Bennett decided to come forward now after reading other recent articles criticising the controversial animal re-homing centre.