A Montreal shelter that houses about 300 cats needs to find a new home for the animals soon because it can no longer afford its lease.

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The no-kill Animal Rescue Network says it must relocate because of a steep rent increase and needs the public help.

The president of the Animal Rescue Network is appealing for the public's help to secure a new location.

Barbara Lisbona, who founded the city's largest no-kill shelter 17 years ago, said the building's new owner is raising the rent by 33 per cent.

Lisbona said public donations keep the shelter open in the Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie borough, but with such a steep rent increase, she has no choice but to get out by the end of July. However, she's not willing to euthanize the animals.

The cats are allowed to roam free in the shelter and live together until they're adopted. But if no one wants them, they can stay and live out their lives.

Lisbona has saved tens of thousands of cats over the years.

"A lot of people have criticized me for that because they say you take everything and anything," she said, meaning the sick, injured and simply abandoned cats.

Her policy is not to euthanize unless the cats are very sick.

The shelter says anyone who wants to help the animals should go to its website.