A feline welcome greeted guests at the grand opening of a new charity shop in Finchley on Friday.

The first customers at Cats Protection's new shop in Ballards Lane encountered a volunteer in a cat costume as they perused the stock of antiques, pottery, clothes and books.

Branch co-ordinator for Finchley and Mill Hill, who has fostered cats in her home for 15 years, said the charity had been considering the site for many years, and area manager Mark Verity said the premises was in a "fabulous" location.

He said: “It’s a very busy area. You can’t miss the shop, it’s opposite a pelican crossing and near a Tescos.

"The advantage of having other charity shops like Cancer Research UK and Oxfam is that people tend to go from one to another.”

The charity has 260 branches across the UK, which contribute £1.5 million to its Cat Protection Fund, and the Finchley store is the first opened by the organisation in the borough.

Profit from the shop will be spent on fostering cats and paying for cat owners' veterinary fees in Finchley.

Mr Verity said: “We’re a charity that raises money nationally but spends it locally. We hope the shop will provide value for money and quality stock.”

As well as customers and volunteers for the shop, the charity is appealing for cat fosterers.

Cats Protection will host a homing show at Allum Hall, in Allum Lane, Borehamwood on March 8.