Friday, 10 July 2020

1,000th cat adopted through Cats Protection’s new contactless homing process

Many of us are getting used to a ‘new normal’ due to restrictions from the COVID-19 lockdown, and that includes charities like Cats Protection. 

In order to continue to be #HereForTheCats and find the moggies in our care loving new families, we’ve had to adopt a brand new way of rehoming. 

white kitten sitting in cat climbing tower

Our hands-free homing process involves members of the public finding their purrfect match online, and then us delivering their new companion to their door, all with no human contact. 

The scheme has already been a huge success, with more than 1,000 cats delivered to the doorsteps of their excited new owners. 

Zoe and Zizzi, a mother cat and her kitten, are just two of the moggies we have homed in this way. 

Their new owner Jenny Ball said: "We've been looking for cats that would be right for our family and when we saw Zoe and Zizzi on Haslemere Adoption Centre’s Facebook page, we knew that they would be perfect. The contactless process was really straightforward; just a few phone calls and some paperwork and then, the next thing we knew, we had a date for their arrival. 

A white cat and a white kitten looking out of a window

“Since they arrived, the children haven't left their side, even sleeping in the room with them and the cats seem to be lapping up all the attention. They have found their favourite spots; Zoe likes the window seat and they both like to snuggle in their cat tower."

Mark Beazley, Cats Protection’s Director of Operations, said: “Much of our work was paused following government advice and our priority was the ongoing care for cats already in our centres or with fosterers. Keeping an open mind about how we’ve done things in the past has been important as we review and adapt to new ways of working. Hands-free homing has been a tremendous success – hopefully only the first of many.”

If you would like to adopt a cat through our new hands-free homing process, visit www.cats.org.uk/ hands-free-homing to find out how. 

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Black cat PK is the purrfect furry furlough companion

TV critic and garden security cat PK has proved the perfect quarantine companion to his owner who is on furlough due to lockdown restrictions.

Having been overlooked for six months due to some minor health conditions such as arthritis, black rescue cat PK was adopted from Cats Protection’s Downham Market Adoption Centre by Simon Dolan-Holland last August. 

Man lying on the floor next to black cat
Simon with his trusty lockdown companion PK

25-year-old flight attendant Simon initially saw a homing appeal for PK on Twitter while scrolling through his feed one evening and wanted to find out whether the frequently-snubbed moggy was his purrfect match.

 “I knew that black cats are often unlucky when it comes to getting adopted so I decided to go and see him,” said Simon. “As soon as I met him, his goofy personally really appealed to me – he ignored me at first and then started chasing his tail! I reserved him that day and took him home a few days later.”

black cat sitting on cardboard cat scratching mat
Cat scratchers aren't just for scratching!

Now PK is returning the favour by keeping his human entertained during lockdown with his humorous antics and comical ways.

“PK is such a character and a great companion, particularly over the last few months when it’s just been me and him in the house. He does his own thing, and enjoys his daily patrols of the garden, but regularly comes to me for a fuss too. 

black cat lying on patio in the sun
Soaking up some sunshine

“He also loves to join me on the sofa when I’m watching TV, although he has a habit of lying on the remote and switching channels. Once he’s satisfied with his choice of programme, he’ll usually fall asleep next to me for a while.

“I think lockdown would have been much lonelier if I didn’t have PK. I can never be bored with him around, patting me on the face to wake me up at breakfast time or demanding to be let out, then in, then out again in true cat fashion. And it’s nice to have someone to talk to, even if I can’t understand his replies!”

Black cat putting its paw in man's hand
Lending a helping paw

Simon also says that PK’s arthritis is easily managed with medication and doesn’t bother him much these days – in fact he runs up and down stairs with ease and seems to have become more mobile over time.

Downham Market Adoption Centre Deputy Manager Stacey Ely said: “It’s so wonderful to see PK settled into his home with Simon after a bit of a rough start. We love hearing about the cats that we’ve rehomed and knowing that we’ve been able to help give them a second chance at a happy life.

Black cat lying on duvet with mouth open mid-yawn
A tiring morning snoozing

“As we enter our third year of People’s Postcode Lottery funding, I’d like to say a huge thank you to players for their continued support, which helps us take care of cats like PK for as long as it takes to find them a loving new home.”

If you would like to adopt a new lockdown companion, visit www.cats.org.uk/hands-free-homing for more information. 

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Fun ideas from fantastic fundraisers in lockdown

From trekking the stairs at home to running a marathon on the driveway, our super supporters have continued to be #HereForTheCats during lockdown.

But fundraising isn’t limited to sporty challenges. Here’s how four Cats Protection supporters have put the fun into fundraising with their own unique activity ideas…

Stefanie’s purrfect pawtraits


woman with blue and pink hair holding hand-drawn cat portraits

Creative cat-lover Stefanie decided to use her artistic talents to raise funds for Ferndown Homing Centre with a drawing challenge. She completed 26 cat illustrations in just under five hours, raising £70 for the centre. Stefanie’s own rescue cat, Teddy, ‘helped’ by meowing encouragement and keeping her feet warm.

“Being a little out of practice drawing, I didn’t realise how long it would take me to finish up 26 images! I started off with some practice cat-shape drawings and then moved on to attempt some proper pawtraits of my own. By the end I was tired, but so happy I had finished.”

Lottie and Tom’s game changer 


woman and man holding up video game controllers

Gaming fans Lottie and Tom chose to combine their passion for video games with their love of cats by taking on a gaming marathon in aid of Bridgend Adoption Centre. After playing continuously for over 24 hours, the duo had raised an incredible £170 for the centre and the cats and kittens it takes care of.

“We adopted our gorgeous cat Yuki from the centre and she is such a delight, we love her to bits, even though she can be mega sassy sometimes! After our challenge we obviously both felt exhausted, but we were also really proud of ourselves and grateful to everyone who had donated.”

Leanne and Daniella’s dino dance-off


Two people in inflatable T-Rex dinosaur costumes sitting on bench

Twin sisters Leanne and Daniella dreamt up a dancing challenge with a difference. Inspired by social media star Ralph the Rex, the duo decided to hold a dance-off in fancy dress as T-Rex dinosaurs. They live streamed the challenge on Daniella’s Twitch channel and the pair raised more than £300 for East Surrey Branch.

“To know that our wacky idea managed to raise some funds is overwhelming. You never know if your idea will appeal to others, so the fact that people were willing to give money for two cat lovers to look a bit silly is fantastic!”

Aidan’s litter pick with a difference


Man in white-and-pink unicorn onesie with bin bags behind him

Animal lover Aidan decided to tidy up his local area while raising money to help cats in need by taking on a fancy-dress litter pick walk. After turning heads in his unicorn onesie and collecting two bin bags full of rubbish, Aidan had raised a brilliant £270 in aid of Ferndown Homing Centre.

“The unicorn fancy dress was a spur of the moment decision on the morning of the challenge and a poorly thought through one given how hot it was! I thought it would be a great way to help support the centre and maintain the incredible facilities they have for their rescued cats.”

For more ideas, inspiration and advice on how to raise money your own way for Cats Protection, visit www.cats.org.uk/fundraise

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Elderly stray Summer has a sunnier future in her new home

16-year-old tabby Summer arrived at Cats Protection’s Cornwall Adoption Centre as an arthritic and emaciated stray.

The mature moggy was so thin that a member of the centre team could fit their thumb and first finger in a circle around her abdomen. She weighed just 2.3kg, almost half the weight of most cats her size.

Skinny tabby cat sitting on fleece blanket inside cat pen
Summer getting settled into her pen at Cornwall Adoption Centre

Summer, who would be 80 in human years, was incredibly dehydrated and could barely stand, only able to manage a couple of steps before collapsing. She also had dreadful breath despite having relatively good teeth, as well as very matted fur and obvious arthritis. 

It was soon discovered that Summer was microchipped, and originally named Mary, but sadly her owner’s details had not been updated and despite trying each detail on the chip, as well as every vet in the area where Summer’s original owner had been, there was no trace. 

Skinny tabby cat sitting on pink blanket
Summer when she first arrived at the centre underweight and dehydrated

An initial vet appointment gave Summer a poor prognosis but she was given fluids and ordered rest, plenty of tasty food and a warm bed to help her recuperate back at the centre. 

Once Summer’s condition had improved and she was able to tolerate some tests it was discovered that she had hyperthyroidism which caused her body to burn energy from food as quickly as she could eat. Surgery was booked for a thyroidectomy as well as a toe removal resulting from an old injury which caused too much damage to save it. 

Tabby cat being stroked by Cats Protection employee
Summer getting some fuss from Cat Care Assistant Kirsty

Cat Care Assistant Kirsty Balcombe said: “Everyone at the centre fell head over heels in love with Summer. She was a feisty old girl and despite being in really bad shape initially, she showed us from the start that she was a fighter and full of spirit. She had an amazing gravelly purr that sounded like a mix between an aeroplane and an old car engine.

“She also had the unnerving habit of sleeping with her eyes open. So most of us feared we might have lost her when we first saw her sleeping, only to jump in surprise when Summer would raise her head and greet us with her very distinctive miaow and purr.

Tabby cat sleeping on windowsill
Summer snoozing on her favourite windowsill at home

“Queen Summer, as she became known, could certainly be a cantankerous old lady and we all loved her for it. We could hear that she had woken up or wanted her dinner from wherever we were in the centre because she would wail in disapproval that her rest had been disrupted or her food had not arrived when she wanted. On the odd occasion she didn’t have the energy to chat or complain she would flop down beside you and lick you. She was such a lovely girl.”

Over the following weeks Summer reached 3.4kg, and once her thyroid was removed she was left with just a low grade heart murmur and arthritis, both common conditions for an older cat and easily managed.

Tabby cat sat on windowsill with paws crossed
Elegant Summer with her paws crossed

Nikki Wakefield from St Austell became one of the first people to get in touch with the centre once they were able to start homing again using a new contactless approach to adoption informed by government guidelines. 

Nikki says: “I called the centre specifically looking for a golden oldie and of course Summer was the perfect cat for me. She has settled in brilliantly and has already stolen my dog Merlin’s bed as well as mine and seems to think both are her own. But her favourite spot is the windowsill especially in the sun, which is why I chose to call her Summer. 

Tabby cat sticking out their tongue
Cheeky Summer sticking out her tongue

“It’s as though she has always been part of the family. I’ve loved getting to know her funny quirks, especially her love for cat milk, the way she sticks her tongue out when she’s happy and her distinctive miaow as she’s very vocal.”
 
If you would like to offer a cat a new loving home, visit www.cats.org.uk/hands-free-homing for more information. 

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Appeal to help rescued kittens who lost their eyes due to cat flu

Two kittens found outside with their seven siblings near Bridgend have had to have emergency surgery to remove their eyes.

Rome and Ranchi were unlikely to have survived alone much longer if they had not been discovered by a cat-savvy member of the public.

Two black-and-white kittens with red sore eyes

The pair were just four weeks old when they were found along with seven other kittens, far too young to be away from their mother. 

The lady who found them noticed that all the kittens seemed unwell and called Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre for advice and assistance.

The kittens needed round-the-clock care as they could not yet maintain their own body temperatures nor could they manage basic skills such as feeding and toileting. 

Black and white kitten with red sore eyes

The centre’s cat care assistants, whose roles are supported this year by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, needed to step in and provide the tiny cats with all the love, care and nurturing they would usually receive from their mother.
 
Although the whole litter was very poorly with cat flu, which can be fatal to kittens, Rome and Ranchi were also suffering from painful ulcerated eyes as a result of the illness, which can be caused by viruses or bacteria. 

White-and-black kitten with red sore eyes

Now that they are seven weeks old, despite trying several courses of treatment, it has not been possible to save the kittens’ eyes. Rome has had surgery to remove one eye while Ranchi needed both eyes removed.  

Deputy Centre Manager Molly Hughes says: “Kitten season is well underway here at the centre and we were lucky that Rome, Ranchi and their siblings were brought to us in time. We don’t know anything about their mother but once social distancing allows we will return to where they were found to try and find her and ensure she has been neutered, most likely through our trap, neuter and return programme for outdoor or feral cats. This will prevent her having any more unwanted kittens in the future. 

Two black-and-white kittens with red sore eyes

“It is a really expensive time for us as we fight to help so many tiny souls that come through our doors. We are therefore appealing for funds to help cover the cost of vet treatment and surgery for these two lovely kittens whose bills have exceeded £800 so far. We are grateful for every £1 donated, without the kindness and generosity of our supporters we couldn’t continue to help kittens like Rome and Ranchi.”

If you would like to donate towards covering the coat of Rome and Ranchi’s surgeries, please visit the centre’s JustGiving page or text BRID to 70577 to donate £5 (see T&Cs here). 

Once they have recovered from their surgery and flu symptoms, Rome and Ranchi will be in need of a new loving indoor home, ideally together. Their details will be posted on the centre’s website as soon as they are available. 

With neutering on pause for many vets because of the COVID-19 lockdown, there could be an extra 84,000 kittens that need our help this year.

To help us be #HereForTheCatsAndKittens, you can donate to our appeal. Any donation will help us to save the lives of litters like this one, providing them with security, warmth and a healthy start. 

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Underweight kittens abandoned in sealed box outside Cats Protection centre

Seven tiny kittens are lucky to be alive after being abandoned at an age when they should still be with their mothers. 

The young cats were all underweight when they were found in a taped up cardboard box outside the gates of Cats Protection’s Isle of Wight Adoption Centre.

black-and-white and grey-and-white kittens in a cardboard box

Believed to be kittens from two different litters, three were around five weeks old when they were found while four were around four weeks old. At this age they should naturally weigh 450-550g but all were below the threshold with one of the youngest, now named Lola, weighing just 306g, the weight of a kitten half her age.

While the older kittens should have just been starting to eat solid food supplemented by their mother’s milk at the point at which they were left, the younger ones would still be relying on their mother for the majority of their needs. 

four grey-and-white and three black-and-white kittens

Alone without that maternal care, during warm weather in a sealed box, they were vulnerable to dehydration and starvation with a high chance that they would have died if they hadn’t been found.

Once safely in the centre, the three largest kittens were named Oscar, Joey and Aurora while the smaller kittens were called Lola, Chloe, Noah and Trev. Divided into two separate litters once again, the kittens were given round-the-clock care by the centre’s cat care assistants who are supported this year by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.    

two grey-and-white kittens sleeping
Kittens Chloe and Noah having a snooze

Cat Care Assistant Lauren Smith, said: “The kittens were very underweight when they arrived and we worked really hard to hand-feed them every couple of hours to get them up to their ideal weights. For the first few days we weren’t sure they would survive. Little Lola was a particular worry; she didn’t have an appetite and was very lethargic, after a vet visit we found out she was so dehydrated that she needed drip-fed fluids as well as hourly feeds. Oscar has also been very poorly and needed blood tests to rule out anything sinister but luckily they came back clear.”

Now that the kittens are around nine and ten weeks’ old, they are enjoying solid kitten food, have learned to use litter trays and are starting to play with help and guidance from the centre team. 

three grey-and-white kittens and one black kitten drinking from a bowl of kitten milk
Lola, Chloe, Noah and Trev enjoying their first meal at the centre

Lauren adds: “We prepare for an influx of kittens each year from around April onwards but it was still a shock to find these tiny souls abandoned outside the centre. We know it’s extremely difficult if people find themselves dealing with an unexpected litter but would urge people to get in touch and arrange a time to bring unwanted cats or kittens to us rather than leaving them outside. 

“In this situation we could have supported the kittens’ owner to ensure the mother cats were neutered so that they don’t have other unwanted litters and would very much like to hear from the owner now if they would like assistance.” 

three grey-and-white kittens and one black kitten sleeping
Lola, Chloe, Noah and Trev having a well-earned nap

If you are interested in rehoming the kittens, keep an eye on the Isle of Wight Adoption Centre’s website to find out when they will be available for adoption: www.cats.org.uk/isleofwight 

With neutering on pause for many vets because of the COVID-19 lockdown, there could be an extra 84,000 kittens that need our help this year.

To help us be #HereForTheCatsAndKittens, you can donate to our appeal at www.cats.org.uk/su20mb

Any donation will help us to save the lives of litters like this one, providing them with security, warmth and a healthy start. 

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Harrison finds his happy ever after following heart-breaking ordeal

Ginger cat Harrison was rescued in a dreadful state from a multi-cat household but has fought back to become a much-loved family pet.  

The scrawny moggy was brought in to Cats Protection’s Wrexham Adoption Centre following a plea for help from a vet who was dealing with a case of a house full of 29 cats. Although the owner loved the cats, they had become overwhelmed and realised they could no longer cope.

Long-haired ginger cat looking skinny and with bald patches
Harrison when he first arrived in his new home

The cats, who were in various stages of health, were transferred to a number of Cats Protection centres, with one of the most poorly arriving in Wrexham. 

After a worrying first night, in which Harrison wanted nothing more than to curl up in a ball and sleep, the centre team were eventually able to examine him more closely, discovering a weepy eye, matted fur, bald patches and rotten teeth. He was also so skinny his bones were visible.

A vet confirmed Harrison needed dental surgery to remove 15 teeth, which required two separate operations, as well as treatment for cat flu, fleas and worms.

Over time, and with lots of care and attention, Harrison began putting on weight and getting stronger until he was eventually ready to rehome. 

Although he was well enough, he still looked dishevelled and threadbare as his fur had not grown back fully, leading to concerns that he would struggle to find a new home. 

But worries were allayed when two days before lockdown came into force, Sharon Rogers and her partner Wayne Price came to meet him. Having recently lost their 18-year-old cat Jet, they desperately missed having a feline companion. 

Sharon, who lives in Summerhil, said: “With lockdown approaching it looked to be a good time to settle a cat into the household. I decided to go to Cats Protection’s Wrexham page without realising the following day the centre would be closed for lockdown. 

Long-haired ginger cat with a thick, healthy coat
Harrison now looking much happier and healthier

“He's settled wonderfully. It took a couple of days for him to come out of his carrier but after a couple of weeks I think he realised he'd found his new home. Having no teeth doesn't seem to faze him as he guzzles down both wet and dry food. He has put on a couple of kilos since he arrived in our house and we try to keep the weight down with his love of a ping pong ball.”

Wrexham Adoption Centre Manager Suzan Kennedy said: “When we saw the pictures of Harrison two months after he was adopted he looked like a different cat. His fur was long and fluffy, he looked healthy and his eyes glowed. It just shows what a difference a loving home can make to a cat when owners can understand and meet a cat’s needs.

“It made the team cry with happy tears when we saw the picture of him in his new home and it reminded us of why we do what we do.” 

Harrison will soon be joined in the Rogers’ household by Ringo, who came from the same multi-cat household, and has been recovering at the centre.

Sharon added: “I would recommend everyone to check out a rescue centre for their pet. The knowledge of the charity helps to ensure that the cat will be going to the right home, reducing the chance of further abandonment.  

“There are so many cats who have been abandoned or taken to a shelter through no fault of their own, all with their own personalities and love to give.  

If you would like to offer a cat a new home and a fresh start in life, visit www.cats.org.uk/hands-free-homing to see if there are any cats available in your area under our new hands-free homing initiative.