Thursday, 20 October 2016

A lucky escape for Peanut

This post has been written by Gill Canning, Co-ordinator at our Glastonbury & Wells Branch

In autumn 2015 a sorry little tabby-and-white-cat was handed into our local vets by a concerned cat lover. It was a young, neglected male kitten who had been found in a gutter in Shepton Mallet with his leg trapped in a drain.

The nurses cleaned him up, fed him and gave him the TLC they are so good at then phoned Cats Protection for help, which of course we were keen to give.

Kitten Peanut's lucky escape

The little chap was named Peanut because the nurses found traces of peanuts in his poo in the litter tray. Clearly he was so hungry he had been scavenging for food under bird tables.

An X-ray revealed that Peanut had a badly fractured back leg. The vet in charge of his case was keen to repair the leg rather than opt for an amputation. After all Peanut hopefully had a long life ahead of him so losing a leg so early in life wasn't ideal. It was a fiddly and challenging operation. There wasn't a pin made small enough to use on such young and fragile bones so the vet had to improvise.

Peanut was lucky that one of the veterinary nurses volunteered to nurse him through what was going to be a long and initially painful recovery period. During the first week she made sure that he had his four-hourly dose of painkillers day and night and with such a dedicated person on his side he gradually became more comfortable and mobile.

In December we were able to move him to one of our foster pens for rehoming and are happy to report that soon after Christmas he found his forever home in the country.

Peanut at his new home

Cat Peanut's second chance

Six months on Peanut is a happy, healthy cat living life to the full, although he still doesn't like having his back leg touched but this is to be expected after all he went through.

The above pictures show Peanut now, a normal active cat who gets out and about and enjoys his life.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Ain’t misbehaving – tummy tickling

Welcome to the fourth and final animation in our ‘Ain’t misbehaving’ series, where we’re busting cat behaviour myths. This instalment looks at tummy tickling.

Myth: If a cat shows you their tummy, they’re asking for you to rub it…

Cats that roll onto their side or back and expose their belly are communicating that they feel relaxed enough in your presence to expose such a vulnerable area. It doesn’t mean that they’re asking you to stroke or tickle their tummy.

In fact, if you do try to tickle their tummy, you might get a bite or a scratch. Don’t tell them off, they’re not being ‘naughty’.

Cats Protection’s Behaviour Manager Nicky Trevorrow says: “This is a common misconception and most cats would prefer to be greeted by stroking their head or cheeks instead.”

If your cat starts to show aggressive behaviour, take them to the vet for a health-check to rule out medical reasons. Cats are very subtle when it comes to showing pain and they will do their best to hide it so they could be in discomfort. If your vet gives your cat a clean bill of health, they may refer you to an APBC registered behaviourist to help identify the causes.

You may also find it useful to read our Behaviour focus blog post: when cats attack.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

‘Does my cat have separation anxiety?’ and other behavioural FAQs

In our latest live Facebook FAQ event, Cats Protection’s Behaviour Manager Nicky Trevorrow took control of our national Facebook page to answer feline behavioural questions from cat owners.
Here are just some of the topics discussed:

Question: My cat goes nuts every time I get home, he calls from the other side of the door and when he finally gets to sit on me, he gets very in my face and demands things by rubbing round my glasses and face. He was picked up as an 18-week-old kitten and I wonder if he either has separation anxiety, or he has genuinely picked me as his own personal slave, sorry, human...?

Answer: It’s nice that your cat gives you such a greeting when you come home. To find out if it could be separation anxiety, I would suggest setting up several cameras around the home to see what your cat does when you go out. If he is very restless or looking out of the windows for you for ages, or crying then it's possible. If you're concerned, contact your vet for a health check for your cat and then ask for a referral to a qualified behaviourist ( You could also try introducing your cat to feeding enrichment so that he spends his time 'hunting' for his food. Start off with something simple, like an egg box. All the best.

Question: I have noticed one of my cats licks her lips when there is another cat in the room that she doesn't like. Dogs lick their lips when anxious – is this the same for cats? Has anyone done a study on this? Many thanks in advance.

Answer: Great question! Yes it is a sign of anxiety in cats like it is in dogs. Well observed! It's a subtle behaviour that most people miss. For more information, check out the ISFM Guide to Feline Stress and Health edited by Sarah Ellis and Andy Sparkes.

Question: I've recently introduced a kitten to my cat and although there's no fighting and there doesn't seem to be any upset (both are sleeping, eating, grooming etc normally), I feel like my existing cat has gone off me. She doesn't want to spend time with me like she used to. It's only been less than a week and she's been brilliant in accepting the kitten (at first when they were separate she growled etc)... do you think she will return to normal? I'm scared I've ruined our friendship forever giving this little cat a home.

Answer: Sorry to hear that your cat has changed her behaviour lately. This is quite common with the introduction of another cat or kitten. I'd advise that you carefully monitor both the kitten's behaviour and the cat's behaviour for subtle signs that they are not getting along. Fighting is generally a last resort so it's unlikely that you'd see fighting but we assume that everything is alright. Check out an article I wrote for The Cat magazine about understanding the language of cats and our video ‘Are your cats friends or foes?’:

Make sure you continue to spend quality time with your cat alone, away from the kitten, (and vice versa for the kitten) and make sure both have enough resources like food, water and litter trays spaced out over the house.

Veterinary note: Please note that we are unable to give specific advice on your cat's health or any change in behaviour observed. For medical problems, consult your vet who will have access to your cat's medical history and will be able to examine them.

You’ll find more information about cat care and behaviour at

Would you like to ask one of Cats Protection's feline experts a question about your cat? Don't miss the next live Facebook Q&A sessions: chat with vet Sarah Elliott on 12 October; and Behaviour Manager Nicky Trevorrow on 10 November. All Q&As are held on Cats Protection's national Facebook page from 2-3pm. See you there!

Friday, 7 October 2016

Ain’t misbehaving – scratching

Welcome to the third animation in our ‘Ain’t misbehaving’ series, where we’re busting cat behaviour myths. This week, we’re chatting about scratching.

Myth: A cat who scratches the furniture is being deliberately destructive or vengeful…

Cats scratch to leave their mark and scent as a signal; and to keep their claws in good condition.

Cats Protection’s Behaviour Manager Nicky Trevorrow says: “Scratching is a normal behaviour so they need a decent scratch post to express this natural cat need.”

If a cat starts scratching indoors, it doesn’t mean that they’re being naughty. Don’t tell them off as it could make the behaviour worse.

Take your cat to the vet for a health-check to rule out any medical reasons for the scratching. Your vet may refer you to a qualified behaviourist to help identify the causes.

Give your cat a tall, sturdy scratching post and put it next to the area where they scratch. It should be tall enough to allow your cat to scratch at full stretch – ensure it has a vertical weave to let them drag their claws downwards.

Cover the furniture in an unappealing material such as plastic or foil until the cat is using the post regularly.

You may also find it useful to read our Behaviour focus blog post on scratching.

Cute gifts for black cat lovers

With National Black Cat Day on the horizon we had some merchandise designed to mark the occasion. Our Funky Felines mug, list pad and pen feature a quirky cat design by Cats Protection designer and published author Rus Hudda.

We caught up with Rus to find out what goes in to creating a new design.

So Rus, where do you get your inspiration?

I grew up around cats, so they are a big part of my life and I get a lot of inspiration from watching and playing with them. My own cat, Tali, is a daily reminder of why they are such fascinating subjects. Whether destroying toys or taking over my bed she’s always doing something that makes me want to pick up my pen.

The way other artists create their work great source of inspiration too. The advent of video sharing sites means I can also brush up on techniques online – there is always something new to learn.

How do you go about creating your design?

I start by scribbling my ideas in a sketchbook in a very rough form. These can be literal doodles sometimes. Then I move to an iPad Pro to give me a bit more flexibility. I usually sketch a rough layer first, which might include individual cats as well as shapes to show where other cats could go. I plan the layout and build up detail from there.

Technology is a big help at this stage as it means I can try things out and make mistakes. It also means I can develop my design easily, scaling and adjusting different elements to get what I need.

Once I am happy with the design I print it out. I then draw over the top with a Rotring Tikky Graphic pen and add colour either with watercolour directly onto the paper or by scanning the hand-drawn design back into my computer and adding colour digitally. You can see some of these stages below:

The stages of design of National Black Cat Day products
See illustrator Rus Hudda's work come to life!
When the artwork is finished, the design is sent to our supplier who makes it up into a mock up. This is an exciting step as it is the first time we see how the design will look on the finished products. We might make further changes at this stage to get everything how we want it. Once we are happy, we send our approval and production gets underway.

Which is your favourite product in the range?

The mug is my favourite. It’s fun to see my flat design turned into a three dimensional product.

Tea, coffee or something else while you work?

Water please in my brand new Funky Felines mug!

National Black Cat Day list pad
National Black Cat Day list pad
National Black Cat Day mug
National Black Cat Day mug
You can find our exclusive National Black Cat Day range in our online shop at

National Black Cat Day celebrates monochrome moggies on 27 October - join the conversation with the hashtag #BlackCatDay

Monday, 3 October 2016

Could your cat be the face of this year’s National Black Cat Day?

We’re on the lookout for a black or black-and-white cat with a winning personality to become the face of our National Black Cat Day 2016.

This will be our sixth celebration of monochrome moggies; National Black Cat Day takes place once a year to help us to find homes for thousands of unwanted two-tone cats in our care.

Become the face of National Black Cat Day

We’re running a competition for the chance for one monochrome moggy to be crowned the face of National Black Cat Day on Thursday 27 October. The theme of this year’s campaign is ‘beauty is more than fur deep’ so we’re reminding people of the many wondrous qualities that black and black-and-white cats have to offer, despite some people considering them a little mundane due to their appearance.

“Black and black-and-white cats make up almost half of the more than 5,000 unwanted cats in our care, and they take around a week longer to find a home compared to cats of other colours,” says Jackie May, Cats Protection’s Digital Manager.

“When people visit any of our volunteer-run branches or centres to adopt a cat, they can be faced with a large number of black or black-and-white cats and so their eyes can wander over to the brighter-coloured tabbies, torties and gingers who are in the minority and may look more exciting to adopt.

“While we are very pleased to see each unwanted cat find a new home, monochrome cats can get held back which is why we wanted to remind people of the love, warmth and varied characters that they bring to a home. We hope that as many people support us as possible on our social media sites during October so that we can prompt more people to offer them a home.”

If you’d like to enter the competition, which launches today, head over to our national social media channels at or @CatsProtection on Twitter.

To see black and black-and-white cats in need of homes in your area go to

Friday, 30 September 2016

Ain’t misbehaving – spraying

Last week in our ‘Ain’t misbehaving’ series we explained why cats might wee outside their litter tray. This time, our animation is busting a myth about spraying.

Myth: A cat who sprays inside is being naughty… 

Cats spray urine to mark areas with their scent and may spray indoors when they’re ill or feeling stressed by a perceived threat or change in the household. It doesn’t mean that they’re being naughty so don’t punish them as it will only make them more likely to spray due to stress.

Cats Protection’s Behaviour Manager Nicky Trevorrow says: “When cats spray in response to something stressful, it’s like leaving a ‘note to self’ that they should be wary in that area.”

The first thing to do is take your cat to the vet for a health-check as it’s important to rule out medical reasons for the behaviour. Your vet may also refer you to a qualified behaviourist to help identify the causes.

Give your cat plenty of places around the home to hide and get up high, which will make them feel safe. Ensure they have access to lots of resources such as food bowls, water bowls and litter trays (ideally one per cat plus one extra) spaced out around the house.

You may also find it useful to read our Behaviour focus blog post on spraying.