Monday, 10 December 2018

How to train your cat to roll over

If you’ve been following our ‘How to train your cat’ series, you may have already mastered getting your moggy to sit and lie down on command.

The next step you can try is to get them to go from lying down to rolling over onto their side or back. As well as being fun for you, this training will help to keep your cat mentally stimulated and by using positive reinforcement will hopefully boost their confidence too.

black cat rolling over

To get started, you will need:
  • a physically able and confident cat (older or infirm cats may struggle) 
  • a cat that already knows how to lie down on cue 
  • a quiet room with no distractions 
  • tasty treats that don’t require a lot of chewing 
  • patience and the ability to get low to the ground 
Now you can begin training.
  1. Get your cat to lie down directly in front of you. You may find it easier to be sitting or kneeling at this stage. 
  2. Hold the treat between the very end of your index finger and thumb with your palm facing downward. 
  3. Sit in front of your cat with the treat 1-2cm away from their nose. 
  4. If you want your cat to roll to your right/their left, slowly arc the treat on a slight incline towards their right ear. If you want them to roll to your left/their right, move it towards their left ear. Your cat may have a preference or find one side easier so if they are struggling, try the other direction. Once you have found their preferred side, it’s best to stick with it. If your cat moves their head forwards to investigate the treat, this is fine. However, if they keep getting up, try a smaller movement so they are not over-stimulated. 
  5. With the treat in front of your cat’s ear, slowly move the treat diagonally towards the middle of their back. Their eyes should follow the treat so that they look over their shoulder. Often the slower you move the treat, the easier your cat will be able to follow it. 
  6. Continue to move the treat diagonally and your cat should roll over onto their side. As soon as they do this, give them some verbal praise and offer the treat. Repeat steps 1-6 until they successfully roll over every time. 

    cat rolling over on side


  7. Once they have mastered this, repeat the process using smaller hand movements, keeping the treat closer to your cat’s head. If your cat still rolls onto its side, move the treat further off to the side so that they continue to follow it and rolls onto their back. When they do, give them some verbal praise and offer the treat. 
  8. Next you can try getting them to roll all the way over onto their other side by continuing to move the treat off to the side when they are on their back. Again, repeat this process a few times, giving them verbal praise and the treat each time they get it right. 
  9. When they are happily rolling over every time, you can start to reduce the reliance on the lure of treats by only pretending to get a treat out of the bag each time. Still present your cat with your hand and use the same movements, then when they successfully roll over still give them verbal praise and a treat. 
  10. After a few successful attempts, you can start to use the hand movements without pretending to take a treat, but always give them verbal praise and a treat if they get it right. 
  11. Finally, you can try getting them to respond to a verbal cue instead of your hand signal. Keep going with the same process, but say your chosen cue word (eg ‘roll over’) one second before you make your hand movements. Eventually your cat will learn to associate the verbal cue with the action and do it before you move your hand. Remember, always give them visual praise and a treat when they do it right. 
Throughout training, try to keep sessions to a maximum of three minutes long and then give your cat a break. If you can stick to three, three-minute sessions a day, you should hopefully be able to get your cat rolling over in response to your verbal cue within seven days. However, it’s important to remember that some cats will take longer to master this than others, and some may not get it at all.

Be patient and if you find yourself getting frustrated, take a break and come back to it later. It’s important not to physically force your cat into position, as this will cause them to become stressed and could lead to behavioural or medical problems. Training should be a fun experience for both you and your cat, so always use positive reinforcement and make sure they have the choice to stop if they want to.

Have you managed to successfully train your cat to roll over on command? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter!

If you have any problems training your cat, take a look at our advice on the Cats Protection website or contact a qualified behaviourist.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

What do cats see when they watch TV?

If you’ve ever noticed your moggy staring at the television, seemingly captivated by what’s on the screen, you may have wondered what it is they actually see. While some cats are not bothered by the small screen, others will watch intently, particularly programmes featuring other animals.

Some studies have indicated that cats are able to identify imagery on TV, as we know that they can distinguish between outlines, patterns and textures. However, we do not know with certainty what they perceive the images to be. Cats rely much more on other senses, such as hearing and smell, to understand the world around them, so for some cats it may just be the noises they hear and fast movements that see that attract their attention towards the screen.

tabby and white cat in basket

Cats that are more active hunters may show more interest in the TV than others. If they appear to be watching the action and have their eyes open with narrow pupils and their ears and whiskers pointed forward, they could be stimulated by what's coming from the TV. However, if they are watching with dilated pupils and flatter ears, this could indicate that they are more concerned and stressed by what is on the screen, and so should be given the opportunity to run away if needed.

Why are some cats particularly interested in big cats on TV? 

All of the different species of the cat family that are around today have evolved from one common ancestor, and although our domestic moggies split from their lion and tiger cousins a long time ago they may still be able to recognise their feline outline or facial features on screen. However, even if they can identify other cats on television, the majority of cats are unlikely to feel threatened by them as they would a neighbour’s cat, because they cannot detect their scent or other cues that tell them it is a real cat. It could also be that owners are more likely to pick up on their cats watching other cats on television because of their own associations when actually their cat watches TV at other times too.

To find out more about cat behaviour, visit the Cats Protection website

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Are you an expert on keeping your cat safe in winter?

With winter well and truly underway, you might be concerned about how you can keep your cat safe at this time of year. Plummeting temperatures, darker nights and icy weather can all present a risk to cats. 


To find out if you know how to keep your cat safe and happy during the colder months, take our quiz. Focusing on everything from calming your cat during fireworks season to keeping them warm during colder spells, you can find out whether you’re a cat expert.

Don’t worry if you don’t get full marks – you’ll pick up some great top tips along the way!



Our top 10 tips for keeping your cat safe in winter

1. During cold weather, make sure your cat comes inside at night. Provide them with warm, comfortable and safe places to sleep.
2. Make sure your cat is microchipped in case they stray. That way, they can easily be traced back to your address.
3. Provide a litter tray somewhere private so that your cat doesn’t have to head out into the cold to toilet.
4. During fireworks season, keep your cat in after dark and make sure that your cat flap, windows and doors are closed so that your cat doesn’t panic and escape.
5. Screen off open fireplaces and supervise your cat if you have lit a fire.
6. Cats that are outdoors may crawl into a warm car engine to get warm – check your car before you start up your engine.
7. Avoid using anti-freeze to clear your car windscreen of ice. De-icers and screen washes use Ethylene glycol, a chemical that can prove deadly to cats if they ingest it.
8. As the evenings get darker, reduced visibility makes traffic conditions riskier for outdoor cats. If you’re worried, keep your cat inside.
9. Regularly check sheds, outhouses and garages to ensure your cat isn’t locked inside.
10. Make sure your cat has plenty of fresh water indoors, in case any outside sources freeze.

For more advice on keeping your cat safe during the winter, visit www.cats.org.uk/cats-and-cold-weather

Monday, 3 December 2018

Christmas gifts for you and your cat

With a winter chill in the air and twinkling decorations already appearing in the streets, it’s time to start thinking about what to put under your Christmas tree for friends, family and felines!

If you’re stuck for ideas of what to get the cat lovers (and cats) in your life this year and then we’ve put together a handy guide of the latest moggy must-haves from our own Cats Protection online shop.

The best bit is, by shopping with us you’ll be supporting our work helping kitties across the UK, helping us to make sure they all have a very meowy Christmas and a happy Mew Year too.

Make sure you get your orders in by 10 December to make sure they arrive by the big day!

If crafting is more your thing at Christmas then we’ve also got some fantastic presents you can make for your own moggy or for the cats in our care.

Gifts for humans 


Cats Calendar 2019 - £5 



Give your loved ones a whole year of magnificent moggies with the official Cats Protection calendar, featuring gorgeous photos of some of the cats we’ve helped.

Catwalk socks - £13.50 




Everyone loves getting socks at Christmas, and this set features colourful cat designs. Purrfect for mixing and matching!

Simon’s Cat bag - £6.50 




This stylish shopper features everyone’s favourite cartoon cat and is sure to have you ‘feline good’, especially if you fill it with lots of goodies!

Cats scarf - £9.99 


The perfect accessory for your winter outfit, this soft scarf features a fashionable rose gold cat print to let everyone know felines are your favourite.

Cat cushion - £11.99 


Make sure all your visitors know which seat is reserved for the cat with this fun and functional cushion.

Cat coaster set - £7.99 




Add a splash of colour to your coffee table with these cute coasters featuring peeking cats of many shades.

Gifts for cats 


Christmas stocking - £4.99 




Get your kitty their very own Christmas stocking and fill it with fun toys that will keep them active over the festive season. 

Crinkle catnip snowman - £2.99 




If your cat goes crazy for catnip then they will have hours of fun with this happy snowman toy.

Teddy bear ears cat bed - £19.99 




Keep your cat cosy in the winter months with this soft cat bed that’s ideal for catnaps.

Scratch post - £22.99 




Help your cat keep their claws trim and mark their territory with this sturdy scratch post that’s tall enough for them to really stretch out on.

Peeking cat bowl - £8.99 




While you’re tucking in to Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, make sure your cat has their own tasty bowl of cat food.

Light up festive cat ball - £4.50 




Your kitty will be mesmerised by this fun festive toy that lights up as it moves across the floor.

Make your own cat toys 


Christmas can be an expensive time of year, so if you would like to still treat your cat but keep the costs down, why not have a go at making them a present instead. Take a look at our Feline Crafty videos on YouTube to find out how to make a cosy cat tent, fun cat toys, a super scratch post and much more using common household items!

You could even make some presents for the cats in our care to make sure they don’t feel left out at Christmas. Get in touch with your local Cats Protection to find out how you can donate your crafty creations.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Final Doobie and Tilly update in Purina® funded month of National Cat Adoption Centre

We’re coming close to the end of the month in which Purina® are kindly funding the running costs of our National Cat Adoption Centre, in Sussex.

We’ve been following Doobie and Tilly who were being cared for at the centre because sadly their owner passed away. Doobie is a friendly 5 year old black and white cat. Tilly, 9 years old, is a very friendly brown cat and enjoys being stroked. 

Doobie and Tilly both now homed!

 
Doobie

Following the homing of Tilly, we are pleased to report that Doobie was also rehomed on 24 November after 5 weeks in our care. Doobie was in the homing wing four days before he was reserved and then went home with his new owners four days later. His new owners saw him on our website and fell in love with him!

A massive thank you to Purina® from us and all the cats in our care - The funds from Purina® will help provide the food, warmth and shelter that cats like Doobie and Tilly need while they wait for their forever home.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Genie gets her wish in new Christmas animation


After the great success of last year’s animation ‘Kozal’s Christmas’ and its emotional tale focused on the rehoming of a mature moggy, we’ve released this year’s festive film.

'Genie’s Christmas Wish' is inspired by the true story of best friends Evie and Genie, who won the overall title of Cat of the Year at the National Cat Awards in 2017.

Black-and-white cat Genie was a dedicated companion to schoolgirl Evie as she braved intensive treatment for bone cancer in 2016. Aged just 11 at the time, Evie went through six rounds of chemotherapy, a number of operations and lengthy hospital stays.

Although she was separated from her feline friend Genie, the bond they had built provided plenty of comfort throughout her treatment. Evie was kept positive by watching videos of Genie from her hospital bed.

Evie says: “I missed Genie every day I was in hospital and my family could tell she missed me. She is my best friend and is always there when I need her.”

The relationship was so strong that Evie’s family decided to nominate Genie for the National Cat Awards in 2017. Genie was lucky enough to win the title of Outstanding Rescue Cat as well as the overall award of Cat of the Year, which saw Evie accept the award at a ceremony at the Savoy Hotel in London.

As well as being inspired by a true story, 'Genie’s Christmas Wish' was produced entirely in-house at Cats Protection. From its brief and inception to the final film. The hope is that the animation will highlight the often amazing impact that cats have on our lives, as well as how they can provide great companionship.

Watch the animation below, or head to www.cats.org.uk/xmas for more information on how to keep your own cat happy throughout the festive season.


Friday, 23 November 2018

The Black Cat Day moggies who have found their forever homes

You may remember that on 27 October we celebrated National Black Cat Day, a day dedicated to the monochrome moggies that sadly take 13% longer to be rehomed than cats of other colours.

 As well as creating colour swatches of beautiful black cat shades that you could assign to your own felines, we also featured some black cats waiting for their forever homes on our website.

Thankfully, many of them didn’t have to wait long, and so we thought we’d give you an update on where they are now!

Bobbie (Brilliant Black) 

black cat

One-and-a-half year old Bobbie was found on the street before being cared for by our Stranraer & District Branch, which tried everything it could to find his owners. When no one came forward, he was spotted by the Baxter family, who were looking for a young cat that would get along with their toddler. Bobbie is now very much part of the family, loving the attention he gets from his two young human siblings. He has a farm house to live in and acres of land to explore once he starts to go outdoors. He is definitely a lucky black cat!

Taz (Ebony Black) 

black cat on sofa

Our Bridgend Adoption Centre took in 14-year-old Taz when his owner became critically ill, and was hoping to find a quite home for him to live out his older years in comfort. Luckily, Carla was able to offer him just that. She said: “He follows me everywhere, knows his name and is a sucker for a fuss. He's got his own room but prefers to be downstairs. He loves an under chin stroke and is a very cwtchy boy. I am smitten, I can't wait to come home from work and see him.”

Bobby (Plum Black) 

black cat on sofa

Handsome one-year-old Bobby was being looked after by our Cambridge Branch and hoped to find a quiet home where he could be the centre of attention. Thankfully, his wishes came true as he was soon adopted by Harriet and her family.

She said: "When our little cat passed away in 2017, we were bereft and although we knew we would eventually like to have another cat, we didn't want to rush into finding someone to replace her. We thought that when we felt ready to welcome another little being into the household, it would be great to find a rescue cat. Bobby's little face immediately drew my attention when I saw him on the Cats Protection website. He looked so appealing and also in need of someone to cherish him. I've always loved waifs and strays, and I adore black cats, so I thought he would be ideal for our family. We were told that he'd had a difficult start, so I was eager to give him a secure loving home. When we met him, he was a bit bewildered, but very responsive and I felt we could work with that.

"Bobby has been with us just over a week and has already settled in well. He is a bit obsessed with food, but is gradually calming down on that front, as he realises that he doesn't have to worry about not being fed. He makes us laugh with his funny ways, whether he's racing around the house like there's no tomorrow, or chasing his tail. He is also very affectionate and likes to curl up on an available lap and purr away, which is not what we expected so soon. I am so glad that we decided to welcome him into our lives. He is a very rewarding little chap and I look forward to watching him grow and learn more about his quirky ways."

Other magnificent moggies that have been homed since Black Cat Day include:

Mable (Midnight Black) from our Belfast Adoption Centre 

black cat sideways head

Kitkat (Desire Deep Red) from our Lichfield & Tamworth Branch 

black cat

Newton (Carpathian Grey) and Maddison (Shadow Moon Black) from our Preston Branch 

black cat  in outdoor pen


black cat

If you would like to adopt a beautiful black cat of your own, visit www.cats.org.uk/adopt-a-cat to find the cats looking for homes in your area.