Friday, 14 June 2019

Father’s Day Cards for proud cat dads

With Father’s Day coming up this weekend, we thought it was time to focus on much-loved cat dads. To celebrate, we have made three free printable Father’s Day cards – specially designed with cat-lovers in mind.

Are you married to a man who has an affinity with his kitty, or do you know a grumpy gentleman who will only hold conversations with the cat? Cat dads come in all shapes and sizes and we’re keen to champion them!

Choose from our three designs (or opt for all three!), download and print before giving to your favourite feline-loving father. Those with a lot of love for their cat will adore the #CatDad Day card, while our quirky Father’s Day card is a great way to shout about all the great ways they look after their furry pal. For those with a sense of humour, there’s always the ‘thanks for cleaning up my poop’ card – ideal for dads on constant litter tray duty.




Cat Men Do

Don’t forget! As part of our Cat Men Do campaign, we’re looking for proud cat dads to shout about their relationship with their cat. Share pics of your cat on our Facebook page, or on your own Twitter and Instagram using #CatMenDo to be featured in our photo gallery.

To see our photo gallery and learn more about the campaign, visit www.cats.org.uk/cat-men-do

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Hero cat rescues his day-old kitten from fox attack

A tiny black kitten survived by a whisker after a cat, who is thought to be his father, faced off with a fox to keep him safe.

tiny black kitten in human hand
The tiny kitten was rescued just in time 
The kitten is being cared for by Cats Protection’s Gwent Branch after brave moggy Ozzy alerted owner Sarah Williams to the attack in the early hours of the morning.

Sarah, who lives in Fleur-de-lis in Wales, was awoken by the feline growling and meowing out in the garden and when she went out with a torch to investigate she was shocked to see Ozzy staring down a fully grown fox.

black cat sitting on wooden floor
Ozzy the hero dad
Startled by her arrival, the fox darted off and she then heard a strange meowing coming from the bush where Ozzy had been standing.

 A quick search revealed the kitten, who Sarah rushed inside and wrapped in blankets before contacting Cats Protection.

blonde woman with black cat on her lap
Sarah Williams with Ozzy
“Gwent Cats Protection were so good – I can’t thank them enough,” said Sarah. “They do incredible work and came out almost straight away to help. They arrived before 6am!”

Now named Tommy, the kitten is being hand-reared by volunteer branch coordinator and fosterer Glynis Davies until he is ready for homing.

woman bottle feeding tiny black kitten
Glynis bottle feeding Tommy the kitten
Glynis said: “He’s a sweet little thing and is doing well after his ordeal. Hopefully he’ll continue to flourish and we can find him a home once he’s old enough.”

Sarah added: “I think Ozzy probably fathered the kitten prior to being neutered nine weeks ago as I often see him hanging around with one of the neighbourhood’s female cats. They are both jet black, just like Tommy, and I can’t think why else he would be so protective of this kitten.”

two black cats on garden patio
Ozzy and his 'girlfriend' 
Daniel Cummings, Cats Protection’s Behaviour Manager, said: “Cats and foxes generally prefer to avoid conflict to reduce their risk of injury, more often ‘staring’ at each other before going their separate ways. While cats can show what is perceived as defensive behaviour when humans or other animals approach their litter, it would usually be the female that displays these behaviours as it is typically the queen that looks after the kittens with little input from the father.

black cat watching over sleeping black kitten
Ozzy watching over Tommy the kitten
“While instances of foxes attacking cats are relatively rare, foxes are scavengers so it is possible they may eat a kitten if the opportunity arises. The best way to avoid this is to ensure that cats are neutered as early as possible to avoid accidental litters being born outside. Cats can be neutered at four months, which is when they can start breeding.”

To find out more about getting your cat neutered, visit www.cats.org.uk/neutering

Saturday, 8 June 2019

Meet the cats and kids who are Furr-ever Friends

There’s no question that cats make the purrfect pets for young children. As well as helping kids to learn about compassion and responsibility, pet moggies can be there as a great listener, a cuddly companion and a best friend.

For the 2019 National Cat Awards, we’ve found three amazing cats who have helped their human best friends through some really difficult times.

Their stories highlight the remarkable bond that children can have with their cats and one of them will go on to win the Furr-ever Friends award at a star-studded ceremony in London on 8 August 2019.


Meet the Furr-ever Friends finalists 


Chi and Finley 

For eight-year-old Finley, who has autism and Sensory Processing Disorder, everyday life can be overwhelming. Coping with social anxiety, stress and isolation is a daily challenge and Finley can struggle to leave the family home.

young ginger boy stroking tabby and white cat

Desperate to help, Finley’s parents thought a cat might bring some comfort so they brought rescue cat Chi into their son’s life. The effect was remarkable – the pair bonded instantly and Finley got the unconditional love and non-judgemental friendship he needed to thrive. Where once Finley would have been withdrawn for hours at a time, he now has a constant companion in Chi who is never far from his side.

The mutual bond of deep love between Finley and Chi has been transformative, helping Finley build social networks with others by sharing stories about his beloved cat. The incredible effect Chi has had on Finley’s life has since inspired more parents of children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) to adopt a rescue cat.

Mum Jo said: “Chi really is an ambassador for cats and helping more people understand what wonderful therapy they can be for children with ASD.” 



Cisco and Charlie 

Charlie Hammond was just 14 when he was the victim of a mugging while out walking with friends. The effect on Charlie was devastating. Too afraid to leave the house, he stopped contact with friends and withdrew into himself.

young boy with purple hair holding a tabby cat

As his anxiety spiralled out of control, mum Zoe hoped that getting a kitten would help Charlie cope. And within moments of meeting Cisco, the fog started to lift. Straight away, the pair were inseparable, giving Charlie a fun and lively friend and a new focus.

Nearly two years on and Charlie has been able to move forward with his life, with Cisco at his side through thick and thin.


Jeffree and Finn  

The sudden death of a parent would be difficult for any child to cope with but for 13-year-old Finn, who has Asperger syndrome, losing his dad just weeks after he’d been diagnosed with cancer was incomprehensible.

young boy with dark hair holding a black cat

Finding it difficult to communicate with others, Finn became locked in a cycle of depression and despair. As he became increasingly withdrawn, mum Gayle began hoping for a miracle, which came in the form of former stray Jeffree. It seemed the eight-year-old puss would be perfect for the family and within hours of meeting, the change in Finn’s outlook was remarkable.

Finn and Jeffree quickly formed a close bond, helping Finn cope with his loss and giving him a purpose in life once again. One year on, Finn’s life has been transformed – all thanks to his feline friend.


To find out more about the National Cat Awards, visit www.cats.org.uk/nca

Friday, 7 June 2019

Volunteers’ Week 2019: What’s it like to volunteer for Cats Protection?

Cats Protection wouldn’t be able to help so many unfortunate cats and kittens across the UK if it wasn’t for our incredible team of over 11,000 volunteers who generously give their time, knowledge and skills to our cause.

Volunteering at Cats Protection centres across England, Scotland and Wales is being supported this year by players of People’s Postcode Lottery who have enabled the charity to employ Volunteer Team Leaders who unite, support and nurture volunteers at the centres.
 
For Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) we asked just some of our volunteers (and Volunteer Team Leaders) what a typical day in their roles is like and what they enjoy most about being part of the UK's biggest community of cat lovers.

Meet some of our Cats Protection heroes 


Jess Gibson – Volunteer Team Leader at Tyneside Adoption Centre 

two women in Cats Protection t-shirts with a ginger kitten on their laps
Jess (left) with volunteer Gabrielle and one of the kittens at the centre
“A typical day at the centre begins at 8am when I sit down with the rest of the team for our morning briefing to plan ahead for the day. For the first few hours I scan my inbox and address any urgent emails, reply to volunteer enquiries and catch up on paperwork. Our Cat Care Volunteers arrive around 8.30am so I’m there to greet them and to brief them on any cat care developments and just have a chat in general to make sure everyone is happy. Nothing beats speaking to your volunteers face to face!

"Gabrielle arrives just in time for the morning break. Gabrielle is one of our lovely volunteers who enjoys that extra bit of support from me. We make the teas and coffees ready for the staff and volunteers to sit down and enjoy a cuppa and a cheeky biscuit together and chat about the cats.”

Jenny Gill – Cat Care Assistant at Eastbourne Adoption Centre 

woman in a Cats Protection t-shirt giving a black cat a chin rub
Jenny with chatty cat Alfie 
“Alfie is an all-black, chatty 13-year-old cat who likes to watch what we do and comment as we go! He is very confident and friendly but all cats have their individual characters and some are very shy or overwhelmed by being newly in care so we take care not to unsettle them. We also take careful note of any behaviour, toileting or food/water intake changes because cats are very good at hiding their pain and any change can highlight that something might be wrong.”

John Porter – Cat Care, Driving and Gardening Volunteer at Eastbourne Adoption Centre 

Man with beard in a Cats Protection t-shirt sitting outside on a bench
John taking a break from his green-fingered volunteering
“This afternoon I’ll be spending time maintaining the centre’s garden – which keeps it looking nice for both potential adopters and the cats who can look out onto it from their pens. At the moment I have my eye on tidying up an unruly patch behind the maternity wing!

"It’s important for the garden to look good for outdoor events such as our Summer Fayre (on 7 July – do come along between midday and 3pm). In fact it was a fayre that first got me thinking about volunteering. I’d been retired from my job as a motor mechanic for two years when I came to one of the fayres and they mentioned needing volunteers – that was three years ago and I’ve never looked back!”

Kathryn Graves – Secretary for Chiltern Branch 

One woman, two young girls and a cat sitting around a garden table
Kathryn (left) with DofE volunteers Abbie and Daisy and Eddie the cat
“Once a week after work, I meet up with Abbie and Daisy who are volunteering with us for their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award. Thanks to them we have an Instagram account, @chilterncats and we spend an hour planning what photos they will post over the course of the week. Abbie's cat, Eddie, likes to join us.”

Adrienne Girvan – Volunteer Kitten Socialiser at Glasgow Adoption Centre 

woman in Cats Protection t-shirt holding a white kitten
Adrienne with Ingrid the kitten who she has helped to socialise 
"I originally came to Cats Protection to buy a calendar back in November 2011... it was a Christmas shopping expedition with a very unusual outcome! I now volunteer from 2-5pm, Monday-Wednesday, socialising kittens so they are confident young cats when they go to their new homes.”

Susan Anthony – Paws to Listen Volunteer 

blonde woman with a tabby cat on her lap
Susan and her 'Personal Assistant' Tabitha the cat
“I have been a volunteer for the Cats Protection Paws to Listen grief support line for about two years. Having stumbled across the possibility, I just knew it was something I really wanted to do. I volunteer from home, often having to fight my cat Tabitha for use of my PC, desk and chair.

"A typical shift involves calls from, or call backs to, often distraught people who have suffered or are anticipating the loss of a much-loved cat. This can involve a natural death or euthanasia, an accident, the need to rehome or a missing cat. Every call is different and the emotions felt by each caller are individual, but almost all of them express gratitude for the opportunity to discuss their feelings and to be listened to by someone who understands their distress and will never judge. It can sometimes be an emotionally draining role but it is always hugely rewarding knowing that I have helped someone in pain even just a little bit.”

Tina – Shop Volunteer for Worcester Branch 

woman sorting through a rail of clothes in a charity shop
Tina helps sort the stock in the Worchester shop
"Being a volunteer helps boost your confidence on a developmental level. Providing good customer service is also key and a good thing to add to your CV. I have progressed onto becoming a key holder and am starting to learn some managerial skills, which will hopefully further my career in the future.

"I work in many aspects of the running of the shop, from sorting donations, taking cash and card payments on the till to completing displays in window and around the store. If you’re thinking about becoming a volunteer or are new to the area, please do pop in to see the manager. You get plenty of tea and coffee while working… always a bonus! And you will make new friends at the same time.”

If you would like to know more about volunteering for Cats Protection, visit www.cats.org.uk/get-involved/volunteering to find opportunities to help cats in your area.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Pregnant cat survives being dumped in a bin bag

A pregnant cat was dumped and left for dead in a bin bag by the side of the road on one of the hottest days of the year.

The cat was discovered in Pontycymer when children in a nearby garden heard her meows and alerted their father.

black and white cat lying down

“The children’s father went to investigate and found the cat inside a plastic bin bag – which had been tied in a knot to seal it,” said Sue Dobbs, manager of Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre.

“This was on Good Friday, the hottest day of the year so far.

“Temperatures reached 21ÂșC so it would have been extremely hot inside the bag and the poor cat inside had no escape route.

black and white cat sat in cat flap

“It’s unlikely the cat would have survived for much longer if she hadn’t been discovered when she was.”

The member of the public took the cat – now named Friday after the day she was found – to Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre in Bryncethin.

One-year-old Friday was treated for conjunctivitis and cat flu and on Saturday 4 May she gave birth to a black-and-white kitten. The kitten was named Saturday.



Sue said: “Friday was clearly traumatised by her ordeal when she first arrived but she soon turned into a little sweetie.

“She’s very chatty and has obviously been someone’s pet at some point.

Sadly, Saturday the kitten was found to have a deformed rib cage and on the vet's advice, had to be put to sleep. The centre continues to care for mum Friday and she is doing very well.

To help the Bridgend Adoption Centre fund Friday's care you can donate via Just Giving or by texting BRID to 70577 to donate £5.00 (text donation terms and conditions can be found here).

black and white cat with tiny black and white kitten

Sue said: “I urge anyone who is no longer able to care for their cat or kittens to get in touch with us.

"We understand that life can change drastically and rapidly, so there’s no judgement when cats and kittens are handed over to us  we just want them to be safe and well.

“It also helps if we can be given as much information about the cat’s history, personality and likes and dislikes that we can pass on to future adopters.”

black and white cat and kitten

This year Cats Protection’s cat care assistants – who help look after cats like Friday and her kitten are being supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, who have raised just over £1million for the charity to-date.

To find cats and kittens looking for new homes in your area, visit www.cats.org.uk/adopt-a-cat

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

6 signs your cat doesn’t want a hug (and what you can do instead)

A lot of us would find a hug a lovely sign of affection from someone we are close to, but this is not necessarily the case for a lot of our feline friends.

Although some cats do like a cuddle, other moggies prefer their own space and to only show us affection on their own terms.

blonde woman in purple jumper holding tabby kitten

If you do go in for a hug with your cat, it is usually quite easy to tell if they are unhappy with the situation, for example they may hiss or puff up their tail. However there are also some more subtle signs cats use to let us know they are uncomfortable.

It’s important to look out for these signs and leave your cat alone if you spot them, otherwise it could lead to them becoming stressed and showing unwanted behaviours such as spraying or scratching the furniture.


Signs that your cat wants to be left alone 


1. Crouching 

If you approach your cat and they shrink away from you, moving into a crouched position, then this a strong indicator that they want their own space. If they try to run or jump away then you can also be pretty confident that they don’t want physical contact!

2. Avoiding eye contact 

When you pick your cat up for a hug, pay close attention to what they do with their head. If they actively turn their head away from you and avoid eye contact then this is a sign that they feel uncomfortable and would prefer for you to put them back down.

tabby cat lying on bed looking away

3. Flicking their tail 

Cats quite often communicate how they’re feeling using their tail, so when you approach for a hug, check what their tail is doing first. If it flicking from side to side, then the cat is telling you that they are not happy and definitely don’t want a cuddle.

4. Sudden grooming 

One of the most subtle behaviours cats use to show they are not comfortable is suddenly or excessively grooming their fur. If your cat quickly starts cleaning themselves as you approach them, turn around and leave them in peace.

tabby cat grooming itself

5. Dilated pupils 

It can be difficult to read the facial expressions of cats as they have fewer facial muscles compared to other animals like dogs. One of the clearer facial indicators they use is the size of their pupils, the black area in the centre of their eye. If their pupils are really wide, taking up most of the visible eyeball, then they could be feeling stressed.

6. Ears turned back 

Although cats move their ears around quite regularly to listen out for various noises (especially the food cupboard opening!) there are certain ear positions that can indicate their mood. If their ears are turned back or to the side for more than a couple of seconds, then you should give them their own space.

To learn more about cat body language, watch our fun animation below.


What can I do instead of hugging my cat? 


Many cats may not appreciate a hug, but there are lots of things you can do to show them you love them without scooping them up for a cuddle.

1. Slow blinking 

Slow blinking in your direction is the ultimate sign that your cat trusts you. If you do it back to them then they’ll know that you trust them too.


black cat slow blinking

2. Let them come to you 

Cats are control freaks and so like to be able to decide when and where they interact with others. Instead of scooping them up and restraining them, let them approach you on their own terms for a stroke or a chin rub.

3. Playtime 

Playing with toys such as fishing rods and catnip mice is important for cats, as it allows them to express their natural hunting behaviour and releases feel-good hormones in their brains. To create a really special bond with your cat, have lots of short play sessions throughout the day to keep them physically and mentally stimulated.

black and white cat playing with fishing rod toy


4. Training 

Many people don’t realise that cats can be taught tricks, just like dogs can. Training your cat to do things like respond to their name or sit on command can be a great way for you to bond as they’ll start to associate you with something fun. You can find lots of easy step-by-step guides to training your cat here.

For more information about cat behaviour, visit the Cats Protection website.

Friday, 31 May 2019

Top cat names revealed in Cats Protection survey

Deciding on a name for your beloved new cat can be a challenge. Of course, you want to pick the purrfect moniker to suit your moggy’s unique personality, but there are so many different names to choose from!

To help you out, we asked the general public to tell us what they call their kitties and have put together a list of the most popular names to inspire you.

We had an incredible 34,000 responses to our Big Cat Name Survey of 2019* which revealed some interesting changes in cat naming trends compared to the results of a similar survey we did in 2014.

Is your cat’s name on the list? Let us know in the comments below!

Top 10 female cat names


1. Poppy
2. Molly
3. Luna
4. Bella
5. Daisy
6. Millie
7. Rosie
8. Tilly
9. Willow
10. Lily

Discover the top 100 female cat names below...

list of top 100 female cat names

Top 10 male cat names


1. Charlie
2. Oscar
3. Alfie
4. George
5. Jasper
6. Milo
7. Leo
8. Merlin
9. Harry
10. Monty

Find out the top 100 male cat names below...

list of top 100 male cat names

To find the most popular names overall, check out the video below, where we also reveal some of the more unusual names uncovered in our survey!


Top names by cat colour 

  • Black – Sooty 
  • Black and white – Felix 
  • Ginger – Alfie 
  • Grey/blue – Misty 
  • Tabby – Molly 
  • Tortie – Poppy 
  • White – Casper 

Top foodie names 

  • Cookie 
  • Bailey 
  • Oreo 
  • Pepsi 
  • Merlot 

Cats named after icons 

  • Freddie 
  • Ziggy 
  • Harry 
  • Marley 
  • Cleo 

Top 10 cat names 

10. Rosie (New entry)
9. Millie (New entry)
8. Daisy (Non-mover)
7. Alfie (Non-mover)
6. Bella (Up four places)
5. Oscar (Non-mover)
4. Luna (New entry)
3. Charlie (Down one place)
2. Molly (Up one place)
1. Poppy

Fun fact: Our highest climber since 2014 is Luna, which has climbed 38 places from position #42

Some of the more unusual names

  • Archibald von Snugglemuffin 
  • Broccoli 
  • Couscous the puss puss 
  • Lord Puddington 
  • Miss Fizzy Whiskers 

*Survey conducted by Cats Protection in March/April 2019. The survey was sent to the charity’s e-newsletter subscribers and social media followers.