Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Is your cat left- or right-pawed?

When they’re reaching for their favourite toy or a tasty treat, you may have noticed that your cat prefers to use a particular paw.

According to new research, their preference may actually be down to their gender, with female moggies more likely to use their right paw and males more likely to use their left.

Researchers at Queen’s University Belfast studied 24 male and 20 female cats as they went about their everyday activities at home.

They observed the cats as they were reaching for food, stepping down the stairs, or stepping over objects, and noticed that the majority were consistent in using a particular paw for the task. The male cats showed a significant preference for using their left paw, while the female cats were more inclined to use their right.

Unsurprising the cats did not seem to have a preference when sleeping, as they would happy snooze while lying on either side of their body!

Further study is needed to determine why gender plays a role, but the researchers believe it could be down to hormones.

They also explained that the findings could help cat owners to understand how their pet deals with stress. Dr Deborah Wellls, one of the researchers involved in the study, said: “Beyond mere curiosity, there may be value to knowing the motor preference of one's pet. There is some suggestion that limb preference might be a useful indicator of vulnerability to stress. Ambilateral animals with no preference for one side or the other, and those that are more inclined to left-limb dominance, for example, seem more flighty and susceptible to poor welfare than those who lean more heavily towards right limb use.”

She added: “We have just discovered that left-limbed dogs, for example, are more pessimistic in their outlook than right-limbed dogs. From a pet owner's perspective, it might be useful to know if an animal is left or right limb dominant, as it may help them gauge how vulnerable that individual is to stressful situations."

Have you noticed whether your cat is left- or right-pawed? And do they prefer using the paw typical for their gender? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook and Twitter pages! We’d love to see photo evidence too!

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Petplan raises over £5 million for cats in our care!

We would like to say a huge thank you to Petplan® which has given an amazing £5 million to Cats Protection since the beginning of our partnership in 2001. This huge achievement is a testament to the great partnership between Cats Protection and Petplan®, which has brought many benefits to help the cats in our care.

By providing every cat we rehome with four weeks’ free insurance, Petplan® supports our branches and centres to give every cat the best start when leaving Cats Protection’s care. Whenever a Cats Protection adopter continues their cover onto a full policy from their four weeks’ free insurance, Petplan® gives 10% of the premium back to the charity and a further 10% each year the policy is renewed. In addition, supporters can get a quote via which will also trigger 10% of the premium to be donated when the policy is taken out.

Pepper’s story

Pepper received the care he needed thanks to Petplan

Thanks to a policy with Petplan®, 11-year-old Pepper from Cats Protection’s Downpatrick Branch was able to receive the care he needed. Pepper’s owner Andree Brown tells her story:

“Pepper was approximately 11 years old, but despite his age, we were able to have a covered for life policy with Petplan® because we continued his cover from the four weeks’ free policy he was rehomed with. It was a relatively short phone call and everything was set up for me.”

Andree never had pet insurance before and was later grateful for the cover when she noticed Pepper was drinking excessively and diagnosed with diabetes. Andree’s local veterinary practice dealt with all the claims and she only had her excess and 20% of the cost of the treatment to pay.

“I would highly recommend that if someone is taking on a cat, especially one that is older and the history is unknown, that they continue with a full Petplan® policy. Although pre-existing medical conditions aren’t covered, you are covered for anything new and unrelated. It has paid dividends with me.”

Pepper is one of many cats at Cats Protection who benefit from the insurance cover that Petplan® provides. If you would like to get a quote for your pet and help support Cats Protection at the same time, please visit:

Andree Brown provided the case study on 19/08/17
Petplan is a trading name of Pet Plan Limited and Allianz Insurance plc. Any injury/illness which occurred before your pet’s cover started is a pre-existing condition and will not be covered. Terms, conditions and excesses apply and may be varied at renewal.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Enterprising schoolgirl gets crafty for the cats

Cats Protection’s Exeter Axhayes Adoption Centre has received a kind donation for the cats in their care from local schoolgirl Evie Carpenter, who has been raising money by selling homemade keyring charms.

Evie meeting the cats at the Exeter Axhayes Adoption Centre
Eleven-year-old Evie got the idea for her colourful Little Charmers when she visited a craft fair with her aunt and saw a stall selling bright and colourful beads. She said: “I decided to buy some beads to try and make my own keyrings. It was really fun and relaxing and so I asked my aunty to get lots more beads. When I got to sell my charmers at the school fĂȘte, they sold really well and all my friends bought them – even my head teacher bought one!”

Evie's Little Charmers keyring charms
Evie soon started selling her keyrings on her Facebook page and has so far raised £50 for the Exeter Axhayes Adoption Centre. In December 2017 she visited the centre to hand over the first donation and got to see some of the cats the money will help.

“I wanted to donate some of our money to Cats Protection because we got our cat, Bobble, from there and because cats are really lovely and cuddly,” said Evie. “I wanted to help them while they are waiting to find their homes. I am going to make some more cat charmers and for every one I sell I will donate money to Cats Protection.”

Evie and her cat Bobble
To find out more about Little Charmers, visit Little Charmers Gifts on Facebook and follow @LilCharmers on Twitter.


Tuesday, 16 January 2018

How to speak cat: Why do cats meow?

Some cats can be quite chatty with their owners, but it is often difficult to understand what they are actually trying to say. From a howling meow to a short chirrup, they can make a wide range of different noises to communicate their mood, so to help you decipher their complex language we have put together a handy cat chat guide.

First though, lets tackle that confusing conundrum…

Is it ‘miaow’ or ‘meow’?

Miaow is actually the umbrella term used for a group of cat sounds, including the meow and mew. You can find out more about the meanings of these particular sounds below, but if you’re in doubt about what sound your cat is making, just use ‘miaow’.

Translation: Anything from ‘let me in’ to ‘I want some food’

Meowing isn’t actually used by cats very often to communicate with each other. Instead it is a learned behaviour that they use primarily to communicate with humans, as it usually gets a positive response. For example, if a cat meows and their owner takes it to mean they are hungry, they will provide them with food. The cat then knows that if they use that meow again, they will get fed. This is why a cat will usually develop their own specific range of meows that their owner comes to recognise, such as a short meow for attention and a longer meow for food.

Why do cats meow?

Translation: ‘Mum!’

Mew is the name for the cry of a kitten, which it uses to tell the queen (mother cat) that it is hungry or in distress. They begin making this sound a few days after birth but typically stop when they are around two to three months old.

Translation: ‘Hello’

This short trill is usually used by queens when they call for their kittens, but many domestic cats also use it as a way of greeting humans.

Translation: ‘I’m happy’*

A gentle purr is used by queens and their kittens as a way to let each other know that all is well. Adult cats also purr when they’re feeling content, but a more urgent higher-pitched purr could be a signal for attention instead. *Purring can also be a sign that a cat is in pain, so pay close attention to the context of their purr and if you’re worried then seek advice from the vet.

Translation: ‘Stay back’

Cats will growl if they feel threatened, using it as a warning that they will attack if the threat persists. As cats are solitary animal, they typically use low-pitched growling as a way to make themselves more intimidating to humans and other cats, encouraging them to stay away.

Translation: ‘Leave me alone’

Hissing and spitting are defensive behaviours in cats, used to deter any perceived enemy that may be approaching. If a cat is hissing, you should leave them alone as it is likely to be warning that they are about to scratch or bite.

If you have noticed a change in the type or frequency of sounds your cat is making, it is best to take them to the vet to rule out any underlying health problems, as it could be a sign that they are in pain.

To find out more about why cats miaow, watch Cats Protection Behaviour Manager Nicky Trevorrow explain cat language in our video:

Friday, 12 January 2018

Give our gorgeous gingers a home

Today is National Kiss a Ginger Day, a day when people are encouraged to find their favourite redhead and give them a cheeky peck on the cheek!

Instead of finding human company, however, we’ve taken the opportunity to show you some of the gorgeous gingers in Cats Protection’s care that are waiting for homes. While we don’t necessarily advocate giving your cat a big kiss*, these cats are looking for plenty of love and attention. Could you give them their forever home?

Mickey – Newbury Adoption Centre

Placid, loving and affectionate Mickey is a gorgeous 15-year-old cat. With poor eyesight due to high blood pressure, he’ll need to be on medication for life and would benefit from a quiet home with a secure garden away from busy roads. Partial to a good nap, he’d make a lovely companion. To give Mickey a home, contact Newbury Adoption Centre on 01635 200 111 or

Pugwash – Birmingham Adoption Centre

Slightly rotund, 10-year-old Pugwash is very loving and extremely protective over his brother Captain, who had to have his front leg removed. Pugwash helps him get around and they snuggle up together. As the pair are totally inseparable, this gorgeous ginger will need to be homed with his brother. To offer them both a home, contact Birmingham Adoption Centre on 01564 822 020 or email

Harvey – Bridgend Adoption Centre

Harvey is a handsome five-year-old ginger-and-white cat who has sadly been bought into care twice – the first time because his owner didn’t want him and the second time as he didn’t settle well with the other cat in the home. An independent cat, he does enjoy a fuss on his own terms and would suit a quieter home where he can curl up and relax. He isn’t keen on dogs and will need to be homed somewhere where he is the only pet. To give Harvey a home, contact Bridgend Adoption Centre on 01656 724 396 or email

Jason – National Cat Adoption Centre, Sussex

Eleven-year-old glorious ginger Jason is known for his glossy coat. Sadly, his shyness has seen him passed by in favour of more outgoing cats. Although he can be shy initially, he enjoys fuss and attention once he is comfortable. A calm and quiet home would suit him so he can go outside, explore and even have a few adventures. Although he has lived with other cats before, dogs and children frighten him. He does have a slight heart murmur but this doesn’t hold him back and he’d make a lovely addition to a household. To offer Jason a home, contact the National Cat Adoption Centre on 01825 741 330.

If you’d like to find a cat in your area (of any colour), type your postcode into our Find-a-Cat tool.

*Veterinary note: It is fine for owners to kiss their own cat, as long as the owner and their cat are medically healthy and that the cat is used to that level of contact with their owner. Kissing on the head would be less invasive than other areas and kissing on the cat's stomach is a big no-no! Cats prefer brief interactions rather than prolonged, intense interactions and tend to use 'nose to nose touching' as a greeting. This could be incorporated to make it less scary for the cat.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Speak up for cats on air gun licensing: Act now!

The UK Government is currently holding a public consultation into air weapon regulations and Cats Protection wants you to make your voice heard.

“UK press reports show that three cats are killed or injured by air guns each week and this is likely to be an underestimate because most attacks are never witnessed or reported,” explains Jacqui Cuff, Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy & Government Relations. “Worse still, over 90% of these shootings take place in England and Wales where it is legal for anyone over 18 to purchase an air gun and ammunition without the need for a licence.”

Black-and-white moggy Jalapeno is just one of the unfortunate victims of these shocking air gun attacks, which caused him to tragically lose an eye as a result of his injuries.

Jalapeno was tragically shot with an air gun, causing him to lose an eye
“These attacks cause immense pain and suffering to cats as well as anguish for their owners and fear in their local communities for the safety of people and pets,” adds Jacqui. “This is an unacceptable state of affairs and we want to see England and Wales follow the example of Scotland and Northern Ireland where it is illegal to own air weapons without a licence.

“If licensing were introduced, we believe it would be easier to track down culprits who use these weapons to inflict harm on cats. We want to ensure that cats in England and Wales are fully protected. Those who have a legitimate reason to purchase, possess and use an air gun will be able to retain ownership and would simply need to apply for a licence.”

If you would like to encourage the Government to review the licensing of air guns in England and Wales, visit where you can adapt and send an email to the Home Office by 6 February 2018 when the public consultation closes. You can also watch our video showing some of the feline victims of air gun shootings below, though please bear in mind that people may find these images upsetting.

“Last year over 90,000 people signed an online and paper Cats Protection petition calling for the licensing of air guns in England and Wales, showing the depth of public feeling on the issue,” says Jacqui. “Our hope is that as many people as possible email the government in support of air gun licensing so that we can make the whole of the UK a safer place for cats, animals and human beings.”

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

National Cat Awards 2018: Nominate your marvellous moggy now!

Now in its tenth year, Cats Protection’s prestigious National Cat Awards celebrate the difference cats make to their owners’ lives, highlighting heart-warming stories of devotion, companionship and courage.

“Has your cat saved lives? Turned your life around? If so Cats Protection wants to hear about it,” said Holby City and Strictly star Chizzy Akudolu. “As a cat owner myself, and having attended last year’s awards, I’ve seen first-hand what a tremendous difference they can make to people’s lives. So get nominating as this is their time to shine.”

Celebrity cat lover Chizzy Akudolu. Credit: Meet the Masons Photography
Owners have until noon on Friday 9 March to nominate their cat for one of five categories:
  • Hero Cat – Cats that save the day
  • Most Caring Cat – Cats that positively impact a person’s health or wellbeing
  • Furr-ever Friends – Tales of friendship between children and cats
  • Outstanding Rescue Cat – Fabulous felines adopted from animal charities
  • Purina® Better Together – Celebrating the special bond that has transformed and enriched the lives of both a feline and human
Winners and celebrity guests at the 2017 National Cat Awards 
Once the nominations are in, a panel of celebrity cat-lovers has the hard job of selecting the deserving winners of each category as well as the overall winner of National Cat of the Year. The awards will then be given out at a star-studded ceremony, sponsored by PURINA® for the seventh year, which will be held at the Savoy Hotel in London on Thursday 2 August.

The 2017 event was a fantastic celebration of loyalty and bravery in the cat world and we hope that many more inspiring stories will be showcased this year.

 National Cat of the Year 2017 Genie and her owner Evie. Credit: Fabio De Paola - PA Wire
The winner of National Cat of the Year will follow in the paw prints of Genie, a cat from Lincoln who helped 12-year-old Evie Henderson battle bone cancer, Tink who saved her owners from a house fire, and Jessi-Cat who was celebrated for helping a seven-year-old boy cope with Selective Mutism.

To nominate your cat visit For further information about the awards email or phone 03000 12 12 12.