Thursday, 15 November 2018

How to buy a cat

If you’re looking for a new feline friend, we would of course advise you to adopt instead of buying online.

Cats Protection has thousands of cats waiting for new owners, and you can be sure that they have been well cared-for and received all their necessary health checks before you take them home.

However, we do understand that some people may prefer to buy from a pet seller. If you do, it’s important to do your research and make sure the cat is responsibly bred, otherwise you could be left with some unexpected vet bills.

tabby cat on sofa
Credit: Erik Jan Leusink - Unsplash
We’ve teamed up with some of the country’s other top animal welfare organisations, including Dogs Trust, Battersea and the RSPCA, to form the Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG) – a coalition united in its aim to promote responsible pet advertising and reduce the number of adverts from unscrupulous, and often criminal, dealers and sellers.

Research by PAAG has found that 37% of people admitted they did no research before buying a new pet, and half of pet owners are unaware regulations have come into force for the buying and selling of pets online. In addition, a shocking 87% of people paid an average of £1,000 on unexpected veterinary fees after they had purchased their pet.

With 1,000 new adverts appearing every day, we’re determined to try and stop the public from being duped into buying sick pets advertised online, and to protect the health and welfare of any animal sold via online ads.

grey tabby kitten on bed
Credit: Kote Puerto - Unsplash
To do this, PAAG has launched a new website with lots of advice on how to buy a pet responsibly. It will also be updated regularly with scams to be aware of and will provide a place for anyone to confidentially report suspicious websites or traders.

The advice for buying a cat includes:

  • ask for a copy of its medical records, including vaccination certificate and records of worming and flea treatment. Ensure that registration papers, the parents’ hereditary disease screening certificates and microchip documentation are in order 
  • if you’re buying a kitten, you should see the kitten with its mother where it was bred and check that the facilities are clean and the litter appears alert and healthy. A kitten should be sociable and alert with bright eyes and no visible health problems and you should be able to handle the kittens freely under supervision. Don’t buy a kitten that is less than eight weeks old 
  • if your chosen cat does not originate from the place of purchase, ask about where it did come from and try to obtain its previous history 

For more useful pet buying information, or to report a pet advert, visit www.howtobuyapet.co.uk 

If you do decide to adopt not shop, visit www.cats.org.uk/adopt-a-cat to give a magnificent moggy a second chance.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Purina® donates £100k to help cats in our National Cat Adoption Centre this November

We’re almost halfway through the month in which Purina® are kindly funding the running costs of our National Cat Adoption Centre, in Sussex. These funds will help all elements of the centre’s work in November such as looking after the hundreds of cats in their care and all the vital veterinary work that goes on at the centre.

We’ve been following Doobie and Tilly who are being cared for by our lovely volunteers and staff in the centre while they wait for a new home:

Doobie and Tilly update
 

Doobie and Tilly recently came into our admissions wing 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.

Last week Doobie underwent some dental work to remove his teeth and the veterinary team also found that he tested positive for FIV. We hope Doobie will be fit to home this week once he has recovered from his dental work.

FIV is a condition that affects the white blood cells of the immune system in cats, similar to the virus that causes AIDs in humans so it reduces the cats immunity so they maybe more prone to picking up illnesses. Cats with FIV will need to be kept indoors to avoid contact with other cats. We have free guidance leaflets on both FIV and cats living indoors. To access these please visit www.cats.org.uk/cat-care/care-leaflets

Lucky for Tilly, she has now found a home with a lovely owner! We will update you on the progress of Doobie in the next week or so.

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

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Purrfect Landlords: Helping to give renters the chance to own cats

Cats Protection has launched a major new campaign to help more people living in rented housing own a cat.

Issues over finding cat-friendly housing have been one of the top five reasons for cats being handed into the charity over the past 12 months with research showing that less than half of private rented housing allows cats.


Jacqui Cuff, Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy & Government Relations, said: “More and more people are renting their homes either by choice or necessity, yet very few rented properties accept cats. This means tenants are missing out on being able to own a cat, while landlords may be losing out on attracting responsible and settled tenants.

“We hear from renters who tell us most adverts state ‘no pets’. Often, the reason for not allowing cats is simply habit, with a third of landlords who don’t accept cats saying they didn’t proactively choose to ban cats, but instead followed a standard template or advice from a letting agent.”

As well as preventing people from experiencing the joy of owning a cat, this also sometimes results in heartbreak for cat owners who are forced to give up their beloved pet when moving into a new property.

Dilys Barnes, of Gorleston, Norfolk, and her partner Steve were forced to give up their own much-loved pet cat Buster to Cats Protection in June 2018, when their landlord decided to sell their property and they were left unable to find new rented housing which accepted cats.

Dilys and Steve were heartbroken to have to give up their cat Buster
Dilys said: “Every single advert we saw said ‘no pets’ and whenever we enquired, the answer was always no. We were devastated, and the whole thing was very traumatic. We loved him dearly, yet had to give him away, very much against our wishes.

“It seems so unfair, as he was our pet and no bother at all. We really miss him. I love cats, but I now find it very hard to stroke one when I see one in the street – it’s almost as if I’m too scared to get attached or enjoy their company as I know I cannot have my own pet cat.”

Private tenants who are able to own cats benefit immensely. Of those that own a cat, 94% report that their cat has a positive effect on their life such as making them happy, providing company and affection, or improving mental health.

Broadcaster, writer and Cats Protection supporter Andrew Collins said: “Cats are more than just much-loved pets, they’re part of the family and the heart of the home. For me, a home without a cat isn’t a home at all! They’ve got an important role to play in the lives of many people – from helping children understand about caring for others to providing a lifeline to pensioners who may otherwise feel isolated and lonely.


“It’s heart-breaking that so many renters are not able to own a cat but this needn’t be the case. Cats Protection’s Purrfect Landlords campaign is a major step forward in modernising how cat ownership is viewed in a rental market many people now rely on. By helping landlords see the benefits of happy, settled tenants, we can help more tenants experience the joy of sharing their lives with a feline friend.”

Jacqui added: “The reality is that cats very rarely cause problems for landlords. In actual fact, many cat owners tell us that having a cat is what makes their house a home and helps them put down roots and value the home they’re living in.

“The aim of Cats Protection’s Purrfect Landlords campaign is to transform renting so that responsible cat ownership benefits both landlords and tenants - happy landlords, happy tenants, happy cats.”

To find more information about the Purrfect Landlords campaign, including example pet policies for landlords and advice for tenants wishing to ask permission to own a cat, visit www.cats.org.uk/purrfectlandlords 

Five ways to show cats kindness

Although cats are quite independent, they still need us to look out for them, providing them with food and water, a warm place to sleep, hide and get up high, and making sure they are happy and healthy. 

Whether you have a moggy companion of your own, or just appreciate fabulous felines from afar, here are some things you can do to show them you care…

1. Learn about their needs 

Cats are often misunderstood but by brushing up on your moggy knowledge you can make sure you know how to give them exactly what they need. For example, did you know that cats often prefer to live apart from other cats, or that when they show you their tummy, they’re not actually asking you to stroke it? You can find lots more fascinating feline facts on our website, including information on cats’ five welfare needs.

tabby cat with feather toy

2. Have some playtime 

Kitties love to burn off some energy by running, jumping and pouncing so if you have a cat at home then they’ll appreciate you taking some time to play with them. You could buy them a fishing rod toy from the pet shop, or make your own enrichment from some common household items – a great activity for kids to get involved in! If you don’t have your own moggy to play with, then why not donate a toy to your local Cats Protection so they can use it to give the cats in their care a more enjoyable stay.

3. Support neutering 

Getting cats neutered at four months of age really is one of the best ways to show them kindness as you will be reducing their chance of contracting a range of infectious diseases, make them less likely to fight with other cats, stray away from home in search of a mate and prevent them from suffering the stress and dangers of having and rearing kittens. If you have your own cat, then Cats Protection may be able to help towards the cost of their neutering operation, and if you have any unneutered feral cats in your area, then your local branch or centre should be able to help with that too!

white cat in pen

4. Give to Cats Protection 

Cats Protection helps show kindness to around 200,000 cats every year but we couldn’t do it without the support of cat lovers like you. If you have some cash to spare, then we can use it to care for thousands of unwanted cats across the UK until they find their forever homes, and we’ll always keep you updated on how your donation is helping. If you can’t donate money, then maybe you could give some of your time instead by volunteering in one of our many and varied roles.

5. Adopt a cat of your own 

For most cats, there is nothing like a warm and cosy home they can call their own. If you can offer a cat their own kitty kingdom, then take a look at our website to find the amazing cats waiting for homes in your area. No matter what your circumstances, we’ll always do our best to match you with the purrfect companion, and you can be sure they’ll come vet checked, vaccinated, neutered, microchipped, and with four weeks’ free pet insurance ready to start their new life with you.

ginger cat

How do you show cats kindness? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments below, or on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Monday, 12 November 2018

Can cats taste sugar?

With the heightened awareness that eating too many sugary foods is bad for us, but ditching the donuts seeming nigh on impossible for many, it is natural to wonder if sugar can cause our feline friends the same dietary dilemmas that it causes us.

Cats don't have a taste for sugary treats
Due to their physiological requirement for a meat based diet, cats appear to be one of the few animals on the planet that cannot taste sugar. Although they have taste buds just like we do, the receptors on their tongues that are responsible for detecting sweetness are not particularly sensitive. This lack of an ability to detect sweetness means that the lucky things are not plagued by a sweet tooth!

Instead, a cat’s taste receptors are programmed to detect and react to meaty flavours as it is this that drives their appetites and food choices. This makes a lot of sense as cats are carnivores and must eat meat in order to stay fit and healthy. As cats do not have a biological need to eat sugar or carbohydrates there has been no need for them to develop a taste for it! Unlike humans, for whom carbohydrates and sugars do play an important part of the diet, cats are not drawn to this source of quick energy.

Of course there are always exceptions to the rule and there may be some of you out there who are convinced your cat is partial to a piece of chocolate or will do anything for a lick of your ice cream. But it’s probably not the sweet taste they are attracted to, rather it is highly likely that it is the fat content they are enjoying.

Avoid giving your cat sugary foods, even if they beg!
Bear in mind too that one of the most popular sugary treats of all, chocolate, can be lethal for cats. Although most cats won't eat it on their own, they can be coaxed to eat it by owners who think they are giving their cat a treat. There is a toxic agent in chocolate called theobromine and eating this substance can cause heart problems, muscle tremors or seizures in cats. While all forms of chocolate are poisonous, the worse culprits are the ones with the most concentrated form of chocolate such as dark chocolate and any unsweetened chocolate such as the type used for cooking. Chocolate also contains caffeine which is another poisonous substance to cats.

To keep your cat healthy, don't feed them sugary foods. Although sugar isn't toxic to cats, it brings zero nutritional value, can cause obesity and lead to dental disease and diabetes, just like it does in humans. Instead, take a look at our advice on what you should feed you cat here.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

How can I tell if my cat is stressed?

We all know what it’s like to feel under pressure at some point, but did you know that your cat can also feel stressed? In aid of National Stress Awareness Day, we’re focussing on cat body language.

Unsure if your cat is stressed? Watch our video to watch out for the signs.



1. Your cat is feeling relaxed if…

Your cat is feeling content if its ears are forward and appear ‘soft.’ Your cat’s eyes might be shut, half-closed or slow blinking with small pupils. Its whiskers will appear relaxed too.

2. Your cat is alert if…

If  they've noticed something they like the look of, your cat’s ears are pricked, forward and pointy. Its eyes are open with small pupils and its whiskers are pointed forward.

3. Your cat is worried or anxious if…

You might notice that your cat is crouched down and appearing like they don’t want to be touched. Its ears are pricked and turning to locate sounds. Its eyes are open with wide pupils and its whiskers are pointed forward.

4. Your cat is stressed if…

Your cat might appear stressed if they have flattened their body to tried to get up high. You’ll need to give them space to move away and don’t try to touch them. Your cat's ears can appear flat and eyes open wide, with whiskers pointed forward.

5. Your cat is depressed if…

Noticed that your cat appears listless and uninterested in things around them? Their ears will appear forward but drooping. Their eyes will be open and they'll be uninterested in looking at their surroundings.

How can I make my cat feel less stressed?



Each cat is different, and what might cause stress to one cat will have no impact on another. Behavioural issues, like being stressed, can be difficult for owners to identify and understand - especially if there is more than one issue.

If you are concerned about your cat's stress levels, you should always go and see your vet. They can refer you to a suitably qualified behaviourist, such as a member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (www.apbc.org.uk) or a Certified Clinical Animal Behaviourist. (CCAB.)

Friday, 2 November 2018

How to draw a cat

If you’re a cat-lover with an artistic flair, you might be interested in our latest YouTube series. Featuring a line-up of excellent artists and illustrators, our ‘How to draw a Cat’ series focuses on how to make cat-themed images – using everything from pencil and paint to animation software.

The first episode features Rus Hudda, Creative Designer at Cats Protection, as he shows how he creates some of the artwork that you might see in our leaflets and guides. Using an iPad Pro and Apple pencil, he sets to work creating a drawing inspired by his own cat, Tali.

Next up is Ruth Hammond, a freelance illustrator who loves to illustrate cats using a combination of pencils and watercolours – something you might even be able to attempt at home.

The third episode features Garth Jones, an animator at studio Persistent Peril. He explains how he uses specialist animation software to create short films about cats – some of which have appeared on our YouTube channel.

Illustrator Sally Townsend is the focus of the fourth episode, showing how she illustrates cats using her sketchbook and tablet. Created in a distinctive style, Sally’s cats are definitely full of character!

Finally, well-known illustrator John Bond explains how to draw a cat from the comfort of his studio. Although he is typically known for drawing dogs, he’s given creating cats and go – and this one has a spooky Halloween theme.

You can watch the series below, where you’ll learn more about all of the excellent artists featured.