Thursday, 2 July 2020

Appeal to help rescued kittens who lost their eyes due to cat flu

Two kittens found outside with their seven siblings near Bridgend have had to have emergency surgery to remove their eyes.

Rome and Ranchi were unlikely to have survived alone much longer if they had not been discovered by a cat-savvy member of the public.

Two black-and-white kittens with red sore eyes

The pair were just four weeks old when they were found along with seven other kittens, far too young to be away from their mother. 

The lady who found them noticed that all the kittens seemed unwell and called Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre for advice and assistance.

The kittens needed round-the-clock care as they could not yet maintain their own body temperatures nor could they manage basic skills such as feeding and toileting. 

Black and white kitten with red sore eyes

The centre’s cat care assistants, whose roles are supported this year by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, needed to step in and provide the tiny cats with all the love, care and nurturing they would usually receive from their mother.
 
Although the whole litter was very poorly with cat flu, which can be fatal to kittens, Rome and Ranchi were also suffering from painful ulcerated eyes as a result of the illness, which can be caused by viruses or bacteria. 

White-and-black kitten with red sore eyes

Now that they are seven weeks old, despite trying several courses of treatment, it has not been possible to save the kittens’ eyes. Rome has had surgery to remove one eye while Ranchi needed both eyes removed.  

Deputy Centre Manager Molly Hughes says: “Kitten season is well underway here at the centre and we were lucky that Rome, Ranchi and their siblings were brought to us in time. We don’t know anything about their mother but once social distancing allows we will return to where they were found to try and find her and ensure she has been neutered, most likely through our trap, neuter and return programme for outdoor or feral cats. This will prevent her having any more unwanted kittens in the future. 

Two black-and-white kittens with red sore eyes

“It is a really expensive time for us as we fight to help so many tiny souls that come through our doors. We are therefore appealing for funds to help cover the cost of vet treatment and surgery for these two lovely kittens whose bills have exceeded £800 so far. We are grateful for every £1 donated, without the kindness and generosity of our supporters we couldn’t continue to help kittens like Rome and Ranchi.”

If you would like to donate towards covering the coat of Rome and Ranchi’s surgeries, please visit the centre’s JustGiving page or text BRID to 70577 to donate £5 (see T&Cs here). 

Once they have recovered from their surgery and flu symptoms, Rome and Ranchi will be in need of a new loving indoor home, ideally together. Their details will be posted on the centre’s website as soon as they are available. 

With neutering on pause for many vets because of the COVID-19 lockdown, there could be an extra 84,000 kittens that need our help this year.

To help us be #HereForTheCatsAndKittens, you can donate to our appeal. Any donation will help us to save the lives of litters like this one, providing them with security, warmth and a healthy start. 

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Underweight kittens abandoned in sealed box outside Cats Protection centre

Seven tiny kittens are lucky to be alive after being abandoned at an age when they should still be with their mothers. 

The young cats were all underweight when they were found in a taped up cardboard box outside the gates of Cats Protection’s Isle of Wight Adoption Centre.

black-and-white and grey-and-white kittens in a cardboard box

Believed to be kittens from two different litters, three were around five weeks old when they were found while four were around four weeks old. At this age they should naturally weigh 450-550g but all were below the threshold with one of the youngest, now named Lola, weighing just 306g, the weight of a kitten half her age.

While the older kittens should have just been starting to eat solid food supplemented by their mother’s milk at the point at which they were left, the younger ones would still be relying on their mother for the majority of their needs. 

four grey-and-white and three black-and-white kittens

Alone without that maternal care, during warm weather in a sealed box, they were vulnerable to dehydration and starvation with a high chance that they would have died if they hadn’t been found.

Once safely in the centre, the three largest kittens were named Oscar, Joey and Aurora while the smaller kittens were called Lola, Chloe, Noah and Trev. Divided into two separate litters once again, the kittens were given round-the-clock care by the centre’s cat care assistants who are supported this year by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.    

two grey-and-white kittens sleeping
Kittens Chloe and Noah having a snooze

Cat Care Assistant Lauren Smith, said: “The kittens were very underweight when they arrived and we worked really hard to hand-feed them every couple of hours to get them up to their ideal weights. For the first few days we weren’t sure they would survive. Little Lola was a particular worry; she didn’t have an appetite and was very lethargic, after a vet visit we found out she was so dehydrated that she needed drip-fed fluids as well as hourly feeds. Oscar has also been very poorly and needed blood tests to rule out anything sinister but luckily they came back clear.”

Now that the kittens are around nine and ten weeks’ old, they are enjoying solid kitten food, have learned to use litter trays and are starting to play with help and guidance from the centre team. 

three grey-and-white kittens and one black kitten drinking from a bowl of kitten milk
Lola, Chloe, Noah and Trev enjoying their first meal at the centre

Lauren adds: “We prepare for an influx of kittens each year from around April onwards but it was still a shock to find these tiny souls abandoned outside the centre. We know it’s extremely difficult if people find themselves dealing with an unexpected litter but would urge people to get in touch and arrange a time to bring unwanted cats or kittens to us rather than leaving them outside. 

“In this situation we could have supported the kittens’ owner to ensure the mother cats were neutered so that they don’t have other unwanted litters and would very much like to hear from the owner now if they would like assistance.” 

three grey-and-white kittens and one black kitten sleeping
Lola, Chloe, Noah and Trev having a well-earned nap

If you are interested in rehoming the kittens, keep an eye on the Isle of Wight Adoption Centre’s website to find out when they will be available for adoption: www.cats.org.uk/isleofwight 

With neutering on pause for many vets because of the COVID-19 lockdown, there could be an extra 84,000 kittens that need our help this year.

To help us be #HereForTheCatsAndKittens, you can donate to our appeal at www.cats.org.uk/su20mb

Any donation will help us to save the lives of litters like this one, providing them with security, warmth and a healthy start. 

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Harrison finds his happy ever after following heart-breaking ordeal

Ginger cat Harrison was rescued in a dreadful state from a multi-cat household but has fought back to become a much-loved family pet.  

The scrawny moggy was brought in to Cats Protection’s Wrexham Adoption Centre following a plea for help from a vet who was dealing with a case of a house full of 29 cats. Although the owner loved the cats, they had become overwhelmed and realised they could no longer cope.

Long-haired ginger cat looking skinny and with bald patches
Harrison when he first arrived in his new home

The cats, who were in various stages of health, were transferred to a number of Cats Protection centres, with one of the most poorly arriving in Wrexham. 

After a worrying first night, in which Harrison wanted nothing more than to curl up in a ball and sleep, the centre team were eventually able to examine him more closely, discovering a weepy eye, matted fur, bald patches and rotten teeth. He was also so skinny his bones were visible.

A vet confirmed Harrison needed dental surgery to remove 15 teeth, which required two separate operations, as well as treatment for cat flu, fleas and worms.

Over time, and with lots of care and attention, Harrison began putting on weight and getting stronger until he was eventually ready to rehome. 

Although he was well enough, he still looked dishevelled and threadbare as his fur had not grown back fully, leading to concerns that he would struggle to find a new home. 

But worries were allayed when two days before lockdown came into force, Sharon Rogers and her partner Wayne Price came to meet him. Having recently lost their 18-year-old cat Jet, they desperately missed having a feline companion. 

Sharon, who lives in Summerhil, said: “With lockdown approaching it looked to be a good time to settle a cat into the household. I decided to go to Cats Protection’s Wrexham page without realising the following day the centre would be closed for lockdown. 

Long-haired ginger cat with a thick, healthy coat
Harrison now looking much happier and healthier

“He's settled wonderfully. It took a couple of days for him to come out of his carrier but after a couple of weeks I think he realised he'd found his new home. Having no teeth doesn't seem to faze him as he guzzles down both wet and dry food. He has put on a couple of kilos since he arrived in our house and we try to keep the weight down with his love of a ping pong ball.”

Wrexham Adoption Centre Manager Suzan Kennedy said: “When we saw the pictures of Harrison two months after he was adopted he looked like a different cat. His fur was long and fluffy, he looked healthy and his eyes glowed. It just shows what a difference a loving home can make to a cat when owners can understand and meet a cat’s needs.

“It made the team cry with happy tears when we saw the picture of him in his new home and it reminded us of why we do what we do.” 

Harrison will soon be joined in the Rogers’ household by Ringo, who came from the same multi-cat household, and has been recovering at the centre.

Sharon added: “I would recommend everyone to check out a rescue centre for their pet. The knowledge of the charity helps to ensure that the cat will be going to the right home, reducing the chance of further abandonment.  

“There are so many cats who have been abandoned or taken to a shelter through no fault of their own, all with their own personalities and love to give.  

If you would like to offer a cat a new home and a fresh start in life, visit www.cats.org.uk/hands-free-homing to see if there are any cats available in your area under our new hands-free homing initiative.

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Kittens rescued from house with 17 cats

From having just one unneutered cat, a man in Harrow found himself with a house full of 17 cats during the COVID-19 lockdown. 

In a short space of time he became overwhelmed with litters of kittens as his moggies began to breed, and soon realised he couldn’t cope. 

Four tabby kittens in a cat basket

Clearly out of his depth and concerned for the welfare of the cats, he did the only sensible thing; he asked for help from the nearby Cats Protection Harrow Homing Centre. 

Harrow Adoption Centre Manager, Lydia Sawyer, said: “When we got the kittens back to the centre we realised that one litter was only four weeks old and the other just five weeks. That’s when the true picture became clear.”

Tabby kitten with blue eyes looking up at the camera

The issue arose when an unneutered female gave birth to a litter of four and it soon spiralled from there. A young male in that litter mated with his own mother and sisters, who delivered their own litters, and the population in one home escalated to 17 cats.

Lydia said: “One kitten was in a bad way. He wasn’t breathing very well and so we rushed him to the vet, who said that the kitten, who we named Damien, was unlikely to survive. But he still had some fight in him so we decided to give him a chance. He is still a bit rattly and has some mucus on his chest but he is making rapid improvements. He’s a little fighter.”

Three tabby kittens in a cat pen

The health check revealed that the kittens were anaemic and some had heart murmurs, probably as a result of a bad flea infestation.

Thankfully, all the cats are doing well, having benefitted from the expert care from multiple teams in Cats Protection’s national network. One mum and her two-week-old kittens went to a fosterer with our Chiltern Branch, the four-week-old kittens went to a fosterer in North London and the five-week-old kittens went to a fosterer in Harrow.

Four tabby kittens sitting on the back of a brown sofa

Oscar, the dad, has now been neutered, vaccinated and microchipped and is at our East Surrey Branch, waiting to be rehomed via our hands-free homing process. Thankfully, his days of fatherhood are over.

A recent Cats Protection survey of 1,000 cat owners showed a lack of awareness about neutering, with 77% unaware that a female cat can become pregnant as early as four months of age and can have as many as 18 kittens in a year. 

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, some vet practices will not be neutering cats or kittens. With kitten season on the horizon, this could result in an estimated 84,000 kittens being born. To avoid unwanted pregnancies, and putting extra stress on over-stretched vets, find out how you can help prevent a kitten crisis at www.cats.org.uk/neutering-your-cat

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Five-week-old kitten dumped near busy road

A tiny kitten abandoned outside the gates of Cats Protection’s Tyneside Adoption Centre was lucky to be discovered before he could escape onto a busy road. 

The black-and-white kitten was rescued by an eagle-eyed centre employee who spotted a suspicious package at the gate as she was carrying out her duties.

black-and-white kitten
Twist the kitten was lucky to be rescued just in time

Initially thinking it must be a donation left by a generous supporter, Cat Care Assistant Natalie Marwood noticed the flap to the covered litter tray move. 

Natalie said: “I felt sick as I ran to our gates, I just feared that the cat would escape. I was really panicking as the flap was not secure, it kept moving and by this point I could hear a lot of crying. I was so scared that the cat would get out and run into the road. This road is very busy and everyone drives far too fast along it.”

As she reached the padlocked gates she could see the kitten cowering inside. “I managed to shout to my colleagues to come and help and we got the kitten into a secure cat basket, which was such a relief. I felt really shook up,” she said. 

“I know we don’t know the person’s personal reasons for abandoning this kitten but what really upset me the most and made me angry was that the kitten was not safe or secure. Even if they had taped up the plastic flap it would have meant the kitten was more protected. The little kitten is with us now and away from harm, he won’t want for anything.” 

Covered cat litter tray
The covered litter tray the kitten was found in

Thought to be just five weeks old, Twist, named after Oliver Twist, has had an emergency vet appointment to check he is healthy as the team had no idea of his history.

He will be placed with a fosterer, who will be able to offer him the attention he should have still been receiving from his mother until he was at least eight weeks old. The fosterer will ensure he gets used to human attention so that he will be able to be adopted out to a loving family when he is old enough.

Centre Manager Emzi Frater said: “Although we appreciate that everyone is in a difficult situation at the moment and accidental kitten litters are going to pose a challenge this year in particular with delays to neutering appointments with vets because of the pressure of COVID-19, kittens should not be taken away from their mothers before eight weeks. 

Two Cats Protection employees with black-and-white kitten on one of their shoulders
Twist the kitten being shown his new temporary home at Cats Protection

“If anyone needs our help we will do all we can to support them, however we do have a waiting list and many people are patiently waiting for our support once we have the capacity to take in more cats. 

“The waiting list is vital to allow us to manage the needs of the cats and safety of our employees. It’s not fair or ethical to expect our charity, especially one where our team has been working tirelessly to care for cats throughout the lockdown with additional safety procedures, PPE requirements, social distancing and skeleton staff, to take on cats or kittens on demand when other members of the public are being supported over the phone and are patiently waiting for space. We are inundated with calls for help at the moment.”

If you would like to support the work of Tyneside Adoption Centre, you can find out how at www.cats.org.uk/tyneside You can also keep an eye on the website to find out when Twist the kitten becomes available for adoption.  

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, some vet practices will not be neutering cats or kittens. With kitten season on the horizon, this could result in an estimated 84,000 kittens being born. To avoid unwanted pregnancies, and putting extra stress on over-stretched vets, find out how you can help prevent a kitten crisis at www.cats.org.uk/neutering-your-cat

Monday, 22 June 2020

Can I own a cat if I’m allergic?

Being allergic to cats is a common affliction among humans, with many people suffering symptoms such as sneezing, itchy skin, watering eyes, coughing and wheezing whenever a cat is nearby. 

Sadly this can prevent caring cat lovers from owning a moggy of their own, or even worse, result in them having to give up a beloved pet to charities such as Cats Protection. If they do decide to keep their cat, it can still affect their ability to form a close bond with their moggy, as they try to maintain a safe distance to keep the sneezing at bay. 

Brunette woman holding long-haired grey-and-white cat

However, a cat allergy doesn’t necessarily need to stand in the way of a fabulous friendship with a feline. There’s a lot of confusion around the exact cause of the symptoms and how to reduce their effects, but once you know the facts, there are lots of things you can try. 

The biggest myths about cat allergies 


Myth 1: Cat allergies are caused by cat hair 

Many people think that cat hair is the cause of their sneezing, but it’s actually what’s on the hair that’s the problem. Cats’ saliva contains a protein called Fel d 1, which sticks to their fur and skin when they clean themselves with their tongues. It’s this protein that most cat allergy sufferers have a reaction to, and unfortunately it’s easily spread around your home when your cat naturally sheds their fur and dead skin cells.


Myth 2: I’m allergic to all cats

Different cats produce varying levels of Fel d 1, so allergy sufferers may find that they are more allergic to some cats than others. In addition, everyone’s sensitivity level to this allergen is different. If you think you’re allergic to cats but would like to adopt one, try meeting some cats first, with the other members of your household too, to see if any of you have a reaction. Keep in mind that many people with an allergy to cats are also allergic to other things, such as pollen. Therefore, it might be a good idea to meet your potential new feline friend in the summer when your pollen symptoms are more pronounced, so you can best gauge how your allergies will be affected.

Brunette woman with long-haired grey-and-white cat on lap 

Myth 3: Some cats are hypoallergenic

While levels of Fel d 1 do vary, every cat produces it, so there’s no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat. Some people believe that certain breeds of cat, such as hairless Sphynx cats, are less likely to cause allergies, but this isn’t the case. Hairless cats still lick themselves to stay clean causing Fel d 1 to stick to their skin, so when they shed dead skin cells called dander, the allergen can spread around the home.

Myth 4: My allergy will get better over time

Some people believe that the more time they spend with cats, the less severe their allergy will become, but sadly there’s no evidence to support this. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to avoid cats altogether though, as there are some simple steps you can take to manage your allergy and still enjoy some feline companionship.  

Tips for managing your cat allergy


  • Ask your doctor about antihistamine tablets and nasal sprays to ease your symptoms 
  • Groom your cat outdoors and wipe them with a damp cloth or cat-safe cleanser to remove allergens 
  • Avoid letting your cat lick your skin or clothes and always wash your hands after petting your cat
  • Regularly wash your cat’s bedding, toys and litter tray – Fel d 1 can be found in their urine too
  • Ventilate your home by opening windows for an hour each day, or use an air purifier. Avoid placing cat beds and litter trays close to air vents
  • Vacuum regularly using a cleaner with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter that limits the amount of allergen released back into the air
  • Avoid letting your cat into your bedroom, as allergies can become worse at night
  • Try feeding your cat Purina’s new Pro Plan LiveClear cat food, designed to safely neutralise cat allergens and reduce the levels on their fur  

The world’s first cat allergen-reducing cat food


Bag of Purina Pro Plan LiveClear cat food on kitchen counter next to bowl of cat food

Purina Pro Plan LiveClear is a new cat food designed to safely neutralise the Fel d 1 allergen in your cat’s saliva, reducing the amount of active Fel d 1 they release into your home. A key ingredient in the food, a specific protein sourced from eggs, binds to the Fel d 1 in your cat’s saliva as they eat. When they groom, neutralised Fel d 1 is spread onto their skin and fur. The food has been proven to reduce the active allergen on cat hair and dander by an average of 47% from the third week of daily feeding*. It is completely safe for your cat as the key ingredient is simply digested by them like any other protein. The food also offers great-tasting nutrition. To find out more about Purina Pro Plan LiveClear, visit  www.purina.co.uk/proplan/liveclear 

Exclusive offer for Cats Protection supporters


What’s more, Purina is offering Cats Protection supporters an exclusive 20% discount for their first purchase of Pro Plan LiveClear. Simply visit their website, create your account, select the right product for the life-stage of your cat and use the promotional code: CATSPROTECTION20 at checkout** 

For more help and advice about cats and allergies, visit www.cats.org.uk/cats-and-allergies

*A 10-week controlled study of 105 cats showed an average reduction of 47% starting from the third week of daily feeding.
**T&Cs apply. UK, CI & IOM, 18+. Offer ends 31.12.2020, or when 750 valid unique applications for the 20% discount offer have been received, whichever is sooner. Please note - offer not valid if trial bag code already used.

Friday, 19 June 2020

21-year-old cat rescued from desperate life in a Norfolk car park

If Great Aunt Ethel were a human she would receive a 100th birthday card from the Queen, but all this affectionate 21-year-old cat wants is a warm home to live out her golden years.

Elderly Ethel has clocked up a century in human years, but life hasn’t given her much to celebrate of late. This mature moggy's story has tugged at the heartstrings of carers at Cats Protection’s Downham Market Adoption Centre when they were alerted to a cat sleeping rough on an abandoned sofa in a car park in Wisbech. 

Tortoiseshell cat sitting on a shelf in a cat pen

Cat Care Assistant Leah Snowden was first on the scene when responding to the emergency call. “Someone called and said there was a cat fending for herself in the corner of a car park,” she said. “Residents in a nearby block of flats had been feeding her, which was very kind, but it was clear she needed our help.

“Cats can be nervous when approached but not Ethel. As soon as she saw me she cried out. It was as if she knew that I was there with a helping hand, to bring her to a better life. It was obvious that she was a cat who had previously enjoyed human love and home comforts”. 

Tortoiseshell cat

Ethel’s microchip showed that she was born in 1999 but the excitement was short lived when Ethel’s sad story unfolded. She had been living in Kent when her owner died but, as the database details had not been updated, carers could not trace Ethel’s last owner. 

Local people who had been feeding her in the car park believed that Ethel had been taken to live with family in Wisbech after the death of her previous owner and she either ran off or was left to roam without a home.

Great Aunt Ethel is one of the lucky ones. As the Norfolk cat centre’s oldest temporary resident, Ethel is enjoying fuss and attention while she waits for someone to give her another chance in life.

Tortoiseshell cat standing on a shelf in a cat pen

Ethel is a friendly, loving lady in fine condition, especially for a cat of her grand old age. Having received a clean bill of health and some dental work, she can enjoy the rest of her life in a calm home without any other pets or children. A garden in which to sun herself would be a welcome bonus.

If you would like to adopt senior kitizen Ethel via Cats Protection’s new hands-free homing service, please get in touch with the centre by emailing downham@cats.org.uk 

Many cats are abandoned after their owner passes away, so Cats Protection established Cat Guardians to ensure that a cat is taken care of in the event of their owner’s death. 

Cat Guardians is a free service to give peace of mind to cat owners concerned about what might happen when they pass away. A simple clause in a will enables people to plan for their cat’s future so that, in the event of death, Cats Protection takes care of their cat and finds them a loving new home. 

Cat Guardians Marketing Manager Becky Tichband said: “We know your cat means the world to you, which is why Cats Protection promises to be there for them after you’re gone. By registering with our free Cat Guardians service you can be assured that, after you pass away, our caring staff and volunteers will look after your cat until we find them a loving new home.”