Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Put your best foot forward to get cats and kittens back on their paws

You’ve heard of the Three Peaks Challenge, now get ready for the Four Paws Challenge!

Join our team of Cat Champions and climb the highest peaks in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on this adventure of a lifetime.

With a total ascent of 4,243 metres, take on the mighty Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Slieve Donard this year and raise much-need funds for Cats Protection.

Photo of Ben Nevis with Four Paws Challenge logo

The challenge begins in the beautiful Lake District with our Scafell Pike trek on 20 March, then reconvening in Wales on 15 May to tackle the magnificent mount Snowdon.

On 17 July, you’ll climb the UK’s tallest peak, the giant Ben Nevis, before journeying to Northern Ireland in October to finish the challenge with Slieve Donard.

All four treks are led by an experienced guide so you are free to concentrate on the climb, enjoy the stunning scenery, or think about all the cats you are helping by taking part!

For each peak you conquer, you’ll receive a collectable ‘paw’ medal and once you’ve accomplished all four mountains your Four Paws Challenge medal display will be complete.

Four Paws Challenge paw medal

Sign up to the four guided walks for just £60 and pledge to raise £600 to help us get unwanted cats and kittens back on their paws.

Scafell Pike – Friday 20 March 2020 

Located in the Lake District National Park, Scafell Pike is England’s highest peak and summits at 964 metres above sea level. The ascent path climbs the 900 meters to the summit and covers a distance of 4.5 km (9 km total distance) while the descent follows the same route. Find out more at  www.cats.org.uk/scafell

Snowdon – Friday 15 May 2020 

The wild and wonderful Snowdon summits at 1,085 metres above sea level. The route is challenging, there are extremely steep areas and the mountain is very exposed at the top but it has an easier path to descend. The hike takes between 6 and 7 hours in total. Find out more at www.cats.org.uk/snow

Ben Nevis – Friday 17 July 2020

Scotland’s iconic mountain is also the UK’s highest peak and summits at 1,344 metres above sea level. The trek takes 8 to 10 hours and includes some very low level scrambling on the ascent, with larger uneven rocks and steps for the majority of the climb. Find out more at www.cats.org.uk/bennevis

Slieve Donard – Friday 16 October 2020

Overlooking the Irish Sea, Slieve Donard is Northern Ireland’s tallest mountain and summits at 850 metres above sea level. The hike is a 6-mile round trip but because it starts at sea level, it is a climb the whole way and will take between 7.5 and 8.5 hours to complete. Find out more at www.cats.org.uk/slievedonard

All four treks will also be available in 2021 and the dates will be confirmed later this year.

Find out more or sign up to the Four Paws Challenge now at www.cats.org.uk/4paws or contact the Events team at events@cats.org.uk for further details.

two female mountain climbers with Four Paws Challenge logo

Monday, 13 January 2020

Grieving cat inspires 750 mile charity bike ride

The sad tale of a Lindfield cat has driven two Haywards Heath men to cycle an incredible 750 miles from Sussex to Scotland to raise money for Cats Protection.

David McKevitt and Connor Dawson will set off on their mammoth nine-day bike ride on Saturday 25 April. After leaving from the National Cat Adoption Centre in Sussex they will cycle up the country to John O’Groats, Scotland, cheered along the route by teams from Cats Protection.

two men wearing Cats Protection cycling tops
David and Connor in their cycling gear
David, 54, and his partner’s son Connor, 21, are no strangers to spending days in the saddle. They have already undertaken a number of long distance charity bike rides but this is by far their greatest challenge to date; carrying all their own equipment on a journey more than twice as far as their previous best ride.

The cat-loving family includes four three-year-old cats; Sebastian, Mia, Link and Zelda. But it was the sorry state of Buddy, a beautiful black-and-white, which prompted the bike ride.

white-and-black cat sitting on the floor
Buddy the cat who needed the family's help
David said: “Buddy started coming to our garden and using our cat flap. Our cats were stressed so we had to do something. We tried to discourage Buddy but then we were woken by the sound of him wolfing down our cats’ food as if it were his last meal.

"That’s when a neighbour told us about Buddy’s owner, who had passed away at his home and lay undiscovered for over a week. The reason for Buddy's unusual behaviour became clear and our hearts went out to him, so we started putting out extra food and leaving our cat flap open.

“We were thinking that we might adopt him but our cats were not happy with Buddy being around. That's when we made contact with Cats Protection to explain his situation. I managed to catch Buddy and, one morning after feeding him well, I took him in.

two men wearing Cats Protection cycling tops and holding a black cat
David and Connor with one of the family cats 
“It broke my heart listening to his cries during the journey, but the team at the National Cat Adoption Centre was amazing and assured me that Buddy would be well looked after. Some time later, we were overwhelmed to hear that they were able to find him a loving new forever home. Buddy was one of the lucky ones and his story prompted us to plan this bike ride to raise money for Cats Protection.”

Danielle Draper, Manager of Cats Protection’s National Cat Adoption Centre, said: “It is amazing when people are so willing to push their limits to raise much-needed cash for Cats Protection.

“It costs a great deal to help around 200,000 cats in care at our centres and branches every year, so we are always appreciative of any contributions, large or small. Without people like David and Connor, we couldn’t do what we need to do and Buddy could still be fending for himself on the streets. So we will be waving them off with our very best wishes.”

To donate to the challenge, visit David and Connor’s JustGiving page. You can also track their progress via their Facebook page

To find out how to take part in your own challenge event to raise money for Cats Protection, visit www.cats.org.uk/support-us/events/challenge-events

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Stumpy-tailed cat Tulip needs a new home for the New Year

Cats Protection’s Anglia Coastal Branch is hoping that 2020 will be the year poor Tulip the cat’s luck changes.

The eight-year-old torbie – a beautiful blend of tortoiseshell and tabby – has been in the branch’s care for more than three months, waiting patiently for a new home of her own.

torbie cat sleeping on fleece blanket

Despite her gorgeous and unusual coat of many colours, the branch believe Tulip is being overlooked due to an old injury. Unfortunately much of her tail is missing, most likely as the result of an untreated injury and a difficult start in life that has left her cautious with strangers.

Lynne Pothecary, Publicity Officer at Anglia Coastal Branch, said: “Tulip has had a bad start in life, which saw her injured and abandoned. But while she is understandably a little unsure of new people, she soon comes around and responds to a loving touch with a warming purr.

torbie cat sleeping on fleece blanket

“Tulip has stolen our hearts since being rescued from the streets. She would be happy in a home where she gets lots of fuss and a nice warm lap to sit on, but ideally without young children or pets. We are appealing to our supporters to find a place for Tulip in their heart and home”

At Christmas, the Anglia Coastal Branch clocked up an impressive milestone; 1,000 cats rehomed in just five years. That’s an annual average of 200 abandoned and stray felines rehomed since 2015. 

Now the branch hopes that Tulip can be one of its first success stories of the New Year.

Tulip is now in the care if our North London Adoption Centre. If you can give her a home, please contact them on 020 7272 6048 or northlondon@cats.org.uk 

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

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Team Cats calendar: Make this the year you fundraise for cats

Whether they make you smile every morning, or never leave your side in the evening, our furry friends are there for us 365 days a year.

If you’d like to give back to our little life-changers this year, what better way than to fundraise for Cats Protection to help cats and kittens in need?

From embarking on an exciting adventure, to sharing your celebrations with us, or even getting creative to help cats with your own idea, we have plenty of ways you can get involved!

Take some inspiration from our Team Cats calendar and try something new this year…

Jump into January

It’s the ultimate bucket list challenge! Leap out of a plane with our Red Devils skydive and experience the adrenaline rush of a 45-second freefall before the parachute descent to the ground. Your friends and family are sure to be impressed if you decide to do this daring jump!

Freestyle this February

Take the plunge this year and turn your love for swimming into a fantastic fundraiser! From lengths of the local pool, to signing up for the Great North Swim – you can choose your own challenge. If you raise over £150 we will send you a snuggly Cats Protection beach towel to wrap up in afterwards.

March is for making 

Whether you’ve got a knack for knitting, an eye for graphic design, or a penchant for poetry, use your passion for making to make a difference. You can even nominate your local branch or centre to receive the money you raise, meaning all of your hard work goes to helping cats where you live.

Bake ALL the cake this April 

Our Pawsome Afternoon Tea returns this April! Why not get a slice of the action this year and host your own event for your friends, family, school or workmates to raise funds for unwanted cats and kittens? Bake or buy some tasty treats and be a part of the greatest afternoon tea!

Marathon into May 

Join thousands of dedicated charity runners from across the country at one the world’s most popular marathon or half marathon events. In 2020, we’ve got places for the Brighton Marathon, the 40th Great North Run and the New York Marathon to name but a few – take your pick!

June is for jetting off 

Ever considered getting involved in an international event? We have a range of epic challenges abroad this year including the stunning Alps Trek, the Zambezi Big Cat Challenge and the iconic Kilimanjaro Trek, plus many more in 2021. Whatever you choose, it’s bound to be the trip of a lifetime!

Tri during July 

One of the most gruelling endurance events around, triathlons are a popular choice for those wishing to push themselves to the limits in aid of charity. Sign up to a triathlon event near you, or if you prefer to stick to one discipline, we have a number of cycling challenges to choose from.

Arrange your own event this August 

Fundraising should be fun, so get creative and come up with your own exciting event! It could be a fancy dress day or a film night, a treasure hunt or a fitness-athon, a sweepstake game or a bake sale, you really can raise money while having an amazing time. Start brainstorming your own ideas today!

Step into September 

Our Nine Mile Challenge is back this September! You can walk, trek or hike your way to nine miles during the month, or you can even pick up the pace and make it a run. In 2019, more than 250 cat-lovers from across the country took on the challenge – will you be joining us this year?

Get organised this October 

Clear out those cupboards and drawers, take any unwanted items to a local car boot sale event and raise funds for cats. We can give you a letter of authorisation which may help you to get a free slot, maximising the amount you can make. A clutter-free house and cash for the kitty – it’s a win win!

November is for quiz nights 

As the nights draw in and winter festivities begin, why not get together with friends and family and host your own Black Cat Quiz to help dark-furred felines in need? You could arrange a traditional ‘pub quiz’ style event in a local venue, or you might prefer to go digital and run your quiz online.

Take a dip in December 

Dive in and sign up to a festive dip event near you! Each year, thousands of brave souls ditch their Christmas jumper, don their bathers and head to the coast to take part in a Boxing Day or New Year’s Day dip. Make 2020 the year you join in and get nippy for the kitties!

Friday, 20 December 2019

Cat and newbown kittens found in sub-zero temperatures

A one-year-old cat and her litter of newbown kittens spent one of the coldest nights of the year sheltering in a garden shed.

The feline family were found in the shed in Neath by a member of the public, who called Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre for help.

grey cat with a litter of grey-and-white and tortoiseshell kittens
Crystal with her newbown kittens. Credit: Sue Dobbs
Volunteer Rachel Davies quickly went to collect the mother cat, who has been named Crystal, along with her four kittens who were believed to be no more than one week old. The grey-and-white male kitten was named Frosty and his three tortoiseshell sisters were named Snowdrop, Snowflake and Icicle.
Cats Protection volunteer holding grey-and-white kitten in blanket
Cat Care Assistant Amanda with Frosty the kitten. Credit: Sue Dobbs
Rachel said: "When I arrived I could see Frosty wasn't as active as his sisters. He was freezing and there wasn't much response from him so I initially put him inside my top so he could benefit from my warmth. I collected the rest of the kittens and rushed them to the centre with Frosty wrapped in a towel on my car’s heated seats.”

Crystal and her daughters thrived once settled at the centre but despite initial vet treatment upon arrival and two days’ emergency care at the vet surgery, Frosty, the smallest of the kittens, did not survive.

Deputy Manager Teresa Blair said: “From the moment Crystal and the kittens arrived it was a real rollercoaster of emotions. She and her girls really benefitted from the warmth of the centre but nothing we tried seemed to help Frosty.

Snowdrop, Snowflake and Icicle are doing well
"At one point our vet decided the quickest way to save the tiny kitten was to warm him again using body heat so she placed him inside her clothing and then rushed him off to the vet practice to try to save his life. He rallied initially but just wasn’t strong enough after such a difficult start.

The kittens will be neutered, microchipped and vaccinated before being rehomed
"It’s moments like this that really hammer home to us how vital it is to neuter cats as soon as possible. Crystal is so young and we believe she is likely to have had a number of other litters already. It’s truly amazing that any of them survived the bitter weather. We will of course make sure she and the kittens are neutered before they are homed.”

To find out more about neutering and to see if you are eligible for neutering vouchers, visit www.cats.org.uk/what-we-do/neutering

Thursday, 19 December 2019

Missing cat Shimmer back at home after three-month ordeal

A cat owner who has been reunited with her missing moggy after three months has backed Cats Protection’s campaign for compulsory microchipping of pet cats.

Louise Mudd’s much-loved black puss Shimmer went missing from her home in Crown Square, Kirkbymoorside, in July.

The five-year-old cat was eventually found in October following a three-month search in which Louise and her daughters Melissa, 15, and Heather, 16, also found and reunited two other missing black cats.

two women holding a black cat
Melissa and Louise Mudd reunited with their cat Shimmer
Louise explained: “When she went missing, we searched high and low for Shimmer, leafletted all the local houses and put up posters. There was absolutely no trace, and having spoken to neighbours we feared that she may have hopped in the back of a delivery van which had been in the area when she disappeared.

“Lots of people reported sightings of black cats to us, and we checked them all out. In two cases it turned out the cats were both missing, and because they had microchips we were able to reunite them with their owners.

“But there was still no trace of Shimmer until she turned up in our churchwarden’s garden near our home in October. He gave me a call and I went straight over. She was so thin and wretched I simply didn’t recognise her, and we needed to get a vet to scan her microchip before we realised it was actually her.

"We set out to look for Shimmer and ended up finding three lost black cats, and it was thanks to them being microchipped that we were able to do this. I fully support Cats Protection's campaign to make microchipping compulsory for cats, as it keeps cats safe and makes sure they can get home if they're lost."

The happy reunion comes as Cats Protection renews calls for a change in the law to ensure that all pet cats, like dogs, are microchipped.

man wearing hat with ginger and white cat

Microchipping is a safe, permanent and cost-effective method of identification which ensures cats can be reunited with their owner should they go missing. It means lost cats are not mistaken as strays and taken in by rehoming charities.

Microchipping also ensures owners can be notified if their cat has been injured or killed in a road accident. Cats Protection encourages local councils to scan any cats they collect that have died in road accidents for a microchip so their owners can be informed.

Madison Rogers, Cats Protection’s Senior Advocacy & Government Relations Officer said: “It’s always lovely to hear of stories where cats have been reunited with their owners, but most of these happy endings are only possible if a cat has been microchipped.

“Microchipping is an essential part of responsible pet ownership and is already compulsory for dogs. This should now be extended to ensure all pet cats are microchipped, giving the same level of protection to keep them safe.”

A government call for evidence into the microchipping of cats was recently announced, giving animal lovers the chance to offer their views by contacting the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Cats Protection’s dedicated webpage is giving cat lovers the chance to have their say in the 12-week call for evidence, which runs until 4 January 2020. To send an e-letter to the government, please visit: www.cats.org.uk/microchips-reunite 

Cat lovers can also show their support by signing Cats Protection’s petition for compulsory microchipping. To find out more, please visit www.cats.org.uk/microchippingpetition

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

How to make vegan gingerbread cat cookies

Christmas-time is the purrfect opportunity to dust off your mixing bowls and wooden spoons and get baking.

Whether making tasty treats for yourself or yummy gifts for others, it’s easy to make some truly tempting creations with minimal fuss. Plus, you’ll fill your home with delicious smells of warming winter spices to really get you in the festive mood.

There are lots of ways you can incorporate your love of cats into your festive baking, whether you decorate your Christmas cake with fondant felines, or add some paw print-shaped pastry to the top of your mince pies.

You can also have a go at creating some gingerbread cat cookies, which go perfect with a cup of tea or hot chocolate. And even better, they’re vegan, so your vegan friends can enjoy them too!

1tbsp chia seeds
400g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
200g coconut oil
2tbsp ground ginger
1tsp ground cinnamon
200g dark muscovado sugar
50g maple syrup

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 6. 
  2. Mix the chia seeds with 3tbsp of water. Set aside for 5-10 minutes until the mixture becomes gloopy. 
  3. Put the plain flour and coconut oil in a bowl and use your hands to mix until combined. 
  4. With a wooden spoon, stir in the ginger and cinnamon. 
  5. In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, maple syrup and chai seeds with 2tbsp of water. 
  6. Combine the sugar mixture with the flour mixture and knead together until they form a dough. 
  7. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it out with a rolling pin.  
  8. Using some cat-shaped cookie cutters, cut out your cookies from the dough. If you don’t have cookie cutters, you can draw some cat-shaped templates onto paper and cut around them using a knife. 
  9. Place your cookies onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment and bake them in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the edges start to darken. 
  10. Leave the cookies to cool for a few minutes on the tray, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool some more. 

Watch our video below to see how it’s done!

To find more inspiration for cat-themed bakes, take a look at our YouTube channel.