Monday, 15 October 2018

Kittens rescued from locked car after 2,000 mile voyage from Cyprus to UK

Three tiny kittens have survived a week trapped inside a car with no food or water on a voyage from Cyprus to the UK.

The cruising kittens, who have been named Neptune, Sinbad and Galene, were discovered inside a vehicle on board MV (Military Vessel) Eddystone midway through a 10 day, 2,000 mile journey from Limassol in Cyprus to Southampton.

Tabby kitten
Neptune the kitten. Credit: Kris Bird
After being looked after by the ship’s staff, the kittens were given a clean bill of health by a UK vet and have now begun a three-month stay in quarantine, being paid for by Cats Protection who will find them a new home.

The kittens were found by crew at the end of September during a routine check of the ship’s cargo. They contacted the Sea Mounting Centre in Marchwood, Southampton where the boat was due to dock on 4 October.

black kitten and tabby kitten
Nepture (left) and Sinbad (right). Credit: Kris Bird
“The staff were surprised to see three kittens sitting on the car’s dashboard staring out at them,” said Patrick Fortnum, the ship’s agent who is based at the centre.

“The kittens were about three or four weeks old and were in remarkably good condition considering they’d had no food or water for a week. Their survival is miraculous.

black, tabby and tabby and white kittens
Galene (left) and Sinbad (right) with Neptune in the background. Credit: Kris Bird
“Our staff quarantined them in an empty cabin for four days and kept them fed and warm. The kittens were very friendly, and weren’t timid or shy at all.

“We don’t know how they got into the car and they must have kept very quiet when the car was driven onto the boat because the driver didn’t hear or see anything odd.

tabby kitten and black kitten
Neptune (left) and Sinbad (right). Credit Kris Bird
“The car was locked at the port of Limassol so it’s possible their mum had exited the car sometime before and is still on the island.”

The cost of the kittens’ quarantine, and finding them a new home is likely to reach over £2,000 so Cats Protection would be grateful for any donations towards the cost.


To give to Cats Protection’s Cyprus kittens appeal, please visit www.justgiving.com/cats-protectioncypruscats or text CATZ83 and an amount of £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to 70070. 

Please note all funds raised in excess of the Cyprus appeal will be used to help other cats in the charity’s care.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Big cat challenge raising money for little cats in the UK

On Saturday 13 October, 10 fabulous Cat Champions will travel to India to trek through the Himalayas and spend time with a tiger conservation project, all to raise money for Cats Protection.

The team have been busy fundraising for the past 18 months and have so far raised an incredible £40,000 to help unwanted moggies in their local communities.

Naomh is going to India in support of her local St Neots, Huntingdon & St Ives Branch and has been getting creative with her fundraising from day one. She has had lots of fun hosting a Pawsome Afternoon Tea, selling items at car boot sales and on eBay and even auctioning off a tiger painting created by a well-known local artist. She also asked people to donate Tigger toys to create a huge Tigger tree display, and then sold the toys to raise funds. All of this amazing work has resulted in Naomh surpassing her fundraising target by £300.

Cats Protection charity stall
Naomh selling items to raise money for Cats Protection
To read more about how the team’s fundraising is going and find out their individual reasons for taking on the challenge, visit their group JustGiving page.

Cats Protection offers supporters the opportunity to take part in a big cat international challenge every year, each time helping to raise in the region of £60,000 for the charity’s important work.

The next challenge will involve a trip to Africa to spend three days canoeing down the Zambezi River and then visit a lion conservation project in Livingstone. You’ll also get the chance to spot other magnificent wild animals on a safari tour.

Elephant and canoes
Sign up for the Zambezi challenge in 2020
To find out more and sign up for this once-in-a-lifetime trip, visit www.cats.org.uk/zambia20

If you’re worried about not raising enough funds for your challenge, Cats Protection’s Events team can help to support you every step of the way.

Still not convinced? Here are some previous big cat challenge Cat Champions to purrsuade you…

Kelly

Kelly Eyre, 27, from Wales was one of the first people to sign up for the 2017 Himalayan trek and tiger conservation project. Kelly worked as a Cat Care Assistant at Cats Protection’s Wrexham Adoption Centre for three years before studying to become a vet nurse. At the time she worked at the vet practice that looks after the cats in the centre’s care and has adopted a couple of unwanted moggies of her own, called Jelly and Smokey.

As well as raising much-needed funds, Kelly motivation was that training for her Indian adventure would also help her to shed a few pounds and improve her fitness.

“Anybody who knows me will know full well that I DO NOT like walking up hills or any slight incline, and I can't even make it to the top of Moel Famau!” said Kelly.

“When this opportunity arose, I thought it was the ideal thing to inspire me to get fit while raising money for Cats Protection at the same time.

“Having worked at the Wrexham Centre I know full well how hard the staff and volunteers work to help cats in need and it will be really nice to give them a much-needed boost.”

Cats Protection 2017 Himalayan trek
The 2017 Himalayan trek team
Roz and Yaz 

Roz, the Assistant Manager of Cats Protection’s Nottingham Adoption Centre, and local cat lover Yaz also took part in the 2017 Himalayan trek.

“Here at Cats Protection’s Nottingham Adoption Centre, we have average veterinary bills of around £3,000 per month,” said Roz. “This means that we really do rely on people to fundraise for us to help us continue our vital work. The money raised helps us provide a second chance in life for all of the numerous cats in our care. While a new home is sought, we rely on donations and raised funds to ensure every cat is kept warm and loved, is fed and, if necessary, receive veterinary care.

“Cats Protection’s national commitment to a wide range of programmes that include vaccination, microchipping, neutering and passing on the need for responsible cat care to owners of all ages, would not be possible at our local level without the help of people like Yaz fundraising for us.

“I first met Yaz last December at our adoption centre's Christmas Fayre, where I had invited her to have a stall to help with her fundraising. We've since done a lot of fundraising together and have become very firm friends, so much so that we are going travelling for a week together in Nepal, after the Himalayan Trek.”

For more information about how you can take part in an event to raise money for Cats Protection, visit www.cats.org.uk/events

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Thirteen cats dumped on a road in Wigan

Thirteen cats that were dumped out of the back of a vehicle on Edge Green Road in Wigan are being cared for by a group of cat-loving volunteers.

tabby cat with bad eye

Cats Protection’s Atherton & Wigan Metro Areas Branch is currently caring for the cats, none of which were microchipped, and is appealing for the public’s help to raise the necessary funds to cover the cost of their veterinary treatment and time in care.

Around one third of all the cats taken in by Cats Protection across the UK are stray or abandoned, so it is a problem the charity’s volunteers are desperate to highlight.

black and white cat with bad eye

A spokesperson from the Atherton & Wigan Metro Areas Branch, said: “We were alerted to this case by the owners of a nearby farm who spotted the cats at night while driving. Luckily, they were able to catch these thirteen but we suspect there may be one or more still to be trapped.

“Each of the cats was suffering from a combination of signs of cat flu, dehydration, malnutrition and flea infestations. Four of the cats have very serious eye injuries but we are doing our best to save their sight. However, it is looking likely that one cat will have to have one eye removed.

black cat with bad eye

“The number of cats being dumped is a major problem for us because it can take weeks and sometimes hundreds of pounds to nurse just one unfortunate cat back to health.

“We seem to be living in a throwaway society where some people think nothing of just dumping cats.”

grey cat with bad eye

The branch is appealing to raise a total of £1,300 to cover the costs of veterinary treatment and care. Donations towards these costs can be made on the branch's JustGiving page. Any donations will go a long way to getting these cats back on their paws.

The charity urges all owners to get their pet cats neutered, as they are such prolific breeders. Just one unneutered cat can produce up to 18 kittens in one year.

For more information about neutering, visit www.cats.org.uk/neutering

Pet Plaques commemorate the UK’s amazing cats

TrustedHousesitters, the world’s biggest house and pet sitting business and official Cats Protection partner, has launched a new scheme dedicated to celebrating the nation’s most amazing animals.

Green Pet Plaques, complete with ears, are being attached to houses up and down the country, commemorating the achievements of the amazing animal living inside.

TrustedHousesitters green pet plaque
TrustedHousesitters has launched its green Pet Plaques 
Commemorative plaques such as the English Heritage blue plaque scheme, have honoured notable men and women for over a hundred years by placing a marker on the homes they worked or lived in, but there has never been a similar scheme solely dedicated to animals.

Pet owners across the country can now nominate their own pets to be honoured with a plaque, and some of the first animals to be recognised are previous winners and nominees of Cats Protection’s National Cat Awards.

Tabby cat Smudge
Smudge the cat protected his owner from bullies
Smudge the cat was nominated for the 2014 National Cat Awards Hero Cat category after he helped protect his owner from bullies.

When nine-year-old Ethan Fenton was being picked on, his heroic cat Smudge took action, pouncing on the chest of one of the bigger bullies who had pushed frightened Ethan to the ground. Shocked by Smudge’s smart move, the boy and his friends then ran away finally leaving Ethan alone.

Ethan Fenton, his mum and cat Smudge with green pet plaque
Ethan Fenton with his mum, cat Smudge and their Pet Plaque
Tim Lyons, Managing Director at TrustedHousesitters said: “There are countless stories across the country of pets who have a special bond with their owners or do something incredibly heroic.

“For over a hundred years we have honoured deserving people with blue plaques, we felt it was time to celebrate the nation’s love for our animals by honouring them in a similar way. We’re now looking forward to hearing more inspirational tales of cherished pets as the scheme continues to grow.”

Over 20 plaques have so far been placed on homes all over the UK. For stories and locations of the current markers, or to nominate your own pet to be one of the next in line to receive a plaque, please visit: www.trustedhousesitters.com/pet-plaques
 

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Arthur the cat helps his owner cope with mental health issues

Due to her serious mental health issues, Emily Hatton from Sandbach, Cheshire was told that she would never be able to live in the community on her own.

That was before she found gorgeous black-and-white moggy Arthur.

Emily Hatton with black and white cat Arthur
Emily Hatton and her cat Arthur
Arthur arrived in Emily’s life in 2017, just after she had been discharged from a mental health unit. Since then, Emily has been able to live independently for the longest period in her adult life – an achievement she credits Arthur with making possible.

“Arthur is proof that cats can change people’s lives because he’s changed mine,” said Emily. “Since the age of 16 I’ve been in and out of mental health wards, with 18 admissions up to the age of 21. 

“Last year I came out of hospital after a three-and-a-half year admission to a mental health unit. That’s when I got Arthur and since then I’ve not been back in hospital once with my mental health.

black and white cat Arthur
Arthur has transformed Emily life
“He’s always there, he’s my best friend. Coming out of hospital after so long, I needed a best friend and that’s what he became.

“He’s there to welcome me when I get in, so I never return to an empty home, and he’s there to help me through the dark days. He’s a reason to get up and he’s always there to listen to me.”

In August 2018, Arthur won the Most Caring Cat award at Cats Protection’s National Cat Awards because of his positive impact on Emily’s life. After collecting the award on Arthur’s behalf.

Emily Hatton with black and white cat Arthur
Emily nominated Arthur for a National Cat Award
Emily said: “I’m over the moon that Arthur has won this award as he has really changed my life. I hope our story will help more people understand just how much cats can help people with mental health issues.

“Winning this award means I can give something back to him and I’m thrilled other people can see how special he is.”

Arthur was chosen as the winner by celebrity judge Deborah Meaden, who presented Emily with the award at a star-studded ceremony at London’s Savoy Hotel.

Deborah Meaden and Emily Hatton at National Cat Awards
Deborah Meaden presenting Emily Hatton with Arthur's award
Deborah said: “Emily and Arthur were the choice for me as I have a sense of the ongoing and daily support that Emily has from Arthur in simply living her everyday life.

“Emily has problems facing the world and Arthur supports her every mood and every moment simply by being there and connecting her to the world.”

Related stories:
How becoming a volunteer can help with mental health
Rescued cat saves his new owner's life
2018 National Cat Awards in quotes

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

How to train your cat to sit on command

It’s often thought that cats cannot be trained to respond to commands like dogs can, but that isn’t true. With a bit of patience and a few tasty treats you can teach your clever cat to do all sorts of things, such as respond to their name and even sit or lie down when prompted.

Training your cat to sit can be very useful for many things, including introducing grooming and handling, and getting them to stay still while you’re preparing their dinner! Here we are going to teach you how to train your cat to sit using a lure, eg treats.

black and white cat sitting

To get started, you will need:
  • a physically able and confident cat (older or infirm cats might struggle)
  • a quiet room with no distractions
  • some tasty treats that don’t require a lot of chewing
  • a bit of patience
Now you can begin training:
  1. Hold a cat treat between the very end of your index finger and thumb with your palm facing upward.
  2. Stand in front of your cat with the treat 1-2cm away from their nose (some cats may prefer it if you sit or kneel so they are not being leant over).
  3. Slowly lift the treat up from your cat’s nose. They should then follow it with their gaze and look upwards.
  4. Once the treat has been raised by about five centimetres, start to slowly move it a few centimetres back towards your cat’s tail. If they follow the treat with their gaze they should naturally go into a seated position. It may take them a few seconds to figure this out so hold the treat in position if they don’t sit straight away.
  5. As soon as your cat is sitting down, say ‘yes’ and give them the treat. If your cat is good at following treats, throw the treat a short distance from them so they move and naturally reset their position ready to start again. If not, do not worry, hand feed your cat then move yourself so they stand up and you can restart the process.
  6. If your cat is comfortable with this process, repeat steps 1-6 a couple of times so they learn that sitting on the floor will get them a treat.

  7. ginger kitten sitting

  8. Once your training sessions are consistently successful, you can gradually alter your hand movement. Put your hand holding the treat in front of your cat and then flick your wrist up to signal for your cat to sit. When they sit, say ‘yes’ and give them the treat.
  9. When your cat has mastered this signal, you can start to reduce reliance on the treats. Put your hand into the treat bag/bowl but don’t actually take one out. Still present your hand to your cat in the same way you did before and repeat the actions. If your cat sits, say ‘Yes’ and then get them a treat – you always need to reward them in some way.
  10. Once this has worked a few times, you can then present your hand without pretending to get a treat beforehand. Hopefully your cat will still sit in response to your hand signal alone, but make sure you still follow it up by saying ‘yes’ and then giving them a treat.
  11. Now they have worked out that sitting will get them a treat, you can start to train them to sit in response to a verbal cue as well as a visual one. Repeat the process as before but one second before you give the usual hand signal, say your chosen cue word. This can be any word you like, as your cat will only be responding to the sound, not the meaning (eg you could say ‘sit’ or even ‘flamingo’ or ‘banana’, anything will work). After repeating this a number of times, your cat will begin to associate the noise with sitting and pre-empt the hand signal by sitting when you say the cue word.
  12. Once your cat is comfortably sitting on cue, you can start to repeat this process while standing at a greater distance from your cat, or encouraging them to stay sitting for longer periods.
If you don't believe it can be done, here's a video of a cat that has mastered it...


Throughout training, try to keep sessions to a maximum of three minutes long and then give your cat a break. If you can stick to three, three-minute sessions a day, you should hopefully be able to get your cat sitting in response to your verbal cue within seven days. However, it’s important to remember that some cats will take longer to master this than others, and some may not get it at all.

Be patient and if you find yourself getting frustrated, take a break and come back to it later. It’s important not to physically force your cat into a seated position, as this will cause them to become stressed and could lead to behavioural or medical problems. Training should be a fun experience for both you and your cat, so always use positive reinforcement and make sure they have the choice to stop if they want to.

Come back next week to find out how to train your cat to lie down on command.

Have you managed to successfully train your cat to sit on command? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter!

If you have any problems training your cat, take a look at our advice on the Cats Protection website or contact a qualified behaviourist.

See also:
How to train your cat to respond to their name
How to train your cat to use the litter tray, cat flap and cat carrier
How to train your cat to use a scratch post
How to train your cat to toilet outside
How to train your cat to be comfortable with handling

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Moving house with Simon's Cat Logic

Anyone who has moved house will be aware of how stressful it can be. And while moving house can be stressful for humans, it can be difficult for cats too. This is the focus of the latest Simon’s Cat Logic animation, Moving house, in which creator Simon Tofield and Cats Protection Behaviour Manager Nicky Trevorrow discuss how best to prepare your cat for a new home.

As Nicky points out: “Moving house can be a big deal for cats. Much of their feelings of security and the ability to relax comes from having familiar sights, scents and sounds.”

So how can you prepare your cat for their new environment?



Plan your next move

As Nicky advises, there are two options for moving day. You can choose to either book your cat into a cattery or take them with you as you move. This depends on your own personal preferences as well as your cat’s character as every cat is different.

If you do book your cat into a cattery a few days beforehand, you won’t have to worry about them. You’ll need to be organised well in advance and get your cat’s vaccinations up to date.

● First, allocate a room in your home that can be cleared of furniture a few weeks before the move. Next, choose a room in the new home that you can place your cat in as soon as you arrive. Ideally, both rooms will be out of the way so that your cat can be undisturbed

● If you have more than one cat, you’ll need for them to have their own resources – litter tray, food bowl, water bowl etc. If they don’t get along, they may need a room each

● Anxious cats will need more help. As Nicky says: “We’d recommend putting synthetic pheromones in the cat basket and in the new rooms.” Synthetic products can emulate these pheromone effects and can be utilised by cat owners to reduce stress symptoms and encourage positive behaviours. Speak to your vet for more advice

Moving in

● Once you’ve arrived in your new home, take your cat to the new room with all their familiar resources. You might want to give them something that smells of you, such as unwashed clothing. Shut the door and leave your cat in this room for a while. They might need a few days to settle in before having access to the rest of the house – your cat will soon let you know when they’re ready to explore

● Ideally, keep your cat indoors for three to four weeks, enough time to view the new house as a safe and secure territory

As Nicky says: “Some cats go missing as their owners move house and they let them out a little bit too soon. Only let them out for a few moments at a time at first. You can build this time outside gradually until you feel confident that they can come and go as they please.”

Simon’s animation Nut again! is inspired by his cats enjoying his new home. He explains that “having four cats is a lot of animals to bring to a new neighbourhood! There were a few cat squabbles to begin with, before they sorted out their territory.”

To learn more about moving house with your cat, go to www.cats.org.uk/moving-home