Wednesday, 25 May 2016

An abseil for the Isle of Wight kitties

This blog post has been written by Fran Coombs

I am a cat socialisation volunteer for the Isle of Wight Adoption Centre and I also foster cats in need of some extra TLC and mums and kittens. Where I live it isn't really suitable for me to have my own cat so by volunteering I get to spend time and help many cats.

In March last year I took part in the inaugural Cats Protection Avon Gorge abseil to raise funds for the adoption centre as a way of challenging myself and also to give something back to the cats who have taught me so much about their behaviour and given me their love and trust.

Avon Gorge abseil for Cats Protection
In March 2015 Fran abseiled down the Avon Gorge for Cats Protection
Having done that and enjoying the experience (yes, honestly I did!) I came back home looking to do another abseil and looked closer to home for a venue and for something with a longer drop. I decided the Spinnaker Tower across the water in Portsmouth was what I really wanted to have a go at.

The Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth. Photo by Karen Roe via flicker / Creative Commons
After a chat with Mel, the Adoption Centre Manager, she told me that her husband Darren also wanted to do it so the idea was born. Darren and I will also be joined by two staff members at the adoption centre who also want to take up the challenge.

We hope to raise at least £1,000 for the cats but particularly for cats like Pebbles who has had her leg pinned following an accident. That's Kelly Waldron with me and Pebbles who is currently on five weeks’ cage rest.

Pebbles at Isle of Wight Adoption Centre

So for the love of the cats in our care at 2pm on Sunday 29 May the four of us will be at the top of the Spinnaker Tower waiting to abseil the 100 metres to the ground for our mutual love of cats. Hopefully the weather will be kinder to us than it was to me at the Avon Gorge and the sun will shine. Everyone tackles the challenge in their own way but me personally as I stand at the top I won't be thinking about the height but just how much I am going to enjoy the view and the funds I am helping to raise to help the kitties in CP care.

Wish us luck!

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Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Dougal proves age is just a number

Poor Dougal came into the care of Bracknell & Wokingham Districts Branch after his owner died. He had faeces in his fur and was and infested with fleas, needed 12 teeth removing, and one of his claws had grown so long it had entered the footpad, becoming infected and bleeding.

Elderly cat Dougal at the vets

He had some dental work carried out and a groom, but otherwise the vet said that he was in good health for a 20-year-old gent.

Dougal was placed in the care of fosterer, Kelly, who discovered that he was  a delightful and affectionate cat. In exchange for supper he offered great head bumps and affection. He had an adorable purr, he seemed to purr even when he was sleeping!

It wasn't long before homing officer Debbie received a phone call from a lovely lady, Linda Evans, who spotted Dougal after using the Find-a-cat search on the national Cats Protection website.

Linda sadly lost her own cat Joe, aged 22 years old, in February, and when she saw Dougal she knew she wanted to give him a loving home for the rest of his life.

She commented that he looked very withdrawn.

“I wanted to give a home to an older cat because they often  get overlooked,” she said.

Elderly cat Dougal being stroked

When Debbie confirmed that Linda could adopt Dougal she was thrilled.

Linda added: “I can’t fault him, he’s absolutely brilliant.”

Dougal is settling into his new home well and we hope his story encourages others to give older cats a chance!

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Inspirational youngster donates prize money to help unwanted cats

An eight-year-old boy who won an award for carrying out 100 acts of kindness has added another good turn to his list – by donating £250 of his prize money to Cats Protection.

Bailey Sloan, from Barry, won Rotary International’s Young Citizen Award in recognition of his many kind-hearted deeds which have included clearing litter from the beach, presenting passers-by with roses and leaving chocolate gifts on doorsteps.

The inspirational youngster, who has ADHD and autism, was awarded with a trophy and £500 to split between his chosen charities – Cats Protection and homeless charity Llamau.

Cat-loving Bailey, who has three moggies of his own, visited Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre on 25 April to hand over the cheque in a presentation which was also attended by the Mayor and Mayoress of Bridgend, Councillor Richard Young and his wife Annette.

During his visit to the centre Bailey got to meet some of the unwanted and abandoned cats which will benefit from his kindness, and talked to staff about his own cats, named Mog, Pink Loveheart and Ginger Beauty.

Bailey said: “I chose to give to Cats Protection because I adore and care for cats, they are adorable creatures and kindness is magic.”

Centre Manager Sue Dobbs said: “It was a true privilege to meet such an inspirational boy like Bailey and we absolutely loved having him here. We gave him a tour of the centre so he could see for himself how his kind donation will be put to use.

“I was very touched by Bailey’s 100 random acts of kindness. He is very enthusiastic and has an obvious passion for cats, something which came across during his visit to the centre. We feel honoured that we were one of his chosen charities to receive part of his prize money for wining his Young Citizen Award.”

Bailey’s mum Lisa Harrhy, who came up with the kindness challenge to help him learn about empathy, said: “I am very proud of Bailey and I am happy that he has done so many acts of kindness which are an inspiration to others.”

Monday, 16 May 2016

The Cat magazine: speaking up for cats since 1931

Cats Protection’s official magazine, The Cat, recently celebrated the conclusion of its 85th year in print. To put that milestone into perspective, that’s only nine years shy of Reader’s Digest’s lifespan, eight years short of Time Magazine’s run and two years longer than Newsweek has been in circulation.

Throughout this time the publication, which was initially entitled The Cats’ Mews-Sheet, has informed, entertained and aided its feline-loving readers against the backdrop of a constantly-changing world, ensuring the welfare of cats has remained on the agenda during some of the most turbulent times in recent history, including the Great Depression and the Second World War.

Continue reading to discover how the publication has evolved – 15,112 pages and 680 issues later – into today’s glossy, full-colour coffee-table magazine and to find out how you can subscribe to its variety of news, views and feature articles for just £15 a year.

85 years of The Cat magazine

The Cats' Mewsheet January 1931

1931: The Cat’s Mews-Sheet is launched in January to spread the word about the pioneering work of the Cats Protection League’s handful of clubs. The four-page, black-and-white A5 publication aims to “create a medium for suggestions and enquiries; to obtain the co-operation of the other animal societies and to educate the public.” Importantly, it also helps raise the profile of the three-year-old charity and provides a sense of unity for its growing membership.

Spratt's new cat food advert 1934

1934: The loss-making monthly publication, which would be edited by Cats Protection founding member Jessey Wade until March 1935, makes its first significant changes. After adopting its current name, doubling its page count and increasing its cover price to two pence in January, it introduces adverts a month later. Spratt’s ‘new, ready-for-use cat food’ pounces on the opportunity to market its ‘more digestible and healthy’ wares.

The Cat magazine June 1945

1939-45: The advent of the Second World War forces a reduction in page count and the removal of all images from October 1939. Importantly, however, The Cat doesn’t miss one issue during the conflict and its recipes and tips ensure that cats in the UK are cared for in spite of the food shortages. When the cover image is reinstated in June 1945, it is accompanied by an image of ‘The Victory Cat’, an adorable tuxedo kitten sporting a white ‘V’ on his chest.

1950s: From 1951, the number of issues published annually is reduced to 10 in order to save on printing costs. Standout content includes excerpts from literary works of interest to cat lovers. One of the authors allowing the magazine to print their work is film star and devoted cat lover, James Mason.

The Cat magazine June 1967

1967: June’s issue of The Cat is deemed ‘a celebration number’ in recognition of the charity’s 40th anniversary. The issue includes a special, four-page feature to mark the occasion. Two years later the magazine grows by four pages but becomes a bi-monthly publication to ensure its costs remain within the Cats Protection annual subscription.

The Cat magazine January/February 1975

1975: The January/February issue sees The Cat stride confidently into a new A4 format, complete with a colour front cover.

The Cat magazine January/February 1987

1980s: The November/December 1984 edition introduces a page devoted to subscribers’ tributes to well-loved cats, a feature that can still be found in the magazine today. Two years later, in the January/February 1987 issue, The Cat takes another leap forward, celebrating the charity’s diamond jubilee year by featuring a colour photograph on its cover for the very first time.

The Cat magazine Jan/Feb 1999 vet article

1990s: Regular news stories from Cats Protection branches and adoption centres are supplemented by more general features for the first time since the Second World War. Articles with subjects as diverse as feline welfare in Israel and cat-themed postage stamps are later joined by insightful pieces from veterinary experts covering feline medical and behavioural issues.

The Cat magazine interview with Alexei Sayle

2007: Two years on from increasing its page count to 68 and becoming a quarterly publication, The Cat celebrates Cats Protection’s 80th anniversary by adding cat-loving celebrity interviews to its increasingly varied content. Entertaining chats with well-loved personalities including Prunella Scales, David Baddiel, Miranda Richardson and Alexei Sayle all help to raise the charity’s profile.

The Cat magazine Spring 2008

2008: The Cat’s spring issue sees the magazine transformed into the glossy, coffee-table publication available today, complete with full-colour front cover and distinctive, full-width title on a white background.

The Cat today

The next issue of The Cat magazine, issue number 681, will drop onto the doormats of Cats Protection supporters this summer.

If you’re after reviews of the latest feline-related products, expert advice from vets and behavioural specialists, the chance to discuss cat care issues with other subscribers, and a lot more besides, we believe the annual subscription fee of £15 for four issues totalling over 250 pages represents great value. What’s more, it all goes towards helping us care for unwanted cats and kittens.

To find out how to subscribe to The Cat, by post, by telephone or online – and to view samples of previous issues – click here. We look forward to welcoming you to the next chapter in our magazine’s exciting journey!

Covers of The Cat magazine belong to Cats Protection.

Friday, 13 May 2016

‘How can I help my elderly cat’s mobility?’ and other veterinary FAQs

Do you have a question about your cat? Have a read through the advice below from Cats Protection vet Sarah Elliott, all covered in her recent live Q&A on Facebook.

Cats Protection vet Sarah Elliott

Don’t forget, if your question is urgent, seek advice from your vet who will be able to examine your cat and will have access to their medical history.

Question: My parents’ cat is pretty old and sometimes her back legs give out. She seems happy and has started spending more time outside but as she's 19 we're pretty worried. She's otherwise healthy according to the vet. How can we help her with her mobility?

Answer: Thanks for your question. It is really common for cats to experience some form of joint pain or stiffness as they age. This may be the reason she is having difficulties with her back legs. I'd definitely recommend having your vet give her a check over to make sure any pain she may be experiencing is controlled.

Cats are generally considered geriatric from around 12 years of age and there are lots of simple steps you can take to ensure the later years of an older cat’s life are comfortable and happy.

You may find our leaflet on arthritis in cats helpful and our leaflet on elderly cats.

Question: My eight-month-old kitten has watery eyes, is there something wrong with her?

Answer: Watery eyes can be a symptom of having painful eyes, so I'd recommend a vet check to rule out pain as a cause. Sometimes this can be 'tear overflow' as a result of having blocked tear ducts. This can happen after a bout of cat flu, and the scarring of the tear ducts prevents normal tear drainage. As tears are salty, they can irritate the skin so I would recommend cleaning your kitten’s face regularly to prevent this irritation (just with water on cotton wool). But definitely start with a vet check.

Beautiful black kitten

Question: I have a large greedy cat. When he eats, a lot of the time he’ll vomits it back up again. Is this because he’s gulping it down quickly?

Answer: You may be right. Feeding your cat little and often and using feeding puzzles may help slow him down. You can buy puzzle balls from pet shops or hide food in toilet roll tube pyramids, scrunched up paper and empty cardboard egg cartons. Check out this video playlist for other ideas:

Vomiting can also be a sign of underlying health issues and it can make your cat feel unwell, so always speak with your vet if you are concerned.

Veterinary note: Please note that we are unable to give specific advice on your cat's health or any change in behaviour observed. For medical problems, consult your vet who will have access to your cat's medical history and will be able to examine them.

Would you like to ask one of Cats Protection's feline experts a question about your cat? Don't miss the next live Facebook Q&A sessions: Neutering Manager Jane Clements will be chatting on 12 May; Behaviour Manager will be helping you to understand your cat’s behaviour on 25 May; and our veterinary session returns on 9 June. All Q&As are held on Cats Protection's national Facebook page from 2-3pm. See you there!

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Little rays of light

This guest post has been written by cat owner, Sally Heather

We contacted the Croydon Branch of Cats Protection back in October 2015 as we felt we would be able to give a cat/cats a good home. We had waited a while as we'd lost our previous Cats Protection cat in May after a three year battle with diabetes. She was 14. We’d had her since she was 14 weeks old and she was adored by us all, I was particularly devastated and Molly had left a big hole.

We contacted you and a lovely lady came round for a home visit and although I have five children from 16 years to eight months she approved us as a household who could offer a cat a great if lively home.

Lovely kittens Bella and Luna

Bella and Luna came to join in the fun with their mischief and mayhem just before Halloween.
We'd heard of a litter born at a local cattery and waited to view them. I'd lost my babysitter just before the viewing and had to take the whole family.

When we went in to view I placed the-then eight-month-old twins on the floor where they sat and Mum cat sat right down next to them as if to say I approve of you. (I also wanted to take mum home).

Kittens Bella and Luna up to mischief

Many of the litter were reserved so we looked at the remaining three. The smallest, mostly-white kitten was left. She was the runt and she just sat with my daughter, while Bella, the livelier mainly-black kitten sat with my son. The other scampered off so our choice was made.

They still have their favourites, Luna follows my daughter around and Bella can always be found on my son’s bed. They love each other just as much and are inseparable. My twins love them and all four of them, come dinner time, can be found together as the babies’ favourite game is feeding the cats rather than themselves.

Sister cats Bella and Luna snuggled up

They cause chaos but they are lovable. They are always up to mischief. They have re-decorated my hall with their wallpaper stripping – obviously didn't like the decor – but we wouldn't be without them.

They have settled in as part of our large lively family and we'd like to say thank you to Cats Protection for trusting us with them.

This post has been written by a guest blogger. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of Cats Protection. 

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Jack’s on his bike

Thirteen-year-old Jack Churchill has completed a sponsored bike ride to raise funds for Cats Protection’s Derby Adoption Centre.

Jack Churchill's raising funds for Cats Protection

Cat lover Jack cycled 30 laps of Normanton Park in Derby which works out at 18.2 miles.

He was sponsored by family and friends as well as staff and pupils at his school to raise £221.35.

He started the bike ride at 9am on a Friday morning during the Easter holidays, stopping every 10 laps for a break, completing the challenge in just over two hours.

Jack and proud parents Gemma and Andy presented the money to the charity two days later.