Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Terrified tabby Whiskers trapped in garage for seven days

Reuniting cat owners with their moggies is an important part of Cats Protection’s work, but sadly it’s not always an easy task.

Many cats that wander away from home seek shelter in cosy sheds, garages and outbuildings, only to be accidentally locked in by unsuspecting property owners.

Linda Potham-Reynolds, a fosterer for our Teignbridge & Torbay Branch, knows all too well the stress this can cause. On Mothering Sunday in 2017, her tabby cat Whiskers went missing from her home.

Tabby cat Whiskers
Whiskers wandered away from home last year
She said: “It was a lovely sunny day, she was in the kitchen at midday when I was getting ready to go to work but when I came home just after 5pm she didn’t come running when she heard the car and she wasn’t indoors, so I immediately knew something was wrong.”

Straight away Linda began searching for her moggy, asking neighbours if they had seen her and posting about her on social media. When she had no luck, she hoped that Whiskers’ collar and microchip would result in a happy reunion. “When she was lost it was the not knowing which was the worst.”

Linda never gave up hope, and one week after she had last seen Whiskers, she was thrilled to see her cat wander down her driveway. “She was looking dazed and shaky, her eyes were sunken and she’d lost her collar. She ate and drank immediately and was obviously very pleased to see us.”

A little while later, a neighbour knocked on the door with Whiskers’ collar in his hand. “He said the day she went missing his garage was open because he was gardening,” said Linda. “He was storing some furniture including a sofa in his garage, obviously Whiskers thought this was a good place for a snooze. Sadly she wasn’t noticed when the door was closed.”

Seven days later, the neighbour had gone back into the garage to move the furniture and Whiskers had run out. He then noticed the collar on the floor and, realising how long she must have been trapped for, decided to visit her owners to check she was ok.

“Whiskers quickly made a full recovery,” said Linda. “Sadly I don’t think that the same can be said of the sofa as the neighbour explained that she had used it as a litter tray!”

Sadly, stories like Whiskers' are all too common, and not all of them have such a happy ending. Cats Protection received almost 2,000 calls about missing cats to its National Information Line over the last year, with the highest numbers reported in the last two months. And these figures are just the tip of the iceberg as many more cats are reported missing via social media and directly to each of the charity’s 250 branches and 36 centres across the UK.

“Cats tend to wander more during warmer weather which explains why we’ve seen a rise in missing cats over the last couple of months with the UK experiencing such a heatwave,” said Cats Protection’s Behaviour Manager, Nicky Trevorrow. “They are notoriously curious creatures and like to investigate their surroundings meaning they can often become trapped in outbuildings. In addition, cats won’t always meow for attention if they are afraid, making it more difficult to realise they are there, so we’d recommend having a really good check before locking up any outbuildings, particularly if you are aware of any cats missing in your area.”

To help prevent other cats like Whiskers from suffering, Cats Protection has launched the #LookBeforeYouLock campaign to encourage people to check their sheds, garages and other outbuildings regularly for missing cats.

We’ve even created a handy door hanger that you can put on your shed or garage door to remind you to look carefully before you lock up. Download it from www.cats.org.uk/check-your-shed where you’ll also find lots of advice for what to do if you’ve lost or found a cat.

Cats Protection Look Before You Lock

Monday, 13 August 2018

Wispa lost 2kg after being locked in a garage for 20 days

When Molly Rayment’s cat Wispa went missing from her home in St Albans, she quickly feared the worst.

It was very unlike the black-and-white moggy to be gone for more than a few hours, so when Molly woke at 3am on 8 May to find her cat wasn’t home, she knew that something was wrong.

After a thorough search of the house and surrounding streets, Molly then went knocking on the neighbours’ doors and handing out over 200 posters, asking people to check their sheds and garages in case her cat was shut inside.


black and white cat Wispa
Adorable Wispa before she went missing
“She’s called Wispa because she doesn’t meow,” said Molly, “so I knew that if she was locked in anywhere she would have been very scared but wouldn’t be able to let people know she was there.”

When none of her neighbours came back with any news, Molly then began putting up posters on lampposts and bus stops, posting about Wispa on social media, and contacting local forums and charities, including Cats Protection’s St Albans Branch. Knowing that Wispa was microchipped, she also notified the microchip company and made sure her details were up to date.

“I couldn’t have done any more to find her,” explained Molly. “I didn't sleep because I didn’t want to miss her if she did come home and I also went to places at night where people had said she may have been seen so I could call for her when it was quieter.

“I contacted the local vets and even the local council in case they had found any dead cats. I was getting people sending me photos of dead cats to check if it was her. It was very stressful but it was the not knowing that was the worst.”

Then on 27 May, 20 days after she had last seen Wispa, Molly got a call from one of her neighbours. They had found a cat in their garage and thought it was her missing moggy.

“I immediately thought the worst,” said Molly. “I didn’t think she would have survived 20 days on her own. But then they told me that she was alive and still hiding in the garage.”

Molly went round immediately, and as soon as she opened the garage door, she knew it was Wispa inside. “I could see her black and white fur all over the floor. She must have been pulling it out because she was so stressed.”


black and white cat Wispa
A skinny Wispa recovering after her ordeal
When she eventually saw Wispa, Molly was shocked by the terrible state she was in. “She was desperately dirty and thin. I think she must have been living off of rain water that leaked in from around the door and maybe some insects or small mice.”

A trip to the vets revealed that Wispa weighed just 1.9kg, 2kg less than her normal healthy weight. She was put on a drip for the next three days and then over the following three weeks, Molly had to be careful to only feed her small amounts every few hours.

“She was so hungry she wanted more than the quarter of the small pack I could give her, but if she was fed too much too soon her heart would have given out. The vet said she wouldn't have survived another couple of days.”

Thankfully, Wispa is now almost back to her regular weight and is enjoying lots of fuss and cuddles again. Molly said: “I have four cats and I know I shouldn’t have favourites but Wispa is my little snuggle buddy.”

Molly is now keen to urge the public to be extra vigilant if they know a cat is missing in their area.

“The garage owner felt awful,” said Molly. “She said she had looked after I first mentioned Wispa was missing and had opened the shed once a week since to get the lawn mower out. But she would have been too scared of the mower to come out!

“I would urge everyone to make sure they have a thorough check, not just a sweeping glance. Check under boxes, tables etc. Don’t assume there won’t be a cat in there. Wispa could have been found on day one not day 20. She didn't deserve this.”

Sadly, stories like Wispa’s are all too common, and not all of them have such a happy ending. Cats Protection received almost 2,000 calls about missing cats to its National Information Line over the last year, with the highest numbers reported in the last two months. And these figures are just the tip of the iceberg as many more cats are reported missing via social media and directly to each of the charity’s 250 branches and 36 centres across the UK.

“Cats tend to wander more during warmer weather which explains why we’ve seen a rise in missing cats over the last couple of months with the UK experiencing such a heatwave,” said Cats Protection’s Behaviour Manager, Nicky Trevorrow. “They are notoriously curious creatures and like to investigate their surroundings meaning they can often become trapped in outbuildings. In addition, cats won’t always meow for attention if they are afraid, making it more difficult to realise they are there, so we’d recommend having a really good check before locking up any outbuildings, particularly if you are aware of any cats missing in your area.”

To help prevent other cats like Wispa from suffering, Cats Protection has launched the #LookBeforeYouLock campaign to encourage people to check their sheds, garages and other outbuildings regularly for missing cats.

We’ve even created a handy door hanger that you can put on your shed or garage door to remind you to look carefully before you lock up. Download it from www.cats.org.uk/check-your-shed where you’ll also find lots of advice for what to do if you’ve lost or found a cat.

Cats Protection Look Before You Lock

Friday, 10 August 2018

Kitten Academy: Apple and Apricot graduate to find their forever homes

Catch up on our Kitten Academy series to see how much Apple and Apricot have grown.

Kittens Apple and Apricot are now seven weeks old and ready to graduate from the kitten socialisation programme.

It’s amazing to see how far they have come, from sleepy little bundles of fur to fuzzy cats full of character and energy. Apple is still the bigger, more confident kitten, but Apricot is gradually catching up with her sister as she’s now much more playful and able to get her fair share of time with the toys.

Black kitten at three weeks (left) and seven weeks (right)
Apple at three weeks (left) and seven weeks (right)

The plastic straw is still their favourite plaything. Apple loves to hide underneath the ramp in the pen and then suddenly jump out to pounce on the straw (as you can see in the first video below) – giving you a bit of a shock if you don’t know she’s under there! Apricot likes to chase the straw around, getting lots of exercise as she follows it up and down the ramp again and again (watch her demonstrate in the second video below).


Black kitten at three weeks (left) and seven weeks (right)
Apricot at three weeks (left) and seven weeks (right)
All of the new experiences the kittens have encountered over the past five weeks have really helped them to grow in confidence, as they are no longer fazed when a human approaches their pen. They still need a bit of encouragement to come forward for a fuss, but rattling a ball or dragging a straw along the floor usually does the trick.


After listening to the radio and a CD of household sounds, they’re also not bothered by a bit of background noise, and don’t even seem to notice when some of their kitten neighbours make a noise in the pens next door. They also happily bound around on a variety of different floor surfaces and are used to a range of different food flavours and litter types, hopefully meaning they won’t be too fussy in their forever home.


Once they turn eight weeks old, Apple and Apricot will go to the vets for a check-up and the handling they’ve had should mean that they won’t be too stressed when being examined, vaccinated and microchipped. They will then have a very important operation – neutering! This will protect them from a number of diseases and means they won’t have to go through the ordeal of having kittens themselves. Mum Annie will also be neutered, so she doesn’t have to worry about having another litter, and then all three will be ready for adoption.

Saying goodbye is always emotional for our kitten socialisers, but seeing all that hard work pay off and knowing they have set the kittens up for a happy future in their forever homes is a wonderful feeling. Plus, it won’t be long before another litter arrives and enrols in Kitten Academy – the work never stops!

That’s all for our Kitten Academy series, but we will update you when Apple, Apricot and Annie finally find their forever homes!

If you would like to volunteer for Cats Protection, you can find the opportunities available in your area here.  

For more information about caring for kittens, visit the Cats Protection website.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Rescued cat saves his new owner’s life in return

When Shane rescued a poor moggy from a horrific attack, he gained a feline friend that turned his life around.

Shane had a tough start in life. Growing up in care, he suffered abuse that caused him to become shy, withdrawn and develop a stammer in his older years. He found it difficult to build relationships with others, and problems with alcohol and drugs meant he led a very chaotic lifestyle.

After moving into shared housing, Shane found himself living alongside drug users and would shut himself in his small room, struggling with his mental health alone. Then one day, his whole life changed.
Baby the cat was rescued from terrible abuse
Hearing a loud banging from the room next door, Shane went to investigate and was horrified to discover a small bundle of grey and white fur being used as a football. The poor, terrified kitten had followed his neighbours home and was being kicked and punched around the room for their cruel entertainment.

Angered by this abuse, Shane ran in and grabbed the innocent cat, taking it back to the safety of his room. He named it Baby, thinking it was a girl, and decided to care for the cat to protect her from any more cruelty.

Since he took Baby in, a homeless charity with support workers has helped Shane move into social housing, complete with a communal garden that’s perfect for a cat to explore. Although the landlord has a ‘no pets’ policy, they’ve made an exception for Baby because of the way this wonderful cat has helped to transform Shane’s life for the better.

Shane's new feline friend has turned his life around
Shane suffers with severe epilepsy and before Baby arrived he was having five to six seizures a week. However, now he has a purring kitty to keep him calm, this has reduced to just one or two a week, making a huge difference to Shane’s quality of life. Shane is also now trying to quit drinking and smoking for good so he can be fit and healthy for his beloved moggy companion.

“I’ve never had a cat before but I knew I needed to rescue it,” said Shane. “Baby has really transformed my life, calmed me right down and given me more focus. I have previously thought about taking my own life, but Baby has given me something to live for.”

After finding out about Baby, Shane’s support worker contacted their local Cats Protection branch to see if they could give him some financial assistance with neutering and offer advice on how to care for his new feline friend. The Telford & District Branch were more than happy to help and offered to fund Baby’s neutering and microchipping.

A trip to Haygate Veterinary Centre soon revealed that Baby was in fact a boy, and after a thorough check-up he was found to be 100% healthy. When Baby returned home from the vets, Cats Protection also helped kit him out with everything he needs, including bowls, a litter tray, a scratch post and toys. The branch also gave Shane some helpful tips on how to care for him, including that as much as Baby may love Marmite on toast, it’s really not what he should be eating!

Cats Protection volunteer Tracy was happy to help Shane and Baby 
Tracy, Neutering Officer for Telford & District Cats Protection, said: “Baby now has all he needs to thrive in his new home. We have given Shane our leaflet on the five cat welfare needs and he has stuck it up on his wall to help him remember how to care for his new pet. He was so grateful for all the help we were able to provide and has even given us a lovely thank you card.

“Our branch was very touched by the love Shane has for his cat and that he was so keen to learn how to care for Baby properly. He had plenty of questions for me on the five welfare needs and applied them immediately.”

Baby has settled in really well to his new home and Shane added: “Baby loves playing with his toys and exploring his new garden. The whole community has taken him in and all of the neighbours love him.”

After learning how to make sure Baby stays happy and healthy, Shane was keen to sign up for Haygate Vets’ Healthy Pet Club, a subscription service that covers pets’ basic health care. Unfortunately, as Shane has no personal ID, birth certificate or bank account, he is unable to sign up until he gets his paperwork in order, but after hearing Baby’s story, the vets stepped in to help. They’ve now launched an annual award, giving one deserving cat or dog a year’s free membership to their club, and Baby has been chosen as the first winner.

Tracy added: “The vets have really gone above and beyond to help Shane and Baby. It seems this one little cat is starting to do so much good for Shane, helping him turn his life around. It makes volunteering for Cat Protection so rewarding when we can make such a huge difference to not just cats but their owners too. We are hoping Shane’s story will help convince other landlords to let their tenants keep their cats with them. Shane and Baby have proved that with just a little help they can become the purrfect tenants.”

To find out more about the important work Cats Protection does, visit www.cats.org.uk/what-we-do

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

5 reasons to get a cat

Choosing to welcome a feline friend into your home is a big decision, but it’s a decision you definitely won’t regret making.

Cats make perfect companions, always there to welcome you home and entertain you with their amusing antics, and if you choose to adopt, that’s even better!

Cats Protection has thousands of unloved and unwanted moggies waiting for a friend, and you could be their hero by offering them a warm and loving place to call home.

If you need a bit more purrsuading, here are just some of the reasons why a cat will make your life complete…

1. Cuddles are aplenty

ginger cat cuddle

After a long, hard day there’s nothing better than snuggling up with your furry pal. Listening to their soothing purr is the perfect way to unwind and forget about your worries and stress. Plus, having a cat on your lap is the best excuse to not do the washing up.

2. They help with your workload


tabby cat and laptop

That important stack of papers or your warm laptop are likely to be irresistible to your moggy, so  they will be happy to keep you company while you work. Just don’t expect them to stay awake long enough to get all their typing done.

3. Playtime is always fun

ginger cat head tilt

Jumping, pouncing and chasing will be some of your kitty’s favourite pastimes, and will provide you with lots of entertainment as they skid across the room and leap out when you least expect it. Ideal for improving your reflexes!

4. They make you seem sane

black and white cat in box

Whether rolling around after a sniff of catnip, snoozing in the sink, or squeezing into the smallest box, your cat’s crazy antics are guaranteed to make you look perfectly normal by comparison!

5. They are alarm clocks

grey tabby cat on bed

If you find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning, your feline friend will probably be happy to help you out. There’s nothing quite like a hungry kitty howling for their breakfast to rouse you from sleep – it will do wonders for your morning productivity.

Now we have convinced you to find your own crazy cat pal, visit www.cats.org.uk/adopt-a-cat to see the moggies waiting for homes in your area.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Microchipped moggy Samson reunited with family after five years

A family from Derby has been reunited with their long-lost ginger cat after five years of heartbreak.

Samson went missing in October 2013 but Hannah Guy never gave up hope of finding him again.

Finally, her faith was restored in July 2018 when she received a call from Cats Protection’s Derby Adoption Centre saying Samson had been handed in.


Samson ginger cat
Samson had been missing for five years
“I was so surprised and overwhelmed that it took a while for it to sink in,” said Hannah. “When we moved house in June 2013 one of the first things we did was to update Samson’s chip details, we even did this when our mobile numbers changed. I’m so glad we did otherwise we never would have been reunited.

“We tried everything to find him, from registering him as ‘missing’ with the microchip database, making and delivering 200 leaflets and, nearly five years on, driving past our old house on the off-chance he made his way back there."


Hannah Guy and family with cat
Hannah, Oliver and Elliot were delighted to see Samson again
The whole family is relieved to have Samson back, especially Hannah’s two boys; Oliver, seven, and five-year-old Elliot.

“Oliver was heartbroken when Samson went missing and helped to deliver the leaflets. To see them all together again is so heartwarming.”


Oliver Guy aged two
Oliver (aged two) helped put up the missing posters in 2013
In Samson’s absence, Hannah adopted another rescue cat called Bo in 2017 who fortunately welcomed Samson home like a long-lost friend.

Natasha Wood, Deputy Manager at Cats Protection’s Derby Adoption Centre, said: “Samson was handed into our centre and, as standard procedure, scanned for a microchip. To our excitement, Hannah’s details popped up and we were able to call her with the amazing news that we had Samson. It was a very emotional phone call and we both had to take a minute to calm down.


Oliver Guy aged seven with cat
Oliver (aged seven) had missed his furry friend
“Hannah and her two boys then rushed to our centre and it was a pleasure to see them being reunited after so long.

“This really does highlight the importance of not only microchipping but also keeping the microchip up to date so more cats like Samson can be reunited with their owners.

“This year we are celebrating the centre’s 20th anniversary and stories like this make what we do so rewarding.”

Samson’s sister, Gizmo, also went missing three years ago but Samson’s return has given Hannah the hope that she too might return home one day.

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

Friday, 3 August 2018

2018 National Cat Awards: The best quotes from the star-studded event

With glitter liberally sprinkled on tables, and cat masks at the ready for purrfect photo opportunities, the glamorous 2018 National Cat Awards got underway at The Savoy hotel in London on Thursday 2 August.

It was a truly heart-warming event for all of the fabulous feline fans in attendance, as well as for those watching at home with their moggies via our Facebook Live stream.


Feline fun at the National Cat Awards. Credit: Cats Protection
There was a great deal of media buzz with several celebrity cat lovers there to present the awards, but it was the finalists themselves who were the true stars of the show.

You can discover their stories on our website but here are a few of the pawsome highlights from the day…

“It’s a lovely event. In my diary, it is my absolute favourite.” – Alan Dedicoat



Alan Dedicoat Cats Protection
Master of Ceremonies, Alan Dedicoat. Credit: Cats Protection
Our Master of Ceremonies Alan Dedicoat was back to oversee proceedings, delighting everyone with his instantly recognisable voice as the official Strictly Come Dancing announcer. In fact, the event was something of a Strictly reunion….

“Your voice is giving me some serious flashbacks, Alan.” – Chizzy Akudolu


Hero Cat Award (Toby) Annette Sterland-Burton her son Kieran Chizzy Akudolu Cats Protection
Winner of Hero Cat Award (Toby) Annette Sterland-Burton, her son Kieran and Chizzy Akudolu. Credit: Cats Protection
Actress and former Strictly contestant Chizzy presented the Hero Cat award and told the audience all about how her cat Bootsy had stayed with her the night she left the BBC dancing competition. She said: “That’s the beauty of cats, they know when you’re upset and they know when you need them.”

“It’s a triumph of microchip over absence and I think that’s something we can all get behind.” – Justin Hawkins


Furr-ever Friends Award (Salem) Jared Bignold and his mother Verity, Justin Hawkins, Cats Protection.
Winner of the Furr-ever Friends Award (Salem) Jared Bignold and his mother Verity with and Justin Hawkins. Credit: Cats Protection.
Musician and first-time judge Justin presented the Furr-ever Friends award and told the story of how Cats Protection helped reunite him with his cat Cully who went missing for three years, all thanks to her microchip! He also added that he didn’t know what to expect from the ceremony, joking that he worried it might just be ‘a handful of people with hair on their clothes and a slight smell of urine’!

“I do feel like a slight fraud being here because I don’t have a cat myself.” – Gavin Ramjaun


Gavin Ramjaun Purina Better Together Award Cats Protection
Gavin Ramjaun presenting the Purina Better Together Award. Credit: Cats Protection
News presenter Gavin sparked a gasp in the room with this confession while presenting the Purina Better Together award, but Alan jumped to his aid by saying “To be fair, he didn’t say he had a dog!” Gavin then went on to champion Cats Protection’s Paws Protect service, which provides temporary foster care for cats whose owners are fleeing domestic abuse.

“I knew if there was one group of people I could stand in front of and say ‘Everything is cancelled, my cat is ill’, it would be Cats Protection and you.” – Deborah Meaden


Most Caring Cat Award (Arthur) Emily Hatton, Deborah Meaden, Cats Protection
Winner of Most Caring Cat Award (Arthur) Emily Hatton with Deborah Meaden. Credit: Cats Protection
While presenting the Most Caring Cat award, businesswoman and Dragon’s Den investor Deborah - who is another former Strictly star - explained that she was unable to attend last year’s awards because her cat Friday was ill. Sadly, Friday passed away not long after but when she took in two new cats, Blade and Storm, she admitted: “If you’re feeling sad, there’s nothing like kitten therapy!”

“It was one of the most marvellous days of my life when I went to see all the cats.” – Bob Mortimer


Outstanding Rescue Cat Award (Lucky) Travis Tremayne, Bob Mortimer, Cats Protection
Winner of Outstanding Rescue Cat Award (Lucky) Travis Tremayne with Bob Mortimer. Credit: Cats Protection
Comedian Bob was there to present the Outstanding Rescue Cat award and reflected on his recent visit to Cats Protection’s National Cat Adoption Centre in Sussex. He even urged the audience to go and spend a day at their local Cats Protection centre because it’s an ‘incredible experience’. Bob also added that his own cats, Goodmonson and Mavis, had insisted he attend the awards on their behalf.

“Isn’t it nice to be in a safe place? If somebody gets out their phone to show you what’s on it, it’s not going to be their kids!” – Andrew Collins



Andrew Collins, Jessica-Jane Stafford, Peter Egan, Paul Copley, Cats Protection
National Cat of the Year judges Andrew Collins, Jessica-Jane Stafford, Peter Egan and Paul Copley. Credit: Cats Protection
Author and broadcaster Andrew Collins was thrilled to be attending his third National Cat Awards and joined actors Paul Copley, Peter Egan and Jessica-Jane Stafford on stage to announce the winner of National Cat of the Year. He also declared his love for monochrome moggies, saying: “Once you love a black cat, you love a black cat forever” and encouraged the crowd to get #BlackCatsMatter trending on Twitter.

“Our relationship with animals confirms the most vital part of our lives, that defines us as human beings: compassion. And that’s the thing that’s going to save this world, I think.” – Peter Egan


Downton Abbey star Peter Egan had these beautiful words to say as he joined his fellow National Cat of the Year judges on stage, prompting rousing applause from everyone in the grand ballroom. Then it was the moment everyone had been waiting for…the winner of National Cat of The Year!

“I’m devastated that he’s gone but I’m so proud of him for winning. It shows I’m not the only one who thinks he was a really special cat.” – Charlotte Dixon



National Cat of the Year (Theo) Charlotte Dixon, Peter Egan, Andrew Collins, Jessica-Jane Stafford, Paul Copley, Cats Protection
Winner of National Cat of the Year (Theo) Charlotte Dixon with Peter Egan, Andrew Collins, Jessica-Jane Stafford, Paul Copley. Credit: Cats Protection
There wasn’t a dry eye in the room when Theo was announced as the overall winner of the awards. This plucky puss had survived cat flu thanks to his caring owner Charlotte and a few years later returned the favour by potentially saving her life when she developed a blood clot. Tragically, Theo died just a week before the awards, after the winners had been decided, but according to his owner Charlotte this has made his win all the more poignant.

Find out more about the 2018 National Cat Awards at www.cats.org.uk/nca and don’t forget to search for #NationalCatAwards on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see all those purrfect pics!