Friday, 24 June 2016

Fire safety advice

It’s never easy to think about worst case scenarios but being prepared could save lives. Prevention is better than cure so it’s important you have measures in place to protect yourself, your family, pets and your home in the unfortunate event of a fire.

Cat relaxing on a rug

Smoke alarms


You’re four times more likely to die in a fire if you don’t have a smoke alarm that works.

  • Fit at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home and test them regularly.
  • Strobe light and vibrating pad alarms are available for those who are deaf or hard of hearing (for more information contact the Action on Hearing Loss Information Line on 0808 808 0123 or textphone 0808 808 9000).

In the kitchen


Around half of home fires are caused by cooking accidents.

  • If you need to leave the kitchen while cooking, remove any pans from the heat.
  • Keep handles out of reach so they can’t be knocked easily by children or pets (especially if you have cats that walk on your worktops).
  • Take care if you’re wearing loose clothing and keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob.
  • If you’re carrying heavy or hot pans or dishes across the kitchen, check for pets under your feet first!

Electrics


Faulty electrics (appliances, wiring and overloaded sockets) cause around 6,000 fires in the home across the country every year.

  • Don’t overload plug sockets and always check that you use the right fuse to prevent overheating.
  • Look for signs of dangerous or loose wiring such as scorch marks, hot plugs and sockets, fuses that blow or circuit-breakers that trip for no obvious reasons, or flickering lights. Loose wiring is also a potential chew hazard for pets.
  • Check and replace any old cables and leads.
  • Unplug appliances and charging mobile phones while you’re not using them and when you go to bed.

This video from Electrical Safety First shows what the consequences can be:



Electrical Safety First has more tips to reduce the risk of electrical fires in your home on their website here.

Candles


Two fires a day are started by candles.

  • Make sure candles are secured in a proper holder and away from materials that may catch fire like curtains.
  • Blow candles out when you leave the room or when you go to bed.
  • Keep children and pets away from lit candles.


An escape plan for your pets


Make sure exits are kept clear and avoid placing your pets’ bedding or toys directly in front of escape routes. You may wish to consider leaving your cat flap unlocked (depending on your cat’s lifestyle).

If there is a fire and your smoke alarm alerts, it’s difficult to overcome a cat’s natural instinct to hide when they are scared. We’d always recommend that you keep calm, act quickly and get yourselves to safety first. Exit the building and call 999.

If your cats are still inside the property, inform firefighters and tell them likely places that your cats may hide. Smoke inhalation can have fatal consequences so we would suggest that any pet involved in a house fire, even if it does not suffer any burns, is seen by a vet as a matter of urgency.

For more information on fire safety in the home, read the government’s advice here, contact your local fire and rescue service (not 999) or visit www.facebook.com/firekills

Friday, 17 June 2016

Lost cat returns home after sail across the Solent

For National Microchipping Month we’re raising awareness of the importance of microchipping your cat. It’s a simple procedure which increases the chances of a lost cat being safely reunited with their owner, should they go missing.

One lucky cat who was reunited with her owners was three-year-old Dolly, who stowed away on board a luxury motor cruiser.

Black-and-white cat Dolly reunited with her owner Debs
Dolly travelled from the Isle of Wight to Dorset
Adopted from Cats Protection’s Isle of Wight Adoption Centre, Dolly was missing for five weeks, leaving her owner Debs Murphy-Latham concerned for her safety. Little did she expect that the black-and-white cat had made her way on board a yacht and sailed over to Poole in Dorset.

Although Dolly’s inquisitive nature has resulted in a few disappearances prior to her boat trip, she could usually be found around the island.

On this occasion, Debs and her daughters Natasha and Annabelle had almost given up hope of finding Dolly again until they received a phone call from the owner of the luxury boat. Fortunately, Dolly was microchipped so they were able to trace her back to her owners, resulting in a happy reunion.

Little girls happy to be reunited with their lost cat
Natasha and Annabelle are happy to be reunited with their beloved pet Dolly
“I think she has developed a taste for the high life,” said Debs. “It’s not the first time she’s tried to board a yacht.”

With Dolly safely returned to her home on the Isle of Wight, there’s hope that this cat has fulfilled her wanderlust for now!


Cats Protection is a member of a Microchip Advisory Group (MAG), aiming to improve the standards of microchipping across the UK. We are also a member of the Microchipping Alliance which campaigned to make microchipping a legal requirement for all dogs. We also raise public awareness of the benefits of microchipping to cats and other companion animals. Find out more at www.cats.org.uk/cat-care/key-cat-care/microchipping

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Where do cats like to sleep?

Have you seen the Simon’s Cat Logic series of videos? Creator Simon Tofield and Cats Protection’s Behaviour Manager Nicky Trevorrow team up to examine one of the Simon’s Cat videos and explain why cats do what they do.

In the latest video in the series, the duo look at Simon’s Cat in the video ‘Catnap’ and talk about cats’ favourite sleeping places.



“My second cat Chloe used to love the airing cupboard and would always find a way of sneaking in there and going up to the second shelf and laying on the soft towels in the warm,” Simon explains. “She loved it in there.”

Cats sleep or rest intermittently throughout the day, for an average of about 16 hours – even more in kittens and elderly cats.

“Cats like to sleep somewhere safe, usually up high” says Nicky. “They’re also really fond of somewhere dark and warm. You may think to yourself ‘why does my cat sleep in this random place on the floor, especially when I’ve bought this really expensive cat bed?’ But if you follow the lines of the hot water pipes in your house, you may well find that your cat’s sleeping just above them, keeping nice and toasty!”

Nicky also explains in the video why cats love laundry.

“All laundry provides a comfortable place for cats to sleep,” she says. “Some cats prefer dirty laundry, just because it smells familiar to them and it has the scent of the owner of them whereas other cats prefer clean laundry and this could because if it’s been freshly tumble dried it’s going to be nice and warm, it’s a safe place to sleep.”

“Whether it’s a box, the laundry pile or even a suitcase, cats tend to rotate their sleeping place, which is a normal behaviour. We think this is a throwback to African Wildcat behaviour, where they want to regularly change their sleeping place to avoid a build-up of external parasites.”

If you want to learn more about cat behaviour, check out our free e-learning guide: Understanding Feline Origins.

Does your cat have an unusual sleeping place? Tell us on Twitter @catsprotection and use the hashtag #SimonsCatLogic

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

National Cat Awards 2016 finalists announced

Our National Cat Awards are back, celebrating extraordinary feline tales of survival, companionship and bravery.

The awards, sponsored by Purina®, see shortlisted cats chosen across five categories: Furr-ever Friends, Hero Cat, Most Caring Cat, Outstanding Rescue Cat and Purina® Better Together.

Furr-ever Friends


Photos: Simon Jacobs, Koray Erol and Darren Cool, all at Caters News

Hero Cat


Photos: David Charlton, Michael Scott and Koray Erol, all at Caters News 

Most Caring Cat


Photos: Darren Cool, Matt Horwood and Koray Erol, all at Caters News

Outstanding Rescue Cat


Photos: Georgi Mabee, Brian Sutherland, and Darren Cool, all at Caters News

Purina® Better Together

Photos: Tim Stubbings and Michael Scott at Caters News
The owners will find out if their cat is a winner at a star-studded award ceremony on Thursday 4 August at The Savoy in London, kindly funded by Purina® and hosted by the 'Voice of the Balls' on BBC1’s National Lottery TV programmes, Alan Dedicoat.

Celebrity judges, including actress Anita Dobson and broadcaster John Stapleton, will present the awards and pay tribute to the nation’s top cats.

Members of the public will be invited to vote for their favourite Purina® Better Together finalist @PurinaUK or at https://www.facebook.com/PurinaUK towards the end of June.

Each winner will receive a trophy, a pet store voucher, a year's subscription to Cats Protection's The Cat magazine and a three-month supply of Purina® cat food.

To find out more and view details of the finalists, please visit www.cats.org.uk/get-involved/nca

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

‘Why is my cat losing weight?’ and other veterinary FAQs

Every few weeks a feline expert takes charge of our Facebook page, answering live questions from cat owners. Most recently, CP Vet Sarah Elliott advised supporters on veterinary queries.

Question: I have a male cat who is nearly 12 years old. He is always hungry but he seems to be losing a lot of weight. He has been wormed recently. Do you think there’s something wrong?

Answer: Thanks for your question. Increased appetite along with weight loss can be a worrying sign, so I'd recommend taking your cat for a check-up to rule out other causes for this, other than anxiety. Our Elderly cats leaflet provides lots of information on this subject (read it here). There are many health problems which can be easily diagnosed in elderly cats and then managed with medication. I would advise that as your cats get older that they have more regular check-ups at your vets, for example every six months to check their health.

Question: I was wondering if you could tell me why my cat is losing her hair on her belly? Can you tell me what to do please?

Answer: Your cat may be losing hair on her belly for a variety of reasons. The first step is to make sure she is up to date with her flea treatment. Use a good quality flea treatment as recommended by your vet, treat all in-contact animals at the same time and treat every month. There may be other reasons for the hair loss, some of which are summarised here. I'd recommend a trip to your vets to try to pin this down.

Photo by Takashi Hososhima via flickr / Creative Commons
Question: We just adopted our cat from Cats Protection and we are introducing her to going out at the moment. She has been out for few mins and comes back in again, but she just prefers to stop in the house most of time quite happily. Should we persuade her to go out more or will she eventually do it in her own time?

Answer: It’s lovely to hear that you have recently adopted a cat from CP. It can take time for a cat to start to feel safe in their new territory. Letting her lead the way in her own time is the best course of action. Have a read of our Welcome home leaflet to help her become used to her new surroundings.

Question: Any ideas on sorting out a cat with very loose stools? She is 15 and I have taken her to the vets, tried a grain free food, dry food, rice and chicken and she is still the same. I don't know how long she has been like this as I inherited her after my mum died two years ago. She is not sick but it's not very nice.

Answer: I'm sorry to hear about your cat's gut trouble. Diarrhoea in cats is very common, and stress can often contribute. Diet trials can be a drawn out process and vets generally recommend sticking to one hypoallergenic diet for three to four months (it can take this long to take effect). You may find our leaflet helpful: Digestive disorders – vomiting and diarrhoea.


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: Behaviour Manager Nicky Trevorrow will be hosting on 7 July; Vet Sarah Elliott returns on 13 July; and Neutering Manager Jane Clements will be taking questions on 4 August. All Q&As are held on Cats Protection's national Facebook page from 2-3pm. See you there!

Friday, 10 June 2016

Microchip reunites cat with happy owner six years later

Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre has reunited a cat with her happy owner six years after she went missing thanks to a microchip.

Microchip reunites cat with her happy owner six years later
Rebecca and Chloe have been reunited thanks to a microchip. Photo: Bridgend Adoption Centre
Tabby-and-white puss Chloe went missing in 2010 after she jumped from a pet carrier in Caerphilly when her owner Rebecca Lee was taking her for a routine vet appointment.

After living as a stray and being cared for by an elderly woman just over a mile away, Chloe was eventually handed into the Bridgend Adoption Centre where a quick scan of her microchip meant she could finally be reunited with her owner.

Rebecca Lee, who had believed Chloe had died in a road accident, said she was overjoyed to be able to have her back at her home in Caerphilly.

“Chloe jumped from the pet carrier in the car park and we never saw her again,” she said. “I put up posters and placed adverts and shortly after got a call to say a cat matching her description had been found dead by the roadside.

“I was devastated but came to terms with her death. Unbeknown to me at the time, it seems she had wandered as a stray before eventually finding an elderly lady who had taken her in.

“It was a real shock but lovely news to hear that Chloe had been found and was alive and well after so many years.

“I am delighted to be reunited with her and would advise all owners to get their cats microchipped and keep their details up-to-date. I would like to thank the team at Cats Protection for their part in bringing us back together at last.”

Cat reunited with owner after microchip scan
Chloe was missing for six years. Photo: Bridgend Adoption Centre
Bridgend Adoption Centre Deputy Manager Molly Hughes said Chloe had been brought in by the family of the elderly woman who had become too frail to care for her.

“We scanned Chloe, which is routine for all cats coming into our care and our receptionist noticed she was registered to a different owner and address,” Molly said. “We managed to get hold of Rebecca, Chloe's original owner, who was shocked to hear from us that Chloe was in our care.”

“Chloe was nervous with us but she was very happy to see Rebecca and started rolling over and purring when she saw her.

“It's great to have been able to reunite Chloe with her family, and it was touching to see them together.

“Chloe’s story goes to show why microchipping is so important and how effective it is. However, just as important as having your cat microchipped is keeping the details up-to-date. We often have microchipped cats come into our care and are sadly unable to reunite them with their owners because the contact details on the database are incorrect.”


June is National Microchipping Month where we’re championing the microchipping of pet cats. Is your cat microchipped? Vets, local authorities and trained and insured members of animal welfare organisations may offer microchipping. Find out more in our Microchipping Essential Guide leaflet.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

A day in the life of a social media volunteer

This post has been written by Catherine Orezzi at our Woking & District Branch

I have been volunteering for the Woking & District Branch of Cats Protection for nearly five years. I started as a Home Visitor and then I was Branch Homing Officer for a year. During this time I had become more actively involved with the branch Facebook page and when I stepped away from the Homing Officer role I became the Social Media Editor and I have now been doing that for three years.

The diary of a social media volunteer at Cats Protection
Catherine with Oscar
I have always loved cats and we had adopted two rescue kittens and I wanted to help other cats in need find loving homes too. Plus I get to meet some amazing people and gorgeous cats!

My role mainly focuses on Facebook and Twitter but another volunteer has joined us who will focus more on digital media and online activity so I expect us to have a presence on YouTube very soon! We often run campaigns for different things too and it is great to be able to educate people on things like neutering, microchipping and the benefits of adopting an older cat.

I love social media and it still amazes me how powerful a tool it can be. I still get excited when we hit a milestone of ‘likes’ for the Facebook page!

I work full time so typically I am active on social media in the mornings, evenings and weekends. I use Facebook and Twitter every day for a mixture of things. My train journey to work is a great time to look through Facebook and see if there is something to post. It is often a cat that is looking for a new home but recently we set up a Lost and Found Facebook page. I find this really difficult. I believe it is so important to ensure a lost cat is posted quickly. The quicker the message is out there, the quicker people know about it and can keep a look out for the lost cat. The power of Facebook is amazing in getting complete strangers helping each other to find their cat. I also think it is really important to keep the page fresh and I try to post something every day. The fosterers are really good at sending updates and photos about the cats in their care so it’s lovely to be able to post things regularly.

One of the highlights is being able to publish updates about how the cats are getting on once they have been rehomed. It’s lovely to hear how well they settle in and how much their new family loves them.

The main challenge for me is looking after the Lost and Found Facebook page. While there are some fab stories when cats come home, there are equally some incredibly sad outcomes too. I know how upset I would be if one of my cats went missing, so it can be very emotional when interacting with people when their cat is missing.

There have been a lot of standout stories over the last few years but the main ones have come from using the Facebook page to promote some of the cats that find it more difficult to find new homes. Older cats and longhaired cats often take longer to rehome and it is great to use the Facebook page to show them off and educate people about the benefits of adopting an older cat. Cabbage is a recent standout cat. She was longhaired, black-and-white and 10 years old so the odds were stacked against her. Her fosterer had worked hard and Cabbage turned from a stray into a pretty, loving cat and got a fab new home last year!

Catherine's Black and white puss Mollie
Cat's puss Mollie
My own cats are black-and-white too, Oscar and Mollie. I am always surprised how many people don’t want to adopt black and black-and-white cats because my two cats are gorgeous. Of course I am biased though but they have very soft, sleek and shiny coats and are very generous with their headbutts! Oscar follows me around like a little shadow; often I don’t even get to use the bathroom in peace! They are seven years old and we adopted them at 10 weeks old. They had been born outside in the winter with their two sisters and their mummy had disappeared but luckily, someone spotted the four of them and they were fostered until they were ready to go to new homes. I wouldn’t be without them.

Volunteering for Cats Protection is so worthwhile and you can give as much of your time as you are able to. Our branch really works as a team and we are starting to do lots more as we grow our team and our skills. If anyone is trying to decide whether to volunteer, my advice is to go for it! I get a real warm and fuzzy feeling from it!


At Cats Protection we welcome volunteers with open arms, whether you are young or old, male or female, there's a place for you with us. Use our Find an Opportunity search to look for volunteering roles near you.