Saturday, 23 July 2016

Gotta catch ‘em all?

Are you hooked on Pokemon Go like thousands of others over the UK? Then why not combine two awesome things – Pokemon and cats – while playing?

‘Not possible!’ you cry?

Sssh… we’ve got the lowdown on some Pokestops near Cats Protection sites! So why not make the best of both worlds while you top up on Pokeballs?

For anyone who’s not yet tried Pokemon Go, the gaming app lets players travel around a map using their phone's GPS location data to catch Pokemon to train and battle against other players. It uses real maps to track players as they visit Pokestops (usually landmarks or buildings) to stock up on free items such as Pokeballs, potions, eggs and lures. Creatures caught can be used in battle against other players at Gyms on behalf of your virtual team.

Combine Pokemon Go with your love of cats!
A player approaching a Gym owned by #TeamValor 
The game creates an augmented reality for the player, using the smartphone's camera to show a live view of the world, with Pokemon superimposed over the top.

Here are some Pokestops you’ll find near Cats Protection sites:

England

South East


Town: Chelwood Gate, Sussex
Real-life location: Red Lion pub
Virtual location: Pokestop
Right next door to the Pokestop and pub you’ll find the National Cat Adoption Centre, set in 51 acres of the beautiful Ashdown Forest. The centre is the UK’s largest of its kind, with over 200 pens homing cats looking for new owners. You’ll also find donkeys on the site thanks to a new partnership with The Donkey Sanctuary, a beautiful nature trail and a visitor centre with a shop and cafĂ© serving delicious cakes and goodies.

City: London
Real-life location: Giant doughnut, Whittington Park, Islington
Virtual location: Pokestop
Say hello to the botanical version of Dick Whittington's cat as you grab a razz berry or two and then pop into our North London Adoption Centre to say hello to some real cats. You’ll find the centre at 135 Junction Road.

Town: Maidstone, Kent
Real-life location: Mushroom Statue, near Bearsted Road in Weavering
Virtual location: Pokestop
If this is your local Pokestop, you’ll be pleased to hear that you’re right by our new Homing & Information Centre based at Newnham Court Shopping Village in Maidstone. Not only is it a temporary home to five cats that you can meet, but you can also have an interactive experience searching our Find-a-cat database on screens and tablets for other cats needing homes in the local area. You can also learn about the charity as well as a few things about cats and their behaviour.

Town: Haslemere, Surrey
Real-life location: The Edge Leisure Centre
Virtual location: Pokestop
This Pokestop is just down the road from our newly-refurbished Haslemere Adoption Centre. The cats there live in big walk-in style pens that are large enough for visitors to enter and sit down in. Why not have a little cuddle and play too?

Pokestops and Gyms near Cats Protection sites
The player has just taken the Gym for her team, woo!

North


Town: Warrington, Cheshire
Real-life location 1: Padgate Station
Virtual location: Pokestop
Real-life location 2: Padgate War Memorial, Bennetts Rec
Virtual location: Gym
There are two for the price of one here – and they’re right by our Warrington Adoption Centre! They have lots of cats eagerly waiting for their loving new home so you’re welcome to visit the centre without an appointment (just check the opening hours on their website).

City: York
Real-life location: Red Lion pub, Merchantgate
Virtual location: Pokestop
Less than a minute walk from this Pokestop is our York charity shop. Why not donate items that you no longer need? All funds raised from donations and sales go directly to supporting our work helping around 200,000 cats and kittens every year.

Central


Town: Bewdley near Kidderminster, Worcestershire
Real-life location: The Mug House Inn pub
Virtual location: Pokestop
It’s like this town was built for Pokemon – there’s a place across the river called Catchems End – so Bewdley really will help you catch ‘em all (wink wink)! While you’re following your map to the Pokestop floating cube, why not stop off and have a look around our very first boutique? Cattitude stocks a range of ladies’ premium and designer clothes and accessories, with staff and volunteers giving customers a personalised shopping experience. What’s more, the money you spend will be going towards helping cats and kittens in Cats Protection’s care. Find the shop at 11 Load Street.

City: Wolverhampton, West Midlands
Real-life location: Warstones Library
Virtual location: Pokestop
While you’re dashing into the library to stock up for simulated battle, you could walk the two minutes down Warstones Drive to have a nose around our Wolverhampton charity shop to pick up a bargain too.

Wales


Town: Wrexham
Real-life location: Salisbury Park United Reformed Church
Virtual location: Pokestop
If this is on your doorstep, you’re in luck – you’re just a three minute walk from our Wrexham Adoption Centre where you’ll find some gorgeous fluffy cats! What could be better?! You can also get a wealth of cat care advice and tips from our knowledgeable volunteers and staff so feel free to come by and say hello.

Scotland


City: Edinburgh
Real-life location: Vivendo Dimiscus plaque, Orwell Place
Virtual location: Pokestop
On Dalry Road you’ll find our new charity shop that opened in the spring. Come in, say hello and have a rummage through our goodies. You’ll also be able to have a look at the nearby cats ready for homes on our TV screens in the shop.

Northern Ireland


City: Belfast
Real-life location: Dundonald Old Mill Coffee Shop
Virtual location: Pokestop
Grab a coffee, get some poke-loot and stroke some cats at our Belfast Adoption Centre, which you’ll find literally steps down the street at 270 Belfast Road. The centre is a temporary home to around 150 cats and kittens at any one time, all of which are waiting patiently for their forever homes!


Have you found any other Pokestops or Gyms near Cats Protection centres or charity shops? If so, we’d love to hear about it, leave us a comment with the details!

Friday, 22 July 2016

Why cats show their tummies

Many people think that cats roll over onto their backs to show their tummies because they want it to be rubbed. This is actually a common misconception!

A cat’s belly is quite a vulnerable and sensitive area and although there will be exceptions, as a general rule, many cats don’t like to be touched there.

It’s a behaviour that’s often used after a period of separation – so it’s a greeting – your cat’s way of welcoming you home! When your cat does this, they’re communicating that they feel relaxed in your presence, enough to expose such a vulnerable area. The best way to address this behaviour is to verbally acknowledge the cat’s greeting. If you want to stroke your cat, you could stroke their head. Cats generally like quite brief, low intensity interactions that are quite frequent.



How well do you know your cat?

Click on the link at the end of the above video to get your free guide on cat behaviour.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Cats’ cleaning habits

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

In the latest video in the series, they’re exploring Simon’s Cat’s behaviour in the video ‘Pawtrait’ and telling us about grooming.



Simon talks about his black cat Teddy who he grooms to remove grass seeds from his fur. “He loves to go stalking through long grass and he’ll come back covered in little grass seeds,” he explains. “I’m forever combing him with a little flea comb to get the little grass seeds out, which he loves! He loves the extra attention.” He adds: “I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes out in that field especially to get groomed afterwards.”

Nicky says: “Cats spend about 10% of their waking time grooming. They have a reputation for being fastidiously clean and they tend to clean themselves when they first wake up.

“Cats will actually groom in a particular order. If you’ve ever watched your cat you may notice they all start with their head so they will wash their paws to then wash their face; and then they’ll systematically work through their body before finishing with their tail.”

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

Does your cat enjoy grooming? Tell us on Twitter @catsprotection and use the hashtag #SimonsCatLogic

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Missing cat reunited with family after three years

This post has been written by Liz Jones, Co-ordinator at our Fraserburgh Branch.

In July 2013 Ollie the cat who lived in Peterhead, went into a local cattery while his owners, the Bailey family, went on holiday.

On 27 July, just before his owners were due home, Ollie managed to escape through a small crack in the roof of his pen. The cattery staff were horrified and naturally Ollie's owners were too once they were told what had happened. I remember Ollie being reported as lost on Fraserburgh Branch’s Facebook page along with all the other CP branches’ pages in the area, the local newspapers ran a story about him and many lost pet sites as well as Petlog were featuring him as lost. We at Fraserburgh CP, Ollie's owners and other sites had numerous reports of sightings of Ollie but it quickly became clear that none of these cats were him.

Over a two year period the hunt for Ollie continued, his owners were heartbroken and by now were starting to give up hope that he would ever be found. Many CP volunteers and members of the public were still keeping an eye out for him and from time to time his name would crop up when a tabby cat was found as a stray, but sadly none were Ollie.


His owners moved home from Peterhead to Turriff (nearly 30 miles away) and it was at that time they decided to close down their Facebook page asking for any information or sightings of Ollie as they were now certain he would never come home. They had resigned themselves to thinking the worst and that perhaps he'd met with an accident.

About two weeks ago, we received a message from a lady in St Fergus, a village four miles away from Peterhead and about two to three miles (as the crow flies) from the local cattery. The message was that a stray tabby cat had started coming into her garden and very much wanted in to her house. She asked if we could advertise him on our branch’s lost and found page. At the time we had no spare pens but the lady was quite willing to make sure he was ok. We duly put him up on our page as a found stray and I was interested to hear that a lot of people mentioned how much he was like the cat that went missing from the cattery.

Our fosterer and treasurer Janice asked the lady to bring him over to her so he could be checked for a microchip. This was done on 19 June and the scan showed that yes, he was microchipped. Janice sent me the microchip number and I checked on the database immediately. Oh my, I couldn't believe it when the information came back. The cat’s name was Ollie and the registered address was in Peterhead… thankfully along with a mobile phone number and of course the owner’s name.

Janice rang the number and it only then came to light that the owners had moved from Peterhead. What a surprise they had when they knew we had found their beloved Ollie, especially as it's almost three years since his great escape!


His owners were in tears when they picked him up as they were sure he'd never be found. It was also lovely to hear from many members of the public saying what great news it was after so long.

I have spoken to the owners and advised they now get Ollie's address details updated on the Petlog database. They told me Ollie has settled in to their new home as if he were never away and behaving in the same way as he always did. They were taking him off to the vets to restart his course of injections and have a check-up.

This sort of story is heart-warming and it also lets people know that CP doesn't just neuter and rehome cats and kittens, a lot more goes on behind the scenes. Thought you'd like a happy ending story!


Editorial note: Remember that if you move home or change any of your contact details that you can be traced should your cat stray. You can update your cat’s registered details by contacting your existing UK database company. Alternatively you can contact Petlog via www.petlog.org.uk; or Anibase via www.anibase.com

If you are moving home, you can find further advice in Cats Protection’s Essential Guide: Moving house.

Monday, 18 July 2016

‘How much water should cats drink?’ and other veterinary FAQs

In our most recent live Facebook Q&A, resident Cats Protection vet Sarah Elliott answered our supporters’ veterinary questions. Here are some of the topics she covered.

Question: How much water should a cat drink each day? We adopted our female cat last month from Cats Protection, she has wet food for all her meals and is quite a hungry girl! We think she’s a year-and-a-half old and she’s an indoor cat. Do you have any tips to encourage her to drink more or will she just take it when she needs it? Her water is always left out. Thanks!

Answer: Cats are notoriously fussy when it comes to drinking water. As she is on wet food, it is likely she is getting much of her water intake from her diet. You can encourage her to drink more water by separating her water bowl from her food bowl and using a wide, ceramic or plastic bowl which cats prefer. International Cat Care has some good tips here and Cats Protection has put together these advice graphics showing how to keep your cat cool in the summer (the second one focuses on encouraging your cat to drink more water).

To enlarge, click on the images
Question: Is it best to give my 14-year-old girl senior food? Does it have any extra vitamins that she'll benefit from?

Answer: 'Senior' generally means over 11 years old. Senior diets can be an excellent way to feed older cats, as the diet is adjusted to factor in that older cats are more sedentary and might require certain supplements for example to help keep their joints healthy. Many cats are living longer these days, in some part because the diets we can now offer are so well suited to them.


Question: My cat’s eyes are watery some days, is this an allergy?

Answer: Watery eyes (also known medically as epiphora) can arise due to a variety of reasons in cats, including infection, inflammation or a blocked tear duct. The most common reason in cats is usually because of an eye irritation of some nature – for example dust, smoke or allergy, as you rightly suggest. If your cat is squinting, blinking or closing the eye this could be a sign of pain and you should have your vet check this out. Cats also commonly get scratches to the surface of their eye which need treatment by a vet. If the discharge becomes yellow or green or you have any other concerns, you should have your cat checked over by your vet


Question: What is the best food on the market for cats? My three are just one year olds and I want the best for them. They were fed James Wellbeloved when I got them at 11 weeks old which they do like but recently changed gradually to another brand which they don't seem to like despite it having a higher meat content.

Answer: Cats can be fussy eaters but no healthy cat will refuse food completely. It may be that they just need more time to accept that this is the new diet and that no other foods are in the offing – consistency is key. If you are concerned that there may be a medical reason for the food aversion (eg dental disease or illness), the first step would be to get it checked out by a vet.


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 taking questions on 4 August; Nicky Trevorrow will be answering your behavioural queries on 18 August and vet Sarah Elliott will be back on 1 September. All Q&As are held on Cats Protection's national Facebook page from 2-3pm. See you there!

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Results of our quiz: What sort of cat should you adopt?

If you’re a cat owner you’ll know just how important it is that an owner and pet are the right fit for each other, in terms of lifestyle, home and future plans.

For example, a kitten may need more attention than an older cat as they tend to have more energy, whereas older cats tend to be calmer and they are less likely to need supervision.

Everybody’s needs and wishes are different so we put together a fun quiz to help our supporters decide what type of cat they should adopt. We were quite surprised by the results!

To enlarge, click on the image
As you can see, 56% of people who took the quiz were told to consider an elderly or disabled cat.

Caring for an older cat in their twilight years brings a tremendous joy and many owners actively decide to adopt an older cat because of the endearing qualities they can offer. With their wandering days behind them, older cats tend to stay closer to home and appreciate gentle affection. Find out more about caring for an older cat by reading our Essential Guide: Elderly cats.

Cats are generally very good at adapting their lifestyle to cope with a disability, allowing them to still enjoy a good quality of life. Our Cats with disabilities leaflet describes cats with some more common types of disability – blind cats, deaf cats, three-legged cats and wobbly cats affected by cerebellar hypoplasia.

Fancy taking the quiz? Visit: www.cats.org.uk/what-sort-of-cat-should-you-adopt

Our quiz is only designed to be a bit of light-hearted fun, but if you’re serious about adopting a cat please get in contact with your local Cats Protection. Talk to them about what you are looking for so that they can match you with the right cat for you and your home.

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Tuesday, 12 July 2016

What is your cat trying to tell you?

Do you find it difficult to read your cat’s body language? Perhaps your cat acts a certain way or does a particular thing and you have no idea why so would just like to understand them a little better.

Look no further, this animated infographic explains all!

If you want to learn more about your cat’s behaviour, have a read of our leaflet called Understanding your cat’s behaviour or read our behaviour blog posts. You can also find out about the domestic cat’s wild origins in our Understanding Feline Origins e-learning course.




CAT BEHAVIOURS EXPLAINED

Just what is your cat trying to tell you?

Rubbing against your legs or furniture

This is my home, and I scent things to find my way around.

Showing you its behind

Don't be offended, I'm just being friendly. We cats say hello to each other by sniffing tails, just like dogs.

Ears forward

I'm pleased to see you. If you hold out your hand, I might give it a bump to say hello (or a sniff if I'm shy).

Slow closing of eyes/blinking

You're getting a kiss. If you copy me, I might just do it again. If I'm in the mood.

Ears upright, sitting
up and alert

I'm listening intently. Was it a bird or a mouse? I'm not sure, but I'm off to find out.

Kneading

I'm getting comfy. Kneading you makes me feel good. I used to knead my mum when I was a kitten.

Rolling on back to expose stomach

I trust you, but watch your fingers! I might want to play but I'll let you know if you've overstepped my personal boundary.

Back hunched up with tail and fur on end

I'm being defensive. I'm puffing my hair out to make myself look bigger, so whatever I'm scared of leaves me alone.

Cat in a box/bag

This might look silly to you, but it makes me feel safe; I can see you, but you can't see me!

Cat in a box/bag

This might look silly to you, but it makes me feel safe; I can see you, but you can't see me!

Cat 'gift'

This isn't actually a gift! I bring back prey to my territory where it's safe and I won't be disturbed.

Purring

Many things make me purr (cuddles, when I want attention, and even pain). Mother cats and kittens purr silently, to say "all's well" with 'good vibrations'.
Thank you to Sainsbury's Bank who partnered with us to create this infographic.