Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Why does my cat stare at me?

If you’ve ever walked into a room to find your cat staring at you, or witnessed them gazing at you wide-eyed as you eat, then you’ll know it can be a little unnerving.

Rather than challenging you to a staring contest, this curious behaviour is actually something you may have trained your moggy to do without even realising it.

As a solitary species, cats don’t naturally feel the need to hold eye contact with others to communicate but if they think they can get something out of it, then they might be willing to give it a go.
Cats Protection kitten staring

For example, if your cat has stared at you in the past, you may have taken it to mean that they want food or maybe attention and given them a tasty treat or a bit of a fuss in response.

Your moggy pal will then have learnt to associate eye contact with an enjoyable reward and will want to try it again to see if they get the same result.

The more you reward this behaviour over time, the more likely your moggy is to stare at you to get their way. Cats have learnt to miaow for the same reason, as they have no need to communicate in this way with other cats. When they miaow at us we often interpret it as them saying they want something and then reinforce this behaviour by giving them what they want.

Cats Protection cat staring

As well as being a method of communication, staring is also a sign of a close bond between you and your cat, as they are unlikely to hold eye contact with someone they don’t like or trust.

If they slowly blink while looking at you, then that means they love you even more, as they trust you enough to close their eyes in your presence. If you want to show them you love them too, try returning the gesture by slow-blinking back.

Although staring is usually nothing to worry about in cats, if your cat has only recently started this behaviour then it’s a good idea to mention it to your vet so they can rule out any medical causes. In older cats, staring could be a sign of sight loss, so get them checked out as soon as possible.

For more information about cat behaviour, visit the Cats Protection website. 

Friday, 15 June 2018

National Cat Awards 2018: Meet the Purina Better Together finalists

With Cats Protection’s annual celebration of amazing cats just around the corner, it’s time to meet the finalists for the National Cat Awards 2018.

We have been announcing the finalists for each of the seven categories over the last few weeks, including Furr-ever Friends and Most Caring Cat.

From tales of friendship with felines, to inspiring stories, the National Cat Awards focus on the relationship between cat and owner. This week, we meet the finalists of the PURINA® Better Together category.

Meet the finalists; Theo, Nana and Stubbsy, in our videos below.

Theo



Seriously ill with cat flu as a tiny kitten, Theo was not expected to survive. With round-the-clock care from Charlotte Dixon, the plucky puss pulled through. Several years later, Theo came to Charlotte’s’ aid, preventing her from falling asleep while a potentially deadly blood clot worked its way through her body. Thankfully, Charlotte went to hospital where she made a full recovery.

Nana



Nana is a constant source of comfort and support for Mary Nesbitt-Larking, who was born with a rare form of brain damage which affects many aspects of her life. And the pair’s close bond is now helping Nana cope with losing her sight due to an incurable eye disease. Mary says: “I’ll be making sure she gets all the TLC she needs, just as she does for me.”

Stubbsy



When Claire Daly heard about a stray handed into a vet with horrific injuries from a car accident, she didn’t hesitate to offer him a home. Nursing him back to health, Stubbsy soon became a much-loved member of the family. And when Claire herself was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2015, Stubbsy was there with non-stop cuddles, entertainment and company.

You can vote for your favourite PURINA® Better Together finalist on the website this weekend (Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 June). Go to www.cats.org.uk/nca to vote.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Stephanie is left with a pellet in her leg after air gun attack

Cats Protection is one step closer to changing the law on air gun ownership in England and Wales, in the hope that we can prevent future cruel attacks on cats like Stephanie.

This lovely five-year-old moggy arrived at Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre because her owner was going into care and couldn’t take her with her.
 
Cats Protection Stephanie air gun
Stephanie has very poor vision due to cataracts and is expected to go blind 

The staff at the centre soon noticed that she was very sensitive when being stroked down her back and so took her for an X-ray to check for any injury. When the scans came back, they were shocked to discover an air gun pellet lodged in her leg.

As the pellet is not thought to be the cause of her current discomfort, the vets decided to leave it alone, but the initial shot would surely have caused her a great deal of distress at the time.
 
Stephanie has now found a loving new home but she’s unlikely to be the last cat we see with such a cruel injury.

In 2017, 164 cats in the UK were reported in the press as being shot with an air gun. A 2016 Cats Protection survey also found that almost half of vets questioned had treated cats which had been the victim of attacks by air-powered weapons in the last year, with nearly half of these shootings proving fatal.

Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy & Government Relations Jacqui Cuff said: “Cats who are shot with air guns can suffer horrific and often fatal injuries. We have heard stories of cats losing eyes, limbs and being left with life-changing injuries as a result of such attacks. Often owners are unaware of why their cat is injured until a veterinary x-ray shows air gun pellets embedded into their flesh.

“We know that 90% of reported air gun attacks on cats happen in England and Wales, and it’s no coincidence that these are the parts of the country where licensing of air guns is not in place. Laws on air guns in Scotland and Northern Ireland are much tighter, and we believe this should apply for the whole of the UK.

Cats Protection’s Chairman, Linda Upson delivered the petition to Downing Street with Dominic Sullivan, acting Chief Executive and the charity’s Advocacy team.
In May, Cats Protection delivered a 100,000-signatiure petition directly to 10 Downing Street to call for a change in the law on air gun ownership in England and Wales and along with over 50,000 supporters, the charity has also written to the Home Office calling for air gun licensing as part of a government review.

Jacqui added: “In the wrong hands air guns are deadly weapons and updating the laws relating to them is well overdue in England and Wales. Our petition of 100,000 people shows that a huge number of people agree that action must be taken urgently.”

To find out more about our air guns campaign, visit www.cats.org.uk/airgunspetition   

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Simon's Cat: What should I do when my cat goes missing?

If your moggy has ever gone walkabout, you’ll know it can be a stressful time not knowing where they are or whether they’re safe.

Many cats will often wander off and return again with no trouble, but sometimes they’ll need some help finding their way home.

In the latest Simon’s Cat Logic video, Simon tells the story of his black cat Teddy, who went missing for three days. It was a distressing time for all involved but after a dramatic rescue the story thankfully ended with a happy reunion.

Cats Protection’s Behaviour Manager, Nicky Trevorrow also appears in the video, offering helpful advice on what to do if your own cat goes missing.

The main thing to do is stay positive and never give up as your cat could still return even if they’ve been gone for a while.

To increase the chances of finding them again, it’s a good idea to get your cat microchipped. This simple and safe procedure will mean that if anyone finds your beloved moggy, a quick scan will reveal your contact details so they can let you know where they are.

To find out more top tips, watch the video below…



For more advice on what to do when your cat goes missing, visit the Cats Protection website.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Chloe reunited with owner after four years thanks to microchip

As well as finding unwanted cats loving new homes, Cats Protection also reunites thousands of lost moggies with their relieved owners each year.

This is made much easier if the cat is microchipped and its details are up to date as after a quick scan they can be back home within a day or two.

Without microchipping, Chloe, a 12-year-old white-and-tortoiseshell cat from Wales, could still be living as a stray on the streets while her owners worry about her at home.

Chloe cat reunited by Cats Protection

Chloe went missing the day after her owners moved from Ammanford to Skewen in 2014. Four years later, Mandy Hughes, a volunteer for Cats Protection’s Swansea Branch received a phone call about a stray cat.

“I was called to a house in Birchgrove to scan a stray cat that had been around for a month,” said Mandy. “This came about by chance, because an older lady I had helped in the past was catching the bus into town and started a conversation with a 93-year-old lady who told her about the stray cat she was feeding and then contacted me.”

With a quick scan, Mandy was surprised to discover that the cat was microchipped and was in fact only a mile away from home.

Delyth Thomas, Chloe’s owner, was ecstatic to receive the call to say her beloved moggy had been found. When she first went missing, she had put up posters in the area and posted messages on social media, but although she never received a response, she never gave up hope of finding her.

“I still can’t believe that Chloe has been found and I am so grateful to Mandy from Cats Protection,” said Delyth. “My two foster sons and my daughter are delighted. Chloe recognised us all straight away.”

Mandy added: “This amazing story shows the importance of microchipping cats and keeping the contact details up to date. We were able to reunite Chloe with her overjoyed owners within two hours of her being found – without a microchip, sadly that may never have happened.”

To find out more about microchipping and what to do if you find a stray cat, visit www.cats.org.uk/microchipping  

Friday, 8 June 2018

National Cat Awards 2018: Meet the Furr-ever Friends finalists

Cats can make the purrfect companions for young children, helping them learn about compassion and responsibility while providing a vital source of comfort, particularly during difficult times.

For Cats Protection’s 2018 National Cat Awards, we’re celebrating the close bond kids can have with their kitties with our Furr-ever Friends award.

We’ve found some truly heart-warming stories of cats helping young children to cope with everything from grief and learning difficulties to physical disability. Discover the pawsome finalists below…

Salem and Jared

Brave Jared Bignold, 15, faces a daily battle with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a severe muscle wasting condition causing progressive mobility limitations. Yet with his constant companion Salem at his side, it’s a battle Jared never has to face alone. Mum Verity explained: “Salem is always with Jared and provides a huge amount of comfort, affection and entertainment.”


Honey, Luca and Herbie

Following the death of their dad from an aggressive form of cancer, brothers Luca, 11, and Herbie, seven, were left devastated and struggled to cope. Hope came in the form of ginger kitten Honey, who once again filled the house with fun and joy. Mum Clara said: “She’s helping my boys mend their hearts and we think she’s a one-in-a-million.”


Lucky and Graham

Ten-year-old Graham Hudson has severe learning difficulties, making it difficult for him to communicate his feelings and form friendships. Fortunately, he has a best friend in the form of Lucky, the family’s four-year-old cat. Stepdad James explained: “Not only does Graham have someone to cuddle, chat to and play with, he also learns life skills by helping look after her.”



The winner of the award will be chosen by a panel of celebrity judges and announced at a star-studded ceremony at London’s Savoy Hotel on Thursday 2 August. One fabulous feline will also be crowned National Cat of The Year!

To find out more about the National Cat Awards, please visit www.cats.org.uk/nca  

National Cat Awards 2018

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Volunteers’ Week: Become a rehoming volunteer

In celebration of the excellent volunteers that help run our branches and centres up and down the country, we’ve been sharing some of the stories of what it’s like to volunteer for Cats Protection.


If you’re seeking a role that allows you to help the cats in our care directly, you might like to consider becoming a transport and rehoming volunteer. This role is particularly important, as it ensures cats are matched with the right home for them, as well as ensuring that potential owners are matched with the right cat!

Part of the job is carefully transporting cats to the vet in order to receive the care they need. Some cats that are brought into our branches and centres require medical care, particularly if they have been found stray or abandoned. Others may require routine veterinary treatment including neutering and vaccinations.

The homing aspect of the role makes it ideal for keen communicators, as you’ll spend a lot of your time talking to potential owners about what they’re looking for in a feline friend. You’ll need to be confident with conversation as well as handling cats, and willing to work with an amazing team.

To find out what a day in the life of a transport or rehoming volunteer is like, watch our video below



To find out more about volunteering with Cats Protection or to apply for one of our many volunteering roles, visit www.cats.org.uk/get-involved/volunteering