Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Harriet and her kitten Harry survive against the odds

Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre has found loving new homes for a mum and kitten who have had a very tough few months.

In July, a gorgeous black moggy came into the centre’s care after a member of the public found her in his shed. The poor cat had just given birth but sadly two of her kittens had passed away, leaving only one surviving kitten.

black cat and black and white kitten

When a check for a microchip proved unsuccessful, the Bridgend team gave the mum the name Harriet and took her to the vet for a check-up.

The vet noticed that she had signs of infection and so admitted her for emergency treatment. They suspected she may have an injured pelvis and decided to x-ray her to investigate. However, the x-ray revealed something much more surprising.

Harriet had a diaphragmatic hernia, a hole in the diaphragm between the chest cavity and the abdomen. As a result, her abdominal organs were in her chest cavity.

black cat and black and white kitten

While she was under general anaesthetic for the x-ray, she started to go into respiratory failure and the vet quickly contacted the centre for permission to perform potentially life-saving surgery.

It was a risky operation, but Harriet beat the odds and pulled through. She then had to spend 48 hours in an oxygen tent recovering.

During this tense time Harriet’s tiny kitten, who has been named Harry, was being bottle fed by the vet nurses to make sure he got all the important nutrients he needed.

black cat and black and white kitten

Thankfully, after a few days he could be reunited with his mum and she did a fantastic job of looking after him despite still recovering from her surgery.

The team at Bridgend then set about searching to see if Harriet had an owner, but when no one claimed her they started an appeal to help raise funds to cover the cost of her vet care. Thanks to some very generous supporters they managed to raise an incredible £500 and Harriet made a full recovery.

black and white kitten

When Harry reached eight weeks old, both he and his mum were then ready to find their forever homes and it wasn’t long before new owners came forward.

Although Harriet and Harry were very lucky to survive, having kittens is a stressful experience for cats, so Cats Protection recommends neutering them from four months old.

To find out more about the importance of neutering, visit  

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

How to train your cat to toilet outside

The secret to getting your cat to toilet outside is to make them an outdoor toilet that is perfect for their needs.

Our domestic cats evolved from the African wildcat, which lives in sparse, sandy terrain where they are able to bury their deposits. This is important for their survival as it enables them to cover up any trace of their whereabouts from nearby predators.

Although our pet cats don’t have to worry so much about predators, they’ve still retained this behaviour and so need specific conditions for toileting. Unfortunately our back gardens don’t quite resemble the African savannah, so we need to do a bit of work to make them appealing to our moggies.

cat sleeping on garden decking
Modern gardens with decking & concrete don't make great cat toilets
Toilet type

The most important thing is to provide suitable material for your cat to bury their deposits in. Soil or fine play sand is perfect as it is easy for your moggy to dig. You could simply place a litter tray containing your chosen material outdoors, or dig a toilet for them, the same size as a standard litter tray or bigger, and fill it with the material. You’ll need to make sure it is available for them all year round, so if it freezes over in winter then an alternative toilet will need to be provided.


As it is for us, going to the toilet is quite an exposing behaviour for cats so they need somewhere private and safe to do it, away from any loud noise and neighbourhood cats. Position their toileting site as close to the house as possible so it is in their core territory, preferably at the edge of the garden rather than in the middle, and put some plants around it so that your cat will be shielded from view.

tabby kitten behind a tree
Your cat will prefer a private toilet obscured from view
Fair-weather felines

If you are trying to encourage your moggy to use their new outdoor toilet, it’s best to do it when the weather is warm and dry. During the winter months it will not be so appealing, although you could try putting up a shelter or windbreak around it so that your moggy is protected from the elements.

Encouraging your cat to toilet outside can be tricky, so it’s important not to change anything about their current indoor toilet as they should always have the choice to use it if they want to. Hopefully, if you’ve created the perfect loo for them outside, they will gradually start to use it over time.

If you have any problems training your cat, take a look at our advice on the Cats Protection website or contact a qualified behaviourist.

See also:
How to train your cat to respond to their name
How to train your cat to use the litter tray, cat flap and cat carrier
How to train your cat to use a scratch post

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

International Talk Like a Pirate Day: What’s your cat’s pirate name?

Arrr! Shiver me timbers, it’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

To celebrate we’ve put together a fun guide for finding out what your furry Purrst Mate’s pirate name is. Are they a Captain Jolly Mogwash, or maybe a Matey Long Fang Feathersword?

To find out all you need to do is:

  1. Find your cat's home town initial
  2. Find your cat's first name initial 
  3. Find your cat's second name initial 
  4. Put them all together

Don’t forget to let us know what your swashbuckling moggy’s name is in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter!

To find more fun cat-related activities for kids, visit 

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

How to train your cat to use a scratch post

Cats love to scratch any surface they can dig their claws into, whether it’s a scratch post or your table legs.

Obviously, the latter isn’t ideal if you don’t want your furniture decorated with scratch marks, but it’s important not to tell your moggy off for this unintentional attempt at interior design.

Scratching is a natural behaviour for cats as it helps them to keep their claws in good condition and mark the area as their territory. Glands between their paw pads leave behind a unique scent that, combined with the visual scratch marks, helps send a message to other cats that this area belongs to them. It’s not much different from us trimming our nails and putting locks on our doors.

To discourage your cat from leaving their mark on your soft furnishings, you need to encourage them to scratch something more suitable instead, such as a scratch post.

black and white cat with scratch post
A scratch post is an important piece of cat furniture
The purrfect post

For the best chance of making this work, the first thing to do is choose a scratch post that will appeal to your kitty. Here are the main things to look for:

Height – Cats like to combine scratching with a bit of kitty yoga as it’s a great way for them to stretch their muscles. To help them get the most satisfying stretch possible, the post needs to be tall enough for them to be able to fully stretch up on their hind legs and still touch the top of the post with their front paws.

Weight – If they’re going to be leaning their full weight against it for a stretch, the post will need to be sturdy enough to support them without toppling over. Look for one with a wide, heavy base that is appropriate for your cat’s age (eg a kitten scratch post won’t hold up against an adult cat’s weight).

Type – Some cats, particularly mature moggies and those who are ill, can find it difficult to lift their paws up onto a scratch post, so they may prefer to use a scratching mat instead.

Thread – Cats usually like to do to big vertical scratches but this can be difficult on scratch posts with horizontal thread, so vertical thread is preferred.

Remember that if you have more than one cat, they will need to each have their own scratch post plus one extra so there is always one free when they need it.

scratch post with vertical thread
Scratch posts with vertical thread are ideal
Location, location, location

Once you have a suitable scratch post, you need to put it somewhere where your cat will use it. Most cats like to scratch just after they’ve woken up, so next to their preferred snoozing spot is ideal. They also like to scratch near to their typical entrance or exit point to the house, eg the cat flap, so you could put it there instead. Even better, get several scratch posts and put them in different locations around your home so they always have one nearby.

Stopping unwanted scratching

If your cat has already found a particular piece of furniture or carpet they like to scratch, the presence of a new scratch post, no matter how perfect it is, is unlikely to deter them on its own. To encourage them to use their new post, first cover the area they are currently scratching with a protective cover and put their new post next to it.

You could also apply pheromone spray such as Feliway Classic to the scratched area to discourage them (just remember to check that the spray can be applied to the particular surface without damaging it further by carrying out a small test in a discreet area). Applying catnip or a pheromone product called FeliScratch by Feliway to the new scratch post is another way you can make it more appealing.

Once your cat is comfortable using their new scratch post, you can then move it to one of the locations mentioned earlier so they are more likely to continue using it, and remove the protective cover from the original scratch spot.

If you have any problems training your cat, take a look at our advice on the Cats Protection website or contact a qualified behaviourist.

See also:
How to train your cat to respond to their name
How to train your cat to use the litter tray, cat flap and cat carrier

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Grace and her kittens saved just in time

Grace, a young seven-month-old tabby kitten was reported to our helpline by a concerned cat lover as she was very thin, apparently pregnant and seemingly homeless, visiting their garden regularly.

Cats Protection’s dedicated Northampton team investigated immediately, and after an unsuccessful search for Grace’s owner she was taken in to their care. When getting checked over by the vet it was confirmed she only had about a week to go before she would be giving birth – she was rescued just in time.

tabby cat with cone collar

After the arrival of her kittens, Grace became very ill with mastitis and had to be rushed to the veterinary hospital where she was put on a drip and given medication. Her temperature peaked at 40.9 degrees Celsius and the team were incredibly worried about her, fearing the worst.

While the team were concerned about Grace they were also hand rearing her kittens to make sure they continued to thrive while Grace was so poorly and unable to look after them. Had Grace given birth in the finder's garden it is highly likely that she and her kittens would all have tragically died.

tabby cat with cone collar

After two days and nights at the vets, Grace was discharged with a follow up visit arranged for two days later. Despite the immediate treatment, Grace had a particularly severe bout of mastitis and even the vets had not seen such an extreme case.

Throughout all of this Grace was a model patient and thoroughly adored by all of the veterinary team. In typical cat fashion she made no fuss at all when they had to flush her wounds on a daily basis and re-dress the wounds on her tummy caused by the infected mammary glands.

Grace had such a hard start to life as a young cat but happily she has made a full recovery thanks to our dedicated veterinary team. Shortly after her recovery Grace was spayed and a lovely young family were set on giving her a new home.
tabby cat grooming
Can you help us to care for cats like Grace? Visit to find out how you can support our vital work.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Evie finds new home after recovering from cat flu

Evie was suffering terribly with cat flu when she was found by a dog walker. Her eyes were incredibly swollen and she was in a very bad way.

Ginger and white cat with cat flu

Cats Protection’s Downham Market team went to get Evie right away, easily catching her due to how sick she was. They made sure she was immediately seen by a vet to get her cat flu treated and stop her suffering.

They searched high and low for Evie’s owner but sadly no one came forward. After a month of treatment, including daily eye drops and lots of care, Evie’s cat flu cleared up.

Evie was so much happier, like a completely new cat. After her recovery Evie was neutered and ready to look for a new home. It didn’t take long for someone to see her gentle, loving nature.

She’s settled in well, making the bathroom sink her preferred place for a quick nap.

Ginger and white cat in sink

Can you help us to care for cats like Evie? Visit to find out how you can support our vital work.

Monday, 10 September 2018

Cats Protection opens Horsham charity shop thanks to generous legacy

A very generous gift in a will left to Cats Protection’s Horsham & District Branch has allowed the charity to open its first shop in the town.

The charity shop, which was officially opened on 16 June this year, will help secure the volunteer-run branch’s future and ensure it can help more cats in the area by generating extra funds.

The Cats Protection Horsham team outside the new shop
All profits from the shop go directly towards the branch’s work for cats including paying veterinary bills and providing them with warmth and food until they’re adopted to loving new homes.

As well as providing these much needed funds, Anna Portnoi, Branch Coordinator for the Horsham & District Branch, has said that the shop will also be a focal point for all branch activity and since opening has already created a buzz within the town and among its supporters.

The gift that has made the shop possible was left in the will of a local cat lover and keen supporter. Jan Tudhope, Horsham & District Branch Treasurer says: “Legacies are not only transformative for the branch but a lasting testament to the donor’s love of cats… their memory is very much alive.”

The new Horsham shop is just one of the ways in which gifts in wills help us to carry out our work. Without the kindness of people who remember Cats Protection in their wills we would not be the charity we are today. From finding forever homes for unwanted cats and kittens to inspiring the cat owners of tomorrow, these special gifts fund almost half of everything we do.

This week is ‘Remember a Charity in your Will Week’ – what better time to consider helping cats in this special way? Cats Protection can even help you with the cost of writing a will through our current free wills offer.

If you would like to find out more about leaving a gift to Cats Protection and our free will offer, please visit You can also email or call us on 01825 741 271.