Friday, 19 April 2019

Frankie Seaman’s kitten fostering success for Cats Protection

Cats Protection has over 2,000 dedicated fosterers looking after cats of all ages in their homes until they find new owners.

For some cats it is a short-term, loving place to stay while their forever home is found, for others they may need specialist or round-the-clock care before they are ready to be rehomed.

Frankie Seaman holding small black kitten
Frankie Seaman with foster kitten Whisper 
 Dancing on Ice professional skater Frankie Seaman is a supporter and fosterer for Cats Protection via her local adoption centre in Newbury.

At home with her husband, ex-England goalkeeper David Seaman, she cares for kittens who need additional care before they can be rehomed and performs all the roles a mother cat would naturally fulfil.

David Seaman holding small black kitten
David Seaman with Whisper the kitten
Frankie says: “One of my great successes was Whisper who was born incredibly early, the only black kitten in a litter of very well developed tabbies. She was much smaller than her siblings and her eyes had not formed behind her eyelids.

“To give her the best possible chance to thrive I had to hand-feed her, day and night every hour on the hour for the first few weeks of her life. I had to keep her warm and close to me at all times while I went about my daily life to be able to keep to her feeding schedule. It was exhausting!”

Frankie Seaman with small black kitten
Frankie keeping Whisper warm 
Once Whisper was strong enough to be reintroduced to her litter-mates and mother, Frankie’s role did not end – she needed to supervise visits to ensure the much younger kitten was safe around her birth-family so that she could play with and learn ‘how to be a cat’ from her siblings.

tabby kitten with small black kitten
Whisper with one of her siblings 
Frankie adds: “Whisper ultimately became a beautiful looking oriental just like her mother and was adopted. It’s really hard to say goodbye after having such a bond with a kitten but it’s vital they start a new life in a new home; then I can welcome new kittens who need a bit of extra help to get back on their paws.”

Frankie Seaman with two black and white kittens
Frankie with kittens Hobnob and Flapjack 
Fosterers for Cats Protection are supported throughout the process with all food, litter, toys, vet treatment and specialist equipment provided by the charity. They have access to advice from the charity’s Veterinary team as well as opportunities to network with other volunteers and staff at branches and centres nationwide.

To find out more about Frankie’s latest foster kittens visit @KittensCam on Twitter.

If you’re interesting in becoming a fosterer like Frankie, you can find out more at www.cats.org.uk/get-involved/volunteering

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

5 reasons why cats are masters of mindfulness

When life gets busy it can be easy to let things pass you by, so it’s important to take at least a few moments out of your day to be mindful of yourself and the world around you.

While we can sometimes struggle with the practice of mindfulness, our moggy mates really have it purrfected.

Here are some of the reasons why being more cat is good for our health.

1. They’re great at yoga


tabby cat stretching and yawning outside

Whether it’s the downward dog or the cat pose, kitties love a good stretch. Their flexible bodies help them to get into all sorts of impressive shapes – just be careful you don’t cause yourself an injury if you try to copy them.

2. They’re well-rested 

ginger kitten sleeping on floor

When it comes to sleeping, cats are true experts. Most moggies can clock up to 16 hours of snoozing a day, making sure they have plenty of energy for what’s left of it. Next time they’re taking a cat nap, why don’t you join them?

3. They live in the moment 

tabby kitten sleeping on back on fleece blanket

Worrying about the past or future isn’t a big concern for cats, as they like to live in the here and now. When they know that you’ve got their next meal covered and that they have a cosy place to sleep, they can relax without a care in the world.

4. They engage their senses

tabby and white cat close up outside

Cats are always stopping to notice the world around them, using their big ears to listen for unusual noises and their sensitive noses to scout out interesting smells, especially if it’s dinnertime! Even their whiskers help them to sense their surroundings, making sure they always know what’s going on.

5. They create their own calming sounds 

tabby cat lying on the floor and smiling

There’s no sound more relaxing than that of a purring cat and our lucky moggies get to hear it whenever they choose. Some people even believe that the frequency of a cat’s purr has healing qualities – all the more reason to give your cat some more of those purr-inducing chin rubs.

To find out more about cats and their curious behaviours, visit the Cats Protection website.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

5 tips for reducing your cat’s stress

Just like humans, cats are prone to stress – although it might be tricky to tell if your cat is feeling unsettled.

Cats are subtle in their body language, so you’ll need to keep an eye on them to ensure they are content.

grey cat sleeping on bed

Signs of stress can include:

  • becoming more withdrawn or hiding more than usual 
  • becoming less tolerant of people 
  • hesitating or becoming reluctant of using the litter tray, going through the cat flap, sitting on your lap eating or drinking less 
  • overeating 
  • increased anxiety or fear 
  • sleep disturbance 
  • pacing, circling or restlessness 
  • a scruffy or matted coat 
  • house soiling 
  • over-grooming 


If you already know that your cat is struggling with stress, it can be difficult to know what to do to help. In aid of Stress Awareness Month, we’ve put together our top five tips for reducing your cat’s stress, so you can make sure you’ve got a calm kitty.

1. Make sure your cat has everything it needs 


ginger cat sleeping in fleece bed

It might seem obvious, but ensuring your cat has a litter tray, food and water bowls and even a scratching post can help reduce stress. Where you put these items can also have a surprising impact on your cat’s stress levels too. Keep litter trays away from eating areas, for example, and make sure your cat’s resources aren’t in an area with lots of noise or people.

2. Give your cat some space 

Cats are solitary creatures, so they don’t like to be crowded by others – that counts for other cats, other pets and even children or other family members. Ensuring your cat always has space to escape from the chaos is a good way to reduce their stress. A quiet spot, preferably somewhere high up, is ideal. Try a cardboard box on a sturdy shelf, for example.

tabby and white cat sleeping on blanket

3. Try not to handle them if they’re not keen 

While many cats like to be stroked for a long period of time, others are happier to enjoy their own company. Some cats might be quick to tell you that they’re unhappy while others are more subtle in their behaviour. Pay attention to their body language and always make sure they have the freedom to move away from you when they wish.

4. Avoid cat intruders 


tabby and white cats sleeping in flower pot

If your cat is stressed due to a neighbourhood cat invading their space (or your garden), it can be tricky to eradicate the issue. If you know who the cat belongs to, and you’re on good terms with the owner, you could try a friendly chat. Make the suggestion to ‘share the space’ by ensuring the cats explore outdoors at different times. Otherwise, ensuring your cat has plenty of resources both indoors and outdoors (eg places to toilet, get up high, drink from) should keep them calm.

5. Help them to handle changes before they happen 

Cats are creatures of habit. Routine is important to them, so anything that disrupts this can leave them feeling stressed. Whether you’re planning to move house, have building work completed or welcome a new baby into your home, preparing your cat for the changes reduces the risk of stress. During house moves and improvements, cats are often much better temporarily staying in a cattery to keep them calm. With new babies, you can get your cat prepared for their new arrival with our advice guide, which includes getting them familiar with baby sounds and how to make the nursery off-limits. Visit www.cats.org.uk/cats-and-your-pregnancy for a month-by-month guide.

tabby cat sleeping in blanket

If in doubt, see your vet 

If you're concerned about your cat's behaviour, you should always go and see your vet. They can refer you to a suitably qualified behaviourist, such as a member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (www.apbc.org.uk), or a Certified Clinical Animal Behaviourist (CCAB).

For more help and advice about cat behaviour, visit www.cats.org.uk/behaviour 

Monday, 15 April 2019

Two critically ill kittens illustrate the dangers of buying pets online

Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre has been called in to help two very sick kittens that had been sold online for £360.

The tiny white kittens, called Daffan and Dill, were advertised by a private seller as being eight weeks old but when their new owners got them home, they quickly realised that something was wrong.

two white kittens on pink blanket

The kittens were still trying to suckle and had raging diarrhoea, so they took them straight to the vet, who advised that the cats were in fact only five weeks old  too young to be away from their mother. They were also suffering from worms and one of the kittens was slightly jaundiced.

Fearing that the kittens would not survive, the owners called the Bridgend Adoption Centre for help.

white kitten on pink blanket

“We were really shocked at how ill they were,” said Sue Dobbs, manager of the centre. “The little girl Daff was particularly bad as she was very cold and very lethargic. As well as diarrhoea, the kittens went on to develop flu and we soon discovered they were deaf too. It took four weeks and a lot of energy and money to get the kittens back to full health.”

Daffan and Dill have now found their forever home, but their story highlights the risks of buying cats and kittens from private sellers online.

white kitten on pink blanket

To offer cats the same welfare protection as dogs, Cats Protection is urging the Government to consider regulating cat breeding so that potential buyers are able to go to a licensed cat breeder.

The Welsh Government recently announced a consultation considering how best to address issues related to cat breeding and selling and is also calling for an update to the law on selling cats to reflect the modern age  recognising that the majority of kittens and cats are now advertised for sale online.

two white kittens in grey cat bed

Cats Protection is asking that this should include a ban on the commercial sale of kittens under eight weeks which could have prevented Daffan and Dill from being sold at such a young age.

“Our branches across Wales still regularly tell us harrowing stories of kittens bred and sold that are very sick,” said Madison Rogers, Advocacy & Government Relations Officer. “It’s vital that the breeding of cats is regulated and the law on selling cats in Wales is updated to avoid such tragedies.

“By choosing to adopt, rather than going to a breeder, you are caring for a kitten that already needs support instead of bringing another one into the world,” said Madison. “It’s also beneficial for you because you’ll have peace of mind that your cat or kitten is a healthy pet.”

All cats and kittens adopted from Cats Protection are health-checked, wormed, vaccinated against cat flu and enteritis, neutered where appropriate and come with a free period of pet insurance.

To find cats and kittens looking for homes in your area, visit www.cats.org.uk/adopt-a-cat

Friday, 12 April 2019

Cats Protection called out to rescue... fox cubs?!

Volunteers from Cats Protection’s Derby & District Branch are used to dealing with cats of all sizes and colours, but during a recent rescue mission they got more than they bargained for.

A worried member of the public had called the branch’s ‘Catline’ about four crying kittens he had found underneath his shed while removing the floor.

four fox cubs
The 'kittens' turned out to be fox cubs 
He removed them from the mud and took them indoors, putting them in his dog’s bed to keep them warm while he phoned the Catline.

Welfare volunteer Jane Baynton soon drove out to pick them up but when she arrived she noticed the kittens looked rather unusual.

fox cub wrapped in a towel
One of the tiny day-old fox cubs 
“They weren't kittens at all, but day-old fox cubs!” said Sylvia Plummer, the branch’s publicity volunteer. “Jane has been doing this a long time so she knows the difference between fox cubs and kittens. But, I suppose if you didn’t know it’d be hard to tell the difference when they're so small."

When she realised the mistake, quick-thinking Jane rang the local Linjoy Wildlife Sanctuary and Rescue for advice. Unfortunately, as the cubs now had the scent of humans and dogs on them, they couldn’t be put back as their mother would likely abandon them. Therefore, Linjoy Rescue took in the three girl cubs and one boy cub for hand-rearing.

Cats Protection volunteer Jane Baynton with fox cub
Jane Baynton, Derby Branch volunteer, with one of the cubs
Sadly, one of the cubs was so small and skinny that they didn’t make it, but the others are doing well and will be released back into a safe area in August, when they will be old enough to look after themselves.

In the meantime, the volunteers at our Derby & District Branch can go back to doing what they do best, looking after cats and kittens.

To find out more about what Cats Protection does, visit our website

Thursday, 11 April 2019

8 reasons why cats are the best pets

We may be biased, but when it comes to choosing the purrfect pet we think you’d be better off with a cat.

While we love all animals, there are certain benefits to welcoming a feline friend into your life, and of course you’d being doing one of the kindest things possible – giving them a loving home.

However, if you need some convincing, here are just some of the top reasons why moggies are particularly marvellous.

1. You don’t need to walk them 

tabby, ginger and white cat lying on bed

In the age-old debate of cats vs dogs, this is definitely a key factor that falls in the felines’ favour. If stomping around a frosty field at 7am with an excitable mutt in tow doesn’t sound appealing, remember that you could be curled up in bed with a cuddly kitty instead.

2. They groom themselves 


ginger and white cat licking paw

Cats are clean creatures and will usually be happy to groom themselves to keep their coat in tip-top condition. Some moggies may need a bit of help with some brushing, but this is much less expensive than a trip to the puppy parlour and creates a lot less mess than doggy bath time!

3. You can leave them alone for short periods


man on sofa drinking coffee with cat

Moggies are quite independent by nature and so don’t mind spending some time alone while you go to work or go out with your friends. They’ll be patiently waiting for you (and their dinner) when you get home. However, if you want an excuse to ditch your plans and spend some time with them on the sofa, they’ll be happy to provide you with an alibi.

4. They don’t need a lot of space 


ginger and white cat lounging in cat bed

Whether you live in a sprawling mansion or a compact apartment, there’s always space for a cat. Even if you don’t have a garden, some cats are in need of an indoor-only home and so would suit your situation perfectly. As long as they have a food bowl, water bowl, litter tray, scratch post, some cat toys and somewhere to sleep, they’ve got all they need.

5. They don’t need training 


silver tabby cat on fur rug

Cats usually have things figured out when it comes to toileting and will master the litter tray with minimal help. You don’t need to spend time training them to sit or stay as they’ll come and go as they please. In fact, as many cat owners will know, it’s usually the cat that ends up training you.

6. They’re quiet (most of the time) 


black cat meowing

Your neighbours don’t need to worry about constant barking or yapping disrupting their peace and quiet as cats have other more quiet ways of communicating. They use smell, body language and the occasional stare to let others know what they want, although a cute little meow can be deployed if the situation calls for it.

7. You have to earn their respect 


tabby cat paw on human hand

This may not seem like a plus, but once you’ve put in a little bit of work to let your cat know they can trust you, the love you will get in return is so rewarding. The first time they approach you for a head bump or sit on your lap for a snooze is the best feeling in the world.

8. They provide you with hours of entertainment 


black and white cat sprawled out on floor

Whether they’re sleeping in bizarre positions or zooming across the living room in pursuit of a catnip mouse, spending time with your cat will be more entertaining than a Netflix binge session. Every moggy has their own quirky traits and discovering them is all part of the joy of being a cat owner.

Are you ready to welcome a fabulous feline into your life? Visit www.cats.org.uk/adopt-a-cat to see the moggies looking for homes in your area.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Why do my sibling cats not get on?

While the bond we have with our own brothers and sisters is often strong, cats don’t always have the same close connection with their own family members.

If you have more than one cat from the same litter of kittens, you might assume that they will be best friends for life, but there is no guarantee.

two tabby and white cats sitting outside

Cats are a solitary species with no in-built need for fellow feline companions and this also extends to sibling relationships.

Even if littermates get on at first, they can often drift apart as they get older, as cats don’t reach social maturity until they are between 18 months and four years old.

a littler of four tabby kittens

If your cat regularly grooms, rubs against or sleeps curled up with their sibling, then this is a sign that they are in the same social group and have a sustained sibling bond. However, if they block or time share (that is only use them when the other isn’t around) resources such as food, water, beds and litter trays, live in separate areas of the house or get aggressive with each other then they are definitely not a happy family.

two tabby and white cats grooming each other

The stress related to difficult sibling relationships can even manifest as behavioural problems or even medical issues such as urinary tract issues or skin complaints.

While there is no fix for getting your moggies to be best mates again, there are some simple things you can do to help them live happily under the same roof as each other.

Tips for helping sibling cats get along 

  • Use the FELIWAY FRIENDS® plug-in diffuser, which releases calming cat pheromones into your home to help reduce conflict between cats living together 
  • Resources, such as food bowls, water bowls, litter trays and scratch posts should be placed separately in different areas of the house, with at least one per cat and ideally one extra. This is particularly important with litter trays. Access to the garden can also be a resource that cats living together may block or time share, so consider having more than one way out into the garden 
  • Give your cats plenty of opportunities to hide and get up high, as this will help reduce stress. Cat shelves and cardboard boxes are perfect for this, as is Cats Protection’s Hide & Sleep® available from our online shop 
  • Spend time playing with each cat individually to give them an outlet to express their natural hunting behaviours – provide interactive play with fishing rod-style toys, and why not have a go at making some feeding enrichment toys 

If your cats are still not getting along, then arrange a vet check and your vet can recommend a suitably qualified behaviourist who can provide further advice tailored to your own situation.

For more general information about cat behaviour, visit www.cats.org.uk/behaviour