Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Top poems about cats for National Poet’s Day

Having a cat lends itself purrfectly to curling up with a book – what could be better on a quiet afternoon? In celebration of National Poet’s Day, we’ve put together our list of top poems about cats.

Whether you’re a fan of a classic verse or you’ve got a fancy for a feline fable, there is something for you to enjoy.



Macavity, the Mystery Cat, TS Eliot

Arguably one of the most famous cat-loving poets, TS Eliot’s book Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats includes nonsense verses about cats for the writer’s godchildren. Perhaps most notable is Macavity, a feline master criminal who will soon feature in film. In fact, the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical inspired by the poem, Cats, comes to the big screen in December.

“Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity, For he's a fiend in feline shape, a monster of depravity.
“You may meet him in a by-street, you may see him in the square – but when a crime's discovered, then Macavity's not there!”

The Owl and the Pussycat, Edward Lear

Featuring poetry’s classic odd couple, this playful rhyme documents a love affair between an owl and a pussycat as they go to sea in a beautiful pea green boat. While the verse is completely rooted in fantasy, it is undoubtedly one of the most famous cat-themed poems.

“They dined on mince and slices of quince, which they ate with a runcible spoon, and hand in hand on the edge of the sand, they danced by the light of the moon.”

She Sights a Bird, Emily Dickinson

This dramatic poem amps up the tension as it describes a cat as it spots a bird. Perfectly describing the cat’s jaw stirring and her alerted stance, it is a short and sweet poem that cat owners can enjoy.

“She sights a Bird — she chuckles —
She flattens — then she crawls —
She runs without the look of feet —
Her eyes increase to Balls —"

The Cat and the Moon, WB Yeats

A mystical poem by famed Irish poet WB Yeats, The Cat and the Moon focuses on a cat trying to teach the moon to dance and is both romantic and dreamlike.

“Minnaloushe creeps through the grass, alone, important and wise, and lifts to the changing moon his changing eyes.”

Cats Sleep Anywhere, Eleanor Farjeon

Many cat owners will be familiar with their cat’s strange sleeping habits – and their penchant for choosing a place to snooze! This poem focuses on their many napping spots throughout the house, in a humorous rhyme.

“Fitted in a cardboard box,
In the cupboard with your frocks,
Anywhere! They don’t care! Cats sleep anywhere!”

Do you have a favourite cat-themed poem? Let us know by tweeting us @CatsProtection.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Bridgend Adoption Centre celebrates helping 33,000 cats in 25 years

Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre first opened its doors 25 years ago and has rehomed more than 33,000 cats and kittens in that time.

Staff and volunteers at the centre have also helped thousands more cats through their neutering and education work.

“It’s amazing to think we’ve helped that many cats over the years – you just get on with the job each day, doing the best you can for the cats in your care” said Deputy Manager Molly Hughes.

Cats Protection staff and volunteers holding a banner
The Bridgend team are hosting an anniversary party on 7 September
“Before you know it, it’s a quarter of a century later and you realise you’ve helped more than 30,000 cats move to great new forever homes!”

Molly has worked at the centre ever since it opened, starting out as a cat carer and now working as deputy manager.

She said: “The way we work has changed a lot since 1994 – when we first opened there were no computers, no reception, just a phone and a notebook!

“We now have 24 members of staff and more than 70 volunteers helping us care for the cats, raise money, run reception and maintain the building.”

Everyone at the centre agrees that the best thing about their work is making a difference for cats and changing their lives for the better.

These include seven kittens found dumped in a zipped-up handbag and left for dead outside the centre in 2011.

When the abandoned kittens were spotted by a passer-by, they were only semi-conscious, suffering from a lack of oxygen and heat exhaustion. Luckily the kittens recovered from their ordeal and were soon found loving new homes.

bundle of kittens of a variety of colours sleeping
The kittens found inside Parc Prison, Bridgend 
In 2013 six tiny kittens were found inside Parc Prison, Bridgend. Named Jessica, Sherlock, Christie, Marple, Kojak and Morse, the kittens – and their mum Agatha – got an early release when Cats Protection found them great new owners.

The following year, stray cat Donatella won hearts and gave staff and volunteers a Christmas surprise when she gave birth to a huge litter of 11 kittens.

brown tabby cat with a litter of newborn kittens
Donatella with her litter of 11 kittens 
Sue Dobbs, centre manager, has been at the centre for 21 years and says it’s like being part of a big family. She said: “It’s extremely varied and no two days are the same – it’s definitely never boring!

“We’re lucky to have a lot of support from the public. Lots of us have family and friends who say that – wherever they go in the world – they always meet someone who knows someone else who has adopted a cat from us. Unbelievable!”

Staff and volunteers often find themselves trying to help people as well as cats.

“It can be frustrating if you’re trying to help someone but they don’t necessarily want to be helped,” said Sue.

"For example, some time ago we took in some cats from a lady in Cardiff because she had too many and it was all too much for her. But unbeknown to us, she’d hidden a cat upstairs in the house and the situation soon escalated again.”

tiny tabby and white kitten being fed milk from a bottle
One of the Parc Prison kittens being bottle fed by Bridgend staff
Despite incidents like these, most of the time the work is extremely rewarding and support for the centre is constantly growing – in recent years, this is largely thanks to the rise of digital media.

More than 19,000 people follow Bridgend Adoption Centre on Facebook, giving the team the chance to educate people across the UK and around the world about good cat welfare.

Sue said: “We have followers from more than 50 countries and people from outside the UK regularly donate to our fundraising appeals.

“Social media allows us to tell the story of what we do and helps a lot with fundraising. It’s our window to the world and a huge audience we didn’t have before.

“It’s helping us to help even more cats – so here’s to the next 25 years!”

To find out more about the work of Bridgend Adoption Centre, visit www.cats.org.uk/bridgend

Monday, 19 August 2019

How to take amazing photos of your cat

If you want to know if someone is a cat owner, you only need to take a look at the photo album on their phone, or even their phone screen background, to find out.

black and white cat in front of a green background

Taking countless photos of your cute kitty is a great way to preserve your memories of them and share their antics with others, but our moggies are not always the easiest to photograph.

To help you capture some stunning cat photos, we’ve put together our top feline photography tips as well as some advice on setting up your camera, no matter what kit you have.

Feline photography top tips infographic

If you have a smartphone:


1. Explore your settings
Although smartphone cameras are often quite simple, some do have different shooting modes to choose from. See if you can select a pet mode or portrait mode, or even find a new camera app that will allow you to adjust some more settings.

2. Turn off flash
Before you take a photo make sure the flash is turned off as this could startle your cat. Shoot outdoors or in a well-lit room for lovely bright shots.

tabby cat sitting in basket next to window

3. Tap to focus
Just before you take the shot, tap on the screen to focus. The best point to focus on is your cat’s beautiful eyes, they are the window to the soul after all.

4. Edit your snaps
Once you’ve got the shot, use one of the many photo editing apps available to tweak your shot, making it brighter if needed or adding a stylish filter.

If you have a compact camera:


1. Select your mode
Most compact cameras allow you to choose from different shooting (or scene) modes, and there may even be a pet mode. If not, you can select a portrait mode if your kitty is sitting still, or an action mode if they’re in a playful mood.

2. Stay in focus
When selecting your focus mode, it’s best to choose continuous autofocus as this will do all of the hard work for you, especially if your model is on the move!

ginger cat leaping through the grass

3. Use natural light
Make sure the flash is switched off as this could scare your moggy. It’s best to use natural light instead by shooting outdoors or in a well-lit room.

4. Keep shooting
Many cameras have a burst or continuous shooting mode which will take several shots, one after the other, every time you press the shutter button. This will increase your chances of getting the perfect shot – you can just delete all the blurry ones later.

If you have a DSLR:


1. Choose your lens
A zoom lens if often useful when photographing cats as you won’t need to invade their personal space. However, if they like getting up close and personal, a portrait lens might give you a nice soft focus background effect.

2. Set up
Selecting a fast shutter speed is often better for cat photography, as it will help you capture sharp shots even if your kitty moves. If you can’t find enough natural light for your shot, increase the ISO instead of using the flash to make your photos brighter.

ginger and white cat lying down outside

3. Banish blur
If your camera has a continuous autofocus mode, this will help to keep moving subjects in focus. If your cat is sitting still, then manual or single point focus is preferred, as you can really focus in on their eyes.

4. Increase your chances
Shooting with burst or continuous shooting mode switched on will increase your chances of getting a good shot as the camera will take several shots, one after the other, each time you press the shutter button.

Once you’ve got the hang of setting up your camera, try taking your shots from all sorts of creative angles to get some truly unique snaps. From mid-pounce action shots to captivating portraits, the possibilities are endless when it comes to capturing your moggy in all their glory.

Don’t forget to share your amazing photos with us @CatsProtection on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, we’d love to see the results!

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Nine reasons to take on the Nine Mile Challenge for cats

Cats Protection’s Nine Mile Challenge returns this September and the idea is simple – we’re inviting you to walk or run nine miles to raise funds for cats and kittens in need.

Last year, an army of cat-lovers from across the country signed up to help local cats and kittens in need – and 2019 is set to see even more adventurers taking on the challenge.

tabby and white cat walking through long grass

Whether it's a daily jog or one big expedition, you choose how, when and in which location to complete your miles. There’s no limit to where your trek could take you!

But just in case you needed any further convincing to take on the Nine Mile Challenge, here are our top nine reasons to make like a cat and roam free…

1) Invest in some me-time 

It’s an opportunity to enjoy a change of pace away from the demands of everyday life and take the time to reset and recharge. And as you can spread the nine miles across the month, you can schedule your walks or runs for when you need the mindfulness most.

2) Get back to nature 

What better way to admire the scenery, enjoy the outdoors, spot local wildlife and maybe even stroke a friendly moggie en route! When it comes to getting back to nature, nothing compares to a good old fashioned walk or run – and best of all, it’s completely free.

3) Meet new people 

While most cats might prefer to roam alone, there’s no reason your walk or run has to be a solo challenge. You could ask your local walking group to get involved, or run with a friend for support. Once registered, you’ll also be invited to join our Nine Mile Facebook group where you can share suggested routes and fundraising tips with fellow trekkers and runners.


man wearing backpack walking along a path

4) Boost your mood 

It’s been well documented that aerobic exercise like walking and running can help to increase the serotonin levels in your brain. The effect of this is reduced stress and a boost to your sense of wellbeing, meaning the Nine Mile Challenge might even make you happier.

5) Help the environment 

Swap your wheels for walking boots, or trade the tube for your trainers – for one week in September, why not walk or run to work instead? By turning your commute into the challenge, you’ll not only be helping cats but also doing your bit towards saving the planet.

6) Get some fresh air and exercise 

From heart health to bone strength, there are almost too many physical health and fitness benefits to list, but you can rest assured that whether you choose to run or walk the distance, it all counts. Mobile apps like Strava, Map My Walk or Run Keeper can be useful to help you track your route, speed, steps and record those all-important miles.

tabby and white cat sitting under cupboard with some trainers

7) Enjoy the long summer days 

We often see an Indian summer in September so, just like a cat, enjoy being outdoors and make the most of the weather before winter comes. By soaking up the sunshine, you’ll help to top up your vitamin D levels and give your immune system a welcome boost too.

8) Explore a new area near you 

It’s the perfect excuse to roam further afield than your usual walk to work or jog through the park. Research a new route and you might even discover a local beauty spot you never knew existed. Organisations like the National Trust have some great recommendations for walks in your area.

9) Feel good about helping cats 

Your legs may be aching and you might have a blister coming on, but just think of how amazing you’ll feel knowing that your steps will help cats and kittens get back on their paws. You can be proud of being a fantastic fundraiser and a real #CatChampion!

So what are you waiting for? Dig out your trainers and register for the Nine Mile Challenge now!

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Kitten found abandoned in a plastic box needs your help

A 14-week-old kitten who was found abandoned in a box has had to have complex surgery costing over £1,800.

Spencer was handed in to Cats Protection’s Haslemere Adoption Centre on Monday 15 July by members of the public who found the box dumped on a road nearby.

Spencer’s mother Scarlet and sister Sugar were also in the box. All three cats were very hot and lucky to have been discovered in time.

black kitten sitting in front of cat carrier
Spencer the kitten 
“It’s shocking enough that the cats were dumped, but the fact poor Spencer was in such a state is just heartbreaking. The poor cats have definitely used at least one of their nine lives.” said Hannah Ashwell, Cats Protection’s Regional Fundraising Manager.

Scarlet and Sugar have been given the all clear but Spencer was in need of a little more investigation. He had a noticeable limp and an open, infected wound in his groin area. He was also showing signs of discomfort coming from his right hind leg.

After a referral to a specialist vets, X-rays showed that Spencer had a fracture to the top of his right femur. Because of his injuries, Spencer needed some complex surgery on his hip to stabilise the joint.

“He’s been recovering from his surgery at a fosterer’s house along with his sister Sugar,” said Hannah. “As soon as Spencer is well enough, they will be looking for their forever homes.”

Spencer has a long road to recovery and will be receiving veterinary care over the coming weeks with regular check-ups. However, Hannah and the Haslemere team believe Spencer will be back to full strength in no time at all.

Hannah added: “The total cost of Spencer’s treatment, medication and after care, will cost over £1,800. Anything people can donate to help cover this cost will be hugely appreciated and will go a long way to helping.”

Anyone wishing to donate to Spencer’s care should visit his JustGiving page. Any funds raised above the centre’s target will be used to help other cats and kittens currently in the care of Haslemere Adoption Centre.

While Spencer and Sugar will be in care a little longer, Scarlet is ready to find a new home of her own where she can enjoy some home comforts.

If you would like to find out more about adopting Scarlet you can call the centre on 01428 604 297, email haslemere@cats.org.uk or visit www.cats.org.uk/haslemere for more information.

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

Monday, 5 August 2019

5 surprising differences between cats and dogs

With cats and dogs the most popular pets in the UK, it’s no surprise that they are often compared to one another in the great cats vs dogs debate.

Of course, we love both canines and felines equally, but there are some key differences that mean they need to be cared for in different ways – and some just might surprise you!

Here are five differences between cats and dogs, as well as a few ways they’re similar too!

tabby and white cat looking at a black and white dog

How are cats different from dogs? 


1. Cats were domesticated much later 

While there is some debate around when exactly dogs were domesticated, it has been estimated to be up to 40,000 years ago, as they would have helped early humans to hunt. Cats on the other hand are believed to have been domesticated only up to 12,000 years ago when agriculture evolved, as they were effective for pest control. Find out more about the history of cats with our blog post.

2. Dogs are a more social species 

Dogs have evolved from a social species and so they often benefit from some form of companionship. Cats however have evolved from a solitary species and so don’t need other cats to be their friends. In fact, cats can often become stressed when made to live with each other, unless they have a strong social bond. Take a look at our blog to find out if your cats are best friends.

3. Cats rely more on scent for communication


tabby cat rubbing its cheek on a puppy

As they are a social species, dogs rely heavily on body language and facial cues to communicate with each other. As cats are more solitary, they rely more on scent for communication with other cats. Scent glands on their cheeks and paws mean they can let other cats know where they’ve been by rubbing on or scratching surfaces. Want to know how your cat lets you know that they love you? Watch our video to find out.

4. Cats are better at hunting 

Even though dogs have evolved from a species that would have been able to hunt in packs, they have not retained their hunting behaviour like cats have. Cats need to be able to express their natural hunting behaviour as it releases happy hormones in their brains, so it’s important that they have the opportunity to stalk and pounce on toys. Watch our video for tips on how to play with your cat to keep them happy.

5. Dogs don’t need to eat meat 

Dogs are omnivores, meaning that provided they have a nutritionally balanced diet they do not necessarily need to eat meat. Cats however are obligate carnivores, so they must have meat in their diet in order to get all the nutrients they need to keep them healthy. For advice on what cats should and shouldn’t eat, take a look at our blog.

The similarities between cats and dogs 


black cat and brown dog lying on a sofa together

1. They can both be trained 

It’s a common misconception that cats cannot be trained like dogs can. However, with a bit of positive reinforcement, cats can be taught all sorts of things, from responding to their name to sitting on command. You just need to find something they like to encourage them! Find out how to train your cat with our blog series.

2. They both need love and care 

Cats are often considered to be easier to look after than dogs and not require as much input from their owners. However, while they can be a bit more independent than dogs, cats still need lots of care to ensure their needs are met. Owning any pet is a big responsibility, but you get out just as much as you put in! For lots of help and advice on how to care for your cat, visit the Cats Protection website.

3. They can both be part of the family 

As any pet owner will know, our furry friends really do make a house a home and manage to quickly worm their way into our hearts. And despite their differences, cats and dogs can live happily alongside each other, provided they have a proper introduction. Watch our video for a step-by-step guide on how to ensure your cat and dog get along.

Do you have a cat, a dog or both? Let us know some of the differences and similarities you’ve noticed between mogs and dogs in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter!

Friday, 2 August 2019

Monty returns home after two years thanks to his microchip

A cat who was missing for nearly two years has been reunited with his owner after finally turning up in a village three miles away.

Four-year-old Monty was reported as a stray to Cats Protection’s Bracknell & Wokingham Districts Branch after taking shelter in a garden in Farley Hill.

A quick scan of his microchip revealed the details of his owners, who had been searching for Monty ever since he went missing from their home in Aborfield in 2017.

young boy in school uniform hugging ginger cat on bed
Aaron is reunited with his best friend Monty 
Relieved owner Lydia Butler said: “We had only just moved to our new home, and despite keeping him indoors, Monty had snuck out of a small gap and must have become disorientated.

“We were so devastated and searched the streets, putting up posters and delivering fliers, but there was no sign of Monty at all. Our son Aaron took it particularly badly, as they were very close. All the time he was gone, Aaron never stopped talking about Monty.

“Eventually, and with a heavy heart, we came to the conclusion he had probably died in a road accident. So we were absolutely over the moon when Cats Protection called to say he’d been found. We brought him home, and he recognised Aaron straight away – they’ve been pretty inseparable ever since.”

Lydia added that the family have no idea where Monty could have been while he was missing, but that he seemed in good condition when he was found.

The happy reunion comes as Cats Protection renews calls for a change in the law to ensure that all owned cats, like dogs, are microchipped.

Microchipping is a safe, permanent and cost-effective method of identification which ensures cats can be reunited with their owner should they go missing. It means lost cats are not mistaken as strays and taken in by rehoming charities.

Microchipping also ensures owners can be notified if their cat has been injured or killed in a road accident. Cats Protection encourages local councils to scan any cats they collect that have died in road accidents for a microchip so their owners can be informed.

Jacqui Cuff, Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy & Government Relations said: “It’s always lovely to hear of stories where cats have been reunited with their owners, but most of these happy endings are only possible if a cat has been microchipped.

“Microchipping is an essential part of responsible pet ownership, and is already compulsory for dogs. This should now be extended to ensure all owned cats are microchipped, giving the same level of protection to keep them safe and protected.”

For more information about microchipping, visit the Cats Protection website