Monday, 28 July 2014

Caring for your cat in the summer

As summer is in full swing, no doubt many of you have been making the most of it and basking in the sun. But while you’re enjoying the warm weather, don’t forget about protecting your cat from the sun and heat too. Many cats will limit their activity to suit the warm conditions but to keep your cat as comfortable and cool as possible there are various things you can do as a responsible owner.

Cat relaxing in the sun
Photo by matheuslotero via flickr / Creative Commons
Cats with pale coloured fur (including those with white ears or noses) can be more susceptible to sunburn during the summer months and sun exposure can be a trigger for a type of skin disease including cancer. We all know how much some cats love to lie in the sun so it’s a good idea to try to offer some protection.

Cats Protection would recommend that you make an appointment with your vet to discuss suitable sun creams. It’s important any sun protection products you use are suitable for cats, as they can be sensitive to some ingredients, which may be an irritant. Use a waterproof, non-toxic sunscreen which your cat can’t lick off and reapply as directed on the instructions.

As cats groom themselves regularly, the effectiveness of using sunscreens to protect against sunburn or feline skin cancer is unknown so try to keep your cat indoors during the hottest part of the day (between 10am and 3pm, when the sun is at its hottest).

When your cat is indoors, keep the curtains closed to stop the sun from shining in and consider providing some fans to circulate air around the room. Provide fresh water in a number of places (away from food and litter trays) if possible, and ensure the water is replaced twice a day, or more as required.

It’s important to ensure that you keep up with regular vaccination and parasite control for fleas and worms (and other parasites) especially in the warmer summer months. You cat may be spending more time outside and have increased exposure to certain diseases and parasite life stages during these months. Please speak with your vet about the most suitable product for your cat.

If you’re going away on a summer holiday you may choose to book your cat into a cattery. Read our Going on holiday? blog post for more information.

Monday, 21 July 2014

A day in the life of a Cats Protection fosterer

A post from Cats Protection volunteer guest blogger and fosterer, Joan Boulton

I joined Cats Protection in February 2013 to help out at table top sales and with neutering calls, but upon listening to other fosterers from the Preston Branch talking of their experiences, I felt it was something I would really like to do. Asking for more details, I realised I had the space in my garden for a pen and being retired I had the time to give. I took in my first foster cat in June 2013.

I love spending time with cats and find it so totally rewarding to see a cat that may have previously gone through a stressful time come into my care, grow in confidence and eventually go off to their new home. Getting follow-up photographs and up-to-date news of the cats from their adopters is a brilliant bonus.

Most cat owners will recognise how my day begins. It is the job of the nominated cat to make me aware that there are other hungry cats waiting for their breakfast. My elder cat Lady has now nominated my other cat Princess Bear to make sure I wake up. She seems to have acquired black belt status in this skill.

Princess Bear cat

First the wail and sound effects of a herd of elephants charging up and down stairs; then the flying leap onto the bed and walking up and down my torso. At this stage I glance, with one eye, at the clock. 5.55am. Encouraged with the success of one open eye, her next strategy is to get as close to my face as possible and purr loudly. Despite the early hour, the sure knowledge that next will be full-on fishy breath (hers - not mine!) and a raspy face wash, I give in and tell her "OK then, let's get din dins".

Both cats fed and heading off for a nice doze, I make a cup of tea and prepare for the rest of my pre-breakfast routine: my foster cats. Mummy cat and her five kittens in one pen; and mummy cat and her one kitten in the other. For them I need clean litter trays, clean dishes, sachets of kitten food, kitten biscuits, water, damp cleaning cloths and a sack for used litter.

I open the back door and immediately both Queens are at their pen doors. Mummy cat, Pollyanna, still has her neutering "lampshade" on and is anxious for a neck scratch almost as much as for her food. Her little ginger boy Macvitty is ready for a play and his favourite game is chasing the brush and dustpan, making cleaning the pen quite a challenge. With this pen swept, wiped, emptied and renewed, it is time for mummy Mila's pen. With five very lively six-week-old kittens this pen looks as if it has been ransacked: there is cat litter everywhere! Everything has to be taken out of the pen, shaken, emptied, brushed and replaced with clean things.

Foster kittens

All clean and fed, I can then go back into the house and empty my own cats’ litter trays and wash all the cat dishes. Hands scrubbed, I finally get around to making my, and my long suffering husband's, breakfast.

Boring bits follow for an hour or so (shower, bed making and housework) then it is time for a check-up in the cat pens. It is meant to be a quick check up and food replenish but with lively kittens to play with and mummy cats wanting attention too, time just slips by and I have to remind myself that I do have other things to do.

The day is regularly spaced with these "quick" check-ups and somehow the ironing never quite gets done. But, I am content to see my wards happy and safe; and I am sure my blood pressure is much lower for spending time with them.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Find an Opportunity is now live!

Find an Opportunity is our brand new volunteering website search. The search function allows you to find a variety of different volunteering vacancies in your local area.

Search for volunteering opportunities near you

There's so much to gain by giving your time, energy, skills and enthusiasm to volunteering for Cats Protection. By joining the team you can make a real difference to the lives of cats, kittens and people in your community and across the UK and do something we think is really worthwhile.

Volunteering for a charity like Cats Protection is rewarding, a great chance to meet new people and learn new skills – and of course make a difference to a cause that really matters to you. Every year we help thousands of cats and kittens and much of this would not be possible without the dedication and hard work of over 9,000 volunteers across the UK.

If you would like to find out more about volunteering with Cats Protection and opportunities in your area, head over to the new volunteering pages on our website.

The search function allows you to filter vacancies by role type – so whether you fancy volunteering as a cat care assistant, fundraiser, publicity officer, social media manager or shop assistant, there are plenty of different opportunities available.

You can also meet some of our volunteers and read about the things they do at