Friday, 31 October 2014

A collection of black cat tales

In honour of National Black Cat Day, we’ve collected photographs, stories, tweets and more from around the internet in celebration of black and black-and-white cats and kittens.

Why do we celebrate monochrome moggies every year? Sadly, black and black-and-white cats are often overlooked for rehoming by adopters in favour of their more colourful counterparts. Don’t forget that darker cats are just as lovely and make wonderful pets.

Find out more about National Black Cat Day.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Please sponsor a cat pen

Four-year-old Jingle was admitted to us by her owners when they were moving and could not take her with them.

Black cat Jingle in our sponsored pen

Poor Jingle was in quite a bit of distress when she first arrived – we soon discovered she was suffering from a case of untreated cystitis and a luxating patella, which is a knee joint that dislocates. Thankfully, we were able to effectively treat both of these conditions and lovely Jingle is much happier now.

This gorgeous, friendly young girl is very lively – she has lots of energy and loves human attention. She would best suit a home with older children and with no other cats or dogs, so she can really be the queen of her future household! Jingle absolutely loves to play, so when the volunteers visit her with feathers and strings it is usually the highlight of her day!

Here she is, enjoying a fuss:



Sadly, Jingle is just one of thousands of unwanted black cats who pass through our centre each year. She is in one of our sponsored pens at the National Cat Adoption Centre. Sponsoring one of our cat pens is one of the best ways you can help cats in our care and you can do so for as little as 19p a day. Find out more about sponsoring a cat pen and make a difference today.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

If a black cat crosses your path

Black cats have long been associated with superstition.

Worshipped by the Egyptians and adored by the Romans, ancient beliefs were that all cats (including black ones) were to be worshipped and to kill one was considered a capital crime.

But by the 17th century cats were associated with witchcraft and considered evil. In witch trials, ownership of a cat was taken as evidence of witchcraft. Even today, in the United States, Belgium and Spain black cats are considered very unlucky – and a costumed witch during Halloween celebrations will often by accompanied by a black cat.

Unlucky black cat
Photo by Jason Howie via flickr / Creative Commons
In Britain the opposite is true and the association has long since changed to one of good fortune. To meet a black cat is considered good luck, especially if it runs across the path of the observer. There are some variants of this belief, such as that in Yorkshire, where it is lucky to own a black cat, but not to meet them. In other areas it’s said that a black cat as a wedding present is thought to bring good luck to the bride!

For some reason, which could be linked to superstition, black and black-and-white cats in the care of Cats Protection are often harder to home.

Gemma Smith, Cats Protection’s Digital Communications Officer says “Black and black-and-white cats make up around half of all the cats in our care – and sadly they wait much longer to find their forever home than the average cat”.

That’s why we’re urging our supporters to share their tales of ebony cat ownership to show that a black cat is for life, not just for Halloween.


If you’d like to consider homing a black cat, use our Find-a-cat search.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

The most popular black cat names

It seems that many owners of monochrome felines favour traditional names for their pets. We conducted a survey of over 18,000 cat owners on Facebook (see the results in our infographic) which revealed the most common cat names from across the UK.

Based on the responses from those surveyed, Sooty is the most common name for black cats and Felix is the most common name for black-and-white cats.

What have you named your black or black-and-white cat?

Sleek black cat Salem


30 October 2014 is National Black Cat Day and we’re celebrating everything that’s wonderful about black cats. Find out more here

Fireworks frighten cats

Fireworks season can be a scary time for our pets, so we’ve put together this infographic which explains how to keep your cat safe and calm.

Fireworks frighten cats infographic





























Keep your cat in after dark and provide them with a litter tray if they’re used to outdoor access. Make sure you securely fasten all doors and windows and keep the curtains drawn to reduce outside noise. Playing soothing music may also help.

You can create a reassuring environment by using a Feliway® plug-in diffuser, which is an artificial pheromone product that mimics the scent from a cat’s facial glands, helping cats to feel more secure. Also provide a safe, comfy place in familiar territory for your cat to hide – a hiding place can be something as simple as a cardboard box on its side, an igloo style cat bed, a space under the bed, or in a wardrobe with the door left ajar.

Share this image on your site



Find out more about caring for your cat by reading our Essential Guides series of leaflets.

Monday, 27 October 2014

The history of National Black Cat Day

Thursday 30 October 2014 marks our fourth National Black Cat Day, Cats Protection’s annual campaign to celebrate black and black-and-white cats.

Black cats are often overlooked by potential adopters and take on average a week longer to home. We’re not sure why but we don’t want to see them left waiting in the wings so invite you to join us in commending the beauty of black cats.

2011


Thousands of people backed the UK’s first ever Black Cat Awareness Day – as it was known then – on 27 October, which drew attention to the hundreds of homeless black cats in Cats Protection’s care and the apparent reluctance of people to adopt them.

Fictional mascot Billy Noir-Mates was the face of the campaign, starring in his own video and donning social media profiles.



The campaign’s Twitter hashtag, #CPBlackCats, was in the top 10 trends on Twitter and at one point it was the third most-talked about subject among UK users, temporarily beating Justin Bieber! The campaign also attracted support from celebrity cat-lovers including Twiggy Lawson, Samantha Fox and creator of Simon’s Cat, Simon Tofield.

Black Cat Awareness Day was so successful that we decided to turn it into an annual event.

2012


In the campaign’s second year we changed the name to National Black Cat Day and really embraced the power and reach of social media. We asked our supporters to upload pictures and stories of themselves dressed as black cats and to share photos of their own real-life black cats. We also encouraged people to change their social media avatars to a specially designed black cat version.

Model Lucy Pinder helped us to promote the campaign which reached nearly 330,000 people on social media.

2013


In 2013 we invited owners of black and black-and-white cats to share photos of their pets on Instagram. We received more than 2,000 entries and created a poster to showcase some of our favourites which was used as a homing campaign in a shopping centre.

National Black Cat Day 2013 homing poster

We also encouraged our supporters to send in funny videos of their black and black-and-white cats – Emma Wallis’ video of her bin-loving cat Rupert topped the votes.



Finally, we developed a black cat download pack on our website, which contained photos, posters and a black cat mask for cat lovers to spread the word.

2014


This year we've launched a National Black Cat Day Champion competition on Facebook which invites our supporters to share their rescued black cat selfies (with stories). The winning ‘Champion’ will win a photoshoot and will become our black cat rehoming ‘poster cat’ in our homing posters and publications. You can vote by liking your favourite on our Facebook page on Wednesday and we’ll announce the winner on Thursday.

You can also share your black cat photos on Twitter with our #CPBlackCats hashtag and on our Pinterest board. On our website we have a section full of cute, beautiful and funny videos and photos of gorgeous black and black-and-white cats. Find out more about the campaign at www.cats.org.uk/black-cats


We hope that our campaign can continue to prove that monochrome mogs are just as lovely as cats of other colours.

If you’re thinking of adopting a cat, why not consider a black or black-and-white one? Find your perfect new pet through the Find-a-Cat tool on our homepage www.cats.org.uk

Friday, 24 October 2014

Cat Match tips and tricks – new cats to unlock

We’ve just released a new tips and tricks video which explains that as you progress through the levels of Cat Match, harder to rehome cats and rarer types of cats are unlocked. For example black cats, which are often overlooked, will need greater promotion in order to rehome them from your simulated adoption centre.

This mirrors our real life adoption centres and branches, which find that some cats are often overlooked by potential adopters, just because of the colour of their fur, a medical condition or their age.

That’s why we hold an annual celebration of black and black-and-white cats every year. Keep an eye on our blog and social channels for activity around National Black Cat Day next week.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

‘Why is my cat aggressive?’ and other cat behaviour FAQs

In our most recent live Facebook Q&A session, Cats Protection Behaviour Manager Nicky Trevorrow answered a range of questions about cat behaviour.

It’s important that if you notice any change in your cat’s behaviour, you get them checked by a vet to ensure there are no underlying medical causes. Your vet will have access to your cat’s history and will be able to carry out a full examination. If your cat’s given a clean bill of health you can investigate a behavioural cause by contacting a qualified behaviourist at www.apbc.org.uk

Here are some of the questions that Nicky answered:

Question: Why does my cat look like he’s trying to hide his food? It looks like he’s scratching the floor and trying to cover it with imaginary dirt.

Answer: There are a few possibilities here. If your cat eats from the bowl quite well and then does the scratching behaviour and walks off, then it could be a 'caching' behaviour left over from the African wildcat days, eg saving the food for later. However if your cat approaches the food, gives it a sniff and then starts doing it without eating the food, perhaps there is something putting him off. Try different types of bowls (eg ceramic), placing the bowl away from his water bowl and away from the wall so that he can see the room more easily.

Cat eating from bowl
Photo by Tom Thai via flickr / Creative Commons
Question: My cat keeps pulling fur out of his legs and tummy. We have taken him to the vet and they said he was stressed. He gave us tablets but my cat refused to take them and the ordeal of trying to force him to take them seems to have stressed him out more. We have tried Feliway®. Do you have any ideas?

Answer: This seems to be quite a common problem. The best thing is to identify the root cause of the problem and a qualified behaviourist can help with this. In the meantime, ensure your cat has plenty of places to get up high, lots of places to hide and plenty of other resources (eg litter trays, water bowls etc) in lots of different locations around the house. To learn more about your cat’s behaviour, check out our free online e-learning course. Also check out our leaflets called Understanding your cat’s behaviour and Managing your cat’s behaviour.

Question: We have a very playful but boisterous 14-week-old kitten. We can manage the hand and arm biting but what it the best way to stop him from running up and biting and scratching faces? At the moment I’ve been trying to take him off, tell him ‘no’ and give him a toy. Any ideas?

Answer: Kittens are often more energetic than we remember them being! That said they need to be encouraged to chew and pounce on appropriate items such as toys. Ensure that you and everyone in the household is suitably covered in thick clothing to prevent injuries. For any bites and scratches, please consult medical advice. Fishing rod toys are great for redirecting this behaviour onto something appropriate. Buy a few and stash them all over the house so it's easy to get hold of one. Remember to always let the kitten catch and 'kill' the toy and store them safely out of reach after use. You'll need to do this very consistently so that they learn appropriate play. Best of luck!

Beautiful ginger kitten
Photo: CP Library
Question: My two-year-old male cat was neutered two weeks ago but he is still peeing everywhere if he is not close enough to his tray. It’s almost as if he can’t help himself and when told off runs off while still peeing. Does he have a weak bladder? What can I do?

Answer: Sorry to hear about your cat. Firstly I would take him back to the vet and get him fully health checked, including a urine sample tested. Once you've checked your cat's health at the vets, try:

  • Cleaning litter trays twice a day
  • Putting litter trays in quiet, private locations
  • 3cm of soft sand-sized litter, non-scented
  • A large litter tray not kitten-sized, covered as well as open ones for choice
  • Don't use odorisers or litter tray liners

Ensure that your cats have lots of resources (litter tray, food bowl, water bowl etc) – ideally one per cat plus one extra to avoid any competition. It's important to differentiate between inappropriate urination (a puddle on the floor) versus spraying (backing up to a vertical surface and spraying a small amount of urine). Each has different motivations. To identify the underlying behavioural cause, we recommend that you find a qualified behaviourist near you; and do have a read of our Managing your cat’s behaviour leaflet. Please don't tell your cat off as it will only make the problem worse. Hope it resolves soon!

Black-and-white cat in litter tray
Photo by Leonora Enking via flickr / Creative Commons
Question: I have a question about my mum's kitten. He is almost five months old now, he’s quite aggressive and bites/scratches constantly. He doesn't like to be held or stroked. He is also very possessive over his food. He growls and will attack if you get too close! He is a beautiful kitten. What can we do about his behaviour?

Answer: Sorry to hear about your mum's kitten. This doesn't sound like normal kitten behaviour. Where did your mum get her kitten from? Do you know whether she saw the kitten with his mum and siblings? Was the kitten socialised to people during the ages of two-seven weeks? Kittens need to have positive experiences with people and gentle handling at this age to get used to humans, otherwise they can show feral type behaviour and be quite fearful. I would suggest taking the kitten to the vets to rule out medical reasons for the behaviour. The number one medical reason for aggressive behaviour is pain, although there are LOTS of possible different causes. If you are still having problems after the vet check, then get a qualified behaviourist involved.

Question: Is there somewhere or someone we can approach to help with one of our five-month-old kittens? We adopted two sisters from Cats Protection at 14 weeks and while one is really affectionate and happy to site on laps etc the other we can't get near. She is constantly on edge, we have never been able to stroke her and she makes no noises or gestures towards us. It's like we are only really living with one kitten and I feel like the second is missing out. I hate to think she's unhappy. Any ideas?

Answer: I’m really sorry to hear that one of your kittens is so quiet. I would suggest speaking to your local CP branch or adoption centre to find out more about the kittens' backgrounds. Sometimes, we don't always know the backgrounds if they were found as strays, however it would be worth trying to find out how well socialised these kittens were. Genetics also play a role as fearful fathers tend to produce fearful kittens and one litter of kittens can have several fathers. Just take it gently with your fearful kitten and give her plenty of places to hide and get up high so she feels safer, and allow her to come to you in her own time. Contact our national helpline if you are still having problems on 03000 12 12 12. Best of luck.

Two kittens
Photo: CP Library


Thank you to all of our Facebook supporters who took part in the Q&A with Nicky. The next live Q&A is on 31 October with our Neutering Manager. 

If you have a question, you can find lots of essential cat care information and advice on our website. 

If you have any concerns for your cat's health, please do consult your vet.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Help moderate online sales of pets

The Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG) is calling on the public to join the fight against bad pet adverts, reporting anything suspicious they find while browsing online classified pages directly to the sites.

Cats Protection is a longstanding member of PAAG comprising leading animal welfare and specialist agencies across the UK. PAAG has been working on a pilot scheme with online sites to develop and agree a voluntary set of minimum standards to improve the welfare standards of online pet adverts.

Now that the pilot is over, PAAG would like responsible consumers to assist with its efforts – keeping an eye out when browsing the pet sections of classified websites for any adverts they spot that are misleading or illegal. To find out more and how to report adverts, watch this video.


Friday, 17 October 2014

Secrets to taking successful photos of black cats

A post from professional photographer Kathryn Collinson

Black and black-and-white cats are more difficult to rehome and unfortunately they are also more difficult to photograph. With National Black Cat Day celebrated this month, here are some useful tips for taking photos which capture the beauty and personality of the black cat.

Black cat portrait
Photo by Kathryn Collinson
1. Prepare yourself and the cat: Fluff shows up more on black fur and will be obvious in photos, so for cats that like a fuss, the first thing to do is defluff. If it’s not chilly, use a damp cloth (not wet otherwise the fur will look wet) and give the cat a relaxing stroke over to help them look their best.

As cats may not want to sit still for long, especially if you are trying to take a photo, get everything ready in advance. Also try taking a photo just after they have eaten or naturally woken up. They are more likely to be a bit sleepy and more relaxed.

Enlist some help to attract the cat's attention. Get someone to squeak a toy just behind you, or dangle a toy out of view of the camera. Don’t forget to give the cat a toy to actually pounce on once you’ve got your pictures!


2. Get the background right: Avoid white backgrounds; a black cat on a white background might look good to the naked eye, but in photography it creates too much contrast. This creates problems for your camera as it will struggle to focus and to expose accurately. Go for a background which complements the colouring of a cat's eyes such as gold or green, or for something which sets off their fur colour. A lot of black cats are really dark brown, so browns, reds or blues work well.

Try to avoid including too much background in the shot. Not only will it be a weaker composition, but also the camera will expose for the background not the cat and you could end up with just a featureless black blob. If the cat enjoys contact, get in close as this forces the camera to expose for the cat.

If you are using a smartphone, don't be tempted to use the zoom feature. The camera basically guesses what the image should look like which is why zoomed images always look degraded. It is much better to crop in afterwards.


Portrait photo of black cat Milo
Photo by Kathryn Collinson
3. Switch on the lights: You need lots of light to photograph a black cat, as light is absorbed and reflected by their fur. Avoid the flash, especially on smartphones, and use natural light or a lamp. To give the fur texture, try and angle the light across the cat, but don’t dazzle the cat.


4. Play with exposure: Most cameras have an exposure compensation (EV) button (+/-) which allows you to override your camera's exposure settings. If your photos aren't coming out as you hoped, try these solutions:

  • If the cat looks grey rather than black (over-exposed), you need to let less light into the camera by decreasing the exposure.  Set the EV button to - 0.7 or -1.0 and try again
  • If the cat is just a black mass with no discernible features (under-exposed), you need to let more light into the camera by increasing the exposure. Set the EV to +0.7 or +1.0 

If you don't want to manually set the exposure check to see if your camera has AEB (multi-exposure bracketing). By just pressing the shutter once, you can take three shots of the same scene at different exposures (normal exposure; under-exposure; over-exposure). This saves you manually adjusting the exposure between each individual shot. This can be particularly useful for black-and-white cats as by default they are high-contrast. Fingers crossed the cat stays still long enough!


Marmite black cat portrait photograph
Photo by Kathryn Collinson
5. Consider other apps: If you are using a smartphone consider the other camera apps available. They tend to be better than the stock camera app and will give you more controlled shooting. The following apps are worth considering:


Once you've installed an app, practice and get to grips fully with the features before you need to use it.


And finally, if you are still struggling to get a decent photo, get the cat to take a selfie with Snapcat! They chase an icon around the screen and every time they tap it with their paw it takes a photo. But again, only use if for a short time and remember to give the cat a real toy to play with and catch afterwards, to avoid frustration.


This post has been written by a guest blogger. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of Cats Protection. 

Thursday, 16 October 2014

New home for kittens abandoned by roadside

A post from Natalie Ross-Smith, Guildford & Godalming Branch

While rushing around, busy with lots of chores, Elspeth Rijbroek, newsletter editor at the Guildford & Godalming Branch spotted a box, discarded at the side of a noisy road. At first she thought it was just litter, but then she noticed a tail sticking out of it. Rushing over, she found two cute, scared little kittens.

With her husband’s help the kittens were quickly taken to the nearest Cats Protection fosterer where they were warmed, watered, fed and cuddled!

Hungry kittens Storm and Lucy
Hungry kittens Storm and Lucy
The gorgeous little pair had obviously been loved; they were clean, well behaved and confident around people. A vet check-up confirmed that they were in perfect health too. We’re not quite sure what lead them to being dumped by the side of the street.

Lucy kitten miaowing at the camera
Lucy
Storm kitten playing with feathers
Storm
We’re pleased to say that Storm and Lucy have found a forever home with a lovely family in Bramley. They are already loved and much a part of the tribe!

Two kittens playing together
Storm and Lucy playing together

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Call to take action for pets in European Parliament

At the weekend Cats Protection’s Chief Executive Peter Hepburn spoke at a Eurogroup for Animals event calling on the European Parliament to take action for pets.

The talk, which is available to download from our website, explains that while millions of cats and dogs are well-cared for, sadly, many are still seen as purely a source of income and are used solely for breeding for commercial trading.

Poor Lily, for example, came into the care of Cats Protection with her four kittens. She was 10 years old and had been used for breeding over and over, all her life. This length of demand on her poor little body had taken its toll and she was suffering severe kidney failure. The vet explained that there was nothing more we could do for her. Her kidneys would not hold out much longer and the kindest thing we could do was end her suffering and have her put to sleep.

White queen Lily
Beautiful Lily
It was then a race to get her tiny kittens fully weaned as they were still just a few weeks old – much earlier than we would normally wean but we didn’t want to compromise her welfare.

White kittens
Lily's little kittens
In the interests of trade, this poor cat suffered kidney failure and lost her life. These kittens lost their mother.

Every day, whether it is 100 puppies in a puppy farm or 100 kittens in 25 domestic kitchens, animals are suffering and consumers are being misled and this is happening in a poorly regulated trade.

And this is where European legislation is key.


Cats Protection is a member of Eurogroup for Animals, a membership organisation campaigning on behalf of animals in Europe. Peter Hepburn was invited to speak at their event in the European Parliament.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Cat Match app update

We've released an update for our popular Cat Match app.

The update fixes a number of bugs which should increase the app’s stability and mean there are fewer crashes. We've also created a new economy system whereby players are awarded coins at various intervals throughout the game so even if funds run out you can continue to run your centre. Finally, to avoid running out of money we've added a warning message which will notify if your funds begin to drop too low.

If you missed our tips and tricks video on managing your Cat Match funds, see our post here.

Cat Match app update


If you already have Cat Match it may automatically update, depending on your phone settings. If it does not automatically update you can visit either iTunes or Google Play and update via the 'Update' tab.

Cat Match is a brand new experience from Cats Protection combining two much-loved app mechanics with messages about cat welfare. Find out more about the app and how to download it at www.cats.org.uk/catmatch

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

‘Why is my cat spraying?’ and other cat behaviour FAQs

Following our recent survey which revealed that many cat owners do not recognise the signs of stress, we hosted a live Q&A session on our Facebook page focusing on cats and stress. Our supporters asked questions which were answered by Nicky Trevorrow, Cats Protection’s Behaviour Manager.

If you notice any change in your cat’s behaviour, the first step is to get it checked out by a vet to ensure there are no underlying medical causes. Your vet will have access to your cat’s history and will be able to carry out an examination.

If your cat is given a clean bill of health by the vet you can investigate a behavioural cause by enlisting the help of a qualified behaviourist (find one at www.apbc.org.uk).

Here are some of the questions that came up in the Q&A:

Question: How can I help my two-year-old female cat with the stress/fright she is experiencing with a brand new cat we have taken on in the house? How long should I allow for the two cats to integrate?

Answer: This is an extremely common problem and sadly there's no magic length of time for how long the integration period takes. It needs to be done at the speed of the cat that is coping the least well – if in any doubt, really slowly! Start with the scent swapping stage. This is the one that most people either don't know about or progress through too quickly. While the cats are still kept separately, get a couple of clean cloths and rub one cloth on one of the cat's scent glands (cheeks, forehead and sides of body) and then put this in the middle of the floor for the other cat to investigate in their own time. Do the same for the other cat. The signs are very subtle. If the cat sniffs the cloth and ignores it – this is a good sign, if the cat avoids walking anywhere near the cloth – this is a bad sign. Create positive associations with the cloths by playing with the cat near them and offering them small treats. For more information on the rest of the stages, see our Essential Guide leaflet Cats living together.

Two cats together
Photo by 48625620@N00 via flickr / Creative Commons
Question: We are moving house soon. How do we make it less stressful for our two cats?

Answer: Firstly change the microchip details as soon as you move house. Plug in a Feliway® diffuser in a room in the new house a week before the move if possible. Set this room up with all the cats' things to make it a sanctuary room so they feel safe and give them plenty of places to hide. Cardboard boxes are fantastic – always cut two holes in the sides of the box to provide an entry and exit point. Depending on how they cope and their personalities, gradually get them used to the rest of the house, one room at a time. Check out our leaflets – Welcome home and Moving house for more information.

Question: Our cat is very vocal and overgrooms at times too. What can we do to help?

Answer: While overgrooming can be a sign of stress, it's really important to take your cat to the vets to rule out medical reasons. If you can observe whether he seems to chew/pluck/nibble at the fur and whether he breaks the skin and let the vet know all your observations, this can help with diagnosis. If your vet feels it's behavioural, then to identify the underlying behavioural cause, we recommend that you find a qualified behaviourist near you, check out www.apbc.org.uk

Resting Burmese cat
Photo by Ollie Harridge via flickr / Creative Commons
Question: My cat has suddenly started peeing on my bed. Could this be due to stress? She doesn't have an infection and has never peed outside her tray until recently.

Answer: Sorry to hear that your cat is peeing outside of the tray. When you say that she doesn't have an infection, has the vet tested a urine sample? If not, that's the first port of call. It's important to differentiate between inappropriate urination (a puddle on the floor) versus spraying (backing up to a vertical surface and spraying a small amount of urine). Each has different motivations. Cats sometimes spray short bursts of urine on vertical objects outside to mark territory and leave information for themselves or other cats to ‘read’. If your cat starts to spray inside the home, then it is almost certainly a sign that all is not right in their world. Once you've checked your cat's health at the vets, make sure you put litter trays in quite, private locations and clean them twice a day. Use large trays (covered as well as open ones for choice), 3cm of soft sand-sized (non-scented) litter, and don not use odorisers or litter tray liners. You may find our Essential Guide leaflet Managing your cat’s behaviour helpful to read.

Question: I had a baby seven weeks ago. I think my cats are upset with me and feel like I don't have time for them. Is there anything I can do to comfort them?

Answer: Sorry to hear that you're experiencing problems with your cat at the moment. It's a common concern from new mothers; however I'd like to reassure you that your cats aren’t upset with you, but unsettled by the change in routine and the new smells and sounds of the baby. Naturally it's hard to provide as much fuss as previously, but even if you could schedule in consistent small play and fuss sessions with your cat and have a new regular routine, this can help them adjust. In addition, Feliway® can help to promote a feeling of familiarity in the home environment – ask your vet for more details. For more info check out our leaflet Cats and people.

Tabby cat and baby
Photo: CP Library

Thank you to all of our Facebook supporters who took part in the Q&A with Nicky. 

Please remember that if there is any change in your cat’s behaviour, you should take it to a vet for an examination. 

You’ll find more information about cat care and behaviour in our Essential Guide leaflets and do check out our free online e-learning course to understand feline origins.

Monday, 6 October 2014

On the hunt for a National Black Cat Day champion

October means one thing: National Black Cat Day! Thursday 30 October 2014 sees the return of our annual celebration of black and black-and-white cats.

This year we're looking for a National Black Cat Day Champion – a wonderful black or black-and-white rescue cat who can show the world how magnificent monochrome moggies are.

Black cat reaching to camera
Photo courtesy of CP Library
We're running a competition on our Facebook page which asks people to share photos of their darker cats and their stories. The best of the bunch will be put to a public vote - we'll ask our Facebook supporters to 'like' their favourite. The winner will be crowned our ‘National Black Cat Day Champion’ and will receive a feline photo shoot and will become our 'poster cat' for future rehoming and black cat appeals.

There will be lots of other activity around the day too so keep an eye on our website, blog and social media profiles. Follow the #CPBlackCats and #BlackCatSelfie hashtags and don’t forget to share your favourite pictures and stories with friends and family!

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Recovery for black kitten dumped in box

A post from Bridgend Adoption Centre Manager Sue Dobbs

A 12-week-old kitten was admitted to us after a keen-eyed driver spotted a driver parked up and acting suspiciously. They went to investigate after the driver left and found little Mew had been dumped in a box.

She was very thin and in poor condition. As she was hungry she kept bolting her food and then vomiting it up. Mew was taken straight to a vets for IV fluids and treatment.

She was lifeless in the first few days with us, just sitting by and cuddling into her teddy bear. But after a week of TLC, she is a completely different kitten. Mew is now bright eyed and full of mischief!


Black kitten Mew relaxing

Black kitten Mew at our Bridgend Adoption Centre


You can find contact details for the Cats Protection Bridgend Adoption Centre by visiting www.bridgend.cats.org.uk

Friday, 3 October 2014

The importance of pet insurance

A post from guest blogger Anna Henderson-Mutch 

We adopted Alfie, a tabby domestic shorthair and Delia, a black-and-white domestic longhair from Cats Protection in January after losing our last old cat Marcel at Christmas. Delia was almost five years old and rather nervous. Alfie was just five months old and a bundle of barely contained energy, desperate for release.

Alfie playing when he was five months old
Alfie at five months old
At Cats Protection he’d been very vocal and also shouted all the way home, but once he arrived at his new home and we showered him with attention, toys and above all, space in the house to run around, he stopped shouting and started purring! Within 48 hours he’d figured out the best place to sleep was our bed and demanded head rubs and snuggles every morning – his favourite thing was for you to cup his whole head in your hand and he’d lean into you purring.

We introduced him to the outside in the early summer at about eight months old. He loves to climb trees and would chase and attack anything stick-like, including next door’s clothes prop. He was a very happy little man who even made friends with a couple of other kittens roughly his age.

One night, the day after his first birthday, he didn’t come home. We’d trained him to come home when we whistled and rattled his treats. He’d never failed to turn up. We were concerned, but figured it was another stage in his development. We were very wrong. The next morning I spent some time rattling his treats and whistling in every direction, expecting him to come home looking a little lost and sorry for himself. I stood on the street whistling for ages thinking he’d roamed too far. Five minutes later, a neighbour from across the street knocked on our door. “Were you looking for a cat?” she said. “Yes” I replied, “he’s only a year old and didn’t come home last night”. “Is he a tabby?” she asked. “A car knocked a tabby cat over last night just down the street. We didn’t know who he belonged to but they took him to the vets” she told us. I was upset but relieved as he’s microchipped so I waited for that horrible call. By 10am I was even more worried, surely someone should have called by now?

I started calling all the local vets and got their out-of-hours numbers. I rang far and wide, registering his details with anyone who would listen. I double-checked his microchip details to make sure they were correct – they were. By the afternoon I was distraught. I made leaflets with his photo on. We printed them out and started posting them through the letterboxes on our street asking if anyone knew where he’d been taken.

My daughter and I only got as far as nine houses; we were talking to each other and he must have heard our voices! I heard a faint ‘miaow’ and turned to find a battered and bruised little face propped on the kerb under a car. He couldn’t even lift his head. We rushed him over to the emergency vets and they immediately gave him pain relief and assured us that he was a fighter: he’d survived for 20 hours on his own. He had a crushed left leg and his pelvis was cracked on both sides. His face had lost the skin on the left where he’d been pushed into the street and he had damage to his gums and lips and his whiskers have been sheared off by the impact. They were amazed that his jaw and teeth were intact! The damage to his leg was beyond the repair of our local vets; so he was transferred to a specialist Orthopaedic vet.

Alfie is happy that he can climb his scratching post again
Alfie's happy now that he can climb
He’s now got a bionic leg and is recuperating slowing. He was able to walk (wobbly) within five days of his injury but has to be contained for a minimum of six weeks. I’m so glad we found him in time. When his free Petplan insurance ran out, I was in two minds about whether to take it out – at almost £30 for the two of them, it seemed a lot on top of the excess. Alfie’s little accident has so far cost over £3,000 so I’m so glad I took out the insurance!


This post has been written by a guest blogger. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of Cats Protection. 

We believe pet insurance is an important part of responsible cat ownership. Caring for a cat is both fun and rewarding but if they are to suffer an illness or injury it can also be expensive. Having pet insurance means you can concentrate on what’s best for your cat rather than worrying about the cost of vet bills.

Every cat homed from Cats Protection goes to its new home with four weeks’ free Petplan insurance. Additionally, whenever a Cats Protection supporter takes out a Petplan policy, Petplan gives 10 per cent of the premium paid back to Cats Protection, and a further 10 per cent each year the policy is renewed. Through these valuable funds raised we are able to continue our work caring for and rehoming more and more cats.

To find out more about please visit Petplan’s website.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Top cat names revealed - infographic

We’ve conducted a survey of cat owners to discover the most popular cat names around the UK – which has produced some very interesting results as shown in our infographic below!

Cat name infographic

The survey received over 18,000 responses from all over the nation.

We can reveal that the top five cat names in the UK are:
  1. Poppy
  2. Charlie
  3. Molly
  4. Willow
  5. Oscar
The top male name is Charlie, while the most popular female cat name is Poppy.

If we break it down by cat colours, we found that the most common name for black cats is the traditional Sooty, while most black-and-white cats are called Felix. Tigger is top for ginger cats, Smokey for grey/blue cats, most tabbies and torties are named Poppy and white cats are most commonly called Casper.

There were quite a few cats named after foods, plants and days of the week or months – but there were also some very funny cat names in there that made us chuckle! Our favourites include Alfred Parsnip, Sir Henry Biscuit and Baroness Trumpington.

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