Friday, 29 April 2016

Find the right cat for your home

When you register an interest in adopting a cat from your local Cats Protection branch or centre, we want to ensure that we’re matching the right pet to the right home. The cat coming into your life should be the right one for you, your family, your home, your lifestyle and your plans for the future.

To help you decide what sort of feline would be your perfect pet, we've developed a light-hearted quiz which takes you through a series of questions to figure out the type of cat that would best suit your lifestyle.

With thousands of cats in our care at any one time, we've always got the right cat to fit every home. But for some cats it can take a little longer. Older cats (aged over 11), for example, can take five times longer to be adopted than kittens.

That’s why our Torquay & District Branch was especially overjoyed when they rehomed the gorgeous Mouse, a 10 or 11-year-old cat who had been in their care for a year. Mouse, who has diabetes, had been overlooked by potential adopters time and time again.

Mouse was adopted from our Torquay & District Branch
Diabetic Mouse spent a year in our care, being overlooked by potential new owners time and time again
Finally a kind couple, unfazed by her condition, were happy to take her on. Not only had they owned a diabetic cat in the past, but the husband is also diabetic himself, so they had no hesitation about giving her insulin.

“She was a little nervous to start with but is slowly growing in confidence,” said Mouse’s new owner, Ted. “We noticed Mouse in the local paper so we rang up and next thing we knew we were meeting her in person. Even our relatives in New York saw the article, so she’s world famous!”

Mouse seems to have settled into her new family very well and we wish her all the best for the future.

To take our quiz, click on the following link: What sort of cat should I adopt?

If you’re considering adopting a cat, try using our Find-a-Cat tool which allows you to view cats that match your home and lifestyle and which are ready for rehoming now. Search for a cat at www.cats.org.uk/find-a-cat

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Why are cat videos dominating the internet?

Towards the end of 2015, a story hit the national headlines that perfectly illustrated the popularity – and potential profitability – of internet videos featuring domestic cats.

After discovering his cat, Sox, standing on the edge of the bath reacting to her reflection in the mirror, Scottish student Fraser Napier recorded the adorable performance on his phone and posted the video on YouTube. He no doubt expected a few amused comments from friends and subscribers to his channel. What he ended up with were hundreds of thousands of views and companies queuing up to offer him money to promote their wares on the video.

Sox's minute-long performance has now been viewed over 3.5 million times and Fraser has earned a pretty penny from the advertising. But what made that video of Sox, well, being Sox, go viral?

It’s long been known that watching animals – especially pets – entertains us humans. From the days of TV programmes such as Animals do the Funniest Things to the modern phenomenon of internet videos, millions have been attracted to the antics of our furry and feathered friends.

However the fact that cats have been by far the most popular category on YouTube since its launch suggests that they have something extra-special. Since the very first upload in 2005 – a clip of YouTube co-founder Steve Chen’s cat, Pyjamas, playing with a rope – feline-featuring digital diversions have been watched on the video-sharing website over 26 billion times.

From 8-bit cartoon sensation Nyan Cat to real-life celebrities such as Cole and Marmalade, Maru and Grumpy Cat, it seems we can’t get enough of moggy-inspired movies. But why cats in particular? Here are some theories:

Cats don't care about your camera



Domestic cats evolved from the African wildcat, which is a solitary hunter. They therefore didn't develop facial features to communicate with their own species or humans, and that inscrutability makes for compelling viewing. A cat is unlikely to acknowledge the person holding the camera and perhaps doesn't realise that you’re filming them which means that everything they do is delivered in an unaffected manner. Sox's discovery of another bathroom cat, for example, is a serious business.

Cats are our buddies



One of the reasons animal videos are so popular is because humans are anthropomorphic and we project our own emotions onto the furry stars of videos. Every time we smile at, say, a clip of a cat knocking a glass of water over and then walking off as if nothing has happened, the reason we're amused is because we're attributing human motivations to the video's star. Er, Fili, you know that was the last toilet roll, right?

Attributing human emotions onto animals like this may make us laugh – but it contributes to a lack of understanding about what animals really feel and why they behave the way they do. Pssst – if you want to know more about why your cat acts a certain way, check out our free e-learning course!

Life’s no game



When we're watching dogs, we know that they can be trained to do amusing things, which casts doubt on the spontaneity of their actions. Cats, on the other hand, appear to be more independent and off-the-cuff. Take this excited kitten, Pickle – the only thing on her mind is showing her springy flower toy she's not to be messed with!

A cardboard box to call my own



Let's face it, there's something downright amusing about watching kittens, cats, and other pets getting used to their human-built surroundings and adapting the uses of household items to meet their own needs. Whether they're playing in cardboard boxes or snoozing on a warm freshly cleaned pile of laundry, their antics tickle us. Apparently no one told Jiji he’ll get square eyes if he sits too close to the screen!

It's for medicinal reasons!



A recent study by the Indiana University Media School has discovered that watching videos of cats boosts our energy and positive emotions while decreasing our negative feelings. Far from being a guilty pleasure, then, maybe watching moggies on the small screen is becoming an important antidote to the trials and tribulations of modern life. I challenge you not to purr along to this classic cat-kitten-box combo.

Whatever the reasons behind its attraction, the cat video craze doesn't appear to be going away. In fact, the rise of internet cat video festivals and the recent stories about cinema chains considering transferring user-generated clips to the big screen suggest this may just be the beginning!

Right, I must get back to work. Well, maybe ONE more video (sweet dreams, Chad!)…



Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Sleaford volunteers take in 21 abandoned cats

Donations have been pouring in for the Sleaford & District Branch of Cats Protection which has been trying to catch over 20 stray cats allegedly dumped in a remote area in the region.

A concerned couple contacted the branch after noticing a number of cats entering their garden and trying to feed on the grain that their neighbours were feeding their fowl. The cats seemed to be starving so they asked for the branch’s help.

The abandoned cats are now in the care of Cats Protection

One of the cats, named Bentley by volunteers, was believed to have been hit by a car. He has a broken leg and scratches on his face. Vets have now amputated his leg and he is undergoing treatment to aid his recovery.

Sadly the volunteers found four deceased cats too.

Along with Bentley, 20 further adult cats were recovered from the same site, including one pregnant cat, which they've named Banan. They think there is another one more cat they've yet to catch.

Sleaford Cats Protection helps 21 stray cats

Louise Blackah, a volunteer at the branch, said: “We had a lot of calls from people who were concerned their missing cat was among those rescued, but none of the cats were microchipped or neutered and we believe they all came from the same household.”

The branch’s volunteers also thank those who responded to their online appeal which has raised over £1,700 to help all the cats in the branch’s care.

Stray cat cared for by Sleaford Cats Protection

Sleaford Cats Protection caring for a stray cat

Speaking about the donations, Louise added: “It’s such a fantastic amount and we are so grateful for the continued support. We really couldn't do what we do without people supporting us through appeals like this and various charity events throughout the year.”

To donate to the Sleaford & District Branch, visit their JustGiving page. Any funds raised above and beyond those required will help the other cats in the branch’s care.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Caring for cats with disabilities

Our Caithness Branch recently raised the funds for 10-year-old Wally to undergo a vital operation on an ear infection he picked up while he was living on the streets. The procedure was a complete success but it did leave him deaf. Now fully-recovered, Wally has a lovely home with owners who can cater to his needs, on a farm with a view overlooking the sea. But just how differently do we need to treat cats with disabilities?

The truth is, whether they were born with a disability or developed one later in life as a result of an accident, disease or old age, cats are very good at adapting their lifestyles to cope with their new circumstances.

Along with losing their hearing and sight, cats’ mobility can also suffer, either from the lack of a limb or from conditions such as cerebellar hypoplasia which can cause uncoordinated movement. Here are a few suggestions on how to look after cats with these disabilities.

Beautiful deaf cat Wally
Despite losing his hearing, Wally is now enjoying a happy life. Photo by CP Caithness Branch

Deaf cats

Like humans, many cats gradually lose their hearing as they get older. Others are born deaf or suffer hearing loss suddenly as a result of illness or injury. Deaf cats can compensate for their lack of hearing so well that it’s sometimes difficult to tell they have a disability.

  • For their own safety, it’s recommended that deaf cats are not allowed outside, unless it’s in a run or securely fenced garden. For more information on how to look after indoor cats, see our Caring for indoor cats blog post
  • In case they do get lost, they will need to be easily identifiable. Like all cats, they should be microchipped and it may be prudent to fit them with a quick-release collar stating their address and disability
  • It may be possible to call a deaf cat using visual cues, such as hand signals and torch flashes, as long as they are distinct and used consistently to mean the same thing
  • To avoid startling a deaf cat, walk heavily when approaching them so they can sense the vibrations

Blind cats

Cats can be born with blindness, it can develop gradually or it can arrive suddenly as the result of a trauma or illness.

  • As with deaf cats, blind cats should be microchipped, kept indoors and consideration should be given to fitting them with a quick-release collar stating their address and disability
  • Be aware that cats that have experienced sudden blindness may choose to stay near their sleeping area and could develop inappropriate toileting habits because they can’t find the litter tray
  • Try to avoid carrying blind cats. All cats have a natural ability to retrace their steps using scent glands on their paws and being lifted will disrupt that navigation
  • Talk to your cat as you approach them to ensure they aren't startled by your presence
  • Blind cats are reliant on scents and memories so avoid moving furniture, food and litter trays around as well as leaving obstacles in unexpected places
  • If you have stairs, place a barrier across them until your cat learns where they are. Once they start using them again, consider laying differently-textured carpet on the top and bottom steps, so they know when they've reached them
  • Playing with blind cats is a good way of ensuring they get enough exercise. Given their reliance on hearing, use toys that make noises

Blind cat Buddy
Blind cats are reliant on their other senses. Photo by Jeff-o-matic via flickr / Creative Commons

Cerebellar hypoplasia

Cerebellar hypoplasia is a condition that occurs in kittens as a result of interrupted development of the brain. It causes uncoordinated movement and those affected are often referred to as ‘wobbly kittens’.

  • As with deaf and blind cats, it is recommended that cats with cerebellar hypoplasia should be kept indoors, microchipped and, ideally, fitted with a quick-release collar stating their address and disability
  • They may benefit from a deep litter tray with high sides that they can use for support when toileting – just ensure they can access it
  • Affected cats can create a mess when eating and drinking, so ensure the areas surrounding their bowls is easily cleaned and use a water bowl that isn’t easily turned over
  • Ensure they can reach their favourite spots easily by using steps or ramps and consider strategically placing cushions and thick rugs under high areas they may frequent, just in case they fall or mistime a jump
  • Keep their claws trimmed as they might find it difficult to unhook themselves if they get one caught in something

Three-legged cats

While it’s possible for cats to be born with three limbs, such a condition is usually the consequence of illness or injury. While getting around on three legs can take some getting used to, cats can usually adjust to the impediment remarkably well.

  • As your cat gets used to the loss of a limb they should remain indoors with everything they need (eg sleeping areas, food, water, litter trays and scratching posts) within easy reach
  • While they are learning how to balance on three legs, ensure they can’t access high surfaces from which they could fall
  • Cats may take time to get used to completing everyday tasks like toileting and grooming. Consider improving litter tray access and help them groom areas they can’t reach (if they’re not used to being groomed, start slowly and ensure it’s a positive experience for them)
  • Once they have the confidence to head outside, ensure they can get back inside easily and leave their litter tray in place – toileting can be a vulnerable experience for cats and they may feel safer doing it indoors
  • It’s important they retain a healthy weight as extra load places more strain on each leg than it would in a four-legged cat and this can cause problems, such as arthritis, later in life

For more information on how to care for cats with disabilities, see our Cats with disabilities Veterinary Guide.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

The playful curiosity of cats

The Simon's Cat Logic series of videos examine why cats behave the way they do.

In the latest video in the series, Simon’s Cat creator Simon Tofield and Cats Protection’s behaviour expert Nicky Trevorrow look at the behaviour of the cat in the videos ‘Let me in!’ and ‘Let me out!’.


Simon Tofield says: “I think it’s fair to say that if you are a cat owner that you can basically say goodbye to privacy, because they will follow you everywhere, especially if they are an older cat or a lap cat, they’ll want to be with you 24/7.”

He explains that the ‘Let me out!’ video is based on the behaviour of his own cat, Jess who follows him around the home. When he goes to the bathroom she will sit outside the door and call out repetitively. Similarly, the ‘Let me in!’ video shows Simon’s Cat resorting to increasingly desperate measures to get indoors.

But why do cats do this?

“Cats are renowned for having a natural curiosity so it’s understandable that they’ll want to know what’s on the other side of the door,” says Nicky Trevorrow, Behaviour Manager at Cats Protection.

“Over time, cats may learn that if they do a particular type of miaow that the owner will respond as they know what it means. They may do a particular cry to say ‘let me outside’, and a different cry to say ‘I want some food’ and a different one again to say that they want some attention.”

Without realising it, when we respond to the cat we’re often reinforcing their behaviour. As the cat’s plea has been successful, they know it works and so will do it again!

It is the very nature and behaviour of cats that makes them one of the UK’s most popular pets today. Their independence, playfulness and curiosity are among the traits that make many cat-lovers melt.

By understanding their behaviour, we can learn how to best provide for our cats, meet their needs, maximise their welfare and ensure long-lasting friendships for happy cats and owners. You can find out more by reading our leaflet Understanding your cat’s behaviour.

Does your cat plea to be let in or out? Do they miaow when they want particular things? Let us know on Twitter by using the hashtag #SimonsCatLogic.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Dedicated runners raising funds for Cats Protection

Have you ever fancied challenging yourself and helping your favourite animal at the same time? That’s just what a number of cat lovers and supporters are doing by embarking on gruelling runs to raise funds for Cats Protection.

Pat Mackshea

Pat Mackshea with training partner cat Thomas
Pat and his training parter Thomas
Chelmsford & District Adoption Centre supporter Pat Mackshea has found an unlikely training companion for the London Marathon in long stay cat Thomas O’Malley.

While visiting the adoption centre to work on a fundraising campaign to reach his £1,500 target, Pat was introduced to Thomas. Thomas has had four eye operations for an entropion, (ingrowing eyelashes) and has gained weight during his stay with the centre due to the sedentary nature of his current lifestyle. While Pat’s goal is to complete the 26.2 miles in under five hours, Thomas’ aim has been to slim down from his 6.25 kg frame to an eventual 4.69 kg, over a period of 32 weeks. Both Pat and Tom have been following a careful meal plan (although Pat’s wasn’t designed by a vet nurse) and exercise plan (fishing rod toys and ping pong balls feature more heavily for Tom).

If you would like to help Pat (and Thomas!) meet their targets, please visit www.justgiving.com/Pat-Mackshea or text PATM75 £ (followed by the amount you wish to donate) to 70070.

Jo Doughty

Leeds-based supporter Jo Doughty has challenged herself to run 100 competitive kilometres for Cats Protection throughout 2016. She’s already undertaken four running challenges and has signed up for a number of other runs through the year including a Manchester half marathon in October.

“As a huge cat lover I'd really like to spend the year raising money and awareness for Cats Protection,” Jo said.

Jo is writing a blog to track her journey and welcomes anyone who would like to join her while she’s training to do so and is open to suggestions on further runs she can tackle.

You can read about Jo’s challenge and progress at https://100km1year.wordpress.com and donate via www.justgiving.com/JoHayes79

Will Geddes

Meanwhile, Will Geddes bravely took part for a second time in the recent Marathon des Sables which is known as ‘the toughest ultra-marathon on Earth’ – despite having a painful foot condition. It is a five-stage, 254-kilometre race through one of the world’s most formidable landscapes and climates, the Sahara desert. The race requires competitors to be self-sufficient, carrying with them everything except water that they will need to survive. Unfortunately Will’s condition meant he was unable to finish the event this time, but he still gave his all and we are very grateful.

Ahead of the race, Will, who works within the security industry said: “I am delighted to be fundraising for Cats Protection.

It has come as a surprise to many people in my ‘industry’ as I’d be normally more likely associated to some military-related charity, but considering that probably 80 per cent of those participating in this event are from that background and very probably raising for them, I thought it was only right to raise for a cause close to my heart (especially as a proud father of two Bengals)”.

To support Will you can donate at https://www.justgiving.com/Will-Geddes

Richard Harper

Richard Harper running a marathon for Cats Protection
Richard Harper in his running gear. Credit: TH Photography
Like Pat, Richard is running the London Marathon on 24 April and raising money for Cats Protection in the process. He is also taking part in the Man vs Mountain event in September, which involves running from Caernarfon in North Wales to the summit of Snowdon and then on to Llanberris, covering 20 miles.

Richard’s donations will help the cats in the care of our Birmingham Adoption Centre.

Richard said: “I'm definitely a cat person, you could probably say I'm crazy about them! This is one of the reasons that I have chosen to raise funds for Cats Protection.

There are so many cats and kittens in need of your support and loving care, so even £1 can help towards giving them the care they deserve.”

For every donation to his JustGiving fundraising page, Richard has vowed to add an additional 10 per cent himself. You can support Richard by donating at www.justgiving.com/rbharper

Eleven people are running this year’s London Marathon on behalf of Cats Protection and many more are embarking on other running challenges to help the cats and kittens in our care. If you think you’ve got what it takes to enter the 2017 London Marathon, or are interested in taking part in another challenge, please contact Fundraising Events Manager Rebecca Worth on 01825 741 960 or email events@cats.org.uk

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

‘Why is my older cat hissing at our kittens?’ and other behavioural FAQs

On Friday Cats Protection’s Behaviour Manager, Nicky Trevorrow, took over our national Facebook page, asking live behavioural questions from cat owners and supporters.

If you missed out, don’t worry, our feline specialists will return again soon. Have a look at the bottom of this post for upcoming dates to pop in your diary.

Here are some of the questions that Nicky answered:

Question: Our oldest cat has suddenly started hissing and spitting at two kittens we have, it’s been happening since they were neutered. She isn’t the mother of the kittens but was lovely to them when they were born, almost like a surrogate mother, so why has she started being like this?

Answer: There are many reasons this could be happening. It would be worth taking your oldest cat to the vets in case she has developed a medical problem. For example, if she was feeling stiff and sore form arthritis, then she may not appreciate kittens wanting to play. It could be due to a change in scent from the kittens being at the vets and coming home smelling of disinfectant. For the time being, it may be best to separate the oldest cat from the kittens so that they have separate areas of the house with all their resources like litter trays, water bowls, food bowls, beds, toys etc in each of these areas, and get a referral to a qualified behaviourist such as a member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC) www.apbc.org.uk to help. All the best.

Question: My neutered male cat dashes around like a mad thing for a minute or so after urinating, when in the garden or his litter tray. Why does he do this?

Answer: It would be worth mentioning this to your vet as your cat may need to have a health-check to rule out medical reasons such as a urinary condition. If the vet finds that there's nothing wrong with him, then he may be burning off excess energy. If your cat lives in the house with other animals or children that may be putting him off during toileting, this will need to be addressed as cats love privacy. Our visual guide below offers tips on the best types of litter trays and where to place them around the home.

To enlarge, click on the image
Question: My cat is licking the hair off her legs. She's almost six and it's not long started. But her legs are getting bald. Would ingesting all this hair do her any serious harm? What can I do about it? I’ve tried using Feliway, which hasn't helped and there have been no changes to the household to stress her. However she also has no interest in going outside much. She used to love being out and hunting. Now she's getting a bit plump too. Here she is getting a catnip fix.

Overweight cat eating catnip

Answer: There can be lots of different medical causes for over-grooming so it would be very wise to take her to the vets to rule these out. Your vet can also advise on her weight and a possible weight loss programme if necessary.

Feliway can be very useful in behavioural causes for over-grooming but needs to be used in conjunction with behavioural advice from a qualified behaviourist such as a member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (see link above).

If your vet feels it's behavioural, then we would recommend a referral to a qualified behaviourist. Love the photo, she looks really cute! All the best and I hope she feels better soon.

Question: My neutered, three-year-old male cat keeps chasing his sister with every intention to hump her (he tries, he bites her neck if he can). She runs and fights back and hisses. My question is why a castrated male would do that and also if there is any way to make them friends again? They used to be more friendly with each other in their first year of life. Thanks.

Answer: Sorry to hear that your cats are not getting along. It's great that he's neutered. It is quite an unusual behaviour; you could discuss it with your vet and perhaps consider a blood test to check his testosterone levels to see if that is playing a role. If the vet feels it is behavioural, then we would recommend getting a referral from your vet to a qualified behaviourist such as a member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC) - see link mentioned earlier.

In the meantime, try to have separate play sessions with each cat using a fishing rod toy (always store fishing rod toys safely out of the cat's reach after playtime to avoid injury). All the best.

Veterinary note: Please note that we are unable to give specific advice on your cat's health or any change in behaviour observed. For medical problems, consult your vet who will have access to your cat's medical history and will be able to examine them.

Would you like to ask one of Cats Protection's feline experts a question about your cat? Don't miss the next live Facebook Q&A sessions: Vet Vanessa Howie will be answering questions on 28 April; Neutering Manager Jane Clements will be taking neutering questions on 12 May; and Nicky Trevorrow will be back answering behavioural questions on 26 May. All Q&As are held on Cats Protection's national Facebook page from 2-3pm. See you there!

Monday, 18 April 2016

In praise of older cats

This post has been written by our Caterham, Redhill & East Surrey Branch

We've been sent this lovely update about elderly cat Barney who was adopted from us last year at the ripe old age of 20.

Elderly cat Barney was adopted from Cats Protection

Barney’s new owner Jo writes:

“In Praise of Older Cats!

Barney is still going strong at 21 and generally fit and healthy for his age! I have had him for just over a year now. My friends all thought I was mad taking on an older cat but there are many advantages to getting a more mature moggy!

I wanted to take on a cat that no-one else wanted. As soon as I saw his photos I was smitten and went to meet him.

When I'm at work he snoozes in a warm spot quite happily but still gets out of bed to greet me on my return.

He is quite capable of jumping up on to a 5ft fence, as he has proved to himself recently, but he prefers to stay in the safer vicinity of his own garden most of the time. If he does go further afield he is still super-fast, as cats are, and can give the dog next door a run for his money! He prefers to stay indoors if it's wet so I don't get muddy paw prints all across my clean floor.

He greets all visitors with a warm welcome and has to explore every lap in the room to find the warmest quietest one. He hates it when I'm on my computer but is pretty good at hitting the ‘Send’ key and has been known to appear on Skype.

Great job CP and thank you!

Jo”

Veterinary note: Cats are generally considered geriatric from around 12 years of age and there are lots of simple steps you can take to ensure the later years of your cat’s life are comfortable and happy. Caring for an older cat in their twilight years brings a tremendous joy and many owners actively decide to adopt an older cat because of the endearing qualities they can offer. With their wandering days behind them, older cats tend to stay closer to home and appreciate gentle affection. Owners often comment on the special relationship they have with their older pet, enhanced by some simple measures and an understanding of their needs.

For more information on caring for an older cat, please read our Essential Guide: Elderly cats leaflet.

Friday, 15 April 2016

A gradual recovery for Fusa

This post has been written by our Newbury & District Adoption Centre

Beautiful Fusa arrived at the Newbury & District Adoption Centre as a stray with cat flu symptoms and a very obvious head tilt. She had a serious ear infection which was affecting her balance, causing nausea.  Antibiotics and ear treatments didn't help to alleviate the symptoms.

Black-and-white Fusa

X-rays revealed the problem was a polyp causing all the symptoms and scans and treatment were needed. So we set up a JustGiving page to appeal to cat lovers to help Fusa and other cats in need, to receive the treatment they deserve.

Fusa had a a polyp

Unbelievably, we smashed our target within 24 hours! We were so overwhelmed and grateful for everyone’s generosity.

Our little lady had her operation in December and she spent many weeks in a foster home with our Cat Care Assistant Adele where she had dedicated care. She had a long recovery ahead, longer than originally thought, but we are so happy that Fusa received the treatment she deserved and got all the love and care she needed. Fusa improved over time and became so much more relaxed as she felt better.

We’re so pleased to be able to tell you that she found a happy home in February with a lovely couple.

Here she is going home with her new owner and settling in their home.

Fusa going home with her new owner

Fusa settling into her new home

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

It’s swings and roundabouts for Charlie

This post has been written by Homing & Welfare Officer Ann Walsh at Cats Protection’s Basingstoke & District Branch

We got a call in July 2015 about two cats that had been left behind after their owners had been evicted. With a bit of detective work we tracked down their owners and they signed them over to us. They didn't know much about their history, as they’d taken them on from neighbours who no longer wanted them.

I was told Charlie could be vicious and bullied the other cat Stella… they said I’d need body armour to get him in a carrier! But actually he was as good as gold and from what we could see it was Stella doing the bullying!

We decided it would be best to home the cats separately. Stella soon found a home – she was a fluffy tortie – whereas Charlie, who was about 14, was a bit nervous and not the prettiest black-and-white boy. The poor chap didn't have much luck. Twice we thought we’d found the perfect home but each time it fell through. Then in November, we had a call from a lady called Debbie who was looking for an older cat, and Charlie had caught her eye. They were the perfect match! He settled in straight away and it was lovely to see Debbie’s updates on our Facebook page…

Debbie's story

I got Charlie, a black-and-white boy, about 14 years old, from Basingstoke Cats Protection before Christmas. I left Ann an email to say I would like an older cat and I didn't mind whether it was male or female or what colour it was.

Ann did a house inspection and said Charlie would be good for me – great! I picked him up later that same day.

My sister-in-law, Michelle, who had seen pictures of him but hadn't met him, popped round in February. When Michelle started talking, Charlie came over to her, which he had never done to a stranger before – he normally hides.

She was staring at him and said: "He looks so much like my cat Sox who ran off five years ago."

I said: "How old would he be now?"

Michelle said: "He’d be around 12 or 13 years old now."

She had lots of pictures of Sox. Well, we just could not believe it – he had the same face, eyes, markings and character. His mum had given birth in garages and my brother saw that one of the kittens, Sox was very small and took him home.

We both agreed it had to be her Sox. She called his name and he started rubbing himself round her legs. Isn't that incredible?! I have my sister-in-law’s cat!

The first photo of Sox below was taken five years ago.

Charlie was formally known as Sox

This next photo was taken of Sox or 'Charlie' while in Debbie's care.

Charlie at home with his new owner

Michelle said: "I'm so glad you have him Deb and he's back in the family unit."

Editor's note: Sox wasn't microchipped by his first owner, Michelle, so unfortunately she couldn't be traced. He is microchipped now, thankfully, so if he did ever go missing he could be reunited with his new owner, Debbie. It demonstrates the importance of microchipping!

Find out more about microchipping at www.cats.org.uk/uploads/documents/cat-care-leaflets-2013/EG08_Microchipping.pdf

Monday, 11 April 2016

A fantastic feline fair

This post has been written by Kelly Matthews, a Community Education Officer at Cats Protection

On 24 February, I ran an educational Cats Protection workshop for reception children at St Brides Major Church of Wales Primary School.

The workshop talks a little bit about the charity and also covers cat care, understanding cat behaviour and the importance of respecting cats and all animals as well as responsible pet ownership.

Following the education talk, the class was inspired to hold their own cat fair! The class teacher, Mrs Saal invited me to attend the fair that she, her teaching assistant and the children would be organising on 17 March.

A fun cat-themed workshop

Mrs Saal’s class (who were all dressed as felines – teachers included) in turn each stood up to reveal very interesting facts about cats to everyone, some of which the rest of the school didn't know. They then went on to sing a rendition of Tom Jones’ “What’s new pussy cat?” which was very funny and so adorable.

I said a few words about Cats Protection and they then invited all the parents and family members to have a look at what was on offer on their cat stalls. They varied from yummy colourfully decorated cat cakes made by all to cat clay sculptures, cat finger puppets made by the children and Tsuguharu Foujita art appreciation prints that the children wrote cat-related words on which were sold individually. I also contributed to the sale by making a Cats Protection lucky dip box, which had a few fun goodies and seemed to be a hit with the children.

Cakes sold at a school fair

I also judged a colouring in competition and chose three winners who were thrilled about their prizes. They each received a Cats Protection pen, wrist band, crayons, cat notebook and an Easter treat.

It was a great morning had by all and I was enthralled by everything that the teachers and children had done.

A school girl getting into the feline spirit

A school cat fair raising money for Cats Protection

The school managed to raise £187.05! The donation was kindly received by the nearby Cats Protection Bridgend Adoption Centre.

What a fantastic school they are for running such a lovely event and for raising funds to help the cats in our care.

Friday, 8 April 2016

The big cats of India

This week is Big Cat Week at Cats Protection, so in honour our Himalayan trek and tiger conservation experience in 2017, we’re discovering the big cats of India.

As the Kanha National Park served as inspiration to author Rudyard Kipling when writing The Jungle Book – and the same park will be visited by participants in our challenge event – we thought it’d be fun to find out some facts about the real big cats in the story.

Black panther - Bagheera

Black panther resting on a log
Photo by barrasa8 via flickr / Creative Commons
Did you know...

  • The panther is not actually a separate species of big cat, the general name is used to refer to any black-coloured feline of the big cat family, most notably leopards and jaguars. A panther is usually either a black leopard in Asia and Africa, known as Panthera pardus, or a black jaguar in the Americas, known as Panthera onca
  • The word in Hindi: बाघ / bāgha means ‘tiger’
  • A panther’s dark skin means they are better camouflaged and so more likely to survive, reproduce and it helps them to hide and stalk their prey more easily
  • Black panthers are one of the strongest climbers of all cats and are capable of leaping up to 20 feet from trees to catch prey
  • Like domestic cats, the panther is a solitary animal that leads a nocturnal lifestyle. They spend most of daylight hours resting safely high in the trees
  • Panthers have emerald green eyes
  • Panther cubs are born blind and do not open their eyes until they are nearly two weeks old
  • Depending on the environment they are in, typical prey includes deer, antelopes, wild boars, warthog, tapir, rabbits and birds

Bengal tiger - Shere Khan


Did you know…

  • The word Shere (or ‘shir’) translates as ‘tiger’ or ‘lion’ in Persian, Urdu, and Punjabi, while Khan translates as ‘sovereign,’ ‘king’, or ‘military leader’ in a number of languages including Pashto
  • Tigers live alone and are powerful nocturnal hunters that will travel many miles to find their prey including buffalo, deer, wild boar, cattle and other large mammals
  • No two tigers have exactly the same stripes
  • A hungry tiger can eat as much as 60 pounds of meat in one night
  • The Bengal tiger’s average life span in the wild is between eight and 10 years
  • A tiger's roar can be heard as far as two miles away
  • Bengal tigers can weigh up to 500 pounds for a full grown male and about 310 pounds for a full grown female
  • Despite being the most common of all the tiger species, there are thought to be around 2,000 Bengal tigers left in the wild

If this has whet your appetite, why not sign up for Cats Protection’s Himalayan trek and tiger conservation experience? It offers a unique opportunity to challenge yourself while raising vital funds for your local Cats Protection branch or adoption centre.

To find out more or register your interest in the trip, visit www.cats.org.uk/events or email events@cats.org.uk

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Felines’ and tigers’ welfare, oh my!

This week is Big Cat Week at Cats Protection so we’re calling on adventure-seekers to take part in a once-in-a-lifetime challenge in India.

The trip sees participants completing a challenging four-day trek across the Lesser Himalayan Range, and taking part in conservation work at the Kanha National Park (full itinerary here). All sponsorship goes towards helping unwanted cats in our care.

Lesser Himalayan Range
These are the kind of beautiful views that can be seen on the challenge

Lesser Himalayas challenge for Cats Protection
Participants are completing a four-day trek to raise funds for Cats Protection
First to sign up for the challenge was Kelly Eyre from Flintshire in Wales. Kelly worked as a Cat Care Assistant at Cats Protection’s Wrexham Adoption Centre for three years before studying to become a vet nurse. She now works at the vet practice that looks after the cats in the centre’s care and has adopted a couple of unwanted moggies of her own, called Jelly and Smokey, over the last couple of years.

As well as raising much-needed funds, Kelly says she hopes that training for her Indian adventure will help her to shed a few pounds and improve her fitness.

Kelly Eyre is fundraising for Cats Protection
Kelly Eyre will be embarking on the challenge
“Anybody who knows me will know full well that I do not like walking up hills or any slight incline, and I can't even make it to the top of [the highest hill in the Flintshire Range] Moel Famau!” said Kelly. “It’s about time I challenged myself and, when this opportunity arose, I thought it was the ideal thing to inspire me to get fit while raising money for Cats Protection at the same time.

“Having worked at the Wrexham Centre I know full well how hard the staff and volunteers work to help cats in need and it will be really nice to give them a much-needed boost.”

Another plucky cat lover who has signed up to the challenge is Hannah Bolam from Morpeth in Northumberland. All of her sponsorship money will go to our East Northumberland Branch.

Hannah Bolam is fundraising for Cats Protection
Hannah Bolam says cats are her world
Hannah said: “I have been looking to do a memorable trip abroad and when I came across this one, it was ideal because it combined a trek and tiger conservation experience with supporting Cats Protection, which I have donated to in the past.

“I'm so excited to be a part of it! And the fact it's for the Cats Protection charity couldn't be better, cats are my world!”

To help the ladies reach their fundraising targets, you can sponsor them via JustGiving. You can sponsor Kelly at www.justgiving.com/Kelly-Eyre1 and Hannah at www.justgiving.com/hannahs-tiger-trek

“This is a golden opportunity for cat lovers to get close to big cats in India, while raising vital funds to help little cats back home,” says Cats Protection’s Fundraising Events Manager Rebecca Worth who is promoting the trip. “It promises to be the trip of a lifetime – challenging, fun and incredibly rewarding.”

“We are hoping to sign people up as early as possible so that they have plenty of time to meet the required fundraising target and we will support them with hints, tips and ideas. Anyone of average fitness can take part, with a little preparation, so we’d love anyone who’s interested to sign up today, get fundraising, and show big and little cats just how much they care!”

To sign up or request further details please email rebecca.worth@cats.org.uk or visit www.cats.org.uk/events

If you’d like to see what else we've been up to in Big Cat Week and how you can support us, join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #bigcatweek.

Monday, 4 April 2016

The trek of a lifetime

This week at Cats Protection is Big Cat Week where we’re talking all things big cat!

We’re calling on animal lovers and adventure-seekers to take part in a once-in-a-lifetime challenge in India, with all sponsorship going towards helping unwanted cats in our care.

The challenge takes place from 7-19 October 2017 and includes a challenging four-day trek across the Lesser Himalayan Range, trekking for up to 14km (taking around eight or nine hours) a day and camping in the wilderness. Participants will then spend three days at the Kanha National Park learning about and taking part in a range of activities and conservation work, especially for tigers.                                                                                                    
Want to know more? Here’s the itinerary for the trip:

Days 1-2 
Depart London for Delhi on an overnight flight. Upon arrival the next day, we’ll transfer to a central hotel to relax and freshen-up. After lunch we’ll enjoy a sightseeing tour of Delhi before transferring to the railway station for the overnight sleeper train to Pathankot.

Day 3 
Arrive in Pathankot in the morning and transfer to Dharamshala. On arrival in the home of the Dalai Lama, we’ll check in at the hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at our leisure. Visit the Dalai Lama Palace and the Tibetan government-in-exile buildings, or simply enjoy the atmosphere and browse for souvenirs in the handicraft stalls before enjoying a Tibetan dinner in the evening.

Indian trek of the Lesser Himalaya
Exploring the spectacular Lesser Himalaya
Day 4
After breakfast we will take a short transfer to our starting point, Boh Village. Boh Village is situated on the banks of the Brahal River and our journey there will reward us with spectacular views of the Dhauladhar Mountains. We start with a steep ascent for about two hours and arrive in the remote tribal village of Batuni, where we’ll visit a local family house for refreshments. From Batuni a short walk takes us to our lunch spot, after which we will descend through lush green fields, terraces and woodland to Kanol village where we can set up camp for the night.

Day 5 
After experiencing our first night under the stars, we will continue ascending through many charming villages, passing beautiful open meadows and pine forests on the way. We will stop for lunch in a small village called Kareri before continuing through dense forests to the Rawa River and onward to Bahl, our second campsite.

Day 6
We’ll make a steep ascent through mixed forests of oak, cedar and rhododendrons which takes us up to Triund, the highest point on our trek at 2,843m. This alpine meadow situated on top of a ridge from where there are incredible views of the Dhauladhar peaks on one side and the Kangra valley on the other: the perfect spot to enjoy the sunset and our final night under canvas.

Grey langur monkey in Kanha National Park
You may spot grey langur monkeys
Day 7
After rising early and watching the spectacular sunrise over the Dhauladhar Mountain Range we can set off down a grassy ridge until we reach the Bhagsu waterfall. From there we’ll trek down to Bhagsu village to return to Pathankot and take an overnight train to Delhi.

Days 8-11 
Arrive in Delhi and transfer to the airport for the short flight to Jabalpur. On arrival there will be a three-hour drive to reach Chitvan Jungle Lodge, our base for the next four nights. Over the following few days we will spend time in and around the Kanha National Park (Rudyard Kipling’s inspiration for the classic tale The Jungle Book).

Bengal tiger in the Kanha National Park
Keep an eye out for tigers!
Day 12 
We complete our activities at Kanha in the morning and return to the airport for our flight back to Delhi. We can then celebrate our achievements with a farewell dinner!

Day 13 
Transfer to the airport for the return flight to London.

How to sign up

A registration fee and minimum sponsorship applies to take part. There are limited spaces available, so if you want to sign up – or just get some more information – please contact Events Fundraising Manager Rebecca Worth on 01825 741 960 or email events@cats.org.uk

Join the conversation and meet others supporting Big Cat Week by using the hashtag #bigcatweek on Twitter.

Friday, 1 April 2016

The launch of our cat-themed Mog Jog

We’re really excited to announce that we’re launching our first ever running event on all fours – so you can sprint just like a cat!

Ideal for fitness-loving cat lovers, our Mog Jog will take place on Saturday 16 July 2016 (location TBC). We’ll be asking participants to swap their normal sportswear for a fluffy feline onesie or other cat-themed costume and complete a 5k course on their hands and knees or feet – no mean feat!

Dress as a cat to take part in our Mog Jog

Supporters will also be encouraged to raise money for the thousands of cats that Cats Protection helps every year, while also spreading the message about the growing number of overweight moggies.

Our Fundraising Events Manager, Rebecca Worth, says: “We have supporters raising money for cat welfare in the London Marathon this month, but wanted to offer another fitness challenge that was a bit silly and lots of fun.

“There will be a prize for the first runner who completes the whole circuit on all fours and one for the best cat costume.

“We initially planned to make the event a complete marathon but when we realised how difficult it is to move about on all fours we decided to make the course much shorter!

“If the Mog Jog proves popular this year we hope it will become an annual occurrence in our fundraising events calendar.”

If you’d like to find out more about the event, or sign up to take part in the fun Mog Jog, please visit www.cats.org.uk/mog-jog-2016

We hope the event will also offer an opportunity to raise awareness about feline obesity. Many overweight or obese cats have an increased risk of developing diabetes and can suffer with joint problems such as arthritis. To find out more about preventing feline obesity and keeping cats in top condition, read our Feeding and obesity leaflet.