Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Cats Protection teams up with Bob Mortimer to raise cash for kitties

We’ve joined forces with comedian Bob Mortimer and online gift company Wordynumnum to auction a unique signed print to raise much-needed funds for cats in our care.

The A1 sized artwork is a one-of-a-kind design by Wordynumnum, who have been producing limited edition cat-name prints since July this year. As part of the collaboration, Bob Mortimer took some time out of his schedule to speak to us about the project.
 


How did you get involved with Wordynumnum?

It is a project that I do on the side. I first met Lisa and Roma, the owners of Wordynumnum, when they worked in the costume department at the BBC. They used to make suits for me and Vic Reeves years ago and were particularly creative. When I decided to jokingly ‘sell’ cat names on Twitter earlier this year, they began to use the names and make cat-shaped prints out of them.

Have you got a cat?

I’ve always had cats. I think the first one was probably named by my mum and was called Billy. From then on, I always had cats called Billy. Billy one, Billy two and so on and so forth. I’ve got two cats at the moment, both orientals – one tabby and one tortie. They are called Goodmonson and Mavis but I’m always naming them different things. I probably give my cats different names each day!

What is it about cats that you love?

I have always loved cats. Black-and-white cats in particular – the black cats with the little white collars. I love the way that cats often come into people’s lives and have often had cats that have serendipitously come into my life. The first one was a stray that followed me to school, the second cat was a kitten that unfortunately fell into a cellar. I found my third cat when I was living in a homeless hostel in London.

Why did you choose to help Cats Protection?

Although I haven’t got a particular connection with Cats Protection, as I say, I love cats. I thought it would be a good idea to donate the money gained from these prints to a cat charity. So far, we’ve raised a good amount of money – over one particular weekend, we raised over £3,000. Although there has only been a limited run so far, we’re hoping to increase the amount and raise lots of money for Cats Protection by the end of the year.



If you fancy getting your paws on this unique piece of art, head to our website for more information. The auction will run from midday on Friday 24 November to Monday 27 November.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Keep your pets happy at home this Christmas with TrustedHousitters

It’s nearly Black Friday! So if you’re shopping for the best discounts this festive period, why not sign up with our partner TrustedHousesitters and receive 25% off their annual membership fee?

Christmas is fast approaching and you may be wondering who will look after your pets when you travel to see family over the festive period.

Cats Protection’s partner TrustedHousesitters may well have the solution you have been searching for. And what’s more, you can save a limited time only Black Friday 25% discount off an annual membership from 21-28 November! So whether you’re looking for a sitter or to be a sitter, don’t miss out and sign up between these dates to claim your discount and keep your pets happy this Christmas!

Cats Protection TrustedHousesitters discount code


We appreciate that leaving your pets when you go away can be a stressful time for both you and them. This is why we have partnered with TrustedHousesitters to help you keep your cat and any other pets you own happy and healthy at home when you travel. They offer the perfect solution to help avoid the stress and worry of who will care for your pets while you are away.

How to sign up

It’s easy to sign up for an annual TrustedHousesitters membership online. Simply visit the TrustedHousitters website and sign up as either a ‘Home and Pet Owner’ or a ‘Housesitter’.

To claim the limited time only 25% membership discount, make sure you use the code CATSPROTECTION02 at the checkout.

You will also be supporting Cats Protection too, as TrustedHousesitters will make a donation to Cats Protection for every new membership using this code.

Happy holidays!

Friday, 17 November 2017

Mature Moggies Week: Adopt an older cat!

Cats Protection’s Mature Moggies Week (13-17 November) is almost over and we hope that it has convinced you to consider adopting an older cat.

These older feline companions take four times longer to home than their younger counterparts, but have just as much love to give.

Cats Protection Mature Moggies Week

If you still need some more encouragement then take a look at these lovely stories from proud owners of senior kitizens, discover how ‘older cats’ might be younger than you think and see the benefits of owning a mature moggy over an energetic kitten. You can also learn some top tips for caring for cats aged 11 years and older by taking the mature moggies quiz!

“It’s a shame that older cats stay with us longer as they have a lot to offer,” said Mark Beazley, Director of Operations at Cats Protection. “Their characters are fully formed so you know what sort of cat you’re getting. Life in a pen is no substitute for a permanent home, so we would urge people to consider adopting an older cat.”

Still unsure about adopting a mature moggy? Take a look at some of the adorable kitties that could be warming your lap very soon…

Holly, 14 yrs
Older cat Holly from Cats Protection’s Dereham Adoption Centre
Branch/centre: Cats Protection’s Dereham Adoption Centre
Contact details: 01362 687 919
Holly can be a little shy until she gets to know you, then she likes a fuss. She has been known to sit on laps but needs to build up a bond with you first. We understand she can be fearful of children and would prefer to be the only pet in the household.

Squish, 14 yrs
Older cat Squish from Cats Protection’s Birmingham Adoption Centre
Branch/centre: Cats Protection’s Birmingham Adoption Centre
Contact details: 01564 822 020
Squish is a mature lady who is looking for a quiet home with no children or other pets. Once she gets to know you, she adores a fuss and is always ready for a cuddle and a snooze in front of the TV. Her ideal owner would be someone like her who enjoys a calm environment.

Cheeky, 13 yrs
Older cat Cheeky from Cats Protection’s Glasgow Adoption Centre
Branch/centre: Cats Protection’s Glasgow Adoption Centre
Contact details: 0141 779 3341
Cheeky is a friendly girl but doesn’t like a fuss and will come up to you in her own time. She’d be an ideal pet in a quiet household with no children or other pets. Cheeky craves adventure so a home with a garden to explore would be ideal.

Simbi, 15 yrs
Older cat Simbi from Cats Protection’s Rayleigh, Castlepoint & District Branch
Branch/centre: Cats Protection’s Rayleigh, Castlepoint & District Branch
Contact details: 01268 750 831
Simbi is looking for a loving new home after her owner passed away suddenly. At 15 years young, Simbi plays more like a kitten and displays impressive ping pong dribbling skills. She is a real character, always pleased to see you and often adopting a ‘ballerina’ pose with one leg in the air. Simbi is on medication for thyroid issues, but takes this well. She is also deaf so would benefit from a secure outdoor space to laze around in. Simbi with would best suit a home with no other pets.

Mishka, 13 yrs
Older cat Mishka from Cats Protection’s Crawley, Reigate & District Branch
Branch/centre: Cats Protection’s Crawley, Reigate & District Branch
Contact details: 0345 371 2734
Mishka is wonderfully young-at-heart. She is a friendly feline who has previously been a faithful lapcat, but came into care after her owner emigrated. She has no medical needs and would be best suited to a home with no children or other animals.

To find more mature moggies waiting for their forever home, visit the Cats Protection website.

If you’re the proud owner of a senior kitizen, show the world just how amazing they are by leaving a comment below or sharing your photos and stories on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #MatureMoggies.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Mature Moggies Week: Older cat care

Mature Moggies Week caring for your older cat

It’s Mature Moggies Week (13-17 November), a chance for Cats Protection to raise awareness of the older cats that take four times longer to home than their younger counterparts.

To find out why senior kitizens are so often overlooked, the UK’s leading feline welfare charity conducted some research on the topic. The survey revealed the following reasons stopping people from adopting an older cat:
  • fear that it won’t live long (72%)
  • concerns over health (56%)
  • the cost of nursing an old cat back to health (40%)
It’s clear that the health of mature moggies is a major worry, but the reality is that cats are living longer thanks to advances in their care. Average life expectancy has risen and quality of life has improved, with many cats living into their late teens and even early 20s in great health.

For extra peace of mind, all current residents of Cats Protection have received a full health check and come with a full medical history.

If you’re already the lucky owner of a mature moggy, Cats Protection has put together some top tips to help you care for them.
  1. Get bi-annual vet checks – many vets offer regular health checks for cats aged 11 years or older that include blood pressure measurement and urine testing to ensure any issues can be detected early. Conditions such as arthritis, dental disease, diabetes and kidney disease are all treatable and are better identified earlier than later. Speak to your vet about how often your mature moggy should be checked over.
  2. Provide an age-appropriate diet – older cats prefer to be fed little and often and lots of commercial pet food brands offer a 'senior' product tailored just for their nutritional needs. Speak to your vet about ensuring your cat has a suitable diet and remember to make any changes slowly.
  3. Check for signs of pain – with your cat’s eyesight and hearing likely to deteriorate in old age, their environment will need to be adapted. Make sure all of your cat’s resources (food, water, bed and litter tray) are in easily accessible locations and look out for signs of stiffness and a reluctance to jump up or down, as these could be signs of arthritis. If you spot these signs or any other changes, speak to your vet.
To find out what sort of care your cat needs, take our Mature Moggies quiz. Simply enter your cat’s age and we’ll give you some advice for ensuring they stay happy and healthy.

To find out more about mature moggies, visit the Cats Protection website.

If you’re the proud owner of a senior kitizen, show the world just how amazing they are by leaving a comment below or sharing your photos and stories on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #MatureMoggies.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Mature Moggies Weeks: Older cats vs kittens

When adopting a cat, less than a quarter (24%) of people have said they would be likely to consider an older cat aged 11 years or older. This sad statistic has come from a survey carried out by Cats Protection to find out why mature moggies in their care are so often overlooked.

Senior kitizens take four time longer to find a home than their younger counterparts and so Cats Protection has launched Mature Moggies Week (13-17 November) to raise awareness of older cats waiting patiently for new owners.

Research carried out by the UK’s leading feline welfare charity found that older cats take an average of 33 days to be adopted, while kittens are typically adopted in just eight days. In a survey, 47% of people said they would be unlikely to consider adopting an older cat, compared to 68% who said they would be likely to consider a kitten.

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One reason given for being unlikely to adopt a mature moggy was that older cats are not very playful, but many proud cat owners would argue that this is not the case.

In fact, owning a mature moggy has many benefits and, for some, may even be a better option than adopting a kitten. According to cat owners, the top three benefits of owning an older cat are:
  • they are calmer (58%)
  • they don’t want to leave the house as much (54%)
  • they feel like they are more of a family member (52%)
If you’re thinking of adopting a cat, check out our video to see why an older cat may be the best option for you…


To find out more about mature moggies, visit the Cats Protection website.

If you’re the proud owner of a senior kitizen, show the world just how amazing they are by leaving a comment below or sharing your photos and stories on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #MatureMoggies.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Mature Moggies Week: What is old?

It’s Mature Moggies Week (13-17 November), a chance to celebrate all the senior kitizens snoozing in their forever homes or waiting patiently in Cats Protection’s care for a new owner to give them the love they deserve. Older cats take four times longer to home than their younger counterparts, but when exactly does a cat become ‘old’?

A survey conducted by Cats Protection revealed that a lot of people are confused by what actually is ‘old’ for a cat and what their equivalent age is in human years.

For example, 23% of people said that they would consider any cat aged over five years as ‘older’, but only 16% of people correctly guessed that a five-year-old cat is actually only 36 in human years.

Less than 4% of people knew that a one-year-old cat is 15 years old in human years, as most thought the correct answer was five years old.

This confusion perhaps comes from the fact that there aren’t always seven human years to every cat year. The number actually varies, as cats grow up faster in the first few years.

To help you work out how old you cat is in human years, Cats Protection has put together this useful guide…

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To find out what care your cat needs at their current stage in life, take the Mature Moggies quiz on the Cats Protection website. Simply input your cat’s age and we will give you some advice on how best to care for them.

If you’re the proud owner of a senior kitizen, show the world just how amazing they are by leaving a comment below or sharing your photos and stories on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #MatureMoggies.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Mature Moggies Week: Celebrating older cats

Kittens may be cute, but older cats still have a lot of love and purrs to give those looking for the purrfect feline companion.

Sadly, mature moggies aged 11 and older in Cats Protection’s care take over twice as long to find their forever home as their younger counterparts. These senior kitizens take an average of 33 days to be adopted, while kittens are typically adopted in just eight days.

To raise awareness of older cats still looking for homes, Cats Protection is hosting Mature Moggies Week from 13-17 November. Across five days we will be highlighting the benefits of adopting an older puss and providing helpful cat care information for anyone who owns, or is thinking of owning, a feline friend.

Tell us about your mature moggy


In a survey conducted by Cats Protection, just 24% of people said that they’d consider adopting an older cat, compared to 68% who would be happy to home a kitten. Reasons people gave for not wanting to adopt an older cat included; the fear that it wouldn’t live long, concerns over health, worries about the cost to nurse an old cat back to health and the belief that an older puss would not be playful.

However, as many owners of older cats will know, mature moggies can make the best pets. When asked about the benefits of owning a senior kitizen, the top reasons owners gave included; they are calmer, they don’t want to leave the house as much and they feel like they are more of a family member. To purrsuade those who may still not be convinced an older cat is for them, we have invited some proud owners of mature moggies to share their ‘tails’…

Albert, 13-14 years old
Albert the black-and-white is an older cat success story for Mature Moggies Week

Handsome black-and-white puss Albert, previously known as Mr Boots, had been in the care of Cats Protection’s Trafford Branch for two long years before Charlotte and her fiancĂ© Dave adopted him. Charlotte said: “After reading Mr Boots/Albert's story on the Cats Protection website and hearing about the clear love he had for people, adopting him was an incredibly easy decision to make. People regularly say how lucky Albert is to have been adopted and to have such a loving home. But genuinely, I feel the opposite is true... we are incredibly lucky to have him!” Charlotte and Dave describe adopting Albert as one of the best decisions they have made and would encourage others to consider giving a mature moggy a home. “The great thing about having an older cat is the reassurance,” said Charlotte. “They are there to greet you at home and they are grateful for the love and care you give them. My fiancĂ© and I both have busy careers. When we are not at home, there is nothing to worry about as Albert just eats and sleeps. When we are at home, he loves to have a cuddle and now regularly plays with his toys. Having an older moggy suits our lifestyle...those with busy careers will find an older moggy is a great choice.”

Vinnie, 16 years old

Vinnie the black cat is an older cat success story for Mature Moggies Week
Adorable black cat Vinnie had been living as a stray and was in a bad way when he came to Cats Protection’s Gateshead & Newcastle Branch, but as soon as Nicole and her partner Chris saw his photo they instantly fell in love with him. Nicole said: “Vinnie is such a quirky character and so loveable. He follows me everywhere around the house and loves nothing more than snuggling up to me in the evenings. It’s also nice knowing that we were able to offer him a home for however many years he has left (which I hope is still lots more to come).” Nicole believes that just because older cats are quieter and sleep more doesn’t mean they should be overlooked. She added: “For those wanting to adopt a cat, please don’t just limit yourself to looking at kittens or young cats. Adopting a mature moggy brings just as much happiness as a younger cat would bring. They may have more medical conditions but they just want to be part of a loving family and to be loved too. I couldn’t imagine life without my mature moggy. Vinnie really is such a character that I can’t put in words how much I love him.”

Clove, 13 years old
Clove the black-and-white cat is an older cat success story for Mature Moggies Week

Monochrome moggy Clove came to Cats Protection’s Warrington Adoption Centre when her owners moved house and couldn’t take her with them. She had been in their care for three months before Clare and her husband Rob arrived looking for a cat in need of a home. “There were quite a few people there at the time, all bypassing Clove in favour of younger cats. She looked so forlorn! We asked to be let into her enclosure and she immediately settled into my husband’s lap and started to purr. We both knew we couldn’t leave her there.” Clove has now settled into her forever home and is the queen bee of the house. “She loves chin rubs and to chase her little toy squirrel around with more gusto than our other cat who is seven!” said Clare. “If anyone has any hesitation about adopting an older cat, please tell them about Clove. We couldn't imagine life without her and we hope she'll have a good few years ahead of her yet.”

Valentine, 15-16 years old

Valentine the black-and-white cat is an older cat success story for Mature Moggies Week

Valentine was found living under a local college on Valentine’s Day (hence her lovely name), and was looking bedraggled, cold and thin when she was taken into Cats Protection’s Camberley & District Branch. When Tracy saw an appeal to find Valentine a home she couldn’t resist meeting her and the two had an instant connection. “Valentine is the most wonderful girl and everyone in the family loves her to pieces,” said Tracy. “She can be found anywhere warm in the house...bed, sofa, sunny window (and usually gently snoring!). She enjoys a walk around the garden on warm days. We feel so incredibly lucky to have her.” Tracy thinks that it’s a shame older cats are overlooked when it comes to finding loving homes. She said: “They are usually fully house trained, don't stray, are calm, relaxed and love nothing more than a comfy place to snooze the day away. With good care they can live long and happy lives!”

Guinness, 15 years old
Guiness is an older cat success story for Mature Moggies Week

Gorgeous Guinness came to Cats Protection’s Camberley & District Branch when his elderly owner went into a home and was unable to him with them. He had been waiting for a new owner for some time when Alanna saw his advert. She said: “I felt really sad that after living with his owner for so long they had to be separated and thought Guinness should be able to spend his last years living in a happy home.” Despite him having only three teeth left and being a bit overweight, Alanna decided to take him home and he is now happy, settled and has lost some excess pounds. “He is very greedy and very lazy and enjoys watching the world go by out of the window,” said Alanna. “He can sleep literally anywhere! He also gives lovely gummy smiles, which always make us laugh, and is also partial to hiding in some very odd places that are guaranteed to give you a shock, like in draws and cupboards, behind lamps and his favourite, when I’m not looking, is in my handbag!”

To find out more about mature moggies, visit the Cats Protection website.

If you’re the proud owner of a senior kitizen, show the world just how amazing they are by leaving a comment below or sharing your photos and stories on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #MatureMoggies.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

New beginnings for brave Beric

This post was written with the help of Cats Protection’s Colwyn & District Branch

Named after a one-eyed warrior from the popular TV series Game of Thrones, Beric was found living in Llandudno Junction. Thought to have been a stray for quite a while, he was gathering a few scars and had suffered a nasty eye injury.

Thankfully, a kind lady had been feeding him regularly. After feeling worried about his welfare, she contacted the Colwyn & District Branch of Cats Protection to report him as a stray. Beric was taken to the vets, where he had surgery under general anaesthetic to remove his damaged eye. He was also neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and treated for parasites. Once healed, Beric soon adjusted to life with one eye and became increasingly confident and friendly.



Once he was signed off by the vet as fit to home, Beric was put up for homing. After his picture was publicised on the branch’s website, it wasn’t long before he found an owner in a local cat-lover called Kim. Beric’s name was changed to Derek, signifying a new beginning in his forever home.

Owner Kim says: “Derek is very affectionate and beautiful. As soon as I sit down, he sits next to me or on me. He is often found purring away with his paw and head resting on me.”


As for venturing outside again, Derek will soon be exploring the area. “While I won’t let him out yet, I have noticed him staring out the window – perhaps longingly. I’m looking to let him out to explore the outdoors in a few weeks when he is settled.”

A new beginning for Beric – now Derek – and an excellent companion for Kim.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Why do cats go crazy for catnip?

If you’ve ever witnessed your cat’s behaviour around catnip then you may have seen them react in a rather bizarre manner. From casual sniffing or chewing, to vigorous head-rubbing, drooling and rolling around, this humble plant can elicit some rather unusual and entertaining behaviours from our feline friends. So what exactly is it about catnip that cats love so much? Read on to learn more about this curious plant…

What is catnip?

The catnip plant (Nepeta cataria) is actually a member of the mint family, which is why it is sometimes referred to as catmint. It is native to Europe, Asia and Africa but was later brought to North America and now grows as a weed on all of these continents. Its effects on cats have been known to science since the 1700s, but modern research has revealed exactly how it works.

Kittens playing with catnip toy mouse


Why do cats go crazy for it?

When cats sniff catnip, a chemical compound called nepetalactone that’s found in the plant enters their nasal tissue. There it binds to protein receptors that stimulate sensory neurons which in turn send signals to the brain. These signals reach the parts of the brain called the amygdala, which is responsible for emotional responses, and the hypothalamus, responsible for behavioural responses, and create a reaction similar to that caused by a cat’s natural sex pheromones. The effects will usually last for a period of around 10 minutes, after which the cat will become temporarily immune to the plant’s effects for 30-60 minutes. If a cat eats catnip it is safe in small doses but will not elicit the same effects as sniffing it.

Are all cats affected by catnip?

Only around 70-80% of domestic cats react to catnip as the response is inherited from one or both parents. Kittens aged under six months are also typically immune as they have not yet reached sexual maturity. However, wild cats including lions, tigers and leopards can go crazy for catnip when they are exposed to it.

What effect does it have on humans?

Catnip does not affect humans in the same way as cats but it does still have its uses. For example, it can be used as an insect repellent to keep flies and mosquitoes at bay.

Does your cat go bananas for their favourite catnip toy? Share your amusing catnip stories in the comments below or post your photos and videos on our Facebook and Twitter pages!

If you're feeling crafty, you can also have a go at making your own catnip mouse toy using this handy knitting pattern.

Knitting pattern for Captain Cat-Battler catnip mouse toy

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Keeping your cat calm during firework season

With fireworks season upon us, it is only natural that pet owners may become anxious about their cats' welfare.

If you're concerned about keeping your cat safe and calm, take a look at our video for top tips.



To ensure your cat is kept safe and calm, you should:

  • keep your cat in after dark
  • provide your cat with a litter tray and securely fasten all windows and doors
  • reduce noise by keeping curtains drawn
  • play soothing music
  • provide a safe, comfy place in familiar territory for your cat to hide (a simple cardboard box or igloo-style cat bed should be enough)
  • create a reassuring environment with a FELIWAY® classic plug-in diffuser
If you're concerned about your cat's behaviour, don't hesitate in contacting your vet.

Find more advice here: www.cats.org.uk/fireworks-and-bonfire-night



Friday, 3 November 2017

Stray and Feral Q&A

In our recent live Facebook Q&A, Neutering Manager Jane answered queries about stray and feral cats. If you missed it, here is a roundup of some of the topics covered.

Question: I have a cat that was feral – I found her when she was a kitten. I had her neutered and chipped but she still wanders. I think someone else is feeding her as she is away for months and I only get her back when she is scanned for her microchip and returned. This has been happening for about two years. She doesn’t get on with my other cats and although she used to love my dogs, the two older ones died around the time she went missing. I wonder if this is why she does this?

Answer: It might be possible that the passing of your dogs caused this change in her behaviour. Not getting on with your other cats is quite possibly also an issue for her. You have done the right thing in getting her microchipped and making sure she is identifiable. For more advice, take a look at our leaflet on cats living together.


Question: A couple of months ago there was a stray on the estate. I was able to befriend him and with Cats Protection’s help, he was neutered. The vet said he was about two years old, but had not been microchipped. He is now part of the family. About two weeks ago, another stray was in the area and was fighting other cats. He has also not been neutered. He has become very friendly too although he is quite nervous. I’m not sure what to do. No one on the estate knows who they belong to. Can you advise?

Answer: As no one on the estate knows him or his owner and he is a nervous cat, the best thing would be to make sure he is neutered. He will then be OK living outside if he has a food and shelter source. Call our National Information Line and we can give you further advice. Call 03000 12 12 12, Neutering option. Mon-Fri, 9.30-1pm. Thank you.

Question: How should you catch a feral cat to neuter them?

Answer: It is best not to do this yourself if you have never been trained how to do it properly. If you have cats that need trapping, neutering and returning, our advisors can give you advice as to your nearest form of help. Please call the National Information Line on 03000 12 12 12, neutering option, Mon-Fri 9.30-1pm. Thank you.


Question: There has been a male cat coming to our communal gardens for over a year. He is small and thin but his fur doesn’t look particularly manky. He used to spray everywhere and be very vocal when there was a female cat living nearby – she has moved now so he never makes a sound, apart from when I put food out. I tried putting out a paper collar and there was no response. What should I do?

Answer: You have obviously tried to find a potential owner, which is great. From what you’ve said, I assume he is friendly and you can handle him easily. If this is the case and you feel you could get him to a vet to be checked for a microchip, this would be the ideal next step. If no chip is found, call our helpline and one of our advisors will give you the best means of help close to you to get him neutered. This is the best thing to do for his overall welfare. As long as he is receiving food and shelter and gets neutered, these are the priority. The National Information Line is 03000 12 12 12, then neutering option. Mon-Fri 9.30-1pm. Thank you.

If you’ve found a cat and you’re unsure whether they are a stray or feral cat, take a look at our website for advice: www.cats.org.uk/found-cat

Our visual guide will also help you tell the difference between lost cats, found cats and feral cats.

Friday, 27 October 2017

National Black Cat Day: Celebrating our black cat heroes

Today is a day for celebrating unseen heroes. Those faithful friends who make our lives that little bit better, but too often go unrecognised.

We’re talking, of course, about black cats.

Loyal, loving and truly heroic, these supercats take a tragic 13% longer to rehome than their colourful counterparts. That’s why every year on 27 November, we put black cats in the spotlight and remind the world why these dark-furred defenders deserve a loving home.



What is National Black Cat Day?

Perhaps potential cat owners are swayed by outdated and untrue superstitions. Or maybe they simply notice colourful cats sooner when visiting a shelter. Either way, black cats often spend a long time waiting for their perfect human sidekicks.

We believe in better for our black cat heroes. That’s why we’re here to debunk myths and raise awareness about these elegant, affectionate creatures.

What makes black cats heroic?

While legends about black cats being unlucky are categorically untrue, we can confirm that these creatures are pretty super-powered. From their powerful feline physiques to their unique place in myths and legends, these creatures are worthy of recognition.

Here are just a few reasons why all black cats are heroes.
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How can I help?

If you’ve fallen in love with our black cat heroes, and want to welcome one into your home, you can search for the perfect feline friend with our find-a-cat function. Search by location and lifestyle, and make a world of difference to a beautiful black cat today.

Grab a gift for a good cause at our Cats Protection Black Cat shop. From homeware to accessories, we’ve got black cat accoutrements for the whole family - the perfect way to help make our black cat heroes more visible.

Text KITTEN66 to 70660 to donate to our heroic team of Cats Protection volunteers, who help over 200,000 black cats and kittens a year around the UK. Your donation will help find loving homes for cats of every colour.

And of course, if you’re the proud sidekick of a black cat hero, today is the day to let them know just how much you appreciate them. Whether it’s extra cuddles on the couch, a new toy to play with together, or something special for supper, let us know how you celebrate with your black cat on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Carve your own crafty cat pumpkin

The evenings are getting darker and the pumpkins are aglow - it must be time for Halloween! To celebrate, we've put together our own cat-themed templates to use when carving your pumpkin.



Choose from two templates, both featuring magnificent moggies. One is spookily simple and the other is devilishly difficult! Click on each template to download, print them and follow the instructions before enjoying the glow of your gorgeous cat pumpkin. Remember: keep lit pumpkins away from your own feline friend at all times.

http://www.cats.org.uk/uploads/documents/Crafty_cat_stencil_2.jpg


 
We'd love to see your crafty cat masterpieces on show. Be sure to share a photo of them either on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Make sure you tag us in @CatsProtection

Keeping your cat safe this Halloween

While Halloween spells plenty of fun for people, it can be stressful for your pet cat. With frightening costumes, strangers knocking at the door and some unfamiliar scents in the air, you'll need to keep your feline friend safe. Take a look at our top tips:

  • ensure your cat has plenty of different places to hide, preferably somewhere up high
  • keep your cat inside after dark, especially if you can hear fireworks
  • be cautious when opening your door to ensure your cat doesn't escape
  • never put a costume on your cat
  • keep treats and sweets away from your cat
For more advice on keeping your cat safe this Halloween, take a look at our online guide.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

A speedy recovery for Bolt

This post has been written with the help of Cats Protection's Aberystwyth & District Branch.

Bolt first arrived at the Aberystwyth & District Branch of Cats Protection in June after being found as a stray. Although he was being regularly fed by a local resident, he appeared sodden from rain and bedraggled. With a floppy left ear and a few scars, it was apparent he had been in a few fights.



When Bolt arrived at the branch, it was soon clear that he was a lover of food. Whatever he was given, he wolfed it down and looked for more the branch even considered naming him Oliver! This was thought to be a practice he’d picked up from being a stray and not knowing where his next meal would come from.

Bolt also had a huge swelling on his face. The bulging mass was so huge, it caused his right eye to remain closed and was a serious concern. On visiting the vet, he was sadly diagnosed with cancer and it was advised that the affected area should be cut away.

Struggling to come up with a name quickly, one of the branch’s volunteers came up with the name ‘Bolt’ perfect for a cat that is quick on his paws. The vet also suspected that Bolt had, at some point, been run over, as his hind legs were stiff and fairly unstable. It was found that he was also suffering from arthritis, again as a result of his time on the streets.



Slowly recovering from his operation, Bolt became more confident and affectionate. While he was in the branch’s care, he stole the hearts of both the volunteers and staff working there and was known to regularly sit on laps while being stroked, purring and dribbling.

He was eventually homed and has quickly settled into his new home. He particularly enjoys his owner’s company and still has a huge appetite!

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

National Black Cat Day: Nominate your black cat hero to win!

Who are your heroes? Are they super-powered comic-book stars? Or are they the unsung champions who improve your everyday life? Perhaps a friend or family member comes to mind - or maybe a beloved pet.

Sadly, not all heroes get the recognition they deserve. While black cats can be true friends and constant companions, they often go unnoticed compared to their colourful counterparts. Research from last year shows that black cats take on average 13% longer to rehome than a cat of any other colour.

This National Black Cat Day, that’s all about to change.


We’re raising awareness about our dark-furred defenders by asking black cat lovers across the UK to tell us what makes their cats heroic. We’ve already had hundreds of entries across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and our dedicated competition page.

We will choose seven intrepid cats to form a league of heroes, dedicated to raising awareness about black cats and finding them happy homes.

Our lucky winners will each get their paws on a selection of feline-friendly goodies including Cats Protection Shop treats, a FreakMEOWt catnip toy and more. On top of this, one supreme supercat owner will receive exclusive artwork from Simon’s Cat and 2 x tickets to the National Cat Awards.

To get involved, simply submit a photo of your beautiful black or black-and-white cat and tell us why they’re your hero to be in with a chance of winning. We’ll choose our favourites and announce the winners on 27 October, National Black Cat Day. For full terms and conditions, visit the Cats Protection website.

If you don’t yet have a black cat hero in your life and you’re thinking of adopting, search for happy, healthy cats via our find-a-cat tool. Search by location and lifestyle and find the perfect supercat for you or your family.

You can also help support our black cat heroes by texting KITTEN66 to 70660 to donate to our heroic team of volunteers, or pick up a gift for a good cause in the Cats Protection Shop. From homeware to accessories, we’ve got everything you need to represent on behalf of black cat heroes everywhere.

Monday, 16 October 2017

TrustedHousesitters – keeping your pets happy at home while you travel

Have you ever worried about or struggled to find someone to look after your cat and other pets when you go away?

Do you have pets that need that little bit of extra care while you are on your travels?

Cats Protection’s partner TrustedHousesitters may well have the solution you have been searching for!

We appreciate that leaving your pets when you go away can be a stressful time for both you and them. This is why we have partnered with TrustedHousesitters to help you keep your cat, and any other pets you own, happy and healthy at home when you travel. They offer the perfect solution to help avoid the stress and worry of who will care for your pets while you are away.

Grey cat sitting on chair

Who are TrustedHousesitters?

TrustedHousesitters launched in 2010 with a simple mission: to keep pets happy and safe in their own homes. Since then the website has grown quickly into an incredible global community of pet lovers who help each other travel.

When Andy Peck, the founder and CEO of TrustedHousesitters, was inspired to launch the company, he focused on solving one problem: keeping pets happy at home when their owners go away.

Knowing that many people struggle to find adequate pet care, the first step was to create a platform where owners could find sitters who would care for their pets in exchange for a free retreat. Andy went backpacking around the world, recruiting on both sides as he went. Seven years later TrustedHousesitters is the world’s largest house and pet sitting site with a community of over 500,000 pet lovers from 150 countries.

Their sitters have received five-star ratings from thousands of home and pet owners all over the world, so you can travel with peace of mind that your pets are happy at home. Once you join TrustedHousesitters you are able to connect with verified and experienced in-home sitters who will care for your pets every time you go away. You can even sign up to become a sitter too.

Trusted Housesitters logo
How can I sign up?

It’s easy to sign up for an annual TrustedHousesitters membership online and they are also giving our supporters a 15% discount on the cost of membership.

Simply visit the TrustedHousesitters website and sign up as either a ‘Home and Pet Owner’ or a ‘Housesitter’.

To claim your exclusive 15% membership discount, make sure you use the code CATSPROTECTION02 at the checkout.

You will also be supporting Cats Protection too, as TrustedHousesitters will make a donation to Cats Protection for every new membership using this code.

Friday, 13 October 2017

How do cats learn?

As the thousands of cat videos on the internet prove, we can’t help but find the behaviours of our feline friends endlessly entertaining.

Whether they’re going crazy for a catnip toy, sleeping in an unusual place or pushing something off of an otherwise empty table, they are truly fascinating to observe. All of these behaviours are part of what makes a cat a cat, but where do they come from?

Many are evolutionary or inherited but some will also be influenced by the individual cat’s previous experiences and are therefore learned.

There are several ways in which cats can learn new behaviours, so to explain them, Cats Protection has created an animated miniseries called Biscuit Quest. In each video, Tiddles the cat gets to grips with a new learning theory as she tries to get her paws on some tasty cat biscuits.

The first video is all about classical conditioning and shows Tiddles learning where her food is kept.



Part two shows why Tiddles doesn’t learn through imitation, but humans do!



Part three sees Tiddles using trial and error to try to open the biscuit cupboard.



Finally, in part four, Tiddles gets the biscuits! As she is rewarded for her behaviour with food, she has learnt that it will have a successful outcome and so knows to try it again.



To find out more about understating your cat’s behaviour, take a look at the cat care leaflet on Cats Protection’s website.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

“Why is my cat terrified of noise?” and other veterinary questions

Concerned about your cat's health? This week, Cats Protection vet Sarah hosted a live Q&A on Facebook to answer some of your questions.

If you missed it, here's a roundup:

Question: We have four cats, but one of them (he's a boy) has a rather sensitive tummy. Any change in food or temperature can make his stool soft or running and there's rarely some blood in in it too. Is it normal as he doesn't do this all the time?

Answer: It would be worth checking this with your vet so that they can examine him and comment more specifically for him. However, many cats have a sensitive bowel and what you are describing sounds like colitis. Usually cats with this condition are still well in themselves and happy to eat, but may have occasional soft stools with perhaps a bit of fresh blood there. Diet changes and stress can be a cause of flare ups. For more info, check out our advice leaflet on digestive disorders here.

Question: My cat is terrified of any noise and runs away. How can I help him calm down?

Answer: Kittens have a 'socialisation period' which lasts from two to eight weeks of age. During this time their brains are undergoing a lot of development and they decide what is 'safe' and 'not safe'. If your cat has not experienced certain sounds or sudden noises during his socialisation period, then it is likely he will always react initially with some degree of fear. It is important to give him all the space he needs, and always give him the option of being able to run and hide if he feels scared. If he is feeling stressed, then these tips can help too: https://icatcare.org/advice/problem-behaviour/stressed-cats

 

Question: My cat has got a cyst near his shoulder. It is growing and moving from left to right. We checked it before but have been told it is not harmful. Our cat is 10 and had cancer two years ago.  I’m hesitant to have it checked out because of the fear of operation. Is there any advice on what to do with the cyst or can it be remove without operation?

Answer: I can understand your concerns and the idea of an operation can be scary. I would encourage you to talk to your vet, as there may be many different options for treatment and not necessarily just surgery. As an aside, general anesthetics are generally very safe for cats nowadays. Modern drugs and monitoring machines mean that anesthetic complications are less and less common. Please check out our leaflet ‘You and your vet’: www.cats.org.uk/.../cat.../VG19_You_and_your_vet.pdf - there are lots of tips on how to make the experience as stress-free as possible.

Question: I adopted a kitten from Cats Protection three weeks ago. She is such a cutie and we love her! I was just wondering why she sleeps with her eyes slightly open and almost boss-eyed? Sometimes she even shakes her head too.

Answer: Thank you so much for giving a CP cat a home!;) It looks like when she is asleep, her eyelids are slightly open (this is pretty normal) and you can just about see her third eyelids coming across (again, this is normal). Cats have a third eyelid in each eye which looks white when it is across the eye. The third eyelid gives a bit of extra protection to the eye. The head shaking might be worth a vet check however – it could be parasites or a problem with the inner ears for example. Make sure you are up to date with flea control.



Question: There are a number of cats in our area who scavenge from bins. They do belong to a neighbour - should we be worried about them? Ours are definitely well-fed and never scavenge from bins so we were concerned it may be a care issue.

Answer: Some cats are particularly food motivated and will look for food even if they are well-fed. Cats Protection would recommend using bins with a secure lid, to try and prevent cats from scavenging for them. Cats (like people) can get food poisoning and there may be other stuff in the bins that perhaps won't go down too well if eaten either!

For more advice about looking after your cat, head to the cat care section of our website.

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

Friday, 6 October 2017

A new lease of life for three-legged Mitsy

This post has been written with the help of Cats Protection's North Birmingham Branch.

Mitsy the cat
 
This week has seen another successful rehoming by the North Birmingham branch of Cats Protection, who managed to help Mitsy find her forever home.

Mitsy, who is just under a year old, was taken to the vets with an injured leg. With her life ahead of her, it was decided that amputating her leg was the best course of treatment, with the branch agreeing to pledge the money for her operation.

After she had recovered, she was put up for adoption with the hope she’d find some loving owners to look after her. Kim and Paul soon spotted her on the website, and decided to make a visit.

Kim says: "We saw Mitsy on the North Birmingham Cats Protection website and to be honest, weren’t sure about taking on a three-legged cat. My husband and I talked it through and thought, why not give a home to the neediest cat with the saddest background, rather than a perfect kitten? After going through the homing process, we decided she was the one for us."
 
Mitsy in the garden
 
With Mitsy’s amputation so recent, she was still adapting to life as a three-legged cat. A wide shelf had been made for her by fosterers, with a special ladder that gave her access to her sleeping quarters. Once she arrived at Kim and Paul’s house, however, she quickly improved, progressing to making her way up and down the staircase and exploring anywhere she could!

Kim says: "She wears herself out running about everywhere and then has a lovely rest sleeping in the sun on our bed. We didn’t allow previous pets on the bed, but how could we say no to Mitsy when it’s such good physio for her to jump up? And displaying such happiness to have a home and comfy bed too?" Mitsy now has a new lease of life, and she’s made her new owners very happy too.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Cats and arthritis: how to spot the signs

Arthritis is a common condition in humans that causes pain and inflammation of the joints but did you know that cats can have it too? It’s particularly common in cats aged 12 or over but because they are very good at disguising pain it can be very difficult to detect.

For National Arthritis Week (9 - 16 October 2017), Cats Protection has put together a useful infographic to help you identify the common signs of arthritis in your cat and give you some handy tips for managing their condition.
To enlarge, click on the image

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Common signs of arthritis in cats include:
  • grooming less often and a reluctance to let you groom them (their coat may look dull and unkempt)
  • a general decline in activity levels
  • a hesitation to jump up or down
  • toileting outside of the litter tray
If you notice any of these signs, the first thing you should do is take the cat to the vet. Unfortunately there isn’t a cure for arthritis but there are a few things you can do to make your cat’s life a little more comfortable.

These include:
  • helping them reach their favourite places by strategically placing boxes and furniture
  • providing plenty of cosy, well-padded beds in safe and warm places
  • ensuring the sides of their litter tray aren’t too tall so they can climb in and out easily
For more information on cat care, visit the Cats Protection website.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

"Why is my cat bringing in mice?" and other behaviour FAQs

Feeling concerned about your cat’s behaviour? Behaviourist Nicky Trevorrow recently took to our national Facebook page to answer live questions from cat owners.

Note: If your cat starts to display any behaviours that are unusual or they develop a change in personality or demeanour, the first person to speak to must always be your vet. Many changes in behaviour are due to illness or pain and so you should arrange an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.
Other seemingly ‘odd’ behaviours that do not have roots in a medical condition can be explained by understanding the natural behaviour that makes a cat a cat. For these types of behaviour issues we would recommend a referral to a qualified behaviourist from the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC).

Here are just some of the questions from our Q&A:

Question: We rescued two gorgeous girls a few weeks ago and I've noticed one of them is eating all the jelly from both dishes before the other gets a look in. I've tried calling both girls to eat at the same time but if the quieter of the two doesn't come she's missing out on the good stuff. Putting it out at separate times doesn't work either. Any ideas?

Answer: Lots of people have this problem. It would be worth separating them during feeding times. Watch your cats closely to work out which areas of the house they prefer to spend time in. If your quieter cat prefers to be in the bedroom, then I'd suggest feeding her there and the more confident one downstairs with the door shut between them. You can also get microchip cat feeders that read the cat's unique microchip number and will only 'open sesame' for the right cat!




Question: My cat has brought three mice into the house for the third day in a row. The first two in my daughter’s bedroom where she likes to sleep with them at night and then the third this morning she was just bringing in. Are these gifts and is there any way we can stop this?

Answer: While previously it was thought that cats brought prey back to the house as a gift, the current thinking is that cats often prefer to bring prey back to their core territory, which is generally the house. This is a natural instinct in all cats (even if some don't actually hunt, they have the ability to), so it would be impossible to stop. However, you can reduce the amount a cat hunts by keeping the cat indoors during dawn and dusk when its prey is most active, placing a quick release collar with a bell on it around the cat’s neck and most importantly, giving the cat a suitable alternative outlet for hunting behaviour such as interactive play sessions with fishing rod toys (ones with feathers at the end are very popular). Always store the fishing rod toy out of the cat's reach after play is over for health and safety reasons.




Question: Why does my cat claw me in the mouth every morning while I'm sleeping?

Answer: I know of several cats that try the exact same tactic! It's to wake you up either for attention, food, play, or perhaps outdoor access. The first thing is to figure out what the cat wants and then try to give the cat what it needs without having to wake you up. For example, if it wants outdoor access to go to the toilet, provide the cat with a litter tray at all times. If it's for food, gradually introduce your cat to feeding enrichment such as putting biscuits into a cardboard egg box and showing them (during the day) how to use it. Once the cat has the hang of it, you can then leave an egg box with a small portion of dry food from their daily allowance out just before bed.
 


Question: When are rescue cats meant to go outside? I was told two to three weeks and someone else said six weeks. When I hold her by the backdoor or at the window she looks terrified of the outdoors so I don’t mind her just staying in if she wants. We’ve had her two weeks, so she likes her corners.

Answer: Letting cats out for the first time can be stressful. This booklet has some information that should be helpful: http://www.cats.org.uk//cat-care/EG02_Welcome_home.pdf



Monday, 2 October 2017

Do you live in a cat-crazy hotspot?

The United Kingdom is a nation of pet lovers, with fabulous felines and cute canines the most popular furry companions by far. But which areas are particularly cat-crazy and which are more of a doggy domain?

Sainsbury Bank surveyed over 4,000 Sainsbury’s customers around the UK to find out more about which pets live where and now the results are in.

Although the canines came out on top overall, with 74% of people favouring dogs compared to 26% preferring cats, certain areas are clearly populated by kitty lovers. Norwich has the highest level of cat ownership in the UK (44% of households have a cat) and alongside Brighton also has the joint highest percentage of people who prefer cats to dogs (40%).

The survey also asked pet owners if they think their pets benefit their health and 85% of those who own a cat said that they feel happier and have a better quality of life because of their moggies.

To find out whether you live in an area of feline fans or dog devotees, simply visit the Sainsbury’s Bank interactive map and enter your postcode.

You can also see a breakdown of the results in the infographic below, including which cat and dog breeds are the most popular in each area.
To enlarge, click on the image
Do you live in a UK cat hotspot? Let us know why you think your area is particularly purrfect for moggies in the comments below.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Your long-stay cat stories

As part of our recent long-stay cat appeal we asked supporters who enjoy living with older, shy or black cats to share their stories with us. By displaying these heartfelt messages on the pens of some of our long-stay cats we hope to inspire people to give a home to a cat they might otherwise have overlooked.



Our supporters’ love of cats shone through and lots of you shared stories. Some focussed on their cat’s entertaining quirks, others were more poignant. What they all shared was how much joy cats that often get overlooked bring to their owners.

With so many wonderful messages, we wanted to pick a few to share with you. First up is Bramble, a black cat who has clearly found the perfect home!



Giving a home to cats who have long-term medical needs can be one of the most rewarding ways of showing your love for cats.



"The people who rejected her will never know what an amazing cat they rejected."

After waiting for three years, Fleur finally found the loving home she deserves which she shares with 15-year-old Lucy.

 
Meanwhile at Carolynne’s house, her four black cats rule the roost!

 


We’d like to say another huge thank you to everybody who donated to our appeal and who shared their cat stories. To help make the wait easier for some of the long-stay cats in our care visit www.cats.org.uk/waiting

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Paw-some Afternoon Tea tales from our fabulous fundraisers

2017 saw cat-lovers coming together to share a cup of tea and a piece of cake as part of Paw-some Afternoon Tea, Cats Protection’s new mass participation event. With over 2,000 supporters signing up to host an event and raising an incredible £40,000 so far, it is fabulous to see what a difference a bit of baking can make.

Here are some Paw-some tales from some of our top fundraisers:

Maddie Moriarty, volunteer with North Ayrshire branch, raised £799


"Our Paw-some Tea was a real team effort and thankfully the weather was kind to us. We had a bouncy castle, pony rides, archery, a plant stall and lots of cakes."

Lorna Williamson raised £549



"I feel so passionately about Cats Protection. Having my boys (two cats from the National Cat Adoption Centre in Chelwood Gate, Sussex) has made me so happy and bought me hours of unconditional love. When I saw the chance of doing some fundraising in return, I leapt at it. Cats and cake – what could be better?

"I was up early on the morning of 26 May as there was so much to do! I had done as much as possible beforehand, including preparing the sausage rolls using the recipe in the fundraising pack. Once they were in to bake, I set out my homemade sea-salt and fudge chocolate brownies and prepared the sandwiches.

"My husband and I had been busy making cat-shaped biscuits and cupcakes too. I wanted to theme my cupcakes on my two rescue cats – Teddy is a gorgeous ginger tom and Lance is a sleek white minx – so my cat cakes had orange and white icing. I served up my goodies with tea and pink champagne and left my donations jar among the cake."

Ann Willliams raised £470


"The Paw-some Tea email from Cats Protection appeared in my inbox one morning and, given my affection for cats, I decided to hold an event in my area.

"I rallied support from all the social groups I belong to, spreading the word to the neighbourhood and posting leaflets through letterboxes, as well as posting signs for passers-by around my house and garden.

"Then came the task of making all the various cakes, scones and fancies. The centrepiece of the cake display was my Cat Party Cake, which was first prize in the raffle held during the afternoon of the event. The weather was excellent, allowing for the party to be held in the garden. There was an excellent turnout, with the donations totalling £470 at the end of the day."

If you’d like to take part in next year’s Paw-some Afternoon Tea and help raise money for cats in need, visit www.pawsometea.org to sign up.