Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Freya finds her way home

This post has been written by our Barnstaple & District Branch

We were told of a stray kitten in Mortehoe which had been around for about a month. The lovely gent who reported the kitten said she was very skinny so he had started to feed her with bit of fish and chicken.

The kitten then slowly started to come into the house and cuddle up on a chair. As we are only able to take a cat in when we have a space, the man continued to feed her until one of our fosterers was able to collect her and look for an owner.

When we collected the kitten we called into Market Vets in Barnstaple who checked for – and found – a microchip! They discovered that the kitten, called Freya, was only six months old and had gone missing in October from nearby Ilfracombe.

Freya’s owners don't drive so we agreed to take her round to them to be reunited.

Freya is reunited with her relieved owners

The couple were so over the moon to get her back after so long, they said it was the best ever Christmas present. They thought they would never see her again.

It just goes to show that microchips do work!

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

10 reasons why your cat is the ultimate Valentine's date

It's that time of year again. The time when you devote yourself to that special someone in your life. The time when you show them how much they mean to you. The time when you lavish each other with attention and gifts. The time when you share a romantic candlelit dinner at that fancy-restaurant-you-liked-the-look-of-last-year-but-needed-a-good-excuse-to-visit.

The time when it dawns on you that your special someone has forgotten it's Valentine's Day… again. The time when you pretend it's OK for them to ‘make it up to you next year’. (You can see where we're heading with this, can't you?!)

For those of us who wake up every 15 February with a tinge of disappointment, we think we've found the solution.

Allow us to present 10 reasons why your cat is your best bet for a Valentine's Day date:

1. Let's start with the most obvious. They love you. They might not always show it but, deep down, you know they do. Every rub up against your leg, every slow blink is another sign that they enjoy spending time with you.

2. They're all about giving. Moggies just love bringing you gifts. Even if you may not always enjoy receiving them you can be sure they'll be out there hunting for the perfect prezzie that will have you screaming with delight and running around the house.

3. They're a cheap date. A fresh bowl of water, some food and five minutes chasing their favourite toy around the living room and cats are usually pretty content with life and ready for some serious relaxation time. Which leads us to...
Kitten curling up with heart cushion
Curl up with your cat this Valentine's Day. Photo: istock.com / Voren1
4. They know how to take it easy. Is your idea of the ultimate Valentine's Day evening curling up on the sofa with some snacks*? Well, so is theirs! That's one more thing you've got in common with your cat, compared to a perpetually-disappointing other half.

5. They're great listeners. Sometimes all you need after a hard day's work is someone to sit with you as you get everything off your chest. With a range of hearing well beyond our own, cats can pick up sounds that even dogs can't detect, so you can be sure they will hear you out. Just don't be put off if they’re laying down with their eyes closed while you’re happily nattering away!

6. They don't judge. You can tell a moggy your deepest secrets and they will not bat an eyelid. Is this due to some sort of human-feline empathy built up over centuries of co-habitation? No, it's because they haven't a clue what you're saying. But you can always pretend they do. After all, you’ve been doing that with your partner for years.

7. They are certified de-stressers. Many of us find it hard to relax. Even when we've finished our work for the day, phones, tablets and TV screens throw more unwanted information at us. Stroking a cat's soft fur and listening to their therapeutic purring has been proven to lower our anxiety levels and put us at ease. In this day and age, that's a gift to truly cherish.

8. February in the UK can be cold. Really cold. But if you have a feline in your family, there's often no need to grab your hot water bottle on your way up to bed. If you play your cards right after your relaxing Valentine's evening, your moggy will curl up next to your feet and keep you toasty until the morning. With some kitties, it's all part of the service.

9. You can call them the cutest things. Fluffykins. Honeybun. Snugglebug. You can use any number of pet names on your moggy and they won't roll their eyes at you. Although it does make you wonder what they'd like to call us!

10. And finally, cats know how to show appreciation. If you make spend time with them, your cat may reward you with a head butt, which means you’re their friend. Unlike your other half, who still hasn't thanked you for the present you gave them last year!

However you spend 14 February – whether it's in the company of felines, humans or both – there's never a bad time to show your cat how much you love them. How about preparing them a tasty treat? Just one of the kitty presents we show you how to make in our Feline Crafty YouTube series.



Happy Valentine's Day!

*Veterinary note: If you give your cat any treats, ensure they are taken from their daily food allowance.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Hunter is a hero

This post has been written by our Lea Valley Branch

Hunter came into our care as a very poorly, five month old.

It was clear that Hunter was seriously unwell and had not been eating or drinking for a number of days and, as a result, was severely dehydrated. However, he was somewhat responsive and trying hard to cope with being so unwell.

Hunter snuggled up in our care

He was immediately admitted to hospital and put on a drip. Later that day he was given a scan which revealed he had a blockage in his intestine. When trying to eat or drink, it wouldn't pass through – instead the poor little chap would be sick, therefore not getting any nutrition. Medivet stabilised him overnight and operated the next morning. They found that he had an intussusception – a condition where part of the intestine folds into another section of the intestine – resulting in an obstruction. The section of intestine that was blocked was removed.

The operation went well and, after a five-day stay in hospital, Hunter came home to our Welfare Officer. He was on a restricted diet and had five medications daily, and for 10 days he was doing well. Then, suddenly, he became very quiet and listless, and he was rushed back to the vet. Another scan revealed that he had another blockage caused from the scarring from the first operation. He was operated on again and had a further section of his intestine removed. After another five-day stay in hospital, once again he came home, with the same regime of a restricted diet and more medication.

By the middle of December, two-and-a-half weeks after his second operation, he was well and lively. He was eating, drinking (and toileting!) as he should be. The vet said that it was extremely rare to have a complication after the first operation.

The vets at Medivet have been wonderful, working with Hunter to ensure that he recovered from a life-threatening, very painful and stressful, double ordeal. as you can see from the photo, he truly deserved this chance, battling bravely throughout his ordeal.

Such a brave and lovely little chap didn’t take long to find a new home. We are so pleased to report that he was adopted by a caring family on Sunday 8 January and we hope he will now live a long and healthy life with them, enjoying doing all the things such a young, brave cat deserves to be able to do. Hunter truly is our hero.

If you would like to support our branch to help other cats like Hunter, who come into our care every week, please donate at: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/CPLeaValley-HunterAppeal

Our branch is run solely by volunteers, so all donations go directly to help the cats and kittens in our care. Thank you very much.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Queenie’s no longer in a quandary

This post has been written by Roz Buckley, Cat Care Assistant at our Taunton Homing & Information Centre

Queenie arrived at Cats Protection Exeter Axhayes Adoption Centre in late 2015. She was a beautiful long haired white cat, who could resist her elegance and charm?!

Queenie was checked over by a vet and was in good health. However, she had unfortunately had a sheltered existence in her early life and now as a seven-year-old cat, she was nervous of everything and would show aggression to her carers and potential adopters. Many visitors to the adoption centre would fall for her good looks and on three occasions Queenie was rehomed to new owners after being provided with full details on her temperament and behaviour – and on the basis that her new owners wanted to work with her to try and resolve some of her issues. Unfortunately Queenie was returned to us on all three of those occasions when her new adopters were unable to cope with her behaviour.

Beautiful Queenie in CP care
Beautiful Queenie
I met her in June 2016 and like many others I grew intrigued and endeared by her shiny white coat, beautiful hazel eyes and affectionate blinking. She was not as straightforward as I thought and after hearing many stories of her early days at the centre I decided to take her on as my project cat.

Initially she would hiss and spit and grumble at my presence, as I sat quietly distancing myself from her in her pen reading away she gradually became accustomed to my presence, a real breakthrough was when she fell asleep on my lap.

After her third failed rehoming, I was truly curious to see what this wolf in sheep’s clothing was like in a home. So I decided to take her home to foster her temporarily. The cat was not the only curious creature!

Lovely Queenie has found a new home
Queenie became more settled after time and patience
On day one our spare room was set up in line with Cats Protection’s fostering guidelines to provide Queenie with the right environment for her needs while she was being fostered. The room was intended to be her safe space. Queenie grumbled like a gremlin as I entered the room but was able to hide away if she needed to. The grumbling subsided on the second day and by day three I was able to spent lots of time in the same room with her as she purred herself to sleep. She would also give me a gentle head-butt now and then! All Queenie needed was a loving owner who saw not only her stunning exterior but her true inner beauty and who could dedicate some time to help her overcome her issues.

When Queenie had become more confident she was moved to our Homing & Information Centre in Taunton. Luckily an amazing homing opportunity came up and her new owner came to meet her with a Golden Retriever called Millie. We spent lots of time ensuring their bond and that her new owner understood Queenie’s background and needs. Finally Queenie went home with a great family.

Queenie meeting her new owner
Queenie gets a special visit from her soon-to-be new owner and dog, Millie
Although there were some ‘teething issues’ in homing Queenie, spending some time with a fosterer who was able to work with her helped her settle and change her behaviour so that she was then able to be rehomed again. Queenie has now begun her new adventure in her new home. I often get updates from her new owner too, the progress she has made is in incredible, stories include; opening the door to a miaowing Queenie presenting the family with a mouse and Queenie and Millie the dog asleep on the bed together.


If you would be interested in fostering and providing help and care to cats like Queenie and the thousands of other cats which come into our care, please visit our website: www.cats.org.uk/get-involved/volunteering 

Thursday, 2 February 2017

‘How can I reduce hairballs?’ and other veterinary FAQs

In our latest live Facebook Q&A, Cats Protection vet Dr Sarah Elliott answered a variety of veterinary questions from curious cat owners. Here are just some of the topics discussed:

Question: My female domestic shorthair cat is coughing up hairballs a couple of times a week, is there anything I can do to help reduce this? We brush her, though not every day, and she eats a good diet I think – kibble mainly, with a bit of wet food. Any advice appreciated.

Answer: Cats often vomit up furballs, which occur after the cat consumes hair when grooming. These hairs become entwined together and irritate the stomach lining – they can be identified as clumps of hair in the vomit. Your vet may be able to advise you on diets and supplements which can be given to help ease the passage of furballs. Also daily grooming to remove any dead hair will help.

Grooming a ginger cat
Daily grooming can help reduce hairballs. Credit: istockphoto.com/Aksenovko

Question: One of my cats has really dry skin. Can you suggest anything I could give to him for it? He gets oily fish.

Answer: Dry skin can be caused by an allergy, so I'd run this past your vet and see if they can take a look at him for you. A good balanced diet will help with skin repair – a good quality commercial diet is normally already supplemented with important nutrients for the skin, for example omega 3 and omega 6. Remember the number one cause of any type of skin problem in cats is always fleas first! So make flea control your first priority.


Question: There is a feral cat on the farm that we would like to try to domesticate, any tips or suggestions that might help?

Answer: Feral cats should be looked upon as a wild animal. Cats have a socialisation window of between two to seven weeks old and if they do not encounter people and the home environment during this time then they will always be fearful. It is contrary to the welfare of a feral cat to confine them and try to tame them.

Your local Cats Protection branch may be able to assist in neutering this cat. Neutering will help prevent future unwanted litters and will improve the health and welfare of the feral cat in question. Check out our website www.cats.org.uk/find-us for more information on how to contact your local branch.

You can read more about feral cats in our Feral cats leaflet too.


Question: I've just got three kittens, they are about seven months old and have been eating the same food all their short life. Two of them seem to be getting diarrhoea and they have a little bit of bloody mucus in their stool. They seem to be active while playing and seem happy enough but for this issue. They do eat all of their allocated food, sometimes more, so I've tried to measure it and give them a daily amount in the morning which does last all day. Any advice would be greatly received.

Answer: Diarrhoea can be caused by a number of things, both infectious and non-infectious. It sounds like your kittens might have colitis or large bowel inflammation, as usually cats with this kind of diarrhoea do not lose their appetite or vigour. Common causes include worms and dietary changes. Stress can also be a major cause of diarrhoea in cats.

I would recommend that you get your cat checked by your vet if the diarrhoea has persisted for more than a few days. In the meantime, starting a bland diet such as plain boiled chicken or white fish may help, and make sure they have been wormed with a product your vet recommends. The following leaflet may be useful: Digestive disorders – vomiting and diarrhoea.

Ginger cat eating
Most cats have a healthy digestive system, but mild upsets are not uncommon. Credit: istockphoto.com/deyangeorgiev

Question: My cat has been licking the floor and tables recently. Is there something he is missing in his diet? He's is a four-year-old indoor cat and quite healthy otherwise.

Answer: This could be worth checking with your vet, just in case it relates to a medical problem. The vet will be able to check he is not losing weight and that his gut generally feels ok, and this may rule a few things out. Some cats are compelled to lick and taste random things, a behavioural trait known as 'pica'. You can find out more about it here.


Veterinary note: Please note that we are unable to give specific advice on your cat's health or any change in behaviour observed. For more cat care advice, please see www.cats.org.uk/cat-care or consult your vet if you have a specific concern about your cat.

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: chat with Behaviour Manager Nicky Trevorrow on 23 February; or vet Dr Sarah Elliot on 9 March. All Q&As are held on Cats Protection's national Facebook page from 2-3pm. See you there!