Friday, 28 April 2017

Meet the cats in our sponsor pens: Tinker

Every day hundreds of unwanted cats are signed over into Cats Protection’s care, for all manner of reasons.

Cats Protection's sponsor cat Tinker

Five-year-old girl Tinker wasn’t in a very good condition when she was admitted into the care of our National Cat Adoption Centre in Sussex. After lots of love and care, she’s doing much better now.

Tinker loves playing with her fishing rod toy, as you can see from the below video!



You can sponsor a cat pen from just 19p a day, providing cats like Tinker with shelter, warmth, food, medical care and the love they need. It's easy to become a sponsor right now, for as little as 19p a day. To find out more, visit www.cats.org.uk/sponsor

Thursday, 27 April 2017

‘Why have my cats started to spray in the house?’ and other behaviour FAQs

Not sure why your cat does a certain thing? There may be a simple explanation.

Cats Protection’s Behaviour Manager Nicky Trevorrow took to our national Facebook page recently to answer live questions from curious cat owners. Here are just some of the topics discussed:

Question: Why have my two female cats started to spray in the house? Both are two years old and there have been no changes in the household. I have two very large litter boxes for my five cats that are cleaned twice a day.

Answer: Cats can start to spray for various of reasons. The first thing to do would be get both cats health-checked, including urine samples. Have you seen both of them doing it? If not, you could set up cameras to identify which cats are involved. Behaviourally, there are a number of causes, the most common being something that causes them stress. The best way to find out the underlying cause is to get a referral to a qualified behaviourist such as a member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC).

It's great that you've got two large litter trays already, but the cats would probably benefit from having a litter tray each if you can. Ideally these would be split out all over the house so that they can be easily accessed without going into one another's territories. If your current two trays are placed together, I'd suggest splitting them up as cats view trays in a row as simply one large litter tray! Wishing you all the best and I hope it gets resolved soon.

Cat snuggled on a blanket

Question: Why does my cat rush over to me and miaow when I start whistling?

Answer: I'm guessing that this could be a learned behaviour. Is there anything in particular you've done in the past? For example, have you whistled and then giving your cat fuss or food? Cats are very clever and can easily learn associations with something that predicts a reward or positive outcome.


Question: I had my female cat spayed around five weeks ago. I kept her in for nearly two weeks. Now ever since being spayed she is a changed cat and not for the best. She hates staying indoors and barely comes home now. She shows up every now and then but she's very grumpy and doesn't want to know us. She's always been a very affectionate cat, coming on your lap and on the bed and having a fuss made of her. I feel like I've lost my cat. Nothing has changed except for the op and just don't understand why she's gone like it. Thank you.

Answer: Sorry to hear that your cat has been behaving differently since the spay. This isn't usual as spaying doesn't change their personality. I would suggest chatting to your vet to look for possible underlying medical causes for this change, for example whether she's in any pain. Continue to keep your routines the same as cats need consistency in their lives. If the vet rules out medical reasons, I'd suggest getting a referral to a qualified behaviourist such as a member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC). I hope she returns to her normal self soon.

Cat claw
Photo by istock.com/epantha
Question: I have four cats and one of them has started taking his claws down the wall when he comes out the litter box. Why does he do this?

Answer: Sorry to hear that your cat has started scratching the walls. Get the vet to give him a check over to make sure he's healthy and has no problems with his claws or paws.

If he is scratching the walls with his claws, it can help to understand why cats scratch in the first place. Scratching is a normal behaviour for cats for claw maintenance, to stretch their muscles and ligaments as well as usually the scent glands in between their toes to mark their territory (plus as a visual marker from vertical scratch marks). Some cats start scratching more as territory marker and may do so in response to something stressful (whereby the list is endless!). Getting a qualified behaviourist to go through all the history with you will help to identify the underlying cause.

In the meantime, ensure that your cats all have plenty of scratching facilities, spread out around the house. Ideally scratch posts should be tall enough (at least 60cm) and sturdy enough for the cat to put their weight against and have vertical thread (as opposed to horizontal rope), but these are hard to find. Go here for more advice.


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 behaviour advice, please visit www.cats.org.uk/cat-care/cat-behaviour-hub where you’ll also find The Behaviour Guide which discusses a variety of topics on cat behaviour.

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? Don't miss the next live Facebook Q&A sessions: get support with pet-related grief on 2 May; chat with Behaviourist Nicky Trevorrow on 18 May; or vet Dr Sarah Elliott on 1 June. All Q&As are held on Cats Protection's national Facebook page from 2pm. See you there!

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Meet the cats in our sponsor pens: Chamomile

Every day hundreds of unwanted cats are passed into the care of Cats Protection.

Sponsor cat Chamomile

Beautiful Chamomile is currently living at our Warrington Adoption Centre until she finds her forever home.

The five-year-old girl has had a few problems with her skin but they now seem to be under control.
She likes the outdoors and wildlife so would enjoy a home with a garden. If you think you can offer her a home, get in touch with the centre directly on 03000 12 06 12.



Sponsoring one of our cat pens is one of the best ways you can help cats like Chamomile, providing them with shelter, warmth, food, medical care and the love they need. It's easy to become a sponsor right now, for as little as 19p a day. Visit www.cats.org.uk/sponsor

Friday, 21 April 2017

Host your own Paw-some Afternoon Tea!

As today, 21 April, is National Tea Day we think it’s the perfect time to tell you about an exciting new event we’re launching that we’re inviting cat lovers – and cake lovers – to take part in.

Join us on Friday 26 May for a Paw-some Afternoon Tea. Bake or buy some tasty treats, pour some friends and family a cuppa and have a fun-filled afternoon in aid of Cats Protection.

Girl and gran baking cakes for Cats Protection

If you love cats, love a get-together or just love cake, we are asking you to hold your own Paw-some Afternoon Tea and help us help more cats and kittens in need. What better way to give unwanted cats a second chance?

Whether you’ll be at home, in work or at school, invite your friends, family, colleagues and schoolmates to join you for an afternoon of tea, coffee, cakes, scones, sandwiches and anything else you fancy. Indulge in a little luxury to give cats and kittens across the country a chance of health and happiness.

A platter for a Paw-some Afternoon Tea

Sign up to receive your free pack at www.pawsometea.org and we’ll send you everything you need to make your event the cat’s whiskers. We’ve got bunting, cake flags, games, recipes and much more.

Need some inspiration now?

Cat face balloon instructions

Here’s how to make a cat-face balloon for your afternoon tea:

What you will need

  • balloons (helium-filled balloons work best)
  • card or paper
  • pen
  • scissors
  • tape

Steps

  1. Fold over the short edge of your card/paper up to about 9cm
  2. Draw a triangle and cut it out
  3. Unfold your shape and cut in half down the fold
  4. Fold a tab around 1cm wide at the bottom of each ear
  5. Using tape, stick the ears on either side of the top of the balloon and the whiskers in the middle as shown
  6. Draw and cut out a nose and whiskers
  7. Using tape, stick the whiskers on to your balloon
  8. Try adding more detail to the balloon using a marker pen

For even more Paw-some Afternoon Tea ideas, check out our Pinterest board.

Follow Cats Protection's board Paw-some Afternoon Tea Inspiration on Pinterest.

So put the kettle on and start planning your Paw-some Afternoon Tea!

Friday, 14 April 2017

Meet the cats in our sponsor pens: Gabrielle

Every day hundreds of unwanted cats, like Gabrielle, are handed over to Cats Protection.

Meet the cats in our sponsor pens - Gabrielle

Six-year-old Gabrielle was brought into our Belfast Adoption Centre after a kind member of the public found her as a stray, along with her two kittens.


Her kittens thankfully found their forever homes a while ago but Gabrielle is still searching. She has feline asthma and takes a couple of inhalers throughout the day to manage her condition.

Sponsoring one of our cat pens is one of the best ways you can help cats like Gabrielle, providing them with shelter, warmth, food, medical care and the love they need. It's easy to become a sponsor right now, for as little as 19p a day.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Preparing your cat for Easter

For many people, Easter means spending time with friends and family or going away for a long weekend break. Combine this with hot cross buns and chocolates galore and it’s easy to see how it can be a stressful and risky time for our cats.

Fret not, follow the following tips!

Going away

If you’re planning to use the bank holidays for an extended weekend break, we wouldn’t recommend taking your cat with you. Cats are generally very stressed by travelling and without the familiar smells of their home territory, can become disorientated in a new environment. This also means they are more likely to get lost.

So instead, ensure you’ve made arrangements for your cat while you’re away; don’t let them fend for themselves. You could arrange for a trusted friend or cat sitter, preferably that your cat is familiar with, to feed, groom and play with your cat while you’re on holiday.

Alternatively you could book your cat to stay in a boarding cattery. Ensure that your cat’s vaccinations are up to date and the cattery knows of any special dietary requirements or medications that may need administering while your cat is in their care.

Cat with Easter basket
Photo: istock.com/kozorog

Welcoming visitors

Unfamiliar people and noisy children visiting the home can be very stressful for cats. Try to stick to your cat’s normal routine as much as you can.

Provide your cat with a quiet place to retreat to where they will not be disturbed. Ensure it contains their resources, such as a litter tray, an area for food and a separate area for water, a scratch post, toys and somewhere to sleep or hide. Cats like elevated places to hide, such as shelving or on top of a wardrobe, to make them feel safe and secure. Ensure they can access these, for example by placing a chair nearby.

Easter treats

A number of foods that we typically find in the home at Easter, such as chocolate eggs and raisins in hot cross buns are toxic to cats, so keep them out of reach, stored in sealed containers or closed cupboards. Keep Easter egg or basket packaging and wrapping out of the way as ingesting can be dangerous.

The signs of poisoning aren’t always obvious but can include vomiting, difficulty breathing and drooling.

If you think your cat may have ingested something harmful, seek veterinary advice immediately. Tell them where, when and how the poisoning occurred, if known and take packaging or samples of the substance with you.

Find out more about toxic substances and recognising the symptoms of poisoning here.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Help us call for air guns to be licensed in England and Wales

Cats are being targeted in horrifying air gun attacks.

To you a cat like Billy is a beautiful animal. But to the person who coldly pulled the trigger, Billy was nothing but a target.

Billy was shot by an air gun
Poor Billy has been left blind in one eye
When our vets at the National Cat Adoption Centre in Sussex first saw Billy, he had so many puncture wounds they thought he’d been attacked by a wild animal. But as the treating Veterinary Officer recalls: “When we looked at his X-rays we could see his whole body and head were literally peppered with air gun pellets.”

Two pellets were removed from Billy’s neck but the rest, particularly the four lodged in his head, were just too deep. The Veterinary Officer said it was a “miracle” Billy had survived at all. Billy has been left totally blind in one eye and may only be able to see shadows with the other.



On average nearly four cats a week are being shot with an air gun in the UK.

Chaos was a victim of an air gun too. She was shot between her eyes in September 2016 in Neath, South Wales. The pellet miraculously missed her brain and lodged in the muscle between her spine and gullet, where it remains.

A cat's X-ray showing a pellet
Chaos's X-ray reveals an air gun pellet
The pellet did, however, shatter the bones in her nose making her unable to breathe except through her mouth which, of course, prevented her from eating or drinking.

She was fitted with a feeding tube which has now been removed and she is able to eat and drink again. She has only been outside once since her recovery and was frightened by the lights outside the house which tends to support the vet’s theory that a light was shone in her face to temporarily blind her before being shot.

Chaos was shot by an air gun
Chaos after the shooting
These poor cats are being maimed, blinded and even killed. That’s why we’re asking you to take a very important action today.

Please sign and share our petition calling for air guns to be licensed in England and Wales.

Currently, every air gun in England and Wales is unlicensed. It’s all too easy for people intent on cruelty to legally get their hands on these lethal weapons. By signing our petition, you will help us pressure the government to make it illegal to own an air gun without a license. Sign our petition here: www.cats.org.uk/airgunspetition

Your support will make a real difference. Thank you.

Monday, 10 April 2017

London Marathon: where champions are made

The Virgin Money London Marathon is in its 36th year with more than three quarters of competitors running for a good cause. Since its creation in 1981, more than £830m had been raised for charity by London Marathon competitors.

We’ve very pleased to say that we have 14 cat lovers running the London Marathon 2017 to raise funds for Cats Protection. One of our dedicated supporters, Debbie Hunt is taking part on behalf of the newly-formed North Bristol Branch.

“I have four beautiful cats and love all animals,” says Debbie. “My cats are my furry inspirations to run for Cats Protection and are very lucky to have their forever home and be very loved. I want all cats and animals to have a home and feel safe and loved, so being able to help local kitties in Bristol is perfect.”

Debbie's beloved cat, Bob
Debbie's cat Bob. Photo: Carly Wong at The Pet Collective www.thepetcollective.co.uk
Debbie is a seasoned marathon runner, having run four in the past, two of which were for animal charities, so knows how much preparation is involved. She’s running around four times a week and also doing classes, free weights and cardio at the gym.

“[The hardest bit will be] getting through mile 18-20, tiredness and any pain. I need to break the race down into chunks and use visualisation to get through. Not forgetting to enjoy the race!”

Debbie's an experienced marathon runner
To anyone else who is considering a challenge event on behalf of Cats Protection, she says: “Go for it, no hesitation. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity, so grab it with both hands!”

Debbie’s aiming to raise £1,750 for her local branch – you can show your support by donating here.

Another plucky supporter who will be running the marathon for Cats Protection is Jessica Webb, who is hoping to raise £1,500 for our Canterbury & District Branch.

“The London Marathon is a challenge I've always wanted to have a go at,” Jessica explains. “My two cats are my first ever pets and I absolutely adore them! Seeing how much animal abuse there is nowadays I feel passionately about helping abused and neglected kitties and cats.”

Jessica and her cat, Tiger
Jessica and cat, Tiger
Jessica’s job is very active so she’s integrating exercise into a lot of her fundraising. “I’m a dance teacher at several local schools so cake sales galore have proven the best fundraiser with the children. I am looking to do a raffle and a friend wants to do a Zumbathon for me after the marathon, so the fundraising will continue into July.”

Jessica's training to run the London Marathon
Jessica's looking forward to running the London Marathon!
Despite being nervous about completing her first ever marathon, Jessica is looking forward to celebrating afterwards.

“The sense of pride when I finally get to race day surely will be one of the best feelings ever!”

If you’d like to support Jessica, you can donate here.

Both ladies have fundraising pages on Virgin Money Giving, which will claim gift aid on Cats Protection’s behalf where the donor is eligible.

Join the team in 2018

Want to be part of the #CatChampions team in 2018? We have nine gold bond places for Cats Protection supporters to run the Virgin Money London Marathon on behalf of the charity to raise vital funds to help the cats and kittens in our care. You can of course nominate a local branch or centre to support. Find out more at www.cats.org.uk/vlm18

We also welcome runners taking part in any local or national event and at any distance. If you have your own place in a run and would like to support Cats Protection please get in touch events@cats.org.uk

Friday, 7 April 2017

How funds raised by challenges help local branches

This week at Cats Protection is Big Cat Week where we’re celebrating our five-day Himalayan trek and three-day tiger conservation project in India.

Our intrepid Himalayan challengers can choose to support their local Cats Protection, meaning that all funds they raise go directly to that branch or centre.

Branches are run entirely by volunteers and the wonderful things that they do are only made possible by their dedication and the funds raised by them and their supporters.

Stephanie and Helena
Stephanie Peel and Helena Peck are raising funds for their local branch
Stephanie Peel and Helena Peck, who are undertaking the Indian challenge, have been raising thousands of pounds for the St Albans & District Branch. Find out what they’ve been doing here.

The funds raised by supporters like Stephanie and Helena enable the branch to continue their important work with cats – finding forever homes for abandoned cats, neutering to prevent unwanted litters from being born, and helping people to better understand cats.

Charlie and Kit are just one example of cats that are currently being helped by the branch.

Charlie and Kit
Charlie and Kit
Charlie’s owners were unable to take him and his nephew, Kit, with them when they moved, so they signed them over to the care of the St Albans & District Branch.

Although shy at first, Charlie seems much more confident and affectionate when he becomes familiar with people. He thoroughly enjoys having a good brush too!

Wonderful, sweet Kit is very timid and easily frightened, preferring to observe at first. However, his playful, friendly and vocal nature begin to show as he becomes more comfortable and interactive with you. His love of feather toys brings him to life, springing into action as he chases them around.

Charlie and Kit are very attached to each other. They play well together and groom each other and curl up together.

Thanks to care from the branch, Charlie and Kit will hopefully find a new home very soon.


If you’re interested in adopting Charlie and Kit, please get in contact with the St Albans & District Branch directly on 0345 371 2064 or stalbanscp@hotmail.co.uk 

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Challenge events: putting the fun into fundraising

For many people taking on a once in a lifetime challenge like our Himalayan Trek and Tiger conservation project is a dream come true. To top that, the challenge raises vital funds to help us continue to care for cats and kittens throughout the UK.

For some, the reality of pledging to raise a minimum of £4,000 sets in and it can put them off from signing up at all.

Fear not, raising £4,000 is completely possible – not only that, but we think you will have fun along the way as well as you can see form some of our fab fundraisers below.

We’ll provide you with full support, ideas, a fundraising pack of branded resources and polo shirt to ensure you feel completely comfortable fundraising towards your pledge.

Stephanie Peel and Helena Peck

Helena Peck and Stephanie Peel are cat have pledged to raise funds for the St Albans & District Branch.

Helena is a self-confessed ‘crazy cat lady’ and has been a volunteer at the St Albans & District Branch for a couple of years. She sees first-hand the amazing cat work they carry out and just how much the work costs. Motivated by the opportunity to take part in a once in a lifetime challenge and to raise funds for the branch she decided to take on, not one, but two challenges on their behalf. In 2016 Helena completed the Zambezi River challenge and this year she’ll be trekking the Lesser Himalayas and volunteering to help tigers in India – all to raise funds for her local branch.

Stephanie Peel and Helena Peck
Stephanie and Helena dressed as tigers and raised £150 for their local branch
Helena’s fellow volunteer and friend Stephanie Peel was also motivated to sign up for the challenge to help raise funds. Since signing up they have been having lots of fun baking, knitting and getting dressed up for collections.

Cat cupcakes
Cupcakes Stephanie made for a Pets At Home fundraising weekend
Knitted catnip mice
Helena knits catnip mice and blankets

Yasmin Fisher

Vet nurse Yasmin (Yaz) Fisher signed up to the challenge after one of her clients mentioned it to her. “I currently work as a qualified vet nurse and am always looking for adventure travel,” she says. “I have also volunteered with big cats in the past so I can't think of anything better than the opportunity to see them in the wild and raise funds!”

Seeing the wonderful and dedicated care that Cats Protection volunteers and staff give to the cats in their care, Yaz wanted to give something back to our Nottingham Adoption Centre as well as take part in the challenge of a lifetime.

Yaz’s six months of fundraising has gone off with a bang. Using Christmas as a perfect crafty fundraiser, Yaz created little Christmas Eve boxes of goodies in return for donations.

Christmas Eve gift boxes
A Christmas gift box made by Yaz
Not one to miss out on the opportunity to dress up, Yaz recently took up one of the many charity slots that Cats Protection is given by Tesco and collected £50 in three hours.

Her next planned fundraiser is a pet photo competition and she has some fab prizes up for grabs!

Pet competition
Prizes for Yaz's pet competition
You can read more about all the fundraisers taking part in the Himalayan Trek and Tiger conservation project here.

What could 12 months of fundraising look like?

Challenge event participants have plenty of time to raise the funds needed – we put together a very robust pack of resources to help and all fundraisers you will receive dedicated support and guidance from our Events team.

Here are just a few examples of fundraising ideas to help raise £4,000

  • Order some collection boxes and get out and about in your local area asking shops, businesses and organisations to have one for you along with a personalised ‘sponsor me’ poster
  • Organise a car wash
  • Offer a skill in return for donations perhaps you can hold a ‘freebie’ day one day a month eg massaging, babysitting, hairdressing, lawn mowing etc
  • Dress up as a cat and hold a street collection
  • Hold a car boot sale
  • Bake some healthy, cat-shaped cookies to sell

For even more ideas, visit the challenge page (www.cats.org.uk/ind18) and scroll down to the ‘Support documents’ tab.

Feel inspired?
Sign up to your own challenge and have some fun! You can see all of our fundraising challenges here.

Monday, 3 April 2017

What is Big Cat Week?

Big Cat Week is now in its third year and is an opportunity for us to showcase our exciting international challenges, specifically our annual Big Cat Challenge which helps us to raise vital funds to help cats and kittens all over the UK.

Cats Protection's India trek

Big Cat Challenge participants can take part in a five-day Himalayan trek and three-day tiger conservation project in India in October 2018.

The adventure starts in India’s capital Delhi where the team will board the overnight train for the journey to the Lesser Himalaya. Here, they will explore the spectacular area on foot, reaching altitudes of up to 2,842m and walking around 14km per day.

After the trek, the team will spend three days in the Kanha National Park, inspiration to Rudyard Kipling for his novel, The Jungle Book. This offers an amazing chance to learn about the efforts being made to conserve the environment, especially for tigers. We anticipate that the group will take several drives into the National Park with the hope of spotting tigers and other endemic animals. There is also a possibility of helping with a tiger conservation lesson at a local school and further other opportunities for learning about the plight of the local wildlife.

Fancy embracing your adventurous side? Find out more and sign up for the challenge at www.cats.org.uk/ind18

If the trip isn't for you, there are still plenty of ways to get involved with Big Cat Week to celebrate and big and small cats.

You could organise a big cat-themed fundraising event in aid of your local Cats Protection branch or adoption centre; share photos of your small cats that look like big cats or dress up in your favourite tiger onesie and tweet us with the hashtag #bigcatweek

Find out more about Big Cat Week and how you can get involved at www.cats.org.uk/bigcatweek