Friday, 30 June 2017

Meet the finalists - Purina Better Together

With the annual National Cat Awards just around the corner, we’re announcing the finalists for each of the six categories, including Furr-ever Friends, Hero Cat, Most Caring Cat, Outstanding Rescue Cat, Purina® Better Together and Cats Protection’s Special Recognition Award.

From stories of great bravery, to heart-warming tales of companionship between cats and humans, the National Cat Awards highlight the incredible impact cats have on their owners’ lives.

Purina Better Together celebrates the special bond that has transformed and enriched the lives of both a feline and human.

Meet the finalists, Spike, Fish and Tank, in our video playlist below.

To vote for your favourite finalist, visit our Facebook page for more information - voting will begin at 2pm on Friday 30 June and end 10am on Monday 3rd July.

Come back next week for our next set of finalists for the Hero Cat category.

Winners will be announced at a ceremony on Thursday 3 August at London’s Savoy Hotel, where celebrity judges will also announce the National Cat of the Year 2017.

To find out more about the National Cat Awards, visit our website.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

All ends well for Weasley

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

Gorgeous ginger cat Weasley came into the Bracknell & Wokingham Branch of Cats Protection in April after living as an unneutered stray in Wokingham for several months. He was spotted limping badly and appeared to be injured. After sightings of Weasley were reported to the branch by passers-by, he was eventually captured in a humane trap and bought into the branch for treatment.

Weasley was then neutered and his leg was x-rayed. This unfortunately showed a break in his rear left leg that needed treatment. After a visit to the vet, Weasley was given pain relief but sadly it was advised that if this did not work, the best solution would be to amputate the leg.

As Weasley was in so much pain, it was decided that he'd be operated on straight away. After a short period of recuperation, he spent time in an outdoor pen. He was then moved to an indoor pen to allow him time to recuperate and also to give him more space.

Weasley has since turned into a loveable cat who loves human company. Adapting particularly well to life on three legs, he is now enjoying his time in the home of a local fosterer. He is even jumping onto the sofa and finding his way around. Luckily, Weasley is now going to be rehomed by a long-time supporter of Cats Protection – a happy ending, after all!

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Coping with pet-related grief FAQs

Cats Protection understands just how much your cat means to you and what you may be going through if your pet is missing, had to be rehomed, is nearing the end of their life or has recently passed away.

To support cat owners at this difficult time, Counsellor and Pet Loss Specialist Julia Dando took to our Facebook page to talk to them about their grief.

Here are just some of the queries she helped with:

Question: I had my cat put to sleep because someone poisoned him and I’m having trouble coming to terms with having to make that decision. I keep seeing his beautiful face as he was leaving me!

Answer: What a heart-breaking thing to have to go through. The decision we make when we have to let our pets go doesn't really feel like a choice but can leave us feeling devastated and guilty. On top of those feelings you're also having to deal with feelings of anger towards whoever left poison for your cat. So many unanswered questions and little room for any kind of closure.

All these circumstances can make it incredibly difficult to come to terms with what has happened and will have a great impact on the way you grieve for your cat. Grief can be very chaotic and is unique to everyone. If you would like to talk through what happened with someone please do ring our volunteers on the Paws to Listen Grief Support Service on 0800 024 94 94 Mon-Fri 9am-5pm.

Question: I lost my 18-year-old cat just before Easter he'd been with me from eight weeks old from CP. I'd just moved into my house and he was my first major addition. I can't believe how much I'm grieving for him. I miss him every day. I still call for him when I come home in the evening... even though he was deaf as a post by the time he went, well I think he had select hearing actually! But he was such a huge part of my family life I have two other cats and a dog, so the house isn't completely empty, but it is if you get my drift. My cat’s ashes are in my spare room as that's where he liked to sleep sometimes, and to be perfectly honest, I say good night every night, and if a song comes on the radio I like, we dance... he did love to dance on my shoulder. I just wanted to share... I know time is a great healer, but sometimes venting or writing down your memories helps, well it does me. Thanks for listening.

Answer: Grief is very individual and different for everyone. There is no ‘normal’ when it comes to grieving. The bond you had with your boy was strong and your relationship was significant. Just like when we lose anyone who was such a significant part of our lives, it hurts. Loss hurts.

There is no set length of time for grief for some people it eases after a few weeks or months, for others it can take much longer. It sounds like you had an incredibly strong bond with him and you miss him so much still. Allow yourself the time to grieve, he was so very special to you.

Question: I’ve had my elderly cat since he was about 12 weeks old and he has just turned 18. He has lost his hearing and is losing his eyesight slowly too. Arthritis has set in and although he is old and stiff he can still race and jump like a kitten. He had two days last week when he refused to eat but drank a lot and slept in strange, awkward positions. He has lost weight and I can feel every bone in his spine and hardly weighs anything when I pick him up. He has a large lump that is squishy and has grown rapidly since the New Year. He is such an affectionate and loving boy and purrs loudly in my ear at night. I think it will be time to say goodbye to him soon, how can I cope with this?

Answer: It's so hard when we see our pets decline in front of our eyes. What a long time you've been together from when he was just a kitten to 18 years old. Over such a length of time he will have been with you through so much of your life and likely many changes and experiences. This will have made the bond you have with him so very strong, which makes it all the harder to consider his leaving.

In this type of instance, it is likely you will be experiencing anticipatory grief once you've been given a prognosis by your vet. Grieving can start way before they are gone and you may well feel the responses to grief already.

You might find some of our grief leaflets helpful in your preparations for what is to come and do consider calling Paws to Listen as and when you need to.

Question: I recently lost my cat due to cancer which was growing in his mouth. I have had him since I was 12 and I am now in my late twenties. He was my best mate and was there through everything with me. I had to make the awful decision to have him put to sleep he wasn't eating, was drooling loads and just spent most of the time hidden under the bed. The house seems so quiet now.

Answer: Your cat was with you for so much of your life a massive hole will have been left by his loss. He's been through so much with you he's family.

It's a wretched decision to have to make when the time comes and difficult to come to terms with. Through your cat’s life you took care of him, fed him, kept him clean, warm, healthy... you took responsibility for the quality of his life. It is the hardest thing to do to continue that responsibility on into the care of their death. The hardest and bravest thing we can do for our beloved pets.

Please do consider ringing the Paws to Listen Grief Support Service from Cats Protection on 0800 024 94 94 open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm if you would like to tell us about your cat and talk through your feelings around his loss.

Whether you are facing the heartbreak of your cat passing away, want help with difficult issues like euthanasia, a cat who has gone missing or need someone to talk to about your loss: we are here for you.

The Paws to Listen service is a free and confidential phone line, that you can call to talk to one of our trained volunteer listeners. While we are unable to offer counselling, we can provide you with a sympathetic ear at this difficult time. Call us on 0800 024 94 94. The line is open 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

As well as the phone line, there are a number of free online guides and leaflets to help owners deal with grief-related issues:

Friday, 23 June 2017

Meet the finalists - Cats Protection's Special Recognition Award

With the annual National Cat Awards just around the corner, we’re announcing the finalists for each of the six categories, including Furr-ever Friends, Hero Cat, Most Caring Cat, Outstanding Rescue Cat, Purina® Better Together and Cats Protection’s Special Recognition Award.

From stories of great bravery, to heart-warming tales of companionship between cats and humans, the National Cat Awards highlight the incredible impact cats have on their owners’ lives.

Cats Protection’s Special Recognition Award celebrates some of the amazing stories involving cats that have been rehomed by Cats Protection.

Meet the finalists, Lunar, Felix and Sadie Ellenore, in our video playlist below.

Come back next week for our next set of finalists for the Purina® Better Together category.

Winners will be announced at a ceremony on Thursday 3 August at London’s Savoy Hotel, where celebrity judges will also announce the National Cat of the Year 2017.

To find out more about the National Cat Awards, visit our website.

National Cat Awards 2017

Monday, 19 June 2017

How to read your cat’s body language

The latest video in the Simon’s Cat Logic series sees illustrator Simon Tofield team up with Cats Protection’s Behaviour Manager Nicky Trevorrow to reveal how to understand your cat’s body language.

Nicky Trevorrow explains cat body language

“I’ve created this big fat loveable cat who of course can’t talk,” explains Simon, “so if I want to show any emotion or how he’s feeling, I have to do it through body language.”

He goes on to show how he expresses emotion when drawing an ‘angry’ cat.

Nicky says: “Cat body language is an area that’s absolutely fascinating. However, cats are really subtle as a species – much more so than species like ourselves and dogs – and it means it can be quite difficult to really ‘read’ how they’re feeling.

“What’s important is to look at facial expression and body language, particularly in the context, so we can understand what’s going on.”

Nicky goes on to explain how to understand when a cat is saying ‘hello’ and how cats use their tails, ears and eyes to express a variety of emotions. Watch the video to find out:

We’d love to see your own cat drawings – share them on Twitter using the hashtag #SimonsCatLogic

You can learn more about understanding cats’ body language by viewing our behaviour infographics or visiting our behaviour hub.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Feline fathers

This post has been written by Behaviour Manager, Nicky Trevorrow

At a time when many of us are celebrating Father’s Day, curious cat lovers may be wondering about feline fathers. Do male cats make doting fathers or are they absent? Certainly it is not something you commonly hear about. This blog post aims to shed light on this little known topic.

Cat and kitten walking in garden
Photo by
The first thing to note about cats is that they are one of the few domesticated animals that have retained a large degree of control over breeding and mate choice. As such, this means that we often do not know who the father is. Generally, it is only pedigree cats whereby a female or queen is taken to a male stud cat and therefore both parents can be identified. Of course, even pedigree cats can have accidental litters!

One study in Southampton which looked at paternity in kittens discovered some interesting results. One of the households with a litter of kittens in the study had a male and female cat which were both unneutered. However, when the paternity test results came in, none of the kittens were fathered by the male cat living in the house. In fact, the kittens were all fathered by a feral tom cat from a farm a few miles away – and this feral cat had actually fathered many of the kittens in the study! Clearly this virulent male cat needed to be neutered in order to prevent the many unwanted litters. Kittens can get pregnant as young as four months of age, which is why Cats Protection recommends neutering at four months.

Black cat with litter of kittens
Chaka and her kittens were in the care of our Bridgend Adoption Centre. Photo by Sue Dobbs
A little known fact is that kittens in a single litter can have different fathers. There could even be as many fathers as there are kittens! The ability to produce a litter of kittens fathered by more than one tom cat is called superfecundation. If we consider that the trait for boldness, or how friendly or outgoing the cat is, comes from the father, this helps to explain the differences seen in a single litter not only in the variety of coat colour or length, but also the personality of the kittens. Studies have shown that friendly fathers tend to have genetically friendly kittens, whereas fearful fathers tend to produce more fearful kittens. Of course, there are many other factors which also play a role in the overall sociability and personality of the kittens, including the amount of positive experiences with people and objects during the kitten socialisation period of two to seven weeks of age.

Overall, cats are not known for their fatherly skills as male cats do not tend to be involved in raising offspring, especially in the wild. Anecdotally, there are rare cases reported where domestic male cats have shown paternal care towards the young. Generally, rearing the kittens is primarily carried out by the queen so we don’t expect many kittens to be giving gifts today!

To find out more about cats' needs and behaviour, go to:

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Beautiful Bella’s pregnancy woes

This post has been written by Emily, a fosterer for our Cherwell Branch whose family owns a cattery

Six-month-old Bella was brought into us pregnant. We had taken her to the vets to have her examined firstly to confirm by a vet that she was pregnant and also to make sure everything was OK. The vets estimated that she was pregnant with three kittens.

Pregnant cat Bella
Bella was heavily pregnant at just six months old
On the morning of 19 April we went out to her pen to check, feed and clean her and we found her with two gorgeous little kittens – one tabby and white, one black and white – suckling on her. Sadly laid by her were three cold, apparently not breathing kittens.

Four tiny kittens
Bella's tiny kittens
Suddenly two of the still kittens started to move so we got a vet straight away! The vets could not have been more wonderful. They gave the kittens a shot of glucose and got them straight onto a heat pad and rubbed their teeny chests. They asked us to bring Bella and her two first kittens in to see if she would accept the two latest kittens (two torties – our first ever tortie kittens!) as they would have a much better chance of survival being with their mother. Sadly the final fifth kitten could not be saved.

Bella was an angel, she is now feeding all the kittens who are growing very well and they are certainly keeping her on her toes. They get out of their ‘bed’ daily and wait for her to collect them. Although at six months old she is far too young to have had kittens, she is coping as best she can.

Little tortie kitten Floss
Little kitten Floss. Copyright Ryan Onody 2017
Tabby kitten
Another gorgeous kitten. Copyright Ryan Onody 2017
She does not yet have a home... but I know she will find one very quickly. She is a very affectionate, loving cat who just needs a kind and caring family. Bella will be ready for a home in early July and will be spayed, microchipped, fully vaccinated and flea/wormed.

Veterinary note: Cats are often neutered too late in life when they have already produced at least one litter of kittens. The kittens can unfortunately contribute to the number of unwanted cats in the UK, which is why Cats Protection recommends that pet cats are neutered at four months of age or younger. Find out more by reading our neutering FAQs.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

‘Why does my cat roam?’ and other veterinary FAQs

In our recent live Facebook Q&A, vet Dr Sarah Elliott answered cat owners’ veterinary questions. If you missed it, here’s a roundup of some of the topics discussed:

Question: My 18-month-old cat (he’s neutered) often goes on long, four or five day expeditions. Is this normal for a young male cat or should I be worried?

Answer: This could be normal – at 18 months he's reached what is known as 'social maturity' and at this point cats start wanting to maintain a territory. Territory size can vary from cat to cat, ranging from just the house where they live to miles of space outside of the house. Cats will spend a large portion of their time patrolling their territory, and as your cat is young, he'll be trying to establish himself. Please make sure that he is microchipped and wearing a safety quick-release collar so that he can be identified. It’s great that he is neutered. For his own safety, it might be worth keeping him in at night.

Cat walking along garden fence
Question: My female neutered kitty of six years old has a bald patch on her lower belly where the milk ducts are. She is treated with a flea product prescribed by the vet, worm tablets and is slightly overweight. What is causing this bald patch?

Answer: It may be worth getting this checked by the vet. It may be that the fur has naturally thinned here due to contact with her bed or floor, and this could be exacerbated by her being a little overweight. This is also a common area for cats to overgroom, causing the fur to thin. Overgrooming can occur as a response to an itch or allergy, stress or pain in this area. For these reasons, it would be worth getting her checked over, and the vet can also give you some tips on how to get her trimmed down as being in good shape will really benefit her health.

Question: Our cat scratches her ears a lot (around four or five times a day) but she doesn’t seem to have mites and she isn’t anxious. Could there be another reason why she is doing it? We got her from Cats Protection three months ago and she has always done it.

Answer: The scratching sounds a little excessive, and it might be wise to have a vet take a look down the ear canal with an otoscope. The ear canals can look clean on the outside, but cats may have ear mites that are not visible outwardly, deeper infections, ear polyps or even foreign bodies down there, so it is worth ruling anything more sinister out with your vet first. .  Cats can also get sunburnt or bitten by insects on the tips of the ears, especially at this time of year which can cause some irritation.

Question: My newly adopted long-haired cat, aged 10 years old, is really well settled but his coat is matted so I cannot groom him properly. He is shedding everywhere. What is the best thing to do without upsetting him?

Answer: It's lovely to hear you have recently adopted a cat in need. If his coat is very matted, then it may be too painful for him to be groomed. The best thing to do may be to take him to your local vets, where they might be able to shave away the mats with safety clippers. Again, this may be too painful for him if he is very matted, so the vet may need to give him a little sedation to facilitate the process. Once the mats are gone, you can start daily pain-free grooming and hopefully prevent him from getting matted again. I hope that helps and best of luck!

Ginger cat being groomed
Question: My cat is 10 years old and she is on thyroid medication for a condition. She howls every night and paces around. She seems to sleep ok during the day and urinates a lot in her litter tray. Could the howling be a side effect of her medication?

Answer: I'm sorry to hear your cat has been unwell with her thyroid condition. Yowling and pacing could be a sign that her medication needs adjusting, so I would certainly mention this to your vet. Cats can also develop a form of dementia as they age, which can present as restlessness and increased vocalisation. Any change in her thirst or urination could be a sign of an early kidney problem, and it is unlikely that what you describe is a side effect of her medication. It would certainly be worth taking her along to a vet appointment and having a discussion about all the things you have highlighted.

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 advice, please visit
Consult your vet if you have a specific concern about your cat.

Would you like to ask one of Cats Protection's experts a question? Don't miss the next live Facebook Q&A sessions: speak to Behaviourist Nicky Trevorrow on 29 June; or vet Dr Sarah Elliott on 13 July. All Q&As are held on Cats Protection's national Facebook page from 2pm. See you there!

Monday, 12 June 2017

A happy ending for FIV+ cat Edmund

This post has been written by Chiltern Branch

We’d like to share the story of Edmund, our beautiful FIV+ cat who is now living the life of Riley with his loving family.

Edmund's story is one that will be so familiar to every branch of Cats Protection. He was found as a stray – not microchipped, not neutered and with horrible wounds from fighting. We weren't surprised when his FIV test came back as positive.

Edmund's fight wounds
Edmund's war wounds
Edmund was an absolute sweetheart, very affectionate and gentle, and with loving care and attention from his foster mum Emma, his wounds soon healed and his coat took on a glossy sheen. We got him neutered, microchipped, vaccinated and had his general health checked over by our local vet. Fortunately, he was in good health.

FIV cat Edmund with his fosterer Emma
Edmund and his fosterer, Emma
As all CP branches will also know, ginger and white cats are highly sought after, and we very quickly had an enquiry from a lovely couple in Aylesbury, Ellie and Robbie, who live in a flat and so needed to adopt an indoor-only cat. This was perfect for Edmund, as keeping him indoors will protect him from catching infections that his FIV makes him more vulnerable to, and will stop him passing the virus on to any other cats.

We carried out a homing visit and knew that his potential adopters and their flat would be perfect for Edmund. He had so many windows to look out of and lots of sofas, chairs and throws to lounge about on. Ellie also worked nearby, so would be able to pop home in her lunch hour to check on him.
Edmund settled in straight away and we had this update from his new owner Ellie on the day after he arrived at his new home in March:

“Edmund is such a confident and loving cat. It took him a matter of minutes to settle in! He's already claimed his spot on the sofa and given us so many cuddles. He adores Robbie and doesn't leave him alone, as you can see in the pictures. Ed will go to great lengths to make sure he is the centre of attention, no matter what you're trying to do!

Edmund and his new owner
Edmund with his new owner, Robbie
“Ed's currently curled up on my lap purring very loudly and looks quite disgruntled that I'm writing this email rather than paying him attention...”

And last month, we had this update:

“Well, we thought he was confident on day one but he now definitely rules the roost! He makes us laugh every day and we're always greeted with enthusiastic meows and cuddles. He loves it when we have people round because he has an abundance of laps to sit on and humans to pay him attention! We strongly believe that he's made of liquid because he just melts into your lap and snores very loudly.

“He knows what time our alarm goes off in the morning and pre-emptively comes to wake us up with a cuddle!

“He loves his scratching mat and uses it to sleep on and hide his toys in too. It also took him some time to learn how to play but he now has a selection of his favourite toys which keep him entertained while we're out. Thank you to the little girl who donated the catnip mice! However he now thinks shoelaces are something to kill so putting on boots is always a challenge...

Edmund enjoying his scratching post
Edmund asleep on his scratch post
“The vet says he is an ideal weight now and his fur looks beautifully shiny and white.

“He is very happy staying indoors and doesn't even look out of the windows. The only time he goes near the front door is when visitors leave and he calls for a few minutes at the door after them!

“Edmund is so popular with all of our friends and family. We travelled to Wales at the weekend to visit Robbie's grandma and everyone fought to look after the cat while we were away! My mum comes round for a cuddle very often as her cat is totally indifferent but Edmund rather adores her. And of course we love him. We feel so lucky to have such a friendly, characterful and intelligent cat in our lives."

Veterinary note: FIV is a virus in cats that is similar to the human virus, HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus. However, FIV does not infect humans, and HIV does not infect cats. FIV is thought to infect around four per cent of cats in the UK. For more information read our leaflet: Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV).

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Keeping your cat cool in warm weather

The rising temperature in the warmer months can cause our pets to overheat, so follow the steps in our video to ensure your moggy doesn’t fall foul of the summer sun.

Here are some tips:

  • provide plenty of shade both inside and out. Think shrubs, cat hides and boxes!
  • place fans around the house to keep the air circulating. Don’t point fans directly at your cat though
  • freeze a bottle of water, wrap it in a towel or pillowcase and place it where your cat regularly goes. Ensure your cat can get away from the bottle if they choose and the bottle doesn’t leak!

Frozen bottle of water
You can freeze a bottle of water and wrap it in a towel to keep your cat towel
Hydration is key! Encouraging your cat to drink more can be done in these ways:
  • place water bowlsaway from food bowls
  • avoid plastic bowls. Use glass, ceramic or metal instead and make sure they are large with a big surface area
  • keep the water topped up so your cat doesn’t have to put their heads into the bowls or are left without any water at all
  • many cats prefer running water so try offering a cat fountain.
  • putting water bowls in different places around the house will help cats always find somewhere to drink

Exposure to the sun can be a trigger-factor for a type of cancer that is more commonly seen in cats with unpigmented, white ears or noses so it is certainly a good idea to try to offer some protection, even though we know how much cats love to lie in the sun! If your cat has white fur try keeping them inside between 10am and 3pm when the sun is at its hottest and speak to a vet about suitable sunblock for cats.

If you are concerned about your cat’s health in the heat, have an elderly cat or kitten in poor health please speak to a vet.

A stellar contribution from a volunteer of 30 years

As it’s Volunteers’ Week we’re taking the opportunity to thank all of our volunteers, present and past, for their support and the difference they make to the lives of thousands of cats and kittens each year.

Volunteers like Sara Ford make a huge contribution to the charity. Sara has been volunteering for Cats Protection for over 30 years – read her story below.

Volunteer Sara Ford

“I was transferred to London with my job in 1986 and saw a promotional stand advertising for volunteers in Ealing Broadway with the object of starting a branch in that location. I had only just moved to London and knew no one. It seemed an opportunity to get to know some people locally.

“My current role as Co-ordinator and Fosterer for Forest of Dean Branch requires ensuring that all aspects of what we do are going smoothly and that everyone is kept informed about matters that concern each individual volunteer in the role that have taken on for CP. This includes making sure the Helpline is transferred to the daily volunteer and she is made familiar with any ongoing situation so can deal with it appropriately.

“My first task is cleaning and feeding the cats in my care. There might follow a trip to the vet with one or more cats I am currently fostering. I may then go out to carry out a home visit in my area or to check out a feral colony or a stray cat that has been reported to us. If I am at home, I might be contacting or responding to enquiries from the public, vets, the local press, other fosterers.

“I also write our branch newsletter to raise awareness of what we do with our local members and hopefully raise support within our local community. The evening brings the day's messages from the Helpline volunteer which must be responded to promptly. The volunteer and I will often share this responsibility so that the public will have an answer to their enquiries on the same day. Again, ensuring other volunteers are kept in the picture is essential so emailing the daily information around the branch is a necessary job so everyone remains involved and up to date with matters that concern them.

“I have organisational and administrative experience which has been a useful training for CP. I also had a cat as a child and loved her though I wince at the ignorance about cats that we had in the ‘50s!

“Why did I choose to volunteer for CP? No idea! I like cats and I like to help out in an area where I can use the skills I have. I intensely dislike cruelty and suffering in animals who can do little to improve their own situations.

“Volunteering is a way of life for me and I don't think of it as a ‘donation of time’. My retirement time is as occupied as I want it to be and many of my closest friends are cat people. I enjoy being part of a team of people working towards the same end. I see the role of Co-ordinator as largely administrative and of equal importance to every other volunteer. It is purely that I enjoy and can do organisational and administrative tasks so that is the role I choose to contribute.

“To someone thinking of volunteering I would say: life is about quality of life not about quantity of money. If you can spend your days knowing you have made someone or something else's life better, you will sleep better and look forward to the next day. So if you care about cats and making their lives better, CP is the charity to join.”

If you’re considering donating some of your time to volunteer for Cats Protection, you can look for opportunities nearby at

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Making a difference to the welfare of cats

In honour of Volunteers’ Week, from 1-7 June, we’re putting the spotlight on some of our outstanding volunteers across the charity. Without them, Cats Protection wouldn’t be able to help the thousands of cats that we do every single year.

Today we’re looking at the role of 19-year-old Rakib Hussain, who’s a Neutering Officer for North Birmingham Branch. Cats Protection champions neutering as the only effective way to reduce the number of unwanted cats in the UK and it has many benefits for cats and their owners, including your cat being less likely to roam, fight and spray.

Neutering Officer Rakib Hussain

“As a Neutering Officer, I am responsible for responding to enquiries that come in via our phone helpline and sending out neutering vouchers, or following up with a letter and other information/flyers etc as appropriate,” says Rakib.

“I am sending 20-30 letters a week. CP has done a great job of making this role convenient for me where every month I am delivered stationery, leaflets and letters, and envelopes/stamps.”

Rakib joined the charity over a month ago after stumbling across a YouTube video on fostering.

“I did not feel that fostering was for me but I was keen on finding out other volunteering opportunities. When I had a look at my branch's volunteering page to my surprise I found a number of roles and I applied to what I felt was most suitable for me – the Neutering Officer.

“One of the reasons I chose to volunteer was to prove to myself that I am still devoted to a cause that has been close to my heart for so many years. Every pet owner's worst nightmare is the loss of their feline companion and I can say that it was the most difficult for me, especially as a full-time university student. However, I knew that this was not the end and that my love and respect for cats can still be shown by helping so many cats that are in desperate need. For Cats Protection to be the UK’s leading feline welfare charity meant that my involvement here would have purpose and I am humbled to be part of a charity that is making a difference to the lives of so many cats.”

Rakib’s interest in cat welfare started at just 15 years old.

“My initial contact with Cats Protection was to discuss the issue my area faced with the number of community cats that had concerned me. As a 15 year old I was unaware of what needed to be done to prevent the unwanted litter of kittens and help the stray cats. The telephone conversation I had with a volunteer who I now keep in touch with was one of the most informative conversations I have ever had as I was educated on the welfare of felines.

“Thanks to Cats Protection, my area was introduced to a neutering campaign in which a number of cats and kittens were neutered or spayed. This campaign was extremely successful and I was blown away with the progress, as the number of feral cats has decreased greatly. To know that Cats Protection prevented further more unwanted kittens from being born which go on to be feral inspired me very much to go on to apply as I got older.

“Volunteering is exceptionally rewarding. During your time as a volunteer, everything you do, whether small or big contributes to the welfare of cats in need. As mentioned before, by volunteering you are showing that you strongly believe in a particular cause. Volunteering is at the very core of being human and no one has made it through life without someone else's help.”

To anyone else considering volunteering for Cats Protection, Rakib has the following advice: “You are one step away from helping and supporting thousands of cats. Do not think that by volunteering you will be in conflict with your day-to-day activities. Whether you're studying for exams or have a full-time job elsewhere, you can still volunteer as it is extremely flexible. The ethic here is incredible and very inspiring. Every month we hold a meeting where we get together and report our progress but also get to know each other more. It really is a great opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds and ages.”

Thanks to all volunteers past, present and future and to everyone who supports, enables, manages and leads volunteering within Cats Protection. Our volunteers make a difference in every part of the organisation, in our communities and to all the cats we help every year.
By volunteering for Cats Protection, you’ll make a difference, feel good, learn new skills and most of all have fun! Find our more at

Monday, 5 June 2017

National Cat Awards 2017 finalists: revealed!

Here are the 15 finalists for this year’s National Cat Awards, which celebrate the extraordinary tales of survival, heroism and companionship in the cat world.

Sponsored by PURINA® for the sixth year, the competition celebrates the achievements of the country's fearless felines and miraculous moggies.

Last year’s winner, Tink, took top prize after judges heard of her heroism in raising the alarm and saving her family from a house fire.

National Cat Awards 2017

 This year’s finalists include:

  • Lily – a deaf cat who saved her owners life by waking her up during an episode of severe obstructive sleep apnoea
  • Missy – a cancer-surviving cat who supports a couple recovering from a car crash
  • Mittens – who comforts an autistic girl who is also coming to terms with being diagnosed with a brain tumour
  • Nala – who has helped to support her owner recovering from a knife attack at work
  • Pixie – who alerted her owners that their 15-month old daughter was choking 
  • Tilly – helps her 21-year-old owner deal with several disabilities and who is awaiting amputation of her left leg

Kate Bunting, Cats Protection’s awards organiser, said: “The National Cat Awards celebrate the comfort, support and joy cats bring to people’s lives. We received over a thousand entries and we have been incredibly moved by the stories which highlight just how much cats positively impact on people’s lives. I don’t envy the judges this year in having to choose a winner as they’re all deserving felines.”

There are five categories vying for the title – Hero Cat, Purina® Better Together, Outstanding Rescue Cat, Furr-ever Friends and Most Caring Cat. Each winner will receive a trophy, a three-month supply of Purina® cat food, a year’s subscription to Cats Protection’s The Cat magazine and a voucher for cat goodies. Each category winner will then be in the running for the title of National Cat of the Year.

A further category, ‘CP Special Recognition Award’ has been created to celebrate some of the amazing stories involving cats that have been rehomed by Cats Protection. Although not in the running for the overall title, three cats have been shortlisted.

The winner of the PURINA® Better Together category will be selected by a public vote on Cats Protection’s Facebook page between 30 June and 3 July. To vote, visit the page at

To find out more about the finalists, visit

National Cat Awards 2017 sponsored by Purina

Volunteers changing how people think about cats

Wesley Henderson is just one of our 10,000 volunteers who make a difference to the lives of cats around the UK. During Volunteers’ Week this year, we’re showcasing the different volunteering roles on offer and celebrating the contribution our volunteers make to the charity.

Wesley has been volunteering as an Education Speaker in Northern Ireland for five years.

“I have always been a confirmed cat lover and, growing up, I can remember all of the cats we had and the fun I had having that as part of my life,” Wesley explains. “When I was working it felt like I was always too busy to do anything else. But when I retired, I made sure to get in touch with Cats Protection to offer my services. I had always been involved in public speaking so to be an Education Speaker seemed the perfect fit.”

Wesley’s role involves talking to schools and community groups of people of all ages to help them to better understand cats and their care.

Education volunteer Wesley Henderson
Wesley with his own cat, Kiwi
“Volunteering allows me to give something back – to contribute to the welfare of cats in some way. It gives me a great sense of fulfilment but I know it also means a great deal to the audience when they learn things they didn't realise about cats. I always think that if just one person thinks in a more positive light or more kindly about cats after I've left then I'll have done what I set out to do.

“There's nothing can prepare you for the positive rush that you get from doing your first talk,” Wesley enthuses. “Not only do you feel a tremendous personal benefit but you also get to know that, through education and awareness, you are actually changing how people think about cats. The effect of that lasts a lifetime – and that's a pretty powerful thought to keep you doing it again and again!”

How can you make a difference? We’ve seen a huge increase in the number of education volunteers in the last five years, but we’re always on the lookout for more! If you’re thinking about donating some of your time, knowledge and skills to help us help cats in your local area and across the UK, you can search for an opportunity at

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Samanta loves to tidy for Cats Protection

Continuing our celebrations of Volunteers’ Week from 1-7 June, we’re giving you a sneak preview of some of the voluntary roles available with Cats Protection.

Fifteen-year-old Samanta Razbadsuskaite volunteers for our charity shop in Penwortham, Lancashire. She’s in one of the more creatively named roles of ‘Love to Tidy’ and helps to keep the shop and stockroom clean and organised.

Cp volunteer Samanta Razbadsuskaite

Samanta began the role in February and donates 90 minutes of her time a week after school.

“A typical day includes making sure that everything on the shop floor is aesthetically pleasing for the customers as well as making sure that the stockroom is organised,” she says. “I also talk to customers if they need help making sure that their needs are catered for. Recently I participated in training to help build my confidence and esteem when dealing with customers and improve customer service.

“This role also contributes to my Duke of Edinburgh enrolment, improving my communication skills and organisation. My D of E enrolment has not finished but I am staying on as a volunteer beyond the enrolment stage because I love volunteering with Cats Protection.”

Samanta was attracted to the voluntary role because of her love for cats and has made many friends in the process.

“Everyone is really friendly, the staff are great and very welcoming. The training is top notch and the atmosphere is great!”

Thanks to the dedication of our 10,000 volunteers across the UK, we’re able to help around 200,000 cats and kittens a year.

Do you love cats and fancy learning a new skill? Find the perfect volunteering opportunity for you at

Saturday, 3 June 2017

June is National Microchipping Month

Microchipping is an important part of cat ownership so through June, National Microchipping Month, we’re encouraging all cat owners to ensure their pet is microchipped and the contact details are up to date.

Microchipping is the most effective way of identifying a lost pet (microchips can’t come off or put the cat at risk of injury like collars can) and greatly increases the chances of a lost cat being safely reunited with their owner.

Justin Hawkins, frontman of rock band The Darkness is appealing to people to get their cats microchipped after Cats Protection reunited him with his missing moggy last year.

Justin Hawkins reunited with his cat
Justin was reunited with his cat Cully
He said: “When my cat Cully went missing I was heartbroken but I just knew she was still alive somewhere. I kept checking microchip databases and kept my details up to date in the hope of finding her. Three years later, after being found living as a stray, Cats Protection was able to reunite us thanks to her ‘chip details.

“I was so happy when I heard she’d been found – I couldn’t wait to get her home. I’m sure any cat lovers like me will agree that our pets really are part of the family and it had been awful not knowing where she was for all that time.

“She’s settled back in so well since her return. I just wish she could tell us what she got up to during those years away but I guess we’ll never know. The main thing is that she’s back home where she belongs.”

“I’d like to encourage all cat owners to get their pets microchipped in case they ever go missing. It’s a simple procedure and I’d never have got Cully back without it.”

Have you been reunited with your cat thanks to a microchip? We’d love to hear about it, tell us on Twitter using the hashtag #MicrochipsReunite

To find out more about microchipping your cat, visit

Friday, 2 June 2017

Keeping the gardens in shape at Cats Protection

To celebrate Volunteers’ Week from 1-7 June, we are highlighting the wide range of voluntary roles available within Cats Protection, which enable cat lovers from all walks of life to get involved.

As well as being hands-on with cat care, volunteers can help with all sorts of roles at our branches, shops, centres and teams across the UK. Some of the more unexpected roles include helping manage branch websites, volunteering in shops, taking calls from members of the public and gardening at the charity’s centres.

John and Fay Cardwell became volunteers for the charity after adopting their own cat, Jack, from Cats Protection’s Belfast Adoption Centre. They now spend one day a week tending to the plants and outdoor space at the centre to make it more attractive for visitors.

Green Finger volunteers for Cats Protection
John and Fay watering plants in the garden
John says: “Fay and I have been volunteering with CP for just over four years. Shortly after losing our first cat to old age six years ago we thought we should give another cat a home and went along to Belfast Adoption Centre with the idea that we would take the cat that nobody wanted.

“One of the staff, Sue, who has since become a very good friend, showed us around and when we got to 'One Eyed' Jack she told us everybody just walked past him. This was the cat for us and he is unquestionably the best cat in the world! Over the next two years we attended open days and events and got to know more of the staff and slowly came to realise that there was a need for volunteers at the centre so we filled out the required forms and eventually arrived one Wednesday morning early ready to volunteer.”

Volunteering means a lot to the couple and they’ve made a lot of friends in the other volunteers and staff.

Gardening volunteers for Belfast Adoption Centre
John and Fay on the centre's memorial bench
“With those friendships we have access to a wealth of knowledge of feline health as well as the many courses where we have had expert tuition. We have a much better understanding of cats now than when we started and of course we get to spent time with cats that have often been on the receiving end of the worst of human nature and it gives us the chance to try to show the cats that not all humans are bad.”

To anyone else thinking about volunteering for Cats Protection, John says: “Go for it. You will meet the best of people and the cats aren't too bad either!”

To find out more about volunteering and view some of the currently available roles to apply for, visit

Thursday, 1 June 2017

A big thank you to all our volunteers this Volunteers’ Week!

Now in its 33rd year, Volunteers’ Week is an annual celebration of volunteering across the UK and an opportunity for all volunteer-involving organisations to celebrate the huge contribution and positive impact volunteers make.

CP volunteer with black-and-white cat

The importance of volunteers within Cats Protection cannot be overestimated. Set up in 1927 by a group of volunteers reacting to injustices they had seen in their community and beyond, this year sees Cats Protection celebrating a fantastic 90 years of working to change the lives of cats and kittens for the better. In the last year alone our volunteers contributed approximately five million hours in a wide variety of roles within branches, adoption centres, shops, our volunteer groups. Our volunteers donate time to help people to better understand cats, to help with neutering, helpline queries, health and safety and administration and our Trustees and Advisory Council.

We're now celebrating reaching the 10,000 volunteer milestone! The landmark figure means Cats Protection – which also celebrates its 90th anniversary this year – now has more volunteers than ever before helping to improve feline welfare across the UK.

Within any type of organisation it's not easy to say thank you in a way that means something to everyone (we're not very good at slow blinking, purring or head-butting like cats!) and while we know our volunteers don't do it for the ‘thank you’ we’d like to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude.

A huge thank you to each and every volunteer, past and present, who has contributed in whichever way they can to changing the lives of our feline friends.

If you would like to know more about how to join our amazing team of volunteers and the UK’s biggest cat community please see

Volunteers' Week logo 2017