Monday, 31 July 2017

International rescue: heroic moggies from around the world - part one

With the six National Cat Awards finalists announced and animal lovers across the United Kingdom waiting to discover who will take the overall title at this year's ceremony, we decided to take a look at some amazing moggies from other countries whose heroic and life-changing deeds have won them worldwide recognition.



By waking her family as fire spread through their home, last year's UK National Cat of the Year, Tink, provided an outstanding example of the differences cats can make to the lives of the humans they come into contact with. But, as similarly astonishing accounts from across the globe demonstrate, such feats are by no means confined to these shores.

One of the most memorable and widely-viewed acts of feline bravery took place in California in 2014 when a four-year-old child was suddenly and viciously attacked by his neighbour's dog. The attack saw Jeremy Triantafilo dragged off his bike and pulled along the pavement. The wounds he sustained required 10 stitches, but his injuries could have been much worse had it not been for the instinctive actions of the family's cat, Tara.

Having been adopted by the Triantafilos after following them home from a park, stray tabby Tara had become a much-loved member of the family. Usually a mellow soul, she displayed a different side of her character when she saw Jeremy being attacked. As the dog began to drag Jeremy towards the road, Tara barrelled into him at full speed, making him release his grip on the child's leg and sending the attacker scurrying away.

The action, which was caught on a number of security cameras in the area, was uploaded onto YouTube and has since been watched by millions of people around the world. Tara was bitten while protecting her human friend but survived the confrontation otherwise unscathed. Along with her global recognition, she now enjoys the lifelong gratitude of her adoptive human family.



Another incident, this time on the other side of the world, provides an alternative, but equally heart-warming, example of the caring nature of felines and their seemingly innate desire to protect life.

When Irina Lavrova, a resident of an apartment block in the Russian city of Obninsk, left her flat to investigate a series of urgent meows coming from the hallway outside, she was amazed to discover a long-haired moggy wrapped around a human infant that had been abandoned in a cardboard box.
It soon became apparent to her that the baby had been kept warm in the freezing temperatures by the same stray tabby who was now raising the alarm with such urgency. The paramedics called to the incident reported that the stray, known as Masha, continued to meow loudly as she followed the ambulance carrying the child to safety, adding that the warmth provided by the long-haired moggy probably saved his life.

Already a well-known resident of the block, Masha's quick-thinking deed saw her rewarded with extra treats from her admiring human neighbours.




You can read the second part of our heroic moggies series on the blog this Wednesday.

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

Friday, 28 July 2017

Why do cats make sounds?

In the Simon’s Cat Logic series of videos, Creator Simon Tofield and Cats Protection’s Behaviour Manager Nicky Trevorrow team up to talk about why cats do what they do.

In the latest video, they’re focussing on cat sounds. With the help of his gorgeous cats Teddy and Maisy, Simon explains that while all cats have their own personalities, it’s their sounds that really define them. While Teddy likes to chirp, purr and meow, Maisy is a much quieter cat – perhaps due to her being a former stray cat and not having to communicate with humans.

As Nicky explains: “Meowing isn’t a natural behaviour for cats. Out in the wild, they wouldn’t be communicating through vocal communications. They mainly do it through scent. They also rely on body language and facial expressions too.”

Nicky goes on to explain that communicating through sound is a learnt behaviour by cats, influenced by their owners.

“The cat will use different sounds, depending on how their owner responds. This is very much a learnt behaviour with people, which is why if you’re a chatty owner, you might have a chatty cat.”



If you want to learn more about cat behaviour, take a look at the behaviour hub on our website.

Does your cat have a distinctive sound?

Tell us on Twitter @catsprotection, using the hashtag #SimonsCatLogic

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Meet the finalists - Furr-ever Friends

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 The Furr-ever Friends category focuses on tales of friendship between children and cats.

Meet the finalists, Mittens, Harry and Percy, in our video playlist below.



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 logo

"When should I neuter my kitten?" and other veterinary FAQs

In our recent live Facebook Q&A, vet Dr Sarah Elliott answered cat owners’ veterinary questions.

Here’s a roundup of some of the topics covered:

Question: I’m a bit concerned about my cat. He seems to be a bit down and is sleeping lots and doesn’t want to interact with me unless I actually force the issue and pick him up for a cuddle. He is not off his food or anything – I  just notice his mood has changed a little and he seems sad to me.

Answer: I'm sorry to hear that your cat is feeling a bit out of sorts. It might be worth booking him in for a quick MOT with your vet, just in case there is anything amiss medically. There are a few medical conditions that can cause excessive tiredness. It would be important to monitor how much he is drinking, whether there is any sign of diarrhoea, or any signs of weight loss. These are all important observations to report back to your vet when you go for your visit.

Question: My kitten is almost six months old and has recently been spayed. She has allowed me to clip her nails, however as she is getting older it is becoming increasingly difficult. Is there an over the counter medicine or something I can administer myself to sedate/calm her to allow me to do her nails?

Answer: Cats Protection recommend Feliway pheromone sprays and diffusers as one of the ways of creating a calming environment for your cat. Most young cats do not need to have their claws trimmed, especially as outdoor cats will use their claws for climbing or fleeing from danger. Providing plenty of scratching post options for her will encourage her to keep her claws in good condition by scratching. Cats also love to use scratch posts as a way of transferring their scent from the scent glands in their paws - they love to have their own familiar scent in the home. Some older cats can suffer from long and thickened nails as they become less active. These cats will need some claw maintenance. Your vet may be able to show you some gentle cat-friendly restraint techniques to make the process less stressful.

Credit: Flickr: Sjingel

Question: Our kitten is going to have her microchip done the same time she is neutered. When is the best time to get them neutered from?

Answer:  I'm so glad you have asked this question as there are some common misconceptions out there about when is the best time to neuter cats. Cats are capable of becoming parents as early as four months old, when they hit puberty. Cats Protection, along with many other charities, as well as the British Veterinary Association recommends that cats (be they male or female) get neutered at the age of four months or sooner to prevent any unwanted litters. There are some myths out there that cats must be allowed to have one litter first, and this is totally untrue. Cats can lead happy, healthier lives when neutered, as neutering prevents the onset of some cancers and sexually transmitted disease, as well as diseases caught through cat fights. Cats are less likely to fight and roam if neutered. Find out more at www.cats.org.uk/.../cat-care.../EG06_Neutering.pdf

Question: How can I stop my cats going to the toilet all over my gravel?

Answer: Itt sounds like they really like using your gravel as a toilet! The best solution is going to be giving them somewhere even more preferable to use instead. Here are some tips on creating the perfect cat loo! http://meowblog.cats.org.uk/.../your-cats-perfect-loo.html

Credit: Flickr: angintaravichian

Question: My one-year-old cat died last week, so I got a kitten for my other one-year-old as he seemed really down. How long will it take for him to accept the kitten?

Answer: While many people think that cats need friends, they descend from a solitary ancestor, so generally they are much happier having the whole place to themselves! Ensure that your cats have lots of resources (litter tray, food bowl, water bowl etc) - ideally one per cat plus one extra to avoid any competition. You may find the tips in our leaflet helpful: www.cats.org.uk/.../EG11_Cats_living_together.pdf

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 www.cats.org.uk/cat-care/care-leaflets
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: our Stray and Feral Q&A is on the 15 August and our next veterinary Q&A is on 24 August.

All Q&As are held on Cats Protection's national Facebook page from 2pm. See you there!

Friday, 21 July 2017

Meet the finalists - Most Caring Cat

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.

The Most Caring Cat category focuses on cats that have a positive impact on an owner's health or wellbeing.

Meet the finalists, Tilly, Layla and Missy, in our video playlist below.



Come back next week for our next set of finalists for the Furr-ever Friend 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.


Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Should I get my male cat neutered?

Cats Protection has launched the second animation in its neutering series. The two-part animation series has been designed to remind cat owners of the importance of getting their male cat neutered.

The animation focuses on a male cat looking anxious and unhappy, straying far from home. The video then shows an alternate situation, in which the cat has been neutered and is content to be in the comfort of home.

Watch the video below.



Cats Protection recommends getting your cat neutered when they are four months old to prevent unwanted litters of kittens.

There are also several health and welfare benefits. You can find out more in our downloadable neutering guide here.

Worried about the cost of neutering? Call Cats Protection’s neutering line on 03000 12 12 12 (Mon-Fri,9.30am-1pm) to ask about a voucher or visit www.cats.org.uk/neutering for more information.


To watch the first video in the series, click here

Friday, 14 July 2017

Meet the finalists - Outstanding Rescue Cat

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.

The Outstanding Rescue Cat category looks at felines adopted from animal welfare organisations.

Meet the finalists, Genie, Nala and Charlie, in our video playlist below.



Come back next week for our next set of finalists for the Most Caring Cat .

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.




Wednesday, 12 July 2017

'Why does my cat like to lick carrier bags?' and other behaviour FAQs

Not sure why your cat behaves the way it does? Behaviourist Nicky Trevorrow took to our national Facebook page last week in order to answer live questions from cat owners.

Note: If your cat starts to display any behaviours that are unusual or they develop a change in personality or demeanour, the first person to speak to must always be your vet. Many changes in behaviour are due to illness or pain and so you should arrange an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.

Other seemingly ‘odd’ behaviours that do not have roots in a medical condition can be explained by understanding the natural behaviour that makes a cat a cat. For these types of behaviour issues we would recommend a referral to a qualified behaviourist from the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC).

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

Question: Please could you give me a few tips on how to stop my youngest cat (18 months) doing rough play with my older cat (nearly nine)? We have tried Feliway and Feliway Friends, and we have separate eating areas and litter trays.

We introduced them slowly, but she still gets the urge to chase and bop him! He’s very passive. Any tips are appreciated.

Answer: As a young cat, they will have loads of energy! The steps you've taken so far are great, but I would also recommend making sure you have lots of interactive play sessions with your 18-month old cat to give her an outlet for all that excess energy. Give your older cat a quiet place to retreat to that's away from her. If necessary, you could even consider putting a microchip cat flap on the door to his retreat room so that only he can get in.

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Question: Why does my cat like to lick carrier bags?

Answer: You’re not the first to mention this as interestingly several people in the past have commented that their cats like to do the same. We think it's something to do with a compound found in the plastic that some cats seem to like. That said, plastic bags are a health and safety risk (particularly for suffocation) so it's best to keep the plastic bags safely out of your cat's reach. If your cat likes to hide in them, there are commercially available crinkle bags and tunnels that make a noise as the cat dives into them! Alternatively, a plain paper bag with the handles removed is a safer, cheaper option.

Question: My cat is obsessed with food! She will steal everything and anything edible. We have dealt with the issue at home by not leaving any food out anywhere and shutting her in a different room while we eat. Unfortunately, she has taken to going into neighbours' kitchens and stealing their food. Last night she took and ate a raw rib eye steak from my neighbour's kitchen counter. She gets very aggressive when you try and take anything she's stolen away from her. We adopted her last year – she had been neglected we think. Any ideas?

Answer: The first thing you need to do is take her to the vets to rule out medical reasons as there are quite a few conditions that can cause this behaviour. The measures you've taken so far are sensible. Do you know how she is getting into the neighbour's house? If they have an ordinary cat flap, it would be worth them getting a microchip cat flap to stop her getting in, or perhaps getting fly screens fitted if she's getting in through open windows in the hot weather. A steak would be very tempting to any cat and some cats do get very excited about high-value food (especially if it's stolen!) and can growl to avoid people taking the food off them. Feed her little and often throughout the day as well as leaving food down just before bed to keep her blood sugar levels stable. Introduce her to feeding enrichment such as a cardboard egg box with dry food placed where the eggs would normally sit to make mealtimes more interesting.




Question: my cats only let me feed them and I have to be in the kitchen with them when they are eating. Why is this?

Answer: If there are other people in the household I would suggest letting them share the care of your cat, perhaps start with some interactive play so that they form positive associations with that person. Then over time you can gradually introduce that person at feeding time, just to be present initially, and then gradually introduce them to the cats and to start being more involved with feeding. This should hopefully take the pressure off you to be the sole care giver and the specific routine that you're currently in.

Question: One of my three cats (Jack) has died this week. My girl keeps to herself but Spyder and Jack always hung out together (being mostly outdoor cats through choice). What signs should I look out for that might cause worry? I know grief affects animals too. Is there anything to be concerned about?

Answer: So sorry to hear that Jack has passed away. It's a very difficult time and yes, we think that cats (and other animals) can grieve too. The signs to look out for would be a change in eating habits (under or over eating), pacing, appearing to 'search' around the house for the missing cat, crying, becoming clingy with the owner, less playful etc. Keep an eye on the interactions and use of space in the house to see how Spyder and your girl behave following the loss of Jack. Cat relationships can be quite complicated. Give both cats their own set of resources (food bowl, litter tray, water bowl, scratch post, toys, beds etc), split out around the house so that there's no competition for resources. If you think Spyder is grieving, try to keep the routines the same as well as the usual level of attention. It can be very tempting to lavish cats with extra love especially when owners are grieving themselves, but cats can find this change in behaviour confusing and unsettling. Wishing you all the best.

Veterinary note: Please note that we are unable to give specific advice on your cat's health or any change in behaviour observed. For 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: vet Dr Sarah Elliott will be taking questions on 13 July; you can get support with pet-related grief on 25 July; or speak to Behaviour Manager Nicky again on 10 August. All Q&As are held on Cats Protection's national Facebook page from 2pm. See you there!

Friday, 7 July 2017

Meet the finalists - Hero Cat

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.

The Hero Cat category focuses on cats that save the day.

Meet the finalists, Phoenix, Lily and Pixie, in our video playlist below.



Come back next week for our next set of finalists for the Outstanding Rescue Cat.

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.


Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Should I get my female cat neutered?

The animation focuses on a female cat with a large litter of kittens looking stressed and unhappy. The video then shows an alternate situation, in which the cat has been neutered and appears stress-free and content.
 
Watch the video below.



Cats Protection recommends getting your cat neutered when they are four months old to prevent unwanted litters of kittens. There are also several health and welfare benefits. You can find out more in our downloadable neutering guide here.

Worried about the cost of neutering? Call Cats Protection’s neutering line on 03000 12 12 12 (Mon-Fri,9.30am-1pm) to ask about a voucher or visit www.cats.org.uk/neutering for more information.