Monday, 27 November 2017

'Are there any supplements I can give my older cat?' and other questions from our Mature Moggies Q&A

Recently we championed the joy of older cats in Mature Moggies Week. We focused on everything from how to look after your cat as they age, to the senior kitizens currently looking for homes. As a result, many of you took to Twitter and Instagram to show off your own mature moggies as well as taking part in a special Q&A dedicated to older cats.

older cat

If you missed our Q&A with vet Sarah, here’s a roundup:

Question: I have a cat called Eric who is 17 and a half. He seems to eat a great deal but isn’t getting fatter or thinner. He meows far more and wants to be joined to me. He wanders around to another room and then howls as if he doesn’t know where he is. Is this old age?

Answer: If you haven’t already been, it might be worth taking your cat to the vet. They’ll be able to give the cat a full health check and check that everything is ok. Older cats can suffer from cognitive dysfunction (similar to dementia in people) and medical conditions like high blood pressure could lead to similar signs. For more information, take a look at our leaflet:

Question: I have a 12-year-old cat and wondered if there are any natural supplements that would benefit her in old age? Are there any oils or vitamins?

Answer: There are lots of really excellent complete diets on the market that are specially formulated for older cats. Older cats usually need fewer calories to compensate for reduced activity levels, as well as highly digestible protein. These formulated diets often have added omega 3 and essential fatty acids to help improve skin and joint health. Elderly cats are more susceptible to kidney disease, so making sure you have plenty of water available will help.

Question: Is it true that some cats go off to die? My 16-year-old went missing early in the morning almost six months ago. It was totally out of character and as she was thin and scrawny, I thought she might have been ill. Despite my efforts, she seems to have just disappeared.

Answer: I’m really sorry to hear about your cat. It must be difficult not knowing what happened to her. Our domestic cats have evolved from solitary ancestors and still retain that fierce sense of independence. This might be part of the reason why she took off on her own, but it is possible that if she felt out of sorts, she may have been disorientated and this prevented her from returning. Cats Protection can offer support with grief and loss through our Paws to Listen service – you can find out more here:

sleeping cat

Question: My cat is 12 and has hyperthyroidism. She is on Thyronorm and her levels have stabilised. I have her booked in for a pre-op assessment this weekend to discuss a thyroidectomy. However, she’s just had a couple of dizzy spells and she currently has a cold so isn’t interested in food. Is this normal and related to the medication? Should I see an improvement following the thyroidectomy? I believe the medication can make cats more susceptible to colds.

Answer: Hyperthyroidism is one of the more common conditions we see in older cats. It speeds up the metabolism, so cats can often have trouble with digestion and tend to lose weight despite feeling hungry. They can also have a rapid heart rate and high blood pressure and become more susceptible to opportunistic illnesses like the viruses causing cat ‘flu.’ The medication can have some side effects, but the symptoms you describe might relate more to the condition itself. I’d advise to see the vet to check that everything is on track.  A thyroidectomy is a great option for treating the condition long-term, but it is a surgery, so the vet will want to make sure she is medically stable first.

If you’d like to learn more about living with an older cat, head to our website.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Get a head start on your New Year’s resolution and help cats!

If you’re thinking of taking on a fundraising challenge for your 2018 New Year’s resolution, it pays to plan ahead. This Black Friday (24 November) to Cyber Monday (27 November), Cats Protection is offering free registration for a range of next year’s most exciting events, from marathons to skydives!

By the time January comes around, New Year’s pledges can easily fall to the bottom of your to-do list, but signing up early is a great way to motivate yourself and save a bit of money in the process! As well as challenging yourself, your hard work will also raise vital funds for the UK’s leading feline welfare charity, enabling us to help thousands of cats and kittens each year.

To join our team of #CatChampions, just choose one or more of the events listed below and then head to the Cats Protection website between 24-27 November to sign up for free. We’ll then support you with fundraising resources and training tips to help you raise as much money as possible for the cats in our care.

Cats Protection fundraising challenge event

Running events:

Brighton Marathon, 15 April 2018
With a stunning backdrop of the sea, the Brighton Marathon finishes on the seafront with 150,000 spectators and an unbeatable atmosphere.

Simplyhealth Great North Run, 9 September 2018
Starting in Newcastle upon Tyne, the 13.1-mile route takes runners through the city centre towards the River Tyne where thousands of people will cross over the iconic Tyne Bridge, where if you're lucky, you might get a glimpse of the Red Arrows passing overhead.

Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon, 14 October 2018
The Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon takes place each October, starting and finishing in the stunning Hyde Park. Over 16,000 runners take part in the 13.1 mile route through central London, taking in the spectacular sites of the capital and the beautiful Royal Parks.

If you need more convincing, watch our video filmed at the Great North Run for inspiration.

Cycling events:

Prudential RideLondon - Surrey 100, 29 July 2018
2018 will see more than 25,000 amateur cyclists take on a cycling challenge like no other through London and Surrey on a similar route to that of the London 2012 Olympic Road Cycling Races.

Prudential RideLondon - Surrey 46, 29 July 2018
This new event was held for the first time in 2016 as part of the Prudential RideLondon festival of cycling. The sportive (remember, it’s not a race!) comprises a spectacular 46-mile route on traffic-free roads.

Extreme sports:

Cats Protection fundraising skydive challenge

Zip line
Zip World Velocity, Bethesda, is the fastest zip line in the world and the longest in Europe. You will descend down the Big Zipper over the quarry lake often reaching speeds well in excess of 100mph!

Thrill-seekers can complete an exhilarating skydive to raise money for Cats Protection. Visit our national charity skydive provider by clicking here to choose your own location and date.

Walks and treks:

Save up to £10 when you sign up for one of our Ultra Challenge events before 25 December, including the South Coast Path Challenge, Thames Bridge Trek and even an expedition to the Great Wall of China!

Find out what it’s like to complete a trek for Cats Protection with our video.

Good luck with your #CatChampions challenge!

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

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

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

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

How did you get involved with Wordynumnum?

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

Have you got a cat?

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

What is it about cats that you love?

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

Why did you choose to help Cats Protection?

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

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

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Keep your pets happy at home this Christmas with TrustedHousitters

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

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

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

Cats Protection TrustedHousesitters discount code

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

How to sign up

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

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

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

Happy holidays!

Friday, 17 November 2017

Mature Moggies Week: Adopt an older cat!

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

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

Cats Protection Mature Moggies Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Mature Moggies Week: Older cat care

Mature Moggies Week caring for your older cat

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Mature Moggies Weeks: Older cats vs kittens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Mature Moggies Week: What is old?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, 13 November 2017

Mature Moggies Week: Celebrating older cats

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

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

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

Tell us about your mature moggy

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

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

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

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

Vinnie, 16 years old

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

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

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

Valentine, 15-16 years old

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 9 November 2017

New beginnings for brave Beric

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Why do cats go crazy for catnip?

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

What is catnip?

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

Kittens playing with catnip toy mouse

Why do cats go crazy for it?

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

Are all cats affected by catnip?

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

What effect does it have on humans?

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

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

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

Knitting pattern for Captain Cat-Battler catnip mouse toy

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Keeping your cat calm during firework season

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

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

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

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

Find more advice here:

Friday, 3 November 2017

Stray and Feral Q&A

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you’ve found a cat and you’re unsure whether they are a stray or feral cat, take a look at our website for advice:

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