Thursday, 19 July 2018

Five adorable kittens rescued from Swansea radio station skip

Staff at The Wave and Swansea Sound radio stations in Wales had an eventful day at work when they helped to rescue five cute kittens from a skip outside their headquarters.

They had noticed a moggy hanging around the area for a few weeks, thinking she was an owned cat who was out exploring. However, they soon realised she wasn’t alone.

Early in the morning on 2 July, breakfast show presenter Claire Scott noticed the cat, who she had named Brambles, emerging from an overflowing skip at the back of the office with a couple of tiny kittens in tow.

Brambles had five kittens in the skip
The Wave team called Cats Protection’s Swansea & Distract Branch for help, and they arrived on 5 July to collect the family and take them to the vet.

Brambles was soon tempted into a cat carrier with some food, but the kittens proved a little trickier to find. Luckily, The Wave team were on hand to help out.

"They needed some mug to get into the skip and empty it,” said Rhydderch Wilson from The Wave’s Creative Hub. "I spent a very sweaty, dirty hour in the skip, carefully emptying the rubbish out, knowing there were several delicate life forms in there.

Lots of rubbish had to be removed from the skip

"So I lift up a huge great cardboard box and underneath found three kittens huddled together with a fourth attempting a daring escape. I grabbed the fleeing kitten and popped it into a little basket along with her three chums.

"We were confident we had found all of the kittens, however Anne from Cats Protection suggested we needed to keep digging, just in case. Ten minutes later we found a surprise fifth kitten!”

All of the kittens, one of which is now named Skippy, were then taken to the vet and reunited with their mum. The family are now in the care of the Swansea & District Branch and will neutered before being found loving new homes.

The kittens will be neutered, microchipped, vaccinated and rehomed
That’s not the whole story though. Before Cats Protection arrived, radio presenter Badger had a shock when he found a surprising passenger in his car.

"It was a hot day and I left the doors open on the car to try and cool it down a bit before I went home,” said Badger.

“I jumped in the car, drove about a mile down the road and when I stopped at the traffic lights, I looked in my rear view mirror to see Brambles looking back at me.

"I turned around and returned to the station, pulled into the car park, opened the rear door to let Brambles out. Anyone looking out of the window would have thought I had chauffeur-driven a cat into The Wave car park!"

Monday, 16 July 2018

Fergal the world-famous feline who finally found affection

Fergal, the cat reported to Cats Protection’s Chiltern Branch as a ‘mean and ugly’ stray, has been rehomed after becoming a social media superstar.

The tabby-and-white cat had become known locally for his swollen face and tendency to fight, and was found in a sorry state on the streets of Chesham where it’s thought he had been for a number of years.
Fergal cat Cats Protection
Fergal's battered appearance caused him to be overlooked by adopters
The Chiltern Branch collected him and took him to the vets, where he was treated for weeping abscesses on his face, had broken teeth removed, was neutered and diagnosed as FIV positive.

Once back in the charity’s care he became the focus of the @ChilternCPCat Twitter feed, and his battered appearance and hard-luck story soon won him many loyal fans. He racked up a sizeable 3,095 followers and messages from Argentina, Finland, India and the USA filled the account’s inbox.

Fergal cat Cats Protection
Fergal with his blanket that was donated all the way from New York
Monetary donations totalling £1,247 covered the poor puss’s vet bills, with the remainder used to help other cats in the branch’s care. Food, treats, toys, blankets, brushes and more also arrived from donors around the globe.

Heather Carpenter from New York sent a homemade blanket and toy mouse across the pond. She said: “I sent the blanket because I think every cat needs to know he or she is loved. Even knowing I couldn't adopt him, I fell in love with Fergal right away and wanted him to know that he is loved. Even when you're terrified and lonely, knowing someone somewhere loves you makes all the difference.”

Slowly, Fergal began to grow more confident and began accepting fuss and cuddles, but despite his fame, he was overlooked by many potential adopters who were deterred by his unconventional appearance. However, one man who was not put off, Chris Elliot, eventually took Fergal into his home.

Fergal cat Cats Protection
Fergal was pleased to meet his new owner Chris
“He reminded me so much of myself!” said Chris. “I had been down and broken and, very fortunately, been able to pull myself up and out. Now I could see the chance and opportunity to help such a gorgeous and adorable animal to recover and enjoy a peaceful and happy future and a healthy and loving life with me. When I met him I could see that he had a sad-looking face but also an extremely friendly nature.”

Fergal cat Cats Protection
Fergal happy and relaxed in his new home. Credit: Chris Elliot
Chris wasn’t aware of Fergal’s Twitter fame when he decided to adopt him, but was touched to hear about the love he has been shown online. He said: “It’s unusual having a celebrity cat but lovely to know so many people across the world love him as much as I do – we still have so many gifts and toys to rediscover and enjoy now that he is a bit more settled and is starting to play.

“Fergal took some time to settle but now we are great friends. I have begun to know some of his sweet quirks including his love of breakfast al fresco in his new ‘catio’, and his dislike of sharing my attention with the computer – he is truly adorable, and I’m thrilled to have him in my life.”

To find your own feline friend like Fergal, visit to see the cats looking for homes in your area.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Kitten Academy: Getting the kittens used to different people

Follow the progress of kittens Apple and Apricot over the next few weeks in our Kitten Academy series.

Apple and Apricot are now three weeks old and already looking much bigger and fluffier than they did just a week ago. Apple, in particular, is very fuzzy and still twice the size of her sister Apricot, who is now looking more grey than black as her fur grows.

Black kitten Apple
Fuzzy Apple likes to play

They are still keen to spend a lot of time with their mum Annie, but she enjoys a break every now and then, happily coming out of the pen for lap time and a fuss.

While she is purring away having strokes and head rubs, each kitten can be very briefly picked up and handled before being returned to their sibling inside the pen. When the mum is so affectionate, like Annie is, it helps to be able to work as a team of two socialisers for this, so that she can get plenty of attention too!

Black cat Annie
Annie enjoying some lap time
For cats, the tolerance of and desire to be around people is a learned behaviour, not a natural instinct, so it’s important to gradually get them used to being handled early on. At six weeks old their fear response begins to set in, and so if they have not had any human contact before this age it becomes very difficult to get them used to people. Then after they reach the end of their socialisation period at eight weeks old, it becomes almost impossible!

Grey kitten Apricot
Tiny Apricot loves her mum
It’s not just important to get them used to one or two people though. Ideally, they should be handled by a minimum of four different people, including men, women, children and older people. A kitten that has only ever been handled by women may grow up to be fearful of men, so Cats Protection is always in need of volunteer socialisers of all ages and genders to ensure the kittens in their care are well-socialised.

Between brief handling sessions, curious Apple loves to play with her shiny rattling ball, batting it with her paws and chasing it around the pen until she wears herself out. Meanwhile, Apricot is still very much a mummy’s girl, preferring to spend her time snoozing with Annie. She clearly lets you know when she’s had enough of being handled, as she starts to mew for mum! Annie is still doing an excellent job of doting on her little ones, regularly licking them to give them a wash and lying there very patiently as they try to catch her tail.

Come back next week when the kittens are four weeks old to find out how their socialisation is going!

For more information about caring for kittens, visit the Cats Protection website.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Kitten watch: The kittens are settled in their forever homes

Back in February we began our kitten watch series, following the progress of an adorable litter of kittens being cared for at Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre.

In May they were finally old enough to go to their forever homes and we have now had an update from some of their new owners on how three of the kittens are getting on. Their lovely mum Daisy was also adopted by a loving new family, and we have an update on her too!

Emma and Eira

Emma and Eira tabby and white kittens

Sisters Emma and Eira were adopted together and have now been renamed Lilly and Lollipop. Their new owner said: “They are just the most delightful little kittens ever. They settled in so well from day one and they have grown so much and are full of character and mischief. Emma was much smaller than Eira but she now weighs more as they were at the vets recently for their jabs. I don’t know how, as Eira does not like Emma getting anything and tries to steal her food and love/attention.

“They are both very vocal, in particular Emma as she likes a good old meow when she needs/wants something and I call them our little tractors as they purr so much, in particular, Eira. They follow me around the house and play together so beautifully.

“Thank you so much for these two beautiful little girls, you guys and Daisy did so well. Myself and my children, who are aged eight and nine, are just so in love with them and they get treated like royalty so they are very are we! Thank you for all the wonderful work you all do over at Cats Protection, you truly are gems."


Dewi tabby and white kitten

The only boy of the litter, Dewi, has now been renamed Ozzy. His owner said: “He is a fantastic kitten. He is very playful and happy and enjoys sitting in the garden with us. He has started to become more confident and welcomes us when coming home and he always takes an interest at dinner times."


Daisy tabby and white cat

Three-year-old Daisy came into the Bridgend centre after her owners moved away and left her behind. She was already heavily pregnant when she arrived and did a wonderful job of giving birth to and raising her litter. She has now been neutered, so she doesn’t have to worry about going through the ordeal of having kittens again, and is enjoying the chance to relax in her new forever home.

Her new owner said: "Daisy is settling in very slowly, loving the attention and is very affectionate but her nervousness was apparent on bringing her home. She needs a lot of reassurance when we are standing up and she is on the floor, she clearly doesn’t trust feet. On the whole she is a delight and very clean but it will take a long time to undo any traumas she has had."

It’s lovely to hear that the kittens and Daisy are happy and healthy in their forever homes.

If you’d like to learn more about how Cats Protection prepare kittens for their forever homes, take a look at our new Kitten Academy blog series following the progress of adorable kittens Apple and Apricot!

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

One million steps to raise money for cats and kittens

Cat lover Paul Willis has pledged to walk an incredible one million steps in just three months to raise money for Cats Protection’s Scunthorpe Branch.

Starting in July, he will walk around 11,000 steps a day (equal to around five miles) and by September hopes to have walked 460 miles in total – that’s almost the equivalent of walking from London to Aberdeen!

Paul decided to take up this challenge after adopting his adorable cat Pebbles from our Scunthorpe Branch in February 2018.

Paul Willis and Pebbles the cat

“After I separated from my wife last summer and moved into my own place it was always my intention to have cat once I'd settled in,” explained Paul. “I much prefer cats to dogs as companions as they match my character more – independent, self-sufficient and low maintenance!

“I searched online for rehoming centres and discovered Scunthorpe Cats Protection. I went on their webpage and when I saw Pebbles I was immediately struck by her black and white markings and piercing green eyes.

“She has settled in really well and certainly lets me know exactly what she wants! We have been sharing a home now for nearly four months and she is great company. She is always sat waiting for me when I get home in the evening, wanting a stroke and some food.

“The idea for raising money for Cats Protection came from a previous walk I did last summer for Cancer Research. I walked 10,000 steps per day during June last year and raised about £150. This year I wanted to do something similar to challenge myself, as I'm not generally one for exercise!”

All of the money Paul raises will make a real difference to the lives of more cats like Pebbles. Cats Protection helps around 200,000 cats and kittens every year through rehoming, neutering and educating the public about cats’ needs.

If you would like to sponsor Paul and raise much-needed fund to care for unwanted cats and kittens, visit his JustGiving page.

To find ideas and support for hosting your own fundraising challenge for Cats Protection, visit our website.   

Monday, 9 July 2018

How to train your cat

While training your cat to do tricks can provide them with valuable mental stimulation and impress your friends, it’s best to start by teaching them some essential life skills before you tackle the tricky stuff. Here’s some advice on how to get your cat used to the litter tray, cat flap and the dreaded cat carrier!
Toilet training

cat and litter tray

You may wonder how best to house-train a cat, but the reality is that usually there is no need. If they are provided with an appropriate litter tray as a kitten, they will naturally follow their mother’s lead in using the tray as they grow up. Therefore, whether you are buying a kitten or rescuing one, ensure that they have had access to an appropriate litter tray for the first eight weeks of their life.

Often the litter substrate a cat uses as a kitten is the type they will prefer throughout their life. Make sure you ask the rescue centre or breeder which type your new cat prefers and use that to begin with. If you do decide that you want to change to a different litter, do this gradually over time so the cat can get used to it. If your cat is not using the litter tray, try changing the substrate to fine play sand or soil as these more closely mimic what cats would naturally like to toilet in.

Other toileting tips for your cat:
  • the ideal litter tray needs to be big enough for the cat to turn around in and contain litter approximately 3cm in depth so they can bury their waste
  • place the litter tray in a private, quiet location. Cats will be far less likely to use a litter tray in a busy area or, for example, one placed directly in front of a noisy washing machine!
  • cats are very clean creatures, so their litter tray needs to be cleaned out at least once a day
  • if there is more than one cat in the household, ensure that there is at least one litter tray per cat
Don’t get in a flap

cat and cat flap

Another important life skill for your cat to learn is using a cat flap, if you have one installed in your home. Here are some simple steps you can follow to help them learn how to come and go as they please.
  1. Prop open the cat flap and let your cat explore around it. It will help if you have something super exciting for them on the other side of the flap, such as a person they really like or a tasty treat.
  2. Give your cat space to access the cat flap on their own and once they have gone through it a couple of times, lower the height of the flap slightly.
  3. As they get more confident, gradually lower the flap some more.
  4. Repeat until the flap is no longer propped open at all and your cat is happy to go in and out with no incentive.
If your cat is particularly nervous, it may take some more time. Be patient and do not get frustrated. If they do not like going through small spaces or things going over their head, start them off with something easier. For example, place a large box that is open at both ends in an open doorway and reward your cat for exploring and walking through it. Once they are confident walking through this larger space, they may be ready to tackle something a little smaller like a cat flap. Sessions with the cat flap need only be a few minutes long and your cat will normally pick it up in a few days.

Getting carried away

cat and cat carrier

To prevent future vet visits from becoming a wrestling match between you and your moggy, it’s a good idea to get them used to the cat carrier as early as possible. You never know when you may need to use it, so follow these steps for stress-free cat travel.
  1. Leave the carrier out in a quiet place that your cat is likely to visit and put one of your cat’s blankets inside so that it smells familiar. If your cat is particularly tentative around the carrier, try to make it as open and uncovered as possible. Don’t put pressure on your cat to go in straightaway.
  2. After they have explored the carrier a number of times, try putting a tasty treat in the entrance to it. If the cat is scared, you may want to put the treat outside the front of the carrier and then leave them to find it on their own.
  3. Once your cat is comfortable taking a small treat from the carrier, start feeding small parts of their meal inside the carrier, building up the time they voluntarily spend inside it.
  4. Next, start gradually closing the door of the carrier while your cat is voluntarily inside. Only shut it for a few seconds at a time initially and then build this up over time. Do this until you can close the door on the cat carrier and your cat remains calm inside. If your cat panics and rushes out you have gone too fast and will need to go back a step.
  5. If your cat continues to be nervous of the carrier or suspicious of humans near the carrier, gradually start draping a blanket over the entrance so they have to brush past it to get the food. Continue this until the blanket covers all of the entrance but your cat can still creep in. This will help to get them used to being enclosed in a more gradual way.
  6. When your cat is confident being enclosed in the carrier and picked up then you just need to get the carrier out every now and again with a tasty treat or favourite toy in it to maintain the positive association.
This whole process will only take a few minutes of your time over the course of a couple of days. At each stage reward your cat with food or praise for remaining calm.

Remember, any form of training should be relaxed for both you and your cat so if you are getting frustrated that your feline isn’t grasping it quick enough, simply take a break and try again later.

If you have any problems training your cat, take a look at our advice on the Cats Protection website or contact a qualified behaviourist.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Why is chocolate poisonous for cats?

A bar of chocolate may be a tasty treat for us humans, but you should never share it with your cat.

Chocolate contains a chemical compound called theobromine which is toxic for cats and dogs. It acts as a stimulant to increase their heart rate and a diuretic to increase the loss of their bodily fluids, both of which can prove fatal.

In fact, theobromine is actually toxic for us too, but because our bodies can process it more effectively, we would need to eat around 70 grams to reach a lethal dose. That equates to eating around 35 kilograms of milk chocolate in one go, which isn’t easy for us to do!

Cats and dogs are not as good at processing theobromine, so it stays in their bloodstream for much longer and can accumulate to dangerous levels more easily. Therefore, eating just a couple of grams of chocolate can be fatal for a cat.

Dark chocolate with a higher percentage of cocoa content will contain more theobromine than milk or white chocolate, but all are dangerous. If your moggy has scoffed any of your chocolate stash you should take them to a vet straight away.

Some the symptoms of chocolate poisoning in cats you should look out for are:
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • excessive urination
  • irregular heartbeat
  • seizures
The severity of these symptoms will depend on your cat’s weight and how much chocolate they have eaten, but if you’re worried it’s best not to wait for the signs to appear before taking them to the vet.

Luckily, your cat is unlikely to want to try your chocolate anyway, as they lack the ability to taste sweetness like most other mammals can. However, you should still always keep it out of their reach just in case they get curious.

Your cat may not be able to enjoy a chocolate treat, but you can! Find out how to make some purrfect chocolate paw print cupcakes in our video below:

To find out more about what you should and shouldn’t feed your cat, take a look at our handy guide.

For more advice about your cat’s diet, visit the Cats Protection website.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Kitten Academy: Preparing kittens for life in their forever homes

Follow the progress of kittens Apple and Apricot over the next few weeks in our Kitten Academy series.

The first two months of a kitten’s life are crucial for preparing them for the big wide world. Known as the ‘socialisation period’, this is when their brains and senses are still developing and they learn what is normal and safe.

When kittens are born in Cats Protection’s care, or come into our care when they are very young, our volunteers and staff follow a structured socialisation programme to prepare them for a variety of experiences they may encounter in later life.

Over the next few weeks we’ll follow the progress of Apple and Apricot, two female kittens at one of our adoption centres, as they embark on this programme and get ready for finding their forever homes.

black cat Annie
Lovely mum Annie
Their lovely mum Annie came into our care as a pregnant stray in May. At just two years old she’s only recently been a kitten herself, but did a wonderful job of giving birth to her litter. Straight away it was easy to tell both kittens apart as Apple is more than twice the size of her sister Apricot, as you can see in the video below! However, they are both healthy and being well cared for by their attentive mum and the centre’s hard-working volunteers and staff.

During their first weeks of life they spent much of their time cuddled up to Annie to keep warm and feed on her nutritious milk, but when they reached two weeks old and their eyes and ears started to open, they were ready to start Kitten Academy.

The most important part of any socialisation session is to ensure the kittens stay safe and healthy, so anyone handling them must wear personal protective equipment including disposable gloves, an apron and shoe covers to prevent the spread of infectious disease.

Once kitted out, it’s good for the socialiser to spend some time with the kittens’ mum first, even before she gives birth. This helps her get used to having them around so she is more comfortable with them approaching her litter. Annie loves a fuss and often comes straight up to the entrance of the pen for a head rub, sometimes pushing her head in the way of her kittens to make sure she gets some attention first! When mum has had a chin rub or two, the kittens can then get in on the action with some very gentle strokes.

black cat Annie
Annie loves having a fuss
As cats are solitary animals and do not have an inbuilt need to be with people, it’s important for them to get used to being around humans before they reach eight weeks old. Regular short sessions of gradually introducing and repeating human contact within the safety of the kittens’ pen helps them to see it as a positive experience. Without this contact, they are likely to grow up to fear humans and become feral cats that cannot be rehomed as pets.

While it’s certainly fun and rewarding to be kitten socialiser, you also need a lot of patience as it’s important to go at the kitten’s own pace, paying attention to their behaviour and recognising the signs to slow down. Apple and Apricot were curious about being touched during their first socialisation sessions, but in just a week they have become much more comfortable with someone other than their mum giving them some attention.

Most of their time though is spent snuggled up with Annie and each other, as kitten need lots of sleep to grow big and strong. Apricot is particularly keen to spend her time snoozing, as you can see in the video above, but then she does have a lot more growing to do compared to her sister! They don’t like being separated from their mum for very long, and will let her know when they want her back by making cute little mewing noises. Annie is such a good mum that she will usually come straight away to let them feed, give them a wash or have a cuddle.

Come back next week to find out how these sweet sisters are getting on when they turn three weeks old!

For more information about caring for kittens, visit the Cats Protection website.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Cats Protection Christmas animation star Kozal loves a summer snooze

You may remember the tear-jerking animated film we released for Christmas 2017, in which a lovely ginger cat finally found a forever home after being overlooked time and time again.

If you haven’t watched it yet, grab some tissues and click play below!

The film was actually based on a true story, that of 16-year-old Kozal who spent seven long months at Cats Protection’s National Cat Adoption Centre in Sussex.

He was finally adopted just before Christmas by cat-lover Jill Cash and her husband who saw his picture in their local newspaper, and they have now sent us an update on how their mature moggy is getting on.

Kozal ginger cat cats protection

“Both Kozal and I are enjoying this glorious weather,” said Jill. “He loves a spot of early morning sun worshipping, after a hearty breakfast that is – he certainly has his priorities right. He is an early riser, especially on these light mornings.

“As soon as he is awake, either on my bed or in his favourite armchair, he heads for the wide windowsill upstairs and watches the world waking up. His latest fixation is with one of our local foxes who has worked out that the neighbours don't close their bin lid.”

Kozal ginger cat cats protection

Jill explains that Kozal has become even more laid back in his new home, but while he may be a golden oldie, he still likes to play with his catnip toys every now and then.

“He is a bit grumpy at times but that doesn't make me regret homing him. He can be really cute when he sits on your lap and purrs his heart out of an evening.”
Kozal ginger cat cats protection

Kozal is just one of the many mature moggies Cats Protection cares for every year. Sadly, these adorable older cats can take over twice as long to find their forever home as their younger counterparts, but they can be just as loving and playful.

If you can offer a senior kitizen a home, contact your local Cats Protection to ask about their long-stay cats and find your new feline friend:  

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Why do cats knead?

Although you may refer to it as 'pawing', ‘making biscuits’ or ‘playing the piano’, the behaviour commonly known as kneading is when cats repetitively push each forepaw into a soft surface, often the owner that they happen to be standing on at the time.


Kneading is actually a behaviour cats learn at kittens, but it sometimes stays with them through to adulthood. As a kitten, kneading serves a practical purpose. Nursing kittens knead around the teat of their mother in order to better stimulate the flow of milk. Therefore, they get a reward for this behaviour in the form of nutritious milk.

Are they milking me?

As Robert De Niro famously quipped in classic comedy Meet the Parents: “I have nipples. Can you milk me?” Could your cat be trying to stimulate milk from you as it kneads your body? Not likely. The actual answer is that no one truly knows why this behaviour is carried into adulthood by some cats.

Kneading as a kitten makes sense because it has a purpose but kneading as an adult cat does not appear to have a purpose. The key focus there being on the word appear. Although we cannot see a purpose, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t one. Cats will seldom exhibit a behaviour for no reason.


Feline good

The most widely shared theory is that when practicing this behaviour, cats experience similar feelings of contentment that they had while kneading as a kitten. Although we don’t know if they are actually getting the feel good factor from kneading, it would be safe to assume that if there was no reward for the behaviour then the cat would stop doing it. It could be that kneading causes the release of chemical signals in the brain that contribute to the flow of happy and relaxing hormones. If the cat can create their own natural high, it would make sense to keep kneading.

A need to knead

Rather than kneading by choice because it feels good, it’s also possible that it is a more ingrained automatic response. Kittens naturally know to knead their mother to stimulate milk, so it could be that the same sensation on their paws that caused them to knead in kittenhood could also be experienced later on. It may be hard-wired into their brain to start kneading when they feel certain textures under their paws.


Wild ways

Finding out more about the kneading behaviours of wildcats may provide further insight into this curious behaviour. Would cats in their natural habitat be prone to kneading, or is it only pet moggies with a comfy blanket or human lap that do it?

Our domestic cats have evolved most recently from African wildcats and there is a lesser supported theory that kneading is inherited from their need to pat down areas of long grass to make it comfortable to sleep on. However, as African wildcats are both predator and prey in their natural habitat, they usually prefer to sleep in raised areas to lookout for predators rather than in grass on the ground. Our pet cats share a similar preference for high-up places as well, often to sleep or if they’re spooked by something, so make sure your own feline friend has access to a bed off the ground.

Paws for thought

The enigma of why our adult cats knead will continue to be debated and investigated. What we do know for certain is that this cute kitten behaviour gives owners and their moggies plenty to purr about and there’s no harm in that is there? Well, maybe if they’ve got sharp claws!

For more information about cat behaviour, visit the Cats Protection website.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Frostbitten kitten who lost his toes is now exploring his new home

When the Beast from the East and Storm Emma struck the UK at the end of February, humans and moggies alike tried to keep warm as the snow fell. Unfortunately, one poor family of cats struggled more than most in the cold conditions.

During a particularly heavy frost in March, Cats Protection’s South Wirral Branch received a phone call from a woman whose long-haired tabby Savannah had given birth.

She had found the mum and her newborn kittens outside in the cold and quickly brought them in to get them warm. Sadly, it was too late for four of the five kittens who had not survived the freezing conditions, but one tiny tabby was still clinging to life.

Cats Protection tabby mum and kitten
Savannah and her only surviving kitten
The branch’s rehoming volunteer drove to the house straight away and took the mum and her surviving kitten to the emergency vet for treatment.

It was soon discovered that the kitten had suffered from severe frostbite, which had affected the tip of his tail and all of his paws. Each paw has at least one toe missing, and one had even lost them all.

Given a 50/50 chance of survival, there was great doubt that even if this little kitten did pull through, he would never be able to walk again.

Cats Protection tabby mum and kitten
Savannah took good care of her little one
However, as the weeks passed, he slowly managed to gain enough strength to take some very wobbly steps. The volunteers named him Ali, after the boxer Mohammed Ali, because he was proving to be a little fighter, and soon started to see a cheeky personality shine through.

By the time he was six weeks old, he was walking like a normal kitten with only a slight limp on his back foot, the one missing all of its toes.

Cats Protection tabby kitten
Despite not having many claws, Alan is doing well
Many people came forward to donate towards his care and offer him a home but in the end it was Ali’s vet Matthew who adopted him, charmed by the poor kitten’s spirit and determination. He is now in excellent hands for any future vet care he may need and has been renamed Alan, after actor Alan Rickman.

“We couldn’t be happier with our little bundle of fluff,” said Matthew’s girlfriend Meg. “When we first saw Alan, Matt was worried whether he would survive. Alan has defied all odds and certainly is a miracle. He’s growing in confidence and developing his character each day – turning out to be a very cheeky chap! We are looking forward to many happy years with him.”

Cats Protection tabby kitten
Alan's lack of toes doesn't stop him having fun
Alan’s mum Savannah has also now found a new home after being neutered. She is settling in well now she has come in from the cold and can look forward to a relaxing life without the stress of having any more kittens.

Cats Protection’s South Wirral Branch would like to thank everyone who donated towards Alan’s care and helped him get back on his paws.

To find out how you can support Cats Protection's work to help cats and kittens, visit

Friday, 29 June 2018

National Cat Awards 2018: Meet the Outstanding Rescue Cat finalists

If you're looking for a new feline friend, you should definitely consider a rescue cat. Cats Protection has thousands of cats and kittens waiting for loving homes and when you adopt from us you can be sure they are happy and healthy.

If you're still not convinced that adopting it better then buying when it comes to getting a new pet, take a look at the finalists of the National Cat Awards Outstanding Rescue Cat Awards.

All of the finalists were adopted from animal welfare organisations and have gone on to change the lives of the people around them...


Florence brought inspiration to a whole community after being adopted by Reverend Christine French as a church cat. Regularly welcoming brides at weddings and providing a soothing presence at funerals, the deaf former stray is also an inspiration for schoolchildren. Rev French explained: “I use her as an example to tell children that anything is possible.”


Former stray Sox has transformed the lives of patients and staff after being adopted by the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability in Putney. The four-year-old puss provides comfort and companionship for patients with brain injuries and also helps motivate those undergoing therapy. Staff member Tracy Dipalma said: “He is an incredible support and comfort to a huge number of people.”


Diagnosed with terminal cancer, Travis Tremayne was given the devastating news he may only have three months to live. Yet tiny stray kitten Lucky inspired him to continue his fight and one year later Travis is on a trial course of treatment and brimming with positivity. He said: “She’s an inspiration and has been such a huge support to me every single day.”

The winner of the award will be chosen by a panel of celebrity judges and announced at a star-studded ceremony at London’s Savoy Hotel on Thursday 2 August. One fabulous feline will also be crowned National Cat of The Year!

To find out more about the National Cat Awards, please visit  

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Cats Protection Tyneside seeks home for cat with super-sized paws

A very unusual moggy has arrived at Cats Protection’s brand new Tyneside Adoption Centre in the north east.

Wilbur is a polydactyl cat, meaning he has an additional digit on each of his paws. Instead of the normal 18 toes, this adorable black-and-white puss has a total of 22!

Wilbur has a 22 toes! Credit: North News
“Wilbur is a very special cat in every way so we’re looking for someone special that will give him the love he deserves,” explains Adoption Centre Manager Emzi Frater. “Although they may look a little unusual, the extra toes do not affect his health in any way and we know he’d make someone a perfect companion.”

Wilbur's extra digits don't hold him back. Credit: North News
Although not common, polydactyl cats can be found across the UK. It is a genetic condition that, in the majority of cases, causes no harm to the cat whatsoever. Some polydactyl cats have just one extra toe on each paw but some can have two or even three extra on each foot. If a polydactyl cat has kittens, there is a good chance some of her kittens will also have the condition.

Can you give Wilbur a home? Credit: North News
“There is a legend among sailors here in the north east that polydactyl cats used to be ship’s cats and the extra toes helped them climb the rigging,” said Emzi. “It’s a nice story, but these cats do not have a greater climbing ability. It’s neither an advantage nor a disadvantage – just an unusual inherited quirk, known as a ‘dominant gene defect’.”

Cats Protection’s Tyneside Adoption Centre in Gateshead will be officially opening its doors on 14 July but due to demand it is already full of cats and kittens looking for their forever homes.

Members of the public are invited to join staff and volunteers at the official opening from 12pm on Saturday 14 July. There will be tours of the centre, giving people the opportunity to meet some of the feline residents, and refreshments will be available including some feline-themed cakes to enjoy.

If you can offer Wilbur, or any of the other cats at the centre, a loving new home then please call the Tyneside Adoption Centre on 0191 653 1052.

To find cats available for adoption your area, visit  

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

What should and shouldn’t I be feeding my cat?

As they are strict carnivores, cats should eat a meat-based diet, but that doesn’t mean they can live off of your leftover chicken.

In addition to lots of protein, they also need the right balance of vitamins and minerals to keep them happy and healthy.

To ensure your moggy gets all the nutrients they need, it’s best to feed them a commercially complete cat food that will have been specially-formulated to meet their dietary requirements.

Your local pet store or supermarket will have lots of varieties to choose from, just make sure it says it’s a ‘complete’ cat food on the label.

Cats Protection cat eating food from bowl

Wet vs dry food

Complete cat food comes in the form of wet food (tins or pouches of meaty chunks in jelly) or dry food (bags of meaty kibble). You can feed your cat one or the other, or a mixture of both, as they each have their benefits:

  • wet food has a high water content that can help to ensure your cat is getting enough fluids. This is particularly useful if your cat has a medical condition requiring them to drink lots of water
  • dry food can be good for oral health as chewing on the kibble can help clean your cat’s teeth. It’s also ideal for putting in puzzle feeders that will encourage your cat to exercise while they eat and keep them from getting bored.

How much?

Cats have evolved to eat little and often so ideally their daily food ration should be divided into at least five portions and fed to them throughout the day.

To find out how much to give them, follow the advice on the food packet, but monitor their weight closely and speak to your vet if you notice either an increase or decrease in body weight and condition.

Tasty treats

It’s okay to give your moggy the occasional tasty treat. There are lots of cat food treats available, or you could give them a piece of well-cooked chicken or fish. You could even have a go at making your own cat treats.  

However, it’s important to remember that these will not contain all of the nutrients your cat needs, so should only be given alongside a complete cat food.

Too many treats can also lead to weight-gain, so when treating your cat it’s best to set aside a small portion of their regular food so that you are not adding calories to their daily ration.

Foods to avoid

If you do decide to treat your cat, here are some items that should not be on the menu:


Although cats feed on their mother’s milk as kittens, when they’re weaned they lose the ability to digest it properly and become lactose-intolerant. Therefore, eating dairy products such a milk and cheese is likely to give them an upset stomach. Cat milk also contains a lot of calories, so could cause your puss to pile on the pounds.

Cats Protection mum and kittens
Newborn kittens need milk, but when they're older it can make them ill

It may be a tasty treat for us, but chocolate is lethal for cats. It contains a substance called theobromine which is toxic for both dogs and cats and even in small amounts can cause heart problems, seizures and even death.

Raw meat

While most cats would happily eat a raw food diet, it can pose many problems. Firstly, raw meat contains bacteria and parasites that could make the cat, and the owner preparing the food, ill. Secondly, many raw food diets do not contain sufficient nutrients to keep your cat healthy.

Garlic and onions

A common cat myth is that feeding them garlic will help get rid of parasites such as fleas and worms. In fact, garlic and onions are very harmful to cats and even small amounts can lead them to develop life-threatening anaemia. You’re much better off dealing with parasites using treatments prescribed by your vet.


Liver is high in vitamin A and can make your cat seriously ill if they eat it too frequently. If you do give your cat liver, make sure they do not have it more than once a week.


Tuna that is specially-formulated as a cat food is fine to feed your moggy, but tuna meant for human consumption is best avoided as it can cause digestive upsets.

Dog food

Dogs and cats have very different dietary needs, as dogs are omnivores while cats are carnivores. Therefore, dog food will not contain enough meat-based protein or the right vitamins and minerals to keep your cat healthy and so should not be given as a substitute for cat food.

And to drink?

The only thing your cat needs to quench their thirst is water and it’s important that they have access to a fresh, clean supply at all times. You can find more tips on keeping your moggy hydrated here.

If you have any concerns about your cat’s health or diet, speak to your vet for tailored advice.

You can also find lots more general cat diet advice on the Cats Protection website.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Is it ok to kiss my cat?

This National Kissing Day (Friday 22 June) you might be tempted to give your moggy a peck or smooch, but is this wise for you and them? Cats Protection’s Behaviour Manager Nicky Trevorrow offers some advice…

human and cat kissing
The first thing you should consider is whether you and your moggy are healthy, as diseases can be passed between you through kissing. If either of you is ill, then this type of close contact should definitely be avoided!

Another thing to make sure of is that your cat is used to this level of contact from you. If you’ve never given them a kiss before, they might not take kindly to the sudden invasion of personal space.

When going in for a kiss, the most important thing is to avoid kissing on the lips, for hygiene reasons. It’s best to avoid the stomach too as most cats don’t like having their tummy touched. Cats usually prefer brief interactions so if you do want a kiss, a quick peck is best.

This ideal way to show your cat some affection though, is to let them come to you. Cats greet each other with nose-to-nose touching, so try presenting your face to them to see if they come forward for a sniff.

Do cats kiss each other?

Not as such. Cats are descended from the African wildcat, a solitary hunter, which means they are more independent by nature. Cats also didn’t develop the complex facial muscles to show a wide variety of expressions like dogs can.

If you want to see if your cats get along, then it’s all about reading the body language! If they walk around each other with an upright tail, rub against each other, or play-fight with their claws tucked in, then those are all signs of feline friends!

For more cat behaviour advice, please visit  

Thursday, 21 June 2018

National Cat Awards 2018: Meet the Hero Cat finalists

Forget Superman, Wonder Woman and Black Panther, cats are the only superheroes we need! They may not have super strength, high-tech gadgets or the ability to fly, but they can save the lives of their loving owners, as this bunch of National Cat Awards finalists prove.

Meet the pawsome finalists of the Hero Cat award...


Annette Sterland-Burton suffers from functional neurological disorder, which causes memory and mobility problems as well as debilitating seizures. Yet thanks to intuitive Toby, who senses when Annette is about to suffer a blackout, Annette is able to prepare herself and son Kieran, nine. Annette said: “He’ll start pawing me and meowing very loudly, and we know it’s time to call for help.”

Prince Ozzy

Deep in sleep, Sharon Kane was oblivious to the danger around her as deadly smoke from a fire at a neighbouring property filled her home. But thanks to six-year-old Prince Ozzy, who persistently batted her face with his paw, Sharon was woken in time to avoid serious injury. Sharon said: “He was so persistent, and just kept batting me with his paw.”

The winner of the award will be chosen by a panel of celebrity judges and announced at a star-studded ceremony at London’s Savoy Hotel on Thursday 2 August. One fabulous feline will also be crowned National Cat of The Year!

To find out more about the National Cat Awards, please visit   

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

TV star Chizzy gets busy helping unwanted cats

Holby City and Strictly Come Dancing star Chizzy Akudolu recently took time out of her busy schedule to help out at Cats Protection’s Mitcham Homing Centre in South London.

Chizzy Akudolu at Cats Protection
Chizzy spent the day volunteering with Cats Protection
Chizzy, who has her own cat called Bootsy, spent the day feeding the cats in the centre’s care and cleaning out their pens as well as tweeting about all the adorable moggys she met.

One of the cats she had the pleasure of fussing was five-year-old tabby-and-white cat Rice who is FIV-positive.

“Rice is absolutely adorable and cuddly, a real sweetie who would make a lovely pet,” says Chizzy.

“FIV is a virus in cats that is similar to the human virus HIV, but it does not affect humans. Cats like Rice can live for many years in good health, provided they are kept indoors to reduce the risk of them spreading illness to other cats or being affected by other infectious diseases to which they are susceptible.”

“This means Rice would be absolutely ideal for a flat or a house without a garden, and there are plenty of those in South London! If you can give an FIV-positive cat a home then do get in touch with the centre.”

Chizzy Akudolu with Cats Protection cat
Chizzy having a fuss with Rice the cat
Cats Protection’s Mitcham Homing Centre needs more volunteers like Chizzy to help them care for cats in South London.

“For every cat we help, there’s another waiting cat to come in, so we need volunteers to care for cats in their own home until a new owner can be found” said Rosie King, the centre’s Deputy Manager.

“No special equipment is needed but cat fosterers need to have either a spare room or an area in their garden where a cat pen can be housed, and of course a love of cats is a must. The centre will provide plenty of assistance and support materials for all fosterers.

“We can promise a lovely team environment and a lot of satisfaction helping unwanted cats to get a second chance in life. If this sounds like something you’d enjoy then please get in touch.”

To contact Cats Protection’s Mitcham Homing Centre, please call 0300 012 0285 or email

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Why does my cat stare at me?

If you’ve ever walked into a room to find your cat staring at you, or witnessed them gazing at you wide-eyed as you eat, then you’ll know it can be a little unnerving.

Rather than challenging you to a staring contest, this curious behaviour is actually something you may have trained your moggy to do without even realising it.

As a solitary species, cats don’t naturally feel the need to hold eye contact with others to communicate but if they think they can get something out of it, then they might be willing to give it a go.
Cats Protection kitten staring

For example, if your cat has stared at you in the past, you may have taken it to mean that they want food or maybe attention and given them a tasty treat or a bit of a fuss in response.

Your moggy pal will then have learnt to associate eye contact with an enjoyable reward and will want to try it again to see if they get the same result.

The more you reward this behaviour over time, the more likely your moggy is to stare at you to get their way. Cats have learnt to miaow for the same reason, as they have no need to communicate in this way with other cats. When they miaow at us we often interpret it as them saying they want something and then reinforce this behaviour by giving them what they want.

Cats Protection cat staring

As well as being a method of communication, staring is also a sign of a close bond between you and your cat, as they are unlikely to hold eye contact with someone they don’t like or trust.

If they slowly blink while looking at you, then that means they love you even more, as they trust you enough to close their eyes in your presence. If you want to show them you love them too, try returning the gesture by slow-blinking back.

Although staring is usually nothing to worry about in cats, if your cat has only recently started this behaviour then it’s a good idea to mention it to your vet so they can rule out any medical causes. In older cats, staring could be a sign of sight loss, so get them checked out as soon as possible.

For more information about cat behaviour, visit the Cats Protection website. 

Friday, 15 June 2018

National Cat Awards 2018: Meet the Purina Better Together finalists

With Cats Protection’s annual celebration of amazing cats just around the corner, it’s time to meet the finalists for the National Cat Awards 2018.

We have been announcing the finalists for each of the seven categories over the last few weeks, including Furr-ever Friends and Most Caring Cat.

From tales of friendship with felines, to inspiring stories, the National Cat Awards focus on the relationship between cat and owner. This week, we meet the finalists of the PURINA® Better Together category.

Meet the finalists; Theo, Nana and Stubbsy, in our videos below.


Seriously ill with cat flu as a tiny kitten, Theo was not expected to survive. With round-the-clock care from Charlotte Dixon, the plucky puss pulled through. Several years later, Theo came to Charlotte’s’ aid, preventing her from falling asleep while a potentially deadly blood clot worked its way through her body. Thankfully, Charlotte went to hospital where she made a full recovery.


Nana is a constant source of comfort and support for Mary Nesbitt-Larking, who was born with a rare form of brain damage which affects many aspects of her life. And the pair’s close bond is now helping Nana cope with losing her sight due to an incurable eye disease. Mary says: “I’ll be making sure she gets all the TLC she needs, just as she does for me.”


When Claire Daly heard about a stray handed into a vet with horrific injuries from a car accident, she didn’t hesitate to offer him a home. Nursing him back to health, Stubbsy soon became a much-loved member of the family. And when Claire herself was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2015, Stubbsy was there with non-stop cuddles, entertainment and company.

You can vote for your favourite PURINA® Better Together finalist on the website this weekend (Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 June). Go to to vote.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Stephanie is left with a pellet in her leg after air gun attack

Cats Protection is one step closer to changing the law on air gun ownership in England and Wales, in the hope that we can prevent future cruel attacks on cats like Stephanie.

This lovely five-year-old moggy arrived at Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre because her owner was going into care and couldn’t take her with her.
Cats Protection Stephanie air gun
Stephanie has very poor vision due to cataracts and is expected to go blind 

The staff at the centre soon noticed that she was very sensitive when being stroked down her back and so took her for an X-ray to check for any injury. When the scans came back, they were shocked to discover an air gun pellet lodged in her leg.

As the pellet is not thought to be the cause of her current discomfort, the vets decided to leave it alone, but the initial shot would surely have caused her a great deal of distress at the time.
Stephanie has now found a loving new home but she’s unlikely to be the last cat we see with such a cruel injury.

In 2017, 164 cats in the UK were reported in the press as being shot with an air gun. A 2016 Cats Protection survey also found that almost half of vets questioned had treated cats which had been the victim of attacks by air-powered weapons in the last year, with nearly half of these shootings proving fatal.

Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy & Government Relations Jacqui Cuff said: “Cats who are shot with air guns can suffer horrific and often fatal injuries. We have heard stories of cats losing eyes, limbs and being left with life-changing injuries as a result of such attacks. Often owners are unaware of why their cat is injured until a veterinary x-ray shows air gun pellets embedded into their flesh.

“We know that 90% of reported air gun attacks on cats happen in England and Wales, and it’s no coincidence that these are the parts of the country where licensing of air guns is not in place. Laws on air guns in Scotland and Northern Ireland are much tighter, and we believe this should apply for the whole of the UK.

Cats Protection’s Chairman, Linda Upson delivered the petition to Downing Street with Dominic Sullivan, acting Chief Executive and the charity’s Advocacy team.
In May, Cats Protection delivered a 100,000-signatiure petition directly to 10 Downing Street to call for a change in the law on air gun ownership in England and Wales and along with over 50,000 supporters, the charity has also written to the Home Office calling for air gun licensing as part of a government review.

Jacqui added: “In the wrong hands air guns are deadly weapons and updating the laws relating to them is well overdue in England and Wales. Our petition of 100,000 people shows that a huge number of people agree that action must be taken urgently.”

To find out more about our air guns campaign, visit   

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Simon's Cat: What should I do when my cat goes missing?

If your moggy has ever gone walkabout, you’ll know it can be a stressful time not knowing where they are or whether they’re safe.

Many cats will often wander off and return again with no trouble, but sometimes they’ll need some help finding their way home.

In the latest Simon’s Cat Logic video, Simon tells the story of his black cat Teddy, who went missing for three days. It was a distressing time for all involved but after a dramatic rescue the story thankfully ended with a happy reunion.

Cats Protection’s Behaviour Manager, Nicky Trevorrow also appears in the video, offering helpful advice on what to do if your own cat goes missing.

The main thing to do is stay positive and never give up as your cat could still return even if they’ve been gone for a while.

To increase the chances of finding them again, it’s a good idea to get your cat microchipped. This simple and safe procedure will mean that if anyone finds your beloved moggy, a quick scan will reveal your contact details so they can let you know where they are.

To find out more top tips, watch the video below…

For more advice on what to do when your cat goes missing, visit the Cats Protection website.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Chloe reunited with owner after four years thanks to microchip

As well as finding unwanted cats loving new homes, Cats Protection also reunites thousands of lost moggies with their relieved owners each year.

This is made much easier if the cat is microchipped and its details are up to date as after a quick scan they can be back home within a day or two.

Without microchipping, Chloe, a 12-year-old white-and-tortoiseshell cat from Wales, could still be living as a stray on the streets while her owners worry about her at home.

Chloe cat reunited by Cats Protection

Chloe went missing the day after her owners moved from Ammanford to Skewen in 2014. Four years later, Mandy Hughes, a volunteer for Cats Protection’s Swansea Branch received a phone call about a stray cat.

“I was called to a house in Birchgrove to scan a stray cat that had been around for a month,” said Mandy. “This came about by chance, because an older lady I had helped in the past was catching the bus into town and started a conversation with a 93-year-old lady who told her about the stray cat she was feeding and then contacted me.”

With a quick scan, Mandy was surprised to discover that the cat was microchipped and was in fact only a mile away from home.

Delyth Thomas, Chloe’s owner, was ecstatic to receive the call to say her beloved moggy had been found. When she first went missing, she had put up posters in the area and posted messages on social media, but although she never received a response, she never gave up hope of finding her.

“I still can’t believe that Chloe has been found and I am so grateful to Mandy from Cats Protection,” said Delyth. “My two foster sons and my daughter are delighted. Chloe recognised us all straight away.”

Mandy added: “This amazing story shows the importance of microchipping cats and keeping the contact details up to date. We were able to reunite Chloe with her overjoyed owners within two hours of her being found – without a microchip, sadly that may never have happened.”

To find out more about microchipping and what to do if you find a stray cat, visit  

Friday, 8 June 2018

National Cat Awards 2018: Meet the Furr-ever Friends finalists

Cats can make the purrfect companions for young children, helping them learn about compassion and responsibility while providing a vital source of comfort, particularly during difficult times.

For Cats Protection’s 2018 National Cat Awards, we’re celebrating the close bond kids can have with their kitties with our Furr-ever Friends award.

We’ve found some truly heart-warming stories of cats helping young children to cope with everything from grief and learning difficulties to physical disability. Discover the pawsome finalists below…

Salem and Jared

Brave Jared Bignold, 15, faces a daily battle with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a severe muscle wasting condition causing progressive mobility limitations. Yet with his constant companion Salem at his side, it’s a battle Jared never has to face alone. Mum Verity explained: “Salem is always with Jared and provides a huge amount of comfort, affection and entertainment.”

Honey, Luca and Herbie

Following the death of their dad from an aggressive form of cancer, brothers Luca, 11, and Herbie, seven, were left devastated and struggled to cope. Hope came in the form of ginger kitten Honey, who once again filled the house with fun and joy. Mum Clara said: “She’s helping my boys mend their hearts and we think she’s a one-in-a-million.”

Lucky and Graham

Ten-year-old Graham Hudson has severe learning difficulties, making it difficult for him to communicate his feelings and form friendships. Fortunately, he has a best friend in the form of Lucky, the family’s four-year-old cat. Stepdad James explained: “Not only does Graham have someone to cuddle, chat to and play with, he also learns life skills by helping look after her.”

The winner of the award will be chosen by a panel of celebrity judges and announced at a star-studded ceremony at London’s Savoy Hotel on Thursday 2 August. One fabulous feline will also be crowned National Cat of The Year!

To find out more about the National Cat Awards, please visit  

National Cat Awards 2018