Saturday, 21 April 2018

What's your perfect cuppa?


What could be better than a comforting cuppa while a cat lazes on your lap? Tea-drinkers will be celebrating National Tea Day this weekend in dedication of their favourite brew, while some might be pairing their cuppa with a slice (or two) of cake.

If you’re undecided on your perfect cuppa, why not take our quiz? Better still, bake your favourite treats, stick the kettle on and invite your friends around for a Pawsome Afternoon Tea party. You’ll find plenty of resources including bunting and balloons on our website, as well as a number of delicious recipes.



Are you hosting a Pawsome Afternoon Tea? Tweet us @CatsProtection with your pictures and stories!

Friday, 20 April 2018

Kitten watch: Preparing the kittens for the big wide world

Follow the progress of Daisy and her kittens with our kitten watch series.

Daisy’s kittens at Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre are starting to get used to new sights, sounds and smells in preparation for their new homes.

Preparing kittens for the sort of experiences they will encounter in their forever homes is vital for ensuring they grow up to be happy pets. The ideal period to carry out kitten socialisation is when they are between two to eight weeks old. At this young age their brain and sensory system is still developing and the experiences they encounter influence how their behaviours develop.

Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre kitten
The kittens have been getting used to walking on different flooring
The team at the Bridgend centre have been following a socialisation chart, which includes everything from handling the kittens to introducing them to new toys. They have started to let the kittens explore their outdoor pen, which is helping them get used to feeling new textures under their paws. The cool concrete floor was a bit of a shock compared to their underfloor-heated indoor pen but they now happily scamper across it. They’ve also been walking on carpet samples and jumping into cardboard boxes as they chase their toys around.

Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre kitten
The kittens love playing in cardboard boxes
To make sure the kittens will be comfortable being handled by their future owners, and to help make future vet check-ups less stressful, the Bridgend team have been spending one-on-one time with each kitten, gently stroking them and touching their ears, paws and tail. They’ve also been playing a CD of household noises in the centre, to get the kittens used to the sound of vacuum cleaners, televisions and the hustle and bustle of family homes.


Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre kitten
Handling the kittens prepares them for future vet visits
Another important task was training the kittens to use a cat flap, which they now happily use to get in and out of their outdoor pen whenever they please. Their new-found freedom means they are now only spending time with mum Daisy overnight, giving her a well-earned break during the day.

Over the next few weeks, we will keep you updated on Daisy’s and her kittens' progress, but if you would like to help towards the cost of her care at the Bridgend Adoption Centre then you can sign up to become a Cats Protection sponsor. Daisy is one of our many sponsor cats, so from as little as 19p a day you can help us provide her with the shelter, food, medical care and love she needs and receive regular updates about her and the other cats you are helping in return.

Alternatively, if you would like to make a one-off contribution to Daisy's care, you can donate via Bridgend Adoption Centre's Just Giving page.

Although the arrival of kittens is exciting, giving birth can be incredibly stressful for a cat and the kittens would need to find new homes, so we recommend getting them neutered from four months old. There are already thousands of cats waiting to find loving homes across the UK, so neutering is the most effective way to reduce the number of unwanted cats coming into our care. To find out more about the importance of neutering, visit the Cats Protection website.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

How to choose the right cat

One of the most exciting parts of getting a new cat is a visit to your local centre, where you’ll have the chance to meet many cats looking to be homed. Before you get taken in by rows of furry faces vying for your attention, it’s best to have a think about what sort of cat is the best fit for you and your lifestyle.

Are you looking for a cat who will be content to sit on your lap, or a playful cat more suited to outdoor life? How much time and energy do you have to dedicate to a feline companion? Thinking these things through will ensure you’ll achieve the right match for you and your potential pet.

Kitten or adult?


Kittens are adorable and often full of energy, making them difficult to resist! They also demand a lot of supervision and a lot of patience. Of course, you won’t know what kind of cat you’ll end up with once they outgrow their kitten personality. Adult cats are usually calmer and less inclined to cause mischief. If you’re looking for particular traits, consider cats that are at least a year old.

Personality


Cats, like people, are individuals. Some are laid-back and will tolerate handling, making them perfect for young children or older people. Other cats don’t like to be picked up or held for long, only interacting with you when food is available or when they need a bit of attention. What kind of cat will suit your family?

Family


While young children might be keen to get a kitten, it's important to remember that kittens require a lot of attention and care. Teach your child to handle them carefully and always make sure they are supervised when playing with them. It can be hard for little ones to resist giving a cat a big hug, something that might make the cat feel uncomfortable.

Medical conditions


Why not consider homing a cat with a disability? They might be older, deaf, blind or have an illness that requires regular medication but this doesn’t affect the amount of companionship they have to give. Many cats with special needs make lovely pets. They’re also more likely to be indoor cats, making them a great choice if you don’t have a garden or live in a small space.

Existing pets


If you already have pets, you’ll need to consider their needs before bringing home a new cat. Cats are a solitary species, meaning they like to be alone and don’t need ‘friends.’ Some cats are able to tolerate other cats if they’re introduced into the home carefully, while others will find it impossible. The more cats you have, the more potential issues – they may communicate their stress through behaviours such as spraying urine, fighting or hiding.
To search for your perfect cat companion, use our Find a Cat tool. By using the filters, you’re able to search for cats that can live with other cats and those who can live indoors. For more information on adopting a cat, visit www.cats.org.uk/adopting-a-cat


Monday, 16 April 2018

Preparing for your new cat or kitten - checklist

Are you anticipating a new arrival to your home? If you’ve decided to rehome a cat or kitten, you’ve probably already started thinking about what you’ll need to buy.

While a change of environment can often be stressful for a cat, understanding their needs will help you to prepare for your new pet.

To help you get set up, here’s our checklist. You can find a digital version below. Download it, print it off and take it shopping with you – it’s got everything you’ll need to prepare for your new cat or kitten.

https://www.cats.org.uk/uploads/documents/block/PR_2557_CatChecklist_v2.pdf
 
 
What does my cat need?
 
● One food bowl and one water bowl. Remember to place them away from each other, as most cats don’t like to eat in the same place that they drink

● Food and water. Wondering what to feed your cat? You can find out more about their nutritional needs at www.cats.org.uk/feeding

● A comfortable bed. Cats need a safe place to sleep and whatever you buy should be soft and warm. Don’t be surprised if they spend their time lazing in every warm spot except their bed, however!

● An uncovered litter tray. Keep it far away from your cat’s food and water area – unsurprisingly, cats aren’t comfortable toileting where they eat

● Access to a high spot. A place where cats can view their surroundings make them feel safe. A simple cardboard box in a high place is suitable

● A scratching post. Scratching is a natural part of cat’s behaviour and helps keep their claws trim. Make sure you choose something sturdy!

● A brush. Grooming is important, especially for longhaired cats

● Toys. Toys are great for playtime and are essential for keeping indoor cats occupied. They don’t have to be expensive, either. A simple fishing rod toy will do the trick

● Cat carrier. While you might not need it too often, a cat carrier is the safest way to transport your feline to essential vet visits. Choose something well ventilated and sturdy

For more advice on welcoming a cat into your home and getting them settled in, visit www.cats.org.uk/welcoming-your-new-cat-home 


Sunday, 15 April 2018

Microvolunteering: Small ways you can make a big difference for cats

At Cats Protection we rely on voluntary support to help thousands of cats and kittens every year through rehoming, neutering and educating the public about cat welfare.

We currently have over 10,000 dedicated volunteers across the country and are always on the lookout for more, but we realise that not everyone has the time to spare.

Microvolunteering is an incredibly easy way you can show your support through small, one-off actions that require minimal commitment.

Even the quickest and easiest gestures can have a big impact, so we’ve put together a list of some things you can do to help cats if you’re pushed for time.

Share our social media posts

Something as easy as following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube and then sharing our cat appeals and posts about cat care can make a huge difference to cats' lives. One simple click could help find a cat a loving home or encourage a cat owner to get their moggy neutered!

Tell your adoption story

Have you adopted a feline friend from Cats Protection? We would love to hear your story, and by sharing it online, you might just encourage others to adopt another cat in our care! Post your update on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and don’t forget to tag us in!

Get crafty

The cats in our care are always appreciative of a new blanket to snuggle on or a new toy to play with, so if you’re feeling crafty then you can make them something to brighten up their stay. You could follow our kitting pattern to make a catnip mouse or find more craft ideas on our YouTube channel.


Knit a blanket for a cat in our care
Book a talk

Educating people about cats and their care is one of our key aims, so we offer free talks to schools and community groups to teach people about cats’ needs. Book a talk for your school or group today!

Take our online course

Think you know all there is to know about cats? Take our free online course to brush up on all things cat – from their ancestry and behaviours to their health and needs. You might just learn something new! Take the course here and then tell your friends what you've learnt.

Brush up on your cat knowledge with our online course
Chat to fellow cat owners

If you have friends or family members who own cats, let them know that they can visit the Help & Advice section on our website or our Meow Blog to find lots of information on how to look after their moggy. We may even be able to help them with the cost of neutering and microchipping, both important parts of cat ownership.

Support our campaigns

Our Advocacy & Government Relations team run several campaigns to influence politicians and decision makers to create a better world for cats. Visit our website to find out what they’re working on and ways you can get involved – it could be as simple as signing a petition!

Host a Pawsome Afternoon Tea

A Pawsome Tea is the perfect excuse to get together with friends and family for some cake and a cuppa while helping cats at the same time. Sign up for your free pack and get baking, brewing and raising funds!

Host a Pawsome Afternoon Tea to raise cash for the kitties
Visit our charity shops

Having a clear out at home? Or just fancy some retail therapy? Pop down to one of our charity shops to donate some items or pick up a bargain, all to raise cash for the kitties! Find your local shop here.

Attend an event

Our branches and centres host hundreds of exciting fundraising events every year, from fairs and quiz nights to homing shows and coffee mornings. Locate your nearest Cats Protection to find details of their upcoming events. They’d love to see you there!

Shop with our partners

We’ve partnered with a range of different companies to raise funds for cats and kittens, so you could show your support simply by shopping online, taking out some pet insurance or even booking a holiday! Find out how here.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Kitten watch: Daisy’s kittens are five weeks old and gaining independence

Follow the progress of Daisy and her kittens with our kitten watch series.

The four kittens born at Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre in March are turning into little bundles of energy and love playing with their siblings and toys.


They spend a lot of time play-fighting and pouncing on each other, which is helping them learn boundaries and develop their hunting skills, and weaning is going well. They particularly enjoy munching on kitten food and have also started eating kitten biscuits too.

The kittens are gradually being weaned off their mother's milk
The kittens are also starting to groom themselves and learn to use their litter tray, but most of their time is spent snoozing. Kittens spend between 16 to 20 hours a day sleeping, giving their bodies a chance to grow and their immune systems time to strengthen.

When they’re awake, their individual personalities are continuing to develop with Daffodil and Dewi proving to be particularly confident. They are always up to mischief and are very playful – Daffodil’s favourite toy is Daisy’s tail! Emma and Eira are quieter and more reserved, but they are growing in confidence every day and learning a trick or two from their siblings.

The kittens are quickly developing their own personalities
Now they are five weeks old, the kittens have had another vet check-up and their first worming treatment, which they will need to continue to have throughout their lives.

Mum Daisy also had a visit to the vet and has been given her second vaccination protecting her from cat flu, enteritis and feline leukaemia for a year. The kittens will get their own vaccinations when they are eight to nine weeks old, as this is when the protection from their mother’s milk fades, leaving them vulnerable to disease.

Daisy is enjoying her regular breaks away from her kittens, giving her a chance to rest and recharge, and particularly enjoys a fuss and ear scratch from the centre’s volunteers and staff.

Daisy and her kittens have had their latest health check up
Over the next few weeks, we will keep you updated on Daisy’s and her kittens' progress, but if you would like to help towards the cost of her care at the Bridgend Adoption Centre then you can sign up to become a Cats Protection sponsor. Daisy is one of our many sponsor cats, so from as little as 19p a day you can help us provide her with the shelter, food, medical care and love she needs and receive regular updates about her and the other cats you are helping in return.

Alternatively, if you would like to make a one-off contribution to Daisy's care, you can donate via Bridgend Adoption Centre's Just Giving page.

Although the arrival of kittens is exciting, giving birth can be incredibly stressful for a cat and the kittens would need to find new homes, so we recommend getting them neutered from four months old. There are already thousands of cats waiting to find loving homes across the UK, so neutering is the most effective way to reduce the number of unwanted cats coming into our care. To find out more about the importance of neutering, visit the Cats Protection website.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Sweet kittens looking for a home for Siblings Day

Today is National Siblings Day and Cats Protection’s Stockport Branch is hoping to find a home for a trio of adorable brothers and sisters in their care.

Although cats are a solitary species and usually more than happy to live alone, six-month-old sisters Charlotte and Anne and their brother Branwell are an exception.

"Charlotte, Anne and Branwell are definitely advocates of brotherly and sisterly love,” explained cat fosterer Kate Weir. “Born as a litter of five, two of their siblings were rehomed when they were kittens and as time has gone on, these three have become best friends.

“They were quite poorly when they were kittens but after some love and care they are now back on their paws and ready to find a home, hopefully all together.”

Charlotte, Anne and Branwell were named after siblings in the nineteenth-century Brontë family of poets and novelists.

Like all Cats Protection’s cats, these three are microchipped, neutered, vaccinated and up-to-date with their flea and worm treatments. In addition, they also have four weeks of pre-paid pet insurance.

Kate added: “I'm always sad that people overlook black-and-white cats because they prefer the brighter colours like ginger or tabby. However, the most important thing is personality and temperament and these three are so sweet natured. After a full day of playing, they love nothing more than curling up on a lap.”

If you live in the Stockport area and would like to offer Charlotte, Anne and Branwell a home, please call 0345 260 1854 or visit www.stockport.cats.org.uk
 
To find a new feline friend available for adoption in your area, please visit www.cats.org.uk/adopt-a-cat

For advice about cat behaviour in multi-cat households, please visit www.cats.org.uk/other-cats  

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Is my cat overweight?

From tubby tabbies to giant gingers, obesity is becoming a big problem for the UK’s cats.

It’s thought that almost half of the nation’s moggies are overweight, but with all that fluff padding them out, it can be difficult to notice how their bodies are changing.

To help you recognise the signs, we’ve put together this handy guide for checking if your puss has piled on the pounds:

To enlarge, click on the image

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If your cat is overweight, this can increase the risk of them developing many different health conditions, including diabetes, osteoarthritis and heart problems, so it’s important to tackle the problem as early as possible.

However, it’s also vital that they shed the pounds slowly as rapid weight loss can lead to further health issues. Speak to your vet to work out an appropriate feeding programme but be prepared that it could take up to a year for your cat to reach their ideal weight again!

A great way to help your moggy to shift some excess flab is to encourage exercise. This could involve spending more time playing with them or making feeding time a more active process. Check out our videos below for advice on how to play with your cat and ideas for simple and cheap food puzzles:





For more information about cats and their weight, visit www.cats.org.uk/obesity  

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Are you a match for this man-loving moggy?

Cats Protection’s Warrington Adoption Centre is seeking a male-only home for a choosy tabby who has shown a distinct preference for men.


One-year-old puss Gregorovitch will happily sit on the laps of the men at the centre, sometimes even hugging their legs when they try to leave.

You can see the adorable man-loving moggy in the video below:


“It’s very unusual for us to see a cat with such a distinct preference for either men or women,” explained centre manager, Sonia Scowcroft.

“Gregorovitch is a really sweet young cat and loves attention from our male staff and volunteers, but sadly he’s not so fond of the females so we think he’d be best suited to a male-only household where he can be a man’s best friend.

“He’s a lively cat and can become quite frustrated with his current lack of freedom, so we’d like to find him his ideal home as soon as possible, preferably with plenty of outdoor space where he can burn off some of his excess energy.

“Once he has access to the great outdoors, his more exuberant tendencies should calm down and we think he will make a loving and rewarding pet.”

Due to his quirky nature, Gregorovitch would best suit a home with an experienced cat-owner and no children.

If you live in the North West and are interested in offering Gregorovitch a home, you can contact Cats Protection’s Warrington Adoption Centre on 03000 120612 or pop in and meet him. The centre is open every day 11am-3pm, except for Tuesdays, with late opening on Thursdays until 7pm.

Those looking to adopt a cat in other areas of the country can find their new feline friend at www.cats.org.uk/find-a-cat  

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Kitten watch: The four-week-old kittens are ready to be weaned

Follow the progress of Daisy and her kittens with our kitten watch series.

On 29 March, the four kittens born at Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre turned four weeks old.

They are already starting to find their independence and their individual personalities are starting to shine through. Eira is the confident one – as soon as the pen door opens she waddles over to see what's going on. Emma is the nervous one but she is also the smallest of the four. Dewi is the laid back kitten and Daffodil is a total mummy's girl as she is often found with Daisy's paw wrapped around her for some cuddles.

Dewi is the laid back kitten
Each of the kittens are happy wandering around their pen, drinking water from a bowl and learning to play with their toys. They have also begun teaching each other important social skills, including something called ‘bite inhibition’ which can see in the video below. This is when kittens learn to use their mouths safely, as their sharp teeth could easily cause harm by biting too hard, particularly when they are adult cats. They practice using their mouths on their litter mates, who will quickly let them know if they are biting too hard! Kittens that don’t learn appropriate bite inhibition as youngsters can sometimes be too forceful with their mouths when older, causing pain to other animals or humans even if it was just intended as play.


At three to four weeks old, kittens can start to be weaned away from their mum, so Daisy will soon be able to get some well-earned peace and quiet at meal times.

Emma is the nervous kitten and the smallest of the four
It’s important that kittens feed from their mother in their first few weeks as her milk contains vital antibodies that will protect them from disease, but when they are three to four weeks old they will start to need the added nutrients that they can only get from kitten food.

Eira is the confident kitten who likes to see what's going on
Weaning needs to be a very gradual process, so the kittens will first be given diluted kitten milk in a shallow bowl while they also continue to suckle from their mum. Then, over three to four weeks, an increasing amount of wet kitten food will be added to the milk until the kitten is eating only solid food.
 
 Daffodil is a mummy's girl who loves cuddles with Daisy
Daisy’s four kittens have already started trying to get their paws on their mum’s food, so it looks like they will have no problem switching to solids. When they are eating, Daisy will be able to go into the pen above theirs for a nice break while the centre staff monitor the kittens’ progress closely to make sure they are eating well.
 
Daisy is ready for a well-earned break from her kittens
Over the next few weeks and months, we will keep you updated on Daisy’s and her kittens' progress, but if you would like to help towards the cost of her care at the Bridgend Adoption Centre then you can sign up to become a Cats Protection sponsor. Daisy is one of our many sponsor cats, so from as little as 19p a day you can sign up to help us provide her with the shelter, food, medical care and love she needs and receive regular updates about her and the other cats you are helping in return.

Alternatively, if you would like to make a one-off contribution to Daisy's care, you can donate via Bridgend Adoption Centre's Just Giving page.

Although the arrival of kittens is exciting, giving birth can be incredibly stressful for a cat and the kittens would need to find new homes, so we recommend getting them neutered from four months old. There are already thousands of cats waiting to find loving homes across the UK, so neutering is the most effective way to reduce the number of unwanted cats coming into our care. To find out more about the importance of neutering, visit the Cats Protection website.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Meet the sponsor cats - Pippy

Sadly, many unwanted cats are signed over into Cats Protection's care for differing reasons. In our sponsor cats series, we've been meeting some of the cats that are currently in sponsor pens across some of Cats Protection's adoption centres. The latest fantastic feline to meet is Pippy.

Pippy is a two-year-old female and was found as a stray cat before being handed over to Ferndown Homing Centre. A small cat with a big personality, she can be shy at first but soon relaxes with a little time and patience. She loves to play with enrichment toys too, as you'll see in the video below!



You can sponsor a cat pen from just 19p a day, providing cats like Pippy with shelter, warmth, food, medical care and the love they need. If you'd like to become a sponsor, or find out more about how you can support cats in our care, click here.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Pawsome Afternoon Tea: Eric Lanlard’s clementine and pomegranate cake recipe

April is finally here and that means it’s time to organise your very own Pawsome Afternoon Tea to raise money for cats and kittens! To get started, download your free pack from www.pawsometea.org and follow our top tips for making sure your event is particularly paw-some.

Eric Lanlard Pawsome Afternoon Tea
Eric Lanlard is supporting our Pawsome Afternoon Tea campaign
Once the invites are sent and the posters are up, it’s time to think about the food and drink! This year, Cake Boy himself Eric Lanlard is supporting our campaign and has a special recipe to help you impress your guests. Eric has twice been named Continental Patissier of the Year at the British Baking Awards and has two cats of his own, so was thrilled to show his support for Cats Protection. He said: “An afternoon tea is the perfect way to meet up with friends and family and what better way to help cats and kittens in need?”

Eric’s clementine and pomegranate would make the perfect centrepiece for your Pawsome Tea. Decorated with beautiful jewel-like pomegranate seeds, this moist cake uses whole fruits to ensure it is packed with flavour. It also happens to be gluten and dairy free!

Clementine and pomegranate cake
Eric Lanlard clementine and pomegranate cake
Clementine and pomegranate cake © photography, Kate Whitaker
Serves 12
Preparation time: 25 minutes, plus cooling
Cooking time: 2–2½ hours

Ingredients:
4 clementines or satsumas, unpeeled
1 cinnamon stick oil, for greasing
6 large eggs
225g (8oz) light muscovado sugar
1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
300g (10½ oz) ground almonds

For the syrup:
1 pomegranate, halved
25g (1oz) light muscovado sugar
1 tsp orange blossom extract
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

To decorate:
3 tbsp apricot glaze (see tip below)
Icing sugar, for dusting

Instructions:
Put the clementines or satsumas and cinnamon stick into a medium saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 1–1½ hours, then drain the fruit and remove the cinnamon stick. Leave to cool for 30 minutes, then halve the cooked fruit and discard the pips. Put the fruit, including the peel, into a blender or food processor and blend to a purée. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C/350°F/gas mark 4). Grease a 23cm (9in) diameter, 9cm (3½ in) deep cake tin and line with baking paper. Using an electric hand whisk, whisk the eggs and sugar in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water for about five minutes until pale and mousse-like. Take the bowl off the heat and add the baking powder, ground almonds and the fruit purée. Fold in gently but thoroughly.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C (fan 140°C/325°F/gas mark 3) and bake for a further 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

To make the syrup, squeeze the pomegranate halves to extract the juice, reserving the seeds, then pour the juice into a small saucepan. Add the sugar and bring to the boil, then simmer for two minutes. Leave to cool slightly (the liquid should still be warm), then stir in the orange blossom extract and vanilla paste. Using a pastry brush, ‘soak’ the cake with the warm pomegranate syrup and leave in the tin until completely cold.

Remove the cold cake from the tin and place on a serving plate. Brush the apricot glaze all over the cake, including the sides. Just before serving, scatter the reserved pomegranate seeds over the top of the cake and dust with icing sugar.

Top tip: To achieve a professional, glossy finish on cakes and tarts, use apricot glaze. To make the glaze, put some apricot jam into a small saucepan and gently warm through, then press through a fine sieve to remove any lumps. Using a pastry brush, brush the warm glaze over the finished cake or tart and leave to cool.

Recipe taken from Eric Lanlard's Afternoon Tea published by Octopus Books