Thursday, 31 May 2018

National Cat Awards 2018: Meet the Most Caring Cat finalists

Cats Protection’s annual celebration of extraordinary felines isn’t too far away. It’s time to get set for the National Cat Awards 2018.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be announcing the finalists for each of the seven categories, including Furr-ever Friends, Hero Cat, Most Caring Cat, Outstanding Rescue Cat, Purina® Better Together and Cats Protection’s Special Recognition Award as well as the Star Team Award, which focuses on our fabulous volunteers.

From stories of great companionship to inspirational tales, the National Cat Awards highlight the special bond between cat and owner. This week, we meet the finalists of the Most Caring Cat category.

Meet the finalists: Arthur, Awol and Ted in our video playlist below.

Winners will be announced at a glamourous ceremony on Thursday 2 August at London’s Savoy Hotel, where celebrity judges will also announce the National Cat of the Year 2018.

To find out more about the National Cat Awards, visit

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Thank you for helping 193,000 cats in 2017

As the UK’s leading feline welfare charity, Cats Protection carries out vital work helping moggies up and down the country every year.

As well as finding loving new homes for unwanted and abandoned cats, we also help to reduce the overpopulation of cats through neutering campaigns, reunite lost kitties with their relieved owners and educate the public about the needs of cats to improve feline welfare.

In 2017, we had fantastic success in all of these areas, helping us get one step closer to achieving our vision of a world where every cat is treated with kindness and an understanding of its needs.

Of course, we wouldn’t be able to do any of this without the support of cat lovers like you. Whether you donate money, volunteer your time, or even give a poor unloved moggy a home, we are incredibly grateful that you’re helping us to make the world a better place for cats.

Here’s what your support helped us achieve in 2017:
To enlarge, click on the image

To find out more about our successes in 2017 and meet some of the cats we helped, have a read of the Cats Protection 2017 Annual Review.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Kids and kitties: Should I adopt a cat when I have young children?

Having a pet cat in the house can be a fantastic influence on young children as it can teach them empathy, love and the basics of animal care.

In a recent survey carried out by Cats Protection, 96% of people agreed that there were benefits to children growing up with cats. Of these benefits, the top two were; it teaches them compassion for living things and it encourages a sense of responsibility.

While most cats will enjoy the extra attention that kids can offer, there are a few things to consider before welcoming a new feline friend into the family.

Take a look at our video below for advice on helping cats and kids live happily together.

You can also watch our video on the dos and don’ts of cats and kids here:

If you would like to adopt a new cat into your family, visit Just enter your postcode and tick the ‘Can live with children’ box to find a suitable moggy in your area.

If you can’t find a moggy that’s your purrfect match, get in touch with your local Cats Protection at Our experienced staff and volunteers will be able to advise you on which moggies would be best suited to your home.

For more useful advice about cats and kids, visit  

Friday, 25 May 2018

Holly has found a family after life in a former animal testing facility

Cats Protection’s Belfast Adoption Centre has successfully found loving owners for 85 cats from a former animal testing facility in the Republic of Ireland.

When it was announced the facility would be closing down, the cats were transferred to the centre by the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA), with the first group arriving in December 2016.

As they had never had proper homes before, the cats were closely monitored to make sure they would be able to settle with new families. Staff at the centre quickly discovered that they were friendly and good-natured moggies and then put out an appeal to find their forever homes.

Cats Protection Belfast Adoption Centre Holly
Holly is one of the testing facility cats now settled in her forever home

When the story was featured in the local press, the centre was inundated with offers from the public to give the cats new homes, and they even ended up with all of their pens empty during a thank-you tour for the charity’s sponsors!

More than 200 cats and 300 dogs have now been rehomed from the testing facility by Cats Protection, Dogs Trust Ireland and the ISPCA, demonstrating an excellent example of animal welfare charities working together.

One of the cats now enjoying life as a beloved pet is Holly, a gorgeous moggy adopted by Barry Platt and his family.

Cats Protection Belfast Adoption Centre Holly
Barry Platt's daughter loves cuddles with her new feline friend

“Holly was always going to be ours from the second we found out she had never had a proper home,” said Barry.

“Cats Protection were very insistent on warning us that there may be issues as everything in a home and garden would be brand new to Holly. However, the wee cat established herself very quickly in our home.

“She is brilliant with our four-year-old daughter and the pair have become best friends. All in all, she is a very good pet and probably the most people-friendly cat I have ever come across, her whole demeanour would make you think she was making up for lost time.”

Cats Protection Belfast Adoption Centre Holly
Holly is finally part of a loving family
For more heart-warming success stories about the cats helped by Cats Protection, take a look at the charity’s 2017 Annual Review.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Kids and kitties: Heart-warming stories of cats and babies living happily together

The arrival of a new baby in the home shouldn’t mean that you need to say goodbye to another member of the family, your cat.

Unfortunately, nearly a third of expectant parents have been told that they should give up their moggy when a baby is on the way, and over half of those that did went on to regret their decision.

To show that you can keep cats and children happy together, we’ve asked some cat-owning parents to share their stories of raising the purrfect family.

Nicola Pennicott-Hall

Nicola and her partner Simon adopted their cat Vera from Cats Protection’s Warrington Branch before they had a child.

“I have stage three endometriosis and Simon and I were told I was very unlikely to have children naturally so Vera very quickly became our baby,” said Nicola. “When we found out we were expecting Aneurin, our thoughts turned to how to prepare his 'big sister' before his arrival.”

As Vera had been used to sleeping on their bed, they got her one of her own and kept the baby’s cot off-limits. They also played baby crying sounds so she wouldn’t be startled when the newest member of the family arrived.

Nicola Pennicott-Hall and cat Vera

“It surprised me how attached she quickly became to my growing stomach and often snuggled up around it, poking it back when he kicked her but still refusing to move from her spot,” Nicola added.

“In my final trimester, she started displaying the same nesting behaviour as I was and became obsessed with one of my red socks. She would carry it around with her, groom it and snuggle it, like it was a kitten. Vera has never had kittens of her own.

Nicola Pennicott-Hall's cat Vera

“The day we brought Aneurin home, we made sure we made a big fuss of her before we took him inside. She sulked for a couple of weeks but soon realised we weren't taking him back!”

Now a toddler, their son loves Vera and is learning to be gentle with her and give her lots of space to get away when she needs to.

Nicola Pennicott-Hall's cat Vera and baby

“She is incredibly patient with him and allows herself to be stroked, within reason! We use Feliway, just to help her relax when he's being particularly busy and make sure she has a good amount of time with us when he's in bed. We never want her to think she's been replaced because she never will be. I have two children... one just happens to be small and dirty, while the other is small and furry!”

Jasmine Cornish

Jasmine is a Cat Care Assistant at Cats Protection’s Cornwall Adoption Centre and owner of three moggies; Charlie, Max and Tiggles. When she found out she was expecting twins, her midwife advised her to give up her cats, but Jasmine didn’t give it a single thought.

“The cats were part of the family first and we were all going to find a way to all live together,” said Jasmine. She made sure she got all the baby equipment out early on in her pregnancy so it wasn’t new and scary for them, and played some baby sounds to get them used to the crying.

Jasmine Cornish's baby and cat

“The main change I made was with the night-time routine. Usually it was everyone into bed, but once the twins arrived I didn’t want the cats in the bedroom at night, so for a few months beforehand I got the cats used to being shut downstairs at night so that the change in their routine wasn’t a big shock on top of two newborn babies in the house.”
When the twins arrived, she made sure the cats had somewhere to get some peace and quiet, and that she gave them some fuss each day.

Jasmine Cornish's babies and cat

“For me the most important thing was to teach the twins to respect the cats, learn their individual personalities and read the signs. They are never too young to learn this. Max is very chilled and happy to be fussed and hugged however Charlie can be grumpy at times so the twins learnt to only stroke him a little and never follow him if he walked away.

“Obviously not all cats will cope with babies or small children, depending on their personality, but I think that it’s worth trying to make it work. Cats can teach children all sorts of important skills and emotions, empathy, how to care for a pet, kindness, boundaries to name a few. The twins love the cats and they have an excellent relationship built on love and respect for each other.”

To find help and advice on how to prepare your moggy for your baby’s arrival, visit

Do you have a story about your moggy being the purrfect companion during your pregnancy, or a tale of kids and kitties getting on well together? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter!

Monday, 21 May 2018

Kids and kitties: What is toxoplasmosis?

As part of our Kids and kitties campaign, we’re sharing advice on everything from how to prepare your cat for your new arrival, to keeping cats and kids content when they’re sharing a space.

If you’re expecting a baby and own a cat, you might be understandably concerned about toxoplasmosis; even if you’re not sure what it is. Known to affect unborn babies, there have been various myths surrounding the disease and its relation to cats for many years.

What is toxoplasmosis? The disease is caused by a microscopic parasite known as Toxoplasma gondii. Although cats are involved in part of the parasite’s life cycle, human contact with cats does not increase the risk of infection with the parasite.

In our video, Cats Protection’s resident vet Sarah Elliot talks about toxoplasmosis – explaining everything from what causes the disease to how owners can keep themselves safe during pregnancy.

To find out more about toxoplasmosis and our Kids and kitties campaign, visit

Friday, 18 May 2018

Macavity is all grown up after dramatic rescue from inside a wall

When mewing could be heard coming from inside a cavity wall at a Belfast bar, the quick-thinking bar supervisor knew just what to do.

Patrick Gormley got on the phone to Cats Protection’s Belfast Adoption Centre and they were able to send a member of staff out straight away to investigate.

When they arrived at the Shamrock Sports and Social Club, they soon discovered there was no way to get to the poor kitten and so enlisted the help of the nearby Westland Fire Station.

The firefighters were able to locate the kitten by the sound of its cries and got to work removing a concrete block from the bottom of the wall to gain access.

Cats Protection Belfast Adoption Centre Macavity
Macavity was in a sorry state when she emerged from the wall
Thankfully the four-week-old kitten – now named Macavity – was rescued just in time, having only sustained minor injuries from her ordeal. If she had been trapped for just a few more hours, she may not have survived.

“The outcome could very easily have been so different if it hadn’t been for the compassionate actions of Bar Supervisor, Patrick,” said Belfast Adoption Centre Manager Bel Livingstone.

Cats Protection Belfast Adoption Centre Macavity
The poor kitten was cleaned up and nursed back to health
“Sadly abandoned kittens like Macavity are an all too familiar sight for us and we would urge owners to get their pet cats neutered as they are such prolific breeders. Just one unneutered cat can produce up to 18 offspring in a year so neutering will help to prevent more unwanted kittens like this in the future.”

After emerging from the wall, Macavity was quickly rushed to the vets where she was syringe-fed and nursed back to full health.

That was in June 2017 and now that tiny shivering kitten has grown into a happy, playful and well-loved cat.

Cats Protection Belfast Adoption Centre Macavity
Macavity is now looking much more grown up
Her new owners Joanne Reid and her son Matthew are smitten with the new addition to their family and are pleased to report that she happily spends her days snoozing and playing with their other cat Paddy.

Cats Protection Belfast Adoption Centre Macavity
She's a playful character and an expert climber
“Macavity is doing really well,” said Joanne. “She has settled really well into our home and family. She loves being outside climbing trees although she does like a ‘lie in’ in the mornings.

Cats Protection Belfast Adoption Centre Macavity
A fishing rod toy provides lots of entertainment
“She came home with Paddy and they enjoy chasing each other around the garden and afterwards enjoy a good grooming session.

Cats Protection Belfast Adoption Centre Macavity
Matthew loves playing with his new feline friend
“She is very affectionate but she is very good at hiding when it comes to bedtime and is definitely not a morning person. Paddy is up with the lark but she always needs ‘another 10 minutes’.”

For more heart-warming success stories about the cats helped by Cats Protection, take a look at the charity’s 2017 Annual Review.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

How long should it take for my indoor cat to settle in?

Concerned about your cat’s behaviour? Behaviourist Nicky Trevorrow took to our national Facebook page recently to answer live questions from cat-lovers. This time, she heard from a new owner who was worried about their indoor cat.

"I have recently adopted a cat from Cats Protection. He’s eight years old and an indoor boy. How long should it take for him to settle in? I realise all cats are different. We are at work all day and are concerned that he might be lonely. He is not very affectionate."

Nicky says:

Thanks for adopting a cat – what a wonderful thing to do! Cats can take a while to adjust to a new territory as they rely on scent signals and familiarity to keep them safe. To help him settle in, provide lots of scratching posts for him to leave his scent and try to keep a routine.

Some cats may never be fully affectionate towards people. They may not have had enough positive contact with people during the crucial socialisation period of two to seven weeks old. Having time alone is probably a good thing – make sure you allow him to come to you on his own terms. Make sure he has plenty of places to hide as well as places to get up high and perch. This will also make him feel safe. If he does choose to hide, sit quietly in the same room and gently talk to him in low tones. Don’t force him to come out.

As long as your cat is eating and using the litter tray, there is no need to worry. If he is particularly shy, he might not want to come out to eat. In this case, try moving the food bowl closer to his hiding place and leaving the room.

For more advice on settling your cat into its new home, head to

Best of luck!

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

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

Kids and kitties: How to prepare your cat for your baby’s arrival

Counting down to the arrival of your new baby is an exciting time, but as you start to buy bottles and babygrows and decorate the nursery keep in mind that they you’ll need to prepare your cat too.

Cats like routine so it’s important to help them adjust to the new sights and sounds that come with a new baby in the home to prevent them from becoming stressed.

To help you get them ready for a new addition to the family, we’ve put together a helpful visual guide full of tips and tricks you can follow during each stage of your pregnancy.

We’ve also created a free download of baby crying sounds that you can play for your cat to get them used to your little one’s wails. Find it, and instructions on how to use it, here.
To enlarge, click on the image

Share this image on your site:

Cats Protection’s Behaviour Officer Daniel Cummings also has some reassuring advice on how to reduce the risk of your cat becoming stressed by your new arrival in the video below.

By taking these simple steps to make sure your beloved moggy is happy, they will in turn be a wonderful calming influence during your pregnancy and make a purrfect companion for your child as they grow up.

A recent survey carried out by Cats Protection found that 9 in 10 expectant parents said their cat was a good companion during pregnancy and 96% of people agreed that there were benefits to children growing up with cats.

For more advice on kids and kitties, visit  

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Kids and kitties: Keep your cat in the family

The arrival of a new baby in the home is a major upheaval and unfortunately some parents mistakenly believe they should give up their pets because of this.

New findings show that around half of expectant parents have concerns about cats and children, yet few seek advice on the topic.

Cats Protection receives hundreds of calls each year from people wanting to give up their cat for reasons related to children or babies, so we’re keen to dispel the myths and put their minds at rest.

To encourage parents to keep their cats during pregnancy and beyond, we’ve launched #KidsAndKitties, a campaign offering advice on keeping cats and kids happy together.
To enlarge, click on the image

Share this image on your site:

The campaign has even attracted celebrity support from Emmerdale star and mum-of-two Samantha Giles.

Samantha, whose children are five and nine, explained: “I am a huge supporter of the benefit of cats both to a calm, relaxed pregnancy and on children learning to care for and look after an animal.

“I remember when we brought our first baby daughter home we put her down in the lounge so our cats could have a sniff, which they did. Our cats were fairly elderly then, too, and they accepted and loved both our children.

Samantha Giles and her cat Bob
Samantha Giles and her cat Bob
“Obviously one has to be sensible and not leave a baby alone with any animal and we made sure we shut the door on Eve’s bedroom so that the cats couldn’t get into her cot.

“I’d definitely encourage people not to give up their cats when they are pregnant because there are so many benefits to having a pet in the family.”

Daniel Cummings, Cats Protection’s Behaviour Officer said: “There seems to be a lot of conflicting advice out there about cats, pregnancy and children so we’re keen to stress that you don’t need to give up your cat if you are pregnant or have young children.

“With just some simple considerations, cats and children may live in harmony together and this can bring huge benefits such as helping kids to learn responsibility and compassion for living things.”

Cats Protection ran a survey to find out what concerns parents have about keeping cats in the family and these were the key findings:
  • over half (54%) of respondents who owned a cat while expecting a child had concerns regarding their cat and their pregnancy. The top concerns were handling cat litter (77%) and toxoplasmosis (66%)
  • just under half (49%) had concerns regarding their cat(s) and children with the top two involving the cat(s) scratching/injuring their child (61%) and the cat(s) climbing into the carrier/cot/pushchair with the child (50%)
  • less than a third (30%) sought advice regarding cat(s) and pregnancy/children
  • nearly a third 31%) of expectant parents were told that they should give up their cat, with two thirds (67%) receiving that advice from friends or family
  • 1 in 12 (8%) gave up their cat because they were expecting a baby or had young children. The majority (63%) regretted this decision
To find advice on preparing your cat for the arrival of a new baby and tips for keeping cats and children happy together, visit for videos, guides and more!

If you have a story about kids and kitties getting on well together, share it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with #KidsAndKitties

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Daredevil cat lover celebrates 70th birthday with 130mph wing walk

While most people would be happy with a party and some cake for their birthday, two dedicated Cats Protection supporters have something more adrenaline-fuelled in mind.

To celebrate turning 70, Dorothy Hyman from Weymouth, Dorset will be strapped to the wings of a Boeing Stearman biplane and take to the skies to raise money for Cats Protection.

Dorothy Hyman  Cats Protection Weymouth & District Branch
Dorothy fosters cats until they find their forever homes

Dorothy said: “I thought what better way to celebrate than by fulfilling a dream of feeling the wind in my hair at 130mph, while helping local cats at the same time!”

Having fostered cats for Cats Protection’s Weymouth & District Branch for the last two years, Dorothy knows the importance of raising funds for the charity's vital work. All the money Dorothy raises will go to Cats Protection’s Weymouth & District Branch.

“I love helping to care for the many abused, neglected and unwanted cats the branch takes in,” says Dorothy. “I am hoping that kind members of the public with sponsor me to undertake this challenge.”

Another cat lover marking a milestone birthday with an extreme challenge is Mary Keenan from Conwy, Wales.

Mary is planning to celebrate her 80th birthday by reaching speeds in excess of 100mph on the Zip World Velocity zip wire.

Mary Keenan Cats Protection’s Colwyn & District Branch
Mary's cat Sandy is going to give the zip wire a miss!

“I turned 80 in January and wanted to do something different to celebrate, while also raising money for cats,” says Mary. “What better way to do this than by chucking myself down the fastest zip wire in Europe!”

She added: “I’ve volunteered for Cats Protection for 30 years, 25 of which I have fostered for, so the charity is very close to my heart.” All the money Mary raises will go to Cats Protection’s Colwyn & District Branch to help them rehome and neuter cats in the area.

If you would like to sponsor these brave Cat Champions, you can find Dorothy’s Just Giving page here and Mary’s page here.

To find out how you can take part in a challenge event to raise money for Cats Protection, visit or get in touch on 01825 741 960 or

Monday, 14 May 2018

How becoming a volunteer can help with mental health

Recent research carried out by Cats Protection and the Mental Health Foundation found that 87% of people who owned a cat said it had a positive impact on their wellbeing. 76% said they could cope better with everyday life thanks to their cats.

As this week is Mental Health Awareness Week, we wanted to share the impact that looking after cats has had on one of our wonderful volunteers, Catherine.

Catherine is a cat desensitisation volunteer at Warrington Adoption Centre, helping cats get used to human contact. While this work not only helps the cats in the centre’s care, it has also enabled Catherine to have a positive experience and even improve her mental health.

Before volunteering at Cats Protection, Catherine was studying at university. She found it increasingly overwhelming and felt she wasn’t supported adequately, so subsequently left. However, without the routine and structure she was used to, she fell into depression. She couldn’t do anything. Her depression got so bad that she found it difficult to get out of bed. She’d reached a point where she realised she needed to do something, so she decided to volunteer at Cats Protection’s Warrington Adoption Centre.

Catherine’s role as a desensitisation volunteer involves spending a lot of time playing with cats and kittens to help build their confidence before they are properly homed. By doing this, it gives her a sense of structure as well as motivation to get out of bed in the morning. Volunteering is important to Catherine for giving her something valued to do, without the pressure that came with university.

Volunteering at the centre has made her happier and more focused. Just as cats have proved to have a positive impact on mental health, Catherine enjoys her time spent with the cats and always leaves in a much better mood.

Catherine says: “I think that anyone thinking about volunteering should absolutely do it. If you have a couple of hours to spare, it is the best thing you can do with your time.”

If you would like to find out more about volunteering with Cats Protection and the benefits it can have to you, as well as the cats in our care, visit to search for roles.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Ringo reunited with owner after five years as a stray

As well as finding loving new homes for 43,000 cats and kittens in 2017, Cats Protection also helped to reunite 3,000 lost cats with their relieved owners.

One of these lucky cats was Ringo, a gorgeous ginger puss who had been living on the streets as a stay for five years.

Ringo reunited Cats Protection
Ringo was cared for by Cats Protection while his owner was found 
Ringo first went missing from his home in Bradninch, Devon in 2012, but when a farmer brought him into our Exeter Axhayes Adoption Centre in 2017, the staff were able to use the details on his microchip to trace his owner.

Carolyn Daniels and her family were living just a few miles away from the centre and were stunned to get the call that their beloved cat had been found after such a long time.

Ringo reunited Cats Protection
Carolyn was overjoyed to be reunited with Ringo

"He was thin, looking a bit worse for wear and in need of a bit of TLC, but we were overjoyed to see Ringo again,” said Carolyn.

Ringo reunited Cats Protection
Ringo is happy to be home again
“As soon as we got him home he was purring away, he definitely recognised us and our other cat, Arthur. Our teenage daughters were so thrilled to see Ringo again and it really is so wonderful to have him home.”
Ringo reunited Cats Protection
Cheeky Ringo loves fresh water straight from the tap

Returning poor moggies like Ringo to their loving homes is made much easier thanks to microchipping.

Ringo reunited Cats Protection
Microchipping ensured Ringo could find his way home
Microchips are slightly smaller than a grain of rice and can be inserted under a cat’s skin in a very simple procedure. They offer a safe and permanent method of identification as they don’t come off or put the cat at risk of injury like collars can.

Ringo reunited Cats Protection
Cats Protection reunites thousands of cats with their owners each year
Carolyn added: “I never gave up hope, I knew that if he was ever scanned for a microchip I would get a call, but as the years passed it seemed less and less likely we would ever see him again. And then it happened! If he hadn’t been microchipped we would never have got him back."

To find out more about the importance of microchipping, visit

For more heart-warming success stories about the cats helped by Cats Protection, take a look at the charity’s 2017 Annual Review.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Kitten watch: Daisy and her kittens have found loving homes

We’re pleased to announce that the adorable stars of our kitten watch series have now gone to their forever homes.

Although the staff and volunteers at Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre were sad to say goodbye to Daisy and her litter, they were thrilled that they will be shown lots of love by their new families.

Cats Protection kitten watch
The kittens waiting patiently for their forever homes
 Before they were put up for adoption, each of the kittens were microchipped, given flea and worm treatment and vaccinated against common feline diseases, preparing them for life in the big wide world. Their new owners have also been given vouchers towards the cost of neutering that they can use when the kittens are old enough for their operations.

It didn’t take long for the kittens to find new homes, but staff at the centre made sure they’d found the perfect match by providing their adopters with all the information they needed.

Cats Protection kitten watch
Daisy won't have to worry about getting pregnant again
Mum Daisy also now has a new family and can relax happily in her forever home knowing that she won’t have to suffer the ordeal of having any more kittens, as she has now been neutered!

We hope Daisy, Dewi, Daffodil, Emma, and Eira have great fun playing and snoozing in their new homes and hope to provide you with an update on how they’re settling in soon.

Cats Protection kitten watch
The kittens have grown so much in just eight weeks!
The staff at our Bridgend Adoption Centre would also like to say a huge thank you to everyone who sponsored Daisy and donated towards the cost of the kittens’ care. Every penny helped and was very gratefully received!

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, 8 May 2018

A day in the life of our donkey volunteers

While we’re fanatic about felines at Cats Protection, you might be surprised to learn that The National Cat Centre is also home to some other animals that are not of the feline kind, which is why we’re celebrating World Donkey Day. It has been just under two years since we began our friendship with The Donkey Sanctuary, acquiring three gorgeous donkeys called Star, Holly and Twinkle. You might remember their arrival back in June 2016.

The donkeys have now settled well into their new home, quickly getting used to feeding time and even giving visitors a friendly ‘hee-haw’ as a morning welcome. Those that have got to know the donkeys the best, however, are the volunteers that dedicate their time to looking after the trio. We catch up with Kate, Marion and Gemma, who all take turns to look after the donkeys.

What does being a volunteer involve?

Gemma: There are different tasks depending on the time of day that you volunteer. The morning and evening shifts have more focus on mucking out, sweeping and feeding whereas the lunchtime shift is generally when Holly, Star and Twinkle are groomed and their hooves are cleaned.

There are three donkeys at the National Cat Centre. Do they all have differing personalities?

Kate: Holly is the larger, fluffier donkey and is generally more curious and approachable. Star has the lightest fur of the two smaller donkeys and is happiest when she is with her peer, Twinkle, who has the darker fur. She can be a bit warier of people and noises.

Gemma walking Holly around the field
Is there a reason there are three donkeys? Are they friends and do they get along?

Kate: The two smaller donkeys are already bonded and it was planned they were to come to the National Cat Centre together. Holly was a last-minute addition to ensure she would be within a group, as donkeys are pack animals. Occasionally there is a little head-nudging or kicking between Holly and Twinkle but other than that, they seem content living together.

Talk us through a day in the life of a donkey. What do they get up to?

Kate: Eat, sleep, graze, repeat!

Gemma: Donkeys like routine and even a small change to their usual behaviour could indicate that they’re unwell. They have their breakfast at around 8am while their morning volunteer cleans the stable and tidies up so they are ready for the day. Afterwards they’ll spend some time in the field, either munching on grass, rolling around, playing or interacting with visitors. Before lunch, they have their hooves cleaned and medicated if needed, before their coats are groomed. Afterwards, they’ll munch on straw or spend more time in the field before having their dinner at 4pm as the stables, yard and field are cleaned and tidied for the night.

What do the donkeys eat? 

Gemma: They eat barley straw or oats and grass, sometimes with a fibre supplement. They need a strict diet as they traditionally come from dry climates where food is scarce and they would walk for long distances. As a result, too much fat-rich grass can lead to illness. Our donkeys are carefully monitored to ensure they eat the right things – their grass intake is limited to fencing which allows sections of grass to be made accessible to them as needed, while simultaneously stopping them from over-eating.

Gemma with Twinkle and Holly

How do you keep the donkeys entertained?

Marion: The donkeys have slow-eating straw bags which make them ‘work’ for their supper. They need to pull the straw through the mesh of these bags and it can take several hours for them to do it.  This is important to make sure that the donkeys don’t exceed their quota of treats for the day.
They also have logs in their field to nibble on, tyres with hidden apples, carrots or root vegetables and tree branches to chew on. There are also wellington boots filled with hay and hidden treats inside, plus turnips on a rope for a real treat!

We can often hear the donkeys being very vocal at certain times of day. What does this mean?

Marion: They know when it’s feeding time, usually 8am and 4pm. When they see someone around these times and are hungry for their food, they call to make sure we haven’t forgotten them and to make it clear that they’re waiting!

You’re obviously keen cat lovers too. What are the main differences and similarities between looking after donkeys and looking after cats?

Kate: The difference is that donkeys need daily grooming and hoof picking. The similarities are that they too enjoy affection, but this needs to be on their terms – just like cats!

Gemma: They both ‘purr’ when they’re happy. Donkeys blow air through their lips to show they are at ease and Holly also adorably trembles her lips when she has the top of her back massaged.

What is the best part of looking after the donkeys?

Gemma: It is lovely getting to know their individual personalities and rewarding when they are clearly happy. Spending time with them also provides a complete break from everything else – whatever is going on in the day can’t be taken to the donkeys because they sense how we’re feeling so we have to leave everything at the gate and focus solely on them. They’re a delight to be around.

Kate: The unusual opportunity to spend time with (and even hug) these fluffy, gentle, good-natured creatures with their big beautiful eyes.

Monday, 7 May 2018

What to do with your cat when heading off on holiday

Getting set to jet off somewhere special? If you’ve got a holiday planned, you might already be preparing for what will happen to your cat while you’re away. Cats prefer not to travel and often find journeys stressful, even if they don’t necessarily show it, so taking your cat on holiday just isn’t an option!

Cattery or cat sitter?

There are two choices: booking your cat into a cattery or getting a cat sitter, and there are benefits to both. To make your decision (and holiday) hassle-free, here’s our top tips on what to do with your cat when heading off on your next getaway.


If you’re opting to send your cat to a cattery, it’s important to start looking for one in plenty of time. Many catteries will need booking well in advance and you’ll need to make sure you’ve found a place that best suits you and your cat. It is also important to book in with your vet to get your cat’s vaccinations up to date, as well as flea and worming treatment, before you go on holiday.

Visit the cattery, take a look around and keep the following in mind:
  • is the cattery licensed with a local authority? You can ask to check the license if you’re concerned
  • are there double doors or a ‘safety corridor’ in place to make sure the cats can’t escape and go missing?
  • does your cat have the choice to be separate from other cats in their own private pen? Cats often don’t like direct contact with other cats as it can make them feel stressed
  • are the pens clean and safe as well as well-insulated and warm?
  • have you discussed your cat’s individual requirements, particularly if they have any medication that needs administering during the time you’ll be away?

You could always ask about bringing familiar food, cat litter and a comforting item that smells of home with your cat for its stay. It may help them settle into their strange environment.

Cat sitter

If you want to keep your cat in its own home, getting a cat sitter is the best way to do it. This could be a friend, neighbour or family member or even a professional house sitter. They’ll need to be able to visit at least twice a day to make sure your feline companion is safe, secure and well-fed. As cats are used to their own environment, keeping them in their own home means they’re less likely to be stressed. Before you leave for your holiday, keep the following tips in mind:
  • leave emergency contact details to hand in case your cat sitter needs to call you while you’re away
  • ensure your cat sitter also has the details of your cat’s vet, in case they fall ill or are injured
  • make sure there is enough cat litter to be used over the course of the time you’ll be away
  • leave enough food to keep your cat well-fed, as well as clear instructions on how and what your cat needs to eat
  • leave your cat sitter with details of your cat’s medication, particularly if it needs to be administered

If you’re looking to get away this summer and want to leave your cat in the comfort of your own home, don’t forget you can use TrustedHousesitters. The world’s largest and most trusted house sitting network, we’ve partnered with them to receive a donation with every sign up.

TrustedHousesitters connects pet owners with verified sitters who care for your home and your cat for free in exchange for accommodation.

TrustedHousesitters are offering an exclusive 25% off membership until the end of June, with Cats Protection receiving a donation with every sign up. Simply sign up here, using the code SUMMERCAT25.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Willow is happy at home after surviving a traumatic journey

In August 2017, a tiny black kitten arrived at Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre in a desperate state.

Poor Willow, as the centre staff named her, had been found hiding in the back of a lorry that had travelled all the way from Bristol. It wasn’t until the driver stopped in Bridgend that he discovered his unexpected cargo and took her straight to Cats Protection just in time.

A 12-week-old Willow after she arrived at the centre
“Willow was in very poor physical condition when she arrived at the centre,” said Bridgend Manager Sue Dobbs.

“She collapsed within a few minutes of arriving here. We didn’t expect her to survive the trip to the vets but she is a little fighter and hung on in there. An X-ray showed no broken bones but she was suffering from hypothermia and had sustained a head injury.”

With some expert care from the vets and the centre’s staff and volunteers, Willow made a remarkable recovery.

After having no success finding an existing owner, she was soon given a new home where she could get back to doing what kittens do best…playing!

Willow has settled in to her new home
 “We decided to put in a request to adopt Willow because her story was so heart-wrenching,” said Willow’s new owner Allison Felton. “My daughter has also been very keen to have a black cat so in many respects she was perfect for us.

She is fully recovered from her traumatic journey
“She is so gentle and playful and has settled in very well. Initially, she was very jumpy, trying to escape by jumping through mirrors she mistook for windows. That has all now stopped now, though she is not an adventurous character, preferring to stay mostly in a couple of rooms where she feels safe.

“She enjoys nothing more than chasing her favourite toy, a fabric mouse, the length of the room, sliding across the wooden flooring. She also enjoys batting ping-pong balls around another toy.

Playful Willow loves batting ping-pong balls
“She is, in cat terms, quite a clever cat, outwitting our existing cat easily! She also has big ambitions, sitting on our coffee table miaowing and chattering at a seagull (a regular visitor) that looks down at her through the window.

“At the end of a ‘hard day’ she likes nothing better than to curl up on her cushion on a rocking chair. We couldn't have chosen a better companion!”

For more heart-warming success stories about the cats helped by Cats Protection, take a look at the charity’s 2017 Annual Review.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Kitten watch: The kittens are almost ready for their forever homes

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

The kittens at Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre are nearly eight weeks old, the age when they will be ready to find their forever homes.

They have now been permanently separated from mum Daisy and are enjoying their independence, spending most of their time playing with boxes, balls, toy mice and fishing rod toys.

Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre kitten watch
The kittens love playing with feathered fishing rod toys

Playing is important for developing the kittens’ balance and eye-paw coordination as well as satisfying their natural predatory behaviours. However, they must be taught to play with appropriate cat toys to prevent inappropriate play behaviour when they are older. If kittens are encouraged to play with their carer’s fingers or toes, this will cause them to associate hands and feet with play. While this is relatively harmless when they’re small kittens, as they become older, this activity will be very painful for the person on the receiving end and can be dangerous if directed at children or the elderly.

Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre kitten watch
Dewi have a much-needed rest
Cats should be encouraged, and given the opportunity, to play throughout their lives, not just when they’re kittens. Not only will this help to build a bond between the cat and the owner, but it will also provide important exercise for the cat and cause the release of endorphins (happy hormones) in their brain.

Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre kitten watch
Emma likes to snooze after playtime
After running around their pen the kittens will often fall asleep exhausted in an instant. Just like human babies, kittens need lots of sleep to aid their growth and development, so it’s important not to wake them while they’re snoozing.

Meanwhile, now in her own pen, Daisy has been enjoying some time to herself now the kittens are independent.

Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre kitten watch Daisy
Daisy is recovering well from her operation
She’s also recovering from her recent neutering operation, meaning she won’t have to worry about raising any more litters in the future. Neutering also has many health benefits so she is now less likely to get certain diseases through mating and her risk of developing certain cancers is reduced.

Soon the kittens will also be off to vets again, ready for their first vaccinations and final health checks to prepare them for rehoming.

Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre kitten watch
The kittens are nearly ready to find their forever homes

If you would like to offer Daisy or one of her kittens a home, you can call the Bridgend Adoption Centre on 01656 724 396 or email

Please note that cats cannot be reserved over the phone so anyone interested must go to the centre to reserve them in person. For more information about the centre, visit

If you would like to help towards the cost of Daisy’s 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.