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
www.cats.org.uk/behaviour  

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 mitcham@cats.org.uk

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.

Theo



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



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.”

Stubbsy



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 www.cats.org.uk/nca 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 www.cats.org.uk/airgunspetition   

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 www.cats.org.uk/microchipping  

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 www.cats.org.uk/nca  

National Cat Awards 2018

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Volunteers’ Week: Become a rehoming volunteer

In celebration of the excellent volunteers that help run our branches and centres up and down the country, we’ve been sharing some of the stories of what it’s like to volunteer for Cats Protection.


If you’re seeking a role that allows you to help the cats in our care directly, you might like to consider becoming a transport and rehoming volunteer. This role is particularly important, as it ensures cats are matched with the right home for them, as well as ensuring that potential owners are matched with the right cat!

Part of the job is carefully transporting cats to the vet in order to receive the care they need. Some cats that are brought into our branches and centres require medical care, particularly if they have been found stray or abandoned. Others may require routine veterinary treatment including neutering and vaccinations.

The homing aspect of the role makes it ideal for keen communicators, as you’ll spend a lot of your time talking to potential owners about what they’re looking for in a feline friend. You’ll need to be confident with conversation as well as handling cats, and willing to work with an amazing team.

To find out what a day in the life of a transport or rehoming volunteer is like, watch our video below



To find out more about volunteering with Cats Protection or to apply for one of our many volunteering roles, visit www.cats.org.uk/get-involved/volunteering

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Volunteers’ Week: Become a cat desensitisation volunteer

Some of the cats that come into our care can be shy, nervous or aggressive because of their past or if they are struggling to adapt to the rescue environment.

Our dedicated team of cat desensitisation volunteers help these wary moggies to become happier and more confident cats by spending time gently handling them and playing with them. This helps to prepare them for finding their perfect forever home where they can continue to develop their pawsome personalities.

Cats Protection desensitisation volunteer

This is an ideal role if you want to spend time with cats and make a direct contribution to improving their lives. It can also be beneficial for your own wellbeing as volunteering with cats can improve your mental health. As you’ll be working as part of a team, you’ll have the opportunity make lots of new cat-loving friends and learn lots more about felines.

To discover more of the benefits of becoming a cat desensitisation volunteer, watch our video below:

What does the role involve?

  • Ensuring the needs of each cat are met
  • Using desensitisation programmes to help cats get used to different people and experiences
  • Enriching each cats experience through play, exercise and handling

What skills/experience do I need?

  • A basic knowledge of cats, cat care and behaviour
  • Good observational skills
  • Patience and perseverance
  • A level-headed and practical approach
  • The ability to be calm, quiet and confident around cats

How many hours do I need to give?

This role is flexible and most cat desensitisation volunteers give one to two hours a week. However, the role can be shared between more than one volunteer if needed. We request that volunteers spend time with a particular cat on a weekly basis, as this will be more beneficial for the cats in care.

To find out more about volunteering with Cats Protection or to apply for one of our many volunteering roles, visit www.cats.org.uk/get-involved/volunteering

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Volunteer's Week: Become a volunteer fosterer

If you’re considering volunteering for Cats Protection, you might be thinking about a role that allows you to get up close and personal with the fantastic felines in our care.

While the cats are waiting for their forever homes, they are cared for in one of the many Cats Protection centres around the country or looked after by one of our volunteer fosterers.



Fostering is just one great way you can help cats in your community. As a fosterer, you’ll take cats into your home and temporarily provide them with care until they find a home. Many fosterers house their foster cats in a cat pen in their garden, while others prefer to provide a spare room.

Fostering isn’t just great for the cats too – it offers cat-lovers an opportunity to help cats without the ongoing responsibility that comes with owning a pet. As some volunteers can’t commit to owning a cat permanently, fostering gives them a chance to do something practical to help felines in need.

To find out what a day in the life of a fostering volunteer is like, watch our video below:



To find out more about volunteering with Cats Protection or to apply for one of our many volunteering roles, visit www.cats.org.uk/get-involved/volunteering

Monday, 4 June 2018

Is the cat I've found a stray or feral?

Have you stumbled across a cat in your garden or local park and are unsure what to do next? If the cat isn’t too willing to greet you, you might even ask yourself whether you should be approaching it at all.
As June is National Microchipping Month, we want to ensure that everyone knows what to do when they find a cat that appears to be lost. Our campaign, Whose Stray is it Anyway? offers advice on what to do if you find a cat, as well as the importance of getting your cat microchipped if you’re an owner.

With most cats inclined to wander, it can be tricky to tell if they are a stray cat, feral cat or even an owned cat with a friendly nature and a love for food! If you’ve noticed the same feline hanging around the area or looking disorientated, however, it might be time to do something.

Stray or feral?

To determine whether the cat you’ve found is a stray or feral, use our handy interactive tool.



Remember, if you find an injured cat, whether stray or feral, the quickest course of action is to take the cat to a vet or call the RSPCA, SSPCA or USPCA.

Contact your local Cats Protection if you need help trapping an injured feral cat. You can find your nearest branch when entering your postcode here: www.cats.org.uk/find-us

For more information about National Microchipping Month, head to www.cats.org.uk/microchipping

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Volunteers’ Week: Become a cat care volunteer

Caring for abandoned and unwanted cats is a big part of what Cats Protection does, but we wouldn’t be able to help thousands of cats each year without our team of dedicated cat care volunteers.

While they’re waiting to find their forever homes, the cats are cared for in our 36 centres or in the homes of our volunteer fosterers. Our cat care volunteers help to look after the cats and meet their needs while they are in our care.

Cats Protection cat care volunteer

It’s a purrfect role for cat lovers, as you’ll get to spend time directly with the cats before they find new owners. It’s also a great way to learn more about cats and make a real difference to their lives as you’ll be helping to prepare them for their new homes. You’ll also be working as part of a team, so you might just make some new cat-loving friends too!

To find out what a day in the life of a cat care volunteer is like, watch our video below:


What does the role involve?

  • Cleaning the cat pens
  • Grooming the cats
  • Feeding the cats
  • Handling and playing with the cats

What skills/experience do I need?

  • Basic knowledge of cats and cat care
  • Patience, perseverance and empathy
  • Willingness to be part of a team
  • Good interpersonal and observational skills

How many hours do I need to give?

This is a flexible role and most cat care volunteers usually give around two to three hours a week. However, the role can be shared between more than one volunteer if needed.

To find out more about volunteering with Cats Protection or to apply for one of our many volunteering roles, visit www.cats.org.uk/get-involved/volunteering

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Volunteers' Week: Become a retail volunteer

Thinking of becoming a volunteer for Cats Protection? Volunteering with a charity can be rewarding, enjoyable and bring with it a wealth of new experiences. You might be surprised to find, however, that not all of our volunteering roles involve looking after cats.

Are you a wannabe fashionista or merchandiser? Perhaps you’re a keen book fan? Volunteering in one of Cats Protection’s retail stores could be a perfect option, giving you the opportunity to showcase your skills while raising money for the cats in our care.

Retail volunteer at Cats Protection


Best of all, you’ll have the opportunity to give as much or as little time as you’d like – whether you fancy volunteering for a few hours a week or on a more frequent basis. Here are just some of the roles you can get involved with:

Book worm volunteer: do you know your Stephen Kings from your Charles Dickens? Becoming a book worm volunteer involves pricing the books up ready for sale, as well as adding creative flair with shop displays. Delve into some of your fictional favourites – who knows what you might be able to sell?

Flair for fashion volunteer: there’s nothing quite like a vintage charity shop find, and volunteering in our retail stores give you the opportunity to hone your fashion skills. Sorting out stock, pricing up items and creating attractive window displays are all part of the fun.

Manning the tills: If your passion lies in talking to people, manning the tills might appeal to you. It’s the ideal way to get to know people in your community and even increase your confidence. Plus, you’ll be content in knowing that the money from your sales goes straight to the cats.

Stocking the shelves: whether you want to give visual merchandising a go, or prefer being away from the action while still meeting new friends, keeping the shelves stocked is an important part of being a retail volunteer. There’s nothing quite like the pride of devising your own window display!

A day in the life of a retail volunteer



A day in the life of a retail volunteer can be varied and rewarding, offering the chance to meet new people and raise much-needed funds. Follow Greg in our video as he visits Eastbourne charity shop and some of the volunteers that keep the store running.

Want to volunteer?

For more information on becoming a volunteer with Cats Protection, visit www.cats.org.uk/volunteer

Friday, 1 June 2018

5 reasons to volunteer with Cats Protection

Cats Protection helps around 200,000 cats and kittens every year but we would not be able to make such a difference without the dedication of our volunteers.

We have over 10,000 volunteers across the country helping out in a variety of roles, from fostering cats until they find their forever homes to manning the tills in our charity shops.

We’re always looking for more people to join our team, so whether you can spare a couple of hours or a lot more, search for the available roles near you on the Cats Protection website.



If you still need more convincing, read on to discover some of the benefits of volunteering your time for cats…

1. It’s a great way to meet fellow cat lovers

Everyone who volunteers with Cats Protection has one important thing in common…they love cats! By joining our team you’ll meet lots of like-minded cat lovers who share your passion for moggies, and you might just make some new life-long friends.

2. You’ll gain new skills and experiences

We have a wide variety of roles available, so whether you want to put your existing skills to good use or would prefer to take on a new challenge, there is an opportunity for you. You could care for the cats before they get rehomed, raise funds by organising local collections or events, or even spruce up our charity shop window displays to entice shoppers…the possibilities are endless!

3. It can be good for your 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. Volunteering with cats can also be a fantastic boost for your mental health, as one of our cat care volunteers explains here.

Cats Protection black and white cat

4. You’ll make a real difference for cats

Whether you’re directly helping to care for unwanted cats, or supporting our work in one of our many other roles, the time and skills you give will make a real difference to moggies across the UK. Without our team of volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to work towards our vision of a world where every cat is treated with kindness and an understanding of its needs.

5. You’ll receive all the support you need

No matter what role you choose to do, we will make sure you get all the training and equipment you need to maximise the use of your generously donated time. We also have a range of online courses you can take, covering topics on cat welfare as well as more role specific advice, to help you develop your own knowledge and skills. We value all of our dedicated volunteers so you can rest assured that the time and expertise you bring to Cats Protection won’t go unrecognised!

To find out more about volunteering with Cats Protection, visit www.cats.org.uk/get-involved/volunteering