Wednesday, 19 September 2018

International Talk Like a Pirate Day: What’s your cat’s pirate name?

Arrr! Shiver me timbers, it’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

To celebrate we’ve put together a fun guide for finding out what your furry Purrst Mate’s pirate name is. Are they a Captain Jolly Mogwash, or maybe a Matey Long Fang Feathersword?

To find out all you need to do is:

  1. Find your cat's home town initial
  2. Find your cat's first name initial 
  3. Find your cat's second name initial 
  4. Put them all together

Don’t forget to let us know what your swashbuckling moggy’s name is in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter!


To find more fun cat-related activities for kids, visit www.cats.org.uk/education 

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

How to train your cat to use a scratch post

Cats love to scratch any surface they can dig their claws into, whether it’s a scratch post or your table legs.

Obviously, the latter isn’t ideal if you don’t want your furniture decorated with scratch marks, but it’s important not to tell your moggy off for this unintentional attempt at interior design.

Scratching is a natural behaviour for cats as it helps them to keep their claws in good condition and mark the area as their territory. Glands between their paw pads leave behind a unique scent that, combined with the visual scratch marks, helps send a message to other cats that this area belongs to them. It’s not much different from us trimming our nails and putting locks on our doors.

To discourage your cat from leaving their mark on your soft furnishings, you need to encourage them to scratch something more suitable instead, such as a scratch post.


black and white cat with scratch post
A scratch post is an important piece of cat furniture
The purrfect post

For the best chance of making this work, the first thing to do is choose a scratch post that will appeal to your kitty. Here are the main things to look for:

Height – Cats like to combine scratching with a bit of kitty yoga as it’s a great way for them to stretch their muscles. To help them get the most satisfying stretch possible, the post needs to be tall enough for them to be able to fully stretch up on their hind legs and still touch the top of the post with their front paws.

Weight – If they’re going to be leaning their full weight against it for a stretch, the post will need to be sturdy enough to support them without toppling over. Look for one with a wide, heavy base that is appropriate for your cat’s age (eg a kitten scratch post won’t hold up against an adult cat’s weight).

Type – Some cats, particularly mature moggies and those who are ill, can find it difficult to lift their paws up onto a scratch post, so they may prefer to use a scratching mat instead.

Thread – Cats usually like to do to big vertical scratches but this can be difficult on scratch posts with horizontal thread, so vertical thread is preferred.

Remember that if you have more than one cat, they will need to each have their own scratch post plus one extra so there is always one free when they need it.


scratch post with vertical thread
Scratch posts with vertical thread are ideal
Location, location, location

Once you have a suitable scratch post, you need to put it somewhere where your cat will use it. Most cats like to scratch just after they’ve woken up, so next to their preferred snoozing spot is ideal. They also like to scratch near to their typical entrance or exit point to the house, eg the cat flap, so you could put it there instead. Even better, get several scratch posts and put them in different locations around your home so they always have one nearby.

Stopping unwanted scratching

If your cat has already found a particular piece of furniture or carpet they like to scratch, the presence of a new scratch post, no matter how perfect it is, is unlikely to deter them on its own. To encourage them to use their new post, first cover the area they are currently scratching with a protective cover and put their new post next to it.

You could also apply pheromone spray such as Feliway Classic to the scratched area to discourage them (just remember to check that the spray can be applied to the particular surface without damaging it further by carrying out a small test in a discreet area). Applying catnip or a pheromone product called FeliScratch by Feliway to the new scratch post is another way you can make it more appealing.

Once your cat is comfortable using their new scratch post, you can then move it to one of the locations mentioned earlier so they are more likely to continue using it, and remove the protective cover from the original scratch spot.

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

See also:
How to train your cat to respond to their name
How to train your cat to use the litter tray, cat flap and cat carrier

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Grace and her kittens saved just in time

Grace, a young seven-month-old tabby kitten was reported to our helpline by a concerned cat lover as she was very thin, apparently pregnant and seemingly homeless, visiting their garden regularly.

Cats Protection’s dedicated Northampton team investigated immediately, and after an unsuccessful search for Grace’s owner she was taken in to their care. When getting checked over by the vet it was confirmed she only had about a week to go before she would be giving birth – she was rescued just in time.

tabby cat with cone collar

After the arrival of her kittens, Grace became very ill with mastitis and had to be rushed to the veterinary hospital where she was put on a drip and given medication. Her temperature peaked at 40.9 degrees Celsius and the team were incredibly worried about her, fearing the worst.

While the team were concerned about Grace they were also hand rearing her kittens to make sure they continued to thrive while Grace was so poorly and unable to look after them. Had Grace given birth in the finder's garden it is highly likely that she and her kittens would all have tragically died.

tabby cat with cone collar

After two days and nights at the vets, Grace was discharged with a follow up visit arranged for two days later. Despite the immediate treatment, Grace had a particularly severe bout of mastitis and even the vets had not seen such an extreme case.

Throughout all of this Grace was a model patient and thoroughly adored by all of the veterinary team. In typical cat fashion she made no fuss at all when they had to flush her wounds on a daily basis and re-dress the wounds on her tummy caused by the infected mammary glands.

Grace had such a hard start to life as a young cat but happily she has made a full recovery thanks to our dedicated veterinary team. Shortly after her recovery Grace was spayed and a lovely young family were set on giving her a new home.
 
tabby cat grooming
Can you help us to care for cats like Grace? Visit www.cats.org.uk/support-us to find out how you can support our vital work.
 

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Evie finds new home after recovering from cat flu

Evie was suffering terribly with cat flu when she was found by a dog walker. Her eyes were incredibly swollen and she was in a very bad way.

Ginger and white cat with cat flu

Cats Protection’s Downham Market team went to get Evie right away, easily catching her due to how sick she was. They made sure she was immediately seen by a vet to get her cat flu treated and stop her suffering.

They searched high and low for Evie’s owner but sadly no one came forward. After a month of treatment, including daily eye drops and lots of care, Evie’s cat flu cleared up.

Evie was so much happier, like a completely new cat. After her recovery Evie was neutered and ready to look for a new home. It didn’t take long for someone to see her gentle, loving nature.

She’s settled in well, making the bathroom sink her preferred place for a quick nap.

Ginger and white cat in sink

Can you help us to care for cats like Evie? Visit www.cats.org.uk/support-us to find out how you can support our vital work.

Monday, 10 September 2018

Cats Protection opens Horsham charity shop thanks to generous legacy

A very generous gift in a will left to Cats Protection’s Horsham & District Branch has allowed the charity to open its first shop in the town.

The charity shop, which was officially opened on 16 June this year, will help secure the volunteer-run branch’s future and ensure it can help more cats in the area by generating extra funds.

The Cats Protection Horsham team outside the new shop
All profits from the shop go directly towards the branch’s work for cats including paying veterinary bills and providing them with warmth and food until they’re adopted to loving new homes.

As well as providing these much needed funds, Anna Portnoi, Branch Coordinator for the Horsham & District Branch, has said that the shop will also be a focal point for all branch activity and since opening has already created a buzz within the town and among its supporters.

The gift that has made the shop possible was left in the will of a local cat lover and keen supporter. Jan Tudhope, Horsham & District Branch Treasurer says: “Legacies are not only transformative for the branch but a lasting testament to the donor’s love of cats… their memory is very much alive.”

The new Horsham shop is just one of the ways in which gifts in wills help us to carry out our work. Without the kindness of people who remember Cats Protection in their wills we would not be the charity we are today. From finding forever homes for unwanted cats and kittens to inspiring the cat owners of tomorrow, these special gifts fund almost half of everything we do.

This week is ‘Remember a Charity in your Will Week’ – what better time to consider helping cats in this special way? Cats Protection can even help you with the cost of writing a will through our current free wills offer.

If you would like to find out more about leaving a gift to Cats Protection and our free will offer, please visit www.cats.org.uk/giftsinwills You can also email giftinwills@cats.org.uk or call us on 01825 741 271.

Friday, 7 September 2018

Twelve kittens born to one feline family in Cats Protection’s care

Cats Protection’s Gateshead & Newcastle Branch is urging cat owners to neuter their pets after assisting with the traumatic births of two litters of kittens within 24 hours.

a litter of ginger, white and tortoiseshell kittens

Pregnant cat Polly and her own pregnant mum Molly arrived in the branch’s care in July and soon gave birth to a litter each in quick succession, having 12 kittens in total.

Tragically, one of the kittens was stillborn and another had to be put to sleep at just a day old. Volunteers noticed it had a problem with its back legs and the vet advised that there was no other option.

ginger kitten in human's hands


Mum Polly also received veterinary treatment as she was struggling with the shock of motherhood – not surprising as she was only six months old herself. Days later, the volunteers took her back to the vet as she appeared to be unwell and were given the devastating news that she had lymphoma and had to be put to sleep.

ginger and white cat

Polly’s mum, Molly, took over the care of her daughter’s kittens as well as caring for her own. The poor cat had already had a litter earlier in the year, and then had 10 kittens to care for at once. Thankfully the volunteers were on hand to help out with bottle feeds.

ginger kitten being bottle fed
 
Welfare Officer Barbara Featherstone said: “It is absolutely heart breaking that two cats have endured difficult births when they are just kittens themselves.

“There’s a myth that female cats need ‘just one litter’ before being spayed but this simply isn’t true. We would urge cat owners to neuter their pets from four months old to avoid a similar situation happening again.

tortoiseshell and white kitten

“There are unfortunately thousands of unwanted cats and kittens in the UK and neutering is the only effective way to reduce this growing number.”

Although the kittens are undeniably adorable, their arrival put a huge strain on the branch as it meant that their fosterers were at full capacity and unable to take on any other cats in need.

“Kittens are cute but they are also hard work and their care takes time, effort and money,” said Barbara.

tortoiseshell and white kitten being bottle fed

With 10 hungry mouths to feed and vet bills to pay, the branch is appealing for donations to help towards the cost of caring for the kittens until they can be rehomed.

If you are able to donate, please visit the branch’s Just Giving page.

When they reach eight weeks old, the kittens and Molly will be neutered and put up for adoption. If you would like to give them a home, please email fundraising@gateshead.cats.org.uk  

tortoiseshell kitten

For more information about neutering, visit www.cats.org.uk/neutering

If you need financial assistance for neutering your cat, Cats Protection may be able to help through the charity’s means-tested neutering scheme. Contact our national neutering team on 03000 12 12 12 (Mon-Fri 9.30am-1pm) to enquire about a voucher.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Five kittens avoid drowning by ‘a matter of minutes’

A group of kittens were minutes away from drowning when they were rescued from a watery hole during a torrential downpour in the Hebrides.

The five two-week-old kittens were discovered lying semi-comatose in a hole that was rapidly filling with rainwater in Lingerbay, Isle of Harris.

The kittens were rescued just in time
They were taken to Cats Protection’s Isle of Lewis & Harris Branch where volunteers provided them with round-the-clock care. All five survived and they have been named Drizzle, Droplet, Rain, Ripple and Wave.

Droplet the kitten needed round-the-clock care
Their ordeal began as the Hebrides was hit by downpours in the aftermath of Storm Ernesto. “We were contacted by a gentleman who said he could hear some kittens meowing from somewhere in his garden,” said Karen Cowan, the branch’s coordinator.

“One of our volunteers rushed round and when she arrived she could hear meowing from some undergrowth. Upon pulling it back, she found five muddy and sodden kittens piled on top of each other in a small hole.


Rain the kitten was left soggy and cold
“They were barely moving and the water level was rising rapidly around them. In just a matter of minutes the hole would have submerged.”

The kittens were rushed to the branch where volunteers bottle-fed the kittens and kept them warm using blankets and heat pads.

Drizzle the kitten enjoying a bottle feed
“Thankfully all of the kittens seem to have got over their ordeal as they are very affectionate and friendly,” said Karen.

The branch said that their mum is probably a feral cat who may have run off during the storm.


Branch Coordinator, Karen Cowan with two of the kittens

“There is a large population of feral cats living on the Isle of Lewis and Harris - we have already neutered 36 feral cats in the area in an effort to address this but clearly there are many more unneutered cats out there including the mum of these kittens,” said Karen.

“I’d urge cat owners on the island and in general to neuter their cats because it will reduce the number of unwanted kittens like these five who were born in such horrible and perilous conditions.”

The kittens will be found new homes when they reach nine weeks old.

If you would like to give a cat or kitten a home, please visit www.cats.org.uk/adopt-a-cat