Friday, 20 December 2019

Cat and newbown kittens found in sub-zero temperatures

A one-year-old cat and her litter of newbown kittens spent one of the coldest nights of the year sheltering in a garden shed.

The feline family were found in the shed in Neath by a member of the public, who called Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre for help.

grey cat with a litter of grey-and-white and tortoiseshell kittens
Crystal with her newbown kittens. Credit: Sue Dobbs
Volunteer Rachel Davies quickly went to collect the mother cat, who has been named Crystal, along with her four kittens who were believed to be no more than one week old. The grey-and-white male kitten was named Frosty and his three tortoiseshell sisters were named Snowdrop, Snowflake and Icicle.
Cats Protection volunteer holding grey-and-white kitten in blanket
Cat Care Assistant Amanda with Frosty the kitten. Credit: Sue Dobbs
Rachel said: "When I arrived I could see Frosty wasn't as active as his sisters. He was freezing and there wasn't much response from him so I initially put him inside my top so he could benefit from my warmth. I collected the rest of the kittens and rushed them to the centre with Frosty wrapped in a towel on my car’s heated seats.”


Crystal and her daughters thrived once settled at the centre but despite initial vet treatment upon arrival and two days’ emergency care at the vet surgery, Frosty, the smallest of the kittens, did not survive.

Deputy Manager Teresa Blair said: “From the moment Crystal and the kittens arrived it was a real rollercoaster of emotions. She and her girls really benefitted from the warmth of the centre but nothing we tried seemed to help Frosty.

Snowdrop, Snowflake and Icicle are doing well
"At one point our vet decided the quickest way to save the tiny kitten was to warm him again using body heat so she placed him inside her clothing and then rushed him off to the vet practice to try to save his life. He rallied initially but just wasn’t strong enough after such a difficult start.

The kittens will be neutered, microchipped and vaccinated before being rehomed
"It’s moments like this that really hammer home to us how vital it is to neuter cats as soon as possible. Crystal is so young and we believe she is likely to have had a number of other litters already. It’s truly amazing that any of them survived the bitter weather. We will of course make sure she and the kittens are neutered before they are homed.”

To find out more about neutering and to see if you are eligible for neutering vouchers, visit www.cats.org.uk/what-we-do/neutering

Thursday, 19 December 2019

Missing cat Shimmer back at home after three-month ordeal

A cat owner who has been reunited with her missing moggy after three months has backed Cats Protection’s campaign for compulsory microchipping of pet cats.

Louise Mudd’s much-loved black puss Shimmer went missing from her home in Crown Square, Kirkbymoorside, in July.

The five-year-old cat was eventually found in October following a three-month search in which Louise and her daughters Melissa, 15, and Heather, 16, also found and reunited two other missing black cats.

two women holding a black cat
Melissa and Louise Mudd reunited with their cat Shimmer
Louise explained: “When she went missing, we searched high and low for Shimmer, leafletted all the local houses and put up posters. There was absolutely no trace, and having spoken to neighbours we feared that she may have hopped in the back of a delivery van which had been in the area when she disappeared.

“Lots of people reported sightings of black cats to us, and we checked them all out. In two cases it turned out the cats were both missing, and because they had microchips we were able to reunite them with their owners.

“But there was still no trace of Shimmer until she turned up in our churchwarden’s garden near our home in October. He gave me a call and I went straight over. She was so thin and wretched I simply didn’t recognise her, and we needed to get a vet to scan her microchip before we realised it was actually her.

"We set out to look for Shimmer and ended up finding three lost black cats, and it was thanks to them being microchipped that we were able to do this. I fully support Cats Protection's campaign to make microchipping compulsory for cats, as it keeps cats safe and makes sure they can get home if they're lost."

The happy reunion comes as Cats Protection renews calls for a change in the law to ensure that all pet cats, like dogs, are microchipped.

man wearing hat with ginger and white cat

Microchipping is a safe, permanent and cost-effective method of identification which ensures cats can be reunited with their owner should they go missing. It means lost cats are not mistaken as strays and taken in by rehoming charities.

Microchipping also ensures owners can be notified if their cat has been injured or killed in a road accident. Cats Protection encourages local councils to scan any cats they collect that have died in road accidents for a microchip so their owners can be informed.

Madison Rogers, Cats Protection’s Senior Advocacy & Government Relations Officer said: “It’s always lovely to hear of stories where cats have been reunited with their owners, but most of these happy endings are only possible if a cat has been microchipped.

“Microchipping is an essential part of responsible pet ownership and is already compulsory for dogs. This should now be extended to ensure all pet cats are microchipped, giving the same level of protection to keep them safe.”

A government call for evidence into the microchipping of cats was recently announced, giving animal lovers the chance to offer their views by contacting the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Cats Protection’s dedicated webpage is giving cat lovers the chance to have their say in the 12-week call for evidence, which runs until 4 January 2020. To send an e-letter to the government, please visit: www.cats.org.uk/microchips-reunite 

Cat lovers can also show their support by signing Cats Protection’s petition for compulsory microchipping. To find out more, please visit www.cats.org.uk/microchippingpetition

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

How to make vegan gingerbread cat cookies

Christmas-time is the purrfect opportunity to dust off your mixing bowls and wooden spoons and get baking.

Whether making tasty treats for yourself or yummy gifts for others, it’s easy to make some truly tempting creations with minimal fuss. Plus, you’ll fill your home with delicious smells of warming winter spices to really get you in the festive mood.


There are lots of ways you can incorporate your love of cats into your festive baking, whether you decorate your Christmas cake with fondant felines, or add some paw print-shaped pastry to the top of your mince pies.

You can also have a go at creating some gingerbread cat cookies, which go perfect with a cup of tea or hot chocolate. And even better, they’re vegan, so your vegan friends can enjoy them too!

Ingredients:
1tbsp chia seeds
400g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
200g coconut oil
2tbsp ground ginger
1tsp ground cinnamon
200g dark muscovado sugar
50g maple syrup

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 6. 
  2. Mix the chia seeds with 3tbsp of water. Set aside for 5-10 minutes until the mixture becomes gloopy. 
  3. Put the plain flour and coconut oil in a bowl and use your hands to mix until combined. 
  4. With a wooden spoon, stir in the ginger and cinnamon. 
  5. In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, maple syrup and chai seeds with 2tbsp of water. 
  6. Combine the sugar mixture with the flour mixture and knead together until they form a dough. 
  7. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it out with a rolling pin.  
  8. Using some cat-shaped cookie cutters, cut out your cookies from the dough. If you don’t have cookie cutters, you can draw some cat-shaped templates onto paper and cut around them using a knife. 
  9. Place your cookies onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment and bake them in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the edges start to darken. 
  10. Leave the cookies to cool for a few minutes on the tray, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool some more. 

Watch our video below to see how it’s done!


To find more inspiration for cat-themed bakes, take a look at our YouTube channel.

Miraculous moggy loses one of his nine lives after being hit by a truck

Ginger cat Matty is lucky to be alive after being hit by a truck on Whitehall Road in Gildersome.

The nine-year-old puss was picked up from the road by a member of the public who witnessed the incident, and was taken to Cats Protection’s Gildersome Homing Centre.

ginger cat

The centre staff initially feared the worst and rushed him to a vet, however they were delighted to discover that he had escaped with just a chipped tooth and some bruising.

“When we heard what had happened to him we were really worried about how badly he may have been hurt,” said Volunteer Team Leader Laura Chamberlain, whose role is funded thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery, who have raised £500 million for charities and good causes to-date.

“We couldn’t believe it when the vet gave us the good news and we were able to take him back to the centre. He does seem to have had a lucky escape and has definitely used up one of his nine lives!

“We named him Matty after the gentleman who brought him in. It’s reassuring to know that there are such kind-hearted people out there looking out for cats.”

ginger cat

While staff and volunteers at the centre did everything they could to help Matty settle into his pen, he was showing signs of stress so was moved into the care of a volunteer fosterer where he is doing much better.

Matty’s previous owner came forward but decided it was best for him to be rehomed away from busy roads, so he is now in need of a new home to call his own.

“Matty was a bit unsure of people at first but he is now showing his affectionate side and is always purring and demanding attention,” said Laura. “He also loves his food and a nice brush!

“He would be best suited to a quiet home where he can be the only pet, to avoid any unnecessary stress. A rural setting, away from busy roads, would be ideal for him as he previously lived on a farm.”

Anyone living in the Gildersome area who would like to enquire about adopting Matty can call Gildersome Homing Centre on 03000 12 15 05 or email gildersome@cats.org.uk 

To find cats and kittens looking for homes in your area, visit www.cats.org.uk/adopt-a-cat

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Dip for cats: Daring Danika takes the plunge to help cats

Each year thousands of brave souls from across the country don their bathers and head to the coast to take part in a festive dip in the sea.

The annual tradition sees fundraisers sport fancy dress or even strip down to their swimwear before charging into the waves – all in aid of their favourite charity.

In 2017, cat-lover Danika Mabbitt had never considered taking part in a festive dip event, but after being dared by a family member she was determined to do it.


"My brother said he’d be doing the Porthcawl Christmas Swim. It’s a Christmas morning dip at Sandy Bay in Bridgend and I suggested I might take part too, to which he replied “you’d never do that!”

“In that moment I knew I had to do it and my mission had begun! I wanted to help Cats Protection as they looked after my babies Dexter and Dinx before I adopted them,” she explained.

“The water was very, VERY cold and I was shivering for hours afterwards, but it was so worth it. The best bit for me was knowing that I had helped so many local cats.”


Fast forward to 2018 and Danika decided to do the nippy dip for the kitties for a second year, this time in memory of her much-loved cat Dexter.

“I was heartbroken after Dexter passed away,” she said. “I wanted to do the Christmas Swim again for my ginger, fluffy feline, my little tiger.”

And after throwing herself into fundraising for the event by selling toys to her work colleagues, Danika raised more than £500 for Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre.

“The whole experience has been amazing. I’ve helped the fur babies in need and proved my brother wrong, TWICE!


“To anyone thinking about taking part in a dip this year, I’d say ‘give it a go’. You don't need to swim too far and it is so worth the warm feeling knowing you are helping cats and kittens in need.”

If you’d like to dip for cats, find a local event you would like to join, register it with us and we’ll be sure to support you all the way. 

Plus, if you raise over £150 we will even send you a beautiful snuggly blue Cats Protection beach towel to wrap up in afterwards!

Ginger kitten star of People’s Postcode Lottery advert finds new home

An adorable ginger kitten from Cats Protection’s Warrington Adoption Centre has become the star of a recent television advert for People’s Postcode Lottery.

ginger tabby kitten
Nacho the kitten in his new home
Nacho the kitten was filmed for the #TogetherForCharity advert when People’s Postcode Lottery ambassadors Danyl Johnson, an X-Factor star, and Judie McCourt, a radio and TV presenter, came to visit the centre.

He appears alongside some big celebrity names, including actors Carey Mulligan, Olivia Colman and George Clooney, but we think his cute face really steals the limelight!


Since the advert was filmed, it was no surprise that Nacho quickly found his forever home with his brother Dorito and new owners Dave and Kerry Hudson.

Dave says: “Nacho is now called Ernie and his brother Dorito is now Bert. We didn’t choose the cats, they chose us. Straight away they were playful and loving with us both, it was the best decision ever. 

ginger tabby kitten standing on man's shoulder
Nacho, now called Ernie, with owner Dave
“Both cats have such different personalities – Ernie is very patient and playful, he waits for his brother to finish playing with toys before he has a go. He so loving, always after cuddles and strokes and is very inquisitive, loves guests and loves exploring.

ginger tabby kitten cuddling man's arm
Ernie having a cuddle
“Bertie is a bit more quiet but seems to be the mischievous one, climbing, knocking things over and getting into places he shouldn't!

“They are best friends and play all day. They sleep together and won't let each other out of their sight. They both settled in immediately, there are three children in the house so they get so much attention and are having a ball.”

two ginger tabby kittens sleeping next to each other
Bert and Ernie are best of friends 
Cats Protection is one of the many charities supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, who have so far raised an extraordinary £500 million for charities and good causes.

We’re putting their generous support to good use, funding cat care assistant roles at our centres so we can offer the best care to cats and kittens like Nacho.

To find out more about our work with People’s Postcode Lottery, visit www.cats.org.uk/support-us/peoples-postcode-lottery

To find a new feline friend to welcome into your home, visit www.cats.org.uk/adopt-a-cat to see the cats waiting for adoption in your area.

Monday, 16 December 2019

Stowaway cat looking for new home after hitching a ride from Israel

A cat who snuck into a container on a cargo ship from Israel and survived a 12-day journey without food or water is looking for a new home on British soil.

Izzy the tortoiseshell kitty, who is thought to be around a year old, was discovered in the container when it arrived in Southampton in April.

tortoiseshell cat inside a cat hide

Following a four-month quarantine stay, the globe-trotting moggy is now being cared for at Cats Protection’s Newbury Adoption Centre while she waits to find a new owner.

Thea Eld, the centre’s deputy manager, said: “Izzy is quite a shy cat, and we think she must have been a street cat in Israel – used to being around people, but not being handled.

“We’ll never know her full story, but it’s most likely she snuck into the container looking for food or somewhere cosy to sleep, and ended up getting locked in. It’s quite remarkable that she survived for so long without food or water in what must have been very uncomfortable conditions.

“She’s definitely an independent girl, and she’d suit a home where she can have plenty of outdoor space. It may be that she’ll prefer to spend most of her time outdoors at first, but once she gets settled, she may well begin to come inside the home.

“Izzy’s been through a lot, so we’d love to see her go to a home with a patient owner who can give her the stable home she needs after such a turbulent few months.”

To find out more about offering a home to Izzy, please call 01635 200 111 or email newbury@cats.org.uk  

Find other cats looking for homes in your area at www.cats.org.uk/adopt-a-cat

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Two unlucky moggies hoping for third-time-lucky in search for home

Two unwanted cats are in need of new homes in time for the festive season, having each been given up twice already.

tabby and white cat
Popsy is looking for an adult-only home with plenty of outdoor space 
Popsy and Betsy are currently being cared for at Cats Protection’s Tyneside Adoption Centre after their initial adoptions didn’t work out.

The centre is keen for them to be adopted before Christmas so they can start the New Year in their forever homes.

black and white cat
Betsy needs a quiet home where she can settle in at her own pace
Handsome tabby-and-white Popsy first came into care in May and was adopted in September but returned soon after. He is a striking and intelligent young cat who loves to explore, but can get a little over-excitable when playing. It’s possible he may have been encouraged to play with hands as a kitten.

tabby and white cat standing on back legs
Popsy showing off his lovely tum
He would, therefore, be best suited to an adult-only home with plenty of outdoor space and an experienced cat owner who will help him expend his excess energy through more appropriate play. In return he will offer plenty of affection and face bumps to his new owner.

Black-and-white Betsy originally came into care in February when her owner passed away. She was adopted in April but found it hard to settle with the children in her new home, despite her adopter’s best efforts, and came back into care in October.

black and white cat
Betsy is sweet and chatty and loves sitting on laps
She is a sweet and chatty girl who loves a lap but it is now clear that she needs a quiet home where she can settle in at her own pace. She has also put on a bit of weight and will need a little help getting back into shape.

“Obviously all the cats at the centre are deserving of loving new homes, but we’d particularly love people to consider giving Betsy or Popsy a chance after all they’ve been through this year,” said Senior Cat Care Assistant Kezzie Paxton.

Cats Protection volunteer holding tabby and white cat
Popsy will offer plenty of affection and face bumps to his new owner
“They’re both lovely cats and with a bit of TLC and understanding they will make a fantastic addition to the right household.”

This year Cats Protection’s Cat Care Assistant roles, like Kezzie’s, are being funded thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery, who have raised £486 million to-date for charities and good causes. 

Anyone interested in adopting either Popsy or Betsy can contact Cats Protection’s Tyneside Adoption Centre on 0191 653 1052 or email tyneside@cats.org.uk

To find cats looking for homes in your area, visit www.cats.org.uk/adopt-a-cat 

Monday, 9 December 2019

Christmas cards for cat-lovers

Feline festive already? With Christmas just around the corner, you’ll no doubt be making preparations. Today is Christmas Card Day and to celebrate, we’ve put together three free printable Christmas cards, designed especially for cat-lovers.

Choose from our three designs (or perhaps opt for all three!), download them and print them out before giving them to your nearest and dearest.

Do you know someone with a cat that has a fancy for festive food? Our ‘turkey’ Christmas card is perfect for knowing cat owners. Seeking something sweet? Wish your loved ones a ‘Meowy Christmas’ with a cute greeting.

Alternatively, if you’re celebrating your first Christmas with a new feline pal in your home, how about downloading and printing our ‘forever home’ card especially for your cat? They’re sure to appreciate it – at least until the treats arrive.





Keeping your cat safe during Christmas

Concerned about your cat climbing the Christmas tree or are you considering a cat sitter if you’re going away during the festivities? Our guide to all things cats and Christmas is on the website now.

Find out more about cat-proofing your Christmas tree, how to avoid poisonous plants and how to reduce your cat’s stress while the house is overflowing! 

For more advice, go to www.cats.org.uk/cats-and-christmas 

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Free registration when you challenge yourself for cats in 2020

New year, new challenge? Get ahead of the pack and enjoy free registration on a selection of next year’s most exciting fundraising challenges with our Black Friday weekend offer.

From facing your fears with the world’s fastest zip line, to soaking up the incredible atmosphere at the 40th Great North Run, you can be sure to find a challenge for you!

This Black Friday (29 November) to Giving Tuesday (3 December), Cats Protection is giving you the chance to sign up to 2020’s most sought-after events early – and save a bit of cash in the process!

Katie and Hollie at the Snowdon summit
Last year, supporters Katie Roberts and Hollie Harkness-Gowers took advantage of the offer and decided to dig out their walking boots to take on our Snowdon trek in May 2019.

“I've always wanted to see and climb Snowdon,” Katie explained, “I'd been looking to do a charity challenge for a while and the Black Friday offer was so good, I checked it out.

“The best bit of the experience was the unbelievable sense of achievement at the summit. It was definitely a high in all senses of the word, and we all kept each other motivated along the way.” 

The Snowdon trekking team of Cat Champions
Together the adventurous duo raised over £570 for Cats Protection’s Gildersome Adoption Centre, supporting the charity in its work to help thousands of cats and kittens in need each year.

“If you’re thinking about signing up this year, I'd say definitely do it!” she added. “The free registration offer encourages you to make an impulsive decision and they're always the best ones! 

"You can sign up now and think about how you're going to do it later because the Cats Protection team will be there to support you the whole way.”

To join our team of #CatChampions, just choose one or more of the events at www.cats.org.uk/blkfricybmon and register for free between Friday 29 November and Tuesday 3 December.

Thank you for challenging yourself for cats!

Offers are valid for a completed interest or registration form between 9am Friday 29 November 2019 to Tuesday 3 December 2019 only. A minimum sponsorship pledge applies per event.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Podgy puss Paisley is over twice the size of a normal cat

A cat weighing more than 1st 7lb (9.5kg) has been put on a diet after she shocked Cats Protection staff with her immense size.

Four-year-old black-and-white cat Paisley weighed more than double the typical 8lb (3.6kg) for a healthy cat when she was brought to Cats Protection’s National Cat Adoption Centre in Sussex in October.

overweight black and white cat sitting on a blanket

She was so large that staff and volunteers had to help her to clean herself and put her on a vet-prescribed diet to help her lose weight.

Now down to 1st 6lb (9kg), Paisley has been adopted by an owner who will help her continue her weight loss journey.

Cats Protection is keen to highlight her story in time for Christmas, when owners could be tempted to over-feed their pets.



Tania Marsh, Deputy Manager of the centre, said: “When I saw Paisley I thought she was the fattest cat I’d ever seen!

“I've been with Cats Protection for 13 years and we see some cats on the larger side sometimes but nothing to this extent.

“She was loved with food, if you like. She was a mainly indoor cat and didn't get many opportunities to exercise.

overweight black and white cat sitting on a blanket

“Because of her weight, she is still at significant risk of diabetes, arthritis and heart trouble so the new owner will be keeping Paisley on her special diet until she can reach a healthy weight.”


Top tips for keeping your cat healthy 


1. Weigh out their food
Be careful not to overfill bowls, and if you give your cat treats, reduce the overall amount of food you provide them.

2. Encourage daily exercise 
Take the time to play with your cat using a fishing-rod toy or place their daily ration of food inside feeding puzzles to encourage them to work for their meals.

3. Avoid human treats 
Many cats cannot digest cow’s milk products such as milk or cheese and chocolate contains a compound that can be toxic to cats. It’s advisable to give your cat approved cat treats while reducing their other food accordingly.

4. Speak to your vet
If your cat is overweight then seek the advice of your vet before embarking on any change of diet for your cat.

5. Avoid ‘crash diets’
Never starve overweight cats. A gradual, steady decrease in bodyweight is ideal. It can take up to a year for a severely overweight cat to reach their ideal body condition.

For more advice on keeping your cat healthy, visit www.cats.org.uk/diet

Monday, 25 November 2019

Cats Protection’s ‘Libby left behind’ Christmas animation is based on a true story

Freezing cold and starving hungry, little kitten Libby spent two whole weeks last winter lost in the countryside.

She had been abandoned with her four siblings down a quiet lane in Fareham, but had somehow become separated from her littermates and injured her little nose.

black kitten with an injured nose
Libby just after she was rescued from her ordeal 
While the other kittens were quickly rescued by Cats Protection’s Fareham Branch thanks to a report from a kind member of the public, there was no sign of the fifth kitten.

After a fortnight of searching, Libby was finally found thin and shivering down the dark lane. She was quickly given all of the warmth, food and care she needed, as well as being reunited with her brothers and sisters.

Now Libby’s incredible story has been turned into a heart-warming, festive animation to highlight the important work that Cats Protection does.



Not only did Libby fully recover from her wintery ordeal, she also quickly found a loving new home… and a new name!

black cat against grey background
Libby, now called Misty, in her new home
Now called Misty, she was adopted by Amy Smith who says: “Misty is the loveliest of cats, she always waits at the lounge door to greet us in the mornings and her happiness is shown by her loud purr and vibrating tail.

young girl with black cat
Amy's daughter Lily with her best friend Misty 
“Misty has settled amazingly well into our home, she has found a best friend in my daughter Lily and likes to follow her around the house. She also loves to chase bugs in the garden. We feel very lucky to have her.”

back cat in garden with paw in air
Misty having a scratch out in the garden 
Misty’s siblings; Lily, Becket, Desmond and Ramsey were also quickly adopted by other caring families and are happy and cosy in their new homes.

For more Christmassy cat content, including advice for looking after your moggy over the festive season, visit www.cats.org.uk/christmas 

Paws Protect: Helping cat owners flee domestic abuse

Paws Protect is Cats Protection’s free temporary cat-fostering service for people fleeing domestic abuse.

With one in four adult women estimated to experience some form of domestic abuse, Paws Protect recognises the importance of removing barriers to people leaving abusive environments. Pets can be a huge barrier when leaving, as they are often used as part of coercive control. On average, it takes a survivor of domestic abuse three years to ask for help.

side view of tabby cat looking up

Paws Protect is a small, female-only team based at the National Cat Centre in Sussex, but we travel all over the South East in order to run the service, which currently operates in London, Hertfordshire, Essex, Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Bedfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.

We speak to cat owners when they are at their most vulnerable, and we work to reassure them that we can help keep their cat safe so they can get themselves and their families to safety.

After receiving a referral, we arrange to collect the cat in a safe location and then bring them in to foster care, where they are loved and cared for until the owner is back on their feet, which can take six to nine months.

As you can imagine, this is a very emotional time for the owner, who is devastated to be parted from their cat and has such a lot of other challenges to deal with too. We offer emotional support and reassurance and do our best to help in any way we can.

ginger and white cat lying on a bed

We keep in touch with both the owner and fosterer throughout the foster placement. Fosterers send photographs and little stories of what the cats are getting up to which we then send to the owner so they can see how well their beloved cats are being looked after. The whole service is totally confidential, so the fosterer knows nothing about the owner and vice versa, in order to keep everyone safe and not compromise the owner’s identity.

All of the cats we take in are also neutered, microchipped, vaccinated and de-wormed and de-fleaed by our in-house veterinary team if they are not already, so the owners know they are happy and healthy.

The best part is when an owner gets in touch to let us know they have secured a safe new home and are ready to be reunited with their cat. It is a real pleasure to see how the new house becomes a home when the cat arrives back – tears are very often shed.

Since 2017, we have taken over 550 referrals to the service and have helped over 100 families flee domestic abuse. We continue to grow year on year; helping both cats and people.

If you need to access the service or are interested in becoming a fosterer, please do get in touch at pawsprotect@cats.org.uk or 0345 260 1280. You can find more information about Paws Protect at www.cats.org.uk/paws-protect

Paws Protect logo

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Kittens dumped in box on Ashdown Forest find new homes

In September, four kittens were found dumped in a cardboard box on Ashdown Forest.

The kittens were just four weeks old when they were discovered by a dog walker, just a couple of days before heavy rain lashed the area.

two black and white kitten on top of a cardboard box, with a ginger and white kitten underneath
Karen and Kiri keeping watch while Kieran hides in the box
They were rushed to Cats Protection’s nearby National Cat Adoption Centre, where they were named Karen, Kieran, Keith and Kiri.

As well as being dehydrated and hungry, the kittens were all found to have deformed stumpy tails and Karen had an abnormally formed leg which it was thought may need to be amputated.

Tania Marsh, Deputy Manager of the National Cat Adoption Centre, said: “It was incredibly fortunate the kittens were found when they were, as they would not have survived much longer in the forest. 

two black and white kittens sitting on a cardboard box
Karen and Kiri recovering from their ordeal
“They all have stumpy tails. We can’t tell how this has happened – it may have been in an injury, but it is more likely this is a congenital abnormality and the kittens were actually born this way.

“It’s desperately sad that these kittens were simply dumped, as they had no way to fend for themselves and would have certainly died if they hadn’t been found.

“It is likely they were an unplanned litter, which is the result of a cat not being neutered. Cats are prolific breeders, and can have up to three litters a year, so it’s vitally important that all cats are neutered to prevent unwanted kittens being born.

two black and white and two ginger and white kittens sitting in a cat bed
The kittens in the cosyness of the Cats Protection centre
Sadly it was found that Keith the kitten had extensive damage to his back legs that was so severe it was kindest to end his suffering and put him to sleep.

The other three kittens have now found their new owners and Karen even began to use her abnormally formed leg, meaning it did not need to be amputated.

To find cats looking for homes in your area, visit www.cats.org.uk/adopt-a-cat

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Cat Men Do confessions: Cute things cat dads do for their moggies

As our recent Cat Men Do campaign proved, there are thousands of proud cat dads out there who are happy to shout about how much they love their moggies.

Even though we’ve received lots of adorable messages and photos from these moggy-loving men, we’re sure there are many more that are yet to open up about their feline affections.

To encourage more cat dads to come clean about their feelings, we’ve asked some cat-loving men to share their cute confessions about being crazy for cats…

Going through the cat calendar


man showing black and white kitten the calendar
Moose the kitten being shown his upcoming appointments
“My six-month-old kittens Moose and Dottie are the most affectionate cats I’ve ever owned and now I’ve got a constant craving for kitten cuddles. So much so, that when I am away from home for more than a day, I worry they’ll forget me and not want to curl up next to me when I get back. Luckily, I’ve devised a strategy of talking them through our calendar each week so they know what’s coming up. They get updates on when their vet appointments are, when they’re going to have to endure their flea medication and when mummy and daddy will be away for the weekend, so grandma will be popping in to feed them. I’m sure deep down, they appreciate the forewarning…”

Constructing cat houses 


cardboard box turned into a cat house
A lovingly constructed cat house complete with cosy blankets
“I won’t throw away a delivery box if one of our cats takes a shine to it! I always feel sorry for them that they don’t have their own cat bed – even though we’ve bought them loads of beds over the years that they have roundly ignored. It drives my wife mad that we have massive Amazon boxes just sitting around. My latest creation is a cat house. The boxes eventually go in the recycling once the cats get bored of them.”

Story-time friends 


man reading book to baby while ginger and white cat sleeps on his leg
Daisy enjoying story-time (and a snooze!)
“My 16-year-old ginger tom Daisy (long story) has been joining in with father/son story time with my two-year-old since he was born. It’s super cute, especially when Daisy rubs his face on the book corners, only for my son to berate him with an exasperated “No Daisy!””

Serving up a special dinner 

bowl of cat food
Lily's 'Biscuit Island' treat
“At the weekend I like to make our cat Lily a special dinner called ‘Biscuit Island’. It’s a cat-friendly concoction consisting of an ‘island’ of biscuits and cat soup in the middle. I then add her favourite treats as a tasty topping and even let her choose her favourite flavour (she head bumps the sachet to let me know!).”

Building a cat igloo 


black and white cat in a homemade igloo
An icy lookout spot for Felix
“Here is a picture of my cat Felix a few years ago. He loved playing in the snow so I built him an igloo which he used as a sentry box until it melted. As you can see when he was not on sentry duty he liked to relax on my bed or on me.”

black and white cat sleeping on a man's chest
Felix taking a well-earned break
Do you have a Cat Men Do confession? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter! To find out more about what Cat Men Do, visit www.cats.org.uk/cat-men-do

Monday, 11 November 2019

A day in the life of hand-rearing orphaned kittens

At Cats Protection we care for cats of all ages and from all backgrounds, with some needing a bit more care than others.

Sometimes we have kittens in our care who, for whatever reason, do not have a mum to look after them. These litters need to be hand-reared by our dedicated volunteers and staff to ensure they grow big and strong, and it’s a very demanding job.

The kittens need to be fed every few hours throughout the day and night, and lots of care needs to be taken to make sure they are kept safe and healthy.

three kittens cuddled up together in a cat bed
Kittens Arizona, Texas and Nevada getting cosy
Maisie Buckley, a volunteer at our National Cat Adoption Centre, recently helped to look after one of these litters of orphaned kittens and explains how she handled their round-the-clock care…

Why did you decide to become a Cats Protection volunteer? 

I can’t have pets in my current apartment so volunteering is a great way to look after my favourite animal! As I was only looking after the kittens temporarily and they were kept in a pen, my landlord gave me permission to care for them. It’s so rewarding to know I’m able to help these cats and kittens have a better life, especially when you can see them changing and growing more confident right in front of your eyes!

Can you tell us about the litter you recently hand-reared? 

I was looking after three, three-week-old kittens, one brother and two sisters named Arizona, Texas and Nevada. Unfortunately, their mother was a feral cat who was unwell and had to be put to sleep, leaving them needing round-the-clock care.

black and white kitten lying down and holding her back leg
Nevada having a chew on her paw
How did you prepare for hand-rearing the kittens?

I was provided with all the personal protective equipment (PPE) I needed by the centre, like gloves and aprons. As the kittens were not vaccinated yet, wearing these items helped to ensure I didn't pass anythign on to them that could make them ill. Then all I had to do was make sure I had a spot ready for their pen and a space which they could be fed and socialised in.

What other help and advice did you get from the Cats Protection centre? 

The staff at the centre were really helpful and reassuring, giving me plenty of advice and tips! Before taking the kittens home I did some training with them on how to feed and toilet the kittens so I was confident that I could look after them well.

What was a typical day (and night) with the kittens like? 

Although a few hours between feeds sounds like a long time, it’s pretty much non-stop when there are three or more kittens! For each feed I had to carefully sterilise all the equipment, mix the milk and measure it into bottles for them and prepare the litter tray for toileting. Then I would toilet each kitten and bottle feed them. Sometimes it can take some time to get them to latch on, some kittens require some encouragement and patience is needed to give them time to drink what they need. Then we check if they need to go to the toilet again before they will go back in their pen. I would also provide them with some finely mashed up kitten food to try and wean them onto solid food.

tabby and white kitten asleep on a towel
Arizona enjoying his nap
After everyone has been fed and toileted I then had to carefully document the details of each kitten’s eating and toileting habits so that we can keep track of their progress and make sure there aren’t any problems. Between all the sterilising and getting them all fed and toileted it took up to an hour each time. Be warned it can also get quite messy so there’s some clean up time to be factored in too!

Between feeds they often wanted to play so I found it helped to get them out for some supervised playtime and socialising. It’s important to introduce kittens to new experiences they’ll encounter in later life, such as household noises and being handled by people, during their ‘socialisation period’ which is between the ages of two to eight weeks. We follow a structured socialisation programme to help us do this which you can find out more about at www.cats.org.uk/kitten-socialisation

When the kittens are out of the pen it’s important to make sure you’re wearing PPE and keep them on clean towels and blankets so they don’t come into contact with any unsterile surfaces. As you can imagine there are some escape attempts so you need to keep a very close eye for little feet scampering away! The most difficult part was trying to convince them it was bed time after the night-time feeds as they were wide awake and wanted to come out and play!

What was the most challenging part of hand-rearing? 


tabby and white kitten
Arizona ready for playtime
Luckily my three were all happy and healthy but they’re totally reliant on you, so it’s a big responsibility to make sure they’re all eating and toileting correctly. It can be very worrying if one of them doesn’t want to eat or is unwell. You don’t get a lot of sleep either which starts to catch up with you after a few days, but it’s more than worth it in my opinion!

What did you enjoy most about caring for the kittens? 

It was a really lovely experience bottle-feeding them, they’re so cute and it’s so rewarding to know they are happy and healthy because of us. Socialising is also very fun as you get to see some of their personality come out at playtime.

How did you feel when it was time for them to be rehomed? 

It was very hard to say goodbye because you do form a bond, but I’m so happy to know they’re going to good homes and they will have wonderful lives.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a Cats Protection volunteer? 

I would say, go for it, you can really make a difference to the lives of these cats! I’m so glad I decided to join up, the time I spend with the kittens always makes my day and I wouldn’t give it up for the world.

If you think you would be up for the challenge of caring for orphaned kittens, find out how you can join our team of incredible volunteers at www.cats.org.uk/volunteering