Friday, 19 July 2019

Why do cats have rough tongues?

It’s Stick Your Tongue Out Day! On a day when we celebrate the freedom of being able to stick your tongue out at will, we thought it would be fun to take a closer look at cats’ tongues. Not the edible chocolate variety but the tongues that belong to our pet cats.

longhaired tabby cat with tongue sticking out

What are they and what do they do? A tongue is a muscular organ with multiple uses. It is very important and has a range of serious jobs to do. For cats, tongues play a vital role not just when eating and drinking but are also an essential part of their personal grooming kits.


A multi-use tool for cats 


Depending on how close you get to your cat you may have noticed that their tongue is not soft and delicate, as you might expect, but is actually rather harsh and scratchy and can feel like sandpaper being dragged across your skin if you are lucky enough to be subjected to a quick groom.

tabby cat with mouth open and tongue showing

The reason a cat’s tongue is so rough is due to all the backwards facing spines (or papillae) that run along it. These papillae have all sorts of fantastic uses. They are great for stripping meat from bones, allowing them to extract the maximum nutrition from their prey in the most quick and efficient way. They are also responsible for the ingenious way that cats drink. Rather than putting their whole mouth into water, cats put their tongue in the water and lift it up and down very quickly. The papillae on their tongues pull water up from the surface, creating a column that the cat then closes their mouth around.

The purrfect kitty hairbrush 


The slightly less obvious use for a rough tongue is that it makes for the perfect hairbrush. When a cat uses their tongue to lick their fur they are, in effect, brushing themself. The backwards facing positioning of the spines on the tongue act like a comb as they pass through the fur, detangling and cleaning away loose fur and dirt as they go. A very effective way of self-cleansing!

grey and white cat with tongue sticking out

Being self-sufficient and able to keep clean without help is very important when traditionally, as a non-social species, cats would not have lived within a social group and so could not rely on a pack member to do the honours.

So the next time your cat yawns or starts to groom in front of you, take a close look at their tongue and marvel at this most ingenious and useful tool which nature has designed.

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

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Smuggled kitten found in passenger’s hand luggage

A female kitten called Zara was discovered at Heathrow airport in the hand luggage of a passenger who had flown in from Tel Aviv, Israel.

tabby and white kitten sat on scratch post in pen
Zara is being held in quarantine until she is given a clean bill of health
The passenger was in transit on the way to the United States and didn't want to pay the kitten’s quarantine fees so Zara was detained under the Rabies Order 1974.

She is currently being held at a facility in Hampshire to ensure she doesn't pose a threat to other animals and humans. Cats Protection will then find the tabby-and-white kitten a new home once she has received a clean bill of health.

Ross Hayes, Deputy Manager of the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre (HARC), said: “The centre was alerted to the arrival of Zara, an illegally imported four-week-old kitten that was found within a passenger’s hand luggage.

tabby and white kitten sat on blanket
Zara when she was in the care of the HARC
“The owner didn't hold the animal’s correct paperwork so she was transferred into quarantine. We carried out the necessary health and welfare checks on Zara and I’m sure she will make a wonderful pet when she’s ready to be rehomed.”

Beverley Russell, Cats Protection’s Operations Support Manager, said: “Zara seems to be no worse for wear despite her adventure. She must have been very quiet on the plane as she wasn’t discovered until she arrived at Heathrow."

If you would like to donate some money towards the cost of Zara's quarantine fees, please call 0800 917 2287.

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

Friday, 12 July 2019

Why do some cats have different coloured eyes?

There’s no doubt that cats’ eyes are beautiful and many moggies will happily show them off by staring at you as you eat your dinner. But did you know that some cats have more striking eyes than others?

white cat with complete heterochromia causing one yellow iris and one blue iris

Although it’s quite rare, a condition called heterochromia can result in cats having two different coloured eyes. These odd-eyed cats typically have one iris (the coloured part of the eye) that’s blue while the other is either green, brown or yellow. Heterochromia can also affect dogs and even humans too.

What causes heterochromia in cats?


All kittens are born with eyes that appear blue due to a lack of pigment within the iris. Within their first few weeks/months of life a pigment called melanin is distributed throughout the iris, causing the eyes to change colour. Usually this happens in both eyes, but if the cat has heterochromia, melanin is only distributed in one iris, leaving the other blue.

white cat with complete heterochromia causing one yellow iris and one blue iris

It isn’t clear what causes some cats to develop heterochromia and others not. It appears to be a developmental condition and while there could be a genetic link, nobody really knows what causes this strange and beautiful phenomenon. While some breeds of cat seem more likely to develop heterochromia than others, it can happen to any cat.

Do odd-eyed cats have poor eyesight?


Luckily, heterochromia doesn’t have any impact on a cat’s ability to see, and it doesn’t seem to affect their hearing either. Although white cats with one or two blue eyes are more likely to be deaf, non-white cats with one blue eye do not appear to have a higher risk of deafness than normal.

white cat with complete heterochromia causing one yellow iris and one blue iris

There’s only cause for concern if your cat’s eyes change colour when they are over 12 weeks old or if they suddenly change colour at any age. There are various disease processes that can cause an eye to change colour and, if this happens, then you should speak to your vet as soon as possible.

Can cats have a single eye with two different colours?


When cats have two different coloured eyes this is known as complete heterochromia, but there is also a condition known as sectoral heterochromia. This is when a single iris contains two or more colours, eg half is blue and half is green, and is a result of an inconsistent distribution of pigment within the iris.

Does your cat have two different coloured eyes? Share your photos with us on Facebook or Twitter

For more amazing facts about cats’ eyes, read our blog post.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

How many cats are there in the UK?

It will come as no surprise to moggy-lovers that cats are the most popular pets in the UK, just overtaking dogs to the top spot.

In fact, there are believed to be an incredible 11.1 million pet cats in the country, compared to 8.9 million pet dogs, with 25% of the adult population owning at least one kitty.

However, while we can pretty accurately identify the number of owned cats, there are many unowned stray and feral cats roaming the UK’s streets and countryside too, and they’re much harder to count. 

Counting the cat population 


tortoiseshell cat with cone around its head

To try to get a more accurate figure of the UK’s unowned cat population, Cats Protection launched the Cat Watch project in 2016.

We’ve been working closely with local communities to encourage them to report unowned cats, either via our Cat Watch app, Cat Watch Facebook groups or in person to our Cat Watch teams, so that we can ensure they are well cared for. We do this by working with cat caretakers in communities to get the cats neutered to prevent more unwanted cats being born, and either finding them new homes or supporting residents with the help they need to look after them.

The project began in Bulwell, Nottingham, an area identified as having a large unowned cat population, and has since expanded into Everton, Beeston in Nottingham and Houghton Regis in Bedfordshire with the hope that eventually it could be UK-wide.

Helping cats in Bulwell and Everton


a group of Cats Protection volunteers with cat baskets
Some of the Bulwell Cat Watch team
In Bulwell, the hard work of our Cat Watch team and the cooperation of local residents has meant that, to the best of our knowledge, no new kittens were born on Bulwell’s streets in 2018 – fantastic news for the community and its cats.

In Everton, the Cat Watch team received almost 1,000 reports of cats in the first 12 months of the project and were then able to get 262 cats neutered and find 88 of them new forever homes, with work ongoing to help even more stray and feral moggies in the area.

The team has also managed to change the attitudes of Everton’s local residents towards cats, as a survey has revealed a positive increase in their feelings towards neutering as a way to improve cat welfare and reduce antisocial cat behaviour.

More than half of residents felt that Cat Watch had had a positive impact on cats and on the Everton community, with many indicating that it had also increased their sense of wellbeing, confidence and connectedness within their community.

The adventures of Six Dinners Sid 



grey and white cat lying on its side on a blanket

Within the Everton area, the Cat Watch team discovered one rather large cat who had acquired quite a following.

The grey-and-white moggy had been reported to them by local resident Jane, and after asking around to see if anyone knew where he came from, it was soon discovered that he had quite a few different carers and feeders! Jane and the team even managed to track his daily route around the neighbourhood, which involved several stops at different houses for food and cosy naps.

All of this roaming meant that he’d also acquired several different names from his many families; Terry, Smokie, Bear BB, Romeo, Cheeky Monkey, Mr Grey and Six Dinners Sid.

grey and white cat asleep with its tongue sticking out

Shortly after his antics had been revealed, Sid became ill. His many carers all rallied together to get him the best possible treatment, but sadly his kidney disease was too advanced.

During this time, Jane took him into her home to give him all of the love and attention he needed, and when the time came for him to go, his entire family of carers gathered around him to say goodbye.

Jane said: “He was a huge cat with a large heart (and tummy!) and we all followed his adventures with relish. He was audacious, charismatic, greedy and fussy, demanding only the best fresh food, and could be grumpy if he didn’t get his own way. He was a true gentleman and ambassador for every community cat making their way out there.”

A new home for Tatty


grey and white cat sitting on someone's lap

Shortly after Sid had sadly passed away, Tatty the cat appeared in another Everton resident’s garden looking a little worse for wear.

He was reported to the Cat Watch team to see if his owner could be found, but he wasn’t microchipped and no one came forward to claim him.

The team them took him to the vet for a health check and neutering, where he was found to be badly matted, covered in ticks, have a small growth on his eyelid and need some dental work to make him comfortable again. He also tested positive for FIV, but as he was so friendly the vets were confident he could be rehomed to an indoor environment.

grey and white cat lying on someone's lap

The Cat Watch team knew that Jane, Six Dinners Sid’s primary carer, was looking to adopt a new cat after saying goodbye to Sid, and so introduced her to Tatty. It was love at first sight, and it didn’t take Tatty, now renamed Bailey, very long to settle in to his new home.

Jane said: “Bailey’s a right cuddle monster. He’s enjoying being pampered and spoilt! He is so funny and so like Sid/Mr Grey when it comes to food! He knows where the food is kept and sat at the door until I opened it! He loves chicken and the smell of a roast, he sat watching us eat ours making snorting noises.”

To find out more about Cats Protection’s Cat Watch project, visit www.cats.org.uk/cat-watch

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Donations needed for injured kitten rescued from a car engine

A kitten found hiding in a car engine is on the long road to recovery after having a leg amputated and ear tips removed.

black cat with bald legs and burnt ears
Inky was left badly burned after his ordeal
Named Inky by vets, the black 10-week-old kitten had suffered a complicated break to his right foreleg and his ears had also been singed.

Inky is now being cared for by staff and volunteers at Cats Protection’s Belfast Adoption Centre which is appealing for donations from the public to help pay for Inky’s operation and aftercare, expected to cost at least £800.

black cat with bald legs and burnt ears
Inky has had to have the tips of his ears removed
The centre’s Deputy Manager, Andrew Doherty said: “It’s not known how poor Inky broke his leg so badly, but we think he probably burned his ears when he was hiding inside the hot car engine.

“His leg was so badly damaged that, sadly, the only option was for vets to remove it. It’ll take Inky a few weeks to recover from the operation, but so far he’s taken it in his stride.

black cat wearing cone collar with burnt ears
Inky recovering from his surgery 
“He’s a very friendly and relaxed kitten and is enjoying all the fuss and attention from volunteers and staff at the centre.

“Inky isn’t yet available for rehoming, but anyone interested in offering him a new home can keep any eye out for him on our website www.cats.org.uk/belfast

"He’ll be able to do most things cats do on his remaining three legs, but as he won’t be able to scale fences or escape from potential dangers as well as four-legged cats can, he’ll be looking for an indoor home.”

black cat with bald legs and burnt ears
Inky will soon be ready to find an indoor home
If you’d like to help the centre pay for Inky’s treatment, you can donate to the JustGiving appeal.

Andrew said: “We’d be extremely grateful if anyone who would like to help Inky could donate to our appeal – every penny will make a huge difference and help us pay for his operation and continued aftercare.” Any funds raised above those needed for Inky will go towards the care of other cats at the centre.

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

Friday, 5 July 2019

Kittens with peculiar paws found in an abandoned car

Two young kittens with an extremely rare suspected genetic condition have been found in a burnt out car.

one tabby kitten and one black and white kitten both with Syndactylism
Bert (left) and Ernie (right) have Syndactylism
Bert and Ernie, who are now in the care of Cats Protection’s Gildersome Homing Centre, both have Syndactylism, where two or more toes are fused together.

The condition is different to the more frequently seen polydactyly - where a cat can have extra toes on their paws.

tabby kitten with Syndactylism
Bert has some of his toes fused together 
A normal cat has four toes on each foot and on the front feet they also have a dewclaw - which is a little higher up on the leg.

“Although very rare, complex Syndactylism – the form which tends to be seen in cats - appears to cause minimal to no discomfort so treatment is generally not recommended,” said Jennifer MacVicar, Cats Protection’s Central Veterinary Officer.

black and white kitten with Syndactylism
Ernie is being monitored to make sure his toes aren't causing any discomfort
“The condition is unlikely to cause problems but Bert and Ernie will need to be monitored as they grow for any sign of lameness. Syndactylism is potentially inherited and could be passed on to their offspring so, like all the cats in our care, Bert and Ernie will be neutered when they reach four months.”

The kittens were believed to be under two weeks old when they were found in Wakefield in mid-May.
There was no sign of their mother when they were discovered so the charity believes it’s possible she may have rejected them.

one tabby kitten and one black and white kitten both with Syndactylism
Bert and Ernie will be rehomed when they are eight weeks old
“We weren’t sure Bert and Ernie were going to make it but they’re growing into two lively boys,” said Rob Wilkinson, Cats Protection’s Gildersome Centre Manager. “All the staff have taken it in turns to hand rear and they’re now being looked after in a volunteer’s home. They both seem perfectly happy and mobile.”

Bert and Ernie will be monitored by the charity’s vets until they are ready to find a new home.

If you would like to donate towards the care of Bert and Ernie, you can find out how at www.cats.org.uk/gildersome 

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

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

6 cats who forgot how to cat

Sometimes our cats can do the strangest things, providing us with hours of entertainment and making us question whether they do in fact know how to be a cat.

We asked our fantastic followers to share their best examples of moments their moggies forgot how to cat and here are some of our favourites…

Watching TV


Maisie loves to cat-ch up on her favourite shows on the moggy-vision. Just don't try to steal the remote control!

Eating veggies 


Mrs Kitty seems to have a taste for yummy veg as she loves to nibble on broccoli! @aerialnuwa says that she sets a good example for her son, who coincidentally also loves broccoli!

Rolling around


Neera loves to wave her paws in the air like she just doesn’t care whether she’s a cat or a dog! It also means she can show off that lovely fluffy tummy!

Getting wet 


Poe clearly didn’t get the memo that most cats aren’t keen on getting their paws wet. He just loves to explore the wonders of the bathroom sink!

Hypnotised 


Sometime the lure of a piece of string is just too much to handle, and Maikki’s reaction seems to be to do her best cat statue impression.

Playing fetch 


Why should dogs have all the fun when it comes to a game of fetch? Herbie proves that cats are just as good at retrieving their favourite toys – hunting is one of their specialist skills after all!

Do you have a cat who forgets how to cat? Send us your photos and videos on Facebook or Twitter

For more information on what makes a cat a cat, visit the Cats Protection website.

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Tiny kitten thrown from car makes miracle survival

A tiny female kitten thrown out of a moving car in Hull is recovering in the care of Cats Protection.

The six-week-old black kitten was thrown out of a silver Vauxhall Astra on the A165 near Long Riston in Hull on the evening of Tuesday 11 June.

tiny black kitten on blanket

She was saved by a quick thinking motorist who jumped out of their car to rescue her from the grass verge.

Thankfully she was uninjured and is being looked after by Cats Protection’s Beverley & Pocklington Branch, who have given her the name Lucia.


“Lucia was thrown from the car at about 4.30pm on Tuesday” said Carol Jopling, the volunteer looking after Lucia.

“A motorist following behind said they saw the Astra slow down before the passenger door was opened and Lucia was flung out. The Astra then sped off.

tiny black kitten inside cat bed

“Hull was in the grip of a current cold spell and it was pelting down with rain so if Lucia hadn’t been quickly retrieved she would have died as she was already extremely underweight. It’s horrible that someone could treat an animal so callously.”

If anyone has any information on the incident they should notify Humberside Police.

Cats Protection says around a quarter of the cats it takes in are stray or abandoned and urges owners to consider humane options if they wish to give up their cat, including asking friends or family to adopt them or asking cat charities if they have space.

Neutering pet cats will also prevent unwanted kittens. For more information about neutering your cat, visit www.cats.org.uk/neutering

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Vince the unluckiest cat in Hampshire needs a new home

Rescue cat Vince – who has been given up for adoption twice in a few months – has been dubbed the most unlucky cat in Hampshire.

White-and-black Vince first came into the care of Cats Protection’s Gosport Branch in March after his owner could no longer care for him.

white and black cat lying on a blanket

He was adopted in mid-April, but his new owner had no choice but to return him to the branch a month later as he wasn’t settling in with young children in the home.

Kate Stapleford, a volunteer at Cats Protection’s Gosport Branch, said: “Poor Vince really wants to be in his forever home – he’s had so many ups and downs, he must be the unluckiest cat in Hampshire!

“We think he would be best suited to an adult home. He loves cuddles, attention and playtime – feathers on a stick and catnip mouse toys are his favourites! He loves his food and treats and also the great outdoors.

white and black cat looking at the camera

“Vince is a fantastic cat so we’re calling for anyone who thinks they could give him a home to get in touch!”

Two-year-old Vince has been health-checked, vaccinated, neutered and microchipped and is desperate to find his perfect new home.

Anyone interested in adopting Vince and giving him the ‘happy ever after’ he deserves can call Cats Protection’s Gosport Branch on 02392 582601 to find out more.

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

Monday, 24 June 2019

Horace home again after hitching a ride under car bonnet

A cat who was missing for three weeks is back at home after Cats Protection used microchip details to trace his owner.

Eleven-year-old Horace went missing from his home in Southsea, Hampshire, in April and was later found 15 miles away in the grounds of Lee-on-the-Solent Infant School.

black and white cat sitting in a box

Tired, hungry and dehydrated, Horace was also covered in an oily substance, leading vets to believe he may have curled up for a snooze under a car bonnet before being driven away.

Relieved owner Colin King said: “Horace is a house cat, but had accidentally got out one evening and despite putting posters up and contacting animal charities, we couldn’t find him anywhere.

“Fortunately, he’s microchipped, so when staff at the school found him, they phoned Cats Protection's Gosport Town Branch who scanned for his microchip and contacted me. It was fantastic to see him, and he seemed very pleased to get back home after his adventure.

“I took him for a check-up with the vet, who said the oil probably came from a car, so I think he must have climbed under the bonnet somehow to keep warm before he was driven away.

“Whatever happened, he’s an old boy who is clearly very happy to get back to his creature comforts. I think his adventuring days are behind him now.”

Carole Rudin, Lost and Found Coordinator for Cats Protection’s Gosport Town Branch said: “Cats can get themselves into all sorts of scrapes, so it’s great that Horace was microchipped as it meant we could get him home quickly.

“Without his microchip, Horace may never have been returned home, so his story is a great reminder about why microchipping is so important.”

tabby and white cat being scanned for microchip

Angela Clayton, Senior Administration Assistant at Lee-on-the-Solent Infant School said: “We noticed Horace in the school grounds and thought he looked a little worse for wear, so our Site Assistant Steve Taylor looked after him while we called Cats Protection. We were all so delighted that his owner was found, and the children were thrilled to know the little lost cat was back at home.”

Cats Protection has renewed calls for a change in the law to ensure that all owned cats, like dogs, are microchipped.

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.

Jacqui Cuff, Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy & Government Relations 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 owned cats are microchipped, giving the same level of protection to keep them safe and protected.”

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

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Help needed to cover Marshall's essential ear surgery

Cats Protection’s Mitcham Homing Centre is desperately appealing for help to fund the cost of extensive surgery for a cat with ear tumours.

Four-year-old Marshall has had a rough few months. Due to having multiple benign tumours in his ears, he needed to have both ear canals removed to prevent the tumours from growing back.

ginger and white tabby cat lying on a blanket
Marshall before his surgery
Costing around £1,200, volunteers and staff are appealing for donations to help fund Marshall’s surgery and after care.

“When Marshall first arrived at our centre in January, he was shy and withdrawn. We were worried that he might not cope with the surgery, as it’s so extensive,” said Rosie King, Manager at Cats Protection’s Mitcham Homing Centre.

“However, since having his first operation, Marshall became much more confident and it was a real turning point; his personality changed and he started to look a lot more comfortable.”

After having the first operation, Marshall temporarily lost sensation on the left side of his face, which affected his ability to blink. This is a common side effect of such complicated surgery and after a short wait for his ear to heal and feeling to come back; Marshall had his second operation with no problems.

ginger and white tabby cat wearing buster collar with shaved head
Marshall recovering from his operations
Marshall will shortly be looking for an indoor-only home with owners who will give him the time and affection he needs.

Rosie added: “Marshall has had a long road to recovery but is now finally on the mend. In a couple of weeks’ time, we hope he’ll be ready to go to a new home. Due to his hearing loss, he will need to be kept indoors.

“Although Marshall can still make out some sounds, especially loud noises, it will be muffled, as if you’re under water and someone is talking to you from above the surface.”

Donations for Marshall’s surgery and aftercare can be made here and Gift Aid may be added to give more to the appeal at no extra cost. Any additional money raised will be used to help the other cats currently in the care of the centre.

Anyone one interested in adopting Marshall, once he’s ready for homing, should call the centre on 03000 120 285 or email mitcham@cats.org.uk

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

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

5 lessons Garfield taught us about being a cat

Grumpy yet loveable cartoon cat Garfield is popular with cat lovers across the world. As well has having a few traits cat owners can identify with – eg a hatred of Mondays – Garfield also gets a few of our real-life cats’ quirks spot on too.

Here are a few things the fictional ginger feline has taught us about cats.

1. Stick to a healthy diet 


via GIPHY

Garfield may enjoy such delicious snacks as pizza and lasagne, but it’s clear that his carb-rich diet has left him a little on the tubby side. To make sure your own moggy can still fit through the cat flap, it’s best to steer clear of Italian favourites and feed them a nutritious cat food instead – they’ll be much healthier and happier in the long-run! Find more advice on what to feed your cat here.

2. Be an alarm clock 


via GIPHY

Many cat owners will be able to sympathise with Garfield’s owner Jon, as he gets woken up by his fuzzy companion in often abrupt and undignified ways. This can be a common behaviour in cats, as they’re usually most active at dawn and dusk. If you’d prefer a lie in, watch our video for advice on discouraging your cat from giving you an early wakeup call.

3. Seek out a comfy box 


via GIPHY

After a busy day getting up to all sorts of adventures, Garfield loves nothing more than slumping into a cosy cardboard box for a nap. Cats love boxes because they provide a safe and secure place to hide away from the world, so make sure you provide them with a few options to hide away in. If you add a comfy blanket then they’ll love you even more! Learn more about why cats hide in our video.

4. Get plenty of sleep 


via GIPHY

Whether in a box or on his owner Jon’s bed, Garfield loves a long snooze, and he’s not the only one. Many cats can sleep for up to 16 hours a day, making sure they have plenty of energy to get up to all sorts of antics during the remaining eight. Of course, their love of sleeping can mean that you’ll find them napping in a variety of surprising places and positions. Find out more about cats and sleep here.

5. Make a furry friend 


via GIPHY

Garfield may not always get along with his canine pal Ogie, but that doesn’t mean that cats and dogs can’t be good friends. The secret to a peaceful pet friendship is a slow and steady introduction. For advice on how to do this, visit the Cats Protection website for a step-by-step guide. If only Jon had followed our advice!

For more information about cats and their behaviours, visit www.cats.org.uk/help-and-advice

Monday, 17 June 2019

Petplan® raises £7 million for Cats Protection and cats like Chesney

Since their partnership with Cats Protection began in 2001, Petplan® have helped us raise £7 million, together with our supporters, branches and centres.

Two men and three women holding large cheque at Cats Protection conference
Left to right: Cats Protection CEO James Yeates, Cara Zaleski from Petplan, Cats Protection Chairman Linda Upson, Mykela Purdy from Petplan and Cats Protection Director of Operations Mark Beazley 

All cats that are adopted as pets can come with four weeks' free insurance from Petplan® to ensure they get the best possible start in their new home. Pet insurance is a key part of our adoption package as we want owners to feel confident when adopting and we believe in providing all the cats in our care with the best possible start.

We celebrated this milestone at our National Conference this June, which Petplan® proudly supported. The £7 million from Petplan® is a tremendous accomplishment and has enabled the charity to help even more cats around the UK. Find out below how these funds have helped cats like Chesney find their forever home.

Chesney’s story 


black and white cat looking at the camera

Chesney, a 14-year-old black-and-white cat was brought in to Cats Protection’s Hornchurch Branch in January as sadly his owners were moving into a flat where the landlord wouldn’t allow pets. Chesney arrived with his sister, but the pair were split up as they didn’t like each other’s company that much!

Unfortunately, Chesney didn’t find his forever home while at the branch, perhaps due to his age and a diagnosed kidney disease. Therefore, Chesney was moved to the National Cat Adoption Centre to hopefully help him find his forever home.

black and white cat sitting in adoption centre pen

While at the centre Chesney spent lots of time in the enrichment room looking out on to the specially planted enrichment garden, planted to attract the wildlife with bird and squirrel feeders. Chesney loved spending time in there watching the world go by and was a much-loved cat in the centre by all the staff due to his friendly nature.

After a few months we were delighted to say that he found his forever home in May. Chesney is now enjoying home comforts and is settling in well with his new owners.

black and white cat lying on fur rug in front of fireplace

His new owner said: “From opening the cat basket, he jumped straight out and strutted round the house. Within the first hour, he was on the sofa and rolling around on the rug. I don’t think he’s stopped purring!

black and white cat sitting on someone's lap

“He’s a wonderful boy and we’ve spent this Sunday afternoon watching David Attenborough in bed (he actually watches the TV!). Thank you for looking after such an amazing little man!”

A big thank you to Petplan®, from us and all the cats and kittens in our care like Chesney, for their continued support.

If you are interested in homing a cat, please visit www.cats.org.uk/adopt-a-cat

Friday, 14 June 2019

Father’s Day Cards for proud cat dads

With Father’s Day coming up this weekend, we thought it was time to focus on much-loved cat dads. To celebrate, we have made three free printable Father’s Day cards – specially designed with cat-lovers in mind.

Are you married to a man who has an affinity with his kitty, or do you know a grumpy gentleman who will only hold conversations with the cat? Cat dads come in all shapes and sizes and we’re keen to champion them!

Choose from our three designs (or opt for all three!), download and print before giving to your favourite feline-loving father. Those with a lot of love for their cat will adore the #CatDad Day card, while our quirky Father’s Day card is a great way to shout about all the great ways they look after their furry pal. For those with a sense of humour, there’s always the ‘thanks for cleaning up my poop’ card – ideal for dads on constant litter tray duty.




Cat Men Do

Don’t forget! As part of our Cat Men Do campaign, we’re looking for proud cat dads to shout about their relationship with their cat. Share pics of your cat on our Facebook page, or on your own Twitter and Instagram using #CatMenDo to be featured in our photo gallery.

To see our photo gallery and learn more about the campaign, visit www.cats.org.uk/cat-men-do

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Hero cat rescues his day-old kitten from fox attack

A tiny black kitten survived by a whisker after a cat, who is thought to be his father, faced off with a fox to keep him safe.

tiny black kitten in human hand
The tiny kitten was rescued just in time 
The kitten is being cared for by Cats Protection’s Gwent Branch after brave moggy Ozzy alerted owner Sarah Williams to the attack in the early hours of the morning.

Sarah, who lives in Fleur-de-lis in Wales, was awoken by the feline growling and meowing out in the garden and when she went out with a torch to investigate she was shocked to see Ozzy staring down a fully grown fox.

black cat sitting on wooden floor
Ozzy the hero dad
Startled by her arrival, the fox darted off and she then heard a strange meowing coming from the bush where Ozzy had been standing.

 A quick search revealed the kitten, who Sarah rushed inside and wrapped in blankets before contacting Cats Protection.

blonde woman with black cat on her lap
Sarah Williams with Ozzy
“Gwent Cats Protection were so good – I can’t thank them enough,” said Sarah. “They do incredible work and came out almost straight away to help. They arrived before 6am!”

Now named Tommy, the kitten is being hand-reared by volunteer branch coordinator and fosterer Glynis Davies until he is ready for homing.

woman bottle feeding tiny black kitten
Glynis bottle feeding Tommy the kitten
Glynis said: “He’s a sweet little thing and is doing well after his ordeal. Hopefully he’ll continue to flourish and we can find him a home once he’s old enough.”

Sarah added: “I think Ozzy probably fathered the kitten prior to being neutered nine weeks ago as I often see him hanging around with one of the neighbourhood’s female cats. They are both jet black, just like Tommy, and I can’t think why else he would be so protective of this kitten.”

two black cats on garden patio
Ozzy and his 'girlfriend' 
Daniel Cummings, Cats Protection’s Behaviour Manager, said: “Cats and foxes generally prefer to avoid conflict to reduce their risk of injury, more often ‘staring’ at each other before going their separate ways. While cats can show what is perceived as defensive behaviour when humans or other animals approach their litter, it would usually be the female that displays these behaviours as it is typically the queen that looks after the kittens with little input from the father.

black cat watching over sleeping black kitten
Ozzy watching over Tommy the kitten
“While instances of foxes attacking cats are relatively rare, foxes are scavengers so it is possible they may eat a kitten if the opportunity arises. The best way to avoid this is to ensure that cats are neutered as early as possible to avoid accidental litters being born outside. Cats can be neutered at four months, which is when they can start breeding.”

To find out more about getting your cat neutered, visit www.cats.org.uk/neutering

Saturday, 8 June 2019

Meet the cats and kids who are Furr-ever Friends

There’s no question that cats make the purrfect pets for young children. As well as helping kids to learn about compassion and responsibility, pet moggies can be there as a great listener, a cuddly companion and a best friend.

For the 2019 National Cat Awards, we’ve found three amazing cats who have helped their human best friends through some really difficult times.

Their stories highlight the remarkable bond that children can have with their cats and one of them will go on to win the Furr-ever Friends award at a star-studded ceremony in London on 8 August 2019.


Meet the Furr-ever Friends finalists 


Chi and Finley 

For eight-year-old Finley, who has autism and Sensory Processing Disorder, everyday life can be overwhelming. Coping with social anxiety, stress and isolation is a daily challenge and Finley can struggle to leave the family home.

young ginger boy stroking tabby and white cat

Desperate to help, Finley’s parents thought a cat might bring some comfort so they brought rescue cat Chi into their son’s life. The effect was remarkable – the pair bonded instantly and Finley got the unconditional love and non-judgemental friendship he needed to thrive. Where once Finley would have been withdrawn for hours at a time, he now has a constant companion in Chi who is never far from his side.

The mutual bond of deep love between Finley and Chi has been transformative, helping Finley build social networks with others by sharing stories about his beloved cat. The incredible effect Chi has had on Finley’s life has since inspired more parents of children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) to adopt a rescue cat.

Mum Jo said: “Chi really is an ambassador for cats and helping more people understand what wonderful therapy they can be for children with ASD.” 



Cisco and Charlie 

Charlie Hammond was just 14 when he was the victim of a mugging while out walking with friends. The effect on Charlie was devastating. Too afraid to leave the house, he stopped contact with friends and withdrew into himself.

young boy with purple hair holding a tabby cat

As his anxiety spiralled out of control, mum Zoe hoped that getting a kitten would help Charlie cope. And within moments of meeting Cisco, the fog started to lift. Straight away, the pair were inseparable, giving Charlie a fun and lively friend and a new focus.

Nearly two years on and Charlie has been able to move forward with his life, with Cisco at his side through thick and thin.


Jeffree and Finn  

The sudden death of a parent would be difficult for any child to cope with but for 13-year-old Finn, who has Asperger syndrome, losing his dad just weeks after he’d been diagnosed with cancer was incomprehensible.

young boy with dark hair holding a black cat

Finding it difficult to communicate with others, Finn became locked in a cycle of depression and despair. As he became increasingly withdrawn, mum Gayle began hoping for a miracle, which came in the form of former stray Jeffree. It seemed the eight-year-old puss would be perfect for the family and within hours of meeting, the change in Finn’s outlook was remarkable.

Finn and Jeffree quickly formed a close bond, helping Finn cope with his loss and giving him a purpose in life once again. One year on, Finn’s life has been transformed – all thanks to his feline friend.


To find out more about the National Cat Awards, visit www.cats.org.uk/nca

Friday, 7 June 2019

Volunteers’ Week 2019: What’s it like to volunteer for Cats Protection?

Cats Protection wouldn’t be able to help so many unfortunate cats and kittens across the UK if it wasn’t for our incredible team of over 11,000 volunteers who generously give their time, knowledge and skills to our cause.

Volunteering at Cats Protection centres across England, Scotland and Wales is being supported this year by players of People’s Postcode Lottery who have enabled the charity to employ Volunteer Team Leaders who unite, support and nurture volunteers at the centres.
 
For Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) we asked just some of our volunteers (and Volunteer Team Leaders) what a typical day in their roles is like and what they enjoy most about being part of the UK's biggest community of cat lovers.

Meet some of our Cats Protection heroes 


Jess Gibson – Volunteer Team Leader at Tyneside Adoption Centre 

two women in Cats Protection t-shirts with a ginger kitten on their laps
Jess (left) with volunteer Gabrielle and one of the kittens at the centre
“A typical day at the centre begins at 8am when I sit down with the rest of the team for our morning briefing to plan ahead for the day. For the first few hours I scan my inbox and address any urgent emails, reply to volunteer enquiries and catch up on paperwork. Our Cat Care Volunteers arrive around 8.30am so I’m there to greet them and to brief them on any cat care developments and just have a chat in general to make sure everyone is happy. Nothing beats speaking to your volunteers face to face!

"Gabrielle arrives just in time for the morning break. Gabrielle is one of our lovely volunteers who enjoys that extra bit of support from me. We make the teas and coffees ready for the staff and volunteers to sit down and enjoy a cuppa and a cheeky biscuit together and chat about the cats.”

Jenny Gill – Cat Care Assistant at Eastbourne Adoption Centre 

woman in a Cats Protection t-shirt giving a black cat a chin rub
Jenny with chatty cat Alfie 
“Alfie is an all-black, chatty 13-year-old cat who likes to watch what we do and comment as we go! He is very confident and friendly but all cats have their individual characters and some are very shy or overwhelmed by being newly in care so we take care not to unsettle them. We also take careful note of any behaviour, toileting or food/water intake changes because cats are very good at hiding their pain and any change can highlight that something might be wrong.”

John Porter – Cat Care, Driving and Gardening Volunteer at Eastbourne Adoption Centre 

Man with beard in a Cats Protection t-shirt sitting outside on a bench
John taking a break from his green-fingered volunteering
“This afternoon I’ll be spending time maintaining the centre’s garden – which keeps it looking nice for both potential adopters and the cats who can look out onto it from their pens. At the moment I have my eye on tidying up an unruly patch behind the maternity wing!

"It’s important for the garden to look good for outdoor events such as our Summer Fayre (on 7 July – do come along between midday and 3pm). In fact it was a fayre that first got me thinking about volunteering. I’d been retired from my job as a motor mechanic for two years when I came to one of the fayres and they mentioned needing volunteers – that was three years ago and I’ve never looked back!”

Kathryn Graves – Secretary for Chiltern Branch 

One woman, two young girls and a cat sitting around a garden table
Kathryn (left) with DofE volunteers Abbie and Daisy and Eddie the cat
“Once a week after work, I meet up with Abbie and Daisy who are volunteering with us for their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award. Thanks to them we have an Instagram account, @chilterncats and we spend an hour planning what photos they will post over the course of the week. Abbie's cat, Eddie, likes to join us.”

Adrienne Girvan – Volunteer Kitten Socialiser at Glasgow Adoption Centre 

woman in Cats Protection t-shirt holding a white kitten
Adrienne with Ingrid the kitten who she has helped to socialise 
"I originally came to Cats Protection to buy a calendar back in November 2011... it was a Christmas shopping expedition with a very unusual outcome! I now volunteer from 2-5pm, Monday-Wednesday, socialising kittens so they are confident young cats when they go to their new homes.”

Susan Anthony – Paws to Listen Volunteer 

blonde woman with a tabby cat on her lap
Susan and her 'Personal Assistant' Tabitha the cat
“I have been a volunteer for the Cats Protection Paws to Listen grief support line for about two years. Having stumbled across the possibility, I just knew it was something I really wanted to do. I volunteer from home, often having to fight my cat Tabitha for use of my PC, desk and chair.

"A typical shift involves calls from, or call backs to, often distraught people who have suffered or are anticipating the loss of a much-loved cat. This can involve a natural death or euthanasia, an accident, the need to rehome or a missing cat. Every call is different and the emotions felt by each caller are individual, but almost all of them express gratitude for the opportunity to discuss their feelings and to be listened to by someone who understands their distress and will never judge. It can sometimes be an emotionally draining role but it is always hugely rewarding knowing that I have helped someone in pain even just a little bit.”

Tina – Shop Volunteer for Worcester Branch 

woman sorting through a rail of clothes in a charity shop
Tina helps sort the stock in the Worchester shop
"Being a volunteer helps boost your confidence on a developmental level. Providing good customer service is also key and a good thing to add to your CV. I have progressed onto becoming a key holder and am starting to learn some managerial skills, which will hopefully further my career in the future.

"I work in many aspects of the running of the shop, from sorting donations, taking cash and card payments on the till to completing displays in window and around the store. If you’re thinking about becoming a volunteer or are new to the area, please do pop in to see the manager. You get plenty of tea and coffee while working… always a bonus! And you will make new friends at the same time.”

If you would like to know more about volunteering for Cats Protection, visit www.cats.org.uk/get-involved/volunteering to find opportunities to help cats in your area.