Wednesday, 20 March 2019

The Sorting Cat: Which Mogwarts house does your cat belong to?

As any Harry Potter fan will know, cats are a witch or wizard’s best friend.

From Hermione’s faithful moggy Crookshanks, to Professor McGonagall’s tabby Animagus, there are many felines roaming the halls of Hogwarts.

Therefore, we thought it was about time that our feline friends had their own school of witchcraft and wizardry.

Mogwarts crest


Acceptance letters for Mogwarts will be delivered by owl to moggies across the world very soon, and then each new pupil will be sorted into a house.

So which house do you think the Sorting Cat will pick for your pet? Are they a friendly Hufflepuss, a loyal Gryffinclaw, a smart Ravenpaw or a curious Snifferin?

Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

Hufflepuss 
Hufflepuss crest

Do you have a sleepy kitty who loves a cosy cat nap? Do they like to roll over and show you their furry tummy and purr when you give them a fuss? If you have a friendly feline who likes to calmly wander around their kingdom, then they certainly belong in Hufflepuss.

Gryffinclaw 
Gryffinclaw crest

If your little lion is always by your side, rubbing their cheeks up against your ankles and nuzzling you with their nose then you have a loyal and affectionate Gryffinclaw. They love to go on adventures, whether it’s climbing on the furniture or chasing that catnip mouse around the bedroom at 5am.

Ravenpaw 
Ravenpaw crest

Has your moggy worked out exactly when their next meal is due and will let you know about it with an urgent meow? Ravenpaws are highly intelligent and are also very vocal about it. They like to stay active though, to burn off all that energy from their dinner.

Snifferin 
Snifferin crest

If you have a curious cat who is always sniffing out new places to explore then they would make a great Snifferin. These mogs are energetic and playful, always leaping and pouncing on anything that moves – so make sure you keep your fingers and toes out of the way!

Friday, 15 March 2019

How to create the perfect cat sleeping spot

While most cats don’t seem to have a problem with snoozing, often fitting in an impressive 16 hours a day, some still need a little help finding the purrfect conditions for nodding off. To make sure your moggy is getting plenty of sleep, here are some tips for making your home a cat-friendly snoozing paradise.

1. Provide plenty of options 

Cats like to regularly switch between different sleeping locations to protect themselves from fleas and other parasites, so it’s best to provide them with a few different beds situated around the house. If you have more than one cat, makes sure each moggy has a few different beds they can call their own. Cats are solitary and so typically they don’t like to share, unless they are a bonded pair.

tabby and white cat asleep

 2. Give them some height 

Cats feel safest when they are somewhere up high as this keeps them away from any potential dangers at ground level and means they have a good vantage point to see their surroundings. Having elevated sleeping areas, such as beds on shelves, the tops of wardrobes or the backs of sofas is a good idea, but make sure they are still easily accessible, especially if your cat is old or ill.

ginger cat asleep

3. Keep it cosy 

Make sure your cat’s beds are away from any draughty areas but also not too close to any heat sources – the temperature should be not too cold or too warm but just right. Soft, fleecy beds provide the most comfort and if they have tall sides that your cat can hide behind, such as a carboard box, that’s even better.

tabby cat asleep in drawer

4. Do not disturb 

Position your cat’s sleeping spots away from any noisy appliances (such as washing machines) and busy areas of the home (such as the hallway). A quiet corner of a bedroom or living room is ideal, and once your cat is snoozing, make sure you leave them alone to avoid startling them awake.

ginger and white cat asleep on bed

5. Keep their scent 

When washing your cat’s bedding, avoid washing all of their beds at the same time. Cats rely heavily on smell to understand the world around them so leave at least one bed with a reassuring scent behind to help them feel safe. Then, when they’ve moved on to sleep in a clean bed, you can wash the dirty one.

tabby cat asleep

6. Space it out 

Cats like to sleep away from where they eat, drink and toilet, so make sure there is plenty of space between their food bowl, water bowl, litter tray and beds. You can however place their scratch post close to their favourite bed, as they often like to have a stretch and scratch just after they’ve woken up.

tabby and white cat asleep on its back with paws in the air

Do cats dream? 

If you’ve ever watched your cat sleeping and seen their whiskers, ears or tail start to twitch, you may have wondered if this is a sign that they’re dreaming. While we can’t be sure if our moggies do dream, research into other animals shows that it is quite likely.

While studying the brain activity of rats, researchers at The Centre for Learning and Memory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that the exact same pattern of neurons fired in the memory area of the rats’ brains while they were asleep as had fired while they were running around a maze searching for food when they were awake. This led them to conclude that the rats were reliving the maze experiment in their dreams.

So if rats dream about their previous experiences, then maybe our feline friends do too. More research would be needed for us to know for sure though.

For more information about cats’ sleeping habits, visit the Cats Protection website.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

How do cats drink?

If you have ever watched your cat lapping up some water, whether it’s from their bowl or your own glass that you carelessly left unattended for a few minutes, you might think they’re simply scooping up the water with their tongue.

While this is the technique dogs use to drink, cats in fact have a much more elegant method that uses some clever science.

When you watch a cat drink in slow motion, you’ll see the tip of their tongue extend down to the surface of the water and curl backwards so that only the top of the tongue touches the liquid.

via GIPHY

Next they quickly retract their tongue back upwards at speeds of almost 80 centimetres per second, bringing some of the water with it.

The liquid sticks to their tongue thanks to adhesion – much like water sticks to your own hands when you touch it – and the water molecules also stick to each other thanks to cohesion.

This, combined with the speed of the tongue movement, helps the water to briefly overcome gravity, forming a column of liquid that reaches up to the cat’s mouth.

tabby and white cat drinking water with tongue
Cats only dip the tip of their tongue in the water when drinking
Using their quick reflexes, the cat can then catch the top of this column of water in their mouth before it falls back into the bowl, all without getting their furry chin wet.

Although they only manage to get a small amount of liquid each time, they can complete this process at an impressive rate of four laps per second, so it all adds up to a thirst-quenching drink.

Although some dogs can use a similar technique, they tend to dip more of their tongues into the water, which creates a much bigger mess!

For more information about cats and drinking, visit the Cats Protection website.

See also: 8 tips to get your cat to drink more water

Friday, 8 March 2019

Meet Cats Protection founder Jessey Wade

During the 1920s cats were not seen as the companion animals they are today. Rather than pets most were thought of as nothing more than pests.

Concern was expressed at the general ignorance of many people regarding the needs of the domestic cat, so much so that on 16 May 1927 a group of like-minded people gathered together at Caxton Hall in London to form the Cats Protection League, an educational society to raise the status of cats.

The charity’s founder was Miss Jessey Wade, a tireless campaigner for animal welfare and a founder or original member of other societies such as The Humanitarian League, The Pit Ponies’ Protection Society, The Performing and Captive Animals’ Defence League and The League for the Prohibition of Cruel Sports (now League Against Cruel Sports).

illustration of Cats Protection founder Jessey Wade with cat
Jessey Wade wrote artciles for The Animals' Friend journal supporting animal rights
She was also a champion of women’s rights; she was friends with renowned Suffragists, Eve Gore Booth and Esther Roper, editor of their journal Urania and a member of the Women’s Freedom League. Demanding votes for women, in 1911, Jessey, along with thousands of women across the country, voided her census, scrawling ‘No Vote, No Census’ across it.

Jessey was personal secretary and friend to publisher Ernest Bell of George Bell & Sons, a London publishing firm who produced the magazines and journals of many animal charities. Ernest was the Editor of The Animals’ Friend and Jessey was editor of The Little Animals’ Friend, a sister journal for children.

Jessey was a prolific writer on animal rights. She wrote articles for The Animals’ Friend, pamphlets for the charities above and sent letters to numerous national and local papers speaking out against the ill treatment of animals. She wanted to see an end to them working in pits and mines, being exploited in circuses and shows and having their fur and feathers used in fashion.

black and white illustration of cat and Jessey Wade at desk
Tibby the cat and a woman who we think is Jessey Wade
(From The Aniamls' Friend Cat Book - Credit G Bell & Sons SM)
She loved all animals but there can be no doubt that the cat was one of her favourites. In 1917 Jessey wrote the The Animals' Friend Cat Book, published by Bell Brothers. In this she refers to their office cat Tibby, and in the front of the book is an illustration of Tibby the cat and a lady next to him. We can’t know for sure but we like to think that this is of Jessey herself! It is the only likeness we have been able to track down.

It was this book that led to Jessey creating the Cats Protection League (CPL) in 1927. Her old friend and colleague Ernest Bell became Treasurer.

Covers of The Cats’ Mews-sheet and The Cat magazine from 1930s
A selection of covers of The Cats' Mews-sheet and The Cat edited by Jessey Wade 
Jessey included updates of the CPL’s progress in The Animals’ Friend but in 1931 she created the charity’s first magazine, The Cats’ Mews-sheet. This later changed its name in 1934 to The Cat. It is the longest running cat magazine in the UK if not the world (we can’t find proof of any other magazine to rival it!) and has not missed an issue in its almost 90 years of publication. It is also claimed to be the first magazine that was exclusively devoted to the ordinary cat, and encouraging people to better understand their needs.

Jessey was a formidable and determined woman, age certainly didn’t dim her energy. She was 67 when she founded Cats Protection, 75 when she stepped down as editor of The Cat magazine and 79 when she retired as Chairman due to ill health. She died at the age of 91 in 1952.

 A tribute was written to her in The Cat magazine – “Jessey Wade was an outstanding example of the triumph of mind, or will power, over matter. Petite and of fragile appearance, her indomitable spirit carried her through mental and physical exertions that would have daunted even the most robust. We will never see her like again but her memory will inspire us to continue the task she set us.”

To find out more about Cats Protection’s history, visit www.cats.org.uk/what-we-do/about-us/our-history 

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Cat called Peter Rabbit rescued from the rain

A black-and-white cat found abandoned in the pouring rain in Rayleigh is now back on his paws thanks to Cats Protection.

Volunteers from our Rayleigh, Castle Point & District Branch were alerted to the six-month-old cat last December, who was found soaking wet and covered in mud at an abandoned house.

black and white cat soaking wet inside a cage
Peter Rabbit just after he was rescued from the rain
Now named Peter Steve Rabbit by his new owner Liz Smith, a self-confessed Beatrix Potter fan, he is now a much-loved member of the family.

Norman Mills, from Cats Protection’s Rayleigh, Castle Point & District Branch, said: “Peter Steve Rabbit was severely malnourished, weighing just 1.5kg when he first came into our care. When we finally managed to dry him off, we were surprised to see a slightly fluffy-looking cat, who just needed some TLC.

black and white cat
Peter Rabbit enjoying his forever home
“It’s thanks to a man, named Steve (hence Peter’s middle name), clearing the abandoned house, that we were called. We also found Peter’s brother who was locked inside the building.”

Peter is now settled in his new home with Liz and is already best friends with her other two cats, Beatrix Mary Potter, who was adopted from Cats Protection last year and Miss Ivy Moppet, who was adopted from the charity just last week.

black and white cat lying on sofa
Peter loves a warm place for a snooze
Liz said: “Peter Steve Rabbit is such a lovely cat who has already become one of the family. We adopted him just five weeks ago and in that time, he has grown in confidence and now seems very settled. After adopting Peter, I later saw the photo of him, drenched from rain, in the branch’s newsletter. It broke my heart to think of him like that but am pleased that I’ve been able to give him a fresh start to life.

“He’s now put on some weight and absolutely loves his food. Because of his experiences as a stray cat, we think he appreciates all the little things such as a warm and safe place to sleep.”

To adopt your own marvellous moggy, visit www.cats.org.uk/adopt-a-cat

Monday, 4 March 2019

Are cleaning products safe for cats? How to make your spring clean feline-friendly

From the captivating cleaning videos of Mrs Hinch to the tidying methods of Marie Kondo, getting your house into shape has never been so popular. Whether you consider yourself a keen ‘hincher’ or you are keen on giving your home a good spring clean, we have some tips on how to make your spring clean feline-friendly – from what is poisonous to cats, to how to make your space more appealing.

What cleaning products are poisonous to cats?

spray bottle for home cleaning


Ensuring your cat avoids cleaning products that could be harmful to them is important. Some products can cause burns on your cat’s paws or even in their throat or stomach if they swallow the product. Others can cause permanent damage and some can even be fatal if your cat isn’t treated quickly. Cats can be curious creatures and are even known to drink from toilets and sinks, which can be dangerous if they contain something toxic. Products to keep out of reach include:

• bleach
• oven cleaner
• dishwasher tablets
• laundry detergent

Signs of poisoning in cats

Concerned that your cat has come into contact with toxic cleaning products? Look out for the following signs of poisoning to know what to do next:

• ulcers and sore looking skin – either on their paws or inside their mouth or on their tongue
• vomiting
• collapsing
• seeming to have less energy
• issues with appetite
• dribbling or foaming at the mouth
• rubbing their face and mouth with their paws

If your cat has any of these symptoms, it is important to contact your vet right away. Give your vet as much information as possible about what has caused their symptoms – it’s helpful to keep the packaging of the cleaning product so the vet can give them the right treatment.

How can I keep my cleaning cat-safe?

Keeping your cleaning feline-friendly can be fuss-free and you only need to make a few changes. There are plenty of pet-safe cleaning products to buy if you’re prepared to do the research – from carpet shampoo and washing detergent to stain removers.

Natural cleaning products



There are also lots of natural cleaning products that can be used to clean your home without harming your cat. These products are also less damaging to the environment. Try the following:

• baking soda
• vinegar
• lemon juice

You’ll find plenty of YouTube videos advocating the joy of simple baking soda on stains, or how you can use vinegar to clean your windows!

Keep your pet out of the way


While your cat might be keen to help you out with the spring cleaning, keeping little paws out of the way is a good idea. Not only does it keep your surfaces clean (for a little while longer at least) but it also ensures they are out of harm’s way.

Mopping down floors or wiping down your kitchen surfaces? Keep your cat out of the space until everything is dry. They’re less likely to accidentally get cleaning products on their skin and you’re less likely to end up with pawprints on your newly mopped floor!

If you’ve just put bleach down the toilet, keep the toilet lid closed to ensure your cat doesn’t start drinking. Do you have a mischievous cat that has learnt to open cupboard doors? Keep cleaning products on a high shelf, or consider putting a childproof lock on your cupboard.

Making your space cat-friendly

Fans of clean and tidy homes will be pleased to hear that cats also appreciate an ordered environment. They’re also fans of their own space. You can find more information about creating a cat-friendly home in our guide

Have you got any tips to keep your cleaning feline-friendly? Tweet us at @CatsProtection.

For more on how to prevent poisoning in your cat, visit www.cats.org.uk/poisoning

Saffi the rescue kitten celebrates 22nd birthday

A scrawny kitten found abandoned at the former Blyth Power Station in Northumberland in 1997 is celebrating reaching the grand old age of 22.

Saffi, named after the Absolutely Fabulous character by owner Kath Dryden, was rescued by Cats Protection when she was just four weeks old and placed in the care of a fosterer in Ashington.

black cat with birthday card
Saffi recieved lots of extra fuss for her birthday
“We had gone to the fosterer to get a companion for our cat Cotton, expecting to get a young adult cat,” said Kath.

“The fosterer told us the story of a young black female kitten who had been dumped at the power station. She left the room and came back with such a scrawny, ugly little mite with whom we instantly fell in love.

black kitten lying on human's legs
Saffi as a tiny kitten
“She was called Lucy, we handed over £10 donation fee, signed the forms and left with her in her new little carrier.”

The introduction of the new cat, who was renamed Saffi, had an immediate effect on the Dryden’s other cat, Cotton, who kept going missing and returning to their old house.

black cat on garden path

Kath said: “On arriving home her big brother took one look and you could see his brain ticking over thinking ‘oh, so if I leave you are going to replace me. I don't think so’ and never went missing again. So she saved him!

Unfortunately, Cotton passed away at the age of 10 from cancer and Saffi then shared her home with Roobarb and Custard, who have both since passed away. Crumble is the newest addition to the household, although Saffi isn’t a fan of the latest arrival.

Old age had not been without its struggles for Saffi, who has a list of ailments including high blood pressure and thyroid problems.

black cat with collar

Kath added: “She is now deaf and blind but can map her way around the house easily finding her bed, water, food and a choice of three litter trays. She can still jump up onto the settee and bed but prefers to be lifted up and down.

While getting on a bit, Saffi still has a long way to go to beat the Guinness World Record for the oldest cat – Texan Creme Puff lived for 38 years and three days.

Do you have a mature moggy that has recently celebrated a big birthday? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

To find your own life-long feline friend, visit www.cats.org.uk/adopt-a-cat

Sunday, 3 March 2019

How to care for a deaf cat

Cats usually have an acute sense of hearing but, like humans, sometimes they can be born deaf or gradually lose their hearing as they get older.

For World Hearing Day, we’ve got some advice on how to spot the signs of deafness in cats, and what you can do to make a deaf cat’s life safer and happier.

Then read on to discover some of the deaf cats in our care that are currently looking for their forever homes.


How to tell if you cat is hard of hearing 


The following signs may indicate that your cat has blocked, itchy or infected ears which can lead to deafness, so do take your cat to the vet.

• Shaking their head or clawing at their ear
• Calling out more often and more loudly
• No longer being afraid of noisy household appliances
• Any discharge or unpleasant odour coming from their ears


Tips for looking after a deaf cat


• Keep them indoors, or provide them with a secure garden or outside run so they can explore their surroundings in safety
• Make their home life more fun by providing interactive toys such as puzzle feeders
• Use hand signals or a low-powered torch as a substitute for calling out to your cat. Make sure any signal you use is distinct and consistent so your cat doesn’t get confused


Deaf cats in need of homes 


Beethoven from Northampton 



Three-year-old Beethoven is friendly and needs a home where he can be the only pet. Access to a secure garden would be ideal as he loves the outdoors. Please call 03447 003 251 to adopt

Snowflake from Beverley, East Yorkshire 



Four-year-old Snowflake is a very friendly cat who’d be an ideal family pet. Please call 07895 011 717 to adopt

Vodka from Haywards Heath, Sussex 


14-year-old Vodka is gentle and would suit a home with older children. She’s fine with other cats but does not like dogs. Please call 01444 647 012 to adopt

To find other cats in need of homes visit www.cats.org.uk/adopt-a-cat

Further cat care advice can be found at www.cats.org.uk/cat-care

Friday, 1 March 2019

Mr Bumps needs a home after having 12cm lump removed

A stray cat from Cwmbran, Wales has had a 12cm diameter growth removed thanks to volunteers at Cats Protection’s Gwent Branch.

Branch volunteers were alerted to Mr Bumps’ plight when concerned residents in Fairwater posted photos on Facebook showing the large lump hanging from his chest.

tabby cat
Mr Bumps is ready to find a new home
Glynis Davies, co-ordinator of Gwent Branch, said: “Just like his namesake from the Mr. Men series of children’s books, Mr Bumps has definitely been in the wars.

“The growth on the lower part of his chest was 12cm across and was quite heavy.

“It was grazed and bleeding because it was dragging on the ground, but the vet said it would have been uncomfortable for him rather than painful.

“Poor Mr Bumps must have found it difficult to sit or lie down and to carry the extra weight around.”

With the help of a member of the public who had spotted Mr Bumps in her garden, Cats Protection volunteers caught him on 1 February and took him straight to Summerhill Veterinary Centre, Newport, for treatment.

The fatty lump was successfully removed that night and thankfully Mr Bumps has made a full recovery.

He’s currently in the care of a Cats Protection volunteer fosterer but is looking for a permanent new home.

Glynis said: “Mr Bumps has healed really well and is loving life off the streets in his foster home - so we hope life will be a bit less bumpy for him from now on.

“I’m sure he’s feeling much better now the huge lump has been removed!

“He wasn’t microchipped or wearing a collar - and no one has come forward to claim him. So we’re hoping someone will want to give him a great new home.

“We’re looking for a quiet household for him as we think he may have spent a long time living outside.

“He’s about four years old, is very affectionate and loves a fuss. He’ll make someone a fantastic companion!”

If you’re interested in adopting Mr Bumps, you can contact the branch by calling 0345 371 2747 or email info@gwent.cats.org.uk

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