Friday, 26 April 2019

Why do cats get hairballs?

Hairballs are those horrible clods of slimy fur which somehow always appear on your carpet just before you are expecting company. These gross parcels of cat fur are something that many cat owners find themselves dealing with, especially if their cat is one of the more fastidious groomers.

How do hairballs form? 


tabby and white cat licking paw outside

Although rather unpleasant to humans, coughing up a hairball is normal to a cat. It can even be considered a consequence of good personal hygiene.

During the grooming process the barbs on a cat’s tongue comb through the fur and remove any loose hair, dirt and debris. Normally, any fur that is swallowed during this process makes its way through the digestive system and is removed harmlessly from the body in the faeces.

As cats are unable to digest hair, if enough is swallowed, rather than expelling it in faeces, it can build-up in the stomach or even in the oesophagus and form itself into clumps or balls. These balls have to come out somehow and if they are not passed via the digestive system, your cat deals with this by in effect ‘vomiting’ the fur back up.

How do you know a hairball is coming? 


tabby cat licking leg outside

When doing their best to expel a hairball, cats can make all manner of noises. Some will publicly cry loudly, whereas some will prefer to perform the process in private. What is commonly noticed by owners is a loud retching and yacking type of noise before the ball appears.

Your cat can look quite uncomfortable when bringing up a hairball and it can be distressing to see. However, most cats will successfully produce their parcel without too much delay or further drama.

Hairballs are generally about an inch long, but can be as long as five inches and an inch thick. They are usually a similar colour to your cat’s fur, but slightly darker, due to food and other gastric secretions from the digestive system.

What can you do to prevent hairballs? 


white cat licking paw

Help your cat manage its fur intake by regularly giving them a groom. This will help keep your cat’s coat in good condition and reduce the amount of work your cat has to do to keep it clean and tidy and minimise the amount of fur that will get swallowed.

If your cat is not used to being brushed, start gradually by giving just a couple of strokes with a brush and slowly build up to giving your cat brief but regular grooming sessions. With time and patience most cats will allow their owners to give regular grooming sessions.

There are products on the market aimed at preventing hairballs or designed to help them pass through the system but you should always talk to your vet first before trying them.

Although producing hairballs is a normal part of cat life, if your cat starts to have difficulty when coughing them up, takes longer than usual to spit them up or is producing them more frequently, it would be worth a trip to your vet. Similarly if you see excessive amounts of fur in their faeces, your cat becomes constipated or lethargic or they start to lose their appetite you should also seek veterinary advice.

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

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Cats Protection ‘go fishing’ for kittens in dramatic rescue

Four kittens stuck in a six-inch gap between buildings were rescued thanks to a £1.79 child’s fishing net and a broom handle.

ginger kitten with blue eyes

Quick-thinking volunteers from Cats Protection’s Gwent Branch taped the net and broom together, balanced on a step ladder and reached into a tiny gap between a wall and a conservatory.

woman on step ladder with fishing net

“We decided the only way we could rescue the kittens was to fish them out,” said Glynis Davies, Coordinator of the Gwent Branch.

ginger kittens stuck in narrow gap

“They were trapped in a very small space – it was about just six inches wide at one end and 12 inches at the other.

two ginger kittens with blue eyes

“We were able to reach down and wiggle the nets around, then carefully scoop the kittens back over the wall to safety.

“It was very tricky, but it just shows what you can achieve with teamwork and determination!”

black-and-white and ginger kittens on blanket

The two ginger and two black-and-white kittens have been named Nemo, Marlin, Dory and Deb after fish characters from the animated film Finding Nemo.

They were rescued on Friday 12 April in Liswerry Drive, Llanyrafon, Cwmbran by Jeff Leek and Glynis Davies with the help of local residents.

ginger kitten with blue eyes

It’s not known how the three-and-a-half week old kittens came to be trapped, but they will now be hand-reared by Cats Protection volunteers. Once they are old enough they will be found new homes.

If you would like to support the work of the Gwent Branch, you can donate to its 40th birthday fundraising event - a daring zip wire challenge taking place in May.

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


Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Cat lover dies by suicide after being forced to give up pets

Cats provide vital companionship for many people, but sadly some are denied the opportunity to have a feline friend because their landlord has a ‘no pets’ policy.

Many are even forced to give up their beloved pets when they move into a new property, and for one cat lover this resulted in tragedy.

John Chadwick with one of his beloved pets
John Chadwick was living in Maidstone, Kent with his three cherished pets; two dogs called Theo and Tinkerbell and their feline friend called Gizmo, when he was made unintentionally homeless.

The local council moved him into temporary emergency accommodation and soon found him a new council flat but revealed that he would be unable to take his animals with him.

John's dogs Theo and Tinkerbell and cat Gizmo
John experienced a rapid decline in his mental health and tragically, 10 days later on 16 March 2017, he died by suicide. An inquest into his death revealed that having to face living without his pets was a key factor in his decision to take his own life.

John’s close friend, Dee Bonnet, is devastated by his death and is now supporting Cats Protection’s Purrfect Landlords campaign to encourage more cat-friendly tenancies.

John and his friend Dee Bonnet
“As a consequence of my best friend’s tragic death, my local council has now implemented a change in their pet policy,” said Dee. “Those facing homelessness are now able to keep their pets with them, if the properties are suitable to do so. However, councils are unable to enforce this practice upon housing associations and private landlords.”

A recent survey by Cats Protection revealed that just 13% of private landlords explicitly allow cats in their properties. Often, the reason for not allowing cats is simply habit, with a third of landlords who don’t accept cats in some or all of their properties saying they didn’t proactively choose to ban cats, but instead followed a standard template or advice from a letting agent.

Cats are one of the country’s most popular pets with over 11 million owned cats in the UK and private tenants that are able to own cats benefit immensely. Among those that own a cat, 94% report that their cat has had a positive effect on their life, such as making them happy, providing company and affection, or improving mental health.

Madison Rogers, Cats Protection’s Advocacy & Government Relations Officer, said: “We were deeply sorry to hear of John’s story and our thoughts go out to his friends and family. We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to own a cat and be a responsible pet owner, which is why we are working with both private and social landlords to encourage cat-friendly tenancies. It is our hope that John’s memory is kept alive and such a sad situation does not arise again as the benefits of pets are recognised by landlords across the UK.”

Since their owner’s tragic passing, Theo, Tinkerbell and Gizmo have been rehomed to loving new families.

To find out more about the Purrfect Landlords campaign, visit www.cats.org.uk/purrfectlandlords 

If you’ve been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, Samaritans can provide confidential emotional support. Visit www.samaritans.org or call 116 123 to talk.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Top cat names could suit Harry and Meghan's baby

While the nation awaits the name of the new royal baby, a survey of the most popular names shows favourites Charlie or Charles in third, Alfie or Alfred in eighth, George in sixteenth and Harry or Henry in twentieth.

However, the survey is not human names – it’s cats’ names.

ginger and white kitten

More than 33,000 cat owners gave the name of their pet to Cats Protection. Poppy is favourite (277) followed by Molly (232) and the aforementioned Charlie or Charles in third (219).

George is sixteenth (133), Henry or Harry twentieth (126) while Katherine or Catherine is 223rd (25) and William 224th (24).

There are also 17 cats called Pippa, 12 called Meghan or Megan and 9 called Charlotte, while no one has called their cat Andrew, Anne, Beatrice, Elizabeth, Eugenie or Philip.

Spokesperson Gemma Croker said: “We hope the Cats Protection survey gives Harry and Meghan an idea of what could go down well with the nation’s cat lovers, whether it’s something new or traditional!”

Cats Protection is the UK’s leading cat welfare charity and helps around 200,000 cats through a national network of 250 volunteer-run branches and 36 adoption centres. 

To adopt a cat, please visit www.cats.org.uk

Cat and kittens dumped in mushroom box lucky to be alive

A cat and her four kittens have been found abandoned in a mushroom box by the side of a road in Cornwall.

The cardboard box, which had ‘closed cap mushrooms’ printed on the side, was spotted by two members of the public between St Blazey and Par on Thursday 11 April 2019.

black cat and kittens in cardboard box


The cats were taken to Cats Protection’s Cornwall Adoption Centre near Truro, where they are now being cared for.

Inspired by where they were found, the mother cat has been named Portobello and the four kittens – two males and two females – are called Shitake, Chantarelle, Porcini and King Trumpet.

black kittens in cardboard box

“We’re all so relieved that Portobello and her kittens were found safe and sound,” said Gareth Williams, Deputy Manager of Cornwall Adoption Centre.

“She’s a very relaxed and attentive mum, but if she had been slightly more worried or flighty, we might easily have lost her and the kittens. They’re all lucky to be alive.”

Portobello is underweight so is receiving some much-needed nutritious food, and her kittens are being treated for fleas.

black cat and kittens in cardboard box

Gareth said: “I urge anyone who is no longer able to care for their cat or kittens to get in touch with us.

“We understand that life can change drastically and rapidly, so there’s no judgement when cats and kittens are handed over to us  we just want them to be safe and well.

“It also helps if we can be given as much information about the cat’s history, personality and likes and dislikes that we can pass on to future adopters.”

Portobello and her kittens will be ready to find their forever homes in about eight weeks’ time. 

Anyone interested in giving them a new home can keep an eye out for them on the centre’s website: www.cats.org.uk/cornwall 

If you would like to help Cornwall Adoption Centre pay for the care of Portobello and her kittens, you can donate to their JustGiving appeal: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/portobellosappeal 

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

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Recognising our volunteers: cat-loving team from Deeside make a real difference

At Cats Protection, we couldn’t do the excellent work we do for cats without the help of our dedicated volunteers. There are now over 11,000 hard-working individuals across the organisation, giving their time and expertise to help cats in our care. In celebration of Volunteer Recognition Day, we’re sharing one of the life-affirming stories from one of Cats Protection’s branches.

Cats Protection’s Deeside Branch is one of the smallest branches in the charity, although that hasn’t stopped them from doing great things. Established in 2008, the branch has just 12 volunteers that work tirelessly in their spare time to help cats – from rehoming them and neutering initiatives to raising funds and organising events.

Deeside Branch’s work is made more difficult by covering one of the largest areas in the UK – from Banchory to Braemar. While the team of volunteers have had their usual challenges to overcome, nothing could prepare them for when Storm Frank hit the local area.



Weathering the storm

You might remember in December 2015, when Storm Frank released its ferocity over Scotland. For the small village of Ballater, Aberdeenshire, it became a time they wouldn’t forget. The rain started and wouldn’t stop. Warm temperatures melted snow on the hills, which rushed down to the River Dee and caused widespread flooding.

Usually a place of peace, Ballater became disrupted as the water swamped houses, shops and chalets. Gale-force winds cut power to the area, leaving residents feeling helpless. In the chaos, some were forced to evacuate their streets quickly and many had to escape without their belongings. For the cat-owning residents of the area, they were also distressed to find that their beloved pets had gone missing.

Community spirit

Thankfully, the volunteers of Deeside Branch were on hand to help. Despite being a small branch, they pulled together to help the local community, searching through the deluge for much-loved moggies. Many of the cats had become anxious due to the chaos of the storm, making it no easy feat. The team trapped them safely, reuniting them with their owners at a local relief centre.
The branch also led a successful social media campaign, leading to much-needed cat food being delivered to the besieged village a few days later.

A star team



As a result of their heroism, the volunteers were honoured at the 2017 National Cat Awards, after being nominated as one of the three finalists for the Star Team Award category. The Star Team Award celebrates the incredible work carried out across the UK by our volunteers.
Teams across Cats Protection were put forward for doing something impressive to create a positive result for cat welfare. Volunteers and staff voted for their favourite and Deeside Branch were declared winners! The award was presented by the then-Chief Executive Peter Hepburn, with the volunteers enthusiastically accepting.

Volunteer for Cats Protection

Deeside Branch’s story is just one of the amazing examples of what our volunteers do to create change and make an impact on cats’ lives. If you’d like to make a difference as well as gain extra skills and experience, volunteer with Cats Protection.

Visit www.cats.org.uk/volunteer to find out more.

Friday, 19 April 2019

Frankie Seaman’s kitten fostering success for Cats Protection

Cats Protection has over 2,000 dedicated fosterers looking after cats of all ages in their homes until they find new owners.

For some cats it is a short-term, loving place to stay while their forever home is found, for others they may need specialist or round-the-clock care before they are ready to be rehomed.

Frankie Seaman holding small black kitten
Frankie Seaman with foster kitten Whisper 
 Dancing on Ice professional skater Frankie Seaman is a supporter and fosterer for Cats Protection via her local adoption centre in Newbury.

At home with her husband, ex-England goalkeeper David Seaman, she cares for kittens who need additional care before they can be rehomed and performs all the roles a mother cat would naturally fulfil.

David Seaman holding small black kitten
David Seaman with Whisper the kitten
Frankie says: “One of my great successes was Whisper who was born incredibly early, the only black kitten in a litter of very well developed tabbies. She was much smaller than her siblings and her eyes had not formed behind her eyelids.

“To give her the best possible chance to thrive I had to hand-feed her, day and night every hour on the hour for the first few weeks of her life. I had to keep her warm and close to me at all times while I went about my daily life to be able to keep to her feeding schedule. It was exhausting!”

Frankie Seaman with small black kitten
Frankie keeping Whisper warm 
Once Whisper was strong enough to be reintroduced to her litter-mates and mother, Frankie’s role did not end – she needed to supervise visits to ensure the much younger kitten was safe around her birth-family so that she could play with and learn ‘how to be a cat’ from her siblings.

tabby kitten with small black kitten
Whisper with one of her siblings 
Frankie adds: “Whisper ultimately became a beautiful looking oriental just like her mother and was adopted. It’s really hard to say goodbye after having such a bond with a kitten but it’s vital they start a new life in a new home; then I can welcome new kittens who need a bit of extra help to get back on their paws.”

Frankie Seaman with two black and white kittens
Frankie with kittens Hobnob and Flapjack 
Fosterers for Cats Protection are supported throughout the process with all food, litter, toys, vet treatment and specialist equipment provided by the charity. They have access to advice from the charity’s Veterinary team as well as opportunities to network with other volunteers and staff at branches and centres nationwide.

To find out more about Frankie’s latest foster kittens visit @KittensCam on Twitter.

If you’re interesting in becoming a fosterer like Frankie, you can find out more at www.cats.org.uk/get-involved/volunteering

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

5 reasons why cats are masters of mindfulness

When life gets busy it can be easy to let things pass you by, so it’s important to take at least a few moments out of your day to be mindful of yourself and the world around you.

While we can sometimes struggle with the practice of mindfulness, our moggy mates really have it purrfected.

Here are some of the reasons why being more cat is good for our health.

1. They’re great at yoga


tabby cat stretching and yawning outside

Whether it’s the downward dog or the cat pose, kitties love a good stretch. Their flexible bodies help them to get into all sorts of impressive shapes – just be careful you don’t cause yourself an injury if you try to copy them.

2. They’re well-rested 

ginger kitten sleeping on floor

When it comes to sleeping, cats are true experts. Most moggies can clock up to 16 hours of snoozing a day, making sure they have plenty of energy for what’s left of it. Next time they’re taking a cat nap, why don’t you join them?

3. They live in the moment 

tabby kitten sleeping on back on fleece blanket

Worrying about the past or future isn’t a big concern for cats, as they like to live in the here and now. When they know that you’ve got their next meal covered and that they have a cosy place to sleep, they can relax without a care in the world.

4. They engage their senses

tabby and white cat close up outside

Cats are always stopping to notice the world around them, using their big ears to listen for unusual noises and their sensitive noses to scout out interesting smells, especially if it’s dinnertime! Even their whiskers help them to sense their surroundings, making sure they always know what’s going on.

5. They create their own calming sounds 

tabby cat lying on the floor and smiling

There’s no sound more relaxing than that of a purring cat and our lucky moggies get to hear it whenever they choose. Some people even believe that the frequency of a cat’s purr has healing qualities – all the more reason to give your cat some more of those purr-inducing chin rubs.

To find out more about cats and their curious behaviours, visit the Cats Protection website.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

5 tips for reducing your cat’s stress

Just like humans, cats are prone to stress – although it might be tricky to tell if your cat is feeling unsettled.

Cats are subtle in their body language, so you’ll need to keep an eye on them to ensure they are content.

grey cat sleeping on bed

Signs of stress can include:

  • becoming more withdrawn or hiding more than usual 
  • becoming less tolerant of people 
  • hesitating or becoming reluctant of using the litter tray, going through the cat flap, sitting on your lap eating or drinking less 
  • overeating 
  • increased anxiety or fear 
  • sleep disturbance 
  • pacing, circling or restlessness 
  • a scruffy or matted coat 
  • house soiling 
  • over-grooming 


If you already know that your cat is struggling with stress, it can be difficult to know what to do to help. In aid of Stress Awareness Month, we’ve put together our top five tips for reducing your cat’s stress, so you can make sure you’ve got a calm kitty.

1. Make sure your cat has everything it needs 


ginger cat sleeping in fleece bed

It might seem obvious, but ensuring your cat has a litter tray, food and water bowls and even a scratching post can help reduce stress. Where you put these items can also have a surprising impact on your cat’s stress levels too. Keep litter trays away from eating areas, for example, and make sure your cat’s resources aren’t in an area with lots of noise or people.

2. Give your cat some space 

Cats are solitary creatures, so they don’t like to be crowded by others – that counts for other cats, other pets and even children or other family members. Ensuring your cat always has space to escape from the chaos is a good way to reduce their stress. A quiet spot, preferably somewhere high up, is ideal. Try a cardboard box on a sturdy shelf, for example.

tabby and white cat sleeping on blanket

3. Try not to handle them if they’re not keen 

While many cats like to be stroked for a long period of time, others are happier to enjoy their own company. Some cats might be quick to tell you that they’re unhappy while others are more subtle in their behaviour. Pay attention to their body language and always make sure they have the freedom to move away from you when they wish.

4. Avoid cat intruders 


tabby and white cats sleeping in flower pot

If your cat is stressed due to a neighbourhood cat invading their space (or your garden), it can be tricky to eradicate the issue. If you know who the cat belongs to, and you’re on good terms with the owner, you could try a friendly chat. Make the suggestion to ‘share the space’ by ensuring the cats explore outdoors at different times. Otherwise, ensuring your cat has plenty of resources both indoors and outdoors (eg places to toilet, get up high, drink from) should keep them calm.

5. Help them to handle changes before they happen 

Cats are creatures of habit. Routine is important to them, so anything that disrupts this can leave them feeling stressed. Whether you’re planning to move house, have building work completed or welcome a new baby into your home, preparing your cat for the changes reduces the risk of stress. During house moves and improvements, cats are often much better temporarily staying in a cattery to keep them calm. With new babies, you can get your cat prepared for their new arrival with our advice guide, which includes getting them familiar with baby sounds and how to make the nursery off-limits. Visit www.cats.org.uk/cats-and-your-pregnancy for a month-by-month guide.

tabby cat sleeping in blanket

If in doubt, see your vet 

If you're concerned about your cat's behaviour, you should always go and see your vet. They can refer you to a suitably qualified behaviourist, such as a member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (www.apbc.org.uk), or a Certified Clinical Animal Behaviourist (CCAB).

For more help and advice about cat behaviour, visit www.cats.org.uk/behaviour 

Monday, 15 April 2019

Two critically ill kittens illustrate the dangers of buying pets online

Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre has been called in to help two very sick kittens that had been sold online for £360.

The tiny white kittens, called Daffan and Dill, were advertised by a private seller as being eight weeks old but when their new owners got them home, they quickly realised that something was wrong.

two white kittens on pink blanket

The kittens were still trying to suckle and had raging diarrhoea, so they took them straight to the vet, who advised that the cats were in fact only five weeks old  too young to be away from their mother. They were also suffering from worms and one of the kittens was slightly jaundiced.

Fearing that the kittens would not survive, the owners called the Bridgend Adoption Centre for help.

white kitten on pink blanket

“We were really shocked at how ill they were,” said Sue Dobbs, manager of the centre. “The little girl Daff was particularly bad as she was very cold and very lethargic. As well as diarrhoea, the kittens went on to develop flu and we soon discovered they were deaf too. It took four weeks and a lot of energy and money to get the kittens back to full health.”

Daffan and Dill have now found their forever home, but their story highlights the risks of buying cats and kittens from private sellers online.

white kitten on pink blanket

To offer cats the same welfare protection as dogs, Cats Protection is urging the Government to consider regulating cat breeding so that potential buyers are able to go to a licensed cat breeder.

The Welsh Government recently announced a consultation considering how best to address issues related to cat breeding and selling and is also calling for an update to the law on selling cats to reflect the modern age  recognising that the majority of kittens and cats are now advertised for sale online.

two white kittens in grey cat bed

Cats Protection is asking that this should include a ban on the commercial sale of kittens under eight weeks which could have prevented Daffan and Dill from being sold at such a young age.

“Our branches across Wales still regularly tell us harrowing stories of kittens bred and sold that are very sick,” said Madison Rogers, Advocacy & Government Relations Officer. “It’s vital that the breeding of cats is regulated and the law on selling cats in Wales is updated to avoid such tragedies.

“By choosing to adopt, rather than going to a breeder, you are caring for a kitten that already needs support instead of bringing another one into the world,” said Madison. “It’s also beneficial for you because you’ll have peace of mind that your cat or kitten is a healthy pet.”

All cats and kittens adopted from Cats Protection are health-checked, wormed, vaccinated against cat flu and enteritis, neutered where appropriate and come with a free period of pet insurance.

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

Friday, 12 April 2019

Cats Protection called out to rescue... fox cubs?!

Volunteers from Cats Protection’s Derby & District Branch are used to dealing with cats of all sizes and colours, but during a recent rescue mission they got more than they bargained for.

A worried member of the public had called the branch’s ‘Catline’ about four crying kittens he had found underneath his shed while removing the floor.

four fox cubs
The 'kittens' turned out to be fox cubs 
He removed them from the mud and took them indoors, putting them in his dog’s bed to keep them warm while he phoned the Catline.

Welfare volunteer Jane Baynton soon drove out to pick them up but when she arrived she noticed the kittens looked rather unusual.

fox cub wrapped in a towel
One of the tiny day-old fox cubs 
“They weren't kittens at all, but day-old fox cubs!” said Sylvia Plummer, the branch’s publicity volunteer. “Jane has been doing this a long time so she knows the difference between fox cubs and kittens. But, I suppose if you didn’t know it’d be hard to tell the difference when they're so small."

When she realised the mistake, quick-thinking Jane rang the local Linjoy Wildlife Sanctuary and Rescue for advice. Unfortunately, as the cubs now had the scent of humans and dogs on them, they couldn’t be put back as their mother would likely abandon them. Therefore, Linjoy Rescue took in the three girl cubs and one boy cub for hand-rearing.

Cats Protection volunteer Jane Baynton with fox cub
Jane Baynton, Derby Branch volunteer, with one of the cubs
Sadly, one of the cubs was so small and skinny that they didn’t make it, but the others are doing well and will be released back into a safe area in August, when they will be old enough to look after themselves.

In the meantime, the volunteers at our Derby & District Branch can go back to doing what they do best, looking after cats and kittens.

To find out more about what Cats Protection does, visit our website

Thursday, 11 April 2019

8 reasons why cats are the best pets

We may be biased, but when it comes to choosing the purrfect pet we think you’d be better off with a cat.

While we love all animals, there are certain benefits to welcoming a feline friend into your life, and of course you’d being doing one of the kindest things possible – giving them a loving home.

However, if you need some convincing, here are just some of the top reasons why moggies are particularly marvellous.

1. You don’t need to walk them 

tabby, ginger and white cat lying on bed

In the age-old debate of cats vs dogs, this is definitely a key factor that falls in the felines’ favour. If stomping around a frosty field at 7am with an excitable mutt in tow doesn’t sound appealing, remember that you could be curled up in bed with a cuddly kitty instead.

2. They groom themselves 


ginger and white cat licking paw

Cats are clean creatures and will usually be happy to groom themselves to keep their coat in tip-top condition. Some moggies may need a bit of help with some brushing, but this is much less expensive than a trip to the puppy parlour and creates a lot less mess than doggy bath time!

3. You can leave them alone for short periods


man on sofa drinking coffee with cat

Moggies are quite independent by nature and so don’t mind spending some time alone while you go to work or go out with your friends. They’ll be patiently waiting for you (and their dinner) when you get home. However, if you want an excuse to ditch your plans and spend some time with them on the sofa, they’ll be happy to provide you with an alibi.

4. They don’t need a lot of space 


ginger and white cat lounging in cat bed

Whether you live in a sprawling mansion or a compact apartment, there’s always space for a cat. Even if you don’t have a garden, some cats are in need of an indoor-only home and so would suit your situation perfectly. As long as they have a food bowl, water bowl, litter tray, scratch post, some cat toys and somewhere to sleep, they’ve got all they need.

5. They don’t need training 


silver tabby cat on fur rug

Cats usually have things figured out when it comes to toileting and will master the litter tray with minimal help. You don’t need to spend time training them to sit or stay as they’ll come and go as they please. In fact, as many cat owners will know, it’s usually the cat that ends up training you.

6. They’re quiet (most of the time) 


black cat meowing

Your neighbours don’t need to worry about constant barking or yapping disrupting their peace and quiet as cats have other more quiet ways of communicating. They use smell, body language and the occasional stare to let others know what they want, although a cute little meow can be deployed if the situation calls for it.

7. You have to earn their respect 


tabby cat paw on human hand

This may not seem like a plus, but once you’ve put in a little bit of work to let your cat know they can trust you, the love you will get in return is so rewarding. The first time they approach you for a head bump or sit on your lap for a snooze is the best feeling in the world.

8. They provide you with hours of entertainment 


black and white cat sprawled out on floor

Whether they’re sleeping in bizarre positions or zooming across the living room in pursuit of a catnip mouse, spending time with your cat will be more entertaining than a Netflix binge session. Every moggy has their own quirky traits and discovering them is all part of the joy of being a cat owner.

Are you ready to welcome a fabulous feline into your life? Visit www.cats.org.uk/adopt-a-cat to see the moggies looking for homes in your area.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Why do my sibling cats not get on?

While the bond we have with our own brothers and sisters is often strong, cats don’t always have the same close connection with their own family members.

If you have more than one cat from the same litter of kittens, you might assume that they will be best friends for life, but there is no guarantee.

two tabby and white cats sitting outside

Cats are a solitary species with no in-built need for fellow feline companions and this also extends to sibling relationships.

Even if littermates get on at first, they can often drift apart as they get older, as cats don’t reach social maturity until they are between 18 months and four years old.

a littler of four tabby kittens

If your cat regularly grooms, rubs against or sleeps curled up with their sibling, then this is a sign that they are in the same social group and have a sustained sibling bond. However, if they block or time share (that is only use them when the other isn’t around) resources such as food, water, beds and litter trays, live in separate areas of the house or get aggressive with each other then they are definitely not a happy family.

two tabby and white cats grooming each other

The stress related to difficult sibling relationships can even manifest as behavioural problems or even medical issues such as urinary tract issues or skin complaints.

While there is no fix for getting your moggies to be best mates again, there are some simple things you can do to help them live happily under the same roof as each other.

Tips for helping sibling cats get along 

  • Use the FELIWAY FRIENDS® plug-in diffuser, which releases calming cat pheromones into your home to help reduce conflict between cats living together 
  • Resources, such as food bowls, water bowls, litter trays and scratch posts should be placed separately in different areas of the house, with at least one per cat and ideally one extra. This is particularly important with litter trays. Access to the garden can also be a resource that cats living together may block or time share, so consider having more than one way out into the garden 
  • Give your cats plenty of opportunities to hide and get up high, as this will help reduce stress. Cat shelves and cardboard boxes are perfect for this, as is Cats Protection’s Hide & Sleep® available from our online shop 
  • Spend time playing with each cat individually to give them an outlet to express their natural hunting behaviours – provide interactive play with fishing rod-style toys, and why not have a go at making some feeding enrichment toys 

If your cats are still not getting along, then arrange a vet check and your vet can recommend a suitably qualified behaviourist who can provide further advice tailored to your own situation.

For more general information about cat behaviour, visit www.cats.org.uk/behaviour