Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Should I get a kitten to keep my cat company?

One of the most common misconceptions when it comes to cats is that they get lonely and need other cats for company.

Our pet cats have evolved from a solitary species, the African wildcat, and so are actually more suited to being the only cat in their home – they’re not keen on sharing!

Some cats do get along with each other but they will be a bonded pair and show certain behaviours, such a grooming each other, sleeping curled up together and play-fighting. This allows them to transfer their scent onto each other so they can identify the other cat as ‘safe’.

two tabby and white cats sleeping next to each other

This pairing is something that each cat will have learnt through a slow and carefully planned introduction and it’s not guaranteed to last forever – any added stress can cause them to fall out later down the line. Even if they’re siblings, they may not be bonded for life!

If you’re thinking of adding a new feline to your family, it’s important to remember that even if your existing cat has got on well with another cat in the past, they will not necessarily be friendly with the new moggy you bring home.

Here are few thing you will need to consider before getting another cat.

1. Each cat will need their own resources, plus one extra

As cats don’t like to share, they’ll each need their own food bowl, water bowl, litter tray, scratch post and bed, plus a spare. So if you have two cats, you’ll need three of everything.

ginger cat lying on a pink blanket

2. They should each have their own room too

Cats like to have their own territory so it’s a good idea to give each of them their own room with all of their resources in, so they have somewhere to retreat to when they want to be alone.

3. Be prepared to be patient

Getting two cats to like or even tolerate each other is often a slow process that can take weeks or even months. It’s important not to rush their introduction – it will all be worth it in the end when you have two happy cats.

4. Get a Feliway Friends diffuser

This handy device will fill your home with a synthetic version of the natural cat pheromone that encourages harmony between cats. Don’t worry, only your cats will be able to smell it!

tabby cat hiding under a bed

5. They may never be best friends

Even with a careful introduction, your cats may never become best buddies who want to cuddle up together. They could decide to avoid each other and live in separate parts of the house, but so long as they aren’t stressed then it’s fine for them to have their own space.

6. Provide places to hide

If your cats do like to ‘ambush’ each other then make sure they have plenty of hiding places to retreat to – cardboard boxes or high shelves are ideal. Place these hidey holes along the route to the food bowl and litter tray so they won’t feel stressed when trying to eat or toilet.

If, after taking all of these points into consideration, you still have your heart set on getting another cat or kitten, you can watch our video for advice on how to plan a proper introduction.

 

Friday, 13 September 2019

6 cat superstitions and the truths behind them

Cats are the subjects of many strange superstitions from across the world, from the idea that they have nine lives, to the good or bad luck (depending on where you live) brought by a black cat crossing your path.

No matter how much we might like to believe these memorable myths are true, they’re usually nothing more than tall tales passed down through the generations.

Here are some particularly peculiar superstitions people believe about moggies and some of the truths behind them…

A grooming cat means unexpected visitors are coming 


brown tabby cat grooming its leg

While you might like the idea that your moggy is trying to look their best for new visitors, they’re probably only thinking of their own personal hygiene. Most cats spend 10% of their waking time grooming, so unless you’ve got visitors popping in all the time, then on most occasions it will certainly be a false alarm! For information about cat grooming, visit www.cats.org.uk/grooming

A sneezing cat means good luck is on the way 



close up of the pink nose of a grey cat

According to this superstition, hearing one sneeze from your cat will bring you good luck but hearing three will mean you’re going to catch a cold. Of course, one sneeze from your cat probably means they’ve just sniffed up some rogue cat hair, but several sneezes may mean a trip to the vet is in order! For advice on how to spot if your cat has cat flu, visit www.cats.org.uk/cat-flu

Feeding a cat from your shoe will improve your love life 


a tiny black kitten sitting next to some trainers

This bizarre myth states that if a woman’s cat eats from her shoe, she’ll soon receive a marriage proposal. In reality, any potential suiters will probably run a mile from her tuna-smelling feet! You’re much better off feeding your cat from a traditional pet food bowl – it will save you a fortune in footwear. For more advice about feeding your cat, visit www.cats.org.uk/diet

A kitten born in May will be troublesome 


a tiny black kitten sticking its tongue out

Although it is towards the start of ‘kitten season’ (the majority of kittens are born between April and September), there’s no reason why kittens will be anymore mischievous in May compared to other months. Young kittens are naturally curious and playful, so they’ll always need some supervision to make sure they don’t get into trouble. To find out how to look after kittens, visit www.cats.org.uk/kittencare

When moving into a new home, letting the cat enter first will bring good luck 


a ginger cat sitting in a doorway

While your moggy will certainly be curious about their new territory, it will probably bring you better luck if you go in first and get everything set up for them before they arrive. Moving your cat into a new house requires a bit of planning to make sure they settle in well and you can find lots of tips on how to do this at www.cats.org.uk/moving-home

Black cats protect fishermen at sea 


a black cat lying on a red sofa

Many superstitions wrongly identify black cats as being bad luck, which is particularly sad when you consider that they are often overlooked by potential new owners. In fact, this is why we have National Black Cat Day on 27 October every year, to show our monochrome moggies a bit of extra love! While this superstition paints black kitties in a more positive light, as protectors and good luck charms, they would probably be happier on dry land rather than at sea! To find your own lucky black cat, visit www.cats.org.uk/adopt-a-cat

Do you know any crazy cat superstitions that aren’t on our list? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter!

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Five kittens dumped in Norfolk countryside survive against the odds

A group of five tiny kittens are recovering in the care of Cats Protection after being found dumped in the Norfolk countryside.

The kittens – thought to be about a week old – were found on Friday 6 September, semi-comatose and covered in manure beside a cat carrier in a hedge near the village of Thurlton.

a group of tiny black, white and ginger kittens lying on a blanket

A dog walker chanced upon them and rushed them to a local veterinary practice, who in turn contacted Cats Protection’s Anglia Coastal Branch.

Volunteers from the branch have been busy looking after the kittens ever since and have called them Daisy, Heath, Heather, Poppy and Yarrow.

“These kittens are so lucky to be alive, it was a really horrendous act to have just dumped them,” says Lynne Pothecary, a volunteer for the branch.

“Two of the kittens were lying on top of each other while three others had fallen out of their carrier and had rolled down a verge. They were so young that their eyes were still closed and they couldn’t walk.

“They were all cold to the touch and weren’t going to last much longer in the chilly autumn temperatures.

“Since Friday, we’ve been keeping the kittens warm using blankets and mini-heatpads and feeding them every two hours to get their strength up. We will find them new homes when they reach nine weeks of age and are old enough to be domestic pets.

“The easiest way to avoid unwanted kittens in the future is to neuter pet cats. Just one unneutered female cat can produce up to 18 offspring in a year so neutering will drive down the number of kittens that are abandoned in such terrible circumstances.”

If you would like to offer any of the kittens a home, you can contact the Anglia Coastal Branch on info@angliacoastal.cats.org.uk or phone their helpline on 0345 271 4202 (lines are open Monday-Friday, 8.30am-6.00pm or Saturday, 9.00am-3.00pm). 

To find out more about how Cats Protection can help with the cost of neutering, or to find cats looking for homes in your area, visit the Cats Protection website.

Monday, 9 September 2019

Strictly’s Len Goodman supports remembering Cats Protection in your will

Former Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman is supporting Cats Protection through Remember a Charity in your Will Week.

Len Goodman sitting on sofa with Cats Protection and Remember A Charity Week logos

Len is showing his support to Cats Protection and lots of other charities by promoting this special way of giving. With gifts in wills helping one in every two cats in our care; we rely on these gifts to continue giving unwanted and abandoned cats a second chance in life. For example, gifts in wills have helped our Strictly named cats Lenny and Kevin.

black cat standing in cat pen
Lenny was left behind
Both Len Goodman and little Lenny grew up in London, but this cat didn’t have the most glamorous start to life. Lenny came into the care of our North London Adoption Centre after he was sadly abandoned by his first owner, then when his neighbour who started feeding him moved away, he found himself left behind for a second time.

Luckily for Lenny he was bought into the care of Cats Protection where our amazing cat care assistants devotedly looked after him. His calm and placid nature began to shine through and with the love and attention provided by the North London Adoption Centre, he was lucky enough to find a new home.

black cat lying on blanket in front of red door
Kevin had some nasty injuries 
Kevin was in a similar boat to Lenny, he was found straying in a garden with a nasty abscess wound to his face. With the help of our East Surrey Branch, Kevin received the necessary antibiotics and wound cleaning treatments to help his injury heal. Kevin was also de-fleaed, wormed, neutered, vaccinated and microchipped and once he had recovered from his treatments he gained confidence very quickly.

Kevin’s loving affectionate nature soon began to shine through and he found his forever home. His new owners described finding Kevin as love at first sight and now he’s living the dream with all his creature comforts provided for, and his days on the road are firmly behind him.

Leaving a gift in your will, big or small, can help cats like Lenny and Kevin by bringing them in from the streets and enabling us to find them the loving home they deserve. The kind gifts left to us provide the cats in our care with a safe and loving environment where their dietary and health needs are met and they are supplied with endless amounts of affection from our amazing volunteers and employees.

This Remember a Charity in your Will Week could you consider helping cats in this special way? Cats Protection can even help you with the cost of writing a will through our current free wills offer. 

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

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Superhero volunteers changing the world for cats

The amazing work Cats Protection does to help cats in need would not be possible without our team of incredible volunteers.

Over 11,000 cat lovers across the UK donate their time, skills and passion to improving the lives of unfortunate felines and we think every one of them is a superhero.

At this year’s National Cat Awards we took the opportunity to celebrate just a few of our amazing volunteer teams who have brought about a particularly positive result for cat welfare.

Here are the inspiring stories of our Star Team Award finalists. You can find out who won below! 

Bolton & Radcliffe Branch help cat owners at food banks 


Helping people in need care for their cats has always been a priority for Cats Protection’s Bolton & Radcliffe Branch and in November 2017 volunteers decided to look for ways to engage more with their local community.

Cats Protection volunteer holding ginger and white cat

The result was a collaboration with two local food banks, allowing the branch to give cat food and neutering assistance to owners in financial difficulty.

The volunteers attended food banks regularly, chatting to people as they queued and offering to meet the full cost of neutering as well as providing transport to vets.

The partnership has helped countless owners and their cats with the short-term need for cat food and will also have a long-term impact in reducing the number of breeding cats locally.

Val Fryer, Branch Secretary, said: “It is obviously a very stressful time for people who have run into financial difficulty and we understand that many owners worry about how this will affect their pets.” 

As well as joining forces with food banks, the branch has been active in supporting local teenagers taking part in the National Citizen Service, a government-backed project designed to build skills for work and life.

 

Frome & District Branch team up with local college to care for cats


A collaboration between Cats Protection’s Frome & District Branch and its local college is helping even more cats in need, as well as giving animal care students a greater understanding of feline welfare.

Cats Protection volunteer stroking black cat

Volunteers at the branch worked with Bath College to install a mini four-pen cattery at its Animal Care department.

Following months of planning and training, the unit opened early in 2019, with students providing day-to-day care under the close supervision of teachers and guidance from Cats Protection.

Homing & Welfare Officer, Mandy Wescott said: “We provide ongoing training and guidance, as well as organising admissions, vet checks and rehoming. It’s a win-win situation for everyone – we’re able to help more cats and the cats themselves enjoy plenty of care and attention from a large number of capable students.

“The students themselves benefit not only from the experience of providing hands-on care, but also from working with Cats Protection on feline welfare.”

 

Glasgow Branch rehome 70 cats from one flat


It seemed like another normal day for Kathy Dunsmore, Coordinator for Cats Protection’s Glasgow Branch, but when they received a call asking for help to take in 25 cats from a two-bedroom flat, she braced herself for a busy few days.

Cats Protection volunteer holding ginger and white cat

Together with fellow volunteers Myra Murphy and Lorraine Currie, Kathy went to the property in South Glasgow. Within a few minutes of arriving, it was clear there were many more cats – in fact, the team was to remove a total of 70 cats over the course of five days.

With the cats living in very cramped conditions with no access to outdoors, conditions were particularly difficult for the volunteers to work in. All the cats needed vet checks and most needed neutering and litter training. The team worked closely with contacts at local vets to minimise stress to the cats while they were transported for treatment.

The next challenge was finding space for such a huge influx of cats so the team put out an urgent appeal to neighbouring volunteer-run branches and centres.

Kathy said: “The resident had done the right thing in calling for help but there’s no doubt it was a very challenging situation. We worked round the clock to make sure all of the cats got the care they needed and found a place for all of them. The teamwork was quite simply outstanding and I’m so proud of everyone who helped out.”

 

And the winner is… we think they're all winners but you can find out who won the public vote on the Cats Protection website!

If you’re thinking of joining our team of cat heroes, you can find out more about volunteering for Cats Protection at www.cats.org.uk/volunteering

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

One-day-old kittens rescued from a skip just in time

A litter of five kittens have had a lucky escape after being rescued from a skip just minutes before it was due to be collected.

On Friday 2 August, volunteers from Cats Protection’s Welwyn & Hatfield Branch were called to a business premises in Welwyn Garden City where the skip was located.

The black-and-white and grey-and-white kittens were lucky to have been spotted in time but worryingly, there was no sign of the mother.

tortoiseshell cat with her litter of black and white and grey and white kittens
Shy mother Skippy with her litter of kittens
With the kittens being just one day-old, volunteers knew that finding the mum was crucial, as the kittens were too young to be separated.

They spent the next four hours waiting for the mother, named Skippy, to return so they could trap her, and eventually she made an appearance.

We can only assume that Skippy, who was not microchipped, sought refuge in the waste container before giving birth to her litter of kittens.

Once in Cats Protection’s care, the kittens were given some much-needed TLC in a foster home but sadly, one kitten who was struggling to feed properly, passed away at just 10 days old.

“One of our dedicated fosterers had to hand-rear the poorly kitten, who we named Hamish, by doing hourly tube feeds throughout the day and night in the hope that he would gain strength. Sadly, despite all our efforts, he passed away,” said Carolyne Smith, Branch Coordinator at Cats Protection’s Welwyn & Hatfield Branch.

“Now at around two weeks old, the remaining four kittens and Skippy, who’s thought to be only a year old herself, are on the road to recovery.

“We’ve named the kittens Hodgepodge, Mishmash, Knickknack and Trinket. The total cost of their treatment, medication and after care, has so far cost more than £250. Anything people can donate to help cover this cost will be hugely appreciated and will go a long way to helping.”

If you would like to make a one-off donation towards the care of Skippy and her kittens, you can visit www.cats.org.uk/welwynhatfield Any funds raised above the centre’s target will be used to help other cats and kittens currently in the care of the charity’s Welwyn & Hatfield Branch.

It will be a while before Skippy and her kittens will be ready for homing but if you would like to find cats and kittens waiting for homes in your area, you can visit www.cats.org.uk/adopt-a-cat

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

How to create the ideal home for your cat

Whether you’re new to cat ownership or have had a moggy in your life for several years, you’ll no doubt want to make your pampered puss feel happy in their home.

While cats usually have no problem slotting in to your house and making it their own, there are a few things they’ll need to make sure they’re truly comfortable and content.

long haired ginger cat sitting on stairs

The important thing to remember is that if you have more than one cat, each cat will need their own set of resources (eg bowls, litter trays, beds, scratch posts) plus one extra. Therefore, if you have two cats, you’ll need three of everything.

With all these cat accessories it can be difficult to know where to put them. If you’re bringing a new cat home it’s best to set them up with their very own room at first, placing all their resources inside so they know exactly where to find them. Then, when they’re settled and start to explore more of the house, you can move their things into more suitable locations.

Here are some tips for where to put all of your cat’s important resources…

Food and water bowls 


tabby kitten licking its lips

The key thing to remember with food and water bowls is to keep them apart from each other. Cats prefer to drink in a separate location to where they eat to avoid cross-contamination, so placing the bowls next to each other could cause them to eat or drink less than they need to.

Cats also like peace and privacy during meal times, so put the bowls in an area where they will not be disturbed or watched by other cats (eg avoid putting them next to windows or doors). They also like to be able to survey the room while they eat, so make sure there is space for them to sit behind the bowl with their back to the wall.

Litter tray 


tabby cat looking up at camera

Just like us, cats need privacy when they go to the toilet, so make sure their litter tray is in a quiet part of the house away from windows and doors. It also needs to be away from their food and water bowls to avoid cross-contamination.

Your cat will need to have access to their litter tray at all times, so avoid putting it in a room that will be closed off regularly. Even if your cat regularly goes outside to toilet, it’s still a good idea to have a litter tray indoors in case their outdoor loo is ever inaccessible (eg due to bad weather).


Scratch post 


white cat asleep against scratch post

If your cat likes to scratch a particular piece of furniture or carpet, then place their scratch post nearby as a convenient alternative. You can then cover up the damaged area to encourage them to use the scratch post instead.

Other places that are good for scratch posts are near to entrance/exit points (eg the cat flap) as scratching helps cats identify their territory, or next to their bed as they like to have a stretch and scratch after a snooze.

Bed 


ginger cat asleep in fleecy bed

Whether it’s a fancy shop-bought bed or a simple cardboard box lined with a blanket, your cat will appreciate a quiet, private area for a snooze. Avoid placing their bed in a busy room (such as the kitchen) or near to noisy household appliances.

Cats also like to rotate their sleeping areas to avoid the spread of fleas, so make sure they have a couple of snoozing options around the house. Anywhere cosy and warm is sure to be a hit!

Hiding place 


cream and grey cat peeking out through a gap in the window

Cats love to hide away when they’re feeling stressed, so make sure they have somewhere to escape to whenever they feel the need. A cardboard box in a quiet area of the house is ideal!

They also like to perch up high so they can get a good view of their surroundings, so will appreciate access to high shelves or the top of a wardrobe. Make sure they can get up and down safely on their own.

Now you know the best places to put all of your cat’s things, you can test your knowledge with our fun interactive house plan game. See if you can place all of Bob’s resources in the correct areas of the house so he can be a happy cat in his new kingdom!