Sunday, 27 October 2019

National Black Cat Day: 5 ways to turn your cat into a black cat

Every year on 27 October, we celebrate the black and black-and-white cats who are so often overlooked for adoption, just because of their colour.

National Black Cat Day brings monochrome moggies into the spotlight, showing that they have just as many head bumps and purrs to give as their colourful counterparts.

black cat sat on floor in front of cushions

In 2019, we’re encouraging those who own these lovely kitties to join #TeamBlackCat or #TeamBlackAndWhiteCat so we can see which team shouts the loudest!

Pick a side and share your photos and videos with the team hashtag, as well as #BlackCatDay.

We don’t want the cats of other colours to feel left out though, so we’ve put together this handy guide to show you how you can turn your cat into a black cat for the day.

Add a filter 

photo of tabby and white cat with black and white filter

Among the many filters available on apps such as Instagram, you’ll find some particularly stylish black and white ones. Take a snap of your cat and then add one of these effects to instantly turn them into a monochrome moggy! Don’t forget to share the shot with us using #BlackCatDay!

Shoot them in silhouette 

photo of a cat in silhouette

Another fantastic photography trick you can try is backlighting your kitty so they appear in silhouette. Place a bright lamp behind them and then take a photo to just capture their shadowy outline. Now share it online to join the fun!

Wear sunglasses 

photo of a tortoiseshell cat with black and white filter

While the first two tips will only turn your cat black in photos, this one will have a live effect. Find some glasses with a black and white filter effect and put them on whenever you look at your kitty. Not only will you be joining a black cat team, you’ll also look super cool in the process!

Turn off the lights 

low light photo of a tabby cat

With a simple flick of a switch, you can easily make your cat appear black. All cats look black in the dark, and with their excellent low light vision, they won’t mind the change in conditions. You may need to take extra precautions not to bump into things though.

Stand far away 

photo of tabby and white cat hiding in grass with black and white filter

Putting a bit of distance between you and your kitty will also help their colour fade, as they simply become a fuzzy faraway shape. They may even appreciate a bit of space, but the effect will soon wear off when they hear a cat food packet opening.

If you don’t fancy trying any of these clever tricks, then you can still show your support for National Black Cat Day by sponsoring a black cat at one of our centres! For as little as 19p a day you’ll ensure we can provide them with everything they need until we find them a loving new home, no matter how long it takes. Visit to find out more. 

For lots more Black Cat Day fun, and to find out whether #TeamBlackCat or #TeamBlackAndWhiteCat is winning, visit

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Friday, 25 October 2019

More Than Just a Black Cat: Charismatic Lucy helps owner Phil with his mental health

In 2018, black-and-white cat Tasha was finally offered a forever home after spending a year in the care of Cats Protection’s Gateshead & Newcastle Branch.

In return, the three-year-old moggy has enriched the life of her new owner Phil Sherry, by helping him with his mental health struggles.

man wearing glasses with black and white cat sat in a basket behind him

Phil, a 48-year-old web developer from Gosforth in Newcastle upon Tyne said: “I’ve always been a cat fan, but hadn’t been able to live with any for the last five years, due to landlord restrictions.

“Coincidentally, my mental health had gone downhill a lot during those five years, so I decided I had to tackle the problem.

black and white cat

“I did my research and discovered Emotional Support Animals were a recognised thing, and asked my GP for help. He wrote a letter to my landlord and the landlord agreed to let me have one feline housemate. Result!”

With permission granted for Phil to welcome a cat into his life, it was in fact sheer luck that brought him and his new feline friend together.

black and cat lying on the floor with paws in the air

“I was getting a lift to an event I was speaking at and my talk had lots of cats in it as visual metaphors, so I was thinking about cats,” said Phil.

“Next thing I knew, we were driving past the Cats Protection logo on a newish looking building. I had no idea it was there, but I made a note to look it up when I got home. I read through the descriptions of each cat, saw she’d been on the bench for a year, and that was that  rescued.”

black and white cat clinging to the letterbox in the door

Tasha, who Phil has renamed Lucy Fur, a play on words from a song by one of his favourite heavy metal bands, soon settled into her new home and has made a big difference to his mental health.

Phil explained: “I’m very happy with my own company. That is, I don’t need the constant company of other humans in my life. I’m often in too much pain to even get out of bed, never mind leave the house to meet people. That doesn’t mean I don’t get lonely though, which is where Lucy enters the story.

black and white cat lying in basket with paws in the air

"She can sense when I’m extra ill and her behaviour changes; she’s far more present and cuddly, less zoomy and playful. Then there are the head butts. Cat head butts are power-ups, they instantly boost my energy and enhance my life.

“Lucy is more than just a cat, she’s my mental-health coach.” 

*An update from Phil and Lucy Fur - 19 June 2020*

During the COVID-19 lockdown, Phil has been working on online responses to the pandemic for large organisations, and Lucy Fur has been helping him cope with the increased work pressure as well as the loneliness of lockdown. 

black-and-white cat in the foreground of a man's selfie

"I’ve been working flat out since the lockdown, and in such unusual circumstances I’ve needed Lucy more than ever," said Phil. "She makes sure I take a break, and helps keep some routine going in my life. Just having her around, going about her business and keeping me company is hugely beneficial to my mental health.”

This Loneliness Awareness Week (15-19 June 2020), The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cats, supported by Cats Protection and other animal welfare charities, has released a report called 'Cats as Companions: Can Cats Help Tackle Loneliness?' The report identifies that cat ownership and interaction is one of a number of measures with the potential to tackle loneliness across all age groups in specific social situations. To find our more, take a look at our blog post here

Let us know what your monochrome moggy means to you with #MoreThanJustABlackCat and discover more heartwarming stories at

If you have a cat of another colour, we don't want you to feel left out. Get involved with #MoreThanJustACat to share your story! 

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Wednesday, 23 October 2019

More Than Just a Black Cat: Jessie’s journey through Cats Protection

Black-and-white cat Jessie was one of the first cats to arrive at Cats Protection’s newly established Richmond Branch and has left a lasting impression on the volunteers who cared for her.

“We would like to highlight the story of Jessie, a very special case and one of our firsts!” said the Richmond volunteers.

black and white cat with black nose

Jessie came from a home with multiple cats where she struggled to compete for food and resources. As a result she developed some behaviour problems and her owners decided they couldn’t cope with her and handed her over to Cats Protection.

The volunteers explained: “Because she’d had a hard time getting to her food in her previous home, she made herself sick by eating it so quickly when she finally had access to it. She also started showing some signs of aggressive behaviour and inappropriate play due to stress and her new environment.

black and white cat lying on blanket

“When Jessie came into CP care, we worked carefully with her to help her get back on track. She was still young, only four when she came into care, and we knew that with patience, time and a good schedule, she would come to see life wasn’t all bad.”

Once in the care of her fosterer Jenine, Jessie was put on a special diet and given lots of play time and access to puzzle feeders. Jenine also made sure to give her plenty of space, and soon she started to notice a change. Jessie has now become a social, happy cat and has even found her forever home.

black and white cat licking their paw

“Her new home has a garden and we knew it was the last bit missing to the puzzle of Jessie’s well-being,” said the branch. “She’s longing to go outside, play and enjoy a bit of liberty, which would help settle her even more. Now a lovely little lady, her soon to be owner fell head over heels for her.

“She will leave our care in November and it’s been quite a journey she’s been on with us. We had to give her time to settle and learn how to help her with her quirks, because her behavioral issues were so difficult to manage initially. Finding a new owner willing to take on such a sass-pot is not easy!

black and white cat having their head scratched

“She might be black and white, but she is one of our special cases. We are so happy we got to be a part of her journey and can now send her to the next adventure in her forever home. We really hope that with all the collective work of our various Cats Protection staff and volunteers, she will finally get the life she deserves.”

To find your very own black cat, visit to see the monochrome moggies looking for homes and discover how you can get involved in #BlackCatDay!

Friday, 18 October 2019

More Than Just a Cat: Hero cat Walter warns Hazel of diabetic attacks

For Hazel Parkyn, from Swadlincote in Derbyshire, her cat Walter is a lifeline, warning her when she’s about to suffer a diabetic attack.

Hazel was left with PTSD, head injury seizures and auto immune conditions, including type 1 diabetes, after she was attacked by a patient while working as a psychiatric nurse ten years ago.

blonde woman in flowery top holding black cat

Three years ago a second bleed on her brain triggered a rare form of fitting which causes her to suffer flashbacks, during which she is sometimes forced to relive her attack. Such flashbacks can leave Hazel feeling vulnerable and unsettled.

In addition to this, Hazel also suffers with potentially life-threatening diabetic attacks at night. However, whenever this happens, Walter alerts her up by patting her on the face and meowing until she wakes up.

black cat sitting on grey cushion

Although some animals can be trained as medical emergency detection pets to alert their owners, Walter has received no such training.

Walter’s life-saving actions were honoured at Cats Protection’s National Cat Awards 2019 when he beat hundreds of other entries to be selected as one of three finalists in the Hero Cat category, for cats that save the day.

As well as celebrating Walter’s heroic nature, Hazel said that being part of the awards helped her rebuild her confidence.

Hazel said: “Walter is so named as we thought he was a bit of a wally. He's always in trouble, is well known at the vets and walks like John Wayne. However he's not a wally at all, he's a little star. 

blonde woman in grey cardigan holding black cat

“Walter really is a remarkable cat and may have saved my life many times over. When my blood sugar runs low it can be very serious, especially if I’m asleep as I may not be able to wake up.

“Yet Walter can sense when this is about to happen and will repeatedly pat me on the face until I wake. He won’t stop until I’ve woken, he really is very persistent. He’ll then sit with me while I get my sugar levels back to normal.

“Walter is more than just a cat to me, he’s my lifesaver.”

Let us know what your marvellous moggy means to you with #MoreThanJustACat and discover more heartwarming stories at

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Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Why do cats' eyes glow in the dark?

If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night to see two glowing eyes staring at you from you across the room, you might think you’ve found yourself in a horror movie. But the chances are that it’s just your cat gazing at you in the dark, not a scary monster.

Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that your cat has developed x-ray vision or the ability to shoot laser beams from their eyes, it’s just a strange phenomenon caused by the structure of their eyeballs.

Both cats and humans have a layer of tissue at the back of their eyeballs called the retina. This is made up of light sensitive cells that turn the light we see
into electrical signals. These signals are then sent to the brain, which decodes them to work out what we’re actually seeing.

However, because cats are most active at dawn and dusk when there isn’t as much natural light available, they need an extra tool to help improve their night-vision.

Behind the retina in a cat’s eyeballs, there’s another layer of tissue called the tapetum lucidum. This acts as a mirror, picking up any light that passes through the retina and bouncing it back towards those light sensitive cells, giving it a second chance at being detected.

Not all of this light is picked up a second time around though, as some of it simply passes back through the retina again and travels out through the front of the eyeball. This is what makes it look as though your cat’s eyes are glowing.

Many other animals also have this striking feature, including fish and sheep, but their glow can appear as different colours. This is because the colour of the glow depends on what the tapetum lucidum is made from.

In cats’ eyes it’s made from molecules called riboflavin and zinc, and the amount of zinc determines how yellow, blue or green the glow appears.

So next time you see two shining eyes staring at you from out of the darkness, you can be pretty sure it’s just the ambient light reflecting back from your kitty’s eyes.

If you don’t have a cat though, then you might need to run!

For more amazing facts about your cat’s eyesight, read our blog.  

Thursday, 10 October 2019

More Than Just a Cat: Boots helps owner Shirley Ann cope with loneliness and grief

Shirley Ann, from Dalry in Scotland, feel less lonely following the death of her closest friend, all thanks to her cat Boots.

Shirley Ann was devastated when, in November 2013, a suicide attempt left her best friend permanently paralysed and hospitalised for 18 months.

grey and white cat with woman with red hair

After 35 years of friendship, Shirley found this a terribly stressful and lonely time as she could no longer reach her friend on the phone or go off on adventures with her.

One day Shirley decided that without any children or family, the love she needed had to come from a pet so she adopted Boots from a local rescue charity.

grey and white cat with paws crossed

Boots was in a bad way when Shirley took him. So bad in fact that when she called to enquire about him the lady in the rehoming centre told her to come right away as he was “giving up” following the death of his previous owner.

Initially very shy and withdrawn, Boots eventually came out of his shell to become a loving companion.

grey and white cat with woman with red hair

Shirley Ann said: “I gave him lots of petting which did raise a few purrs and out of the blue, one night, I felt him jump onto the bottom of my bed. I liked the feeling of his warm little body against mine and this was the start of our beautiful friendship.”

On 31 March 2015, six months after adopting Boots, Shirley Ann, who already suffered with severe fibromyalgia, was diagnosed with Addisons Disease. Then just two days later her friend, who was now in a nursing home, passed away unexpectedly.

grey and white cat sitting on the floor

These two huge blows often left Shirley Ann feeling very depressed but during these moments Boots would come and put his paw on her knee to comfort her.

She said: “I was utterly heartbroken when she died and without the love from Boots waiting for me at home I wouldn’t have survived. After her funeral I returned to my flat where Boots greeted me with head butts and such love.

“Nearly five years have now passed and, while others didn’t offer me the support I expected, I survived because Boots needed me. He won’t have anything to do with anyone but me. I look after him and he cares for me.

grey and white cat sitting on a red rug

“Boots gives me the love and companionship I so badly need. As I’m disabled, I spend most of my time at home so his company is invaluable. He’s always there to greet me when I get home, looks as though the world is ending when I leave (which makes me feel wanted), makes me laugh by leaving the room if I start singing (every one’s a critic!) and with his crazy antics.

“I want to pay tribute to Boots and the way the love of a cat can change your life. I bought a t-shirt a while ago which reads ‘In my darkest hour I reached for a hand and found a paw’. Nothing could be truer.

“Boots is more than just a cat, he is an angel with whiskers, an old soul who loves me as I do him.”

Let us know what your marvellous moggy means to you with #MoreThanJustACat and discover more heartwarming stories at

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Monday, 7 October 2019

More Than Just a Cat: My cats have helped me through my darkest days

Blogger Aimee Wilson explains how cats are more than just pets, they’ve helped her cope through mental health struggles and a hospital stay. 

Growing up, I always had pets; gerbils, rabbits, hamsters, fish… then, when I was about twelve, my dream came true and my mum finally agreed that we could get a cat! Saffy was like a little companion or friend for the evenings after school when my mum would still be at work. And when I went through a trauma at the age of 15, she could be there for me in ways that no human ever could. When I’d have flashbacks and find myself reliving the trauma, stroking Saffy’s fur helped soothe me and ground me back to reality so that I recognised that I was safe now.

a black cat with red collar sitting on a pink blanket
Saffy helped Aimee through her trauma 

After my mental health dramatically deteriorated as a result of the trauma, I was admitted to a specialist psychiatric hospital in 2012 that was over 100 miles from home. Of course, I missed my friends and family, but I also missed Saffy. My mum would send me photos and cute videos of her on social media so that I could still see her and that hugely helped to serve as a reminder that she – and many others – had been supportive through my darkest days. I owed it to them – and myself – to put all the effort that I had into working towards my recovery and discharge from hospital.

When, after about a year, I finally started to notice improvements in my mental health, my mum came up with the brilliant idea of buying a cat collar to remind me of my ultimate recovery goal of having my own home with my own cat. That collar hung from a photo frame in my hospital room for a further 18 months before I was finally discharged, and it ended up around my kitten’s neck.

woman holding a tabby kitten
Kitten Dolly made Aimee's new house a home 

Getting my own kitten, Dolly, was both an easy and hard decision; on the one hand, I knew that I needed company in moving from having people around me 24/7 to being in my own home, and on the other hand; I didn’t want it to look as though I was trying to replace Saffy. This thought became even harder when, one Christmas, Saffy began struggling to breathe and had to be put to sleep. I think that being in my own home and having Dolly made losing Saffy a little less painful because I still had a cat around. It was a lot harder on my mum though, whose only company for the years I’d been in hospital was Saffy, so she got another cat; Millie.

tabby cat sitting on Christmas presents under a Christmas tree
Dolly was a lively companion through Aimee's recovery

Dolly was a completely different cat to Saffy though! She was much more lively and friendly and having her by my side through my mental health recovery meant the world to me. When, in October 2018, her organs began to fail, I was in pieces; I still had my bunny, Pixie, but my house wasn’t a home without a cat in it! So, it took less than a week for me to adopt Emmy, my little calico.

young woman holding a calico cat
Aimee now shares her home with the lovely Emmy 

It was so much more rewarding to adopt rather than ‘shop’ for a cat because it felt as though I was doing a good deed and that thought helped me whenever I missed Dolly. It’s also nice to be able to give Emmy a good life full of everything she could ever want after her rough start of being found wandering the streets, alone, at only a few weeks old. All cats deserve love but to have Emmy come from a such a horrible beginning into a home that is full to the brim with kindness, care and love is really special.

calico cat stretched out in its back and yawning
Emmy is settled after having a tough start to life

It’s an absolute honour to be asked by the Cats Protection team to share my story on how cats have benefited my life and I hope that if readers can get just one thing from this piece, then I’d like it to be the knowledge that your cat is more than ‘just a cat’.

Let us know what your marvellous moggy means to you with #MoreThanJustACat and discover more heartwarming stories at

Friday, 4 October 2019

More Than Just a Cat: Lianne honours her much-missed companion Skittles

Skittles stuck by her owner Lianne Loveridge through the toughest of times, so when she passed away at 11 years old, a big hole was left in her home and heart.

young woman wearing Christmas jumper and holding white cat

“Skittles had helped me through so much, from suffering with severe depression in my early to mid-20s to getting back on my feet and settling down to get married,” said Lianne from Warwick. “She was there for the good times and the bad, and we had a very close bond.”

Sadly Skittles was diagnosed with lymphoma in May 2019, and just eight weeks later she passed away.

white cat lying on purple checked blanket

“Losing her really knocked me – suddenly my constant companion was gone,” said Lianne. “Friends and family tried to say comforting things, but it didn’t help me get over the feelings of loss. I also felt guilty, as it was up to me to take that final decision for her to be put to sleep.”

Struggling with the loss of Skittles, Lianne decided to call Cats Protection’s grief support service, Paws to Listen, to speak to one of our volunteer listeners.

“Speaking to someone at Paws to Listen helped me enormously – the volunteer helped me understand that I had done the right thing and that my feelings were perfectly normal.

close up of white cat looking at camera

“I still have ups and downs, but the support has helped me to focus on the good memories and to deal with my feelings of loss.”

Lianne recently got married and, while the thought of going through such an important life change without Skittles around was upsetting, she found that the emotional support she received really helped her to cope so she could enjoy her big day.

Although the Paws to Listen service is confidential, Lianne said she wanted to speak publicly to help other people in need of support following the loss of a cat.

young woman cuddling white cat

“Skittles loved to be the centre of attention so what better way to honour her memory than for people to know about the happiness she brought me.”

“Skittles was more than just a cat. She was my constant companion and supportive best friend.”

Let us know what your marvellous moggy means to you with #MoreThanJustACat and discover more heartwarming stories at

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Thursday, 3 October 2019

5 reasons why your cat is better than your boyfriend

When it comes to helping you find your perfect match, here at Cats Protection we really do our research.

We’ll assess your personal preferences, your living situation and your daily routine to find you the ideal companion to share your time with, and you can be sure that they’ll be in tip top condition and ready to settle down.

Even better, you won’t have to do any swiping left or right, or get dressed up for any tedious dates – we do all the hard work for you. All you need is an open heart, a little bit of patience…and a suitable carrier to take them home in.

That’s right, we’re talking cats not boyfriends! Any cat lover knows that felines are much less complicated than fellas and here are some of the top reasons why…

They take up less room in the bed 

Although your kitty may still like a snuggle at night-time, they’re at least a little more respectful of your personal space. They don’t ‘starfish’, they don’t hog the duvet and they don’t snore – instead you may be treated to a relaxing purr to help you drift off to sleep.

They don’t leave pants and socks on floor 

Tired of tripping over underwear on your way to bed? Your cat doesn’t have any dirty laundry to leave on the floor, and may even be willing to help keep your clean laundry safe – it’s a great place to snooze after all!

They don’t care what you look like 

If you can’t be bothered to change out of your pyjamas and do your hair or want to spend all day sat on the sofa covered in biscuit crumbs, there’ll be no judgement from your moggy. As long as they get a chin rub and some dinner, they’ll be just be happy with your unkempt company.

They don’t hog the TV remote 

No matter what boxset you want to binge or videogame you want to play, your feline friend won’t moan and try to change the channel. They may even be happy to keep your lap warm while you’re on the sofa – better than any blanket or onesie!

They don’t argue back 

Whether it’s a squabble over the washing up or a tiff about not texting back, human relationships can have their challenges, but your cat has no interest in confrontation. If they’re not interested in the topic of discussion then they’ll just slink off to their favourite snoozing spot until they hear the food cupboard open.

To find your perfect match, visit