Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Kittens dumped in box on Ashdown Forest find new homes

In September, four kittens were found dumped in a cardboard box on Ashdown Forest.

The kittens were just four weeks old when they were discovered by a dog walker, just a couple of days before heavy rain lashed the area.

two black and white kitten on top of a cardboard box, with a ginger and white kitten underneath
Karen and Kiri keeping watch while Kieran hides in the box
They were rushed to Cats Protection’s nearby National Cat Adoption Centre, where they were named Karen, Kieran, Keith and Kiri.

As well as being dehydrated and hungry, the kittens were all found to have deformed stumpy tails and Karen had an abnormally formed leg which it was thought may need to be amputated.

Tania Marsh, Deputy Manager of the National Cat Adoption Centre, said: “It was incredibly fortunate the kittens were found when they were, as they would not have survived much longer in the forest. 

two black and white kittens sitting on a cardboard box
Karen and Kiri recovering from their ordeal
“They all have stumpy tails. We can’t tell how this has happened – it may have been in an injury, but it is more likely this is a congenital abnormality and the kittens were actually born this way.

“It’s desperately sad that these kittens were simply dumped, as they had no way to fend for themselves and would have certainly died if they hadn’t been found.

“It is likely they were an unplanned litter, which is the result of a cat not being neutered. Cats are prolific breeders, and can have up to three litters a year, so it’s vitally important that all cats are neutered to prevent unwanted kittens being born.

two black and white and two ginger and white kittens sitting in a cat bed
The kittens in the cosyness of the Cats Protection centre
Sadly it was found that Keith the kitten had extensive damage to his back legs that was so severe it was kindest to end his suffering and put him to sleep.

The other three kittens have now found their new owners and Karen even began to use her abnormally formed leg, meaning it did not need to be amputated.

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

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Cat Men Do confessions: Cute things cat dads do for their moggies

As our recent Cat Men Do campaign proved, there are thousands of proud cat dads out there who are happy to shout about how much they love their moggies.

Even though we’ve received lots of adorable messages and photos from these moggy-loving men, we’re sure there are many more that are yet to open up about their feline affections.

To encourage more cat dads to come clean about their feelings, we’ve asked some cat-loving men to share their cute confessions about being crazy for cats…

Going through the cat calendar


man showing black and white kitten the calendar
Moose the kitten being shown his upcoming appointments
“My six-month-old kittens Moose and Dottie are the most affectionate cats I’ve ever owned and now I’ve got a constant craving for kitten cuddles. So much so, that when I am away from home for more than a day, I worry they’ll forget me and not want to curl up next to me when I get back. Luckily, I’ve devised a strategy of talking them through our calendar each week so they know what’s coming up. They get updates on when their vet appointments are, when they’re going to have to endure their flea medication and when mummy and daddy will be away for the weekend, so grandma will be popping in to feed them. I’m sure deep down, they appreciate the forewarning…”

Constructing cat houses 


cardboard box turned into a cat house
A lovingly constructed cat house complete with cosy blankets
“I won’t throw away a delivery box if one of our cats takes a shine to it! I always feel sorry for them that they don’t have their own cat bed – even though we’ve bought them loads of beds over the years that they have roundly ignored. It drives my wife mad that we have massive Amazon boxes just sitting around. My latest creation is a cat house. The boxes eventually go in the recycling once the cats get bored of them.”

Story-time friends 


man reading book to baby while ginger and white cat sleeps on his leg
Daisy enjoying story-time (and a snooze!)
“My 16-year-old ginger tom Daisy (long story) has been joining in with father/son story time with my two-year-old since he was born. It’s super cute, especially when Daisy rubs his face on the book corners, only for my son to berate him with an exasperated “No Daisy!””

Serving up a special dinner 

bowl of cat food
Lily's 'Biscuit Island' treat
“At the weekend I like to make our cat Lily a special dinner called ‘Biscuit Island’. It’s a cat-friendly concoction consisting of an ‘island’ of biscuits and cat soup in the middle. I then add her favourite treats as a tasty topping and even let her choose her favourite flavour (she head bumps the sachet to let me know!).”

Building a cat igloo 


black and white cat in a homemade igloo
An icy lookout spot for Felix
“Here is a picture of my cat Felix a few years ago. He loved playing in the snow so I built him an igloo which he used as a sentry box until it melted. As you can see when he was not on sentry duty he liked to relax on my bed or on me.”

black and white cat sleeping on a man's chest
Felix taking a well-earned break
Do you have a Cat Men Do confession? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter! To find out more about what Cat Men Do, visit www.cats.org.uk/cat-men-do

Monday, 11 November 2019

A day in the life of hand-rearing orphaned kittens

At Cats Protection we care for cats of all ages and from all backgrounds, with some needing a bit more care than others.

Sometimes we have kittens in our care who, for whatever reason, do not have a mum to look after them. These litters need to be hand-reared by our dedicated volunteers and staff to ensure they grow big and strong, and it’s a very demanding job.

The kittens need to be fed every few hours throughout the day and night, and lots of care needs to be taken to make sure they are kept safe and healthy.

three kittens cuddled up together in a cat bed
Kittens Arizona, Texas and Nevada getting cosy
Maisie Buckley, a volunteer at our National Cat Adoption Centre, recently helped to look after one of these litters of orphaned kittens and explains how she handled their round-the-clock care…

Why did you decide to become a Cats Protection volunteer? 

I can’t have pets in my current apartment so volunteering is a great way to look after my favourite animal! As I was only looking after the kittens temporarily and they were kept in a pen, my landlord gave me permission to care for them. It’s so rewarding to know I’m able to help these cats and kittens have a better life, especially when you can see them changing and growing more confident right in front of your eyes!

Can you tell us about the litter you recently hand-reared? 

I was looking after three, three-week-old kittens, one brother and two sisters named Arizona, Texas and Nevada. Unfortunately, their mother was a feral cat who was unwell and had to be put to sleep, leaving them needing round-the-clock care.

black and white kitten lying down and holding her back leg
Nevada having a chew on her paw
How did you prepare for hand-rearing the kittens?

I was provided with all the personal protective equipment (PPE) I needed by the centre, like gloves and aprons. As the kittens were not vaccinated yet, wearing these items helped to ensure I didn't pass anythign on to them that could make them ill. Then all I had to do was make sure I had a spot ready for their pen and a space which they could be fed and socialised in.

What other help and advice did you get from the Cats Protection centre? 

The staff at the centre were really helpful and reassuring, giving me plenty of advice and tips! Before taking the kittens home I did some training with them on how to feed and toilet the kittens so I was confident that I could look after them well.

What was a typical day (and night) with the kittens like? 

Although a few hours between feeds sounds like a long time, it’s pretty much non-stop when there are three or more kittens! For each feed I had to carefully sterilise all the equipment, mix the milk and measure it into bottles for them and prepare the litter tray for toileting. Then I would toilet each kitten and bottle feed them. Sometimes it can take some time to get them to latch on, some kittens require some encouragement and patience is needed to give them time to drink what they need. Then we check if they need to go to the toilet again before they will go back in their pen. I would also provide them with some finely mashed up kitten food to try and wean them onto solid food.

tabby and white kitten asleep on a towel
Arizona enjoying his nap
After everyone has been fed and toileted I then had to carefully document the details of each kitten’s eating and toileting habits so that we can keep track of their progress and make sure there aren’t any problems. Between all the sterilising and getting them all fed and toileted it took up to an hour each time. Be warned it can also get quite messy so there’s some clean up time to be factored in too!

Between feeds they often wanted to play so I found it helped to get them out for some supervised playtime and socialising. It’s important to introduce kittens to new experiences they’ll encounter in later life, such as household noises and being handled by people, during their ‘socialisation period’ which is between the ages of two to eight weeks. We follow a structured socialisation programme to help us do this which you can find out more about at www.cats.org.uk/kitten-socialisation

When the kittens are out of the pen it’s important to make sure you’re wearing PPE and keep them on clean towels and blankets so they don’t come into contact with any unsterile surfaces. As you can imagine there are some escape attempts so you need to keep a very close eye for little feet scampering away! The most difficult part was trying to convince them it was bed time after the night-time feeds as they were wide awake and wanted to come out and play!

What was the most challenging part of hand-rearing? 


tabby and white kitten
Arizona ready for playtime
Luckily my three were all happy and healthy but they’re totally reliant on you, so it’s a big responsibility to make sure they’re all eating and toileting correctly. It can be very worrying if one of them doesn’t want to eat or is unwell. You don’t get a lot of sleep either which starts to catch up with you after a few days, but it’s more than worth it in my opinion!

What did you enjoy most about caring for the kittens? 

It was a really lovely experience bottle-feeding them, they’re so cute and it’s so rewarding to know they are happy and healthy because of us. Socialising is also very fun as you get to see some of their personality come out at playtime.

How did you feel when it was time for them to be rehomed? 

It was very hard to say goodbye because you do form a bond, but I’m so happy to know they’re going to good homes and they will have wonderful lives.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a Cats Protection volunteer? 

I would say, go for it, you can really make a difference to the lives of these cats! I’m so glad I decided to join up, the time I spend with the kittens always makes my day and I wouldn’t give it up for the world.

If you think you would be up for the challenge of caring for orphaned kittens, find out how you can join our team of incredible volunteers at www.cats.org.uk/volunteering

Friday, 8 November 2019

6 amazing Guinness World Record-breaking cats

All cats are special in their own lap-warming, toy-chasing, head-bumping ways, but there are a few cats that have gone above and beyond to show how truly unique they are.

white cat

Guinness World Records have been awarded to those select few moggies who have achieved amazing feats or were simply born a little bit different.

Here are few from the record-breaking moggy hall of fame…


Cat with the loudest purr 


Rescue kitty Merlin, from Torquay in Devon, has a purr measuring an incredible 67.8 decibels – that’s nearly as loud as a dishwasher!


To find out why cats purr, read our blog.

Most toes on a cat 


Canadian cat Jake was born with seven toes on each paw, adding up to 28 toes in total! Most cats have 18 toes, with five on the front two paws and four on the back two.

Longest cat


Ludo the Maine Coon from Wakefield is a whopping 118.33cm long, around two and a half times the size of the average domestic moggy!



Oldest cat ever 


Creme Puff from Texas in the USA lived for an incredible 38 years and three days before he sadly passed away in 2005. The average lifespan for a cat is around 14 years.


Most tricks performed by a cat in one minute 


Australian moggy Didga is one clever kitty as she can perform 24 different tricks in just 60 seconds, including rolling over and jumping while on a skateboard!



To find out how you can train your cat to do tricks, take a look at our blog series.

Longest cat whiskers 


Missi the Maine Coon from Finland has whiskers measuring 19cm long, nearly three times the length of an average cat whisker!

Do you think your cat deserves a world record? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter!

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Kittens born with extra toes and impressive moustaches

Two kittens born with a rare genetic condition causing them to have extra toes on their paws are being cared for at Cats Protection’s North London Adoption Centre.

Eleven-week-old sisters Boots and Mittens have more than the usual 18 toes, thanks to the inherited condition known as polydactyl.

black and white polydactyl kitten laying on its back with paws in the air
Boots has an extra toe on each of her four paws
Boots has 24 digits, with an extra toe on each paw, and Mittens has 22 digits, with an extra toe on each of her front paws.

black and white kitten with moustache marking
Mittens has an extra toe on each of her front paws
The kittens were handed in to the centre with their three other black-and-white siblings, Scout, Tux and Kisses, and there is some impressive facial hair among the litter. Mittens, Kisses and Tux in particular have some rather dashing moustache markings!

five black and white kittens sitting on a white blanket
Boots, Mittens, Kisses, Scout and Tux arrived with their mum Mira
“Although Boots and Mittens may look a little unusual, the extra toes do not affect their health in any way,” said Jen Harris, Manager at Cats Protection’s North London Adoption Centre.

black and white kitten with moustache marking
Kisses has a very stylish moustache 
“There is a legend among sailors that polydactyl cats used to be ship’s cats and the extra toes helped them climb the rigging.

“It’s a nice story, but these cats do not have a greater climbing ability. It’s neither an advantage nor a disadvantage – just an unusual quirk of nature.”

black and white kitten with moustache marking
The dashing Tux with fine facial hair 
Although not common, polydactyl cats and kittens can be found across the UK. It is a genetic condition that, in the majority of cases, causes no harm to the cat whatsoever. Some polydactyl cats have just one extra toe on each paw but some can have two or even three extra on each foot. If a polydactyl cat has kittens, there is a good chance some of her kittens will also have the condition.

black and white kitten
Little Scout has found a new home
Scout, Tux, Kisses, Mittens, Boots and their mum Mira have already found new loving homes, but if you would like to donate towards the cost of their care, you can do so by texting NLDN to 70577 to donate £5. To make a smaller or larger donation, please visit our website.

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

Friday, 1 November 2019

The cat owner’s guide to keeping a clean home

There are many tell-tale signs of a home with a cat; cat toys strewn across the floor, cosy boxes and beds in every room and of course a sprinkling of cat fur on the soft furnishings.

ginger cat asleep

While they more than make up for this mess with their purrs and affection, it’s still up to the human residents of the household to clean up after them.

There are several ways you can make these chores easier for yourself, meaning you’ll have more time for head bumps and chin rubs with your feline housemate.

To help you keep your home clean and cat-friendly, here are some handy tips…


1. Pick the perfect litter tray location 


Providing your cat with their own indoor toilet is a must, but they do sometimes have a habit of making a mess outside the tray. This is because cats like to bury their poo, which involves flicking the litter around and occasionally onto the floor.

ginger and white long-haired cat

To make the clearing up easier, place the litter tray somewhere with hard flooring that is easy to sweep, or put the tray on a protective mat that can be easily wiped clean.

Of course it’s also important that the location suits your cat too, so choose somewhere quiet and private for them to do their business that’s away from where they eat, drink and sleep.

For more information about where to put all of your cat’s things, take a look at our blog.

2. Buy some cat blankets 


One of the main areas your cat will leave behind some furry evidence is where they snooze.

tabby cat lying upside down on blanket

To make the fluff easier to clean up, get your cat some cosy, washable blankets to sleep on. Try placing them in warm, quiet spots around the house or even inside cardboard boxes where they can snooze in peace.

Cats like to switch between sleeping spots regularly so give them a few options and then when they move on to a new bed, wash the blanket that’s not in use. This will ensure there’s always at least one blanket that they can recognise their own scent on, helping them to feel safe and happy.

For more facts about cats and sleep, read our blog.

3. Make brushing a daily ritual


To reduce the amount of hair your kitty leaves around the house, try getting into the habit of brushing them regularly.

ginger cat being brushed by woman

While most cats are pretty good at grooming themselves using their rough tongues, giving them a helping hand will give you the chance to catch the hair before it settles on the carpets and sofas.

Brushing your moggy can also be a great bonding experience and will help to keep their coat healthy and glossy.

For lots of tips on how to groom your cat, visit www.cats.org.uk/grooming

4. Get a powerful vacuum cleaner 


To make cleaning up any leftover cat hair quick and easy, get a vacuum cleaner purposefully designed for pet owners.

woman hoovering stairs with Shark vacuum cleaner

Shark’s TruePet vacuum cleaners feature innovative Lift-Away technology for removing embedded pet hair from floors and furnishings.

What’s more, buying one will also benefit unwanted cats and kittens across the UK. For every UK sale of a TruePet vacuum cleaner through Shark’s website, 25p per charity will be donated to Cats Protection and Dogs Trust*, with Shark committing to raising at least £33,500 for each charity during a one-year period!

To find out more about this exciting partnership, click here

*Dogs Trust Registered Charity Nos: 227523 & SC037843