Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Meet the lucky black cats who have brightened their owners’ lives

For the past 10 years, Cats Protection’s National Black Cat Day has been a chance to shine a light on black and black-and-white cats, who have sadly been regularly overlooked for adoption. 

Back in 2011 it typically took the black cats in our care a week longer to find new homes than cats of other fur colours, but fast-forward to 2020 and we’ve seen a promising change.

Black cats now find their forever homes 10 days quicker on average than they did 10 years ago, closing the gap between them and their more colourful counterparts. 

In fact, 44% of the cats we’ve rehomed over the last decade have been black or black-and-white, that’s 65,000 monochrome moggies in happy new homes!

For this year’s National Black Cat Day on 27 October, we’re celebrating 10 years of championing black cats and asked you, our supporters, to share your stories of your black cat companions. Here are just a few of our favourites…

Rosie and Susie 

Key worker Susie Taylor from Dorset adopted Rosie in April 2020, during a particularly difficult time in her life.  

“I was feeling very low and isolated as I had moved out of my home I lived in with my elderly mum, as I was so concerned I would catch COVID-19 from my job as a health care assistant at Bournemouth Hospital. 

blonde woman in stripy black and grey top holding black cat

“The ward I work on had become a COVID-positive-only ward for patients, and though we had PPE, staff unfortunately seem to be catching it a lot so I couldn’t put my mum at risk.

“Rosie was so scared at first and spent her first week under my bed but she loved the cat tower I’d bought her and started to spend her days on the top of it. 

“I ended up getting COVID-19 and was ill for three weeks. Just having a cat with me made me feel better and helped me not to feel so isolated. I really feel Rosie helped me get better faster and got me out of a very low place. 

“Rosie and I returned home to my mum in June and Rosie is now the most confident little cat. She loves the outside. I’ve had her neutered, chipped and insured so hopefully Rosie will now live her best life with us.”

Cherry and Josie 

Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in May 2019 and suffering with her mental health, Josie McGreal from East Yorkshire found an unexpected companion in Cherry. 

“My husband works full time so, in the day times when he was at work and the children were at school, I felt very lonely.

long-haired brunette woman with black cat on her lap

“I felt like I needed a cat to keep me company during the day and had my heart set on a ginger kitten. I also said I didn't want a black cat and I would prefer a boy. 

“We decided to go down the adoption route and we were asked if we wanted to go to the cattery. I initially said there was no point as I knew they didn't have any ginger kittens, but I decided why not as it would be nice to see them all. 

“When we got there my husband had seen this black cat and told me and our children to go look. She was super friendly and when I went in the pen with her it was love at first sight! 

“She really helped me get through the shock of being diabetic and we couldn't be happier. I would do the school run and then just sit and stroke her for hours on end! She is so affectionate and always wants cuddles. She even sleeps under the covers with us and comes up really close to me so we're touching. She’s such a happy cat.

“She always greets us through the door. She loves tummy rubs too! She's so good with our children and our new kitten, I just love her so much. She really helped me get over being diabetic and at the same time we helped her by giving her a forever home.”

Cleo and Jacqueline 

Adopting Cleo on impulse was Jacqueline Wilkinson from Croydon’s best decision, as she has supported her through a broken arm, divorce, house move and a global pandemic. 

“My ex-husband and I adopted Cleo in 2017 from Cats Protection’s Mitcham Adoption Centre. It was somewhat of an impulse adoption. I'd always wanted a cat but we really only called in to show our support to the new centre. Two visits and three days later, we brought her home with us. 

black-and-white photo of woman holding black cat

“Since then she has supported me through various illnesses and ailments. She never left my side when I broke my arm, as well as a divorce and moving house. 

“The last eight months have been particularly intense for the whole country and I've recently been off work with stress. Cleo has provided company, warmth and love over this time, as well as participating in my afternoon video meetings when I am working! I may well have gone mad without her.

“She is, like all cats, utterly crazy at times, jumping up walls and perching in the weirdest of places but I wouldn't change her for the world and I absolutely wouldn't be without her.”

Willis and Jenny

Little did Jenny Mitchell from North Norfolk know, but she would find a life-saving companion in Willis.

“We got Willis in 2015 from Cats Protection’s Dereham Adoption Centre. He was called Moo K5 then as his litter was found in a cowshed.

woman in blue t-shirt holding black cat over shoulder

“A couple of years after we brought him home, I went through a stage of having hypoglycaemic episodes in the middle of the night and, rather out of the blue, Willis started waking me up before I woke up myself.

“Usually he’d rub his face over mine until I eventually gave in or, if that didn’t work, he’d paw at my head until it did! I’d then go downstairs to sit in the living room and have something to eat and he’d come and sit with me, almost like he was checking I was ok.

“I’m still not sure what was causing me to have the lows and although none were ever serious enough to warrant medical assistance, Willis was probably a huge part in preventing that.

“I still have lows in the night (I’ve had diabetes for nearly 20 years so it’s a common part of my life) and he’ll always come and sit with me when I’m downstairs, he’s just not quite so good at waking me up these days (unless it’s to remind me he wants breakfast!). 

“He is very affectionate and always has been, he loves cuddles and loves to be handled, so he’s often not very far from our sides. I genuinely think that’s because of how he was looked after by Cats Protection before we adopted him – I mean how common is it for cats to like going to the vets, because Willis seems to enjoy it!?”

Shadow and Gavin 

Shadow arrived just when Gavin Harvey from Glasgow needed her most, and now she has a permanent place in his heart… and on his skin!

“Shadow came into my life when I was really down. I came across her photo on the Cats Protection Facebook page and I wanted her from that day. 

man and black cat laying in bed

“She was deemed too old and unwanted but I can tell you she isn’t either of those things. She’s the best thing to ever happen to me. 

“Shadow has been a ray of sunshine in my life. She picks me up when I’m down and she makes me happy in every way. She’s such a beautiful cat too with glossy black fur and bright yellow eyes. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for her. 

“I always say we saved each other. She was sad and I was sad and now we’re happy together. I’ll forever be grateful to Cats Protection for bringing her into my life. 

 “Shadow has shown me love and I always say we were destined to meet. I’m also a crazy cat daddy and I have her face and name tattooed on my hand!” 

If you’ve got a beautiful black cat, share their photo on social media with #BlackCatDay on 27 October and help us celebrate a brilliant decade for monochrome moggies! You can find more information about National Black Cat Day at www.cats.org.uk/black-cats 


Monday, 19 October 2020

Young mother cat and her disabled kitten are thriving against all odds

Maddie, the nine-month-old, heavily pregnant cat who arrived at Cats Protection’s Birmingham Adoption Centre in July, finally has a long-awaited happy ending, but her life could have turned out very differently. 

Born to young parents herself, Maddie’s owner’s landlord had threatened to remove her and her parents if arrangements weren’t made for them to be rehomed.

two black-and-white cats sitting on carpet with a bunch of cats toys nearby
Maddie and her kitten Micah (now renamed Milo)

Not only was the cats’ safety at risk but none of them had been neutered, meaning if their owner had not reached out to the centre for help, Maddie and her mother could both have had up to 18 kittens each year.

Maddie’s parents, Margot and Mason, were neutered and moved to new loving homes after being taken into the centre’s care but nine-month-old Maddie was heavily pregnant and gave birth to two male kittens, Maddox and Micah, just nine days later.    

black-and-white cat sitting inside a piece of wooden furniture
Maddie in her new home

The difficulties should have been over for Maddie after she gave birth but at five weeks old the kittens began to show signs of having cerebellar hypoplasia, a neurological disorder which prevents the part of the brain that controls motor skills and movement from developing correctly in the womb. Kittens with this condition have jerky movement which affects their ability to balance and coordinate their limbs.

The kittens’ condition became increasingly evident as they grew and while Micah was not held back, his littermate Maddox became extremely poorly alongside having the condition and sadly did not survive. 

Luckily, little Micah eventually thrived and enjoys playing and creating plenty of kitten mischief despite being wobbly when he stands or moves. 

black-and-white kitten sitting on wooden floor
Micah (now renamed Milo) looking all grown up

Cerebellar hypoplasia is usually caused by the mother having feline infectious enteritis or feline panleukopenia, a disease caused by feline parvovirus, which is then passed on to the unborn kittens. The disorder can be prevented by routine vaccinations prior to pregnancy.

Cat Care Assistant Alice Batchelor-Reynolds said: “Micah grew into a gorgeous, cheeky kitten who absolutely loves life despite being unsteady on his feet. He has already started to adjust and will continue to learn to adapt to his condition over time. Eventually he won't be as wobbly. 

“Micah and Maddie are now enjoying life in a wonderful, loving new home where Micah has been renamed Milo. 

two black-and-white cats asleep on sofa
Maddie and Milo in their forever home

“However, we cannot overlook that preventative vet treatment, including timely vaccinations and neutering, would have changed the outcome for all generations of their family. 

“Micah and Maddie were very lucky because their owner realised they needed help and reached out to us but, like little Maddox, many in their situation might not have survived without intervention, especially if there had been pregnancy complications. 

“We would urge all cat owners to invest in early vaccinations and neutering for their cats, it’s the kindest option in the long-run and can prevent costly vet bills later on.” 

For details of how Cats Protection can provide financial assistance with neutering, visit www.cats.org.uk/neutering

For help and advice on caring for disabled cats, visit www.cats.org.uk/disabled-cats  


Friday, 16 October 2020

Happy ending for kitten who lost an eye after being found close to death

Kitten Rosie Rags has survived a near-death ordeal and gone on to live in a loving new home thanks to a group of cat-loving volunteers and their local vet.

Little Rosie was just over eight weeks old when she was found almost dead with a deeply infected eye, fighting for life near some outbuildings in Potterspury. 

grey long-haired kitten with one eye
Little Rosie Rags was rescued just in time

The quick-thinking member of the public who spotted her called Cats Protection’s Northampton Branch for help. 

The branch’s trap, neuter and return volunteer, Brenda, was first to respond to the plea and went to the rural area where tiny Rosie was sleeping on a rock in the sun. 

The fearful kitten initially ran away weaving beneath nearby vehicles and into ditches and undergrowth. 

Brenda noticed Rosie’s damaged eye and realised how extremely poorly the young cat was as she tried to run up a hill but collapsed in exhaustion at the top. 

grey long-haired kitten laying on beige towel
Rosie, exhausted and frail, after arriving in the branch's care

Brenda slowly approached and was able to collect the tiny, scared, blue-grey, long-haired kitten and rush her to a fosterer who would take her straight to a vet.

Fosterer Teresa Allaway was next to help frail Rosie. With over 10 years’ experience caring for foster cats she knew it was a race against time to ensure Rosie got the immediate care she needed to save her life and arranged for her to visit Spinney Veterinary Hospital. 

They kept Rosie alive out-of-hours on a Saturday night before operating to remove her eye the following morning.

Rosie was only just past the age at which kittens would usually leave their mothers and would not have survived if she hadn’t been found when she was. 

The operation was a success and with strong pain relief and antibiotics to fight infection, the young cat was nursed back to health, this time by fosterer Paula Francis who was able to provide round-the-clock care. 

grey long-haired kitten sitting in fluffy beige cat tree
Rosie recovered well from her ordeal and learned how to be a kitten again

Paula nurtured Rosie from the earliest days after her surgery when she hand-fed her chicken to build her strength and appetite, and reminded her how to be a kitten with play and socialisation once her eye had healed.   

The branch’s education volunteer Diana Johnson said: “Just over a month after she was rescued Rosie Rags, as we called her, had blossomed into a striking kitten with luxurious fur and a zest for life. She has now gone to live in a loving home and her journey really showed what a difference dedicated volunteers and first-class veterinary skills can make.  

“We know her life hung by a thread when we first collected her, so to see her playing at her fosterer’s and hear how she’s enjoying life now is both poignant and life-affirming. Our little Rosie has been a real-life phoenix rising from the ashes.” 

Susan Atkins, Veterinary Surgeon at Spinney Veterinary Hospital, added: “Rosie is an incredibly lucky kitten. She would not have survived the night if she had not been found and rushed to Spinney Vets by Teresa. 

“She required emergency treatment to stabilise her condition before she was strong enough to have the surgery to remove her badly damaged eye. We are all so thrilled that she has recovered so well and found a loving home.”

Now 13 weeks old Rosie has settled in her new home in Northampton and been renamed Tinkerbell. 

For further information about the Northampton Branch and cats in their care visit www.cats.org.uk/northampton

If you would like to volunteer with Cats Protection, visit www.cats.org.uk/volunteering to find an opportunity in your area. 


Thursday, 15 October 2020

Supporter hosts Black Cat Quiz for her monochrome moggy Flic

Cat lover Anne has raised a fantastic £100 for the Cats Protection branch she adopted her black cat Flic from.

black cat laying inside a wooden drawer

Having previously had a black cat called Liquorice, Anne wasn’t looking for another but couldn’t resist little Flic when she and her husband spotted her on the Chelmsford & District Branch website. 

“We were both looking on the website and at the same time we said ‘Flic looks cute’,” said Anne. 

black cat asleep on a brown leather sofa

“She’s been part of our family for almost five years now and I love her to bits. I work from home so most of the time, it’s just me and her. 

“She is absolutely adorable and she knows it, she gets away with everything! She has never had to wait to be fed, to be let in etc. and so she is really spoiled. 

black cat laying in a laundry basket

“I always give in to her as she puts her head on one side, looks at me with her beautiful little face and makes the strangest little eek sound. How can anyone refuse?!”

As well as raising much-needed funds for the branch, Anne’s online Black Cat Quiz was also a great opportunity for her to spend an evening with friends, including one all the way from Tasmania!

black cat playing with some plastic packaging on a tiled floor

Black Cat Day is on 27 October and we’d love for more supporters to celebrate beautiful black cats by hosting an online Black Cat Quiz. 

If you would like to enjoy a cosy night in while putting family and friends’ knowledge to the test, register for your own quiz pack now at www.cats.org.uk/BlackCatQuiz  


Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Four orphaned kittens rescued from a rabbit hole

A litter of kittens found huddling in a rabbit burrow at a holiday complex in Aviemore, Scotland has been successfully rescued thank to a team effort by staff, guests and Cats Protection. 

There had been sightings of kittens by staff and guests at High Range complex for several days but whenever anyone went to find them they had gone back into hiding. 

two tabby kittens asleep on a blue towel
Two of the rabbit hole kittens after being rescued

Receptionist Rachel Paterson said: “Our site manager had seen the kittens a day or two earlier while doing a drive-round check of the caravan park. I had gone down to the area to look for them, but hadn't had any luck at that point.

“The next day one of our resident guests had come up to reception to ask if we could do anything about the cats as they were currently in their awning. 

brunette woman stroking grey tabby cat
Receptionist Rachel with one of her cats

“I went down with the guest and we tried to catch the kittens who were under their caravan by that point, but soon discovered they were hiding in a rabbit burrow.”

Rachel called in our Strathspey Branch to help and, after being led to where they were last spotted, Branch Coordinator Peter Norgate and his wife Margaret set traps with food in the hope of tempting them out. 

Within minutes a six-week-old ginger kitten proved hungry and brave enough to venture out of the hole and into the harmless trap.

tabby kitten among some long grass
One of the kittens spotted at the holiday complex

Peter and his team left their details with the occupants of the nearest camper van and asked them to get in contact if any other kittens popped out. They were called back just minutes later when another kitten was trapped. In all it took several days to bring them all to safety.

“Life as a Cats Protection volunteer is never dull!” said Peter. “We certainly got to know the route to High Range well as we were back and forth collecting the kittens. 

“Sadly, a cat was reported killed on the road in the area in the same week as these kittens were found and we believe it was the mother, which is why they were left all alone. 

two tabby kittens eating from a grey plastic food bowl
Two of the kittens enjoying a tasty meal

“Tortie, Abbie, Ginge and Rufus are now in foster care and at the moment they are just getting used to us. We hope in the coming days to begin to socialise them so that we can then begin the process of finding them their forever homes.” 

A cat lover herself, Rachel was delighted to see all four kittens taken into care, knowing how cold the nights were and that heavy rain was on its way.

Rachel said: “It was a real case of team work as many people were involved in the whole weekend of trying to rescue all four kittens, from Peter and Margaret, to myself and other staff members checking traps, to guests who also volunteered to check on traps.

“I have had cats for as long as I can remember, many from birth, and currently have three elderly girls of my own. It has been a bit of deja vu for me as my eldest cat was a feral kitten from a colony where I worked at the time, and would have been around the same age as these kittens when I took her home 15 years ago.”

The chance meeting between Rachel and our Strathspey Branch has also resulted in her signing up to becoming a volunteer, after being invited to help run the branch’s social media pages.

The rabbit hole kittens are not yet available for rehoming, but keep an eye on the branch’s website for details of when they are ready to find new homes. 

If you would like to learn more about becoming a volunteer with Cats Protection, visit www.cats.org.uk/volunteering


Wednesday, 7 October 2020

How are our pet cats similar to wildcats?

Did you know that our cute, loveable pet cats are closely related to African wildcats, who live in the African savannah? 

Brown African wildcat in the African savannah

It might seem unlikely that the cuddly creature sitting on your lap has anything in common with a wild animal, but they’re actually pretty similar. Here are some of the quirky behaviours they share…

Similarities between pet cats and African wildcats 


They like to hide when they’re scared 

Brown African wildcat sitting in a hole  with only its head visible above ground

Both pet cats and wildcats will do everything they can to avoid a fight, so if they feel threatened by a human or another animal, they will run away and hide, preferably somewhere up high so they can watch out for other dangers. They will usually only fight back if they are trapped and unable to get away, but first they’ll typically hiss and growl to warn you to stay back. 

They mark their territory 

Brown tabby cat scratching the back of a chair with its claws

To avoid bumping into other animals on the savannah, African wildcats will mark their territory by spraying urine, rubbing their cheeks on objects to leave behind a scent or creating scratch marks with their claws. This lets others know this territory is taken and to stay away. Our pet cats do something very similar to deter other neighbourhood cats from entering their home or garden, so it’s a good idea to get them a scratch post to stop them damaging your furniture in the process! 

They sleep a lot 

Brown African wildcat sitting with its eyes closed

Wildcats need to have lots of naps throughout the day and night so they can conserve energy for hunting. While our own pet cats don’t need to hunt for their food, they still like to snooze a lot, just in case. In fact they can sleep for 12 to 18 hours a day, often in some rather strange places and positions!

They like to eat, drink and toilet separately 

Grey-and-white cat sitting behind a food bowl on a tiled floor

Nasty diseases can easily spread in the African savannah, so wildcats are very careful about keeping clean and safe. This is why they will usually eat, drink and go to the toilet in completely separate areas within their territory, to prevent any cross-contamination. Pet cats like to do the same, which is why you might find they eat and drink more if you keep their food and water bowls separate and well away from their litter tray. 

While pet cats have a lot in common with African wildcats, there are also some key differences too…

Differences between pet cats and African wildcats 


Wildcats live alone 

Brown African wildcat sitting in the savannah

Out on the savannah, wildcats survive all on their own, with no humans or other wildcats to help them find food and keep safe. Our own pet cats need a bit more looking after, so they rely on us, their owners, to make sure they’re well-fed, warm and healthy. They can even sometimes live alongside other animals too, like dogs and other cats, providing they’ve been properly and carefully introduced. 

Pet cats need to visit the vet

brunette female vet in blue t-shirt examining brown tabby cat on vet table

Wildcats have to be very careful to stay safe and healthy, as in the wild they don’t have vets who can treat them if they’re sick or injured. Pet cats are lucky enough to have access to regular veterinary check-ups and treatments, such as vaccinations, flea and worming medication and neutering, to help them live long and healthy lives. 

Wildcats have to find their own food 

Brown African wildcat leaping through the air in the African savannah

Hunting is an important skill for wildcats as they have to be good at stalking, pouncing and jumping in order to catch enough food to eat. Pet cats don’t usually have to work as hard for their food – just some urgent meowing will see it ‘magically’ appear in the bowl in front of them – but they still love to hunt. Chasing and catching objects is not only great exercise, it also releases happy hormones in their brains, so it’s important they have plenty of toys to play with.

To find out more about why cats do what they do, take our fun, interactive online course and become a cat expert! Younger cat fans can also learn lots more about our feline friends on our dedicated education website

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Scruffy stray cat has both ears removed due to sun damage

Cats Protection’s Cornwall Adoption Centre is appealing for help for a cat who had to have both ears partially removed after he was found on the streets near Penzance.

dirty ginger-and-white cat with damaged ears
Afred when he arrived at the Cornwall Adoption Centre

Eight-year-old Alfred arrived at the centre after he was discovered wandering forlornly around Sancreed. It is likely he has been a long-term stray and was visibly underweight and wary of people when he arrived. 

After his first vet check, Alfred was diagnosed with a severe skin allergy which was causing lesions and inflammation across his body. He was also found to have signs of early cancer on his ears caused by constant sun exposure during his time living rough.

The final cost of his veterinary care and finding him a new home is likely to reach at least £600 and the centre has set up an appeal to help cover the costs, with any funds left over from Alfred’s care going towards other cats at the centre.

ginger-and-white cat with stitches in his ears
Alfred after having surgery to remove the damaged parts of his ears

Gareth Williams, Deputy Manager of the centre said: “When Alfred arrived here at the centre he was in a terrible state. His skin must have been almost unbearable. He was covered in scabs and fleas, furiously itching to try and get some relief. As a result of the itching, his skin had become infected and to make matters worse, he had severe sun damage. 

“Understandably, he didn’t want anything to do with us when he first arrived. He, was growling, hissing and lashing out in pain, so we took him to his new cabin with some food and warm blankets and left him to it.

“By the next morning he was eager to come out and introduce himself to everyone, chatting and rubbing against us. It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep in a warm, safe place will do. Once he realised we could be trusted, we were able to examine him properly and started him on steroids and antibiotics, getting him on the road to recovery.” 

ginger-and-white cat with ears removed sitting in blue cat bed
Alfred recovering from his ear surgery

Once Alfred’s condition was more stable, the centre scheduled his surgery for a partial pinnectomy, which sees the damaged area of the ear flaps removed. The skin on cats’ ears is very thin with hardly any protective fur. Pale coloured cats like Alfred are especially prone to skin cancer as there is very little protective pigment in their ears. 

Gareth adds: “Alfred’s doing really well since his operation. His ears are healing nicely and it won’t have any significant effect on him longer-term. He is such a friendly cat and will make a lovely companion once he’s ready for a new home. 

“Alfred’s story does show the damage that excess sun exposure can cause to cats and although we’re coming into the winter months now, the sun has still been very warm in recent weeks and cats can be vulnerable to the elements all year round. 

“Unfortunately strays like Alfred don’t always have the luxury of shelter and protection, but for owned cats the best way to keep them protected on hot, sunny days is to keep them indoors during the hottest times, which are traditionally between 10am and 3pm. If that’s not possible, providing sources of shade in your garden using cat-friendly plants and allowing access to a shed or outhouse will help protect cats’ skin. Vets will also be able to advise about a feline-friendly sunblock. 

“For the winter months we should be aware of potential frostbite to ears, nose, tail and toes, any area where the skin is thinner, and be vigilant for signs of skin discolouration, pain, swelling or blisters. It’s also sensible to check your cat’s paws when they come in and gently wipe off any road grit, salt or compacted snow.”

In addition to the ear surgery and treatment for his skin condition, like all Cats Protection cats Alfred will be neutered, up-to-date with his flea and worm treatments, microchipped and vaccinated before he is made available for adoption. 

Further details about Alfred, including the type of home that would suit him best, will be posted on www.cats.org.uk/cornwall once he’s ready for adoption.

For more advice on keeping your cat safe outside, visit www.cats.org.uk/keeping-cats-safe-outside 


Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Cat lover’s 200km charity run for moggies who saved her life

Josie Murrie from Canterbury says her three cats made life worth living after the loss of her father Bill.

Now Josie has set herself the challenge of running 200km around the city to raise money for other unwanted moggies who don’t have a home of their own. 

blonde woman wearing yellow Cats Protection running vest
Josie is hoping kind cat lovers with sponser her to run 200km

The 23-year-old will be running different 6-7km routes every day in October and hopes to raise £2,000 as well as take her message of hope for cats to as many people as possible. 

“I lost my dad to cancer a few years ago and I was really lonely and heartbroken,” said Josie. “My whole world felt like it had crumbled down. I come from a family that loves cats and my earliest memories are of being surrounded by feline friends, so it was natural for me to want to adopt two to help fix my empty home and mend my broken heart.”

two brown tabby cats sitting on top of gift-wrapped box
Josie's cats Jones and Ripley

Soon after making that decision, Josie learned of some local kittens in need of a new home, so she jumped to their rescue, adopting two while her mum took a third. 

“This was the best decision I've ever made. They are my world and make every day so much brighter just for having them in it. They brought joy into my life that I never thought possible again. It’s a cliché but I believe my two little darlings saved my life. They’re beautiful and I love them more than anything.”

two brown tabby kittens sitting inside pink box
Jones and Ripley when they were kittens

Soon after she adopted the two cats, named Jones and Ripley after characters from the Alien film franchise, she heard of another cat living rough so took him in and named him Noodle. “We’re lucky to have cat lovers next door who have a black cat called Marcel and the four have become a great friendship group,’ she said.

The loss of a beloved family pet who had been around since before Josie was born brought the work of Cats Protection to her attention.

black cat sticking its tongue out
Josie's cat Noodle

“When my childhood cat Peggy passed away due to old age 12 years ago, we were heartbroken. We knew we needed another bundle of joy to fill our home with personality and warmth so mum contacted Cats Protection to say that we wanted to adopt another loving kitty.

“Most of the cats we have had have been abandoned at some point and we were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time so that we could call them part of our family. 

“Sadly, lots of cats and kittens aren't so lucky and that's where Cats Protection come in. They do such wonderful work, I want to do whatever I can to ensure that other cats who are not as lucky as my three find their forever homes.”

The 200km challenge she has set herself will not only benefit thousands of cats in need, it will also be a personal achievement for Josie. 

one grey-haired man and two red-headed girls smiling at the camera
Josie's last photo with her father Bill before he passed away aged 60

She said: “I used to be quite athletic but I gained a lot of weight after falling ill and losing my dad. I’ve been trying to lose weight, exercising every day, but this will be the extra motivation I need to get in better shape.”

Efforts such as these are of great importance to Cats Protection, as COVID-19 restrictions mean most fundraising events large and small have been cancelled or postponed until 2021.  

Cats Protection’s Gina Rogers said: “When Josie approached our events team, we were blown away by the magnitude of her challenge and her immeasurable passion for cats. To say it’s been a challenging time for events is an understatement, but supporters like Josie are truly one of a kind.”

To support Josie in her mega fundraising challenge, visit her JustGiving page.

If you fancy taking on your own challenge for Cats Protection, visit www.cats.org.uk/events for more information.


Monday, 28 September 2020

Charity worker plans month of walks to raise money for cats

Cats Protection charity worker Paul Hannant will take on Britain’s highest peaks and walk more than 200 miles in a month-long challenge to raise funds for cats and kittens. 

The Great British challenge is the brainchild of Paul, Manager at Cats Protection’s Dereham Adoption Centre, who has been working throughout lockdown for cats in care. 

man wearing blue Cats Protection t-shirt with cream-coloured flat-faced cat on his lap

“The team at our centre has continued to home cats during the pandemic, despite working in unique and often difficult circumstances,” said Paul. “We adapted well to the obstacles and have united many cats with their new owners via our hands-free homing process.”

Fundraising took a big hit when major charity events such as the London Marathon were cancelled and local fairs and sponsored challenges were called off. Thousands of pounds of goodwill donations were lost by Dereham Cats Protection, although running costs to support cats in care have remained high and the service to the community goes on.

man sitting on pile of rocks on top of hill and giving two thumbs up

Paul added: “The inability to hold many of our usual fundraising events has seen the charity’s income drop substantially this summer. I wanted to do what I could to offset a little of that loss and I came up with this series of Great British challenges.

“I signed up for the Slieve Donard trek but I wanted to do more. That’s when I came up with this crazy idea of climbing Britain’s highest peaks. What can I say; I like hills.

“As I’m not climbing an English mountain, I’ll climb Snowdon twice and walk a marathon. I live about 26 miles from the coast so with a route jiggled to get the correct mileage, I can walk to Beeston Bump. Running it would probably kill me. That should be enough for one month, don’t you think?” 

Paul’s challenge will be to:

  • walk 26.2 miles from his Dereham home to Beeston Bump on the Sheringham coast, on October 4, the Virtual London Marathon Day
  • climb Scotland’s Ben Nevis on his stairs; 8,810 stairs without rest to ascend the height of Britain’s highest mountain
  • climb Welsh mountain Snowdon, the highest peak in England and Wales, twice in one day
  • conquer Northern Ireland’s highest peak Slieve Donard, as part of Cats Protection’s sponsored event

You can follow Paul’s progress on our Dereham Adoption Centre’s Facebook page or donate via his JustGiving page.

To find out how you can take part in your own challenge event to raise much-needed funds for Cats Protection, visit www.cats.org.uk/events 


Friday, 25 September 2020

Norfolk volunteers mark branch’s 5th birthday despite lockdown

Cats Protection’s Anglia Coastal Branch is marking five years of caring for cats, despite COVID-19 restrictions stopping their plans for a party and fundraising fair.

Celebrations might have been scaled down due to the coronavirus pandemic - and they won’t even be able to share a cake - but the volunteering team has every right to feel proud of their achievements.

They’ve successfully helped nearly 1,500 cats since the branch opened in Waveney five years ago. This includes 1,111 adoptions, welfare support for 524 needy strays and 166 cats as part of the trap-neuter-return programme.

black cat laying on knitted blanket next to cuddly toys
Odin was the first cat rehomed by the branch five years ago

Odin was the first cat to be adopted from the Anglian Coastal Branch. This handsome black boy was mirrored by beautiful young stray Monty, who became the team’s 1,000th cat rehomed in December 2019.

It isn’t all about rehoming and neutering though. The branch works at the heart of the community and goes to great efforts to provide information and advice on better cat ownership with hundreds of local people attending their branch fairs and fundraising events.

Impressive numbers backed up by the commitment that has kept this small army of cat carers and fosterers who have worked tirelessly throughout lockdown. Even while volunteering was put on hold due to the government’s coronavirus restrictions, cats already in care were never overlooked and the team was on call for emergencies.

piece of string dangling in front of a black cat
Monty was the 1,000th cat rehomed by the branch in December 2019

Lynne Pothecary, Publicity Officer for Cats Protection Anglia Coastal Branch, said: “Sadly, we haven't been able to make any plans to celebrate because of the new rules about no more than six people. That was disappointing, of course, as we wanted to thank the whole community by involving everyone in our celebrations.

“We’ll give ourselves a pat on the back and then we’ll get on with what we do best; caring for local cats and supporting our community of cat owners with welfare information to improve the lives of all cats.”

The results wouldn’t have been possible without five volunteers who have been with the branch since it started; Christine Cutts, Charmaine Woods, Suzanne Hindes, Jackie Jones and Linda Holland, who has more than 25 years of experience with Cats Protection.

Cat Welfare Coordinator Christine Cutts, who was the branch’s first volunteer five years ago, said: “Better cat ownership that benefits the lives of cats and their families drives our work on welfare, support and education in the community. Our job doesn’t end when a cat finds a loving home. We help the cat and owner settle down together. We’re proud of what we’ve achieved and we look forward to the next five years.”

Acting Admin Coordinator Linda Holland, agreed: “This is a result of teamwork and the support of our community. Without local people who come to our events and notify us of cats in need, we wouldn’t be able to raise necessary funds and spread the word about better care for cats and their owners. We are an extended team and everyone should be part of our celebrations.”

If you would like to support our Anglian Coastal Branch, please visit their website for more information. If you’re interested in volunteering with Cats Protection, visit www.cats.org.uk/volunteering to find an opportunity near you.  


Monday, 21 September 2020

Cat careers: Finding your purrfect job at Cats Protection

It’s the International Week of Happiness at Work and in our opinion there’s no better way to find job satisfaction than working with cats!

Our employees at Cats Protection can testify that a career with cats is truly rewarding so we asked them what makes their role positively purrfect…

Sue Dobbs – Bridgend Adoption Centre Manager

brunette woman in blue Cats Protection t-shirt holding tabby-and-white cat
Sue Dobbs with Cookie

“My role as Centre Manager is at the heart of the work Cats Protection does and has a direct benefit on cats through helping unwanted cats and kittens find their forever home. It also benefits cats by enabling me to share case studies from the centre, highlighting cat welfare issues and getting key messages out to the public, helping to improve cat welfare regionally and nationally. 

“I have been working for Cats Protection for 22 years and my favourite thing is making a real difference to people and cats on a daily basis. I find it very rewarding when a cat is admitted into our care bedraggled and in poor condition, and we nurse it back to full health and rehome it. I particularly love receiving videos and photos of them settled in their forever homes.

“I consider myself very fortunate to be able to say that I love my job. It is very varied and no two days are the same. The job can be challenging and stressful at times and there have been good times and bad times but I believe that it is a privilege to be the Bridgend Adoption Centre Manager and to head up our amazing team of employees and volunteers to help cats and people in our local community, I am extremely proud of team Bridgend.”

Helen Waterman – IT Project & Documentation Officer

fair-haired woman in blue Cats Protection fleece with tabby-and-white cat in cat pen
Helen Waterman with Willow

“My role provides Cats Protection employees with technology to improve their IT processes, ultimately giving them time back for the cats. My favourite thing about the role is knowing that the work I do in IT helps employees provide a more effective and efficient service to Cats Protection customers/adopters and suppliers, allowing more time to be focused on the cats in our care.”

Dr Jennifer McDonald BSc MSc PhD – Feline Epidemiologist

brunette woman holding tabby-and-white cat
Jennifer McDonald with Mac

"Although roles are diverse everyone at Cats Protection is working towards the common goal of improving cat welfare, so immediately we all share common values. I find immense enjoyment from applying my research skills to help understand more about cats to benefit their welfare.

“If I could have made up my perfect job, this would be it. I work for an organisation and within a department that shares my passion for cat welfare and I get to apply my academic skillset to help answer meaningful questions on all things cats, which have the potential to have a real positive impact on their welfare.”

Edward Blackwell – Dual-site Shop Manager (Wolverhampton and Stourbridge) 

tortoiseshell cat sitting on desk next to man typing on laptop
Edward Blackwell hard at work with his cat companion

“It's the people that make it purrfect for me. Cats Protection is very good at saying "thank you" and "well done". This is often forgotten in life. This means a lot to me, and I have huge respect for #TeamCP. We have knowledgeable and experienced senior retail leaders, who don't just talk the talk. They have been there and done it themselves so this also generates respect. 

“This is the first organisation where the head of retail has made the effort to engage with me and has personally thanked me on many occasions for my hard work. They are all approachable and we really are one big team. I will always be grateful to Cats Protection for giving me the chance to work for such an amazing organisation!”

SuiLi Weight – Cat Welfare Learning Officer 

brunette woman in blue Cats Protection top holding white-and-tabby cat
SuLi Weight with a Cats Protection cat

“My current role helps cats by teaching an understanding of good cat welfare to the employees and volunteers looking after them, to better understand the reasons for our policies and procedures. This benefits the cats directly in Cats Protection care and also the wider cat population, both owned and unowned, as these people educate and pass the good welfare messages out to the public too.

“I love the impact that this role has to help cat welfare, both for those in Cats Protection care and beyond. It is wonderful to have the opportunity to speak to the employees and volunteers working on the ‘front line’ and help them to learn and develop, and help with any issues they might have.”

Lizanne Frawley – Learning & Development Specialist

“My role supports the people who use their talents and skills to create the impact for cats. My favourite thing is when someone says they have had a ‘lightbulb’ moment on one of our courses. It’s re-motivating every time in knowing they have an impact. It’s my purrfect job because it matters.”

If you’re interested in a career with cats, visit careers.cats.org.uk to find the purrfect job for you. 


Friday, 18 September 2020

Purrfectly Imperfect: Three-legged Mylo is living life to the full

He may be missing a leg, but playful Mylo loves nothing more than chasing butterflies in the garden, jumping onto the bed for a cuddle and watching a bit of ‘Catflix’.

three-legged ginger-and-white cat sitting on navy blue sofa
Mylo doesn't let his disability hold him back

His owner Sarah Gooding adopted him from Cats Protection’s Birmingham Adoption Centre in 2018 and believes that #PurrfectlyImperfect cats have so much to give despite their disabilities.

I was looking at the local Cats Protection website for something for work (I work in charitable fundraising) and decided to have a look at the cats available with a colleague,” said Sarah.

blonde woman in burgundy jumper with ginger-and-white cat on her lap
Sarah with her cuddle buddy Mylo

“I'm a sucker for a sad animal story, and when I read the information on the website about how he had lost his leg something just clicked. I was living alone and had recently moved back to the area, and I thought Mylo could be the perfect companion for me, and I could help keep him safe and ensure he had the best possible life.”

Sarah hadn’t owned a cat since she was a child, let alone a disabled moggy, so she was happy to get some expert advice from the Cats Protection team.

three-legged ginger-and-white cat standing up at front door on welcome doormat
Mylo is loving his new home

“The staff at Cats Protection Birmingham were brilliant at explaining any additional care he would need which, it turns out, isn't a lot! He's just as mischievous as a four-legged cat.

“As it's one of his front legs missing he still has all the power of his back legs to jump etc, so he has no problem getting upstairs or jumping up on to furniture. Bringing him home was just like bringing home any other cat.

three-legged ginger-and-white cat sat on sofa with belly showing
Letting it all hang out 

“The main thing the staff pointed out was that I would need to monitor his weight, as being overweight could put a lot of extra pressure on his joints as it would be spread over only three legs.

“The staff also advised that he was very shy. He hadn't come out of his kitty castle much during his stay at Cats Protection, and would never go up into the display area of his pen, so I'd had to crawl in on my hands on knees when I went to see him! However, the day I took him home he curled up on the sofa next to me, but his head on my lap, and went to sleep!”

three-legged ginger-and-white cat laying in sunny spot on carpet
A sunny spot for a snooze

It didn’t take long for Mylo to settle into his forever home and he soon started to discover some new favourite hobbies.

“Mylo's favourite thing to do throughout the summer has been to visit our neighbour's garden which has a big buddleia bush and LOTS of butterflies. We didn't know this until our neighbour came round to let us know – luckily he hasn't been up to any mischief and our neighbour seems to have quite enjoyed watching him chase the butterflies!

“He likes to watch videos for cats on YouTube or, as we call it, 'Catflix'. His favourite is a Harry Potter-themed quidditch video where he tries to catch the golden snitch on the screen! 

three-legged ginger-and-white cat pawing at mouse on computer screen
Watching his favourite 'Catflix' show

“Mylo also has an incredible perception of time and our routine. He has worked out the signs for when we're about to go to bed, and always gets up from wherever he is sat and runs up the stairs ahead of us, and jumps on the bed before we get there. He does that every single night without fail.

“In the morning, he won't come downstairs until I do, even if my partner has been downstairs first. He is at my side all morning; next to the bed when I first wake up, laid next to me while I get ready, and even walks down the stairs with me. Most of the time my partner has already put his food out and called him, but he still won't go downstairs until I do.”

three-legged ginger-and-white cat laying upside down on a bed
'Helping' with the morning routine

Even a nationwide lockdown hasn’t phased lovely Mylo, as he’s still been as active as ever throughout 2020.

“Mylo is able to go out just like any normal cat, but he's certainly made the most of us being at home, as he has been coming home every 2-3 hours for a snack and a fuss before going out again.

“I do worry that he might find it strange when we go back to work, as having us both at home has certainly changed his routine, but I have found that he adjusts to changes in his surroundings amazingly well, especially given all he has been through in his short life so far!"

three-legged ginger-and-white cat sitting on desk next to laptop
The purrfect assistant while his owner works from home

Mylo has certainly proved that life on three legs can still be full of fun for a cat, and Sarah is keen for other potential cat owners to give a #PurrfectlyImperfect cat like Mylo a chance.

“It's just like owning an able-bodied cat! Just like all cats, Mylo can be aloof when he wants to, but most of the time he's very loving and I put this down to the experiences he's been through, and the time he's spent without a home. Other than keeping an eye on his weight, he has no additional needs to a 'normal' cat.

three-legged ginger-and-white cat laying on navy blue sofa
Mylo the #PurrfectlyImperfect three-legged cat

“The staff at Cats Protection were great at preparing me for what disabled cat ownership might look like, and really prepared me for the worst. The only thing is keeping an eye on his weight can be hard when he sits next to the treats cupboard and gives you 'the look'!”

You can follow Mylo’s antics on his Instagram page @MyloHops. He's also the cover star of the official Cats Protection 2021 calendar. You can get your paws on a copy from our online shop

For more help and advice on caring for #PurrfectlyImperfect cats with disabilities, visit www.cats.org.uk/disabled-cats