Saturday, 1 August 2020

Hallie’s crazy cycling challenge raises money for cats

Eight-year-old Hallie Leborgne from Eastbourne is a self-confessed crazy cat lady, so when she decided to take on an equally crazy cycling challenge, she knew which charity to support. 

young girl wearing pink helmet and yellow jumper sitting on bike
Hallie ready to complete her crazy cycle

Hallie set herself the ambitious task of riding her bike 48 kilometres from Eastbourne to Heathfield and back again. 

After an already gruelling practice ride of 30 kilometres, on 5 July she was ready for the main challenge and completed it in an amazing five hours and 36 minutes. 

girl wearing pink cat jumper holding tabby cat
Hallie with her cat Bonnie

Kind sponsors helped her raise a fantastic £245 for Cats Protection, which will go towards helping the thousands of unwanted moggies in our care before they find new homes. 

“I have loved cats since the day I was born,” said Hallie. “My first cat was called Mr Harry Cat, he was a ginger tabby. He used to follow me everywhere and follow me when I rode my scooter around my street. I even have a book about him. 

black-and-white cat sitting on floor
Hallie's cat Mallie

“I now have a tabby cat called Bonnie and a black-and-white cat called Mallie. They often sleep on my bed. 

“I love cats so much my mummy calls me the crazy cat lady. I have cat bedding, cushions, clothes, ornaments and many more cat things. 

“I am doing this cycle so I can raise money for Cats Protection because I love cats and I want to help them as much as I can.”

tabby cat lying on back on the floor showing its tummy
Bonnie showing off her lovely tummy

If you’d like to complete your own crazy challenge for Cats Protection, our Nine Mile Challenge is back this September! Last year, hundreds of cat-lovers went roaming across the country to raise vital funds for cats.

Join the fun this year and get active by walking, running or cycling nine miles to help give cats and kittens their lives back. 

You can complete the challenge in your own way, so whether you do one big trek or a daily ride, your miles will help cats in need get back on their paws. 

Registration is open now at www.cats.org.uk/9miles so make like a cat and roam free!

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Smuggled kittens quarantined after arriving from Hungary

Four frightened kittens face nearly two months in quarantine after being smuggled into Britain on a lorry from Hungary.

A spot check by UK border authorities at the Port of Dover revealed the tiny kittens locked in a freight container, likely without food or water. When questioned, the lorry driver could not produce any documentation to prove the kittens were his or that he had pet passports to transport them into the UK. 

two grey tabby kittens, one light brown tabby kitten and one tortoiseshell kitten

Realising the risk of prosecution, and to avoid being liable for the cost of putting the kittens through quarantine, the driver agreed to sign over the litter to the government’s Animal and Plant Health Agency. Unfortunately, quarantine catteries and kennels at the port could not take them in and the kittens faced the risk of being put to sleep. 

Animal rescuers stepped in and the kittens were given temporary sanctuary at a rescue centre until they could be transported to a quarantine cattery, where they will remain for seven weeks, before being homed by Cats Protection.
 
Cats Protection Team Manager Karen Corbin said: “These four little mites have swerved a tragic end more than once in their short lives. Their journey in a freight container would have been pretty horrid and then their luck nearly ran out when they couldn’t find anyone to take them at Dover. 

“If only they could talk, they’d have a few tales to tell. But they’re in good hands now they will be rehomed to loving homes when they come out of quarantine.”

If you would like to donate to the cost of caring for the kittens in quarantine and preparing them to be homed please visit www.cats.org.uk/smuggledkittensdonate 

Friday, 24 July 2020

Maddie has kittens at just nine months old

A nine-month-old cat has arrived in Cats Protection’s care heavily pregnant, highlighting the importance of early neutering. 

Maddie was barely more than a kitten herself when she was taken in by Cats Protection’s Birmingham Adoption Centre after her owner had died. She arrived at the centre with 18-month-old Margot and three-year-old Mason. 

black-and-white cat with two newborn black-and-white kittens
Maddie with her newborn kittens

None of the cats had been neutered and the team at the centre believe Margot and Mason are likely to be Maddie’s parents while Mason is likely to also be the father of Maddie’s two kittens, who have now been named Micah and Maddox.  

You can follow the kittens’ progress on Birmingham Adoption Centre’s Instagram page.

newborn black-and-white kitten being held in gloved hand
Maddox at one week old

"As they are essentially only kittens themselves they don’t always have a fully developed nurturing instinct. In these cases we sometimes have to help them to clean and toilet their kittens but Maddie is doing everything perfectly so all we need to do is watch them grow and make sure everyone is happy and healthy.

newborn black-and-white kitten being held in gloved hand
One-week-old Micah

“It’s very easy to forget that pregnancy in cats is risky and with limited vet appointments currently available, if your cat becomes pregnant she may not have easy access to the help she needs. 

"Cats have no emotional need to become pregnant and neutering has a number of health benefits to both male and female cats. As a charity we are able to support owners on limited incomes with the costs of neutering pet cats once vet practices are fully operational again.”

The young family’s story illustrates commonly held misconceptions about pregnancy and mating between cats. 

In a recent survey of 1,000 cat owners, Cats Protection discovered 77% of respondents were unaware a female cat can become pregnant as early as four months of age, while 86% did not know an unneutered female can have as many as 18 kittens in a year.

Two newborn black-and-white kittens sleeping next to each other
Micah and Maddox at two weeks old

As a result of fewer vets being able to carry out neutering during lockdown, we estimate as many as 84,000 extra kittens could be born this summer. 

To stop cats becoming pregnant and to prevent additional pressure on already over-stretched vets, we recommend:

  • keeping unneutered cats and kittens indoors to prevent unplanned litters
  • contacting your vet to discuss whether you can book ahead for a neutering operation
  • ensuring unneutered brothers and sisters are separated – cats will mate with their family members, so it is best to keep them apart

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

Cats Protection may also be able to offer assistance towards the cost of neutering your cat. To find out if you are eligible call the Neutering helpline on 03000 12 12 12 (option 2).

Micah and Maddox will be available for adoption once they are past nine-weeks-old. Keep an eye on the Birmingham Adoption Centre’s website to find out when they become available. 

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Story time with cats is an online lockdown sensation

A Cats Protection cat carer’s idea to host children’s story time with cats has become an internet hit during lockdown.


When Laura Williams from our Haslemere Adoption Centre in Surrey rediscovered a childhood love for reading during recent restrictions, she saw a chance to highlight the work done by her Cats Protection colleagues who remain #HereForTheCats.

Woman wearing Cats Protection shirt hold Six Dinners Sid story book with black-and-white cat on her lap

“When we closed to the public my niece and nephews couldn’t visit the cats so I sent them short videos of me reading to the cats," said Laura. "They loved to see how we still care for the cats behind closed doors. That’s when I had the idea of making more videos to show what we do to make the cats as happy and comfortable as possible. They depend on us and we take a lot of pride in our work.”

Laura has now posted several storytelling videos, surrounded by kittens and cats at the Haslemere Adoption Centre, on YouTube and Facebook and her online audience continues to grow.

“We’ve been with some of the cats in lockdown for more than eight weeks and we’ve come to know them so well. I think that people recognise that in my films, it’s why they are so appealing. And it’s not just children who enjoy them. A large part of my audience is adults who love cats and enjoy seeing what we do. 


“Initially I made the films because it was a good way to spend quality time with the cats, but I realised it was more than that; I was doing it for our volunteers and for the people who continue to support us. I wanted them to see what we have been doing during lockdown, to show that their support matters. It makes a real difference.

“A few times people saw cats in my videos and then got in touch to adopt those specific cats. That was special, to be able to make such a difference for the cats and their new families.”

Cats Protection’s national network of 37 adoption centres and around 230 volunteer-led branches has been closed to the public and admitting only emergency cases, in line with government guidelines. As well as rolling out hands-free homing, which matches cats to eligible new owners and delivers them to the doorstep of their new homes, the Cats Protection team has been working non-stop behind closed doors.

“I haven’t seen some colleagues for three months as we’re split into isolated teams, but we all know why we’re here; to do the best we can for the cats. It’s been strange and sometimes quite difficult, but we’ve found new ways to work together. My parents also liked seeing the videos as I wasn’t able to see them for so long.”

Initially Laura read some of her childhood favourites that had been stored in an attic, but she also used her own money to buy second-hand books from online retailers. What Laura lacks in professional filmmaking knowledge she makes up for in enthusiasm and commitment.

“I don’t have any experience of filming or even reading to children, but people seem to like the videos so maybe that’s part of the charm. I just read and let the cats get on with being themselves. One day I was reading with kittens and they undid my shoelaces. Kittens being kittens; that was a special day.”

To find out how else Cats Protection has been #HereForTheCats during the COVID-19 crisis, visit www.cats.org.uk/coronavirus 


Saturday, 18 July 2020

Purrfectly Imperfect: One-eyed cat Biff wins photo competition

Gorgeous ginger moggy Biff has won the inaugural photo competition of Cats Protection’s Brighton & District Branch, proving that #PurrfectlyImperfect cats are beautiful.

The photo of seven-year-old Biff was taken by his owner Eve Plumridge, who adopted him after he had a rocky start in life. 

Ginger cat with one eye missing
The winning photo of gorgeous Biff

Found injured by a member of the public in Birmingham, it is believed that Biff had been hit by a car, and was taken to a nearby RSPCA shelter to receive extensive surgery. 

After having an eye removed and a metal plate inserted into his jaw, Biff was also found to have Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), the cat version of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), meaning he would need to be an indoor cat. It took him five months to fully recover from his ordeal and be ready to find a new home. 

Woman lying on yellow sofa with ginger cat sitting on her
Eve with her trusty companion Biff

Eve had already set her sights on adopting an FIV cat, and describes finding the lovely Biff as fate. 

“When I moved out of the family home into my own place in May 2019, I knew that I'd want a furry companion to join me,” said Eve. “Due to the fact that there isn't access to any outside space, it just seemed like the perfect opportunity to bring a purrfectly imperfect babe into the home.

“I'd been ready to get a cat pretty much from day one, but I knew that I had an operation coming up, a double jaw join replacement, that was going to mean a good six or more weeks off work and saw that as the perfect time to be able to settle a cat into my home. During the first half of my recovery after I got back home from the operation at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, I started looking online.

Ginger cat stretched out on a windowsill
Biff in one of his favourite spots, a sunny windowsill

“Mr Wiggles featured on the RSPCA website. They had two pictures of this timid little seven-year-old FIV+ ginger boy and a story that both broke and stole my heart. He was found by a member of the public after seemly being hit by a car. They think he'd been wondering in that state for a while as his ruptured eye was infested with flies, he had maggots on the roof of his mouth and a broken jaw, which they had to fix with a bit of metal. As soon as I read that line, I knew I had found my soulmate. Then I looked at where he was recovering... a 15-minute drive away from the check-up on my own metal jaw the next week. I booked in to meet him and the rest is history!”

Renamed Mr Biff Wiggles and now living in Brighton with Eve and her boyfriend, it didn’t take long for this purrfectly imperfect moggy to settle in, and his missing eye does nothing to hold him back at home.

Ginger cat tucked up in a duvet and blankets
All tucked up ready for bed

“Apart from making him a little more clumsy – he's at war with one particular door corner – it really does nothing to hinder him getting around my flat. I have a spiral staircase and he still manages to charge up and down it as confident as anything during his post-poop zoomies!

“Biff became famous while recovering at the RSPCA hospital for his 'dinner dance'. He loves hopping from one foot to the other and swirling around your legs while he waits for you to serve his meal. He has rather large, webbed feet which make it even more adorable.”

Eve was also well-prepared to look after an FIV cat, having done her research before adopting Biff.

Ginger cat stretched out in a sunny patch on the floor
Biff enjoying a big stretch

“I follow a load of cat accounts on Instagram which include trap, neuter and return (TNR) and fosterer accounts. The people that run these accounts show the true reality of their day-to-day work, the impact of kitten season and the spread of diseases such as FIV. It was quite overwhelming to follow them to begin with compared to the usual popular 'famous cat' accounts, but I learnt so much from it, including the importance of neutering and the impact of FIV on a cat’s life, which isn't as scary as it seems!

“I knew that Biff’s FIV status meant that he was more susceptible to disease and infection, meaning he should be kept indoors to reduce the chance of him contracting anything and also stopping him from spreading FIV to other cats. I just have to make sure I'm on top of things such as making sure he has ample water available to keep his liver healthy and to be strict on not treating him to any food other than his own (plus a Dreamie or five!).

Ginger cat asleep on a human's lap
Snuggled up on a cosy lap

“I also get a lot of support from Biff's Instagram friends, who are mostly other FIV cats and their humans. We do a lot of sharing.

“It’s important for people to learn about conditions like FIV and for people to understand that these cats can be just as, if not more, loving. From my own experience, one of the main worries people have with regards to adopting FIV cats is the impact on the cat's life expectancy. While doing my research, I discovered one major fact: FIV cats can live a similar life expectancy to non-infected cats! Knowing this, if you found yourself in a position to adopt an FIV cat then why wouldn't you?!”

Since lockdown began, Eve has been on furlough from her job and has enjoyed documenting Biff’s antics around the house.

Ginger cat standing on a desk
Biff posing for the camera

“Biff is a creature of habit and has loved having myself and my boyfriend around him 24/7. He knows when to wake us up for breakfast in the morning and is stood in the kitchen staring at us when it comes to his 6pm dinner time. 

“I honestly think it's also made him a more comfortable and confident boy. There's a lot less that scares him round the house, although we are yet to be able to count the hoover in that category!”

To see the other winners in our Brighton & District Branch’s photo competition, take a look at their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. 

If you have a disabled cat, you can share their story with us using #PurrfectlyImperfect on social media. For more information on caring for disabled cats, visit www.cats.org.uk/disabled-cats

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

One-eyed George finds a new home of his own

A cat who is learning to live with just one eye has found a loving new family following the death of his beloved owner.

one-eyed tabby-and-white cat sitting on white plastic chair

George was rescued from life on the streets as a youngster to become a much-loved pet. His owner had the foresight to sign up to Cats Protection’s Cat Guardians scheme, which offers peace of mind to owners concerned about what will happen to their pet when they pass away, which is how he came to stay at our Gildersome Homing Centre. 

While in care, a vet noticed a problem with George’s eye and, after diagnosing cancer, decided it was in his best interests to remove it. 

one-eyed tabby-and-white cat standing on white plastic chair

His carers at the centre noticed that although 11-year-old George initially walked in circles after his eye operation, he quickly adapted to his new condition and became a firm favourite with the team. 

“George is one of our older cats, but while 10 years ago the household moggy could have been expected to live to around 13, today’s life expectancy is much higher and we have seen many cats surviving to their late teens and early 20s in remarkably good health,” said Rehoming & Welfare Assistant Diane Armer.

one-eyed tabby-and-white cat sitting on white plastic chair

“He is a lovely boy and is very popular at the centre, it’s amazing how well he has adjusted to having just one eye. He came in with a beautiful personalised blanket from his original owner, and this is something we’ll be sending on with him to his new home.

“George has a cheeky and inquisitive character, he is super friendly, loves cuddles and to sit on your knee.”

Georgous George has now found a home through Cats Protection’s hands-free homing process, which has been introduced to comply with social distancing restrictions. 

For further information on the Cat Guardians scheme visit www.cats.org.uk/cat-guardians

Friday, 10 July 2020

1,000th cat adopted through Cats Protection’s new contactless homing process

Many of us are getting used to a ‘new normal’ due to restrictions from the COVID-19 lockdown, and that includes charities like Cats Protection. 

In order to continue to be #HereForTheCats and find the moggies in our care loving new families, we’ve had to adopt a brand new way of rehoming. 

white kitten sitting in cat climbing tower

Our hands-free homing process involves members of the public finding their purrfect match online, and then us delivering their new companion to their door, all with no human contact. 

The scheme has already been a huge success, with more than 1,000 cats delivered to the doorsteps of their excited new owners. 

Zoe and Zizzi, a mother cat and her kitten, are just two of the moggies we have homed in this way. 

Their new owner Jenny Ball said: "We've been looking for cats that would be right for our family and when we saw Zoe and Zizzi on Haslemere Adoption Centre’s Facebook page, we knew that they would be perfect. The contactless process was really straightforward; just a few phone calls and some paperwork and then, the next thing we knew, we had a date for their arrival. 

A white cat and a white kitten looking out of a window

“Since they arrived, the children haven't left their side, even sleeping in the room with them and the cats seem to be lapping up all the attention. They have found their favourite spots; Zoe likes the window seat and they both like to snuggle in their cat tower."

Mark Beazley, Cats Protection’s Director of Operations, said: “Much of our work was paused following government advice and our priority was the ongoing care for cats already in our centres or with fosterers. Keeping an open mind about how we’ve done things in the past has been important as we review and adapt to new ways of working. Hands-free homing has been a tremendous success – hopefully only the first of many.”

If you would like to adopt a cat through our new hands-free homing process, visit www.cats.org.uk/ hands-free-homing to find out how. 

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Black cat PK is the purrfect furry furlough companion

TV critic and garden security cat PK has proved the perfect quarantine companion to his owner who is on furlough due to lockdown restrictions.

Having been overlooked for six months due to some minor health conditions such as arthritis, black rescue cat PK was adopted from Cats Protection’s Downham Market Adoption Centre by Simon Dolan-Holland last August. 

Man lying on the floor next to black cat
Simon with his trusty lockdown companion PK

25-year-old flight attendant Simon initially saw a homing appeal for PK on Twitter while scrolling through his feed one evening and wanted to find out whether the frequently-snubbed moggy was his purrfect match.

 “I knew that black cats are often unlucky when it comes to getting adopted so I decided to go and see him,” said Simon. “As soon as I met him, his goofy personally really appealed to me – he ignored me at first and then started chasing his tail! I reserved him that day and took him home a few days later.”

black cat sitting on cardboard cat scratching mat
Cat scratchers aren't just for scratching!

Now PK is returning the favour by keeping his human entertained during lockdown with his humorous antics and comical ways.

“PK is such a character and a great companion, particularly over the last few months when it’s just been me and him in the house. He does his own thing, and enjoys his daily patrols of the garden, but regularly comes to me for a fuss too. 

black cat lying on patio in the sun
Soaking up some sunshine

“He also loves to join me on the sofa when I’m watching TV, although he has a habit of lying on the remote and switching channels. Once he’s satisfied with his choice of programme, he’ll usually fall asleep next to me for a while.

“I think lockdown would have been much lonelier if I didn’t have PK. I can never be bored with him around, patting me on the face to wake me up at breakfast time or demanding to be let out, then in, then out again in true cat fashion. And it’s nice to have someone to talk to, even if I can’t understand his replies!”

Black cat putting its paw in man's hand
Lending a helping paw

Simon also says that PK’s arthritis is easily managed with medication and doesn’t bother him much these days – in fact he runs up and down stairs with ease and seems to have become more mobile over time.

Downham Market Adoption Centre Deputy Manager Stacey Ely said: “It’s so wonderful to see PK settled into his home with Simon after a bit of a rough start. We love hearing about the cats that we’ve rehomed and knowing that we’ve been able to help give them a second chance at a happy life.

Black cat lying on duvet with mouth open mid-yawn
A tiring morning snoozing

“As we enter our third year of People’s Postcode Lottery funding, I’d like to say a huge thank you to players for their continued support, which helps us take care of cats like PK for as long as it takes to find them a loving new home.”

If you would like to adopt a new lockdown companion, visit www.cats.org.uk/hands-free-homing for more information. 

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Fun ideas from fantastic fundraisers in lockdown

From trekking the stairs at home to running a marathon on the driveway, our super supporters have continued to be #HereForTheCats during lockdown.

But fundraising isn’t limited to sporty challenges. Here’s how four Cats Protection supporters have put the fun into fundraising with their own unique activity ideas…

Stefanie’s purrfect pawtraits


woman with blue and pink hair holding hand-drawn cat portraits

Creative cat-lover Stefanie decided to use her artistic talents to raise funds for Ferndown Homing Centre with a drawing challenge. She completed 26 cat illustrations in just under five hours, raising £70 for the centre. Stefanie’s own rescue cat, Teddy, ‘helped’ by meowing encouragement and keeping her feet warm.

“Being a little out of practice drawing, I didn’t realise how long it would take me to finish up 26 images! I started off with some practice cat-shape drawings and then moved on to attempt some proper pawtraits of my own. By the end I was tired, but so happy I had finished.”

Lottie and Tom’s game changer 


woman and man holding up video game controllers

Gaming fans Lottie and Tom chose to combine their passion for video games with their love of cats by taking on a gaming marathon in aid of Bridgend Adoption Centre. After playing continuously for over 24 hours, the duo had raised an incredible £170 for the centre and the cats and kittens it takes care of.

“We adopted our gorgeous cat Yuki from the centre and she is such a delight, we love her to bits, even though she can be mega sassy sometimes! After our challenge we obviously both felt exhausted, but we were also really proud of ourselves and grateful to everyone who had donated.”

Leanne and Daniella’s dino dance-off


Two people in inflatable T-Rex dinosaur costumes sitting on bench

Twin sisters Leanne and Daniella dreamt up a dancing challenge with a difference. Inspired by social media star Ralph the Rex, the duo decided to hold a dance-off in fancy dress as T-Rex dinosaurs. They live streamed the challenge on Daniella’s Twitch channel and the pair raised more than £300 for East Surrey Branch.

“To know that our wacky idea managed to raise some funds is overwhelming. You never know if your idea will appeal to others, so the fact that people were willing to give money for two cat lovers to look a bit silly is fantastic!”

Aidan’s litter pick with a difference


Man in white-and-pink unicorn onesie with bin bags behind him

Animal lover Aidan decided to tidy up his local area while raising money to help cats in need by taking on a fancy-dress litter pick walk. After turning heads in his unicorn onesie and collecting two bin bags full of rubbish, Aidan had raised a brilliant £270 in aid of Ferndown Homing Centre.

“The unicorn fancy dress was a spur of the moment decision on the morning of the challenge and a poorly thought through one given how hot it was! I thought it would be a great way to help support the centre and maintain the incredible facilities they have for their rescued cats.”

For more ideas, inspiration and advice on how to raise money your own way for Cats Protection, visit www.cats.org.uk/fundraise

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Elderly stray Summer has a sunnier future in her new home

16-year-old tabby Summer arrived at Cats Protection’s Cornwall Adoption Centre as an arthritic and emaciated stray.

The mature moggy was so thin that a member of the centre team could fit their thumb and first finger in a circle around her abdomen. She weighed just 2.3kg, almost half the weight of most cats her size.

Skinny tabby cat sitting on fleece blanket inside cat pen
Summer getting settled into her pen at Cornwall Adoption Centre

Summer, who would be 80 in human years, was incredibly dehydrated and could barely stand, only able to manage a couple of steps before collapsing. She also had dreadful breath despite having relatively good teeth, as well as very matted fur and obvious arthritis. 

It was soon discovered that Summer was microchipped, and originally named Mary, but sadly her owner’s details had not been updated and despite trying each detail on the chip, as well as every vet in the area where Summer’s original owner had been, there was no trace. 

Skinny tabby cat sitting on pink blanket
Summer when she first arrived at the centre underweight and dehydrated

An initial vet appointment gave Summer a poor prognosis but she was given fluids and ordered rest, plenty of tasty food and a warm bed to help her recuperate back at the centre. 

Once Summer’s condition had improved and she was able to tolerate some tests it was discovered that she had hyperthyroidism which caused her body to burn energy from food as quickly as she could eat. Surgery was booked for a thyroidectomy as well as a toe removal resulting from an old injury which caused too much damage to save it. 

Tabby cat being stroked by Cats Protection employee
Summer getting some fuss from Cat Care Assistant Kirsty

Cat Care Assistant Kirsty Balcombe said: “Everyone at the centre fell head over heels in love with Summer. She was a feisty old girl and despite being in really bad shape initially, she showed us from the start that she was a fighter and full of spirit. She had an amazing gravelly purr that sounded like a mix between an aeroplane and an old car engine.

“She also had the unnerving habit of sleeping with her eyes open. So most of us feared we might have lost her when we first saw her sleeping, only to jump in surprise when Summer would raise her head and greet us with her very distinctive miaow and purr.

Tabby cat sleeping on windowsill
Summer snoozing on her favourite windowsill at home

“Queen Summer, as she became known, could certainly be a cantankerous old lady and we all loved her for it. We could hear that she had woken up or wanted her dinner from wherever we were in the centre because she would wail in disapproval that her rest had been disrupted or her food had not arrived when she wanted. On the odd occasion she didn’t have the energy to chat or complain she would flop down beside you and lick you. She was such a lovely girl.”

Over the following weeks Summer reached 3.4kg, and once her thyroid was removed she was left with just a low grade heart murmur and arthritis, both common conditions for an older cat and easily managed.

Tabby cat sat on windowsill with paws crossed
Elegant Summer with her paws crossed

Nikki Wakefield from St Austell became one of the first people to get in touch with the centre once they were able to start homing again using a new contactless approach to adoption informed by government guidelines. 

Nikki says: “I called the centre specifically looking for a golden oldie and of course Summer was the perfect cat for me. She has settled in brilliantly and has already stolen my dog Merlin’s bed as well as mine and seems to think both are her own. But her favourite spot is the windowsill especially in the sun, which is why I chose to call her Summer. 

Tabby cat sticking out their tongue
Cheeky Summer sticking out her tongue

“It’s as though she has always been part of the family. I’ve loved getting to know her funny quirks, especially her love for cat milk, the way she sticks her tongue out when she’s happy and her distinctive miaow as she’s very vocal.”
 
If you would like to offer a cat a new loving home, visit www.cats.org.uk/hands-free-homing for more information. 

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Appeal to help rescued kittens who lost their eyes due to cat flu

Two kittens found outside with their seven siblings near Bridgend have had to have emergency surgery to remove their eyes.

Rome and Ranchi were unlikely to have survived alone much longer if they had not been discovered by a cat-savvy member of the public.

Two black-and-white kittens with red sore eyes

The pair were just four weeks old when they were found along with seven other kittens, far too young to be away from their mother. 

The lady who found them noticed that all the kittens seemed unwell and called Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre for advice and assistance.

The kittens needed round-the-clock care as they could not yet maintain their own body temperatures nor could they manage basic skills such as feeding and toileting. 

Black and white kitten with red sore eyes

The centre’s cat care assistants, whose roles are supported this year by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, needed to step in and provide the tiny cats with all the love, care and nurturing they would usually receive from their mother.
 
Although the whole litter was very poorly with cat flu, which can be fatal to kittens, Rome and Ranchi were also suffering from painful ulcerated eyes as a result of the illness, which can be caused by viruses or bacteria. 

White-and-black kitten with red sore eyes

Now that they are seven weeks old, despite trying several courses of treatment, it has not been possible to save the kittens’ eyes. Rome has had surgery to remove one eye while Ranchi needed both eyes removed.  

Deputy Centre Manager Molly Hughes says: “Kitten season is well underway here at the centre and we were lucky that Rome, Ranchi and their siblings were brought to us in time. We don’t know anything about their mother but once social distancing allows we will return to where they were found to try and find her and ensure she has been neutered, most likely through our trap, neuter and return programme for outdoor or feral cats. This will prevent her having any more unwanted kittens in the future. 

Two black-and-white kittens with red sore eyes

“It is a really expensive time for us as we fight to help so many tiny souls that come through our doors. We are therefore appealing for funds to help cover the cost of vet treatment and surgery for these two lovely kittens whose bills have exceeded £800 so far. We are grateful for every £1 donated, without the kindness and generosity of our supporters we couldn’t continue to help kittens like Rome and Ranchi.”

If you would like to donate towards covering the coat of Rome and Ranchi’s surgeries, please visit the centre’s JustGiving page or text BRID to 70577 to donate £5 (see T&Cs here). 

Once they have recovered from their surgery and flu symptoms, Rome and Ranchi will be in need of a new loving indoor home, ideally together. Their details will be posted on the centre’s website as soon as they are available. 

With neutering on pause for many vets because of the COVID-19 lockdown, there could be an extra 84,000 kittens that need our help this year.

To help us be #HereForTheCatsAndKittens, you can donate to our appeal. Any donation will help us to save the lives of litters like this one, providing them with security, warmth and a healthy start. 

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Underweight kittens abandoned in sealed box outside Cats Protection centre

Seven tiny kittens are lucky to be alive after being abandoned at an age when they should still be with their mothers. 

The young cats were all underweight when they were found in a taped up cardboard box outside the gates of Cats Protection’s Isle of Wight Adoption Centre.

black-and-white and grey-and-white kittens in a cardboard box

Believed to be kittens from two different litters, three were around five weeks old when they were found while four were around four weeks old. At this age they should naturally weigh 450-550g but all were below the threshold with one of the youngest, now named Lola, weighing just 306g, the weight of a kitten half her age.

While the older kittens should have just been starting to eat solid food supplemented by their mother’s milk at the point at which they were left, the younger ones would still be relying on their mother for the majority of their needs. 

four grey-and-white and three black-and-white kittens

Alone without that maternal care, during warm weather in a sealed box, they were vulnerable to dehydration and starvation with a high chance that they would have died if they hadn’t been found.

Once safely in the centre, the three largest kittens were named Oscar, Joey and Aurora while the smaller kittens were called Lola, Chloe, Noah and Trev. Divided into two separate litters once again, the kittens were given round-the-clock care by the centre’s cat care assistants who are supported this year by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.    

two grey-and-white kittens sleeping
Kittens Chloe and Noah having a snooze

Cat Care Assistant Lauren Smith, said: “The kittens were very underweight when they arrived and we worked really hard to hand-feed them every couple of hours to get them up to their ideal weights. For the first few days we weren’t sure they would survive. Little Lola was a particular worry; she didn’t have an appetite and was very lethargic, after a vet visit we found out she was so dehydrated that she needed drip-fed fluids as well as hourly feeds. Oscar has also been very poorly and needed blood tests to rule out anything sinister but luckily they came back clear.”

Now that the kittens are around nine and ten weeks’ old, they are enjoying solid kitten food, have learned to use litter trays and are starting to play with help and guidance from the centre team. 

three grey-and-white kittens and one black kitten drinking from a bowl of kitten milk
Lola, Chloe, Noah and Trev enjoying their first meal at the centre

Lauren adds: “We prepare for an influx of kittens each year from around April onwards but it was still a shock to find these tiny souls abandoned outside the centre. We know it’s extremely difficult if people find themselves dealing with an unexpected litter but would urge people to get in touch and arrange a time to bring unwanted cats or kittens to us rather than leaving them outside. 

“In this situation we could have supported the kittens’ owner to ensure the mother cats were neutered so that they don’t have other unwanted litters and would very much like to hear from the owner now if they would like assistance.” 

three grey-and-white kittens and one black kitten sleeping
Lola, Chloe, Noah and Trev having a well-earned nap

If you are interested in rehoming the kittens, keep an eye on the Isle of Wight Adoption Centre’s website to find out when they will be available for adoption: www.cats.org.uk/isleofwight 

With neutering on pause for many vets because of the COVID-19 lockdown, there could be an extra 84,000 kittens that need our help this year.

To help us be #HereForTheCatsAndKittens, you can donate to our appeal at www.cats.org.uk/su20mb

Any donation will help us to save the lives of litters like this one, providing them with security, warmth and a healthy start. 

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Harrison finds his happy ever after following heart-breaking ordeal

Ginger cat Harrison was rescued in a dreadful state from a multi-cat household but has fought back to become a much-loved family pet.  

The scrawny moggy was brought in to Cats Protection’s Wrexham Adoption Centre following a plea for help from a vet who was dealing with a case of a house full of 29 cats. Although the owner loved the cats, they had become overwhelmed and realised they could no longer cope.

Long-haired ginger cat looking skinny and with bald patches
Harrison when he first arrived in his new home

The cats, who were in various stages of health, were transferred to a number of Cats Protection centres, with one of the most poorly arriving in Wrexham. 

After a worrying first night, in which Harrison wanted nothing more than to curl up in a ball and sleep, the centre team were eventually able to examine him more closely, discovering a weepy eye, matted fur, bald patches and rotten teeth. He was also so skinny his bones were visible.

A vet confirmed Harrison needed dental surgery to remove 15 teeth, which required two separate operations, as well as treatment for cat flu, fleas and worms.

Over time, and with lots of care and attention, Harrison began putting on weight and getting stronger until he was eventually ready to rehome. 

Although he was well enough, he still looked dishevelled and threadbare as his fur had not grown back fully, leading to concerns that he would struggle to find a new home. 

But worries were allayed when two days before lockdown came into force, Sharon Rogers and her partner Wayne Price came to meet him. Having recently lost their 18-year-old cat Jet, they desperately missed having a feline companion. 

Sharon, who lives in Summerhil, said: “With lockdown approaching it looked to be a good time to settle a cat into the household. I decided to go to Cats Protection’s Wrexham page without realising the following day the centre would be closed for lockdown. 

Long-haired ginger cat with a thick, healthy coat
Harrison now looking much happier and healthier

“He's settled wonderfully. It took a couple of days for him to come out of his carrier but after a couple of weeks I think he realised he'd found his new home. Having no teeth doesn't seem to faze him as he guzzles down both wet and dry food. He has put on a couple of kilos since he arrived in our house and we try to keep the weight down with his love of a ping pong ball.”

Wrexham Adoption Centre Manager Suzan Kennedy said: “When we saw the pictures of Harrison two months after he was adopted he looked like a different cat. His fur was long and fluffy, he looked healthy and his eyes glowed. It just shows what a difference a loving home can make to a cat when owners can understand and meet a cat’s needs.

“It made the team cry with happy tears when we saw the picture of him in his new home and it reminded us of why we do what we do.” 

Harrison will soon be joined in the Rogers’ household by Ringo, who came from the same multi-cat household, and has been recovering at the centre.

Sharon added: “I would recommend everyone to check out a rescue centre for their pet. The knowledge of the charity helps to ensure that the cat will be going to the right home, reducing the chance of further abandonment.  

“There are so many cats who have been abandoned or taken to a shelter through no fault of their own, all with their own personalities and love to give.  

If you would like to offer a cat a new home and a fresh start in life, visit www.cats.org.uk/hands-free-homing to see if there are any cats available in your area under our new hands-free homing initiative.

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Kittens rescued from house with 17 cats

From having just one unneutered cat, a man in Harrow found himself with a house full of 17 cats during the COVID-19 lockdown. 

In a short space of time he became overwhelmed with litters of kittens as his moggies began to breed, and soon realised he couldn’t cope. 

Four tabby kittens in a cat basket

Clearly out of his depth and concerned for the welfare of the cats, he did the only sensible thing; he asked for help from the nearby Cats Protection Harrow Homing Centre. 

Harrow Adoption Centre Manager, Lydia Sawyer, said: “When we got the kittens back to the centre we realised that one litter was only four weeks old and the other just five weeks. That’s when the true picture became clear.”

Tabby kitten with blue eyes looking up at the camera

The issue arose when an unneutered female gave birth to a litter of four and it soon spiralled from there. A young male in that litter mated with his own mother and sisters, who delivered their own litters, and the population in one home escalated to 17 cats.

Lydia said: “One kitten was in a bad way. He wasn’t breathing very well and so we rushed him to the vet, who said that the kitten, who we named Damien, was unlikely to survive. But he still had some fight in him so we decided to give him a chance. He is still a bit rattly and has some mucus on his chest but he is making rapid improvements. He’s a little fighter.”

Three tabby kittens in a cat pen

The health check revealed that the kittens were anaemic and some had heart murmurs, probably as a result of a bad flea infestation.

Thankfully, all the cats are doing well, having benefitted from the expert care from multiple teams in Cats Protection’s national network. One mum and her two-week-old kittens went to a fosterer with our Chiltern Branch, the four-week-old kittens went to a fosterer in North London and the five-week-old kittens went to a fosterer in Harrow.

Four tabby kittens sitting on the back of a brown sofa

Oscar, the dad, has now been neutered, vaccinated and microchipped and is at our East Surrey Branch, waiting to be rehomed via our hands-free homing process. Thankfully, his days of fatherhood are over.

A recent Cats Protection survey of 1,000 cat owners showed a lack of awareness about neutering, with 77% unaware that a female cat can become pregnant as early as four months of age and can have as many as 18 kittens in a year. 

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, some vet practices will not be neutering cats or kittens. With kitten season on the horizon, this could result in an estimated 84,000 kittens being born. To avoid unwanted pregnancies, and putting extra stress on over-stretched vets, find out how you can help prevent a kitten crisis at www.cats.org.uk/neutering-your-cat