Friday, 31 January 2020

Why do some cats have an ear tip missing?

If you’ve ever spotted a cat with the tip of one of their ears missing, you might assume they’ve been involved in a fight or had an accident. However, it’s more likely that it has been removed in a common procedure called ear-tipping or ear-notching, a humane way of signifying that a feral cat has been neutered.

Why are feral cats ear-tipped? 


Feral cats are cats who are not used to being around humans and so cannot be kept as domestic pets. They prefer to live outdoors on their own, or in colonies with other feral cats, and can be thought of as wild animals.

grey feral cat with ear tipped sitting in bush

As cats are prolific breeders, the number of feral cats in the UK can quickly get out of control, so animal welfare organisations such as Cats Protection carry out trap, neuter and return (TNR) programmes. As well as reducing feral cat numbers, this also helps to keep the cats healthy as it stops them from spreading infectious diseases through mating and fighting.

Trapping a feral cat to get them to the vets for neutering can be quite a difficult and time-consuming process. Feral cats are typically afraid of humans and don’t like being confined in small spaces so it can take a lot of time and effort to entice them into a trap. To make sure that an already neutered feral cat does not need to be unnecessarily trapped again and again to check if they’ve been neutered, their ear tip is removed while under anaesthetic as a quick and easy signal.

Is ear-tipping painful for the cat?


The tip of the cat’s ear is surgically removed while they are under anaesthesia for their neutering operation, so they don’t feel a thing. 10mm of the tip of the left ear (slightly less in kittens) is all that’s removed and once the cat is awake, the ear heals very quickly with no lasting effect on the cat’s welfare. They probably won’t even notice it’s happened! Meanwhile, they’ll live a much happier and healthier life and they won’t need to be trapped again for neutering!

black and white feral cat inside a cat trap outdoors

Why don’t you microchip the cat to signify they have been neutered?


It might seem a much simpler and less invasive solution to microchip the cat once they have been neutered, so that a quick scan will reveal they’ve had the operation. However, there’s one major problem with this. Getting close enough to a feral cat to scan them with a microchip scanner is not easy, as they will likely run away. This means they would need to be trapped in order to scan them, which would cause them a great deal of stress. It’s much better for the cat if they can be identified as being neutered from a distance, and so ear-tipping is the ideal solution.

What should I do if I spot a feral cat without their ear tipped? 


If you think you’ve spotted a feral cat without a missing left ear tip, get in touch with Cats Protection to see if they can come to trap and neuter them and then return them to their original territory. You can get in touch by calling 03000 12 12 12 or emailing info@cats.org.uk

For more information about feral cats and TNR, visit www.cats.org.uk/feral-cat

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Poorly cat fed on cheese and milk makes remarkable recovery

It’s a common misconception that cats can be fed milk, when in fact most felines are lactose intolerant.

Cats often find it difficult to digest dairy products, and they do not give them the nutrients they need to live a healthy life.

tortoiseshell cat with fur loss in a cat pen
Maisey when she arrived in our care, with severe fur loss across her body
When poor moggy Maisey arrived at our Bridgend Adoption Centre, it became apparent that she had been fed a diet of cheese and milk, causing her several health problems.

She was very thin, suffering from diarrhoea and her coat was in a very poor condition, with severe fur loss and open sores on her body.

tortoiseshell cat wearing vet-prescribed grey vest
Maisey wearing a vet-prescribed vest as part of her recovery
The five-year-old tortoiseshell kitty had been given up to Cats Protection after her owners were evicted, and when she arrived she was very anxious and shy, choosing to hide away in her pen most of the time.

The team at the centre put her on a special sensitive diet right away, as well as giving her steroids and antibiotics to get her back to full health.

tortoiseshell cat being stroked by Cats Protection volunteer
Maisey after her treatment, ready to find a new home
After five weeks of love and care Maisey made a remarkable recovery and became a happy and healthy cat.

It wasn’t long before she caught the eye of a new owner, and she is now living in her forever home where she enjoys a nutritious diet of complete cat food.

To find out more about what you should feed your cat, visit www.cats.org.uk/diet

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Put your best foot forward to get cats and kittens back on their paws

You’ve heard of the Three Peaks Challenge, now get ready for the Four Peaks Challenge!

Join our team of Cat Champions and climb the highest peaks in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on this adventure of a lifetime.

With a total ascent of 4,243 metres, take on the mighty Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Slieve Donard this year and raise much-need funds for Cats Protection.


The challenge begins in the beautiful Lake District with our Scafell Pike trek on 20 March, then reconvening in Wales on 15 May to tackle the magnificent mount Snowdon.

On 17 July, you’ll climb the UK’s tallest peak, the giant Ben Nevis, before journeying to Northern Ireland in October to finish the challenge with Slieve Donard.

All four treks are led by an experienced guide so you are free to concentrate on the climb, enjoy the stunning scenery, or think about all the cats you are helping by taking part!

For each peak you conquer, you’ll receive a collectable medal and once you’ve accomplished all four mountains your Four Peaks Challenge medal display will be complete.

Sign up to the four guided walks for just £60 and pledge to raise £600 to help us get unwanted cats and kittens back on their paws.

Scafell Pike – Friday 20 March 2020 

Located in the Lake District National Park, Scafell Pike is England’s highest peak and summits at 964 metres above sea level. The ascent path climbs the 900 meters to the summit and covers a distance of 4.5 km (9 km total distance) while the descent follows the same route. Find out more at  www.cats.org.uk/scafell

Snowdon – Friday 15 May 2020 

The wild and wonderful Snowdon summits at 1,085 metres above sea level. The route is challenging, there are extremely steep areas and the mountain is very exposed at the top but it has an easier path to descend. The hike takes between 6 and 7 hours in total. Find out more at www.cats.org.uk/snow

Ben Nevis – Friday 17 July 2020

Scotland’s iconic mountain is also the UK’s highest peak and summits at 1,344 metres above sea level. The trek takes 8 to 10 hours and includes some very low level scrambling on the ascent, with larger uneven rocks and steps for the majority of the climb. Find out more at www.cats.org.uk/bennevis

Slieve Donard – Friday 16 October 2020

Overlooking the Irish Sea, Slieve Donard is Northern Ireland’s tallest mountain and summits at 850 metres above sea level. The hike is a 6-mile round trip but because it starts at sea level, it is a climb the whole way and will take between 7.5 and 8.5 hours to complete. Find out more at www.cats.org.uk/slievedonard

All four treks will also be available in 2021 and the dates will be confirmed later this year.

Find out more or sign up to the Four Peaks Challenge now at www.cats.org.uk/4peakschallenge or contact the Events team at events@cats.org.uk for further details.




Monday, 13 January 2020

Grieving cat inspires 750 mile charity bike ride

The sad tale of a Lindfield cat has driven two Haywards Heath men to cycle an incredible 750 miles from Sussex to Scotland to raise money for Cats Protection.

David McKevitt and Connor Dawson will set off on their mammoth nine-day bike ride on Saturday 25 April. After leaving from the National Cat Adoption Centre in Sussex they will cycle up the country to John O’Groats, Scotland, cheered along the route by teams from Cats Protection.

two men wearing Cats Protection cycling tops
David and Connor in their cycling gear
David, 54, and his partner’s son Connor, 21, are no strangers to spending days in the saddle. They have already undertaken a number of long distance charity bike rides but this is by far their greatest challenge to date; carrying all their own equipment on a journey more than twice as far as their previous best ride.

The cat-loving family includes four three-year-old cats; Sebastian, Mia, Link and Zelda. But it was the sorry state of Buddy, a beautiful black-and-white, which prompted the bike ride.

white-and-black cat sitting on the floor
Buddy the cat who needed the family's help
David said: “Buddy started coming to our garden and using our cat flap. Our cats were stressed so we had to do something. We tried to discourage Buddy but then we were woken by the sound of him wolfing down our cats’ food as if it were his last meal.

"That’s when a neighbour told us about Buddy’s owner, who had passed away at his home and lay undiscovered for over a week. The reason for Buddy's unusual behaviour became clear and our hearts went out to him, so we started putting out extra food and leaving our cat flap open.

“We were thinking that we might adopt him but our cats were not happy with Buddy being around. That's when we made contact with Cats Protection to explain his situation. I managed to catch Buddy and, one morning after feeding him well, I took him in.

two men wearing Cats Protection cycling tops and holding a black cat
David and Connor with one of the family cats 
“It broke my heart listening to his cries during the journey, but the team at the National Cat Adoption Centre was amazing and assured me that Buddy would be well looked after. Some time later, we were overwhelmed to hear that they were able to find him a loving new forever home. Buddy was one of the lucky ones and his story prompted us to plan this bike ride to raise money for Cats Protection.”

Danielle Draper, Manager of Cats Protection’s National Cat Adoption Centre, said: “It is amazing when people are so willing to push their limits to raise much-needed cash for Cats Protection.

“It costs a great deal to help around 200,000 cats in care at our centres and branches every year, so we are always appreciative of any contributions, large or small. Without people like David and Connor, we couldn’t do what we need to do and Buddy could still be fending for himself on the streets. So we will be waving them off with our very best wishes.”

To donate to the challenge, visit David and Connor’s JustGiving page. You can also track their progress via their Facebook page

To find out how to take part in your own challenge event to raise money for Cats Protection, visit www.cats.org.uk/support-us/events/challenge-events

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Stumpy-tailed cat Tulip needs a new home for the New Year

Cats Protection’s Anglia Coastal Branch is hoping that 2020 will be the year poor Tulip the cat’s luck changes.

The eight-year-old torbie – a beautiful blend of tortoiseshell and tabby – has been in the branch’s care for more than three months, waiting patiently for a new home of her own.

torbie cat sleeping on fleece blanket

Despite her gorgeous and unusual coat of many colours, the branch believe Tulip is being overlooked due to an old injury. Unfortunately much of her tail is missing, most likely as the result of an untreated injury and a difficult start in life that has left her cautious with strangers.

Lynne Pothecary, Publicity Officer at Anglia Coastal Branch, said: “Tulip has had a bad start in life, which saw her injured and abandoned. But while she is understandably a little unsure of new people, she soon comes around and responds to a loving touch with a warming purr.

torbie cat sleeping on fleece blanket

“Tulip has stolen our hearts since being rescued from the streets. She would be happy in a home where she gets lots of fuss and a nice warm lap to sit on, but ideally without young children or pets. We are appealing to our supporters to find a place for Tulip in their heart and home”

At Christmas, the Anglia Coastal Branch clocked up an impressive milestone; 1,000 cats rehomed in just five years. That’s an annual average of 200 abandoned and stray felines rehomed since 2015. 

Now the branch hopes that Tulip can be one of its first success stories of the New Year.

Tulip is now in the care if our North London Adoption Centre. If you can give her a home, please contact them on 020 7272 6048 or northlondon@cats.org.uk 

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

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Team Cats calendar: Make this the year you fundraise for cats

Whether they make you smile every morning, or never leave your side in the evening, our furry friends are there for us 365 days a year.

If you’d like to give back to our little life-changers this year, what better way than to fundraise for Cats Protection to help cats and kittens in need?

From embarking on an exciting adventure, to sharing your celebrations with us, or even getting creative to help cats with your own idea, we have plenty of ways you can get involved!

Take some inspiration from our Team Cats calendar and try something new this year…


Jump into January

It’s the ultimate bucket list challenge! Leap out of a plane with our Red Devils skydive and experience the adrenaline rush of a 45-second freefall before the parachute descent to the ground. Your friends and family are sure to be impressed if you decide to do this daring jump!

Freestyle this February

Take the plunge this year and turn your love for swimming into a fantastic fundraiser! From lengths of the local pool, to signing up for the Great North Swim – you can choose your own challenge. If you raise over £150 we will send you a snuggly Cats Protection beach towel to wrap up in afterwards.

March is for making 

Whether you’ve got a knack for knitting, an eye for graphic design, or a penchant for poetry, use your passion for making to make a difference. You can even nominate your local branch or centre to receive the money you raise, meaning all of your hard work goes to helping cats where you live.


Bake ALL the cake this April 

Our Pawsome Afternoon Tea returns this April! Why not get a slice of the action this year and host your own event for your friends, family, school or workmates to raise funds for unwanted cats and kittens? Bake or buy some tasty treats and be a part of the greatest afternoon tea!


Marathon into May 

Join thousands of dedicated charity runners from across the country at one the world’s most popular marathon or half marathon events. In 2020, we’ve got places for the Brighton Marathon, the 40th Great North Run and the New York Marathon to name but a few – take your pick!

June is for jetting off 

Ever considered getting involved in an international event? We have a range of epic challenges abroad this year including the stunning Alps Trek, the Zambezi Big Cat Challenge and the iconic Kilimanjaro Trek, plus many more in 2021. Whatever you choose, it’s bound to be the trip of a lifetime!


Tri during July 

One of the most gruelling endurance events around, triathlons are a popular choice for those wishing to push themselves to the limits in aid of charity. Sign up to a triathlon event near you, or if you prefer to stick to one discipline, we have a number of cycling challenges to choose from.


Arrange your own event this August 

Fundraising should be fun, so get creative and come up with your own exciting event! It could be a fancy dress day or a film night, a treasure hunt or a fitness-athon, a sweepstake game or a bake sale, you really can raise money while having an amazing time. Start brainstorming your own ideas today!

Step into September 

Our Nine Mile Challenge is back this September! You can walk, trek or hike your way to nine miles during the month, or you can even pick up the pace and make it a run. In 2019, more than 250 cat-lovers from across the country took on the challenge – will you be joining us this year?


Get organised this October 

Clear out those cupboards and drawers, take any unwanted items to a local car boot sale event and raise funds for cats. We can give you a letter of authorisation which may help you to get a free slot, maximising the amount you can make. A clutter-free house and cash for the kitty – it’s a win win!

November is for quiz nights 

As the nights draw in and winter festivities begin, why not get together with friends and family and host your own Black Cat Quiz to help dark-furred felines in need? You could arrange a traditional ‘pub quiz’ style event in a local venue, or you might prefer to go digital and run your quiz online.


Take a dip in December 

Dive in and sign up to a festive dip event near you! Each year, thousands of brave souls ditch their Christmas jumper, don their bathers and head to the coast to take part in a Boxing Day or New Year’s Day dip. Make 2020 the year you join in and get nippy for the kitties!