Friday, 28 February 2020

Why do cats shed their fur?

As any cat owner will know, it’s usually quite easy to tell where a cat has been – just follow the trail of fur!

While it can mean a bit of extra vacuuming for us, it’s completely normal for cats to shed or moult their fur.

grey long-haired tabby cat sitting on wooden chair

When their hair falls out, newer, healthier fur will usually grow back in its place quite quickly, helping to keep their coat thick and shiny. It also prevents the old hair from getting tangled and matted, which can particularly be a problem for long-haired cats.

Cats will even try to speed the process along by grooming. Licking their fur with their rough tongues helps to remove any old hairs that are still clinging on, allowing the new fur to grow.

white long-haired cat licking its paw

You can give them a helping hand too by stroking or brushing them to remove excess hair. Short-haired cats will need to be brushed around once a week, while long-haired cats will require a daily groom to prevent matted fur. For more advice on grooming your cat, visit www.cats.org.uk/grooming 

You may notice that your cat loses more fur at certain times of year too. As the weather turns warmer they’ll often start shedding their thicker winter coat, helping them to keep cool in the heat.

Is my cat shedding too much fur? 


The only time you may need to be concerned about your cat losing fur, is if new fur does not grow back in its place.

If you notice bald patches in your cat’s coat it could be that they have a skin condition or that they are over-grooming due to stress or behavioural problems.

The best thing to do is take your cat to a vet so they can figure out the cause of the problem and give you tailored advice on what to do next.

How to clean up cat fur 


tabby-and-white cat lying on the back of a sofa

If you’re constantly battling a tide of cat fur in your home, then a powerful vacuum cleaner will make cleaning up easier.

Shark is an official partner of Cats Protection and their TruePet vacuum cleaners are ideal for quickly removing embedded pet hair from your floors and furnishings.

They come with a choice of innovative technologies, including Lift-Away technology that lets you instantly transform your upright vacuum into a portable cleaner, making it easy to reach those awkward places that your cat likes to sleep. There’s also Anti Hair Wrap technology which actively removes hair from the vacuum’s brush roll as you clean, helping to prevent your moggy’s fur from getting tangled in the bristles.

woman hoovering sofa that ginger tabby cat is sleeping on

Ideal if you have any friends or family members that are allergic to cats, Anti-Allergen Complete Seal will trap 99.9% of allergens inside the vacuum cleaner*. This prevents them from being released back into the air, so your guests can breathe easy when they visit.

What’s more, when you buy a TruePet vacuum cleaner you’ll be helping thousands of unwanted cats and kittens across the UK. Shark has committed to raising at least £33,500 per charity for Cats Protection and Dogs Trust over a one-year period, by donating a portion of every UK sale of a TruePet vacuum cleaner made through their website. Now, for a limited time only, they’ve increased the donation amount from 25p to £2.50 to each charity per sale, but you’ll need to be quick as the offer is only available from 28 February until 1 March 2020!

To find out more about Cats Protection's partnership with Shark, visit the Shark website

*Based on IEC standard 62885-2 Cl. 5.11 at 0.3 to 10 microns.

Thursday, 27 February 2020

7 ways cats are often misunderstood

No matter how well you think you know cats, there is always something new to learn about our feline friends.

They can have some curious and confusing behaviours, from sleeping in strange places around the house to chasing anything that moves.

This can lead to them being misunderstood, but there is usually a good explanation for their weird ways.


Whether you’re new to cat ownership, or have had cats for years, we thought we’d clear up some of the most common misconceptions about moggies.

If you want learn even more about why your cat does what they do, you can take our fun, interactive online course called Understand Cats’ Needs. There’s even a quiz so you can test your knowledge and impress your friends with your high score!

They need other cats as friends 



You might worry that your cat gets lonely being left on their own while you’re out of their house, but they probably quite enjoy having their own space.

Cats are solitary creatures, so they have no inbuilt need to be friends with other cats. Unlike humans or dogs who are typically social, cats are more likely to actively avoid each other and become stressed by another cat moving in on their territory. If you have a cat at home, think carefully before getting another one.

They catch prey because they’re hungry or mean 



When your cat brings you ‘presents’ they’ve caught in the garden, they’re not being naughty or trying to tell you that you’re not feeding them enough.

Cats have an inbuilt need to stalk, chase and pounce as it’s one of their natural behaviours. They even get a surge of happy hormones released in their brain when they catch something, making them want to do it more.

Instead of punishing them for hunting, encourage them to redirect this behaviour onto toys that they can chase and catch instead.

They scratch the furniture to be naughty 



While it might seem like your cat is expressing their dislike for your interior design choices, they don’t scratch the furniture to upset you.

Cats need to be able to scratch to keep their claws in good condition, and also to mark their territory with scratch marks and the scent left behind by their paws.

The best way to stop them scratching carpets and sofas is to cover these areas up and provide an alternative scratching post they can use instead. 

They’re happy to eat and drink in the same place 



Cats are very hygiene conscious, which makes them quite picky about where they eat and drink.

To avoid any bacteria from their food being transferred into their drinking water, they like their food and water bowls to be kept apart.

For similar reasons they also prefer to eat and drink away from where they go to the toilet, so make sure all of these things are well spaced out in the house. 

They don’t mind sharing with other cats 



When cats are living in close proximity to each other, they still like to maintain their own individual territories so they can avoid any conflict.

This means that they’re not keen on sharing and prefer to have their own food bowl, water bowl, litter tray, scratch post and bed that they can use in peace. Therefore, if you have two cats at home, the best way to ensure they get along is to have two of everything, plus one spare.


They need comforting when they’re scared 



It’s a natural human instinct to think that your cat needs a reassuring cuddle when something upsets them, but they’re very different from us.

When cats are scared or stressed, they prefer to hide and be on their own to help them feel safe and secure.

Giving them lots of attention when they’re feeling this way will only make them more anxious, so the kindest thing is to leave them alone for a while until they’re ready to come to you for a fuss.

They only need one bed 



If you’ve ever found your cat snoozing in the sink or on top of a pile of clean laundry, then you might be aware that they like to have a choice of bed.

It is believed that this behaviour also stems from their hygiene-conscious ways, as it helps to prevent them from catching fleas. If they switch their sleeping location regularly then they’re less likely pick up nasty parasites, so make sure they have plenty of bed options around the house.

Now you’ve learnt something new, it’s time to explore these topics even further and test your cat know-how with our Understanding Cats’ Needs course at www.cats.org.uk/online-learning

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Cat lovers bake a difference for kitties in need with Pawsome Afternoon Tea

Put on your apron, collect your cake tins and retrieve your rolling pin from the back of the drawer – it’s time to get set for the greatest afternoon tea!

We’re inviting cat lovers across the country to get involved and host your own Pawsome Afternoon Tea this April to help cats and kittens in need.

Whether you will be at home, in work or at school, invite your friends, family and workmates to join you for an afternoon of tea, coffee, cakes, scones, sandwiches and anything else you fancy.

You can enjoy some cake knowing that the funds you raise will help us to give thousands of cats and kittens a chance of health and happiness.

Registration is open now at www.pawsometea.org where you can get your very own party pack. And if you need any extra inspiration, read how these supporters became the hosts with the most…

Baking enthusiast Sharon Green raised £170 for our Brighton Branch 


six cakes decorated as cats

“I heard about Pawsome Afternoon Tea from The Cat magazine and I decided to take part because I’m passionate about cats and my colleagues love my cakes, so it was a no brainer!

“I held my event in August 2019 and made about 100 cupcakes to sell at work. Luckily I work in a big office so it was a sell-out event! I wheeled the cakes around on a trolley and used the materials provided in the Pawsome Tea pack to advertise the event and decorate the trolley.

a trolley of cakes for Pawsome Afternoon Tea

“When people can see the level of effort you have put in, like having spent three whole days in the kitchen baking cakes, it gives them more of a reason to part with their cash!

“By hosting a Pawsome Tea I feel that I’m doing my little bit to help a cause that’s very close to my heart. I think my colleagues would definitely like me to take part again this year!”

Eileen Elliott’s Easter party raised £278 for our Newbury Adoption Centre 


woman in crazy cat lady tshirt with cake sale spread

“I chose to host a Pawsome Afternoon Tea as I’m a lifelong cat lover with four cats of my own and I try to champion Newbury Adoption Centre’s work where possible.

"We were really lucky with the weather for our party as our guests were able to enjoy tea and cakes out in the sun and take part in Easter games like ‘hook a duck’ and ‘guess the number of Mini Eggs’.

a table full of cakes

“My top tips would be to prepare well in advance, take up offers of help and don’t be shy to ask for donations for raffle prizes. I sent letters to local businesses and had a really great response.

“Our four cats have given us so much joy, I will definitely continue to help other cats who are less fortunate.”

Sign up now for your free Pawsome Afternoon Tea pack, filled with recipes, cake labels, bunting and everything you need to make your event the cat’s whiskers. 

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Cat owners share the benefits of getting their cat neutered

At Cats Protection we believe that neutering is one of the kindest things you can do for cats, but don’t just take our word for it!

We asked our supporters on social media to share their stories of why neutering is so important. As well as preventing unwanted kittens from being born, they told us about many other benefits that you may not have thought of.

Read their words of wisdom below…

Neutering stopped my cat from fighting 


tabby-and-white cat sitting on red chair

Scamp is now a happy and relaxed moggy, but before he was neutered he had a habit of fighting with other cats. Owner Helen Storer said: “In the few months before he was neutered, Scamp became a little bully, picking fights with other cats including his own littermate who’d just run away from him in fear. Since being neutered, Scamp has settled down a lot. He still squabbles with other cats, but nowhere near as bad as he used to be.”


Neutering could have prevented my cat from having a difficult labour 


black-and-white cat wearing cone and cuddling up to woman

When Casey Alice Worthington welcomed Reggie into her home, she was unaware that the moggy was already pregnant. When she went into labour, poor Reggie encountered several difficulties which meant she needed to be rushed to the vets for an emergency caesarean. Sadly, none of her kittens survived and the experience was no doubt very traumatic for her. Casey has now had Reggie neutered and said: “She has been through hell but she is still here, she is recovering fantastically and being spoilt rotten by me and my children.”

Neutering would have reduced my cat’s risk of cancer 


white cat wearing red vest and sleeping in cat bed

Bela was adopted by Pamela Scholan from a rescue centre at two years old and had just been neutered before she went to her new forever home. A few years later, Pamela found a lump on Bela’s tummy which turned out to be breast cancer. It took a major surgery to remove the lump leaving Bela with 24 stitches on her tummy. Pamela said: “The vet said that if she had been neutered earlier she would have had much less risk of getting breast cancer and that it can be common in cats who are not neutered until after they turn one year old.”

black-and-white cat sitting on floor

Tifa was adopted from a rescue centre when she was about six years old. Her owner Louise Harper-Millward took care of her for six wonderful years before an aggressive breast cancer caused her beloved moggy to pass away. Louise said: “She was neutered late, just before we adopted her, and our vet was adamant that late neutering was a major factor in her developing breast cancer.”

Neutering stopped my female cat from yowling 


Judith Fathallah quickly booked her cat Zara in for neutering when the moggy reached puberty and came into heat. Judith said: “She screamed the house down for three days straight – it was a long week for us all! I got her neutered straight away. Today Zara is nine and according to my vet she still has the vital signs of a kitten. We have high hopes she’ll go on to 20!”

Neutering prevented my cat’s genetic condition being passed on 


ginger cat lying on back and showing tummy

When handsome Bruce was neutered at four months old, the vet found out that he had a genetic condition called ‘unilateral cryptorchidism’. His owner Mathesse Land said: “Spotting it early and getting him neutered reduces the risk of testicular cancer which could have been very uncomfortable for my poor boy. It also eliminated the risk of him passing this genetic condition along.”


Neutering revealed my cat’s treatable condition 


tabby cat wearing grey vest and scratching scratch post

When Maja went to the vet for her neutering operation, they discovered that her uterus was filled with liquid. She had to have a major operation but is now happy and healthy at home with owner Jennie Jorgensen. Jennie said: “As it wasn’t an infection we would have never known if we hadn’t decided to neuter her. It saved her life! She has completely recovered and is so happy she doesn’t have to wear the suit anymore!”

To find out more about the benefits of neutering and how Cats Protection may be able to help towards the cost of the operation, visit www.cats.org.uk/neutering

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

My cat is being bullied by another cat, what can I do?

As your cat follows you around the house and nuzzles affectionately against your hand, it can be difficult to believe that they are naturally solitary animals. While they may enjoy being around you, they’re not so keen on hanging out with other cats, and this can lead to problems when their paths cross.

Cats like to establish their own territory, making it with their scent by rubbing their cheeks against objects and leaving visual clues by scratching objects with their claws. Usually this discourages other cats from invading their space, but in densely populated towns and cities, it can be difficult for them to avoid each other.

tortoiseshell cat standing on top of a fence

Typically when two cats come face to face, they will give each other space to avoid any conflict. However, some cats can be more confrontational and willing to stand their ground than others, and this is when fights can start.

Whether your cat fights with their new neighbour or not, the sudden appearance of another cat in their territory can be enough to cause them stress. This can lead to changes in their behaviour at home, such as going to the toilet outside their litter tray, showing aggressive behaviour or hiding more than usual.

While this can be frustrating for you, it’s important not to get angry at your cat or the other cat that’s causing the problems. Their need for territory is inbuilt and not something they can help so they are not being a bully or starting a fight out of spite. Punishing them will only make the problem worse so instead it’s up to you to find a solution. Here are some things you can try…

Get a microchip cat flap 


tabby cat looking through an open cat flap

If the other cat is coming into your house and causing your cat stress, then installing a cat flap that will only open for your cat will solve the problem. You can get cat flaps that only unlock for your cat’s microchip, or ones that will only open for a magnetic collar you can put around their neck. 

Speak to the cat’s owner 


If you can find out who the other cat belongs to, it might be worth talking to the owner to try and find a solution. For example, you could work out a time-share system, where they let their cat out in the morning and you let your cat out in the afternoon, meaning they won’t come into contact with each other. You could also find out if the other cat has been neutered. Neutered cats are less likely to roam across larger areas and fight with other cats, so if the owner would be happy to get them neutered this may solve the problem.

If the cat does not have an owner, you can contact Cats Protection for help. If the cat is a stray, we may be able to take them in and rehome them, and if they are feral we can get them neutered.

tabby cat sitting in a garden

Build an enclosed catio 


To prevent your cat from crossing paths with the other cat, you could completely enclose your garden with wire fencing to keep the other cat out. This may not be possible for everyone, so you could instead create a smaller enclosure within your garden that your outdoor cat can use. Ideally make sure it has some perches for your cat to get up high and survey their surroundings, as well as some places for them to hide if they feel stressed.

Create the perfect outdoor cat toilet


The presence of the other cat may cause your cat to become too scared to use their usual outdoor toilet spot, leading them to start going to the toilet indoors. As well as making sure they have a suitable indoor litter tray to use, you can also try creating a new outdoor toilet that is closer to the house, reducing the chance of them encountering the other cat. Dig a litter tray-sized hole and fill it with sand or fine soil and place some pot plants around it to give your cat privacy.

grey tabby cat hiding in the grass in a garden


Give your cat some hiding places 


When cats feel stressed or are worried about encountering another cat, they like to hide to help them feel safe. Give your cat lots of places to hide in the garden by planting tall plants, placing potted plants around the cat flap or even creating a little outdoor enclosure for them to hide inside. It’s also a good idea to create some hiding spots indoors too. Cardboard boxes are ideal for your moggy to shelter inside!

Cover the windows 


ginger and white cat sitting on windowsill with blinds closed

Even when your cat is indoors, they may still be wary of the other cat looking through the windows at them. You could try covering the lower portion of windows with paper to block their view, or limit their access to the windowsill. Also avoid placing their food bowl, bed or litter tray next to windows or cat flaps, as they may be put off using them if the other cat is looking in. 

Use a pheromone diffuser 


To keep your cat calm when they are indoors, you can try using a plug-in pheromone diffuser such as Feliway Classic. This will fill your home with a scent they’ll find familiar, helping them to feel safe. 

Encourage your cat to play


If your cat is reluctant to go outside, they may become restless being stuck indoors. Giving them opportunities to play will help to keep them active and engaged, reducing their stress and releasing happy hormones in their brain. Try getting them to chase a fishing rod toy or give them a puzzle feeder that gets them to work for their food.

For more help and advice about your cat’s behaviour, visit the Cats Protection website

Monday, 17 February 2020

Celebrity chefs provide baking inspiration for your Pawsome Afternoon Tea

Spring is almost here and across the UK, cat lovers are preparing to bake a difference for cats and kittens in need with Pawsome Afternoon Tea.

Make sure you’re a part of it this April and get your paws on your free Pawsome Afternoon Tea party pack by registering now at www.pawsometea.org

This year, Kim-Joy who was runner up in 2018’s Great British Bake Off, is supporting the cause and has contributed two special recipes to help you impress your guests.

ginger biscuits decorated to look like cats
Kim-Joy's adorable ginger biscuits
Known for her cute and creative bakes that often incorporate a feline theme into the design, Kim-Joy has recently adopted two rescue kittens of her own so is thrilled to support Cats Protection.

Kim-Joy said: “My two kittens Inki and Mochi are just the best! I’ve always been moderately chilled, but these two boys make me more chilled out. Cats are good for our mental health as they are so lovely, affectionate and cuddly. There are many adorable cats out there looking for furever homes so please consider adopting not shopping if you want to get a cat!”

woman in red jumper and glasses holding two cats in front of Christmas tree
Kim-Joy holding her two kitties, Inki and Mochi
Kim-Joy’s ginger cat biscuit recipe would make the purrfect centrepiece for your Pawsome spread, and she has even created a vegan version so you can cater for everyone. Delicately decorated with beautiful cat designs, they almost look too good to eat!

Download Kim-Joy's ginger biscuits recipe 
Download Kim-Joy's vegan ginger viscuits recipe 

MasterChef 2011 winner Tim Anderson is also supporting Pawsome Afternoon Tea. He's a proud cat dad to magnifincent moggie Baloo and has contributed his Grandma Jeanne's recipe for oatmeal crispies to inspire cat lovers to get baking for kitties.

Tim said: “My cat Baloo provides endless support and humour, whether it’s sitting on my lap for a cuddle or jumping onto my open recipe books to distract me! It’s sad to think that there so many lovely cats out there who don’t yet have a home so I hope cat lovers and baking enthusiasts really get behind Cats Protection’s campaign.”

man with glasses holding black-and-white cat
Tim Anderon and his cat Baloo
Download Tim's oatmeal crispies recipe 

For more information about Pawsome Afternoon Tea and helpful resources to help you be the host with the most, visit www.pawsometea.org


Friday, 14 February 2020

Aggressive feline Jaffa becomes a real ‘pussy cat’

When four-year-old ginger cat Jaffa came into the care of Cats Protection’s Downham Market Adoption Centre for displaying aggressive behaviour, it was suspected there may be underlying causes.

ginger tabby cat with front paw raised

He had clearly over groomed his whole hind quarters and his previous owner had also noticed a decrease in his appetite, so he was taken to the vet the next day.

On examination, his aggression worsened when they got to his hind quarters so he was sedated for x-rays. These showed pelvic abnormalities, with his right pelvic wing fractured and possibly fused.

The vets thought this was most likely caused by an old trauma injury, such as a possible road traffic accident, and decided on a trial of pain relief to see if this made a difference.

The centre’s Deputy Manager, Stacey Ely said: “We set out a plan to get him used to the routine of cattery life, with minimal contact for the first few days, and we had pain scoring charts to plot how he was responding now he was on treatment.

ginger tabby cat standing on back legs

“Gradually, he settled and began to respond to people in a positive way and, over time, his pain scores improved, too.

“When the vet saw him nine days later, she was amazed in the difference in him – he was mobile, far less reactive to being handled and generally much happier, approaching her for a fuss with no issues. His fur was also beginning to grow back.”

Jaffa is now signed off by the vet and ready to go to a new home.

“He will of course need lifelong pain medication, so we are looking for an experienced owner who is willing to be guided by the vets in terms of pain management and quality of life,” added Stacey.

“I think lots of people are unaware that a change in behaviour may be caused by a medical issue, so would urge anyone whose cat starts behaving unusually to take it to the vet for a check-up as soon as possible.”

Anyone living in the Downham Market area who would like to offer Jaffa a home can get in touch with Cats Protection’s Downham Market Adoption Centre on downham@cats.org.uk or 01366 382 311. To find cats looking for homes in your area, visit www.cats.org.uk/adopt-a-cat 


This year, players of People’s Postcode Lottery are supporting Cats Protection’s work by funding two behaviour roles, which provide best practice advice and practical support to the charity’s centres and branches regarding cat behaviour. Find out more at www.cats.org.uk/peoples-postcode-lottery

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Purrfect Valentine's Day cards for cats and cat lovers

Whether you're coupled up with a fellow cat lover, or only have eyes for your beloved moggy, Valentine's Day is the purrfect occasion to share your love for felines.

If you're looking for the ideal card to send to your cat-mad partner (whether it's from you or the cat!) or want to let your kitty know you love them, we've got the solution.


Instead of spending money on a card, why not download one of our free designs below and print it at home. Then you can donate the money you would have spent to the cats in our care who are still waiting for their Valentine.

Even better, if you're looking for a truly thoughtful gift to give your loved one this Valentine's, why not sign them up to sponsor a cat in one of our adoption centres. They'll get regular updates about the cats their helping, so it really is the gift that keeps on giving! There are also lots more fabulous cat gifts on the Cats Protection shop!

Dowload our free Valentine's Day cards

Just click on the card to download it and print a copy at home!




If you're still looking for the love of your life, why not take a look at the unwanted cats and kittens still waiting for loving owners in your area? Visit www.cats.org.uk/adopt-a-cat to find your Valentine today!

Related articles:
5 ways to show your cat you really love them 
How to plan the purrfect Valentine's date with your cat


Wednesday, 12 February 2020

What do cats think of modern technology?

“Alexa, what is my cat thinking when I talk to a speaker in my living room?”

With our homes becoming ‘smarter’ and more connected, you may be wondering what cats make of all the new technology around them. From smart speakers to robot vacuum cleaners, are they baffled by these strange devices, or are they just one more thing to disturb them from a peaceful snooze?

We asked our cat experts to delve into feline feelings on modern tech…

grey and white kitten looking at a laptop screen


Smart speakers 

Unless you have your speaker’s volume set to incredibly loud, then your cat probably won’t take much notice of it. Cats’ sense of hearing is more fine-tuned towards hearing the noises of their prey (eg high pitched squeaking and rustling leaves) so unless Alexa is doing an impression of a mouse scampering through the grass, your cat will probably ignore her – much like they don’t understand when you tell them they’ve already had their dinner and no amount of meowing will get you to dish up another portion.

Radio 

Again, volume is an important factor, as your cat is likely to be startled by a sudden loud blast of Ed Sheeran or Stormzy. However at a low volume, the radio could actually be quite calming for your cat, particularly when there are other loud noises, such as fireworks, going on around them. In these instances, try setting your cat up with a nice quiet room to hide in and put on a soothing classical music or talk radio station to drown out the loud noises. Some cats will prefer not to have the radio on at all, but it’s worth experimenting to see if your moggy likes Mozart or the morning news.

tabby cat asleep on a sofa

TV 

Cats are very responsive to movement, so their favourite TV shows are those that feature lots of action. Sports, car chases and of course nature documentaries featuring other animals are all on their watch list, but to be honest even the Netflix loading circle would probably catch their eye. Of course, some cats won’t be bothered at all and will happily let you choose the channel while they have a snooze. If your moggy is a TV fan though, make sure the set is sturdy and secure in case they attempt to get involved in the action and bring it crashing down.


Georgie the telly addict cat



One cat who certainly is interested in the TV is Georgie, who is currently being cared for by Cats Protection’s Epsom, Ewell & District Branch.

11-year-old Georgie likes nothing better than to sit in front of the TV and especially loves quiz shows such as The Chase and wildlife programmes.

Georgie’s fosterer, Helen Fisher says: “Georgie does love her home entertainment, but it isn’t all about television. As well as her favourite programmes, she loves to have the radio on and sometimes a particular tune or instrument will catch her attention. Life is never dull with Georgie.”

If you would like to offer Georgie a home, and a sofa where she can watch the TV in peace, please get in touch with the branch on adoption@epsom.cats.org.uk or 0345 260 1387.


Smartphones 

As with TV, your cat will only really be interested in any movement on your phone screen. This could be problematic if you’re scrolling through Instagram, as they might reach out a playful paw and double tap on that photo of your ex from three years ago! There are in fact some apps designed for cats that show fish or mice moving around on the screen to grab their attention, but these could actually just be frustrating for your cat. Cats are happiest when they can actually catch their toys, so not being able to retrieve the fish from the screen is likely to only stress them out.

young girl showing her grey tabby cat her smartphone

Robot vacuum cleaners 

Different cats will have different reactions to vacuum cleaners. Some will run away from the loud noise, others will sleep through it or may even be curious about the strange machine. The important thing is to monitor their reaction and make sure they have somewhere to run away to if they do get scared. The problem with robot vacuums is that humans are not always around when the machine is running, so they cannot check if their cat is ok. Therefore, it’s best to check if your cat is calm around your robot vacuum during the first few uses, and if they are, keep it to a cleaning routine that your cat can get used to.

The best way to ensure your cat isn’t bothered by these modern technologies is to get them used to them when they are very young. Between the age of two to eight weeks old, kittens learn what is safe and normal in their world, so if they’ve been gently introduced to music, TV and vacuum cleaners during this period, they’ll be less likely to be afraid of them when they grow up.

To find out more about raising happy and confident kittens, take a look at our advice on the Cats Protection website.

Monday, 10 February 2020

Proud cat dad needs your votes to win £1,000 for cats

Cats Protection helps around 200,000 cats across the UK every year, but we couldn’t do all of this vital work without the funds raised by our fantastic supporters.

One of our dedicated Cat Champions, Dan Merton, not only donates his time as a volunteer for our Horsham and Brighton & District branches but also completes gruelling challenges to raise money for the cats in their care.

Man wearing yellow Cats Protection t-shirt and race medal
Dan Merton is a true Cat Champion
It’s not just us who recognise his heroic efforts, the company he works for is also celebrating his charitable work by nominating him for an award. If he wins, Dan could receive an extra £1,000 from the company, which will go directly towards helping unwanted cats and kittens.

We spoke to Dan to find out more about his love for cats and how you can help him win the extra donation…

Can you tell us about the cats you have at home now? 

I have three with my wife at home and they are called Missy (black-and-white), Britney (tortoiseshell) and Cherry (tabby-and-white). They get spoilt rotten and our home would feel empty without them around.

three cats sitting on a cat tree
From left to right: Britney, Missy and Cherry posing for the camera
Why did you decide to volunteer for Cats Protection? 

I wanted to help cats not as lucky as our own find a new loving home so I started volunteering for the Brighton Branch from April 2018 when I noticed they had a vacancy for a website editor in their publicity team. As I work in the local area I thought it was an opportunity not to be missed as it utilises the skills I have in my normal day job at Legal & General and I get to do something more exciting involving cats.

What does your volunteer role involve? 

I update the Brighton Branch’s website with our local cat adoptions, news, education pieces and events. I also help the publicity team with Facebook updates. I have a variety of stories to add over a couple of hours a week. I love being involved and getting to read all the great rehoming stories, plus I get to work with a team of like-minded individuals who love cats.

man holding 25KM sign at race finish line
Dan has so far completed three challenges for Cats Protection
What inspired you to complete your first fundraising challenge for Cats Protection? 

In October 2015 I broke my ankle quite severely in an accident and I spent four months at home in pain, unable to do much with just the cats for company when friends and family were not available to help out.

Missy (our black-and-white cat) was always by my side or on my lap to keep me going. When I was on crutches she even came on walks with me until I recovered and I will always be grateful to her for that. We already had a close bond but this bought us even closer together.

black-and-white cat on lap of man with leg in a cast
Missy helping Dan recover from his ankle injury
I decided to take part in these challenge to improve my fitness as I'm still unable to run or do high impact exercise so walking is the next best thing. I also get to raise some much-needed money for the Horsham and Brighton & District branches.

What are some of your most memorable fundraising challenges? 

My greatest achievement to date is completing the Thames Path 1st Half Challenge in September 2018. This involved me walking 31 miles in one day and took me around 16 hours to complete raising £1,215. In total to date over three consecutive challenges I have raised £3,500 and walked 60 miles. I love seeing the money I raise help the two branches and all the cats they rehome. I also hope my fundraising and volunteering inspires other cat dads out there to get involved too.

tortoiseshell cat wearing race medal around neck
Britney sharing Dan's Thames Path victory
Do you have any top tips for people wanting to fundraise for cats?

As I work for a large company I’m lucky enough to claim employer-matching contributions whenever someone sponsors me for these challenges so that helps boost the kitty every year.

It’s amazing to be recognised as a finalist for being one of the top charity fundraisers in my company and championing Cats Protection.

People can still vote for me by midday 25 February to be in with a chance of winning a £1,000 donation to Cats Protection. All you have to do is visit www.legalandgeneralgroup.com/awards/2019 and select my story under the ‘Charity Fundraising’ section, then submit your vote!

Do you have any plans for future challenges?

I’m doing the 25k South Coast 1st Quarter Challenge on 29 August 2020 to raise money for the Horsham and Brighton & District branches in memory of Bonzo, a grey-and-white tabby cat who we sadly said goodbye to aged 16 years old in October 2019. This year’s target is £1,000 so if anyone would like to sponsor me please visit my JustGiving page.

To find out more about fundraising for Cats Protection, visit www.cats.org.uk/support-us/events

Thursday, 6 February 2020

More Than Just A Cat: My foster cats give my life purpose

Nikita Benney, volunteer fosterer for Cats Protection’s Glastonbury & Wells Branch, explains how looking after unwanted cats has transformed her life. 

Working with animals is the only thing that I've ever wanted to do with my life. The specifics changed somewhat over the years; from vet to marine biologist, to opening my own rescue centre, but the direction was always the same and animals were always at the core of it. Unfortunately my health had other plans and I was left suffering from, among a series of other things, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome from the age of 15.

blonde woman in red jumper next to tabby cat wearing collar

I had struggled through college, got a handful of different animal care qualifications and now I was left with no direction I could take with them. It's difficult finding a job when doing one day of work leaves you stuck in bed for at least the next three just to recover. I had never considered, for even a second, that I might have a future different from what I'd dreamt of, but now I was facing that reality and I had no idea what to do. There would be no working at a rescue centre or as a dog walker when I couldn't even get a job as a receptionist at a vets let alone anything else.

litter of five tabby and tortie kittens in a cat basket

This all had a huge negative impact on my mental health. Depression and anxiety are things that I've always struggled with, but in the hole that I was in I could no longer see a way out. It was the lowest I've ever been in my life and there were times when I felt like giving up because it seemed that with no purpose in my life there was no reason in me carrying on.

tortoiseshell kitten

Thankfully I have a great support system of friends and family who were there for me and it was at this time that I started looking into things that I could do with animals from home. I honestly hadn't held out much hope. I assumed that anything I found would either require very specific qualifications or wouldn't actually have any physical contact with animals. For the most part I was right, until I came across a web page with a testimonial from a woman about the Cats Protection fostering pen she'd had put up in her garden. I must have read the page at least 15 times before I rushed to find out more information about the fostering scheme, a mix of excitement and anticipation building up in my stomach.

tabby kitten lying on their side

There were obstacles I had to get over before I'd even contacted Cats Protection which were a worry from the start. Living in a council house meant I had to get their permission to undertake something like this and I wasn't too optimistic about what they would say, but to my pleasant surprise I met some lovely people who were kind, friendly and pleaded my case to those in charge. I was close to tears when they gave me their permission, but I still refused to let myself get my hopes up. Contacting Cats Protection was just as nerve-wracking, but the reply I got was prompt and positive and everyone that I dealt with along the way was nothing but kind, helpful and supportive.

tabby cat wearing collar

Getting a pen moved into the garden and set up felt like a lifetime and the wait for my first foster felt even longer, but every second of it was worth it the moment I picked her up. A heavily pregnant tabby queen, brought in as an apparent stray, thought to be no more than two years old. I loved her from the moment that I saw her and have come to love her even more over the months that I've had her. I was at her side when she gave birth to five beautiful and healthy kittens and every day since, raising them into the adorable balls of energy that will soon be off to their new homes.

tortoiseshell kitten

Before I started fostering every day was difficult. I had hobbies I could do to keep me busy and friends that I could talk to, but it all felt pointless. Getting out of bed is physically difficult for me as it is, but it felt so much harder when there was no purpose to my days. My foster cats give me that purpose. They make me smile without fail every morning when I go out to see them and on my worst days, simply lying in the pen and getting piled on by a horde of purring kittens helps me get by more than they will ever know.

tabby kitten

To the queen Susie, I'm a care giver; the person who brings food, gives her cuddles, plays with her and babysits the kittens when she has had enough of them. To the kittens, I'm second parent; a fun climbing post, a warm napping spot, the person who cleans up their messes and brings them yummy food to scoff down. To me, they are a lifeline; they give my days meaning and they've lifted me out of that dark place I was in.

I don't know what my future will bring, but I plan to go on fostering for as long as I am physically able to. I know that there are going to be a lot of tears when it's time for mum and kittens to leave me and go onto their new homes and I've no doubt it'll be hard letting them go, but doing so will allow me to make room for the next cat that needs a place to stay and that is what will keep me going. There are always more cats to help. Making sure that I can find them the best homes possible is how I can give back even just a little of everything they've given me.

tabby kitten

Fostering changed everything for me and if there is anyone out there reading this who is in the same position as me, I encourage you to look into it for yourself. Even if fostering isn't for you, there are so many other ways to help out Cats Protection that can be just as fulfilling and rewarding. It's just a case of finding what works for you.

My foster cats are more than just cats, they're the reason I'm able to smile and get out of bed in the morning.

If you would like to find out more about volunteering for Cats Protection, visit www.cats.org.uk/volunteering 

Let us know what your marvellous moggy means to you with #MoreThanJustACat and discover more heartwarming stories at www.cats.org.uk/my-cat-is