Thursday, 23 April 2020

Abandoned kittens saved from death and named after NHS founding figures

Three tiny kittens have been rescued from a garden in Cornwall by Cats Protection and named after key figures from the history of the NHS.

The trio of three-day-old kittens were abandoned when their feral mother was unintentionally disturbed by a cat-loving member of the public who walked into the garden where the young family was sheltering, just days after the kittens’ birth.

three newborn kittens being held in gloved hands
The three kittens were rescued just in time
Despite immediately keeping her distance, the cat-lover watched as the mother fled the scene with one of her five-strong litter.

The lady immediately contacted Cats Protection’s Cornwall Adoption Centre where Centre Manager, Libby Jepson, advised to monitor the situation from a distance.

The mother returned for one more of the litter but by early evening she had not been back for the remaining three kittens and Libby knew they were unlikely to survive if left alone.

grey-and-white newborn kitten being fed from a bottle
Nye the kitten enjoying some nutritious kitten milk
Libby explains: “Feral cats are terrified of humans so we want to have as little contact with them as possible. In this situation the kittens had been left for over two hours since the mother had first been frightened away.

“Although she may have returned, at around three days old kittens cannot maintain their own body temperature and need continual feeding. I was worried that even if their mother did come back, her kittens would be too cold and hungry to survive or another animal would prey on them once it got dark, so we made the decision to bring them in, maintaining social distancing throughout.”

tabby-and-white newborn kitten being fed from a bottle
AJ and his siblings are receiving round-the-clock care
With the centre only having skeleton staff owing to the current lockdown situation, Libby has taken on the responsibility for hand-rearing the one female and two male kittens.

She says: “All three of the kittens are currently doing really well and need to be fed every two and a half hours, day and night. They will stay with me for the next couple of weeks and then once there is a little more time between feeds I’ll be able to share the responsibilities with other members of staff. 

“The kittens are really vulnerable so we have named them after some of the most inspirational people we could think of; grey-and-white Nye is named after Aneurin (Nye) Bevan who founded the NHS; tabby-and-white AJ is named after AJ Cronin whose book The Citadel paved the way for the NHS, and tabby Elizabeth has taken her name from Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, the first woman to qualify in Britain as a physician and surgeon.

tabby newborn kitten being fed from a bottle
Elizabeth will be ready to find a new home once rehoming begins again
“We hope their names bring them the strength they will need to thrive but also provides a small nod of recognition to the people who created the healthcare system for which we are all currently so grateful.”

The kittens will not be ready to home until they are at least eight weeks old but anyone wishing to adopt them once rehoming restrictions are lifted should keep an eye on www.cats.org.uk/cornwall for details of their availability. 

For any other cat-related advice or emergency care during the COVID-19 outbreak please visit www.cats.org.uk/coronavirus or call Cats Protection's National Information Line on 03000 12 12 12.

If you would like to help us be #HereForTheCats during this crisis, you can find out how to support us at www.cats.org.uk/support-us

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

26 ways to take part in The 2.6 Challenge for Cats Protection

The 2.6 Challenge is the latest virtual challenge sweeping the nation and we're inviting you to get involved – all to help us be #HereForTheCats.

Starting from Sunday 26 April, just take on an activity based around the number 26 or 2.6 – the ideas and options are endless!

Cat lovers of all ages and abilities can participate in the challenge, even from the comfort and safety of your own home.

If you’d like to be a part of it for Cats Protection but need some inspiration, here are 26 ways to do the #TwoPointSixChallenge.

1. Chop 26cm off the length of your hair

2. Create 26 cat shapes on a fitness app

3. Create a cat calendar and sell 26 copies

4. Host a virtual cat quiz with 26 questions

5. Tell 26 jokes live online via your social media pages – people can sponsor you to stop if they are bad enough!

6. Do 26 minutes of yoga with your cat

woman doing yoga pose on pink mat with tabby cat next to her
Get your mog involved when you do the Downward Dog 
7. Clear 26 items out of your loft or wardrobe to sell (when lockdown is over)

8. Do a virtual treasure hunt with 26 prizes

9. Do a live concert from home with 26 songs – people can sponsor you to stop if you’re bad enough!

10. Do a sweepstake with 26 people

11. Bake 26 cat cupcakes or biscuits – find a pawsome recipe here.

cat-shaped biscuits on a pink background
Have a go at recreating these amazing biscuits by Kim-Joy
12. Cartwheel the equivalent of 2.6 miles

13. Walk or run 2.6 miles/26 miles/260 miles – not in one day of course!

14. Hop 260 times around your home or garden

15. Skip 26 times for 26 days or 260 times in one day

16. For each of the 26 letters in the alphabet tick something off you’ve not done before, starting with A…

17. Stay blindfolded for 26 hours

18. Knit 26 catnip mice – here's a handy knitting pattern.

black-and-white cat playing with catnip mouse toy
Get crafty for cats and knit them an exciting toy
19. Cycle 2.6 miles/26 miles/260 miles – not in one day of course!

20. Ice bath challenge – stay in an ice bath for 26 seconds for 26 days in a row

21. Chip or putt 26 balls into the hole

22. Try to do 26 keepy uppies in a row

23. Climb your stairs or steps 260 times – up and down!

foot wearing cat socks and a trainer shoe
Put on your best cat socks and go running for the kitties
24. Juggle for 26 minutes or 2.6 minutes without stopping

25. Read 26 pages of a book or read for 2.6 hours without stopping

26. Stay silent for 26 hours

The 2.6 Challenge was created in response to the significant impact the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has had on many charities, including Cats Protection.

The funds you raise will go towards food, shelter and care, and enable us to plan for the future to ensure cats continue to be supported whenever they need us.

To take part, just set up your fundraising page and don’t forget to share your pics of your challenge on social media using #TwoPointSixChallenge and #CatsProtection.

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Casper reunited with owner 55 miles away after three years

Lucky cat Casper is finally back at home after three years, all thanks to his microchip.

The five-year-old moggy arrived at Cats Protection’s Cornwall Adoption Centre when a person who had been feeding him in Truro became ill and unable to care for him.

white cat lying on carpet
Cute Casper is finally back home. Credit: Anna Day
Casper was taken to the centre where he received a health-check which included being scanned for a microchip. The centre staff were surprised to find that it showed him registered to an address in Plymouth, 55 miles away. 

Upon contacting the registered owner, Anna Day, it was discovered that Casper had gone missing for a few weeks at a time during 2017, always returning home, until one day he did not come back and had not been seen since.

After receiving the call, Anna and her partner Paul made the 110-mile round-trip from Plymouth to the centre in Truro, to collect her beloved cat that same day.

blonde woman and young blonde boy holding white cat
Anna, Daniel and Casper reunited. Credit: Anna Day
Anna says: “It was such an unexpected surprise to hear than not only had he been found but that he was alive and we could collect him and bring him home. We have no idea how he came to be in Truro but he’s always been a friendly laid back cat who explores and roams, loving to make friends with people.

“Before he went missing he was very much loved by the local community and well known for his trips to the local school and for sitting outside the church asking to be stroked as people walked inside. I was heartbroken when he didn’t come back. I certainly didn’t expect to see him again but I’m so glad that not only did we have him microchipped but that we kept our details up-to-date. 

white cat sat in small cardboard box on green sofa
Casper doing what cats do best. Credit: Anna Day
“Casper has settled right back in and seemed to remember us straight away. Since he’s been home he has gone straight back to his favourite spots and even remembers our other cats. He knows Willow does not play with him but that Elvis is still his best mate, when we brought him home they ran up to each other, touched noses and it’s as if he’s never been away. Casper even likes our new dog!”

Libby Jepson, Centre Manager, said: “Casper’s story really highlights the importance of microchipping and as a charity we are actively campaigning to make microchipping for owned cats across the UK compulsory, as it is for dogs, to help reunite more cats with their owners. Without his microchip we would have had to rely on our detective skills to find out whether Casper had been previously owned but with the chip we were able to call Anna on the day he arrived in care.

“We’re really grateful to players of People’s Postcode Lottery who are supporting microchipping this year and have provided us with 10,000 microchips for 36 of our centres, helping to ensure that every cat that leaves our care is microchipped already and starts their new life with a permanent means of identification.”

To find out more about our campaign to make microchipping compulsory and to sign our petition, visit the Cats Protection website.  

Friday, 10 April 2020

5 facts about cat siblings

Do you have some cat siblings at home? This Siblings Day, discover some fascinating facts about feline brothers and sisters and share the sibling love by sending us photos of your littermates on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

tabby cat and black-and-white cat cuddled up on grey sofa
Dotty and Moose having a cuddle 

The largest litter had 19 kittens 


Typically when a mum cat gives birth she will have between four to six kittens, but in 1970 one cat in Oxfordshire, UK gave birth to 19 kittens in one go! Sadly, four of the kittens were stillborn, but the poor mum still had 15 hungry mouths to feed! Let’s hope she was neutered after that ordeal!

a black cat and a black-and-white cat sitting on the floor
Lily and Lou posing for the camera. Credit @lily_and_lou_the_rescues

Littermates can have different fathers 


Some litters may contain half-brothers and half-sisters as it’s possible for kittens from the same litter to have different fathers. This can happen when female cats mate with more than one male over a short period of time, getting pregnant more than once to produce one litter.

Siblings can be a variety of colours 


a tabby-and-white and a black-and-white cat sitting on a windowsill
Jack and Bailey surveying their kingdom. Credit @jackandbailey1

Male kittens always inherit their fur colour from the mum, so brothers are likely to be similar colours. However, female kittens will inherit a combination of their mum and dad’s colouring, so their coats can vary from their sisters’, especially if they have different dads! To find out more about why cats are different colours, read our blog.

Littermates learn from each other 


In their first few months of life, kittens will learn a lot from their brothers and sisters. One of the key things they practice with their littermates is how to hunt and play, which is why you might see kittens wrestling with each other. It can sometimes look a little aggressive, but as long as they’re taking equal turns to chase and pounce on each other, then it’s a great way for them to learn new skills. 

a black cat and a black-and-white cat stretched out on a bed
Alba and Diego having a stretch and snooze. Credit @alba_and_diego

Siblings don’t always get on 


If you have multiple kittens from the same litter, you might assume they will have a lifelong sibling bond, but this isn’t always the case. Cats don’t reach social maturity until they are between 18 months and four years old, so even if they get on when they are young, this may drift apart as they grow older. For tips on how to help your sibling cats get along, read our blog.

For more help and advice for understanding cat behaviour, visit www.cats.or.uk/behaviour

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Massive moggy Sootie weighs an enormous 10kg

A tubby kitty weighing a whopping 10kg (1st 8lb) has been put on a strict diet by Cats Protection to help her get down to a healthy weight.

overweight black cat sitting on floor
Sootie is over two times the weight of an average cat
Twelve-year-old Sootie was taken in by the charity’s National Cat Adoption Centre in Sussex after her owner was no longer able to care for her.

Weighing more than twice the ideal 3.6kg (8lb) weight for a cat, Sootie is so large she can find it difficult to clean herself so has been placed on a special diet to help her get in shape.

Cats Protection worker holding overweight black cat
Cat Care Assisstant Emily Platt holding Sootie

Cats Protection is highlighting her story to hopefully encourage owners to think twice before over-indulging their pets with treats while spending more time at home.

Danielle Draper, manager of the centre, said: “Sootie is one of the largest cats we’ve had in care here and we were all quite shocked to see her.

“She finds it hard to clean herself and needs encouragement to exercise. We’ve placed her on a very strict diet so she loses the weight in a controlled way.

gloved human hand stroking overweight black cat
A human hand for comparison with Sootie's large size
“Cats can be very persuasive and it can be hard not to give in to the pleading meows for a treat or two. But Sootie’s story is a really good example of when too many treats can cause a real problem.

“Because of her weight, Sootie will be at a higher risk of diabetes, arthritis and heart trouble, so it’s important we get it under control. Once she has slimmed down she will feel much better and can enjoy a more active lifestyle.”

5 top tips for keeping your feline fit and healthy 


  • Weigh out cat food on a daily basis, being careful not to overfill bowls. If giving cat treats, reduce the overall amount of food given at meal times  
  • Encourage your cat to exercise with toys such as fishing-rod toys or placing their daily ration of food inside a fun feeding ball to encourage activity 
  • Avoid giving your cat treats intended for humans, such as milk, cheese or chocolate. Many cats cannot digest cow’s milk products and chocolate contains a compound that can be toxic to cats 
  • Never starve overweight cats or put them on a crash diet. A gradual, steady decrease in bodyweight is ideal and it may take up to a year for a severely overweight cat to reach their ideal body condition 
  • If your cat is overweight, seek advice from your vet before embarking on any change of diet 

For more information about keeping your cat healthy, visit www.cats.org.uk/diet 

overweight black cat sitting on floor
Sootie is slowly shifting the pounds to get to a healthy weight
During the developing coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, Cats Protection’s centres and branches are closed to the public. Like all cats in the charity’s care, Sootie will continue to be cared for until rehoming is resumed. For the latest information on how we’re responding to COVID-19, please visit www.cats.org.uk/coronavirus

If you would like to help us care for cats like Sootie who will be with us for a bit longer than usual, you can visit www.cats.org.uk/support-us to find out how to support our work.