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

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Five-week-old kitten dumped near busy road

A tiny kitten abandoned outside the gates of Cats Protection’s Tyneside Adoption Centre was lucky to be discovered before he could escape onto a busy road. 

The black-and-white kitten was rescued by an eagle-eyed centre employee who spotted a suspicious package at the gate as she was carrying out her duties.

black-and-white kitten
Twist the kitten was lucky to be rescued just in time

Initially thinking it must be a donation left by a generous supporter, Cat Care Assistant Natalie Marwood noticed the flap to the covered litter tray move. 

Natalie said: “I felt sick as I ran to our gates, I just feared that the cat would escape. I was really panicking as the flap was not secure, it kept moving and by this point I could hear a lot of crying. I was so scared that the cat would get out and run into the road. This road is very busy and everyone drives far too fast along it.”

As she reached the padlocked gates she could see the kitten cowering inside. “I managed to shout to my colleagues to come and help and we got the kitten into a secure cat basket, which was such a relief. I felt really shook up,” she said. 

“I know we don’t know the person’s personal reasons for abandoning this kitten but what really upset me the most and made me angry was that the kitten was not safe or secure. Even if they had taped up the plastic flap it would have meant the kitten was more protected. The little kitten is with us now and away from harm, he won’t want for anything.” 

Covered cat litter tray
The covered litter tray the kitten was found in

Thought to be just five weeks old, Twist, named after Oliver Twist, has had an emergency vet appointment to check he is healthy as the team had no idea of his history.

He will be placed with a fosterer, who will be able to offer him the attention he should have still been receiving from his mother until he was at least eight weeks old. The fosterer will ensure he gets used to human attention so that he will be able to be adopted out to a loving family when he is old enough.

Centre Manager Emzi Frater said: “Although we appreciate that everyone is in a difficult situation at the moment and accidental kitten litters are going to pose a challenge this year in particular with delays to neutering appointments with vets because of the pressure of COVID-19, kittens should not be taken away from their mothers before eight weeks. 

Two Cats Protection employees with black-and-white kitten on one of their shoulders
Twist the kitten being shown his new temporary home at Cats Protection

“If anyone needs our help we will do all we can to support them, however we do have a waiting list and many people are patiently waiting for our support once we have the capacity to take in more cats. 

“The waiting list is vital to allow us to manage the needs of the cats and safety of our employees. It’s not fair or ethical to expect our charity, especially one where our team has been working tirelessly to care for cats throughout the lockdown with additional safety procedures, PPE requirements, social distancing and skeleton staff, to take on cats or kittens on demand when other members of the public are being supported over the phone and are patiently waiting for space. We are inundated with calls for help at the moment.”

If you would like to support the work of Tyneside Adoption Centre, you can find out how at www.cats.org.uk/tyneside You can also keep an eye on the website to find out when Twist the kitten becomes available for adoption.  

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

Monday, 22 June 2020

Can I own a cat if I’m allergic?

Being allergic to cats is a common affliction among humans, with many people suffering symptoms such as sneezing, itchy skin, watering eyes, coughing and wheezing whenever a cat is nearby. 

Sadly this can prevent caring cat lovers from owning a moggy of their own, or even worse, result in them having to give up a beloved pet to charities such as Cats Protection. If they do decide to keep their cat, it can still affect their ability to form a close bond with their moggy, as they try to maintain a safe distance to keep the sneezing at bay. 

Brunette woman holding long-haired grey-and-white cat

However, a cat allergy doesn’t necessarily need to stand in the way of a fabulous friendship with a feline. There’s a lot of confusion around the exact cause of the symptoms and how to reduce their effects, but once you know the facts, there are lots of things you can try. 

The biggest myths about cat allergies 

Myth 1: Cat allergies are caused by cat hair 

Many people think that cat hair is the cause of their sneezing, but it’s actually what’s on the hair that’s the problem. Cats’ saliva contains a protein called Fel d 1, which sticks to their fur and skin when they clean themselves with their tongues. It’s this protein that most cat allergy sufferers have a reaction to, and unfortunately it’s easily spread around your home when your cat naturally sheds their fur and dead skin cells.

Myth 2: I’m allergic to all cats

Different cats produce varying levels of Fel d 1, so allergy sufferers may find that they are more allergic to some cats than others. In addition, everyone’s sensitivity level to this allergen is different. If you think you’re allergic to cats but would like to adopt one, try meeting some cats first, with the other members of your household too, to see if any of you have a reaction. Keep in mind that many people with an allergy to cats are also allergic to other things, such as pollen. Therefore, it might be a good idea to meet your potential new feline friend in the summer when your pollen symptoms are more pronounced, so you can best gauge how your allergies will be affected.

Brunette woman with long-haired grey-and-white cat on lap 

Myth 3: Some cats are hypoallergenic

While levels of Fel d 1 do vary, every cat produces it, so there’s no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat. Some people believe that certain breeds of cat, such as hairless Sphynx cats, are less likely to cause allergies, but this isn’t the case. Hairless cats still lick themselves to stay clean causing Fel d 1 to stick to their skin, so when they shed dead skin cells called dander, the allergen can spread around the home.

Myth 4: My allergy will get better over time

Some people believe that the more time they spend with cats, the less severe their allergy will become, but sadly there’s no evidence to support this. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to avoid cats altogether though, as there are some simple steps you can take to manage your allergy and still enjoy some feline companionship.  

Tips for managing your cat allergy

  • Ask your doctor about antihistamine tablets and nasal sprays to ease your symptoms 
  • Groom your cat outdoors and wipe them with a damp cloth or cat-safe cleanser to remove allergens 
  • Avoid letting your cat lick your skin or clothes and always wash your hands after petting your cat
  • Regularly wash your cat’s bedding, toys and litter tray – Fel d 1 can be found in their urine too
  • Ventilate your home by opening windows for an hour each day, or use an air purifier. Avoid placing cat beds and litter trays close to air vents
  • Vacuum regularly using a cleaner with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter that limits the amount of allergen released back into the air
  • Avoid letting your cat into your bedroom, as allergies can become worse at night
  • Try feeding your cat Purina’s new Pro Plan LiveClear cat food, designed to safely neutralise cat allergens and reduce the levels on their fur  

The world’s first cat allergen-reducing cat food

Bag of Purina Pro Plan LiveClear cat food on kitchen counter next to bowl of cat food

Purina Pro Plan LiveClear is a new cat food designed to safely neutralise the Fel d 1 allergen in your cat’s saliva, reducing the amount of active Fel d 1 they release into your home. A key ingredient in the food, a specific protein sourced from eggs, binds to the Fel d 1 in your cat’s saliva as they eat. When they groom, neutralised Fel d 1 is spread onto their skin and fur. The food has been proven to reduce the active allergen on cat hair and dander from the third week of daily feeding*. It is completely safe for your cat as the key ingredient is simply digested by them like any other protein. The food also offers great-tasting nutrition. To find out more about Purina Pro Plan LiveClear, visit  www.purina.co.uk/proplan/liveclear 

Exclusive offer for Cats Protection supporters

What’s more, Purina is offering Cats Protection supporters an exclusive 20% discount for their first purchase of Pro Plan LiveClear. Simply visit their website, create your account, select the right product for the life-stage of your cat and use the promotional code: CATSPROTECTION20 at checkout** 

For more help and advice about cats and allergies, visit www.cats.org.uk/cats-and-allergies

*A 10-week controlled study of 105 cats showed an average reduction of 47% starting from the third week of daily feeding.
**T&Cs apply. UK, CI & IOM, 18+. Offer ends 31.12.2020, or when 750 valid unique applications for the 20% discount offer have been received, whichever is sooner. Please note - offer not valid if trial bag code already used.

Friday, 19 June 2020

21-year-old cat rescued from desperate life in a Norfolk car park

*Update - 23 July 2020*

Great Aunt Ethel, the mature moggy who was found sleeping rough in a Norfolk car park, has found a loving forever home in which to live out her twilight years.

Cats Protection’s Downham Market Adoption Centre was overwhelmed by the response to 21-year-old Ethel’s story and before long a suitable new home was found for her. She even has a garden in which to sun herself as a welcome bonus.

tortoiseshell cat

Alison Westgate and her family gave Ethel a chance to enjoy the autumn of her life at their home in the countryside near East Harling. Alison said: “I can’t believe how well Ethel has settled in to her new home. The moment the travel crate was opened, she was off exploring, jumping onto windowsills and worktops. 

“Within an hour we had made friends and she was sat on my lap purring. It already feels as if we have been together for ages. I am so pleased I was able to offer her somewhere safe and warm to spend her twilight years. She’s a dear little thing - you would never know she is a grand old lady of 21.”

tortoiseshell cat with face buried in blanket

Cat Care Assistant Leah Snowden has remained #HereForTheCats during lockdown and cared for Ethel when she was brought in as an emergency admission. Sadly, Ethel’s microchip noted that she had been born in 1999, but contact details had not been kept up to date, so her last owner could not be traced. 

Leah said: “From the moment Ethel arrived it was clear she needed our help. You could almost sense the relief in her. It was clear that she had previously known a life of home comforts before she fell on hard times, and she cried out for a chance at that cosy life once more.

“We have been overwhelmed by the love shown by people offering to help Ethel and to enquire about other cats in our care. It hasn’t always been easy to keep going during lockdown and it’s a story like this, with such an out-pouring of compassion from Norfolk people, that makes it all worthwhile.”

Read on for our original blog post about Ethel...

If Great Aunt Ethel were a human she would receive a 100th birthday card from the Queen, but all this affectionate 21-year-old cat wants is a warm home to live out her golden years.

Elderly Ethel has clocked up a century in human years, but life hasn’t given her much to celebrate of late. This mature moggy's story has tugged at the heartstrings of carers at Cats Protection’s Downham Market Adoption Centre when they were alerted to a cat sleeping rough on an abandoned sofa in a car park in Wisbech. 

Tortoiseshell cat sitting on a shelf in a cat pen

Cat Care Assistant Leah Snowden was first on the scene when responding to the emergency call. “Someone called and said there was a cat fending for herself in the corner of a car park,” she said. “Residents in a nearby block of flats had been feeding her, which was very kind, but it was clear she needed our help.

“Cats can be nervous when approached but not Ethel. As soon as she saw me she cried out. It was as if she knew that I was there with a helping hand, to bring her to a better life. It was obvious that she was a cat who had previously enjoyed human love and home comforts”. 

Tortoiseshell cat

Ethel’s microchip showed that she was born in 1999 but the excitement was short lived when Ethel’s sad story unfolded. She had been living in Kent when her owner died but, as the database details had not been updated, carers could not trace Ethel’s last owner. 

Local people who had been feeding her in the car park believed that Ethel had been taken to live with family in Wisbech after the death of her previous owner and she either ran off or was left to roam without a home.

Great Aunt Ethel is one of the lucky ones. As the Norfolk cat centre’s oldest temporary resident, Ethel is enjoying fuss and attention while she waits for someone to give her another chance in life.

Tortoiseshell cat standing on a shelf in a cat pen

Ethel is a friendly, loving lady in fine condition, especially for a cat of her grand old age. Having received a clean bill of health and some dental work, she can enjoy the rest of her life in a calm home without any other pets or children. A garden in which to sun herself would be a welcome bonus.

If you would like to adopt senior kitizen Ethel via Cats Protection’s new hands-free homing service, please get in touch with the centre by emailing downham@cats.org.uk 

Many cats are abandoned after their owner passes away, so Cats Protection established Cat Guardians to ensure that a cat is taken care of in the event of their owner’s death. 

Cat Guardians is a free service to give peace of mind to cat owners concerned about what might happen when they pass away. A simple clause in a will enables people to plan for their cat’s future so that, in the event of death, Cats Protection takes care of their cat and finds them a loving new home. 

Cat Guardians Marketing Manager Becky Tichband said: “We know your cat means the world to you, which is why Cats Protection promises to be there for them after you’re gone. By registering with our free Cat Guardians service you can be assured that, after you pass away, our caring staff and volunteers will look after your cat until we find them a loving new home.” 

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Maimed kittens now thriving despite being cruelly dumped in plastic bag

*Warning: Graphic images of injured kittens below* 

Two kittens just old enough to leave their mother were found tied in a plastic bag, suffering from eye damage likely to be deliberate wounding.

Believed to be around eight weeks old when they were found, the two black, long-haired, male kittens who have been named Roxy and Ronnie, were discovered by a member of the public inside a tied up plastic bag in the Forest of Dean.  

Two black long-haired kittens each with an eye missing

Roxy’s left eyeball was extremely swollen and about to rupture while Ronnie’s right eye had already ruptured, leaving both cats in extreme pain. 

The young pair were taken straight to a vet where they were given pain medication and it was advised they would need surgery as soon as possible. The vet called Cats Protection’s Hereford Adoption Centre who took the kittens in and arranged for surgery to take place the following day.
Adoption Centre Manager Faye Churchill says: “I have never seen anything like it, the kittens’ eyes were bulging out of their poor little heads. They are young, vulnerable cats, only just old enough to be away from their mothers. Thankfully they both had emergency surgery to remove the affected eyes and are making a fantastic recovery. 

Two black long-haired kittens each with a damaged eye
“The most shocking part is that they are both very healthy other than the damage to one eye each so we can only assume it was a horrific act of cruelty. 

“We don’t know what happened in this awful situation but we are now firmly into kitten season which can be a terrible time of year for unneutered female cats and unwanted kittens. It is especially difficult as the pandemic restrictions have meant that fewer cats have been able to visit vets for their neutering procedures. We would urge anyone who is unable to care for a cat or kittens never to dump them but to get in touch. We won’t judge, we will simply work with you to find the best solution for the cat.”   

black long-haired kitten with missing eye

Roxy and Ronnie are both healing from their surgery and have now been rehomed through the centre's hands-free homing process. 

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

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Kittens thrown into locked bin like rubbish lucky to be alive

Five helpless kittens were thrown into a bin and discarded like rubbish before being found by passers-by.

The one tortoiseshell and four black-and-white kittens, who are believed to be around two to three weeks old, were found inside a locked bin in Castle Bromwich, Solihull by quick-thinking mum Louise as she walked by with a friend and their families.

black-and-white kitten in cat basket

Louise says: “Whoever dumped these poor kittens in the bin at Parkfield should be ashamed. They were so tiny they weren’t even ready to leave their mom. It’s got to be someone close, it’s not like they even put them in a box, they just put them in the bin one by one. Disgusting people out there. Vile.”

black-and-white kitten

After fishing the kittens out of the bin where they had been crawling on dirty bottles and food waste, the group took the kittens to 608 Vet Practice in Solihull where they were checked over. The practice then contacted Cats Protection’s South Birmingham Branch, who arranged for them to be taken into the care of the charity’s Birmingham Adoption Centre in Hollywood.

Tortoiseshell kitten

Louise added: “I’m just glad that we got the kittens out in time. It was a real group effort, it was my son, pal Sophie, her son and her niece. The kids were really brave, they were able to reach the kittens after we ripped the bag and pulled them to the top of the bin, then played with them while Sophie went home to get a box. 

“It was cruel that someone had done that. They were meowing all the time, it was so sad, they only calmed down in the car when my kids were holding and cuddling them. I’m glad they are being looked after. I would have loved to keep one but I didn’t want to separate them at such a young age, especially after they had been through so much already. It’s nice to see the photos of them looking so much better.”  

black-and-white kitten in cat basket

The kittens, three boys and two girls, have been named Spike, Giles, Xander, Faith and Willow after characters from TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as the centre thought they could use a little slayer-inspired strength after their ordeal. They are receiving round-the clock care from one of the centre’s volunteer fosterers, who is also a registered veterinary nurse, providing them with bottle feeds to top-up their first tastes of solid food. 

Deputy Centre Manager Paula Beswick says: “Seeing the video of the tiny, vulnerable kittens struggling on top of rubbish at the bottom of the bin is heart-breaking. They are so lucky that Louise, Sophie and the children not only heard them but had the patience and kindness to get them out and take them to the vet. They were still terrified when they came to us, screaming and covered in dust and dirt.

black-and-white kitten in cat basket

“We know having an unexpected litter of kittens is a shock and can be difficult but we would urge anyone in a similar situation to bring the kittens to us. We won’t judge, we will just ensure the kittens are given the best care before finding them loving homes.  

“We’d also like to hear from whoever dumped the kittens, anonymously if they wish, as we can support them to ensure the mother cat is neutered so that the same situation doesn’t happen again. Luckily the five bundles of fur are now safe and well but the situation could have been very different.”

four black-and-white kittens and one tortoiseshell kittens in a cat pen

The kittens will be available for homing once they are at least nine weeks old. Anyone wishing to give the kittens a home should visit www.cats.org.uk/birmingham where details of the kittens’ availability will be posted first. 

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 

Monday, 15 June 2020

Cats are helping their owners combat lockdown loneliness

With new figures showing that the wellbeing of millions of people has been affected by loneliness during the COVID-19 lockdown, cats are helping to bring comfort and joy to those stuck at home. 

Charlotte Mills, 28, an accounts manager for a construction firm, lives alone with her pet cat Chester in Newbury, Berkshire, and says Chester has helped her adjust to the sudden change from her “fast and furious” lifestyle during the lockdown. 

“On an average week before the lockdown, I’d have been at work all week in the daytime, followed by exercise classes most evenings,” said Charlotte. “Weekends were all about catching up with family and friends and I was always on the go, life was fast and furious. 

blonde woman with long-haired black cat
Charlotte with her lockdown pal Chester

“Suddenly going into lockdown meant I was working from home and not able to see anyone. I make sure I phone people a lot, so I feel connected, but nothing can compare to having a living being around to share your days with. My cat Chester makes me laugh, is very playful and affectionate, so I don’t feel alone. 

“When I’m working at home, without colleagues to chat to, it’s easy to get absorbed in what I’m doing, but Chester often pops on my lap and that ensures I take a screen break. He’s made the change to a slower pace of life much easier for me, I think I would have struggled without him. I’ll be working at home for the foreseeable future, but I won’t be alone as Chester will be keeping me on my toes.”

Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy & Government Relations Jacqui Cuff said: “Even during normal times, people of all ages can be affected by loneliness. But that has been brought into sharp focus during the lockdown, with millions of people suddenly spending much more time at home. It’s made people realise that loneliness can affect those from all walks of life.

“Cats can be fantastic pets to help combat feelings of loneliness. During the lockdown, we’ve heard countless stories about how worrying times have been eased by the companionship of having a cat at home.  

“Cats can help prevent feelings of loneliness in all sorts of ways, whether it’s providing entertainment with their playful antics, or being there for a soothing cuddle. Often, people tell us that it’s a great source of comfort to simply have another living being in the home to care for and talk to.”

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cats, supported by Cats Protection, Batttersea and Blue Cross, has released a report called 'Cats as Companions: Can Cats Help Tackle Loneliness?' The report identifies that cat ownership and interaction is one of a number of measures with the potential to tackle loneliness across all age groups in specific social situations. To read the report visit: www.apgocats.org.uk/reports

If you’d like to welcome a feline friend into your life, visit www.cats.org.uk/hands-free-homing to find out if Cats Protection has cats available for adoption in your area. 

For more advice and support on all things cats and COVID-19, visit www.cats.org.uk/coronavirus 

Friday, 5 June 2020

FIV cat Jet finds a home during COVID-19 lockdown

When the COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020, Cats Protection sadly had to put adoptions on hold to keep our teams, the public and the cats safe. 

This meant that moggies like Jet, a five-year-old stray at our Bredhurst Adoption Centre, had to stay in our care for a little longer than usual. 

Black cat lying on grey sofa
Aside from his wonky ear and FIV, Jet is a healthy cat

While the team at the centre were still #HereForTheCats, giving them lots of love and care as well as food and play, they were eager to start finding the cats loving new homes again. 

Then, in May, Cats Protection was finally able to start ‘hands-free homing’ in some of its centres, including Bredhurst, and Jet was one of the first to find his purrfect match. 

Caroline and Mike had previously applied to adopt a cat from the Bredhurst Centre just before lockdown, but had to wait patiently for rehoming to start again. When they heard about hands-free homing, they emailed the centre to say they were interested and were soon sent some photos of the lovely Jet.

black cat amongst grey bed covers
Jet will need to be kept indoors because of his FIV

When Jet had first arrived at the centre after being found living as a stray, he was given a full health check by a vet and found to have Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). This is a virus in cats that is similar to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), but FIV does not infect humans and HIV does not infect cats. 

While there is no treatment for FIV, cats with the virus can still live long and healthy lives. However, they should be kept indoors to prevent them from passing the virus on to other cats, and also to reduce the risk of them picking up any infections outdoors, as their immune system is compromised. As Caroline and Mike live in an apartment with no outdoor space, the centre team thought that Jet would be the ideal cat for them.

“When we were told about Jet and the new hands-free homing process we jumped at the chance to adopt him,” said Caroline. “We already knew a fair amount about cats with FIV as we’d done some previous research so this was not an issue for us, and Cats Protection even helped advise us on pet insurance for a cat who is FIV positive. The whole process of the adoption from Cats Protection was professional but also extremely friendly.”

After filling in all the paperwork and paying the adoption fee, Caroline and Mike were given a date for when Jet would be dropped off at their home by someone from the centre. 

Cats Protection volunteer carrying cat carrier in front of Cats Protection van
Cats Protection delivered Jet to his new home

“I do a lot of online shopping, but never have I ever had a cat delivered!” said Caroline. “The whole delivery was contactless from the driver and Jet was dropped at our door. 

“We then took him inside where he settled in immediately – at first in the spare bedroom where all his toys, food and water etc. were, and then slowly but surely he ventured out into the rest of the flat. 

Black cat standing next to cat carrier and Cats Protection Welcome Pack
Jet's new owners were given all the advice they needed to help him settle in

To make sure Jet was settling in well and check if his new owners had any questions about his care, the Bredhurst Centre team gave Caroline and Mike a call three days after he was dropped off, and then another call a couple of weeks after that. 

“Three weeks on and he has become such a character in our household. It’s hard to remember a time without him. He even joined us on the sofa the other evening on a Zoom call with friends for my boyfriend’s birthday!

laptop showing Zoom video call with five people and two cats in four frames
Jet gate-craching a Zoom call for his new owner's birthday

“We are so grateful to Cats Protection for bringing Jet into our lives. We’ve definitely fallen head over heels for him! So it’s a big thank you from us and from Jet who has now found his forever home. Cats make a house a home!”

Mike added: “The process was really simple and easy and the communication was excellent, even out of hours. I'd definitely recommend hands-free rehoming and adopting from Cats Protection!”

Black cat lying in man's arms on grey sofa
Jet is well and truly settled into his forever home

To find out more about Cats Protection’s hands-free homing process and other ways you can support the charity during the COVID-19 crisis, visit www.cats.org.uk/coronavirus 

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Cat champion fundraiser completes 53km Nepal trek… on her stairs!

A cat-loving fundraiser has refused to have her training for a trek in Nepal derailed by the national lockdown and instead has covered the distance of the challenge on her stairs at home.

Clara Youden works for Cats Protection’s Birmingham Adoption Centre as their Volunteer Team Leader, alongside her friend and the centre’s Deputy Manager Sarah Whitmore. 

Woman wearing cat ears, sunglasses, tiger-print leggings and Cats protection tshirt sat on her stairs
Clara ready to take on her epic stair-climbing challenge

The duo had committed to raising money for the charity by signing up for the epic adventure in Nepal before the lockdown came into place.

To continue training for the challenge, Clara has covered the equivalent distance of the trail through the Nepali Himalayas, 53km, by climbing and descending the stairs in her house instead. 

For five days she has themed and decorated her house in a nod to the places she will see on the trip and has covered a whopping 69,553 steps or 2,676 trips up and down the stairs. Watch how she got on in the video below. 

The trek sees participants climb the Nepali Himalayas up to altitudes of 3,400m before visiting a tiger conservation project in the hope of spotting tigers in their natural habitat and taking part in a local tiger awareness programme. 

Clara and Sarah are aiming to raise £4,400 each by August 2021, which will contribute to helping the cats and kittens they care for at the Birmingham Adoption Centre.

Woman wearing cat ears, sunglasses and tiger-print onesie sat next to ginger cat
Clara with her moggy Mylo who provided moral support

Clara said: “A lot of the fundraising plans Sarah and I had made for our Nepal trek have been postponed or cancelled due to current circumstances, so I wanted to think of a way to keep raising our much needed funds while on lockdown.

“I’d seen a few people doing marathons in their gardens or Everest via their stairs and thought why not do the distance we’ll be trekking in Nepal each day on my stairs. 

“Every day I covered the number of kilometres or steps we’ll cover on our trek and I even tried to change my homemade scenery each day too. It was genuinely harder than I expected but I’m really proud that I did it. 

black cat sitting on stairs next to homemade sign for Poon Hill
Clara's cat Mikey at the top of 'Poon Hill, Nepal'

“It’s really important for both of us to keep raising funds as the work our centre does is so incredibly important for local cats. We help rehome around 1,000 cats a year from across Birmingham and the surrounding areas. 

“In addition to loving our jobs at the centre, Sarah and I have both rehomed Cats Protection cats, I have Mylo and Mikey who mean the world to me, while Sarah very sadly lost her cat, Princess Luby, three years ago so it is a cause very close to our hearts.” 

woman wearing tiger-print onesie lying on stairs holding sign for Ghandruk
Clara having a well-earned rest at the 'Ghundruk village in Nepal'

To help Clara and Sarah reach their fundraising total, visit their Facebook page or JustGiving page.  

If you would like to take on the Big Cat Challenge you can reserve your place now at www.cats.org.uk/nepal21

Want to discuss the challenge and fundraising? Get in touch with our Fundraising Events team by emailing events@cats.org.uk or calling 01825 741 960.