Thursday, 27 August 2020

Why is my cat being 'naughty'?

From scratching the furniture and climbing the curtains, to clawing your hands or waking you up in the early hours, if your cat is causing chaos at home, you might think they’re being deliberately mischievous. 

grey-and-white cat holding out paw

However, what we might consider ‘naughty’ behaviour, is probably just your cat being a cat. Our moggies have many natural behaviours that we might find odd or inconvenient, but it’s important not to tell them off or punish them for it, as they won’t understand what they’ve done wrong. 

Instead, by understanding why they do what they do, there are ways you can find different outlets for their behaviour so you and your feline friend can continue living together happily. 

Read on to discover some common ‘naughty’ cat behaviours and our expert tips for preventing them.

My cat scratches the furniture


It might seem like your kitty has it in for your lovely home furnishings, but they’re just finding the best place to sharpen their claws and mark their territory. 

Cats need to scratch to keep their claws healthy and also to leave behind a scent that is excreted from between their toes, letting them know this place is familiar and safe. 

Unfortunately for you, sofas and carpets are great for digging their claws into, but you can find out how to prevent any damage in our video. 



My cat brings home ‘presents’ 


Cats are natural predators so they’re simply following their instincts when they catch small animals they find in the garden. It might seem gruesome, but they bring their prey back to the house as this is their core territory, so they know it will be safe from being stolen by other wildlife. 

They don’t hunt because they’re being cruel, or even because they’re hungry, they do it because pouncing and catching things makes them feel happy. 

To find out how to reduce the threat to wildlife while still keeping your cat happy, take a look at our guide

My cat keeps knocking things off the table


Whether they’re batting objects onto the floor, jumping onto the kitchen counter or miaowing at you incessantly, these are all ingenious ways your cat may be trying to grab your attention. And if you keep giving in and giving them exactly what they want, whether it’s food or a fuss, then the chances are they will keep doing it again and again as they know it works. 

If you want to stop them then, as difficult as it may be, the best method is to try to ignore them. Instead try to only give them food or a fuss when they are being calm and quiet so they know that this is what will get results. 

Black-and-white cat sitting on dining table


My cat attacks my hands and feet


When they’re in the mood to play, cats are highly sensitive to movement as this is usually how they spot their prey. Therefore, wiggling fingers and toes can be hard to resist. 

Unfortunately many cat owners have a habit of encouraging this behaviour with their kittens, as it is fun and relatively painless. However, when the cat and their claws grow bigger, our feline friends don’t realise that this same game can cause a few injuries. 

To keep your digits safe, watch our video to see how you can encourage more pain-free play sessions instead. 



My cat is digging up the flowerbeds 


Rather than turning their paw to garden design, it’s more likely that your moggy is using the flowerbed as their toilet. Unfortunately your cat doesn’t know it’s also the site of your prize winning blooms, they just see the perfect cat loo. A nice patch of loose soil is ideal because it’s soft, absorbent and can be easily dug over to cover up their poo. 

To save your flowers, try creating an even better toilet for you cat elsewhere, using our top tips

My cat keeps climbing the curtains 


Climbing is another of your cat’s natural pastimes, as they love to get up high so they can survey their surroundings. This helps them to feel safe, as they can look out for any potential dangers while staying out of harm’s way. 

If you want to prevent your curtains from becoming their climbing frame of choice then try providing a suitable alternative. For example give them access to some empty shelves to perch on, or perhaps push a chest of draws up against a wardrobe so they can easily leap on top. 

Ginger tabby cat hiding behind grey curtain


My cat wakes me up at night 


While we may appreciate a lie-in, cats are typically early risers as they’re naturally most active at dawn and dusk. Sadly this can often mean that instead of leaving us to remain cosy under the duvet, they urgently require our attention as soon as the sun comes up. 

It could be that they want their breakfast, or to be let outside, or even just to have a fuss and it can be hard to resist their cute little face and sweet miaows no matter how tired and groggy you feel. And by giving in to their morning demands, we’re only encouraging them to do it again as they know it gets results. 

To help you catch a few extra zs, we’ve got some tips for keeping your moggy alarm from going off quite so early in our video below. 


If your cat's behaviour changes, it's important to take them to the vet first to rule out any medical reasons, before looking for a behavioural cause. 

If you would like to learn more about cat behaviour, then why not sign up for Cats Protection’s Feline Behaviour Conference. The online event will feature informative sessions and engaging Q&As with cat experts, covering topics such as how cats learn, how cats communicate and the future of cats!

To find out more and book your place, visit the Cats Protection websiteFor lots more help and advice on cat behaviour, visit www.cats.org.uk/behaviour


Tuesday, 25 August 2020

How to encourage your cat to play

Whether your cat is a furry bundle of energy or more of a chilled out moggy, it’s important that they have the opportunity to show their playful side. 

As well as being great for their physical health – all that running, jumping and pouncing helps to prevent them from becoming a bit chonky – play is also great for their mental wellbeing. Not only does it keep boredom at bay but catching objects also releases happy hormones in their brain, which is why they want to do it again and again... and again.  

black cat lying upside down holding a multi-coloured feather toy


Setting aside some time to play with your cat is a great way to strengthen the bond between you. If your cat is quite shy, gently encouraging them to play will help build their confidence and they’ll learn to associate those happy hormones with spending time with you. If your cat is quite hyperactive already, then regular play sessions will hopefully wear them out a bit, so they’ll be more relaxed later and might even give you a chance at a lie in. 

There are lots of different ways you can encourage your cat to play, here are a few ideas…

Types of play to try with your cat 


Interactive play

Cats are very sensitive to movement, so toys you can move along the floor or dangle in the air will really help to grab their attention. This is why fishing rod toys are so perfect, because you can use them to mimic the prey cats normally hunt in the wild. Try dragging the string away from your cat along the floor and watch your cat wriggle their bum in preparation to pounce. 

GIF of black-and-white cat playing with fishing rod toy

It’s important to let your cat catch the toy every so often, as this will motivate them to keep playing. Toys such as laser pens can be frustrating for cats as they are unable to actually catch the dot on the floor, which means those happy hormones aren’t released in their brain. 

Another thing to avoid is grabbing your cat’s attention with your wiggling fingers or toes, as this will be quite painful when they decorate your digits with claw or teeth marks. For more advice on how to prevent inappropriate play, watch our video.

Solo play

two black-and-white kittens playing with a ball

Your cat will only need a few short play sessions throughout the day, but if you’re pushed for time then there are a few toys your cat can play with by themselves. 

Ping pong balls or rolled up pieces of tin foil are ideal as they will move quite a distance on their own once your cat gives them an initial prod. Leave a few in rooms with hard floors so your cat can have fun batting them around and skidding after them. 

If your cat is partial to a bit of catnip, then toys stuffed or sprayed with this feline friendly substance will naturally get them sniffing, pouncing and rolling around with glee. 

GIF of brown tabby cat rolling around with catnip toys


Feeding play

As well as movement, food also tends to be a good motivator for cats so try combining playtime with dinnertime. 

Puzzle feeders and other feeding enrichment toys encourage your cat to work a bit for their food, providing more physical and mental stimulation than simply using a food bowl. 

GIF of tortoiseshell cat playing with mouse-shaped feeding ball

There are lots of these toys you can buy in pet shops and online, but you can also easily make your own by recycling items you’d usually throw away, such as toilet roll tubes and egg boxes. Watch our video to find out how. 

Training play

GIF of two tabby-and-white cats jumping over pack of toilet roll on command
Follow Bruce and Clark the kittens on Instagram

It’s not just dogs that can learn new tricks. Cats can be trained to do all sorts of things, from the basics like going through a cat flap to more ambitious feats like jumping over obstacles and even playing noughts and crosses!

As long as the training is done using positive reinforcement, such as offering a treat or fuss when they get it right, then it can be a great bonding experience that’s fun for both of you. Just remember to be patient with your trainee and keep the sessions short to give them a break every now and then.

GIF of two tabby-and-white cats playing noughts and crosses with their owner
Follow Bruce and Clark the kittens on Instagram

For lots of ideas for how you can train your cat, take a look at our blog series

For lots more advice on how to play with your cat visit www.cats.org.uk/cats-and-play


Monday, 24 August 2020

Tips for grooming long-haired cats

With their soft, luscious coats and fluffy tummies, long-haired cats are truly magnificent, but they also require a bit of extra maintenance. All that fabulous fur is often too much for your cat to groom by themselves, so they need a bit of help to keep it in tip top condition. 

long-haired ginger tabby cat

While short-haired cats need a bit of help grooming too – a quick brush once a week should do it – long-haired cats ideally need to be brushed daily to prevent their fur from becoming tangled and matted. 

If you have a long-haired cat who needs some grooming help, follow our top tips for preventing a bad fur day.

1. Set a routine


long-haired great-and-white cat lying next to brush and pile of cat hair
Credit: @lifewithmilomute

Cats are creatures of habit, so try to brush your moggy at around the same time each day. Find a time when they are likely to be calm and relaxed enough to sit still for you (eg not when they’ve got the post-mealtime zoomies!) 

Setting aside some time to groom your cat every day is a great way for the two of you to bond, and also gives you the opportunity to give them a quick health check, looking out for any fleas or lumps while you brush. 

2. Brush up on your technique 

There are lots of different types of grooming tools you can use, from combes and brushes to special grooming gloves, so it may take a bit of time to find the one your cat is most comfortable with. Once they’re happy with your tool of choice, watch our video to find out how to master your grooming technique.


3. Monitor their grooming habits 

As well as a daily brush, your cat is likely to still groom themselves from time to time. Keep an eye on their own personal beauty routine so you can look out for any changes. If they start grooming a lot more or less than usual, this could be a sign of a health issue, so book them in for a vet visit as soon as possible. 

long-haired white cat licking its paw

4. Feed a healthy diet

Giving your cat the right food packed with the right nutrients for their needs will help to keep their coat healthy and shiny. Choose a ‘complete’ cat food that is right for their life stage, and avoid feeding them human foods and too many cat treats as these wont contain the vitamins and minerals needed for luscious locks. 

long-haired black-and-white cat licking its lips next to metal food bowl

5. Look out for mats 

Regular brushing should hopefully prevent any large knots of matted fur from forming, but if you do spot any mats in your cat’s fur then do not try to brush them out yourself. If the knots have grown close to the skin then there is a risk of ripping or tearing the skin while trying to brush them out, and it is especially dangerous to try to cut them out with scissors. 

If you cat’s fur has become matted, take them to a vet who will be able to perform a ‘de-mat’ haircut while your cat is safely sedated. Avoid taking them to a cat groomer as they will not be able to sedate your cat for the procedure and therefore your cat will likely experience a lot of pain and stress. 

brown-and-white long-haired cat sleeping on back of grey sofa


6. Clear up the hair

It’s possible for the loose hair you groom off of your cat to become tangled in their fur, leading to mats. Therefore it’s a good idea to vacuum regularly to clear up the debris from your brushing sessions. 

If you’re looking for a powerful vacuum that will quickly remove embedded cat hair from your floors and furnishings, then check out Cats Protection’s official partner Shark. 

man vacuuming under coffee table with Shark vacuum cleaner

Shark’s TruePet range of vacuum cleaners are designed for homes with pets and also give back to unwanted cats and kittens. For every UK sale of a TruePet vacuum cleaner made through Shark’s website, they make a donation to both Cats Protection and Dogs Trust!

Since our partnership launched in November 2019, we have received £66,218.25 from Shark. This could pay for one day's care for 3,500 cats at our centres, so thank you to Shark and anyone who has supported us by purchasing a vacuum cleaner. You have helped us to provide the best care for cats and kittens while they wait for their new homes. 

To find out more about Shark and where to purchase a TruePet vacuum cleaner, click here.

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

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

6 tips for stopping your cat getting the zoomies

Cat zoomies, mad-half hour, climbing up the walls – there are a number of phrases for that time of day, usually early in the morning or evening, when your cat runs frantically around the house for no apparent reason.

Another name for this behaviour is a ‘frentic random activity period’ or FRAP. It’s actually a natural behaviour that a lot of cats display, but it’s more common in younger cats or indoor-only cats. 

tabby-and-white cat photographed with a fish-eye lens

While an occasional burst of ‘frapping’ is quite normal, if your cat is getting the zoomies on a daily basis then this could be a sign that they are under-stimulated and frustrated. 

Not only is this stressful for your cat, but it’s also likely to cause you a bit of stress too, as they tear around your home destroying curtains and disrupting your lie-in. 

If you think your cat is frustrated, then there are a few simple things you can do to help…

1. Play throughout the day

A great way to encourage your cat to burn off all that excess energy is to have regular play sessions with them. Instead of having one long 15-minute play session in the evening, spread a few short five-minute play sessions throughout the day to keep them entertained. Try mixing up the types of play they do too, with different toys such as fishing rods, ping pong balls and kickeroos. 

For more tips on how to play with your cat, watch our video.

2. Let them catch

While playing with your cat is a great way to prevent frustration, there are some toys that can actually have the opposite effect. Most of the enjoyment cats get from playing comes from being able to catch and ‘kill’ the toy, as this releases happy hormones in their brain. Laser pointers and videos of mice and fish on a laptop screen may grab your cat’s attention but because your cat can’t physically catch what they’re chasing, they’ll just be left frustrated. 

ginger-and-white cat with end of blue fishing rod toy in its mouth

3. Feed little and often 

Instead of having a couple of big meals like we do, cats prefer to eat three or four smaller meals throughout the day to keep their energy levels more stable. You could also try giving them their food using puzzle feeders that will provide some physical and mental stimulation while they eat. There are lots of great puzzle feeders you can buy, or you can have a go at making your own at home.

For more tips on how to make your cat’s feeding time more exciting, watch our video.

4. Try some training 

A great way to keep your cat mentally stimulated is to train them to perform some tricks. That’s right, it’s not just dogs that can be trained! Just make sure you always use positive reinforcement, such as providing treats or a fuss when they get it right, rather than punishing them for doing anything wrong. For guides on how to train your cat to roll over, sit or lie down on command, take a look at our blog series.

black-and-white cat giving a human hand a high-five

5. Block out neighbouring cats 

If you have an indoor-only cat, they may get frustrated if they can see other cats out of the window but can’t go out and chase them away from their territory. Try blocking off the lower part of your windows with some paper to keep your cat oblivious to these fellow felines, and make sure they have no way of getting into the house. 

long-haired brown tabby cat sitting on windowsill looking out of window

6. Create a calming environment 

To keep your cat relaxed and happy at home try providing them with cat grass and other cat-friendly plants they can explore, as well as lots of places they can hide. Cardboard boxes are always a hit with cats, as being able to hide inside helps them feel safe and reduces their stress. Having a few empty shelves or windowsills to sit on will also keep them calm as they can survey their surroundings from a safe vantage point. 

grey-and-white cat curled up inside cardboard box

If you would like to learn more about cat behaviour, then why not sign up for Cats Protection’s Feline Behaviour Conference. The online event will feature informative sessions and engaging Q&As with cat experts, covering topics such as how cats learn, how cats communicate and the future of cats!

To find out more and book your place, visit the Cats Protection website


Monday, 17 August 2020

Generous donation helps Cats Protection branches neuter more cats

A donation of £50,000 from Pets At Home charity Support Adoption For Pets is helping Cats Protection branches get more cats neutered. 

Our Swansea & District Branch is just one of the branches that has welcomed the funding, as it will help with their valuable trap, neuter and return (TNR) work. 

“Last summer three of our Swansea & District Branch volunteers had been trapping, neutering and returning a large number of cats from a colony in a rural part of Swansea,” said Branch Coordinator Fran Christie.

one tabby and two black-and-white feral kittens huddled together outdoors
Some fo the kittens trapped and neutered by Swansea Branch

“It’s an idyllic spot and a wonderful place for any cat to live – especially in the summer. But this colony had become far too large to be sustainable and safe for the cats, and our intervention couldn’t have come soon enough. 

“We worked to manage the colony for a number of weeks and thankfully made inroads. The cats were beautiful – many were young and if left unneutered the colony would grow and grow exponentially. On the first day of trapping our volunteers were incredibly fortunate to trap three kittens who were young enough to socialise and prepare for loving homes. 

“Feral kittens are so vulnerable to disease, predators, adverse weather conditions and lack of nourishment from their often very young mothers. This is challenging and vital work, and we will continue to support feral colonies for as long as there are funds to sustain us and volunteers to deliver the support needed.

three black-and-white feral kittens next to a cat trap and in front of some bins
Swansea Branch trapping kittens from a feral colony

“These funds will massively help the Swansea Branch with our ongoing neutering and TNR program. As a branch we are passionate about neutering community cats together with new and existing feral colonies. 

“It has been interesting times recently and we are now busy playing catch-up on known hot spots which will include the 50+ colony that we are dealing with in the middle of Gower. Thanks to the commitment and hard work of our volunteers we are starting to make progress with bringing the colony under control.” 

The generous donation from Support Adoption For Pets has been distributed to our most in-need branches to help with neutering costs over the next six months. This includes the resumption of TNR for feral and stray cat populations. We anticipate that £50,000 will enable our branches to neuter approximately 1,100 cats within their local areas.     

Fundraising continues to be particularly challenging for our branches, so this generous donation will make a huge difference. 

"A huge thank you to Support Adoption for Pets for these vital funds,” said Aimee, Branch Coordinator at Milton Keynes Branch. “It will go a long way to helping the local people neuter their cats and stop unwanted pregnancies and abandoned litters which we have seen so much of recently."  

black-and-white kitten in a foster pen
One of the kittens looked after by Milton Keynes Branch

“The timing of this gift is fantastic,” said AndrĂ©e at Downpatrick Branch. “The difference this will make for the cats is magnificent. At such an important time, we are so grateful, thank you so much.” 

At Cats Protection we know that we would not be able to carry out the huge amount of our grassroots cat welfare work without our 11,500 volunteers. This wonderful donation for our volunteer branches will be a lifeline for them and reward our volunteers in the best possible way – by helping them to help many more cats.  

“Cats Protection branches have benefited from incredibly generous funding from Support Adoption For Pets for many years now for which we are so grateful,” said Director of Operations Mark Beazley. 

“This support means a great deal to our volunteers and to all of us at Cats Protection – we have been able to help thousands of cats in need as a direct result. Funding this year, in light of the current situation, will enable us to help many more cats as our dedicated volunteers continue to do what they do best – working with communities and cat owners to improve cat welfare and most importantly, being there for cats.”

To find out more about Cats Protection vital neutering work, visit www.cats.org.uk/neutering

Sunday, 16 August 2020

Missing cat discovered at campsite 12 years after vanishing

A cat has been found at a Loch Lomond campsite 12 years after she disappeared from the area while her owners were there on holiday.

Georgie had spent October half term with her owners at a campsite in Rowardennen in 2008 when she vanished just before they were due to return to their home 250 miles away in Rochdale. 

tortoiseshell-and-white cat sitting inside cat pen

Despite searching the site, Georgie, who was three-years-old at the time, was nowhere to be seen. Knowing she was microchipped, the family hoped to receive a call saying she had been found, but they did not expect it to take 12 years.  

Georgie had become a beloved figure with campers since 2008 and it is likely she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site where her original family spent their break. 

Since branching out on her own, Georgie had been fed and cared for by campsite staff and regularly visited holidaymakers, wandering into caravans and campervans where she could often be found snoozing on people’s beds.

As a result of lockdown restrictions there will be no more camping in the area where Georgie was living until April 2021 and, worried for Georgie’s welfare while the site is empty, a concerned member of the campsite staff got in touch with Cats Protection’s Glasgow Adoption Centre for assistance.

tortoiseshell-and-white cat sitting inside cat pen

As with any stray cat, cat carers immediately scanned Georgie for a microchip as soon as she arrived at the centre and found her owner was Amy Davies who lives in Rochdale. 

The phone number on Georgie’s chip was sadly no longer active but an email and letter were sent in the hope of reuniting Georgie with her family. 

Having given up hope of finding Georgie, Amy was delighted to receive the letter from the centre. 

“We were heartbroken when Georgie didn’t come back on our last day at Loch Lomond,” said Amy. “It was such a lovely surprise to hear that she was not only well but had seemingly been having a great time meeting campers. 

“My instinct was to jump in the car and collect Georgie straight away but we have another nine-year-old cat now. When I spoke to the centre I knew our life now just wouldn’t suit Georgie as she doesn’t like other pets and needs space to come and go. It’s really sad that after all this time we won’t be reunited, but I have to do what’s best for Georgie.” 

Lynsey Anderson, Senior Cat Care Assistant at Glasgow Adoption Centre, said: “We were amazed when we saw the Rochdale address on Georgie’s microchip. This really does highlight the importance of keeping chip details up to date. Without it we’d never have known Georgie’s history or been able to put Amy’s mind at rest after all this time. 

“I could hear how much she wanted to come and see her but her concerns for Georgie’s happiness really shone through.

“We’re looking for a quiet home for Georgie where she can be the only cat, enjoy her space and have plenty of garden to explore. She’s very loving and enjoys human company so will make a brilliant companion.”

For more details about Georgie or any of the cats at Glasgow Adoption Centre, visit their website or call the centre on 0141 779 3341.

Cats Protection is calling on UK governments to make microchipping compulsory for owned cats as it is for dogs. To sign the petition and find out more about the benefits of microchipping visit www.cats.org.uk/microchippingpetition

Friday, 14 August 2020

Bake Off’s Kim-Joy crowns Garfield cake as the winner of Cats Protection’s baking competition

A colourful cake munched by Garfield has been chosen as the winner of Cats Protection’s Pawsome Afternoon Tea At Your Place competition.

cake with watercolour smudge icing with a big chunk taken out of it and a fondant icing Garfield cat sitting next to it
The fantastic winning cake

During July, keen bakers were asked to post their creations on our social media sites. In response, we received over 200 delicious entries from cat-lovers all keen to share their colourful and mouth-watering bakes.  

We picked a shortlist each week, with celebrity baker Kim-Joy, who was a finalist in the 2018 series of The Great British Bake Off, picking out the Garfield watercolour smudge creation as the overall winner.   

Woman with pink hair holding one black kitten and one tabby-and-white kitten
Kim-Joy with her cats Inki and Mochi

Kim-Joy, who has two cats called Inki and Mochi said: “All of the cakes looked great and it was really hard to pick just one winner but I chose the Garfield cake because it had that element of fun and creativity while also showing multiple skills – the buttercream covering on the cake, the ganache drip and the fondant figure-making.”

The cake was designed by Marta Buscanan, 23, from London who said: “I am absolutely delighted as baking and cake designing is what I want to focus my career on. I am also an animal lover and my heart melts every time I see a cat! 

brunette woman holding white cat mug
Winning baker Marta

“The cake design was actually inspired by one of Kim-Joy’s from her Baking with Kim-Joy book, so being chosen as her winner is extra special. Kim-Joy is such an inspiring baker with an incredible style that I admire very much.” 

The competition also raised almost £3,500 to help Cats Protection find homes for the thousands of unwanted cats in our care.  

black cat sitting on terracotta tiled floor
Marta's beloved cat Wilma

“We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who sent in their bakes for our competition, the funds raised will help us guarantee brighter futures for many needy cats,” said Zoe Thompson from Cats Protection’s Events team.

“If you’ve been inspired by this competition, then why not hold your very own Pawsome Afternoon Tea at home? A quick guide and resources are available from Cats Protection to help you host a socially-distanced event.” To take part, please register at www.pawsometea.org 


Thursday, 13 August 2020

Purrfectly Imperfect disabled cats get a second chance

Two cat siblings in the care of Cats Protection’s Forth Valley Adoption Centre in Scotland have found someone who can see past their disabilities and offer them lots of love. 

Kathe and Keller both have mild cerebellar hypoplasia, a condition in which the brain does not develop properly, affecting balance and coordination and making them wobble when they walk. Keller is also deaf, but this does not hold him back, and he loves to play with his sister. 

two tabby-and-white cats snuggled up together

Thankfully none of these defects put off Elaine Baxter from Clackmannanshire, who was looking to fill the gap left by the death of her beloved 16-year-old cat Vinnie. Elaine was already used to dealing with cats with special needs, as Vinnie had diabetes for eight years.

“I was looking for an indoor companion when I looked at the Cats Protection website and saw Kathe,” said Elaine. “The fact that her brother came too was not a problem, and their additional needs just made them more in need of a loving home. 

“They are totally at home now. Their quirks just make them more lovable. I hope they feel the same about me!”

Forth Valley Centre Manager Roslyn McKay said: “We are delighted Kathe and Keller have settled in so well to their new home. They are real characters and firm favourites with the team.

“Disabled cats really shouldn’t put off experienced owners. They may require a little extra care or consideration but they have plenty of love to give. Cats are surprisingly adaptable and often more than capable of coping with physical impairments, allowing them to enjoy long and happy lives.

“Cats Protection would always fully brief prospective owners of disabled cats, ensuring they felt confident to care for their special needs pet.”

Disabled cats have been given their own category for this year’s virtual Alternative Cat Awards, a virtual celebration of how cats have played such a vital role to people during lockdown. 

one-eyed ginger cat with #Purrfectly Imperfect and the Alternative Cat Awards logos

If you have a #PurrfectlyImperfect cat who enjoys a happy, healthy life with a disability, health issue or superficial aesthetic deformity, share a video of them on Twitter or Instagram using #AlternativeCatAwards before 21 August. The winning videos will be chosen by our celebrity judges and receive a bumper pack of Cats Protection goodies worth £100!

For more details about the Alternative Cat Awards visit www.cats.org.uk/aca

For lots of help and advice on caring for disabled cats visit www.cats.org.uk/disabled-cats

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

King-sized kitty Dixie is twice the weight of a normal cat

*Update - 30 September 2020*


Obese cat Dixie has managed to lose a fantastic 2kg (3lb) since August, bringing her weight down to 9kg (1.4 stone). 

obese black-and-white cat sitting next to tree stump

She's become a lot more playful since shifting the pounds, and loves charcging round her large pen at the centre. As you can see from the video below, she has no trouble fitting through the cat flap either!


Dixie has a little bit futher to go before she can leave the centre, as the team would like to get her down to a more manageable 8kg (1.2 stone) before she can be put up for adoption. However they're sure she'll have no problem reaching that next milestone and will be snapped up straight away as she's such a cutie. 


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



A massive moggy weighing in at a whopping 11 kilograms (1.7 stone) – over twice the recommended bodyweight for a cat – has prompted Cats Protection to warn owners not to overfeed their pets.

obese black-and-white cat standing on table

Six-year-old Dixie arrived at Cats Protection’s Bredhurst Adoption Centre and stunned the team with her enormous size. 

“We come across obese cats every so often but Dixie is one of the largest that we’ve seen,” said Adrian Ferne, Centre Manager.

obese black-and-white cat lying on floor

“Her sheer size means she’s unable to clean herself and she’s at significant risk of conditions such as arthritis and diabetes, so it’s important we help her to slim down.

“Dixie was brought to us along with another cat who is a healthy bodyweight so we suspect she was a bit of a favourite in her previous home and indulged a little more often. She’s certainly very affectionate and friendly.

“While it’s ok to pamper our pets every now and then it’s also important not to overfeed felines as it will do more harm than good.” 

obese black-and-white cat sat on weighing scales showing 10.595 kilograms

The team at the centre are now helping Dixie with a special diet and exercise regime to shed pounds safely and take her out of the red zone. 

Once they are happy with her progress, Dixie will be put up for adoption and her new owners will help to ensure she continues on her weight-loss journey. 

Is my cat overweight?


  • Overweight cats are usually defined as being more than 15% over their ideal weight (usually 3.6kg (8lb) for the average adult cat). Obese cats are more than 30% over their ideal weight
  • You should be able to feel your cat’s ribs easily when you stroke them gently and you should see a clear waistline when you look at them from above 
  • Cats between two and 10 years old are most at risk of becoming overweight as they use less energy
  • Cats who have been overweight in the past are more likely to gain weight in the future, so their diet and exercise should be carefully monitored

For lots of help and advice on how to keep an overweight cat healthy, visit www.cats.org.uk/cat-obesity

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Volunteers deliver joy during lockdown with hands-free homing

Delivery vehicles are a familiar sight these days but Jo Downing and Debbie Eyre are delivering something far more exciting than groceries or takeaways in their vans; they are bringing the gift of joy to families across Surrey and Sussex.

The Cats Protection volunteers are delivering rescue cats to their furever homes as part of the charity’s successful new hands-free homing process.

Cats Protection female volunteer standing next to Cats Protection van
Jo Downing getting ready for a special delivery

Retired systems developer Jo, 59 from Lingfield in Surrey, has been volunteering for the charity since 2018 and was delighted when the launch of hands-free homing meant she could resume her volunteering duties, but this time as a driver.

She said: “I’ve been volunteering as a cat carer at the National Cat Adoption Centre in Sussex for two years and it’s something I love doing, so it was hard when volunteering had to stop due to lockdown. When I was asked if I’d like to become a delivery driver for the new hands-free homing scheme, I jumped at the chance.

“After some training to ensure that the deliveries followed government guidelines on social distancing, I was off. It’s such an amazing thing to do – people are so overjoyed so see their new cat – I really am delivering joy!   

“One of my most memorable deliveries was Sootie who was exceedingly overweight when she arrived at the centre. She’d lost a few kilos during her time at the centre, but is still on the large side so had to be transported in a large cage as she wouldn’t fit into a standard cat basket.”

Cats Protection female volunteer standing next to Cats Protection van holding cat carrier
Debbie Eyre taking a lucky moggy to their new home

Fellow volunteer Debbie, 58 from Burgess Hill in Sussex, has three cats of her own, so appreciates the value they bring to homes. 

She said: “Cats are such wonderful companions and I cannot imagine life without them. I love being involved with this new process; everyone has been so happy to receive their new cat. I can sometimes hear the cat in the back of the van and I like to talk to them and let them know they are nearly home.

“I arrived at one house and the owner was watching through the upstairs window, waiting for me to arrive. At another, I arrived at the same time as a lorry delivering a hoover – I felt quite sorry for the delivery man as they basically ignored him.”

In normal times, Debbie volunteers at the National Cat Adoption Centre, overseeing paperwork for new admissions and adoptions. She said: “I cannot wait to get back to my usual role so I can learn how the cats I delivered are getting on. When you have direct contact with a cat you always want to know more afterwards. It’s nice to see all the cats and watch their progress and it’s wonderful to be part of an amazing charity and get to know everyone too.”

Since the start of the lockdown, Cats Protection has homed over 2,500 cats through hands-free homing, which enables people to meet and adopt cats while adoption centres remain closed to the public. The process matches a cat’s needs with the lifestyle of an interested cat lover and if compatible, the cat is safely delivered to their new home.

To find out how to adopt a cat through hands-free homing in your area, visit www.cats.org.uk/adopt-a-cat 

Monday, 10 August 2020

Little Grandma Mo is looking for a cosy new home

Little Grandma Mo marked her 18th birthday in lockdown but she still yearns for only one present; a loving home in which to share her autumn years.

white-and-grey long-haired Persian cat with slightly flat face

This golden girl arrived at Cats Protection’s Downham Market Adoption Centre in March and celebrated her milestone birthday two months later. 

Like many cats in care she became a victim of lockdown restrictions, unable to turn her charms on visitors as the centre was closed to the public. Even since we launched our hands-free homing process, Grandma Mo has still been overlooked by adopters online.

white-and-grey long-haired Persian cat with slightly flat face

Cat Care Assistant Leah Snowden, who has remained #HereForTheCats during lockdown, said: “Grandma Mo came to us when her owner became too unwell to care for her and it’s clear that Mo misses her home comforts. She loves attention. She likes you to know she’s there and isn’t afraid of speaking up if she feels a bit ignored. Mo is such a character, she’ll make someone a perfect companion.”

Mature moggies have so much love to give and they ask for very little in return. This Persian old girl isn’t any different; she would be content to spend her days in a garden or looking out of a window before snuggling up on a sofa in the evening. That doesn’t seem too much to ask.

white-and-grey long-haired Persian cat with slightly flat face

Leah said: “People who rehome older cats often say how great it is to have an affectionate lap cat who just wants a quiet life. Grandma Mo is just that cat. She’ll complete someone’s life, I know it.”

As could be expected of a cat in her fairly advanced years, Little Grandma Mo has a few aches and pains and will require medication for arthritis and a thyroid condition for the rest of her life. This is quite simple to administer and the Cats Protection team can discuss how to do this.

Anyone in the Norfolk area interested in giving Little Grandma Mo a home should contact Cats Protection’s Downham Market Adoption Centre on 01366 382 311 or downham@cats.org.uk

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

Friday, 7 August 2020

Two carrier bags of tiny kittens dumped just days apart

Four sick kittens were tied in plastic carrier bags and dumped like rubbish on a Surrey common within a few days of each other.

A dog walker saw strange movement coming from a shopping bag on Bramshott Common and closer inspection revealed a pair of tiny whimpering kittens inside.

tiny black-and-white kitten being held in gloved hands
Tiny kitten Bramble after being rescued

The frightened kittens were rushed to Cats Protection’s nearby Haslemere Adoption Centre where the team alerted a local vet. They were in a sorry state; barely four weeks old and malnourished with stomach upsets and sticky eyes.

As if that were not shocking enough, the same man spotted a second bag of discarded kittens while out walking on the common just a few days later. These two kittens, found only metres away from the first pair, were also taken to the Haslemere Adoption Centre for urgent care.

tiny black-and-white kitten sitting inside cat igloo bed
Bramble settling in to his foster pen

Despite the best efforts of vets, three of the kittens were sadly already too sick to live more than a few days after being found so only one kitten survived. Named Bramble by carers, the tiny warrior is being cared for by an experienced kitten fosterer.

Centre Manager Suzie Zyta said: “The kittens were in a really bad way and in need of urgent vet attention. They were lucky to be found that night, but even that wasn’t enough. Three kittens perished unnecessarily.

“Bramble is quite spirited and has a lot of fight in him, which is probably what’s kept him alive. He’s a noisy little thing and already causing mischief. We’re far from out of the woods yet, but we’re doing everything we can to give him a good chance of recovery.” 

tiny black-and-white kitten sitting inside cat pen
Fiesty Bramble waiting for his dinner

Bramble is a little fighter and will be kept under the close watch of the kitten fosterer until he builds up some strength and has a real chance of a better life. All being well, Bramble will remain in care for a few months, receiving vaccinations at nine and 12 weeks old, before being neutered and microchipped ready to be homed. 

While the centre cannot yet accept offers to home Bramble, the team at Haslemere is inviting supporters to help in another valuable way.

Cats Protection’s Regional Fundraising Manager Hannah Ashwell, said: “Bramble will receive the best possible care to thrive and then find a loving new home, but this comes at a cost. We have already been contacted by local people wanting to contribute, which shows how the story of these kittens has struck at the heart of the Haslemere community.”

If you would like to donate towards the care of Bramble, you can visit the centre’s JustGiving page

Cats Protection’s dedicated carers have remained #HereForTheCats throughout COVID-19 restrictions. Cat carers fear that an increase in abandoned kittens could point to a summer kitten crisis. 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 at four months of age and 86% not knowing that a cat can have as many as 18 kittens a year. 
 
For more tips on how to stop cats becoming pregnant, visit www.cats.org.uk/neutering-your-cat

Thursday, 6 August 2020

How to take great videos of your cat

The internet is full of cute and funny cat videos, but there’s always room for a few more!

If your cat can do amazing tricks, has some weird habits or is just plain adorable then capturing their antics on camera is a great way to share them with the world. 

black and white cat next to the Alternative Cat Awards logo

We’d love for you to share them with us too, and you might even have a chance of winning in our Alternative Cat Awards! Just share your videos on Twitter or Instagram with #AlternativeCatAwards and they’ll be entered into the competition. We’ve got a panel of fabulous celebrity judges to help us pick the winner, who will receive a pawsome goodie bag worth £100! 

To help you capture the best footage of your feline, we’ve put together some top tips for making brilliant cat videos…

1. Plan ahead (if you can!)


white, ginger and grey cat running through the grass

As you’re probably aware, cats aren’t usually ones for performing on command and so planning a time and place to capture their antics isn’t always possible. However, you may be able to set aside a time of day when they’re usually at their most active, perhaps just after they’ve eaten or early in the morning when they’ve woken up, to increase your chances of getting some good footage. Remember to always do the filming on their terms though, as forcing them to perform when they don’t want to will only stress them out. 

2. Get the light right


long-haired brown tabby cat with tongue sticking out

Generally the more light you have while filming the better, as low light conditions can leave you with dark and grainy footage. Natural daylight is usually best, but if this isn’t available then set up some bright lamps to light your scene. Position the light source behind you, pointing at your subject, to avoid any shadows.  

3. Clear any clutter


woman filming sleeping black-and-white cat with smartphone

Removing any distractions from the scene will make sure your moggy is the main focus of the video so, if you can, keep the area where you’re planning to film nice and tidy. Also think about the colours in the background in comparison with the colour of your cat. Filming a black cat against a black background is going to be tricky, so try to find a good contrast. 

4. Perfect your framing


person filming long-haired black cat on yellow sofa with smartphone

When you start to film, make sure you can fit all of your cat in the frame and try leaving some room around the edges so that you can capture the action if they move about. You’ll also need to consider which orientation you’re filming in. If your cat is running and pouncing along the floor then holding the camera or phone horizontally is best, but if they are jumping upwards then holding it vertically may make more sense. The good news is, most social media platforms can accommodate for both landscape and portrait orientations these days. 

5. Keep quiet


brown tabby cat lying on back on pink rug with paws in the aira

As any wildlife photographer knows, it’s best to keep as quiet as possible while filming. Not only will this prevent your subject from being disturbed by any unexpected noise, but it will also mean there won’t be any distracting sounds in the background of your video. It’s especially important to make sure there’s no music playing in the background as this may prevent social media platforms from letting you upload your footage due to copyright restrictions.

6. Always be ready 


tabby-and-white cat holding on to tree trunk

You never know when the perfect filming opportunity will arrive, so keep your camera or phone close by so you don’t miss the moment. It’s always good to get more footage than you need by pressing record early and leaving a bit of time before you stop the recording. You can always trim your footage later using an editing app to single out the main piece of action.  

To find out more about the Alternative Cat Awards, visit the Cats Protection website

Cats Protection, Alternative Cat Awards and Purina logos