Wednesday, 12 August 2020

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

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
Branble 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 Branble 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

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Shy cat Amber is looking for a quiet forever home

Timid but lovable cat Amber is seeking a relaxed new home where he can continue to gain confidence after recovering from a nasty neck wound.

When seven-year-old Amber was taken in by Cats Protection’s Ferndown Adoption Centre in June, he had been living on the streets for a while as he didn’t get on with his owners’ new dog.

black-and-white cat sitting on beige towel

Despite being in lockdown the centre knew that Amber needed their help urgently as he had been fighting with the neighbouring cats and had a large cat bite abscess on his neck that required some TLC to help it heal.

Michele Hopper-Pay, Deputy Manager at Ferndown Homing Centre said “The fighting may have been a result of him not being neutered, or simply because there wasn’t enough food to go around. 

“He was exceptionally hungry when he first arrived, and very much appreciated the bowl of food we had waiting for him in his pen, which he downed in seconds. He still bolts his food, which we suspect has been learned through fear of losing it to another cat as he wasn’t getting regular meals, so we are pacing his meals and he hoovers up every bit but slightly less manically now.

black-and-white cat lying on beige towel

“He is still very wary but is definitely learning to trust us and, with a good amount of time, patience and TLC from the team, he is slowly coming out of his shell a bit more each day. 

“He hasn’t really shown us his playful side, other than an interest in our shoe laces, but definitely loves a chin rub. He seems like a very sweet boy who’s had a tough time of it so we’d love to find him a perfect home where he can continue to gain confidence.

“I’d like to say a big thank you to People Postcode Lottery players, whose support helps us to be there for cats like Amber. They help us cover the costs of looking after cats for however long they stay with us, as well as funding the roles of our two behaviour employees who offer advice and support on all behavioural aspects of cat care to help get cats ready for adoption.”

Amber’s neck is now healed and he has been signed off by the vet, so the centre is hoping to find him a new home with an experienced cat owner with no other pets, who will allow him to settle in at his own pace.

Cats Protection’s Ferndown Homing Centre is operating a hands-free homing scheme as it is currently not able to welcome visitors to the centre. Anyone living in the Ferndown area who is interested in adopting Amber can visit the centre’s website at www.cats.org.uk/ferndown call them on 03000 120 175 or email ferndown@cats.org.uk 

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

Saturday, 1 August 2020

Hallie’s crazy cycling challenge raises money for cats

Eight-year-old Hallie Leborgne from Eastbourne is a self-confessed crazy cat lady, so when she decided to take on an equally crazy cycling challenge, she knew which charity to support. 

young girl wearing pink helmet and yellow jumper sitting on bike
Hallie ready to complete her crazy cycle

Hallie set herself the ambitious task of riding her bike 48 kilometres from Eastbourne to Heathfield and back again. 

After an already gruelling practice ride of 30 kilometres, on 5 July she was ready for the main challenge and completed it in an amazing five hours and 36 minutes. 

girl wearing pink cat jumper holding tabby cat
Hallie with her cat Bonnie

Kind sponsors helped her raise a fantastic £245 for Cats Protection, which will go towards helping the thousands of unwanted moggies in our care before they find new homes. 

“I have loved cats since the day I was born,” said Hallie. “My first cat was called Mr Harry Cat, he was a ginger tabby. He used to follow me everywhere and follow me when I rode my scooter around my street. I even have a book about him. 

black-and-white cat sitting on floor
Hallie's cat Mallie

“I now have a tabby cat called Bonnie and a black-and-white cat called Mallie. They often sleep on my bed. 

“I love cats so much my mummy calls me the crazy cat lady. I have cat bedding, cushions, clothes, ornaments and many more cat things. 

“I am doing this cycle so I can raise money for Cats Protection because I love cats and I want to help them as much as I can.”

tabby cat lying on back on the floor showing its tummy
Bonnie showing off her lovely tummy

If you’d like to complete your own crazy challenge for Cats Protection, our Nine Mile Challenge is back this September! Last year, hundreds of cat-lovers went roaming across the country to raise vital funds for cats.

Join the fun this year and get active by walking, running or cycling nine miles to help give cats and kittens their lives back. 

You can complete the challenge in your own way, so whether you do one big trek or a daily ride, your miles will help cats in need get back on their paws. 

Registration is open now at www.cats.org.uk/9miles so make like a cat and roam free!