Courtly cats of Kings and Queens
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Feline phrases Cat quips clarified!
Speaking up for cats The art of purrsuasion
Plus Baking bikers, feral felons and glorious giveaways
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From the Editor www.cats.org.uk/thecatmag www.facebook.com/catsprotection www.twitter.com/catsprotection General enquiries Cats Protection, National Cat Centre, Chelwood Gate, Haywards Heath, RH17 7TT. 03000 12 12 12 (calls charged at standard rate) @ firstname.lastname@example.org Subscription enquiries To change your details, become a Special Friend, subscribe, make a donation or become a member of Cats Protection: Supporter Services, Cats Protection, National Cat Centre, Chelwood Gate, Haywards Heath, RH17 7TT. 0800 917 2287 @ email@example.com Editorial submissions The Editor, The Cat magazine, National Cat Centre, Chelwood Gate, Haywards Heath, RH17 7TT. @ firstname.lastname@example.org We reserve the right to edit material for clarity or space. Cats Protection is not responsible for the opinions, advice and factual content of contributed items. The views expressed do not necessarily conform to those of the Trustees. Advertising enquiries Cats Protection, National Cat Centre, Chelwood Gate, Haywards Heath, RH17 7TT. 03000 12 12 12 (calls charged at standard rate) @ email@example.com Advertisements are accepted in good faith and we endeavour to check their accuracy. However, the charity gives no guarantees or endorsements of the products or services advertised. Cats Protection cannot accept responsibility for any correspondence between the parties, nor can they be expected to arbitrate should any dispute arise.
t’s a brand new year and full of new hope and aspirations. Ours is to continue to rehome as many cats as we can and spread the positive word of neutering and proper cat care. True, it’s the same hope we have every year, but it’s a good ‘un! On pages 18 to 20 we curtsey to courtly cats and find out about the feline companions to the men and women in power. From Charles the First to Churchill, they were all under the paw. We delve into the provenance of cat-themed proverbs on pages 26 and 27 and Si King, from The Hairy Bikers, tells us about the cat in his busy baking life on page 13. Cats are amazing at being able to adapt themselves to new ways of life and losing one of their main senses, sight, has not proved to be an obstacle to the cats on pages 36 to 37. Petra Coghlin meets a number of owners whose pets have overcome such difficulties and continue to lead full and happy lives. Rebecca Evans gets shop savvy on pages 32 to 34 talking to a number of our CP shop managers, learning the tips of the trade. These shops are another way for us to establish our place in the community. They allow us to raise vital funds and at the same time spread our messages of rehoming, neutering and education. Not only that, but it can encourage more people to volunteer and get involved. There is a list of all our shops across the UK on pages 54 to 57. There could be one near you with a bargain just waiting to be found! Jacqui Cuff, the charity’s Advocacy Manager, takes us Behind the Scenes with her work on speaking up for cats on pages 38-40. This is a relatively new post and the challenges Jacqui faces are immense, as she seeks to influence decision makers and opinion formers to protect and improve the well-being of cats. She has to take lots of factors into account when prioritising advocacy campaigns, not least the chances of success. Tasks include getting animal welfare into the primary schools curriculum, promoting the health benefits of cat ownership, getting council support for targeted neutering campaigns, encouraging more care homes and private landlords to accept cats, getting poison warnings on all supermarket lily bouquets… the list is seemingly endless! Although it seems a long way off at present, we can announce the date and venue of our Annual General Meeting. It is on Saturday 20 July and is taking place at The Hawth, a theatre complex in Crawley, West Sussex. More details can be found on page 42. Be sure to book your ticket soon!
Francesca Watson Editor
Published quarterly by: Cats Protection Printed by: Pensord Press Ltd.
Please recycle this magazine when you have finished with it
The Team Editor F rancesca Watson Deputy Editor R ebecca Evans Creative Designers R us Hudda, Sam Roberts, Martin Green Communications Assistant P etra Coghlin
The Cat Spring 2013
Contents Spring 2013 Cover photo: istockphoto.com/Mauro Grigollo
Paws for thought
Ask the vets
Our favourite things
How can we help?
Cats Protection in focus
Diary of events
Walker on the wild side
Find your local Cats Protection
The Cat Spring 2013
Feature articles 13 Celebrity interview Hairy Biker, Si King, talks food and felines
18 By royal appointment Investigating the purr behind the throne
26 Cat got your tongue? We look at the truth behind the proverbs
28 Blind faith We meet the cats and their owners who adapt to a loss of sight
32 Shop smart Top tips to be charity shop savvy
38 Behind the scenes The role of advocacy in the animal charity world
42 AGM notice Book your place for our Annual General Meeting
Cats Protectionâ€™s vision is a world where every cat is treated with kindness and an understanding of its needs. Reg Charity 203644 (England and Wales) SC037711 (Scotland)
The Catâ€‚ Spring 2013
Many of our readers are aware of the grave risk that antifreeze presents to cats. The active ingredient ethylene glycol (EG) is so toxic that even a teaspoonful is fatal to a cat if the cat is not diagnosed and treated by a vet within a few hours. We would urge anyone who suspects their cat has been poisoned to take them to a vet immediately. Signs of antifreeze poisoning include dizziness, loss of co-ordination and vomiting. Technology is still developing and there are propylene glycol based products on the market which are less toxic in general but these are not proven to be completely safe for cats as they damage their red blood cells. There is a company which makes detoxified EG-based products, Evans Cooling: www. evanscooling.uk.com. They are more expensive than standard antifreeze products and are only available from the company or specialist suppliers. However, Cats Protection does not endorse these or any other antifreeze products as we cannot guarantee their safety. You can reduce the risk of accidental poisonings by treating antifreeze as a highly poisonous substance and taking various precautions. It’s important to store antifreeze securely in clearly-labelled, robust containers and to keep them well away from pets. It’s vital to clear up spillages immediately, to avoid cats drinking or walking through puddles of the substance. If you suspect your car is leaking antifreeze, it’s advisable to get it repaired as quickly as possible. As cats clean themselves fastidiously, they will do their best to lick antifreeze from their paws and fur. Avoid using antifreeze in ponds and garden water features as animals, including cats, may drink from them. When it comes to disposing of old antifreeze or containers, be sure to do so safely and responsibly and avoid pouring antifreeze down the drain. As it is classed as hazardous waste, your local council will have information about what they require you to do – this often means disposing of it at your local tip. Sadly there are incidences where antifreeze poisonings of cats are deliberate. CP does not publicise poisonings in the press to avoid the risk of copycat killings. If you suspect or have evidence to suggest deliberate poisonings of cats in your area, do contact your local RSPCA Inspectors and the police, as deliberate poisoning is an offence punishable by a fine or imprisonment.
A star among the heavens
Cats Protection was deeply saddened to hear of the death of Sir Patrick Moore late last year. Sir Patrick was a respected man of science, broadcasting for over 50 years inspiring millions to share his passion for the sky at night. To Cats Protection he was also a dedicated, lifelong cat lover and friend, supporting the charity in many ways over the years. From donating funds through his book sales to hosting fundraising garden parties at his home in West Sussex on behalf of his local Cats Protection branch, he was a special man who had cats at his heart and will be sorely missed by us all. In addition, it was Sir Patrick’s wish, as a great animal lover, for donations to be made to Cats Protection in his memory. If you would like to do so then please visit our website www.cats.org.uk. Sir Patrick’s friends and colleagues have set up a website for well-wishers to post tributes to Sir Patrick. www.banguniverse.com/sirpatrickmoore
The Cat Spring 2013
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Incorrect information in Ask the Vets
We would like to apologise for a statement made in the Winter 2012 Ask the Vets section pages 24 to 25. It stated that when bringing your cats in to a new home you should ‘keep them in for at least a week’. While cats adapt to a change in their environment at different rates, a preferred and safer recommendation would be to keep them in for least three weeks – to reduce the chance of them becoming lost or straying, while they are still becoming familiar with their new home.
Students get chic with CP
Fashion students created this sixties-inspired look with clothes bought from Cats Protection charity shops. As part of a project, the group (pictured) from Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University were challenged to pick, customise and put together an outfit for £10, and they chose CP for their charity shopping. Student Emily Hutchinson said: “We are trying our utmost to raise awareness and funds for CP, the more we discover about the charity the more we want to help!” The students also created a display about the charity and raised money through cake sales. CP has 66 charity shops in the UK, see our feature on p34 for top tips from our managers.
On Facebook the topic of conversation turned to ‘what is the naughtiest thing your cat has done?’ Here are just some of the hundreds of comments the topic inspired… DAWN My cat did a Matrix style jump in front of my son as he was eating a crisp and stole it from his mouth NYBEE My boy Gizmo called 999 the police and had them arrive with sirens on banging on the door shouting through the letterbox to stay calm I was safe, kicked my door in searched my house and found me on the toilet! The wee bugger had been screaming down the phone and they thought someone was being attacked! I was mortified! CLARE My oldest cat Bradley once saw a little kitten peering through his cat flap at him. He literally punched the cat flap with his paw causing it to flick outwards and smack the poor kitten in its face. He’s a bit curmudgeonly! SARAH My cat Kevin was usually a docile thing who wouldn’t harm a fly, but once he peed all over my elderly aunt who’d come to stay with us. He ‘mistook’ her for the fence in the back garden as she was admiring the flowers. CLAIRE My mum’s cat, Smokey Joe, once brought in his latest catch and growled at it on the bedroom carpet in the middle of the night. When she turned the light on she revealed that his prize catch was in fact a lump of soil. YVONNE My Paddington once curled up and fell asleep in the back of the rag and bone man’s cart, I saw her in it from my bedroom window and had to chase him down the street! NYSSA Tigzy ripped up the council tax bill leaving just the council’s logo. ANDRENE We watched my boy Mad Max going over to the house opposite us and then running back over to our house carrying letters. He had stolen my neighbour’s mail! We now call him postman cat. ABBIE When my ex-husband turned up at my house one day to show off his new convertible, my cat George marched straight up to the car and proceeded to pee all over the front number plate.
Students from Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University scoured CP charity shops to create this outfit and raised money through a display
TRACEY Harry used to steal the pond plants from the neighbour’s pond! He’d go over the road, pull the netting off the pond, get the weed out and drag back home! He didn’t bother with the fish, it was only the plants he was interested in! NIK One of our cats was in the habit of picking pens and things up off the floor and running off with them. One day we left a six foot curtain pole on the floor and waited. Sure enough, he managed to secure it in his mouth and got as far as the door with it until he got flummoxed and dropped it again! Our Facebook followers get talking about a whole variety of feline-inspired topics, why not join them at www.facebook.com/catsprotection?
The Cat Spring 2013
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The Petplan & ADCH Animal Charity Awards have just been launched and they are looking for nominations until Friday 15 March 2013. There are three categories: • Team of the year • Volunteer of the year • Employee of the year We are planning to nominate CP as a whole for the Team award – and we will be basing the nomination on our remarkable achievement of helping over one million cats in five years. So if you have been particularly impressed by an outstanding CP volunteer or staff member, then we’d love it if you’d consider nominating them for one of these awards. www.petplan.co.uk/aboutpetplan/charity-awards.asp Questions to ask yourself could include: Has someone exceeded their duties? Are they a particular favourite with fellow staff and volunteers? Why are they? Have they been noticed for one particular incident or are they frequently going beyond the call of duty? Have they raised the profile of CP in their own area? Have they raised vital funds in an innovative or dynamic way? Are they full of ideas and enthusiasm? Are they the overlooked trooper who gets everything done without a murmur? Have they motivated and inspired their fellow staff or volunteers? This is a great opportunity for us to recognise both the work that the charity does and those individuals whose actions and deeds deserve such acknowledgement. So please do nominate someone who you think has championed the cause of cats, thank you!
Cats Protection and The Pet Show
Cats Protection is pleased to announce that it is one of five animal welfare charity partners of The Pet Show (www.thepetshow.co.uk); a new event taking place over the weekend of 20-21 July 2013 at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire. As a partner CP will receive £1 from each advance ticket purchased – increasing to £3 per ticket when sales exceed 1,000 tickets. Ticket prices range from £9 for children and concessions to £14 for adults. The Pet Show 2013 is the largest of its kind in the UK with six zones providing visitors with a wide range of pet-related educational presentations, demonstrations and workshops as well as a large trade stand area. Cats Protection will also have a stand at the show and we look forward to meeting the thousands of pet owners attending the event, promoting the great work the charity does and getting people involved. To help the charity make the most from this opportunity, tickets should be purchased in advance from the online ticket office. They are available by putting The Pet Show in the search option via www.theticketfactory.com or by calling 0844 581 4965 quoting The Pet Show and Cats Protection. A pre-purchase online discount is available until 18 July 2013.
Photo: Valeria Higgins
Nominate Cats Protection!
Cat passes Go!
Cats Protection is like the cat that got the cream after hearing the news that there’s to be a new feline addition to the MONOPOLY game. Back in January Hasbro announced that they were going to shake up the game with the addition of a new token but also relegate one of the established icons to the annals of game history. People across the world have been voting for the icon they want to keep and also the new icon they’d like to take its place, choosing from a guitar, cat, diamond ring, robot and helicopter. In the end the cat received 31 per cent of the total vote. Sadly it was the iron that ran out of steam, taking only eight per cent of the vote. Kate Bunting, CP’s PR Manager said: “We’re thrilled that a cat has finally taken its rightful place on the MONOPOLY board. Cats Protection finds new homes for around 48,000 unwanted cats each year in the UK and it is great to hear that such a prestigious new home has been found for this one. And in case anyone’s wondering, we’re more than happy to share the board with a dog. It’s big enough for us both and shows these two favourite pets can live in harmony side by side. From Downing Street to Coronation Street, cats have made themselves at home in the UK’s most famous roads, so it’s definitely time for one to prowl the MONOPOLY board from Mayfair to Old Kent Road.” The cat will become a part of the MONOPOLY family due to go on sale later this year and we’ll be doing our best to secure a giveway of the game for our F avouritespages!
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I can’t leave my best friend behind! We know that for many victims of domestic abuse, leaving violent relationships is made impossible simply because they cannot bear to lose their pets. That’s where Cats Protection, in partnership with Dogs Trust, steps in. Through the Freedom Project we take in and provide safe refuge for victims’ cats until their owners are in a position to reclaim them. Since 2004, we have helped more than 120 families to escape domestic abuse. By making a donation today you can help us to support even more. Make a difference today:
T: 0800 917 2287 W: www.cats.org.uk/freedom-project Reg Charity 203644 (England and Wales) and SC037711 (Scotland)
Do you have an interesting story to tell, a point of view you want to air or something that you just have to get off your chest? Send your thoughts, views, stories, funny photos and ‘mewsings’ to The Cat magazine, National Cat Centre, Haywards Heath, RH17 7TT or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to tell us your return address and please remember that your letter may be edited for length.
A new chapter
From: Alex and Phillippa Smerdon, Torpoint Alex (aged 13): As soon as we saw Meekah we knew we had to have her. She had soft silky fur and a big grin on her face. She was always naughty when we got her home, biting wires and jumping in the bath tub. But she was always special. It was December 2011 when all of a sudden she passed away. We were very upset. We saw numerous cats on the Plymouth & South Hams Branch website and then we came to Annie and Smudge, there was something special about them. Since then they have been having a lot of fun at our house. Phillippa Smerdon (Alex’s Mum): I cannot describe the feeling of horror at losing Meekah so suddenly. It appears she had either an unknown heart condition or a brain haemorrhage. I still frequently cry for her but the best thing we did was getting Annie and Smudge. Annie takes any opportunity she can to position herself on my lap and they have a battle over the bed most nights. They will never replace Meekah and nor would we want them to. They have opened up a new chapter for us and shown us much love. Annie
A caring companion
From: Linda Raffray, Essex hank you for the article you featured about cats in residential homes. My Mum Edna, 83 years old, was struggling at home at the time. One of the main barriers to going into care for her was what would happen to Candy, her 12-year-old rescue cat. This autumn, my Mum lost more physical skills and when it was clear that she needed 24-hour care, I began looking for a home. As I knew from your article that some places did take cats, this was one of my questions to prospective homes. Southminster Residential Home in Essex said they would welcome a cat and indeed already had a cat, Baby, who had belonged to a previous resident who had passed away. In fact, Baby was the first to greet me when I visited, coming up to me and rubbing against me. The home was very friendly and also had a parrot, several budgies and a tank of fish. I felt Mum would be happy there. Candy and Mum have settled in well. Mum misses her home but has said that it’s all OK as long as she has her cat with her. Candy sits on her bed and also goes into the lounge where she may even sit on other residents’ knees. Thanks to the caring compassionate staff at the home who have made it possible for these two elderly friends to stay together.
The Cat Spring 2013
Story of survival
From: the Pollmann family, Austria his is Ryan, a heroic cat who had a narrow escape after a run in with a combine harvester. He was found in a field with a severed front leg and a suspended hind leg. He was covered in cuts, bruises and blood and was starving. Luckily he was found and rushed to a vet who operated immediately, amputating his front leg and sewing the other ones up. He concluded his injuries were several weeks old. The surgery went smoothly and our family fell in love with Ryan and decided to keep him. He now lives a content life, eating and running around the house and garden happily. He even has his own Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ryan.derkater
Here is Ryan, receiving topical treatment while recovering from his injuries
A tribute to a courageous cat
Lilies – not the best bouquet for cats From: Dr Lisa Flanagan, Manchester his January my cat spent two weeks in a veterinary hospital. Fortunately he fought against all odds and is now home to tell the tale, albeit with chronic renal impairment. The vets gave a speculative diagnosis of lily poisoning. I had never known of this before and have since become passionate about making people aware that this bold, ornamental plant is extremely harmful to cats. Lilies are common in homes and gardens and most species can be fatal to cats with even minor exposures of any part of the lily causing serious harm. Lilies can cause kidney failure within 24 to 72 hours after ingestion. Symptoms include gastrointestinal upset, loss of appetite, vomiting, dehydration, lethargy, increased urination and thirst. Unfortunately, many people do not seek treatment for these symptoms soon enough. If a cat is treated within the first few hours after ingesting a lily, it can often survive. You can still benefit from beautiful bouquets in the house, just not lilies! Note from Advocacy Manager: The Cat Group, of which CP is a member, has previously asked leading supermarkets to label bouquets containing lilies with a warning about their toxicity to cats. Most of them have now done this and we are pursuing the few that have not. We have also recently contacted companies selling lily bulbs although the risk of cats nibbling lilies in the garden is less as cats usually have more plants to choose from.
From: Derek & Irene Mepham, by email aving read T he sound of silencein this summer’s issue of the magazine, I thought I would share the story of Jodie, our FIV+ cat from CP who led a silent and dark life. Jodie became deaf a couple of years after we adopted her and later became totally blind. She adapted marvellously to the loss of two of her senses. Her favourite hobbies were eating and sleeping! She knew where her food and bed were and in the early stages of blindness still came up and down the stairs in the house. She developed a way to tell us she was hungry – by tapping the washing machine – and to ask to go outside – by tapping the door. She used her sense of touch with her whiskers, fur and pads. I certainly don’t think a human would have adapted so well. Jodie suffered a minor stroke in the summer. Her quality of life had deteriorated and we had to make the decision that all pet owners dread – and an injection from the vet was the kindest route. We miss this wonderful cat who adapted with such determination and courage.
The Cat Spring 2013
Belly dancing diva
From: Christine Emery, East Northumberland too am lucky enough to work in an office alongside a cat. This is Suzie, second in command when my boss Kay isn’t around. I work for a belly dance company owned by and run from Kay’s home. Suzie has her favourite office chair, where she spends most of her time. However she has also modelled for our website and has an item of jewellery named after her – the Suzie necklace – and also sometimes wanders into the dance studio to cast an eye over our moves. She even has her own page on our website – goo.gl/NQy14 – and regularly features on our Farida Dance Facebook page. Here she is checking out the latest news about her mam.
Hired to hunt
From: Amanda Johnson, Peterborough oxy and Oscar are cats with a difference – they have been ‘hired’ to put their hunting skills to good use! The cats have been taken in by an IT company in a rural location. While the business has never experienced any rodent problems, they thought it sensible to take preventative measures. When a member of staff moved into a new house without a garden, Oscar, his mainly outdoor cat, came to live at the hangar. Although he has settled in well he clearly missed other cats. Foxy came from a family who had two other cats who were fighting with her. After a few initial spits and swears the cats seem to be becoming quite good companions. Oscar has already made a kill and customers often ask to see them. We think Foxtrot and Oscar were made for each other!
From: Katherine Morris, Oxford am the Lost & Found Co-ordinator for the Oxford & District Branch of CP. A few weeks ago I had an email from the security guard at a service area. There was a black cat who had been living among the rubbish bins; could we take her? She was a beautiful, sweet-natured black cat but no microchip. I put her details on the brilliant Oxfordshire lost and found site Animal Finders – www.animalfinders.co.uk. A few days later, I had a phone call. Now, guess who I had living in my kitchen? It was Artemis, the Trinity College cat, who had featured in the Feline fellowsarticle in this summer’s edition of The Cat! Artemis is now back at Trinity College, to the delight of staff and students alike. She is apparently going to be an ‘extra’ in one of the ‘prequels’ to Morse. And the really good news is that she is now microchipped, so if she does another vanishing act, she will be returned home even more promptly.
Our Star Letter wins their own SureFlap Microchip Cat Flap. All other printed letters will win a SureFlap cat mat for your puss to wipe its paws on! The SureFlap Microchip Cat Flap is ideal for cat owners needing a simple, stylish solution to the problem of intruder cats. SureFlap identifies your cat using his unique microchip number, unlocking only for your pet and leaving unwanted visitors outside. SureFlap is compatible with all European identification microchips and does not require your cat to wear an uncomfortable, restrictive collar. Available in brown and white, SureFlap can be installed into doors, windows or walls and fits into the hole left by most existing cat flaps. It runs on four AA batteries which last up to 12 months with normal use. To find out more visit www.sureflap.co.uk or visit their Happy Cats page on Facebook – www.facebook.com/sureflap.
The Cat Spring 2013
Si King E bullient Geordie Si King is part of popular TV food duo the Hairy Bikers, together with mate Dave Myers. The pair’s on-screen banter, downto-earth charm and obvious passion for food has made hits of their TV series including The Hairy Bikers’ Food Tour of Britain, Mums Know Bestand, last year, The Hairy Dieters.
QUESTION Hi Si. Last year, you and Dave lost six stone between you for T he Hairy Dieters. How’s the diet going? ANSWER It’s going very well thank you and I’m keeping the weight off. It’s more about maintenance now. I’m a smaller organism so I eat less! I’ve carried on cycling and walking. I’m on the rowing machine quite a lot and I do a little circuit in my back garden. Dave and I have been on tour for the past three months (www.hairybikers.com/tour) so there’s strenuous physical activity every day and we’ve used that as our gym workout! QUESTION The Hairy Bikers have done TV shows, tours and books among other things. What do you enjoy most? ANSWER There’s nothing I don’t like – I’m very lucky and privileged in what I do. I like touring, because the stage shows are instant gratification. But my favourite has to be the travel. I’ve had some wonderful experiences and great cultural exchanges. There are lots of places I would like to visit: Tasmania, New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines, Japan, Korea and Sumatra. The list is endless! My passion for travel is unquenched and will remain so until the day I die. QUESTION Does the UK have a culinary capital? ANSWER I couldn’t say that it does. London is remarkable because of the diversity of food and most provincial cities are good as well. The UK is a fantastic place for food, there are not many European countries that have the diversity that we do. That’s partly because we’re a multicultural country and embrace other cultures. We’re a relatively tolerant race – I’m proud to say that about the UK. QUESTION Do you cook at home? ANSWER Yes, I love it! Dave and I are away a lot so it’s nice to come home and cook for family and friends. And it gives my long-suffering wife Jane a break. I’ve still got lots to learn. Any chef or cook who says they know it all is either stupid or a liar. QUESTION What projects do you have on the go? ANSWER We’re going to make a programme for the BBC about Asian food. Then [BBC series] Everyday Gourmetsgoes out followed by a second series of B est of British. Our live tour finishes in April. Next we’ll do a series on the Industrial Revolution for the BBC. It doesn’t involve cooking but it’s going to be very interesting! QUESTION You have a six-year-old tortoiseshell cat, Hilda. Where did you get her from? ANSWER We got her from a nearby independent
CELEBRITY INTERVIEW Hairy Biker Si King chats to Rebecca Evans about cooking, travel and his naughty tortie Hilda rescue centre called Brysons [in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear]. Hilda was very wary and it was about eight months before she would have anything to do with us. Now she’s the most sociable cat, she’s gorgeous. We love her dearly. We’re definite animal lovers in our house! We’ve never bought pedigree cats because there’s no need to. There are lots of beautiful cats with great personalities that have fallen on hard times. That’s the way we look at it. QUESTION What sort of things does she do? ANSWER Hilda comes into the bedroom just before you put the light off and has what we call her daft 10 minutes. She puts her face in your face, purring loudly. Then she’ll go downstairs and lie close to my son’s Dalmatian, Fred. He’s terrified of her! She hates being picked up but she’ll voluntarily jump up on your shoulder and is happy to sit there as you wander about. She comes and helps me with the computer sometimes, walking across the keyboard and wiping away four hours’ work. I’m always hitting the undo button. Hilda’s integrated herself into the house and is now queen of all she surveys! he Hairy Bikers’ Everyday Gourmetsis currently screening T on BBC2 on Wednesdays at 8pm. Catch the pair’s live show Hairy Bikers: Larger than Live, touring UK venues until 10 April 2013. For tickets and more information please visit bbcliveshows.com. And Si and Dave’s curry book will be published soon. T he Hairy Bikers’ Great Curriesis published by Weidenfeld & Nicholson in hardback at £20 (ebook £10.99) on 28 February 2013.
Funny, weird, or just plain photogenic; this is the place to show off your cat for the remarkable creature he is. If you think you’ve got a cat who deserves his 15 minutes of fame then write to us at Cats’ Tales, The Cat magazine, National Cat Centre, Chelwood Gate, Haywards Heath, RH17 7TT or email email@example.com including a contact number and a photo of at least 500kb in size. If you would like your photos returned, please enclose a self-addressed envelope. Your letters may be edited for clarity and length.
Home at last From: Lucy Howell, by email Just a quick letter to say that my fiancé Craig, seven-month-old daughter Hannah and I are so grateful to the Fareham & Waterlooville Districts Branch of CP for our new cats which we have named Pebbles and Bam Bam from the Flintstones. Here is a photo of them in their happy home.
Affluent Archie From: Suzanne Thurlow, by email Archie was abandoned under a car in the winter along with his sisters as a kitten; we collected him from the RSPCA and he has been the boss of our house ever since. He is a very handsome cat and he knows it. We love him to bits. The couple over the road are retired. Archie knows their routine and always joins them for a midday snack – he now has his own bowl over there and has a liking for corned beef, ham, pigeon and chicken. He even sometimes stays with them for a sleepover.
The Cat Spring 2013
From: Clare Weiner, Oxford I saw this and reached for my camera – one of our cats, big Spike, with the little stranger who’d been living rough in our neighbourhood for months. I immediately thought of that poster, T he Kissby Gustav Klimt. But it also struck me that our cats had really accepted Tabs, as we call him. When the weather turned cold we advertised to see if he was lost. He must have been very adept at finding food and drink: the first time he crept into our house he drank a whole bowl of water! The vet told us it was a male kitten, tested him for FIV and found him healthy. They neutered him – thanks to Cats Protection for the voucher! He’s now settled in our spare room – paying no rent – eats everything we give him and has a nice shiny coat. He is still very hissy but is getting slightly more trustful. Once he is ready, we’ll be looking for a good home for him, as we have three cats already. The cats of course may insist.
READERS’ CATS A rabbit in cat’s clothing
Truffles’ reign of terror
From: Mrs T Medhurst, Somerset Here is Ice, my stunning 10-yearold Snow Spotted Bengal. He just thinks he is a rabbit in one of my hutches and jumps in when the rabbits are let out into their run! He came from a Bristol breeder and was followed by a brother and sister, Willow and Chloe, about six months later. Chloe loves him to bits. He went missing for six weeks once but luckily he was found and returned home.
From: Claire Bennett, by email This is Truffles, arguably the prettiest cat in Buckinghamshire and possibly in the world. She likes to be treated on time and with respect, or she can get nippy. She has been with me since she assessed me and decided I was a possible escape route from her old family who had just bought a dog. Being small, she likes to stick up for herself and regularly terrorises any other cat who dares to saunter past the house. She has fought away several strays who saw fit to trespass in the hope of a morsel. Luckily a neighbour and I catch the strays and take them to check for chips before passing them to Cats Protection. We think Truffles believes she has scared them away.
Finding Holly From: David McCulloch, Stirlingshire Holly turned up in our estate as an unchipped stray. After living outside for several months in increasingly wintry weather I decided to adopt her. Then one afternoon she disappeared. Despite putting up posters and asking neighbours she just seemed to have vanished. Five-and-a-half weeks after she went missing, Holly was seen inside an empty flat! The flat had been checked and I had been looking in regularly. However, she must have crawled under the floorboards and then hidden underneath. Although she’d lost almost half her bodyweight, the vet said that luckily she had no kidney damage.
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Lucky by name, lucky by nature From: Pam & Alan Baisden, Uckfield One day last autumn our branch Homing Officer literally scooped up this wonderful bundle of ginger fur and placed him in a Fosterer’s pen. After suffering the loss of our cat, we went cat visiting. It was love at first sight; he had been called ‘Lucky’ and we decided that it was a good enough name for all parties. Within a few hours he had investigated the entire house including the bathrooms and utility. He simply loves waiting for the tap to be turned on and the water to run, which he tries to catch! We now have another young tomcat. They are settling down well, playing together – even in the snow – sharing meal times and a little social grooming. Once again our home is complete and we adore them.
Scaredy cat From: Jo and Alan Leahy, Surrey Here’s a picture of our cat, Charlie. He’s so inquisitive when new items arrive in our garden or house, such as with the plant in the picture, yet is also a scaredy cat! He wants to investigate everything new, but sometimes from a safe distance. He’s been scared of new cat toys, a new cat rug – these are meant to be nice things for him, bless him! We call him Sir Charlie, as he likes us to wait on him. He wants us to bring his food to him on a chair he has claimed as his own, or occasionally on the dining table! When he wants to go out he taps very gently on his cat flap as if to say, ‘I’m not strong enough, please let me out’. However, if he sees or hears something he’ll be out of the cat flap like a shot, so we know he can do it! We still open the door for him when he asks though.
Beloved black cat From: Aimee and Ben Hamblin, by email Here is a picture of our cat Murphy on his bench enjoying the autumn sun. My husband and I got him from a local animal shelter five years ago and he has been a member of our family ever since. We are not sure how old he is, as he was a stray, but that doesn’t matter to us. We have been saddened to hear that black cats and older cats are less popular with people, as Murphy is a great cat. He always greets us when we come home, gets up when we get up and goes to bed when we go to bed. In the evenings he loves to come and sit on our laps and purr. He also loves visits from my Dad as he gets extra treats.
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Kate Monteath describes how a microchip ensured the return of her beloved cat
n 25 March 2011 at 3.30pm one of my cats went out of the back door and I didn’t see him again. He was one of two cats I had given a home to 13 years previously and they had lived for 11 of those years in my present home in a quiet cul-de-sac. I knew within three or four hours that he was missing, he was such a creature of habit. I drove around the local streets at 1am looking for a body in the road, to no avail. A few hours later I put leaflets through approximately 200 doors and tied posters on lamp posts. I put notices up on the boards of the local supermarket, sorting office, pet shop and corner shop and telephoned the local vets, council, Cats Protection and three other rescue charities. Over the weeks I had phone calls from people who thought they had seen him, but it was never Jake. I walked around nearby greenfield sites, trying to imagine if he were lost, where he might be seeking shelter. I still expected to see him come through the cat flap and on occasion woke in the night thinking he had come home. But he never did. I was heart-broken and wondered what had happened; he was such a home-loving cat who was afraid of people he didn’t know. As the months passed the horrid, sharp missing-him pain dulled a little. But then on 13 February 2012 at 4pm on a dark and wet afternoon, I had a phone call from a vet in Canterbury. The caller told me Jake had been brought in.
I could hardly believe what I was hearing. I drove to the home of the woman who had taken Jake to the surgery and there he was. I can’t describe my joy. During the next half hour the story unfolded of how he had inexplicably arrived, approximately five months earlier, in the garden of the woman’s mother who lived in Rochester. He had been living on her compost heap and she had started feeding him and then allowed him to live in her garden shed. He got to know the mother and became an ‘outdoor pet’. In January of this year the mother was going on holiday and asked her daughter to drive over each day to feed him. A bitterly cold snap and the lengthy daily round trip between Rochester and Canterbury prompted the daughter to bring Jake to her own home, where she kept him in the kitchen in a large cage and let him out when her own cats weren’t around. And then, as the daughter was going away for a weekend, she contacted the cattery to book Jake in as well as her own cats. It is they who asked whether Jake had been checked for a microchip. Jake has had many trips to the vet - he had a severe infection in his middle ear, probably caused by mites and despite two operations the damage is permanent. His balance was very poor but has got better, he has put on weight, his coat has improved and an x-ray showed that stiffness in his back legs was the result of arthritis. I have blocked up the hole in the fence that allowed him to leave the garden. He copes well with his tendency to lose balance and I have made a step for him to get up on to the sofa and the bed. That first afternoon, when I saw Jake again for the first time in almost 11 months, it was like Christmas Day, and every day since has been Christmas all over again. I still pinch myself to make sure I am not dreaming. So were it not for the fact that he was microchipped, I would never have got him back and I am so thankful the daughter took him to a vet to be checked for a chip. My story is testament to the importance of both microchipping and checking for a microchip in what might be an abandoned or lost animal.
Illustration: Rus Hudda
The purr behi Linda Harrison follows the paws along the corridors of power
The reign of Charles I was dominated by religious and political conflict. But although his country was gripped by Civil War, legend has it that the 17th Century king was convinced one thing could protect him – his black cat. This royal feline was much more than just a favourite pet. The monarch thought the cat brought him good luck. He was so sure his survival depended on the precious puss, the story goes that he put it under 24-hour guard. When the cat died, his royal highness is said to have lamented: “Alas, my luck is gone!” Bonkers or not, the cat-loving king may well have been onto something. The very next day he was arrested by Parliamentary troops and charged with high treason. He was, of course, later tried and executed. Charles I is certainly not alone – throughout the ages, some of the most famous royal and political leaders have chosen to share the corridors of power with a feline friend in tow. And many of the tales have become woven into our heritage.
Stately cats There are plenty of stories about Winston Churchill being a big cat lover. One of his most well-known pets during wartime was Nelson. According to Quentin Reynolds, an American war correspondent, the PM once described Nelson as “the bravest cat I ever knew”, adding that he’d once seen him “chase a huge dog out of the Admiralty”, which is why he decided to name him after the famous Admiral. One story describes how Churchill sneaked Nelson pieces of salmon at dinner when Mrs Churchill wasn’t looking. In his later years, Churchill grew particularly fond of a marmalade-coloured tom called Jock. The cat was so precious that Churchill requested there should always be a cat with four white paws and a white bib “in comfortable residence” at Chartwell, Churchill’s former country home. The latest Jock, Jock V, took up residence as a 19-week-old kitten and even boasts his own Facebook page.
Ministerial mogs There is, of course, a long history of cats at Downing Street. According to the website Purr-n-fur.org, cats in the British prime minister’s residence and Treasury can be traced back to the time of Henry VIII.
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More recently, the historic building was patrolled by Wilberforce – a black-and-white Tom who served under Edward Heath, Harold Wilson, Jim Callaghan and Margaret Thatcher. A terrific mouser, even the Iron Lady was said to have taken a shine to him. So much so, that she reportedly brought back Wilberforce a tin of sardines from Moscow. Then there was Humphrey, a long-haired black-and-white stray who moved into Number 10 towards the end the Thatcher era. The young cat, which became chief mouser, is said to have been named by staff after Sir Humphrey Appleby from the BBC comedy Yes, Minister. Although Humphrey’s £100 a year food bill was paid out of the departmental budget, it is believed to have appealed to Mrs Thatcher’s economical nature as this was far cheaper than hiring a pestcontrol contractor. There was also Sybil, a black-andwhite female who it seems didn’t settle under Gordon Brown’s premiership and left after just six months. And then Larry, a stray from Battersea Dogs & Cats home
ind the throne who was found living rough on London’s streets. Larry made his mark on the Downing Street patch, not least by his public catfight antics with the feline next door at Number 11.
Presidential pusses From one political animal to another – and over the Pond, plenty of US presidents have also favoured having a cat by their side in office. One of the most famous is Socks. The Clintons adopted the stray cat – or rather he adopted them via their daughter Chelsea – in 1991 while they were living in Arkansas. The handsome tom moved to Washington with the family when Bill Clinton became president, enjoying a pampered life. That was until 1997 when a new puppy, Buddy, arrived. Relations between Socks and the chocolate retriever were initially a little strained, although both animals were very popular with the nation. So much so, that the then first lady Hillary Clinton brought out a book of children’s letters to the two pets called Dear Socks, Dear Buddy.
Predecessors to Socks, who passed away in 2009 at the grand old age of 19, included Tabby, who belonged to Abraham Lincoln and is believed to have been the first White House cat. Many of these felines in power are surrounded by stories of myth and legend, but apparently Lincoln was an avid cat lover and chose to counter the stresses of office by playing with kittens. One story goes that when the president’s wife Mary was asked if her husband had any hobbies, she offered a oneword reply: “Cats.” In the late 19th century, President Rutherford Hayes had a Siamese called Siam, which was the first Siamese cat to reach US soil. He also had another Siamese named Miss Pussy, and a third cat called Piccolomini. Ronald Reagan had a number of cats, including two tortoiseshell strays called Cleo and Sara. Other Presidents believed to have had cats at the White House include Theodore Roosevelt (Tom Quartz and Slippers), Woodrow Wilson (Puffins), Calvin Coolidge (Smokey, Blackie, Timmy and Tiger) and Gerald Ford (a Siamese called Shan). Jimmy Carter’s daughter Amy brought a Siamese called Misty Malarky Ying Yang to the White House, while George Bush’s black cat was named India. Meanwhile, when John F Kennedy’s beloved cat Tom Kitten died in 1962, he was given his own obituary in the press. Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper is also a massive cat fan. According to his official website, he and his wife Laureen have fostered many rescue cats at their Ottawa home and are supporters of the Ottawa Humane Society’s Foster Programme. What’s more, the PM’s Twitter account frequently includes posts about cats currently available for adoption through the Society.
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FEATURE Illustrations: Sam Roberts
By royal appointment Going back to royalty, many cats have found themselves being cosseted in palaces. Marie Antoinette is reputed to have had cats. Legend suggests that the former Queen of France smuggled six of her beloved Turkish Angoras to Maine, in the US, when she was trying to flee the French Revolution. She never made it to the US herself, but the story goes that the cats bred with local housecats to produce the Maine Coon cat. Queen Victoria also found cats comforting. She is said to have doted on her last cat, White Heather, who has variously been described as having been fluffy, black-and-white, Persian or Angora. On Victoria’s orders, White Heather continued her indulged existence long after the elderly queen died and was inherited by King Edward VII. But even Victoria couldn’t compete with the levels of luxury awarded to cats by the leaders of Ancient Egypt. Back then,
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cats were treated like gods and many were given elaborate burials by their royal masters and mistresses. One such regal cat was Ta-Miu (roughly translated as ‘she cat’), who belonged to the Crown Prince Thutmose. When Ta-Miu died, the heartbroken Crown Prince had his beloved cat mummified and buried in her own highly decorative limestone sarcophagus. This now resides at Cairo Museum. For tens of thousands of years, powerful royals and politicians have chosen to share their palaces and offices with cats. And whether they’ve been picked for their beauty, playfulness – or simply good mousing skills – these fussed felines have certainly earned their place in the history books.
Mitzi’s alarms and amusements Alison Princehas got it pegged…
rom the cats’ point of view, our household has been a bit disturbed lately. To start with, there was the invasion of Brown, the shaggy and ominous feline who sometimes stages an assault. Perhaps he’d only just realised that Mitzi had arrived on the scene – but whatever the reason, he hung around, staring in through windows. Then one evening he pushed his way in through the cat flap. There were screams from Mitzi in the kitchen and I rushed down from the upstairs office room – but they’d both bundled into the garden and there was no sign of them. When Mitzi came in, she was trembling and her hind legs didn’t seem to work very well. She didn’t want to be cuddled, just curled up in a rug-nest by a radiator. It turned out that she’d been bitten across her back, just above the tail. The injuries cleared up with no great problem, but she claimed that it was quite impossible to go Out There where the Big, Bad, Bogey might be lurking. From my point of view, this was a thundering nuisance, because Mitzi had to be house-trained from scratch, all over again. Litter-tray reinstated, the use of my house plants as lavatories discouraged, disapproval expressed about deposits of you-know-what in carpeted corners. And then a heaven-sent garden helper arrived – not a cat, a human – to tackle the brambles and tame the raspberry canes and dig over the jungly flower beds. Mitzi thought he was another Big, Bad Bogey, so the retraining took a further nose-dive. But the gardener came in for tea from time to time and made it clear that he liked cats, so calm was slowly re-established. And we have not seen tail or whisker of Brown, who perhaps found Mitzi a more ferocious little baggage than he’d bargained for.
Illustration: Alison Prince
The newly-turned earth outside is of course bliss as an easily-diggable cat loo, so once the gardener had gone, the litter tray was bypassed and Mitzi took possession of her garden again. Whew. Thank goodness for that. But of course, lacking any greater dramas, she is now in search of other amusements. Fingal is good for an occasional play-fight, but he’s taken on an air of dignity now that he is the senior cat. He does not lower himself to chase anything inanimate, though he will on occasion murder a mouse. I’m not sure if this is meant as an educational demonstration. If it is, Mitzi seems astonished rather than diligent. A few mornings ago, she and Fingal were both outside at breakfast time, which is unusual – they are usually chivvying me in the shower room, pointing out that they are hungry. I went looking for them and saw a kerfuffle going on under the bushes, then Mitzi shot into the house in a state of lunatic excitement, fur ruffled, tail fluffed up. Fingal followed, looking suave and pleased with himself, so I can only imagine that a successful hunt had happened. Failing any outdoor amusements, the house provides small diversions. I came downstairs the other day to find clothes pegs all over the floor. They live in a bag in the washing basket, which in turn is stowed under a small table in the room beside the kitchen, but they had been seriously blitzed.
Or Mitzed. She’d not only got the pegs out of the bag, but had distributed them everywhere. There must have been at least thirty-five of them scattered across the carpet, though their bag was still in the basket. I’m still baffled about how she did it. Spreading all those pegs quite so far and wide must have been quite a big carrying-about job. Fingal was wearing his most lofty expression and said it had nothing to do with him, but I think he was lying. He used to be a great carrier of things about when he was a kitten, and would retrieve, as well. We spent many idiotic hours playing with scrunched-up balls of newspaper. Since the pegs, things have been relatively calm, but a visitor brought a bunch of flowers that I feared might prove tempting – and they did. I put them in a hefty Russian vase that contains a narrow, separate water-pot and can’t be tipped over, which was just as well. In the morning, the table was covered with carnations and those bits of fern with hard stems that florists use. The cats were unapologetic, of course. “Ah, there you are,” they said. “And about time, too. Where’s our breakfast?” It is no use arguing with cats – they always win. They simply claim that they don’t understand what their debating opponent means. It’s an unassailable weapon. I must try using it when wrangling with humans – if I can be bothered. Really, the Fing and Mitz show is more fun.
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A day in the life of a cat behaviour counsellor
The feline fun factor – does play matter? V icky Hallsinvestigates…
his is a time when, traditionally, my New Year resolution has already been broken but – so far so good – I am determined this year to persevere, probably because it involves enormous benefit for very little effort. My goal for 2013 is simply to play more with Mangus. Mangus, my adorable (elderly) Devon Rex, spends a lot of time sleeping these days but I can always get a spring back in her step if we take the time to play with her favourite ‘sparkly stick’ or ‘furry rat’. Many of you I am sure will know your cats well enough to go straight to a toy that really gets them excited. Or do you…? So many cat owners equate play with kittens or juveniles: a purposeful activity that hones hunting and fighting skills in preparation for the real thing as adults. It serves to improve co-ordination, physical strength and learning about social communication but remains, for many, applicable only to the young. I absolutely agree that it is developmentally significant for kittens but its usefulness extends beyond this life stage. Play is important for all companion cats, young and old. It is a glorious leisure activity, it has a positive impact on a cat’s emotional state, it aids in the prevention and treatment of obesity, it provides important stimulation for the bored or elderly brain and it helps to develop and maintain social bonds. Little wonder that scheduled playtime forms a very important part of many of the programmes I put in place to tackle ‘problem’ behaviour. The art of play however isn’t just a question of scattering brightly-coloured pet shop purchases on the living room carpet – there is more to consider here than meets the eye so it may be helpful to look at play in more depth. Play can be broken down into separate categories: • Solitary play • Solitary play (with objects)
Vicky Halls is a registered Veterinary Nurse, a member of the FAB’s Feline Behaviour Expert Panel and author of several best-selling cat counselling books. For further information regarding these please visit her website: www.vickyhalls.net Vicky also hosts a cat behaviour Facebook Group and you can join in the cat discussions by searching for ‘Vicky Halls Cat Behaviour’ from within Facebook.
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• Interactive play (with cats) • Interactive play (with humans)
Solitary play There is little we as owners can do to encourage solitary play, it often occurs during the evening or early hours of the morning at a time when cats would naturally be most active. Signs of this type of activity, often referred to as a ‘mad half hour’, include sudden, staccato movements interspersed with frozen postures with crouched legs and a general look of madness with dilated pupils and ears flattened laterally. The cat may vocalise with a loud prolonged yowl prior to dashing madly from room to room.
Solitary play with objects Every cat will have specific favourites when it comes to selecting toys for playing alone, these will be based on texture, shape, size, smell, how they move and whether they make a noise while doing so. If you haven’t already done so, establishing what stimulates your cat is based on trial and error, although, in my experience, there are some commercially-available toys that have majority appeal. I carry an assortment of toys in my consulting bag that I absolutely guarantee will appeal to all cats I visit. My bag exudes an irresistible fusion of smells accumulated over 15 years (probably impossible to reproduce elsewhere) but I believe in the toys it contains and the power of novelty. My personal favourites include: • Yeowww! Catnip Banana • Small fur mice, some silent, others with a movement-activated squeak • Kong® Kickeroo – a larger toy that can be grabbed and kicked simultaneously • My own home-made ‘Octopuss’ – details to make your own in Cat Detective* Chapter 11 • Rubbish! – screwed up sweet papers, hair ‘scrunchies’, plastic lids, paper… I would also recommend any toy that your cat hasn’t seen for a while – so maintain the novelty factor by rotating toys left out regularly.
Interactive play (with cats) Cats are more likely to indulge in social play in the right kind of environment – full of obstacles and different levels to give camouflage, hidey holes and the chance to leap to high places for ‘time out’. Two cats can differ greatly in their motivation to
HEALTH CHECK Photo: istocklibrary.com/Marcin Gil
play and some sessions can lead to one individual becoming over-aroused and boisterous, changing the tone of the game to something akin to a dangerous altercation. This can be extremely stressful for the cat that isn’t quite so excitable. Giving both cats the opportunity to break the stare, for example, in social play fighting can diffuse tension and avoid arousal levels from escalating. If you are considering looking at areas within your home that might be conducive to play you may want to provide a combination of stacked cardboard boxes – with entry/exit holes – furniture at various heights, tables and cat activity centres to simulate that all important multi-level play station. This may be sufficient to keep things relatively calm but a little vigilance could alert you to the signs that show one cat is saying “please stop, this isn’t fun anymore”. These signs include tongue-to-nose licking, exaggerated swallowing, skin twitching, tail flicking, claw swiping, hissing, yowling or attempting to run away. At this point you may want to intervene and distract the boisterous cat by throwing a toy while the other cat executes his or her escape.
Interactive play – with humans Interactive games with your cat need to be tailored to suit the individual. If your cat is highly motivated to play you will notice that he or she will do so frequently and spontaneously at any time of day and night. You will usually be the one who gets bored first and virtually anything dangled in front of your cat will elicit a response. If this describes your cat then, congratulations, all you have to do is develop the staying power to hang on in there with the games and know that you can have time off by ensuring your cat has plenty of inanimate objects for self-play when you can take no more or are fast asleep. If your cat has a low motivation to play – as does my dear Mangus – then you have a much harder job on your hands. These cats don’t play spontaneously with objects and tend to look at you with clear disdain when you are crouched in
front of them waving a bootlace randomly with something furry tied to the end. These cats are receptive at very specific times, under very specific circumstances and it is highly likely that you will miss the window. There may be only one toy in the universe that excites them – and you need to find it – and they will tire quickly after a great deal of persuasion to start in the first place. However, don’t be defeated; knowing the positive physical and mental benefits of play should spur you on to find that special toy and learn when and where to encourage activity to meet your cat’s idiosyncratic needs. You may be most successful with wand toys – ‘Da Bird’ is a personal favourite – or even using a laser pointer. However, be aware that some games/toys can cause frustration if the pounce and catch parts of the predatory sequence are absent; this is particularly noticeable when using a laser pointer. I would therefore advise that you mimic natural circumstances as closely as possible, for example, play in short bursts of activity and end the game by shining the dot on a toy that can be caught. If your cat appears fearful or continues to search for the ‘dot’ for prolonged periods afterwards then a laser toy isn’t for you and is best avoided. You will also find that, the more you play the easier it becomes to get your cat ‘in the zone’. Consider your cat’s natural body rhythm by establishing the time of day and location that works best. If you have two or more cats, you will have far more success playing on a one-toone basis, as any social tension will ruin a game before it even starts. Whatever happens, whether your cat is easily excited or not, always end an interactive game on a high point. The benefit of this particular activity greatly outweighs the small amount of effort it takes for us to make this part of our daily routine, so join in with Mangus and me and ‘Get playing!’ *Cat Detective Vicky Halls Bantam Press £7.99
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vets Ask the
Have you got a question? Send your questions to: ‘Ask The Vets’, The Cat magazine, National Cat Centre, Chelwood Gate, Haywards Heath, RH17 7TT or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
CP’s team of veterinary experts tackle your feline-related questions…
We have a neighbour’s cat that regularly come into the house for a fuss and sometimes eats the cat food. My cat doesn’t seem to mind as she never hisses or fights the neighbour’s cat. Recently I’ve noticed that my cat seems to prefer staying upstairs more and has been hiding more than she used to. Muriel Barker, Guernsey The first port of call for any change in behaviour or behaviour problem is to take your cat for a health check with the vet to specifically rule out any medical problems that could be causing the behaviour. It is important to discuss all your observations of her behaviour with the vet so they are fully informed. Once medical reasons are ruled out, we can start to look at behavioural causes. Cats in general are very subtle in their behaviour, especially in their interactions with other cats as they are not naturally a social species. Having shared ancestry with the solitary and territorial species, African wildcats, they have not evolved all the complex social communication such as an array of facial expressions, that we see in social species like dogs and ourselves. They generally try to avoid one another in order to avoid stress and conflict. Aggressive behaviour is an absolute last resort for cats, instead preferring to run away, hide and climb to elevated perches to feel safe. As a territorial species, a cat’s home is his castle. Cats can feel very threatened by another cat coming into their core territory, just as we would if a stranger let themselves into our home. However, cats are very good at masking stress so it can be hard to pick up on the signs. It can be useful to look for changes in her behaviour. You’ve already identified that she has started to stay upstairs more so she’s changed the use of the space in the house, as well as increased hiding behaviour. Help your cat to feel more secure in her surroundings, by installing an exclusive access cat flap such as the microchip cat flaps that read your cat’s unique microchip number, or a magnetic cat flap, where she wears a magnet on a quick release collar to unlock the cat flap. This will stop other cats from the neighbourhood from entering the cat flap. It’s essential to look at other ways in which other cats can gain access to the house, such as through doors or windows left open, and ensure these routes are not accessible. Next, look at her resources in the home. Ensure that she has plenty of places to hide and get up high. This can be as simple as providing her with a few cardboard boxes upside down, with a hole in the front, and another on the side, in private areas. Elevated places can be made easily accessible by placing stools near to window sills or furniture near to wardrobes. Move her food bowl and water away from each other as cats
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prefer to drink and eat in separate locations and place her water bowl, food bowl and litter tray away from exposed areas, such as glass patio doors, cat flaps, windows and high traffic areas in the home to give her more privacy. For further behavioural advice, speak to your vet about a referral to a qualified behaviourist or alternatively contact the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (www.apbc.org.uk) to find a qualified behaviourist near you. My cat has been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, but I find it really difficult to give her the tablets, are there any other options?’ Melissa Evans, Brighton, East Sussex Hyperthyroidism in cats is very common and each case in cats is different. Management may depend on a cat’s temperament, the severity of the disease, whether both sides of the thyroid gland are affected, any concurrent health issues and financial resources available so unfortunately, I am unable to comment on whether the condition can be managed on diet alone, but your vet will be able to discuss the options with you. Management options may include feeding a special low iodine diet, though the cat must not be fed any other food or treats for this to be effective – this even includes not eating any prey it may catch. Dietary management may be effective if the thyroid hormone level is not too high. Other options include medical treatment with tablets given once or twice daily long-term or referral to specialist veterinary hospitals for curative treatment with radioactive iodine. In other cases, hyperthyroidism can be cured through surgery. This involves removing one or both glands of the thyroid under general anaesthetic. Surgery does carry some risks, but when successful, it can be a permanent cure for the condition and the procedure is fairly routine. It is usually recommended that cats are pre-treated with tablets to bring the thyroid hormone level back down to the normal range first, and not all cats are suitable candidates for surgical treatment but it may be worth discussing with your vet. We understand that a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism in your cat, particularly if giving tablets is difficult, can seem overwhelming. In most cases, though, it can be effectively managed, with regular monitoring, so that both you and your cat can continue to enjoy a good quality of life. We recommend you discuss all the options with your vet and if tableting is the way forward, then ask your vet for some advice on the best way to achieve this so it is stress-free for both you and your pet.
HEALTH CHECK My cat has diagnosed with warts, I didn’t realise this was possible with cats. My vet has told me to leave them as they are, but is there anything I can do to cure them or prevent them? Clare Preston, Manchester Cats, just like people, can be affected by a range of skin problems, including lumps and bumps. Warts, or papillomata, are generally uncommon in cats and when they occur may be associated with infection with a virus. Multiple papillomata may be seen in middle-aged or older cats, resulting in small, often painless swellings on the face or body, each either on a small stalk or cauliflower-like. The virus, if present, is thought to invade through an abrasion of the skin. As long as they aren’t bothering the cat, then multiple papillomata are often best left, though they should be monitored for any change, as it is thought that in a few cases the skin change induced by the virus can become cancerous. There are no known methods for their prevention, though optimising skin health and minimising excessive scratching, through the provision of good nutrition, a happy cat-friendly environment, effective flea and worm control, regular vaccination and seeking veterinary advice for skin or other health issues are probably sensible steps. This will at least allow a regular veterinary health check to pick up on any skin changes quickly. It is always best to have a quick vet check-up if you find any lumps or bumps on your cat to ensure that they are not bothering him and also to find out whether there is cause for concern warranting their prompt treatment or removal, or whether they can be safely left and monitored. My son is having problems with his cat Landu – who is the most contrary cat you will ever meet! My son has just bought a new duck down duvet, Landu walked into the room started to stalk the duvet hissed at it and then walked out of the room and won’t go back. Any suggestions – or does he have to get another duvet? Georgina Peacock via email We’re sorry to hear that Landu has taken a dislike to your son’s new duvet! When any change in behaviour is noted, we always suggest a visit to the vet to ensure that there is nothing medical behind the behaviour being seen. Has your son noticed anything else that is different with Landu? It would be worth noting whether he/she is eating and drinking normally, toileting normally and behaving normally in every other way? Have there been any other changes in the household? Mention anything noted to the vet, even if you think it may not be relevant. If the vet gives the all clear, and Landu is behaving normally in every other way, it may be the scent of the new duvet that is the problem. Cats rely on scent to let them know what is safe and what isn’t. A change of scenery and different, unfamiliar smells can be stressful. It may help to provide Landu with a consistent predictable daily routine, regular play sessions and ensuring that he/she has access to all the essential resources within the house especially somewhere safe that he/she can retreat to and hide. Landu shouldn’t be forced to enter the bedroom or presented with the duvet, but should be allowed to enter of his/her own accord. You may find that he/she is more inclined to enter once the duvet smells more familiar. Feliway is a synthetic pheromone diffuser that reproduces certain reassuring properties of cat facial pheromones, which convey a message of well-being and a feeling of security. It mimics the scent left behind when a cat rubs its face against furniture or its owner’s legs. These act as a marker to the cat that all is well and it feels safe in that area. Feliway can help to reduce stress, particularly in times of change and your son may wish to install some diffusers throughout the house, particularly near to the bedroom. We hope this information helps a little and Landu is back to his/her normal self very soon. If the problem continues and the vet has ruled out medical problems, you may wish to consider referral to a suitably qualified behaviourist.
The experts Maggie Roberts BVM&S MRCVS After qualifying at Edinburgh University in 1986, Maggie went on to work primarily in private practice. Maggie first worked for CP as Veterinary Officer from 1997-99; her interest in feline medicine brought her back to the charity as Director of Veterinary Services in 2006. She has three cats, Trevor, Frankie and Ronnie. Beth Skillings BVSc MRCVS Beth qualified at the University of Liverpool in 1998 and went on to work in general veterinary practice until 2005 when she joined CP as Head of Veterinary Services. Beth moved into a new role as Clinical Veterinary Officer in November 2006. Beth has a CP cat, Humphrey. Lisa Morrow BMLSc, DVM, MSc (Vet Epi) MRCVS Lisa graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph, Canada in 2000. Lisa first worked with CP as an Adoption Centre Vet at Derby Adoption Centre and was CP Head of Veterinary Services from 2003-2005. Lisa recently rejoined CP as Field Veterinary Officer in the northern region of the UK. She has two black cats, Kiwi and Mango. Karen Hiestand BVSc MRCVS Karen graduated from Massey University in New Zealand in 2001 and spent two years in mixed practise in her home country. Since then, she has interspersed locumming around the UK with volunteer veterinary work. Karen is the Field Veterinary Officer for the southern region of the UK. She has one cat called Dexter. Our veterinary surgeons have provided the advice on these pages, but for specific cases and health concerns it is important that you consult your own vet who will be able to look at your cat’s history and do a clinical examination.
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A record of the term has been found dating back to 1881 in Ballou’s monthly magazine, an American paper. Here, the actual words written were, “Has the cat got your tongue, as the children say?” It has been argued that the phrase dates back further than this, though perhaps in conversation rather than in print.
The cat’s pyjamas This is a delightful expression, which conjures up all sorts of images of cats in a multitude of different nightwear. Its origin is recent, thought to have been first used in the 1920s to describe something that’s wonderful. It is very similar in meaning to other well-known phrases which originated around the same time such as, “the bee’s knees”, “the duck’s quack” and “the tiger’s spots.”
A cat in gloves catches no mice Again, this expression instantly paints a picture of a cat, perhaps in thick sheepskin mittens, scrambling unsuccessfully after a mouse. The accepted meaning is that if you’re too polite then you don’t always get what you want. The link between cats and gloves, which has been put forward, is that a cat who is superior and parades around wearing gloves will not be able to catch any mice and so will actually accomplish nothing. It has been suggested that this is a very old proverb, dating back to the French proverb, “Chat engaunte ne surrizera ja bien” (a gloved cat will never mouse well).
Quirky quotes Here are a few witty quotes uttered by famous people and guaranteed to raise a smile. Faith Resnick, a writer and cat lover, said: “People who hate cats will come back as mice.” “Dogs come when they’re called, cats take a message and come back to you later,” Mary Bly, better known as romance author Eloise James, said, summing up cats perfectly. American writer, Joseph Wood Krutch argued: “Cats are rather delicate creatures and they are subject to a good many ailments but I have never heard of one who suffered from insomnia.” “It is a very inconvenient habit of kittens that whatever you say to them, they always purr,” said author Lewis Carroll. Garrison Keillor, an American writer, saw cats as follows: “Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a purpose.” Finally, in the words of the famous author, Mark Twain: “If man could be crossed with the cat, it would improve man but deteriorate the cat.” These are just a few of the many proverbs and saying cats have found themselves the subject of. Knowing what a major part cats play in modern life, there are bound to be many more.
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Blind faith Petra Coghlingets a glimpse into the joy that blind cats can bring
aring for a blind cat can be a particularly rewarding and mutually beneficial experience. Many owners find a disability creates a special relationship built on trust and results in a stronger bond between human and cat. Blindness does not have to mean a cat has a reduced quality of life: cats are adaptable and can still lead happy, fulfilling lives despite visual impairment. They learn to cope by memorising their territory and by honing their other senses of smell, hearing and touch. The latter sense is particularly well-developed in cats as their whiskers are sensitive enough to sense tiny movements in the air. Staff at our branches and adoption centres are used to dealing with blind cats and kittens. Louise Bradbury from Exeter Axhayes Adoption Centre says: “It’s often the case that people don’t notice their cats losing their sight as they adapt
so well.” Sue Dobbs from Bridgend Adoption Centre recalls a blind kitten in their care. “Sarah was a little sweetie, she adapted really well to being blind. We used to talk to her a lot and move slowly around her so we didn’t startle her but her other senses must have been very well developed because she was always up and out of the bed before we even spoke to her.”
Causes of blindness Blindness can come on suddenly or slowly and the latter is easier for cat to cope with as he can acclimatise gradually. Causes of blindness are varied and include feline herpesvirus, high blood pressure, cataracts, trauma, glaucoma, corneal ulceration, tumours, retinal degeneration, insufficient oxygen and birth defects. Tain Branch volunteer, Jean Jardine adopted a cat whose sight was affected by the latter cause. “Gemma doesn’t have a right eye as it never fully formed in the womb,” Jean explains, “The vets thought that inbreeding could have led to her deformity.”
Tell-tale signs Certain changes to your cat’s normal behaviour and appearance may indicate they have lost their eyesight. The cat may vocalise more and appear disorientated or just seem quieter and sleep more. He may start to move differently, crouching close to the ground, walking cautiously with a lowered head, or moving his head up and down to judge distance. You might notice him walking around rather than through rooms, bumping into newly-moved objects and jumping less frequently or more slowly. There may also be visible changes to the eyes: they may look unusually reflective and shiny and take on a white or red appearance, and the pupils may remain large irrespective of light. Heather Watt from the Shetland Branch describes the changes she observed in her rescued Turkish Van Cookie when she lost her sight. “I initially noticed she had a problem with her vision as she seemed to misjudge height when jumping up on things and her pupils reacted very slowly and at different rates to light and stimuli. “The eye specialist said she had a Sarah of compressed optic nerve which prevents Bridgend exuding information from her eyes transmitting the ahhh factor to her brain properly. He described it as akin to seeing through frosted glass.”
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Cookie enjoying an alfresco activity
Helping the cat to adjust and cope It is crucial to get the cat checked by a vet, both initially and regularly, to see whether treatment is appropriate and to monitor changes. It is particularly important to microchip a blind cat as they are more likely to get lost than a sighted cat. You could also put a quick release collar on with a tag reading ‘I am blind’ to alert people to the condition. Initial confinement to one room and gradually increasing the space available can help the cat to get his bearings. Liz Grant from Outer Aberdeen & District Branch took in an extremely underweight stray blind cat and her vet advised her to confine him for a while in a cage so he couldn’t get disorientated and scared. Liz says: “The first three days he just slept and slept, would eat from my fingers then go back to sleep. Very quickly Beau, as we named him, started to gain weight and blossom. What a charmer! He chatted to you, purred and wanted to be fussed over.” As blind cats rely heavily on sound, they should not be placed in a noisy environment. Avoid loud noises such as shouting and parties, and move the cat to a quiet room if vacuuming. It is also important to be mindful of potential dangers such as toilet seats which are left up, fireplaces, windows, doors and balconies.
people leave shopping bags in the way as she crashes into them unexpectedly. “It is a privilege to have Willow with us; she brightens every day and is a very trusting and loving cat.” A litter tray should be provided inside, even if the cat can go outside, so he has a safe place to toilet. The smell also provides a useful point of reference for the cat; if he gets disorientated it can be helpful to place him next to the tray so he can work out his location from the familiar smell. Naturally, it should be kept clean so as not to discourage use.
Stability spells security As the owner of a blind cat, Mandy Risino notes how important it is to avoid moving furniture around and to keep food, water, litter trays and scratching posts in the same place so the cat knows where to find essential resources. Mandy adopted Willow from Downham Market Adoption Centre a few years ago. Willow is blind from a deteriorative genetic disease and can only see very bright light. “Initially Willow was very focused in orienting herself in her new surroundings. But once she had the house ‘mapped’ on her internal sat nav she became a very chilled cat, very happy to climb onto – and make hair-raising leaps off – furniture and beds. “She knows exactly where lunch will be served and where the litter trays are and doesn’t like it at all if these things alter – especially if this leaves her standing in her water The stately bowl in deep surprise! She knows all the footpaths Willow through the house and gets fed up if forgetful
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Photo: Keng-Hay Wong photography
FEATURE Environmental enrichment
Perfect indoor pets
Mental and physical stimulation is beneficial to the cat’s well-being. Inside the house, ramps or low stools could be provided to enable a cat to access a favourite place like a sofa or bed, and a cat activity centre could be available to climb. Cat nip is also a great favourite with many cats. Mandy’s cat Willow especially likes to play with jingly toys, and sticks run along the floor so she can hear where they are and judge when and where to pounce. It can also be enjoyable for cats to go outside in a safe, enclosed garden without any hazards such as open water. Cynthia Worman from the Northampton Branch has two stunning young rescue cats, Daisy and Poppy, who lost their sight due to progressive retinal atrophy. Cynthia describes how much the two love the great outdoors: “We took them out in harnesses in the garden – it was such a joy to watch their little faces taking in all the noises and movements. Then we bought them collars with bells on so we could hear them. They only go in the garden when we are at home and they are checked on regularly. The garden is cat proof so they don’t get out. They jump, climb, run around and play just like sighted cats.”
As visually-impaired felines need to have an indoor-only home or access to a completely secure garden, they can make perfect pets for people who don’t have access to outside space. Starling and Kingfisher are a pair of gorgeous kittens that came to the National Cat Adoption Centre from a multicat household in which cat flu resulted in irreparable damage to their eyes. Kingfisher lost the sight in one eye, while Starling can now only make out shadows. Despite their disabilities, they are extremely affectionate and just as lively and playful as fully sighted kittens. As Deputy Manager Tania Marsh says: “Blind kittens would be ideal for people looking for younger indoor-only pets without the likelihood of ongoing vet costs”. Despite the reduction or total loss of one of their main senses, visually impaired cats are incredibly resilient and able to live happy, fulfilling lives. So whether you’re already learning to cope with your cat losing his sight, or perhaps debating about whether to adopt one, these cats can bring just as much joy as sighted felines and are likely to develop a particularly strong bond with a considerate owner which can be hugely satisfying and rewarding.
Poppy (left) and Daisy enjoying the garden
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Photo: Martin Dewhurst photography
Kingfisher and Starling waiting to find their forever home
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Get charity shop
smart ebecca Evansasks CP’s charity shop managers for R their top tips for success
orget the stereotyped notion of charity shops as fusty, dusty places selling only cheap chintz and tacky outfits. Many have upped their game with improved layouts and specialist displays and Cats Protection’s outlets are no exception. Walk into any charity shop today and you’ll still find the cutesy ornaments and novelty knits if that’s what you’re looking for – one man’s trash is another’s treasure, after all. But you’re just as likely to find designer dresses, vintage china and covetable hardbacks displayed in customer-friendly fashion. “I like to describe our shop as a Cats Protection boutique,” says Claudine Danby, Manager of CP’s shop in Stourbridge, West Midlands. “It’s laid out like a high-street store. It isn’t a jumble or car boot sale. There are specific sections – menswear, womenswear, children’s clothes, books, CDs. Everything is fresh, clean and bright. A lot of our customers comment on how nice the shop smells.” In these cash-strapped times, it’s no surprise that savvy shoppers of all types are turning to charity shop bargains. But thrift isn’t the only driving factor – another draw is the surprise element, the potential for unearthing a hidden gem. So brides-to-be scour the shelves for reception-friendly retro tea sets, keen crafters rummage for raw materials and enthusiasts hunt for treasures linked to their particular passion, from action films to vintage clothes. Why not follow their lead and get charity shop smart? Cats Protection has 66 shops across the UK, so you can buy second-hand and help cats at the same time. We asked some of CP’s charity shop managers to share their insider knowledge with The Cat.
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Befriend the shop’s team Charity outlets can act as a community hub. Assistants often have good local knowledge and are the first to hear local news – and gossip! Aside from friendship and knowledge, the team may give you a little extra help next time you’re looking for something specific. “Getting to know the staff is very important,” says Carol Battrick, Manager of CP’s shop in Chichester, West Sussex. “We know our regular customers very well and will put things aside for them.” Shona Minty, Manager of CP’s shop in Macduff, Aberdeenshire, also says you’ll benefit from making friends at the store. Her team regularly puts appropriate items aside for regulars, such as the customer who likes frogs and the lady who buys towels. They’ve also, on occasion, helped shoppers with tasks they were finding difficult, like filling in official forms!
Take a close look at the layout Each charity shop is arranged in a different way, so it’s worth taking a few moments to familiarise yourself with the layout. Have a look at how the clothes are laid out. Are they organised by garment type, colour or size? Are there special sections for accessories or entertainment? Does the shop have a sale rail or bargain basket? And does it have a speciality? CP’s Chichester shop (pictured below) has made a feature of its books, fitting bookshelves several metres wide. A five-minute survey will enable you to better focus your search.
Your local charity outlet may have a speciality. CP’s Chichester shop has made a feature of its book display
Find out how the charity shop displays clothes – by size, colour or type
Shop frequently The CP shop managers interviewed by T he Catagree that there’s no best day to do your charity shopping. People bring in donations continually. If you want to find the best bargains you’ll have to shop regularly – and hope for some good luck. “Most of our regulars come in at least twice a week,” says Macduff’s Shona. Her regulars have learned about the shop’s particular patterns and use the knowledge to their advantage – the shop is often busy on Wednesday and Thursday after the team move unsold stock to the 50p rail. Shops do notice a seasonal spike though – shortly after Christmas, people start donating their unwanted presents so December and January are excellent months for bargain hunting.
Keep an open mind Charity shops give you an opportunity to experiment with styles you wouldn’t usually consider. So why not be brave and try on a different colour or style than you’d pick at a high-street store? Why not try on those bright sunglasses or that dramatic hat? Put your fear aside and try something different. Macduff’s Shona says: “People will tell me they love something but don’t think it will suit them. And I have to tell them to try it on.” As you’re probably only paying a few pounds per item, it doesn’t really matter if you decide later on that it’s not quite you. You can donate it back, helping to raise yet more money for your favourite charity.
Shops may have dedicated displays, like this array of accessories
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FEATURE Don’t dismiss potential donations as unsellable Don’t assume that a charity shop won’t be able to sell your donated item, just because it’s unusual. “It can be as bizarre as anything, but as long as it’s in good condition, don’t be afraid to donate it. There’ll always be someone to buy it,” says Macduff’s Shona. “Some folk across from the shop were redoing their kitchen and they took out three superb marble worktops. “I persuaded them to donate the worktops to us, and they couldn’t believe we would sell them. I did – I got £60 for them. A woman came in and she wanted to make a piece for her mother’s grave. She was going to give another piece to her son, who was a pastry chef. After that, we’ll sell anything!” If in doubt about the saleability of an item, just ask.
Become a shop volunteer
Visit a CP charity shop and you might just find a hidden gem
Ways to donate Our shops always need donations of stock to sell so we welcome all donations with open arms. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that if you leave your donation outside the front door when the shop is closed, it may well get wet, damaged or stolen – so bringing it to us when the shop is open is much better for your donation and for us. Some of our shops can accept and sell electrical items and small items of furniture, but many can’t – try ringing ahead to check if you are unsure so you can make sure your item goes somewhere it can be made use of. If you aren’t sure if your items are saleable, don’t worry – we can be the judge of that! All our non-saleable donations are recycled via rag merchants, bringing in extra cash for our charity. Consider donating back items bought from the shop, like some of Macduff’s regulars do. “We have people coming in and buying £5 or £10 of books at a time, then donating them back to us once they’ve finished,” says Shona. If you’re only going to wear an outfit on a single occasion, or read a book once, then why not return it? The shop can sell it a second time, attracting additional income.
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All kinds of people, from teenagers to pensioners, volunteer for CP’s shops. If you love charity shopping, why not volunteer to spend some time on the other side of the till? You’ll gain some retail experience and make friends while helping your favourite good cause. “Being a good customer means you could also be a good volunteer,” says Macduff’s Shona. “People who are not afraid to go into charity shops…would make good volunteers, even if they can only spare an hour or a couple of hours a week.” See the volunteering section on CP’s website for opportunities near you: www.cats.org.uk/volunteer-do-it
Befriending shop staff can reap rewards. Here, Chichester volunteer Linda serves another happy customer
You’re all set Now you’re clued up with advice from those in the know, there’s nothing stopping you from having a snoop around your local charity shop. So why not grab a reusable bag, get down there and go bargain hunting? You never know how much money you’ll save or which treasures you’ll discover. Happy shopping!
To find your nearest CP charity shop, go to www.cats.org.uk/ find-us and enter your postcode to search or see pages 54-57.
You can help cats every time you hit the shops, thanks to the Cats Protection Credit Card from MBNA. You’ll not only receive an attractive rate, but you’ll also benefit from our free 24-hour customer service helpline, secure online card services and no liability for loss, theft or fraudulent internet use.†
Don’t delay – phone us on:
0800 028 2440 quoting
0% for up to 12 months* from the date your
account is opened, on balance transfers made in the first 90 days (3% handling fee)
0% for up to 12 months from the date your account is opened, on money transfers into your current account in the first 90 days (4% handling fee) 0% on card purchases for 3 months from the date your account is opened. Representative example 16.9% p.a. (variable) on card purchases. This is equivalent to 16.9% APR representative (variable) based on a credit limit of £1200.
† If your card is lost or stolen, you’ll incur no liability for fraudulent use of your card provided you notify us as soon as you realise your card is missing or you notice any unusual transactions on your account. Promotional rates will no longer apply from the beginning of any statement period during which you have breached your terms and conditions, for example if you haven’t paid on time or have gone over your credit limit. You cannot transfer balances between MBNA accounts. The credit card is issued by MBNA Europe Bank Limited. Registered Office: Stansfield House, Chester Business Park, Chester CH4 9QQ. Registered in England number 2783251. MBNA’s consumer credit activities are licensed by the Office of Fair Trading and MBNA’s general insurance activities are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Credit is available, subject to status, only to UK residents aged 18 or over. Calls may be monitored and/or recorded for quality and training purposes and for compliance with regulations.
From shows to shopping bags, here are our top spring goodies and giveaways
Kerr’s cats go digital
Give plastic bags the push
If you love cats, then it’s likely you love Judith Kerr’s Mog books and her classic tale The Tiger Who Came to Tea. Now, Kerr’s classics are available in digital formats. The Tiger Who Came to Tea is available through Apple’s iStore as an Animated iBooks Author Edition, featuring animation, read-along audio and social media sharing features. Buy it for £3.99 through iBooks and the iTunes store. Mog the Forgetful Cat has been transformed into an app, with features including the ability to make your own video recordings, so the whole family can record their own rendition of “bother that cat!” It’s available from the App Store and via iTunes for £2.99.
Would you prefer something more eco-friendly than plastic bags to carry your shopping? Re-Uz has a range of reusable carrier bags that fit the bill – and, even better, the range includes this colourful cat design! These fun, wipe-clean carriers come in many appealing designs. They pack down into their own neat pouch so take up little room in your handbag. We’ve teamed up with Re-Uz to give away three of the cat bags. To enter, quote C at Carriers. To see more of the Re-Uz range, visit www.Re-Uz.co.uk.
Rock and wobble
Cats need to play and house cats in particular need indoor opportunities for exercise and fun. KONG’s Cat Wobbler, a reward-based treat and meal dispenser, provides a great play option. It unscrews for easy filling and cleaning and has a catnip-filled tail which entices cats and kittens to rock and roll the Wobbler to release dry food. It can be used as an alternative to a food bowl for overweight cats – but make sure they know how to use it first! We have five to give away. Just quote the phrase KONG Wobbler when you enter! See KONG’s new website – www.KONGcompany.com – for more on its product range, expert tips and training videos.
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Grow your own grass The Natural Pet Toy Company now sells cat grass and catnip seeds so why not try growing your own? Cat grass, also known as Cocksfoot grass, is a quick-growing grass that can easily be grown in a seed tray in a sunny windowsill. It will grow all year round and soon provides lush growing shoots for your cat to nibble. Cats will often chew grass in the garden and it is thought that it may help them to eliminate hairballs. Growing your own cat grass is a good way to provide this for indoor cats. The Natural Pet Toy Company also sells catnip seeds and offering four giveaways; each includes a packet of cat grass seeds and a pack of catnip seeds. The entry phrase is Seeds. Browse the range at www.naturalpet-toy.co.uk.
OUR FAVOURITE THINGS Double delight
PetSafe is giving three lucky readers the chance to win an Egg-Cersizer and a Twist ‘n Treat for their favourite cat. The Egg-Cersizer is a feeding ball designed to dispense dry food. You can adjust it to your cat’s level of play and increase the challenge over time. The Twist ‘n Treat is also certain to keep cats of all ages engaged, active and stimulated. Designed to randomly dispense dry food, it easily adjusts to your cat’s level of play. Simply fill with dry food or catnip for an irresistibly good time! To enter, use the phrase PetSafe. For more product information visit www.petsafe.net
Terrific T-shirts If you’d like to share your love of cats with the world, then Christine Mellor’s shirts are a great place to start! Her tops and hoodies, sold through www.felinedesigns.co.uk, feature quirky cat slogans and dainty diamante numbers alike. Even better, there are designs for horse fans, dog people and even rabbit and guinea pig aficionados, too! We have two T-Keep Calm design shirts (large size) to give away, just quote T-shirtwhen you enter.
Daisy’s fresh perspective Designer Esther Clarke’s Daisy The Cat creation came from a “tiny idea that a small young cat living in the modern world would maybe have some quite funny and insightful stuff to say about life in general”. Esther says: “Daisy The Cat was born, in Bristol, on the 6 June 2011. She looks at life through the eyes of an inquisitive soul who explores and tries to understand.” Daisy the Cat goods, including greetings cards, T-shirts and online e-cards, are currently sold through the Holy Mackerel, Redmolotov and Jeego websites respectively. We have three prizes to give away, to be selected at random from all entrants: one prize of a Daisy The Cat T-shirt; one of eight greetings cards and another of six sticker packs. Enter in the usual way, including the phrase D aisy the Cat.
cat’ s miaow Join the Jellicle cats One of the longest-running shows in West End and Broadway history, Cats will begin a new tour in 2013. Premiering at the Edinburgh Playhouse on 9 February 2013, the musical promises to bring feline fun to venues across the UK. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s record-breaking adaptation of TS Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats features one of his most memorable musical scores and includes the show tunes Memory, Macavity the Mystery Cat and Mr Mistoffelees. Showgoers can also expect spectacular set design, extraordinary costumes and stunning choreography as the tale of Eliot’s Jellicle cats is played out before them. We have a pair of tickets to give away to one reader for a Monday to Thursday performance. Please check the tour website (www.catsthemusical.com/ tickets/2013-ukeurope-tour/) to confirm Cats is visiting a UK venue convenient for you. Then enter in the usual way, quoting the phrase Cats Tour 2013and including the name and location of your preferred venue.
WIN For a chance to win one of our sparkling spring giveaways, just send your name and address plus the prize phrase on a postcard or sealed envelope to: The Cat magazine, National Cat Centre, Chelwood Gate, Haywards Heath, Sussex, RH17 7TT. You can also send your entries via email to: email@example.com. Don’t forget to include the giveaway phrase in the subject header so we know which competition you’re entering, and remember to include your name and address in the email body. Occasionally, we may need to pass details of competition winners to the prize suppliers for products to be posted direct. The closing date for giveaways is 12 April 2013.
The Cat Spring 2013
Speaking up for cats J acqui Cuff, Cats Protection’s Advocacy Manager, explains how she is helping CP get its messages across to new audiences
The Cat Spring 2013
BEHIND THE SCENES
s a former lawyer – and we’re talking 20 years ago – I still recall how important it was to put forward a good case for my client and persuade others to see their point of view. In many ways that’s what being Advocacy Manager for Cats Protection is all about. Cats can’t speak for themselves (even if they do usually manage to wrap us round their paws!) But we can speak for them. And as Advocacy Manager I’ve got a wealth of expertise to draw on from across the charity – from our Veterinary and Legal teams to our adoption centres and all our fantastic branches, supporters and volunteers who deal with cats every day. My role is to use that expertise and information to influence others with influence and power who may not value or respect cats as we do.
So who do we need to influence and why? Many of the problems for cats that we see on the ground relate back in some way to law, policy or enforcement – or more often the lack of it. By speaking up for cats we can maintain a dialogue with government departments, MPs, local government and companies so that, over time, things should improve for cat welfare across the UK. For example, I’m working to try and get animal welfare into the new primary curriculum for science so that the adults of the future understand about responsible pet ownership. We’ve supported the Charity Retail Association by launching an online “SOS Shops in Wales” campaign to resist cuts to charity shop rate relief. We’re also part of the Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG), seeking to get government support for minimum standards which will improve the content of online adverts selling cats and kittens. I have a contact list of over 150 MPs, MSPs in Scotland, Welsh and Northern Ireland Assembly Members who’ve all shown themselves to be sympathetic to cats, and I’ve been getting in contact with them about our work. Many were happy to support our early neutering campaign and when notified about National Black Cat Day several MPs told me about their own much-loved black cats! Local authority officers and councillors are also important allies for us, especially where there are local issues such as multi-cat households and unneutered colonies of strays and ferals. Only by being persuasive and working in partnership are we going to get councils and housing officers to help us control cat populations. Last year, I spoke to Birmingham North Branch about local advocacy to address large cat colonies and even got the opportunity to try things first hand. I helped the branch’s Welfare Officer Shaki McFarland trap a mother and three kittens, which were all rehomable! This year, I’m working with our Neutering Manager to support targeted neutering which will involve partnership campaigns in some of our major cities. As well as government there are other companies and organisations we may want to influence on something specific. With other members of the Cat Group –
a collection of professional organisations dedicated to feline welfare – we wrote to leading supermarkets about lily flower sales. Most, but not all, now label cut lily bouquets with a warning of the toxicity of lilies to cats. We are chasing up those supermarkets that don’t.
What do we want to achieve? One of my underlying aims is to make sure cats are not forgotten by decision makers. Cats can be seen by some policymakers as not needing protection – invisible, somewhat independent creatures that can almost look after themselves. This is, to some extent, true of course and that’s why we love them! My cat has been known to go on an unauthorised walkabout, returning two days later! But despite their independence, cats really do need to be protected by law. At present, there is very little in place with the major exception of the Animal Welfare Act (2006) and its Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland equivalents. CP had hoped for a range of regulations under that Act – for example measures to tackle out-ofdate laws on pet shop sales and the commercial breeding and selling of cats. Current provisions don’t reflect the current realities and certainly not the massive internet trade in cats and kittens that now exists. As we move towards the 2015 general election these are all manifesto asks I’ll be raising. You never know, cat cuddling could be the new MP photo opportunity alongside babies!
More than meetings and letters! A lot of my work is about writing letters and emails, going to meetings and networking – building up those contacts with influential organisations and individuals. But in this digital age I can often reach far more people through CP’s social media presence – we have more than 112,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter combined. Many MPs now tweet as a matter of routine and if we can persuade just a few to retweet our messages then the word will soon spread and spread – ‘let’s go viral’ as they say. And as long as our messages are evidence based and well-reasoned then the digital world can be good for cats. So, you Tweeters and Facebookers – prepare to be called on! Jacqui with Belfast East MP Naomi Long (foreground) and CP staff
The Cat Spring 2013 39
BEHIND THE SCENES All across the UK My advocacy work spans the whole of the UK – so I’ve had to be realistic and prioritise what I can achieve and where – and I’ll need your help. Often, CP will work with other animal welfare charities where an alliance approach may be more powerful. For example, CP is one of 20 charities and organisations that together form the Animal Welfare Education Alliance. The Alliance believes that teaching children about animal welfare from an early age can bring about positive change for animals and help to shape compassionate and responsible citizens of the future. We are also part of alliances on the National Curriculum, improving internet advertising of pets and on microchipping. Another consideration is timing – government has made it very clear that on some issues, there’s unlikely to be any change in the short term. For example, there is no immediate prospect of a ban on the sale of cats in pet shops – so we’re tightening up the licensing conditions instead.
Out and about I’ve been out and about around the UK a good deal as to be a good advocate you really need to get a feel for the issues on the ground. Together with CP’s Belfast Adoption Centre team, I was delighted to show Naomi Long, MP for Belfast East, around the centre. It was a pleasure to meet her and she is very supportive of our cat care work. On a recent visit to the Welsh Assembly, I found time to visit Sue Dobbs, Molly Hughes and the team at the Bridgend Adoption Centre. Sue and her team are great local campaigners and often get support from members of the Welsh Assembly. And when Iain McKenzie, MP for Inverclyde in western Scotland, contacted us it seemed an ideal opportunity to arrange for him to meet with me and Mary Millar, the Branch Co-ordinator of CP’s Inverclyde branch. Iain was keen to support the branch in raising awareness about its homing and fundraising activities. I’m hoping to meet even more of our supporters in 2013. It will be great to be able to call on you for your help as letter writers, petition signers or Tweeters. Look out for opportunities which I’ll advertise through the volunteering pages of CP’s website (www.cats.org.uk/get-involved). If you are especially interested in advocacy work and want to get in touch then do please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
CP’s Inverclyde Branch Co-ordinator Mary Millar (left) and Jacqui with Iain McKenzie, MP for Inverclyde in western Scotland
40 The Cat Spring 2013
Visiting Bridgend Adoption Centre manager Sue Dobbs and her dedicated team
Getting cats into care homes Getting more residential care homes and day centres to accept residents who want to bring in their own cat is a priority for CP and an issue I’ll be campaigning on. It’s a tragedy if a resident has to leave their cat behind, both for the cat and the owner and means yet another cat in need of rehoming. If a residential home really won’t accept residents’ cats the next best thing is for them to adopt one for the care home. Last year, I visited the Woodville Centre run by Richmond Council. It is a daycare centre for referred clients many of whom suffer from varying stages of dementia. Their two gorgeous resident cats Redwood and Oakland are loved by the staff and clients – if either cat enters the room, clients often say hello to the cat first, staff second! It was great to see the patients at Woodville so enjoying the company of the resident cats Redwood and Oakland who were clearly part of the family. John (pictured) was among many clients who especially loved the cats – they clearly love John back. The cats were of real comfort to the clients and the home agrees that cats are a real help with conditions such as anxiety and dementia. Both cats are very friendly and can often be found curled up on a chair or being pampered by a resident.
Woodville Centre client John with Jacqui and resident cat Oakland
Make him the promise of a lifetime At Cats Protection, we have been saving injured, starving and abandoned cats and kittens since 1927. Thanks to our promise never to put a healthy cat to sleep, we have changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of cats, giving them all a second chance at life. You can help us keep our special promise and care for even more cats by leaving us a gift in your will. If cats are close to your heart, make sure your kindness continues to change their lives for many years to come. Ask us for your free information booklet today.
01825 741 271
(Mon â€“ Fri, 9am â€“ 5pm) or email
email@example.com Find out more with our free information booklet Order your free copy of our booklet today. Simply complete and return this form to: Matt Vincent, Legacy Department, Cats Protection, FREEPOST SEA 7678, Haywards Heath, RH17 7BR. No stamp needed.
It really helps Cats Protection if we can keep you informed about our exciting work, campaigns, activities and fundraising. If you would prefer us to not contact you by post or telephone, please phone 08707 706827, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to us at the Freepost address: FREEPOST SEA 7678, Cats Protection, Haywards Heath, RH17 7BR. Reg Charity 203644 (England and Wales) and SC037711 (Scotland)
An invitation to the AGM O
n Saturday 20 July 2013 we will be holding our Annual General Meeting at the Hawth in Crawley, West Sussex. A popular regional arts centre, this spacious venue offers value for money, good transport links, adequate free parking as well as high quality catering and technical facilities. The Hawth is located close to the centre of the town and is approximately 30 minutes’ drive from the National Cat Centre (NCC) in Chelwood Gate. It is regularly hired by national and local organisations – including the Crawley, Reigate & District Branch of Cats Protection – as a venue for conferences, exhibitions and events. The day will provide an overview of the charity’s year through stimulating and relevant presentations as well as the opportunity to visit the NCC. There will be the opportunity to meet some of the charity’s staff and volunteers and visit the cats currently residing at the National Cat Adoption Centre. The audited annual report and accounts of Cats Protection will be placed before the members. Voting members will also have the opportunity to vote in our Council elections and on the reappointment of auditors. You can vote if you are a member, aged over 18 and have been a member for at least a year since becoming 18. Please register your interest in attending as soon as possible to avoid disappointment – this event is likely to be popular. To book your place, please complete and return the form below, phone 03000 12 12 12 or email email@example.com. Once booked, we will send you further information including details of local accommodation, and will check with you regarding special dietary and disability access requirements.
The Cat Spring 2013
Council – would you like to be involved? The Council of Cats Protection meets at least three times a year usually at the National Cat Centre in Sussex and advises the Trustees on a wide range of issues affecting the charity.
Please reserve my place at the AGM on Saturday 20 July 2013.
Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms/Title: If you are interested in applying to be a candidate for election to any vacancies arising on Council at this year’s AGM, please write to Janet Revell at National Cat Centre, Chelwood Gate, Haywards Heath, RH17 7TT or email firstname.lastname@example.org Please provide a brief CV with your contact details. We will then send you an application form. Potential candidates for Council need to have been a member of Cats Protection for at least three years prior to the AGM on the 20 July 2013. The deadline for completed applications is the 10 June 2013. Further details of the procedure and an application form are available from Janet Revell on 01825 741 211 or email email@example.com. When completed, this will require the signature of three proposers who can be either your local branch committee members or Trustees.
First name: Surname: Address:
Postcode: Membership no. (if applicable):
Please return this form to: Emma Osborne, Cats Protection, National Cat Centre, Chelwood Gate, Haywards Heath, Sussex, RH17 7TT by Friday 31 May 2013. Alternatively, email your details to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone our Helpline on 03000 12 12 12 (calls charged at national rates).
The Cat Spring 2013
Stories and snippets Caring for a special colony The prison ferals of the Isle of Sheppey, Kent have a remarkable ancestry. The 15-strong colony can be traced back to two cats deployed by the RAF during the Second World War to catch vermin at an airbase. While the airbase was abandoned long ago, a branch of Cats Protection is making sure that the descendants of the RAF cats do not suffer a similar fate. For almost 30 years, CP’s Swale Branch has fed the cat colony in all weathers and throughout the year – even on Christmas Day! It all started 30 years ago with an extraordinary volunteer, Jean Pickard. Jean worked at HMP Standford Hill, an open prison built on the old airbase site, and started feeding the cats, keeping a detailed record of the felines in the group. At the same time, CP started to bring the 30-strong colony under control through trapping, neutering and returning, helping to ensure a healthier future for the group. When Jean died in 2011 after decades of devoted work, the branch appealed for help and now has a dedicated band of volunteers to feed the ferals. Each morning, they are waved through the prison grounds with their stash of donated food and make their way to the four areas of the prison grounds where the cats congregate. The cats are free to come into and leave the prison grounds but are creatures of habit and tend to group around specific territories. “As we drive in the cats see the car and they come running towards us,” says volunteer Sarah Inns, who has been feeding the ferals for five years. “They’ve even come running when I’ve driven up in a different car, and at different times. I’m not sure how they know it’s me!” Although the cats are wild creatures, over time they have learned to trust the volunteers and have become quite friendly. “When I crouch to put the food down, they run over and start eating it straight off the plate,” says Sarah. “There are at least three cats I can stroke. “One of the cats is a huge tabby called Mummy’s Boy. We’ve had some funny looks from the prisoners and prison officers when we call his name!” The prison staff are amazed that Sarah and her fellow CP volunteers can get anywhere near the cats – if the guards approach the ferals they always run away! Sarah believes that because CP has cared for the cat colony, that has encouraged prison staff to take an interest in them, too. Prison officers told the volunteers when they noticed a cat looking ill so it could be taken for veterinary treatment. And they alert the team to any feline newcomers. While CP Swale’s team find their feral work immensely satisfying,
they have also worked to reduce the numbers through neutering. The hope is that over generations the ageing colony is reduced to just two or three cats and prison staff can take on responsibility for feeding them. But until then, this dedicated bunch of volunteers will carry on driving up to the windswept area whatever the weather to feed their feral friends. The prison ferals of Sheppey are lucky cats indeed.
Sudoku Fill in the empty cells so that the digits 1 through to 9 appear: • only once in each row • only once in each column • only once in each 3x3 box (shown by the thicker lines)
Answers appear on page 63.
The Cat Spring 2013
If you cat is using your neighbour’s garden to do his ‘business’, you can try encouraging him to toilet in your garden rather than your neighbour’s by providing him with his own toilet area, in a secluded, sheltered area. Cats like somewhere soft to bury their faeces and will be drawn to newly-dug soil, sand or gravel, in a private place, to the edge of the area your cat perceives to be his core area. Make sure it’s dug over regularly to remain hygienic and allow the soiled material to decompose naturally. Make sure your cat has some form of identification for example, a collar with a quick release or a microchip, in case he cannot find his way back home.
The bad Unfortunately, it can be the case that there is a combination of factors influencing your cat’s behaviour. We now come to the good-intentioned neighbour that is often unaware that they may be having a bad effect upon your cat. Feeding a cat that is not your own is not advisable for several reasons. The cat may be on a special, vet recommended, diet or medication, he may become unhealthy or overweight, or he may become confused as to where is home and consequently all of his resources can be found. In addition, your own cat is very likely to be made anxious by the presence of another cat and feel that their territory has been invaded. Try to discourage other cats from coming into, or looking down on your garden – sheds and walls are favoured areas – as this can be very threatening for anxious cats. Try talking with your neighbour to explain your concerns, and particularly any concerns that you may have over your cat’s diet, and see whether they are prepared to interact with him differently, or not offer him food. If they understand the importance of not letting him in and not feeding him they may be more inclined to stop. If your cat is on a specific diet or medication explain the importance of this to your neighbours. As long as your neighbour cooperates, your cat should soon learn that he has an excellent home and good neighbours!
If a neighbour continue to feed your cat and worseor starts letting your cat indoors and keeping them there then there is very little to stop your cat from perceiving that it is in fact his home. Your cat may be powerless to resist your neighbour’s enticements however, you are not. Cats are regarded in law as the ‘property’ of their owner and they remain the property of the owner even if the cat strays (long or short distances) or is fed elsewhere. Someone who refuses to hand back another person’s cat, when asked to do so, could potentially be guilty of an offence under the Theft Act (1968).
The ugly Although we at Cats Protection are passionate about the care and welfare of cats, we recognise that not everyone is a fan of our feline friends. If your neighbour has made it clear that they do not want cats entering their garden then you may like to talk to them about the many ways they can humanely deter a cat. Cats Protection recommends a number of humane deterrents, which are far more effective than many of the products on the market. A short jet of cold water for example, will often do the trick. Pacing the garden armed with the latest turbo, multi-jet water pistol while very amusing, is more likely to put the cat off you rather than your garden. Motion-activated animal deterrents such as Scarecrows are also an option to consider as they will fire the water for you – using heat and movement sensors. There are other humane cat deterrents available that you can discuss with your neighbour, some are better than others but with any of these persistence is the key otherwise the cat will simply come back as soon as the deterrent has been removed. We hope this article will help both you and your cat to live in harmony with your neighbours but if all else fails and you find that your cat continues to roam in a manner that is detrimental to his health and welfare, then invest in very tall, close-boarded and sturdy fences or special cat-proof fencing
The Animal Welfare Act 2006 repealed the Protection of Animals Act 1911 (and other acts). Cats, including ferals, are now considered “protected animals” in England, Wales and Scotland and Northern Ireland under each jurisdiction’s animal welfare legislation. They are protected from being subjected to unnecessary suffering but their owners are also subject to the duty of care to provide for the animal’s welfare (access to food, vet care, shelter etc).
The Cat Spring 2013
A selection of tales from our branches and adoption centres...
Make a difference for Marbles
By Crawley, Reigate & District Branch
Help Heath to health By Stockport Branch Heath was first seen by one of our volunteers who had stopped at an isolated café on the moors when driving through to Blackburn. The café owner said the cat had been hanging round for a few weeks and although they were feeding him he wasn’t allowed in. The poor cat had no shelter at all from the wind and rain. There was no way Heath could have got there by himself. There were only moors and wind turbines for miles in all directions so our only conclusion was that he had been dumped. Heath was in a terrible condition as he had been attacked by a walker’s dog a few days before. He was very thin and bald in patches with sores around his ears. Despite all this he was friendly and obviously desperate for some attention. We contacted local rescue centres but unfortunately they couldn’t help him. We decided he could not stay out on open moors, with winter coming and no access to any shelter, so we went back to pick him up. Heath is now safe and recuperating. We are hoping that after his ordeal he will recover and learn to trust again. Any donations towards Heath’s care and rehabilitation would be very welcome. Donations can be sent to Ms J. Goodman, 3 Hexworth Walk, Bramhall, Stockport, SK7 3DF. Please make cheques payable to Stockport Cats Protection.
Marbles came into our care with five tiny kittens, which were only a few days old. Marbles had a bulging right eye, which was immediately examined by the vet. The examination revealed glaucoma and it was recommended that the eye be removed; however it was advisable to wait until her kittens were weaned. In the meantime Marbles coped extremely well. When the time came it was a delicate operation but she recovered beautifully. She probably didn’t have any sight in this eye anyway so adjusting has been fairly easy for her. At the time of writing Marbles is still waiting for a home, along with two of her kittens. We’d appreciate any donations to help towards Marbles’ operations and cats in need like her. You can make online donations via the ‘Donate Bucket’ www.cats.org.uk/crawleyreigate or send a cheque to Crawley, Reigate & District Cats Protection c/o 62 Hitchings Way, Reigate, RH2 8ER. Cheques should be payable to Crawley, Reigate & District Cats Protection. Many thanks for your continued support.
Deadlines All branches are encouraged to send in their success stories and diary dates for every issue. The deadlines for the next three issues are: • 15 March – Summer 2013 • 14 June – Autumn 2013 • 13 September – Winter 2013 Individual stories should be max 250 words and may be edited for clarity and length. Please send CP in Focus and Diary entries as separate documents. Images should be attached to the email separately, not embedded into a document; minimum requirements for print publication are 300dpi (high resolution) in jpg or tif format. Original digital camera photographs are usually better than those taken on a mobile phone. Please email your submissions to email@example.com or post your entries to: CP in Focus, The Cat magazine, Cats Protection, National Cat Centre, Chelwood Gate, Haywards Heath, Sussex, RH17 7TT. Thank you.
48 The Cat Spring 2013
Ways we help: Rehoming • Neutering • Raising awareness
CP IN FOCUS
Support Scottish kittens By North Ayrshire Branch Six kittens arrived with us in September aged about three weeks old. They were soaked through, starving and had to be syringe fed. The story we heard was that their mum was a stray and was killed in a road accident. We didn’t know about her or the kittens until the call came in, so we had to make an emergency admission and set up intensive foster care for them. It was really sad. With loads of care and attention, our team pulled them through, so that they were rehomed as healthy and active kittens. Thank goodness that we were here to be able to save them. To help us continue our work, any donations are gratefully accepted. Please send a cheque to North Ayrshire Cats Protection, 1 Priesthill View, Stevenston KA20 4AT (cheques payable to North Ayrshire Cats Protection) or donate via our website by debit or credit card at www.northayrshire.cats. org.uk Many thanks.
Help Elvis get his groove back By Northampton Branch Elvis is a ginger boy with a severely fractured pelvis from a road accident. He faces weeks of veterinary care as he is in a lot of pain, needs the strongest painkillers possible and around-theclock nursing. Northampton Cats Protection got the call to rescue Elvis in his hour of need and we really hope that he will eventually make a full recovery. We would be really grateful for your help, so any donation, however large or small, will be gratefully received. Please send any donations to: Cats Protection, PO Box 5522, Northampton, NN4 8ZP. Cheques should be made payable to ‘Cats Protection Northampton Branch’ or alternatively, you can donate online at www.cats.org.uk/northampton
Found in a field By Swindon Branch Alone in a rain-soaked field in the Gloucestershire countryside is not a good beginning for a six-week-old kitten. Being found by a kind young lady and taken home for some TLC was definitely a move in the right direction. The family did all the right things: they cleaned his eye, which was stuck shut and, as he was filthy, they washed the mud and debris off his matted fur. As the family had no plans to own a cat but wanting to do their best for this foundling, they called us and we agreed to take it on. We took him straight to one of our regular veterinary practices and they confirmed he was about six weeks old and quite healthy apart from the lice, ear mites, fleas and worms, not to mention the upset tummy! After living the feral life this was not surprising. Unfortunately he also had cat flu which has left him with a permanently damaged eye. He was kept at the vet for a week and then we collected him. Initially we called him Scrag Bag but as he had the most endearingly large ears we then thought of ET. However, Kirsty from the vets had just become an auntie to Eliot (a girl) and we eventually decided he should be Elliott. We hope that Kirsty’s sister won’t mind a kitten being named after her daughter! Elliott is in good hands and is making great progress; he has almost grown into his ears and his stomach isn’t protruding as much. His damaged eye is looking better and his lovely nature is shining through. He is very bouncy and his favourite trick is to hide under the kitchen settle and pounce on anything that passes! Without doubt, Elliott is a little survivor with a great character. When he is well enough we will be looking for a good home for him where he can continue to thrive and bring a lot of fun to his new family.
Find your local Cats Protection: 03000 12 12 12 • www.cats.org.uk
The Cat Spring 2013 49
from your local Cats Protection...
Looking for a home Bracknell & Wokingham Districts
Framlingham & Saxmundham
Female, male, three years old
Female, 12 years old
Tigger and Splodge
Clackmannanshire & Stirling
Tabby Millie came to us when her owner no longer wanted her. She is a contented, affectionate cat who loves company and would make a wonderful companion. Could you give her the second chance in life she so richly deserves?
☎☎ 01728 723 499
Great Amwell & District Branch
Female, four years old
Males, 20 months old Skip and Tinker are only 18 months old but have already had two homes, through no fault of their own. Their first owner moved, then someone was allergic to them in their next home. They now need a permanent and loving home. They would be fine to live in a family household, with outdoor access. Like all of the cats in the branch’s care, they have been neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and fully vet checked.
☎☎ 08453 714 218
Siblings Tigger and Splodge are very shy, as they were born outside and didn’t interact with people until they were older kittens. Splodge is the more outgoing of the pair. It will take him time to trust someone new, but once he does he is very affectionate. They will always be nervous, but should bond with someone who has time to invest in them. Tigger and Splodge must be homed together, in a quiet home with no children or other pets.
☎☎ 08453 714 212
☎☎ 01259 720 555
Join the team
Black-and-white Twiggie has been in the branch’s care for quite a while now. She arrived with a tail injury so had to have part of it amputated. Her new home would have no children and no other pets – and an understanding owner. Twiggie is neutered, fully vaccinated and microchipped.
☎☎ 08453 712 736
50 The Cat Spring 2013
Male, five years old Oliver is a large, handsome cat who has twice been in the branch’s care. He first came to the branch at the start of 2012 because his owner died. He was rehomed for five months, but didn’t get on with his new owners’ other cats. Ideally, Oliver would be rehomed with an experienced cat owner who has a garden and preferably not young children.
racknell & Wokingham Districts Branchneeds home B visitors to cover the Bracknell and Crowthorne areas. Home visitors visit a potential new home for a cat to check its suitability and discuss any requirements the potential new adopter might have, ensuring the new home will be safe and clean. Full training will be provided. If you are interested in becoming a home visitor, then please phone the branch helpline on 08453 714 212, and they will put you in touch with someone who can provide you with all the information that you need to make a difference! erby & District Branchhas many vacancies for volunteers. D It needs fieldworkers/vet runners. The branch is also seeking Cat-Line operators. This job would be an ideal opportunity for someone who is at home for most of the day and wants to help cats. The branch also needs an Assistant to the Vet Liaison Officer – this is mostly an administrative post and
Ways we help: Rehoming • Neutering • Raising awareness
CP IN FOCUS
can be done from home. Lastly, volunteers are needed at our charity shops in Derby and Wirksworth. Full training and support will be given to the successful applicants for all of the above vacancies. Anyone who is interested should contact the Cat Line on 01332 206 956 (voicemail) or firstname.lastname@example.org and leave their details. An application form and job description will then be sent to them in the first instance. kehampton & District Branchis seeking volunteers to O help with activities like home checking and taking cats from one place to another. It would also like to talk to people interested in fostering cats and those interested in working out in the field for feral cats. The branch would welcome help at events, such as running a stall or making tea. It would also like assistance with taking our tent to events, helping to put up the tent, running a stall or making tea. Contact email@example.com tockport Branchis looking for reliable volunteers who S are interested in working directly with animals to help at its rehoming facility near Woodford/Bramhall. Tasks include helping to care for the cats – for example, cleaning pens and litter trays. The branch is also looking for more volunteers to help with transporting cats to local vets for neutering. If you are interested in either of these roles please phone 07900 415 674 or email firstname.lastname@example.org eignbridge & Totnes Branchseeks fundraising volunteers T to help the branch by holding coffee mornings or lending a hand at events. The branch covers a very wide area and would particularly like to establish a fundraising group in the Kingsbridge/Salcombe area of the South Hams. Please phone Barbara on 08453 712 727. ruro & District Branchis looking to recruit a rehoming T volunteer to work in collaboration with its Cat Welfare Officer. You would be involved in helping match cats in the branch’s care with their forever homes. The branch currently has a small handful of volunteers who are able to make home visits to prospective owners but is hoping to expand its fostering capability. A rehoming volunteer would be an invaluable asset to the branch. You would need to be IT literate and have a passion for cat welfare. As a rehoming team leader, you will guide and support your team of homevisiting volunteers, helping them find new homes for the cats in the branch’s care and giving cats and kittens a second chance of a happy and healthy life. See the website at www.trurodistrict.cats.org.uk to find out more about them. Email the branch at email@example.com or phone their helpline on 08452 601 386. orthing & District Branchis seeking a volunteer Welfare W Officer to oversee a large number of Fosterers. Fostering experience is desirable and we would prefer volunteers for this role not to work full time. Please contact Branch Co-ordinator Rod Austin for more information on 01903 765 580.
Thank you… arnsley Branchwould like to thank readers who sent them B donations for Ella, who was featured in the winter issue. The branch has received £125 so far, so thank you on Ella’s behalf for your generosity. A big thank you from S tockport Branchto everyone who supported Katie (Spring 2012 issue). She has made good progress and her health is improving.
A sad farewell… Mary Rose and Theresa Skillings It is with deep sadness that Maidenhead, Slough & District Branch announces the deaths of two of its most loyal and dedicated members over the Christmas period. ary Rose (94)was a founder member of the branch when M it was formed to continue the charity’s work in the area following the relocation of the headquarters from Slough to Horsham. The very first branch Treasurer, she served on the committee for many years, offering her home as a venue for committee meetings in addition to hosting many fundraising activities. Her coffee mornings and annual summer garden parties were both great fun and great money makers. Always a cat lover, Mary adopted many cats over the years; they just seemed to know that they would find a safe haven in her garden. Latterly, she continued to offer advice and support to the branch even when well into her nineties, a welcome presence at the branch’s regular jumble sales, street collections and other fundraising activities. She will be greatly missed. heresa Skillings (44)will be a great loss to all who knew T her. A dedicated cat lover (even although she was allergic to them!) she ran the local cattery where the branch had a number of allocated pens at a very special charity rate negotiated on our behalf by Theresa. Her work with the branch was a key factor in enabling us to rescue so many cats, finding room for cats awaiting new homes at the cattery so that we could take in new arrivals. No cat was too old, too difficult or too disabled for Theresa. If the cattery couldn’t take them she would find room in her own home, allowing old and unhomeable cats to live out their days in peace. A fun-loving and hugely-popular character, she remained positive and hopeful for the future throughout her illness. No one who knew her will forget her.
More voluntary opportunities
For more volunteering roles across the UK, from fundraising to fostering, please visit www.cats.org.uk/ volunteer-do-it and enter your postcode to search.
Find your local Cats Protection: 03000 12 12 12 • www.cats.org.uk
The Cat Spring 2013
Diary of events ENGLAND BERKSHIRE Bracknell & Wokingham Districts Meetings To be held at 8pm on the following Mondays: 25 February, 25 March, 29 April and 24 June. Venue is Our Lady of Peace (OLOP) Church Hall, Wokingham Road, Earley (Earley Cross Roads), RG6 7DA. Fairs 16 March: Spring Fair, 1pm to 4pm, to be held at Carnation Hall, Chavey Down Road, Winkfield Row, Bracknell, RG42 7PA. 13 July: Summer Fair, 1pm to 4pm, to be held at Carnation Hall, details as above.
Newbury & District Spring open day 11 May: from 1pm to 4pm (cattery closes at 3.30pm). Come and visit the cats, browse our stalls and maybe win a fabulous prize in the raffle or tombola. Admission 50p. Collection 23 May: Tesco, London Road, Newbury, RG14 2BP. From 9am to 6pm. Jumble sale 1 June: Catholic Hall, Bath Road, Thatcham. From 11.30am to 1pm, entrance 30p. Jumble accepted at the hall from 9am to 10.30am, or before the day at Newbury Adoption Centre.
Reading & District Jumble sale 2 March: All Saints Parish Hall, Downshire Square, Reading RG1 6NH. From 1pm to 3pm. Book stalls The branch also regularly holds a book stall at Reading
Find out what’s going on near you...
Farmers’ Markets on the first or third Saturday of the month and at Purley Farmers’ Markets each second Saturday. Further details appear shortly before each of these events on the branch website www. readinganddistrictcats.org
DEVON East Devon Events 16 March: Morning coffee and hot cross buns. All Saints Church Hall, Sidmouth, from 10am to midday. 20 April: Collection day at Tesco, Axminster all day. Volunteers needed for twohour shifts. 19 May: Stall at Axhayes Open Day (on Exeter to Sidmouth road). From midday to 4pm. 25 May: Stall on the Green at Lions Gala Fete, Budleigh Salterton, from 2pm to 4pm. 29 May: Coffee and cake at the public hall, Budleigh Salterton, from 10am to midday. 9 June: Stand at Colyton Tramway Station for Seaton Tram’s Classic Car Show, 10am to 5pm. Take a tram ride and come and see us.
Cat homing shows 9 March: Methodist Hall, Eastwood Rd, Rayleigh SS6 7ED, from 10.30am to 1pm. 20 April: WRVS Hall Richmond Avenue, Benfleet SS7 5HE, from 10.30am to 1pm. 11 May: Methodist Hall, Chapel Lane, Hadleigh SS7 2PQ, from 10.30am to 1pm. 8 June: Methodist Hall, Eastwood Rd, Rayleigh SS6 7ED, from 10.30am to 1pm.
GREATER MANCHESTER Stockport Fairs 9 March: United Reformed Hall, Commercial Road, Hazel Grove. 13 April: Trinity Methodist Church, Trinity Gardens, Bramhall Lane, Bramhall/ Davenport. 11 May: Civic Hall, Hyde Road, Woodley. Shows May: Manchester Cat Show, GH Carnell Leisure Centre, Kingsway Park, Urmston. Date tbc.
Events 23 February: AGM at Methodist Church Hall, Bovey Tracey, 2pm to 4pm. Guest speaker and afternoon tea to follow. 23 March: Spring Fair, Methodist Church Hall, Bovey Tracey. 10am to 12 noon. 11 May: Coffee morning and stalls, The Community Club, Moretonhampstead. From 10am to 12 noon. Please look at our website for details of more events to be held in 2013: www.teignbridge.cats.org.uk
Great Amwell & District
7–10 March: Crufts, Birmingham NEC 14–17 March: Spring Knit & Stitch Show, London Olympia 4–7 April: British Small Animal Veterinary Association Congress, NIA, Birmingham 5–7 April: Cake and Bake Show, Manchester 11–12 May: London Pet Show, London Earls Court Two 18–19 May: Royal Welsh Agricultural Society’s Spring Festival – Gardening & Smallholders, Builth Wells, Wales
The Cat Spring 2013
Rayleigh, Castle Point & District
Teignbridge & Totnes
Cats Protection presence at national shows
Events 2 March: Quiz night, Barclay Hall, Paul’s Lane, Hoddesdon, EN11 8TR, 6.45pm for 7pm. 23 March: Easter craft fair and rehoming day, Wareside Village Hall, Wareside, SG12 7RJ, 10am to 2pm.
LEICESTERSHIRE Leicester & District Events 11 May: Coffee morning, 10.30 to 12.30pm, Billesdon Baptist Chapel, Brook Lane, Billesdon, LE7 9AB.
SUSSEX Crawley, Reigate & District Homing shows 3 March: Horticultural Society Hall, Ifield Ave, Crawley, RH11 7AJ, 11am to 3pm.
24 March: Orchard Court Care Home, East Grinstead Road Lingfield, RH7 6ET, 11am to 3pm. 14 April: Barnfield Care Home, Upfield, Horley, RH6 7LA, 11am to 3pm. 12 May: Broadbridge Heath Village Centre, Wickhurst Lane, Horsham, RH12 3LY, 11am to 3pm.
Horsham Events 23 February: Catstravaganza, Roffey Millenium Hall, Crawley Road, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 4DT, 2.30pm to 4.30pm. 23 March: Easter Catstravaganza, Holy Trinity Hall, Rushams Road, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 2NT, 2.30pm to 4.30pm. 27 April: Catstravaganza, Roffey Millenium Hall, Crawley Road, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 4DT, 2.30pm to 4.30pm. 25 May: Catstravaganza, St Leonards Hall, Cambridge Road, Horsham, West Sussex, RH13 5ED, 3pm to 5pm. 8 June: Collection/Flag Day, Tesco Broadbridge Heath, from 9am to 5.30pm. Shows 12 May: Homing show with Crawley Branch, 11am to 3pm. To be held at Broadbridge Heath Village centre, Wickhurst Lane, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 3YS.
Worthing & District Events 2 March: Quiz Night at Ferring Village Hall from 7.30pm. Enter a team of up to six people. To book a table phone Val on 01903 765 580. Fairs 13 April: Spring Fayre at Rustington Church Hall, The Street, Rustington, from 10am to 12.30pm.
WALES Bridgend Adoption Centre
23 March: Eggstravaganza and Easter egg hunt at the centre – Pant Hirwaun, Brycethin, Bridgend, CF32 9UJ.
Ways we help: Rehoming • Neutering • Raising awareness
When Dexters attack John Walker acknowledges that perhaps ‘sorry’ is the hardest word, when you don’t speak Human
here are certain things that lead Dexter toward violence. Playing with him, giving him a stroke, sitting entirely still in another room watching television... It’s a fascinating line to walk when owning a cat, knowing that while one minute it’s perfectly acceptable to bury your face deep into their tummy fur and nuzzle, the next this may be deemed a capital offence. Clearly it’s better than with a dog, where crossing that line can mean losing your face. But those swipes aren’t to be ignored. Dexter’s remarkably decent, really. And that’s all the more impressive bearing in mind how wont I am to wind him up. His idiosyncrasies are all too fun to play on, his mad, irrational buttons too easy to press. An outstretched finger is always welcomed with a sniff, but an outstretched fist must always be punched. This does offer the opportunity of some epic boxing matches – please understand he does all the hitting – and he’s incredibly good at keeping his claws retracted most of the time. But for Dexter, a hand hovered two inches above his head is about the most offensive thing he can see. Such a hand must instantly be attacked, ideally with four sets of claws and two sets of teeth, if at all possible. But even here he’s pretty decent, being genuinely gentle about it, teeth scraping rather than biting and that look of paranoia in his eyes that he might be about to get in trouble. And then he crosses the line. Somewhere in his tiny walnut brain a switch flips from “Play” to “Destroy the one who puts down my food”, and he believes it’s somehow in his best interests to attack. Sure, if I’m provoking him, if I’m spotting he’s becoming unreasonably annoyed about something and so keep prodding at him, then I deserve it. But it’s those times when we’re just having a lovely cuddle and he’s pushing his head into my hand, begging me to keep scratching his ear and he’s just so loving then – DIE OWNER, DIE! Those are the times when it bugs me a little. His reaction is often far more shocked than mine. Anthropomorphisation be damned, you can read his every
Illustration: Rus Hudda
minute expression across his face. He goes from blind, crazy rage to utter, utter regret in the time it takes for his teeth to be prized from my palm. It’s moments like these that I fear the RSPCA will burst in, see his ears folded back, that little quivering head trying to retreat inside his neck and assume I beat the poor beast. Rather than dish out the extreme punishments of blowing in his face, or in his naughtiest moments, tapping a finger on his nose. It’s an instant, and somewhat brilliant, reaction. He does something wrong, and then immediately realising it was naughty adopts a look of, “OH NO PLEASE DON’T HIT ME AGAIN!” Such overacted fear of a reprisal he’s never known ensures I instantly feel guilty. Guilty? The little bugger’s just bit me for no discernable reason and I’m feeling guilty! He may well be a dimwit, but he’s a canny one. What’s more difficult, for me, is ten minutes later. While he’s never actually bitten me so I bleed, his chomps hurt! And ten minutes later, it still hurts! But ten minutes later for Dexter the big red reset button in his brain has been pressed. He’ll wander in, “Hello, daddy! Is it time for dinner yet, daddy? It’s probably time for dinner now, daddy!” and look absolutely bemused when I scowl at him, or growl that he should go away. “What, daddy? What have I ever done to you?!” I should be allowed to still be cross! I may well have blood still trickling from a scratch, or the indents of his canines still puckering the fleshy pad of my thumb. I’m not ready to forgive him yet! But it’s utterly and completely unfair of me to express that to him – by now he’s probably forgotten why he came in the room anyway, while I’m wrestling with wanting to see if there’s anything else left to neuter. So usually we both enter a sulk. I ignore him, to satisfy my own need for revenge and he gets into a huff for being ignored for no understandable reason. Fortunately it’s only ever about half an hour before the big red reset button in my brain is pressed and we’re inevitably friends again. There’s a nice big cuddle, where Dexter sniffs at a scratch across my neck and wonders, “How did that happen, daddy?” And I reply that I’ve no idea at all and suggest that it’s probably time for dinner.
The Cat Spring 2013
Wharfe Valley ☎☎ 08451 947 292 88www.wharfevalley.cats.org.uk York ☎☎ 01904 760 356 88www.yorkcats.org.uk Barnsley *95 * High Street, Wombwell, Barnsley, S73 8HS Chesterfield & District *13 * Stephenson Place, Chesterfield, S40 1XL Derby & District *31 * The Wardwick, Derby, DE1 1HA ☎☎ 01332 360 080 *Institute * Buildings, North End, Wirksworth, Derbyshire, DE4 4FG Lancaster & Morecambe *4-6 * Regent Road, Morecambe, Lancaster, LA3 1QG ☎☎ 01524 850 112 Leeds *Suite * 26, Bramley Shopping Centre, Leeds, LS13 2ET Newcastle upon Tyne *162-166 * High Street East, Wallsend, Tyne & Wear, NE28 7RP ☎☎ 0191 2627 377 Teesside *7–8 * Ramsgate, Stockton-on-Tees, Cleveland, TS18 1BS ☎☎ 07432 379 292 York *13 * Walmgate, York, YO1 9TX ☎☎ 01904 620 361
Wales Bridgend *Green * Acres, Pant Hirwaun, Bryncethin, Bridgend, Mid Glamorgan, CF32 9UJ ☎☎ 01656 724 396 Wrexham *Alma * House, Madeira Hill, Wrexham, Clwyd, LL13 7HD ☎☎ 01978 313 574 88www.wrexham.cats.org.uk Aberystwyth & District ☎☎ 01970 822 120 Carmarthenshire Fundraising 88www.cats.org.uk/carmarthenshire Colwyn & District ☎☎ 01492 660 221 88www.colwyn.cats.org.uk Gwent ☎☎ 08453 712 747 88www.gwentsouthcp.org.uk Newtown & District ☎☎ 01686 670 277 88www.newtown.cats.org.uk Swansea & District ☎☎ 08452 179 648 88www.swanseacats.co.uk Wrexham & District ☎☎ 01978 313 574 88www.wrexham.cats.org.uk
Swansea & District *85 * Brynymor Road, Swansea, SA1 4JE Wrexham & District *60 * Chester Street, Wrexham, LL13 8BA ☎☎ 01978 310 555
Scotland Arbroath & Carnoustie *15 * Kinaldie Holdings, Arbroath, DD11 5SH ☎☎ 01241 434 605 88www.arbroath.cats.org.uk Clackmannanshire & Stirling *The * Marion Hunter Cat Adoption Centre, Ochivale Terrace, Fishcross, Alloa, Clackmannanshire, FK10 3HT ☎☎ 01259 720 555 Dundee & District *102 * Foundry Lane, Dundee, DD4 6AY ☎☎ 01382 450 035 Glasgow *Cardyke * Farm, Langmuirhead Road, Auchinloch, Glasgow, G66 5LD ☎☎ 0141 779 3341 Friends of Glasgow Adoption Centre Shetland *Gott, * Shetland, ZE2 9SH ☎☎ 01595 840 517 Alness & District ☎☎ 08453 714 204 88www.alness.cats.org.uk Ardnamurchan & Mull ☎☎ 01967 431 203 88www.cats.org.uk/ardnamurchan Barra & Uist ☎☎ 07050 121 586 88www.cats.org.uk/uist Caithness ☎☎ 08453 714 217 88www.caithnesscatsprotection.org.uk Central Aberdeen ☎☎ 01224 749 568 88www.catsprotection.org.uk Central Dumfries ☎☎ 01387 710 083 88www.centraldumfries.cats.org.uk Clackmannanshire & Stirling ☎☎ 01259 720 555 88www.clackscats.org.uk Cumnock & Doon Valley ☎☎ 08453 714 219 Deeside ☎☎ 07837 342 660 88www.cats.org.uk/deeside Dundee & District ☎☎ 01382 450 035 East Neuk of Fife ☎☎ 08453 714 210 88www.eastfife.cats.org.uk Ellon & District ☎☎ 01358 721 204 88www.cats.org.uk/ellon Eskdale & District ☎☎ 01387 376 738 88www.eskdale.cats.org.uk
Fort William & District ☎☎ 01397 772 071 88www.cats.org.uk/fort-william
Stewartry & District ☎☎ 01557 339 233 88www.stewartry.cats.org.uk
Fraserburgh ☎☎ 01771 637 744 88www.cats.org.uk/fraserburgh
Stonehaven ☎☎ 01569 739 396 88www.stonehaven.cats.org.uk
Giffnock ☎☎ 01416 385 110 88www.cats.org.uk/giffnock
Stranraer & District ☎☎ 01776 840 619
Glasgow ☎☎ 08453 712 722 88www.glasgow.cats.org.uk Huntly & Keith ☎☎ 01466 760 311 88www.cats.org.uk/huntly
Strathspey ☎☎ 08453 712 725 88www.strathspey.cats.org.uk Tain & District ☎☎ 08453 712 737 88www.tain.cats.org.uk
Inverclyde ☎☎ 01475 529 462
Tomintoul & Glenlivet TNR ☎☎ 01807 590 573 88www.cats.org.uk/tomintoul
Inverness ☎☎ 07815 910 861 88www.inverness.cats.org.uk
West Fife ☎☎ 01383 419 975 88www.westfife.cats.org.uk
Inverurie & Alford ☎☎ 01467 625 695 88www.cats.org.uk/inverurie
West Lothian ☎☎ 08453 712 719 88www.cats-westlothian.org.uk
Isle of Arran ☎☎ 01770 820 611
Central Aberdeen *96 * King St, Aberdeen, AB24 5BA ☎☎ 01224 634 894
Isles of Lewis & Harris ☎☎ 01851 830 749 88www.cats.org.uk/isle-of-lewis Isle of Skye ☎☎ 07817 943 072 Lanarkshire ☎☎ 08453 714 213 88www.lanarkshirecats.co.uk Montrose & Brechin ☎☎ 08453 712 738 88www.montrosebrechin.cats.org.uk Moray ☎☎ 07837 342 646 88www.cats.org.uk/moray Nairn ☎☎ 08453 712 714 88www.nairn.cats.org.uk North Ayrshire ☎☎ 08453 714 218 88www.northayrshire.cats.org.uk Orkney Islands ☎☎ 01856 771 642 88www.orkneycats.co.uk Outer Aberdeen & District ☎☎ 01224 705 252 88www.cats.org.uk/outeraberdeen Peebles & Biggar ☎☎ 0707 4357 228 Perth ☎☎ 08458 622 206 88www.perthcats.co.uk Peterhead & District ☎☎ 07791 834 226 88www.peterhead.cats.org.uk Renfrewshire ☎☎ 0141 876 4133 88www.renfrewshire.cats.org.uk Shetland ☎☎ 01595 840 588 88www.cats.shetland.co.uk
Clackmannanshire & Stirling *The * Marion Hunter Cat Adoption Centre, Ochivale Terrace, Fishcross, Alloa, Clackmannanshire, FK10 3HT ☎☎ 01259 720 555 Dundee & District *102 * Foundry Lane, Dundee, DD4 6AY ☎☎ 01382 450 035 *5 * Reform Street, Monifieth, Dundee, DD5 4BA ☎☎ 01382 534 316 Orkney Islands *85-87 * Victoria Street, Stromness, Orkney, KW16 3BS ☎☎ 01856 850 919 Outer Aberdeen & District *187 * George Street, Aberdeen AB25 1HZ ☎☎ 01224 658 565 Turiff & District *6-8 * Duff Street, Macduff, Banffshire, AB44 1TL ☎☎ 07847 395 017 West Fife *6 * Arberlour Street, Rosyth, Fife, KY11 2RD ☎☎ 01383 417 548
Northern Ireland Belfast *270 * Belfast Road, Dundonald, Newtownards, Northern Ireland, BT16 1UE ☎☎ 02890 480 202 Friends of Northern Ireland Adoption Centre Armagh ☎☎ 07709 483 550 88www.armagh.cats.org.uk
South Ayrshire ☎☎ 08453 714 216 88www.southayrshire.cats.org.uk
Find your local Cats Protection: 03000 12 12 12 • www.cats.org.uk
The Cat Spring 2013
This colourful circus cat was created by eight-year-old Max Goodwin, whose five-year-old sister Aimee drew the cute cat picture! Well done Max and Aimee, you both win a JellyCat.
Are you a word search wizard?
There are lots of things that cats like, from a warm bed to a healthy diet and a chance to exercise. Can you find eight things that will keep your cat content? Once you’ve marked around all eight words, there will be some letters left which will spell out a cat coat colour. Write this word and your name, age and address on a postcard or sealed envelope and send to The Cat magazine, National Cat Centre, Chelwood Gate, Sussex, RH17 7TT. Or you can email the answer and your contact details to competitions@ cats.org.uk with Kids’ Corner in the subject heading. The deadline is 12 April. Three lucky winners will get a JellyCat for themselves and a Kong prize for their cat! Good luck, puzzlers!
1. Catnip 2. Playing 3. Warmth 4. Sleep 5. Food 6. Rest 7. Toys 8. Space Illustration: Rus Hudda
Thanks to Kong who provide our cats’ prizes for Kids’ Corner. Kong design toys and grooming products for both cats and dogs. www.kongcompany.com
The Cat Spring 2013
Living the life of Riley Muriel Roberts remembers how Misty occupied pride of place in her household
e first met Misty at the Millstream Animal Shelter, Manchester in 1997 when he was about 10 months old. He was all white except for a black spot on his back – although this turned out to be dust and washed off after we took him home. We had him checked out, neutered and decided to get him chipped so he could be reunited with us if he got lost. While we were at the vets we found out he was deaf. It wasn’t long before he started to teach us sign language, for instance sitting looking into the kitchen until I went in to feed him. At our meal times he would jump on the window ledge and, with his back legs on the sill and his front paws on the back of a dining room chair, he would look to see what we were eating. In the animal world there is usually a pecking order and it seems there was also one in our house: first me, second Misty and, last of all, my husband Alan. That meant Misty expected a share of our meals. One weekend I cooked four pork chops; we had one each and I left the other two on the side for another meal. After lunch I went into the kitchen to see only one pork chop and a happy white cat licking his lips. As I wasn’t sure if he’d licked the other, he got that one as well. Another morning I prepared a turkey sandwich for my lunch but made the mistake of leaving it on the kitchen side. When I came in to get the said sarnie, there on the floor was an unwrapped piece of tin foil and a roll with no turkey in it. At night we would leave him in a nice warm bed in the kitchen, all food secured away so he wouldn’t trigger the intruder alarm. At the time we had venetian blinds which Misty thought it was great fun to climb in and out of,
60 The Cat Spring 2013
making an unholy noise, so we took them down and put up a lace curtain that did the trick - peace at last. If we were up late at night he would jump on the sideboard, push the lamp to one side and fall asleep there, meaning we would later have to wake him up to put him to bed. He also liked sleeping on the top of the television because it was warm. The trouble was that it was on a slant and when he turned over we would hear scraping sounds as he fell off the top, pulling the wires out on the way down. We bought him a climbing frame and a scratching post to keep him off the furniture. It didn’t work. The only way to keep him off things was to put the sticky side of sellotape on things and that worked except that it collected loads of dust and stuck to our fingers, so we gave up in the end. One of his favourite places to sit and watch the world go by was on the front bedroom windowsill; it was south facing and very warm and sunny in summer. He also loved to sit in the window when it was raining and would chase the raindrops running down the window. Being deaf we hoped he would settle down to being a house cat, but he loved to sneak out to the outside world, so we got him a lead and he would take me for walks around the garden. Misty lived just short of his sixteenth birthday which is a good age for a cat. He had many things wrong with him and we and our vet tried everything to get him back to good health but in the end we think it was his time. We were reluctant to let our little boy go, but it would have been unfair to let him suffer any longer. God bless the little bundle of white fur that made us so happy, we will love him for ever.
Illustration: Rus Hudda
Remembering cats through helping others This section offers readers the chance to pay tribute to a beloved cat by helping others. Donations go towards pens for our branches, which help house cats and kittens while they wait for new homes. Please send your donations to: R emembering Cats, The Cat magazine, National Cat Centre, Chelwood Gate, Haywards Heath, RH17 7TT. C heques should be made payable to ‘Cats Protection’. Tributes will be printed in the next available issue. Please note that this is an increasingly popular page and we cannot guarantee that your dedication will appear in a particular issue. Please print your tribute clearly to avoid errors (no more than 20 words). Thanks to readers of The Cat, 315 pens have now been bought.
L ADYCAT– Our beautiful girl who helped us through some tough times. Forever in our thoughts. Mum Keren and Dad Stuart. xxxx
ALLY– went to Jesus S 16.03.93 and C HLOE 17.07.06. Loved and remembered every day. Mummy
JACK– Died 24.10.05. My lovely black boy, thank you for 10 wonderful years. You will be remembered always – Gwen
In loving memory of TIMMY– 30.03.91 – and T OPSY– 27.03.96. Together again. In our thoughts and hearts always and forever. Love Mummy and Daddy.
M R ARTHUR19.03.96 and DAME EDITH 14.05.09. One wet Friday in October 1990 I met you both and fell in love forever. Love always, Mum. B UGSY, aged 20 and TOPAZ, aged 18 ½. Your names and manner will be forever scratched into our hearts. Beautiful girls. Love Mom, Dad, John, Murfy, Mylo, Willow, Shreddie, Tickler xxxxx T ABBY (TABALINA DOLLY FACE)PTS 21.11.12 aged 18. Words cannot express how devastated I feel. So proud of you, my little old lady. It was a privilege to have you for 18 years. Now at rest with beautiful CHLOÉPTS Jan 2010 age 19 ½. I will never forget my gorgeous girls. Forever in my heart. Mummy, Bubka, Hannah, Oscar and Martha-Moo.x
In loving memory of CHLÖE– 02.03.05. Our beautiful girl. In our thoughts and hearts always and forever. Love Mummy, Daddy, son Leo. In loving memory of P ERRY– 21.02.11. Brave, gentle and loyal. My precious friend, missed so much. Always in our hearts. Love Mummy, Daddy, Leo, Jo Jo.
T AMMYPTS 05.11.12 aged 13. Heartbroken without you. Miss and love you forever angel. You will always be in our thoughts. Love Mum and Dad xx
In loving memory of S NOWY, went missing 07.03.09. Greatly missed by Peter and Mini. Till we meet again. In loving memory of
B OBBY, went missing 02.04.07. Greatly missed by Peter and Mini. Till we meet again. Treasured memories of
B ARNEY MAY. Forever in my heart. ‘All things bright and beautiful, The Lord God made them all.’ Much loved and missed, Betty. FLAP08.03.11 A constant companion for 18 years. Missed and remembered every day. At rest in her favourite garden. God bless xxx TOPSYPTS 12.05 aged 17. The dearest little cat we have ever known. Remembered always. Gwen and Hilary.
In loving memory of
B OOTSwho left us 06.11.12 aged about 16. A stray boy loved by all who knew him.
A loving friend asleep in his favourite garden. Till we meet again. Peter, Freddie, Mini.
In loving memory of DINO, our much loved friend and companion. Missed so much. Love Mum and Dad.
T IGGY– 1992 to 03.03.11.
L UCY, my darling lovely girl, adopted 01.01, PTS 24.12.12. Thanks for 12 years’ happy memories. Much loved, greatly missed. Mummy
The Cat Spring 2013
B k reviews Looking for a great book about cats? Check out our reviews before you buy...
The Victory Dogs by Megan Rix This charming children’s book tells the story of Bark and Howl, puppies struggling to survive as London is bombed during the Second World War. With help from an elderly cat, Sheba, the orphaned dogs make their home in the maze of tunnels under the capital. As the onslaught intensifies, Londoners seek shelter in the underground network. One day the dogs’ skill and bravery is put to the test. Can they lead hundreds of people through their gloomy world to safety? The Victory Dogs, which is aimed at children aged eight and over, describes with a lightness of touch day-to-day life in wartime London. The story has its share of sad moments, balanced by the depiction of human and animal resilience in testing times. Rebecca Evans The Victory Dogs(paperback £5.99) is published by Puffin on 4 April 2013. (www.puffin.co.uk ISBN 978-0141342733)
Cat Wit by Kate May Looking for the ultimate one liner, phrase or comment about cats that will lay your audience in the aisles and make you resemble an urbane Wilde-like raconteur? Then this is the book for you to study and memorise. There are quips and quotes for every occasion, attributed to well-known playwrights, authors, actors and the obligatory ‘anonymous’. It’s accompanied by fun cartoons and would be a great addition to any ailurophile’s bookshelf. Francesca Watson Cat Wit(£9.99) is published by Summersdale Publishers Ltd (www.summersdale.com ISBN9781849533157)
Puss in Books
by Catherine Britton This beautifully laid out book examines cats in literature, myth and folklore throughout the ages. The varied illustrations that accompany the text are vibrant and enriching. Catherine Britton documents the changing attitude to cats from treating them as revered deities in ancient Egypt to ascribing them unearthly powers in Shakespearean plays to considering them as companion animals in recent times. Delve into literary and pictorial feline depictions from sources ranging from Aesop’s Fablesand Charles Dickens’ novels to online sensation Simon’s Catand, of course, the infamous P uss in Boots. Petra Coghlin Puss in Books(£7.95) is published by the British Library (www.publishing.bl.uk ISBN 9780712358828)
The British Museum Book of Cats
by Juliet Clutton-Brock This book encapsulates the glory of the cat in a compact, bright and beautiful way. It provides not only a brief history of the feline from its earliest beginnings to its current pet status, but combines the practical scientific research with the ethereal nature of this captivating creature. The chapters take you through the cat’s origins, its behaviour, how it has been regarded both in the past and present, its literary associations with myth and legend and the evolution of breeds. It packs in a huge amount of fascinating information and is beautifully illustrated throughout whether with sharp clear photographs, or paintings, lithographs and prints taken from the Museum’s own collection. This is a beautiful celebration of the cat. Francesca Watson The British Museum Book of Cats(£9.99) is published by The British Museum Press (www.britishmuseum.org/publishing ISBN 9780714151021)
À la modby Ian Moore
62 The Cat Spring 2013
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