Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Sheldon's story



Chilling on the sofa


Dear rescuers

I wanted to write and let you know how I am settling into my new home.  When my new guardians took me there I was very traumatized and scared. I was not motivated with food or anything.  They were very patient with me, left me alone to eat and did not pester me. They gave me a lovely soft igloo bed in an open cupboard where I felt safe.  They kept coming over and stroking me, bought me a brush and cat wet wipes to clean me as I just didn’t feel up to cleaning myself and I was a bit of a state after being in Birmingham for so long.

A week later and I was happy to sit on Erin’s bed and be stroked but liked to stay in my bed while they did this.  I never hissed at them as I knew they were kind but I was still very scared.


Feeling safe in my bed


By week two, I had progressed to coming out of my bed for Erin when she fed me and was purring.  There were quite a few other family members that came in and out of the house but they were all kind and patient with me. I didn’t like to move much but was becoming more confident every day.

Three weeks later and my guardian Erin has just had her birthday and her mum bought her a cat tree for me !!! I am now happy to be downstairs in the lounge during the day.  They have put my tree by the French doors so I can look outside when they are not home.  I am still not keen to be picked up and do not move around much but the hammock on the first floor of the cat tree is my favourite place where I now clean myself for hours. 



This cat tree is cosy
Great view of the garden from here
                                                 







I also found myself playing with the fishing rod toy yesterday that they were tempting me to chase.  My favourite food is chicken flavour and they give me cat milk so I can put on a bit of weight.  I am still very skinny but I am now very motivated by food.



Relaxing after playing


It has taken Erin three weeks to decide on a new name for me and she has finally decided on NACHO although her grandmother keeps getting confused and calls me Dorito!  Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for rescuing me from the streets and bringing me down to Devon as I have given one young lady so much joy and she loves me as much as I will love her in return.

Much love Nacho (Sheldon) XXXXxxx




Sweet dreams 

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Cats and Kids - A True Love Story

Cats and Kids – a True Love-Story
As long-term Cats Protection employees, the feline contingent of our home is, as you might imagine, something of a motley crew.  We have Episkey, a thirteen year old tabby and white male who had mobility issues as a kitten, taken on by my husband, Phil, long before he was my husband; Fenton, a fifteen year old black and white moggy, an archetypal independent gentleman with no teeth; Stoat, a three year old ginger and white boy who came to live with Phil, as a semi-feral long-stayer; and Mouse, a tiny two year old boy, named because of his size and looks as a kitten.
 
 
When Phil and I discovered I was pregnant, we worried about how the boys would react to the addition of a tiny human to our quiet home.  At Axhayes, pretty much every day we get calls from people wanting to, or thinking they ought to put their cats up for adoption because there’s a baby on the way.  In most cases, it’s a heart-breaking decision.  However, with a bit of planning and foresight, you can make the change easier on your pets.  It might not work out in every case, but pregnancy doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to say goodbye to your feline friends.
Here’s what we did:
1.            It is important to know that as long as you wear gloves when cleaning and disinfecting litter trays, and empty them regularly, there is no need to part with your cat. (Even better, ask a family member to do it for you!) Go to: https://catsprotection.sharepoint.com/sites/catnav/cp/CP/Documents/Communications/Media – other downloads/Pregnant cat owners – factsheet.doc
2.          We put Feliway plug-in diffusers throughout the house to help create a calm environment for our cats. Go to: https://catsprotection.sharepoint.com/sites/catnav/catcare/Pages/Ceva-Feliway-Products-.aspx.
3.          We let the cats see, and, more importantly, smell the Moses basket, the clothes, the pack of nappies etc, as we bought them in preparation.  This was so that they were familiar sights to the boys, so it wasn’t so much of a shock for them when baby and I came home from hospital.
 
4.          It is an old wives’ tale that cats sit on babies and smother them.  Stoat jumped in the Moses basket out of curiosity before our baby, Kafka, arrived, but as soon as he saw that Kafka was sleeping there and the bed was taken, he stopped.  If you are concerned, shut the bedroom door.
5.          Something our boys have in common is that they are nervous around new people, and are scared of loud noises.  Again, it’s the ‘softly, softly’ approach that you need to take. 
Unlike humans, smell is a cat’s primary sense. Kakfa had to stay in hospital in an incubator for  a week before we were able to take him home.  The nurses gave us little tied muslins to sleep with and then put in with Kafka so he could smell us and know us (scent-swapping works with humans as well as cats – who knew?!) so each day, Phil took one that Kafka had slept with, home so that the boys could smell him and start to know him, so that he would be familiar to them when he arrived home.  Once home, we kept Kafka upstairs for a couple of days when we were at home,    so that the boys would get used to his crying, and adjust to the fact that there was a new member of the family.
6.          Probably the most important thing – make a fuss of your cat/cats.  Don’t ignore them, or push them away.  Show them that you love them too.
 
And, touch wood, it worked!  A cat’s innate curiosity helped too – they all wanted to see the tiny loud thing that had joined our family! Stoat started sitting by us first – he was a bit jealous that there was someone else on Phil’s lap – but when we made a fuss of him too, and he realised that Kafka wasn’t a threat to him, he was fine.  Fenton has surprized me the most, though.  He’ll come and sit next to Kafka now, and sit on his play mat with him.  If Kafka kicks his legs or gets a bit loud, Fenton will move to the end of the bed, but he soon comes back!
 
Kafka is eight months old now, and it is up to us to make sure he respects the cats as they respect him.  We’re teaching him to be gentle when he goes to stroke them.
Phil and I both grew up with cats and we know that they can be a child’s best friend.  Saying hello to  your new baby doesn’t mean that you have to say goodbye to your feline friend.
 
Now all we have to worry about is teaching Kafka that although Mouse and Stoat are cats, mice and stoats aren’t!
 
For more news about Exeter Axhayes Adoption Centre or Taunton Homing & Info Centre and the cats we have available for adoption, you can follow us on our Facebook @cpexeteraxhayes, Twitter and Instagram.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Tabby Tom Appeal


Last month we launched our Tabby Tom Appeal – we thought we’d share Tom’s story and recovery all thanks to the generosity of our supporters.

Tom is a handsome long-haired tabby and white boy who came into our care after he was found starving and living on the streets of Birmingham. He was too hungry he resorted to eating the bread put out of the birds. Our adoption centre has been helping a local cat charity in Birmingham so Tom came down to Exeter to start a new life. During his routine veterinary examination, our vet discovered that Tom had a very badly infected ear and will need a life-saving surgical TECA operation (Total Ear Canal Ablation) which will cost £700. Following the operation Tom should be able to live a normal life, albeit deaf in one ear. Our deputy manager Phil launched the Tabby Tom Appeal on our JustGiving page in the hope we would raise the money for his treatment.


Tom before his operation


Everyone has been fantastic! We smashed our target within 24 hours. In total we managed to raise £778.50, we would like to thank everybody who donated towards his treatment. On March 27th Tom went to our Veterinary Hospital for the surgical operation on his ear. His operation was very successful and he spent a few days recovering at the Veterinary Hospital. By the 7th March he came back to Axhayes to continue his recovery. He still needs lubricant eye drops in his eye regularly as part of post-op. He is wearing a buster collar to stop him from scratching his ear and his stitches. He is enjoying lots of attention and tummy tickles from our CCAs who are caring for him.

1 week after his op

Two weeks later....lounging around in his bed

We will keep you all posted on his progress over the coming weeks and when he is available for rehoming. Again, we would like to say THANK YOU to everyone who donated to Tom’s operation. For more news about Exeter Axhayes Adoption Centre or Taunton Homing & Info Centre and the cats we have available for adoption, you can follow us on our Facebook @cpexeteraxhayes, Twitter and Instagram.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Snuggles story

One of the most lovely parts of our job is hearing how cats affect our lives.

We recently received a lovely email from Mandy about a cat that was adopted from our centre 20 years ago.

This is the wonderful story of Snuggles....



On 19/9/1998 my life changed forever. My sister bought a kitten from you for myself and my son to join our family. My sister was his registered keeper, but I was his human mummy. He was a little ginger kitten 8 weeks old, his fur mummy and siblings were shades of black and black and white. You had called him Knave.



Snuggles with Mandy's Son


My son chose him because he walked in the opposite direction to the rest of his family. There began the most amazing, pure love relationship I have ever had in my life. We renamed him Snuggles, Snuggles Frankie Sox was his full name. He was called Snuggles because my son thought he was snuggly. Snuggles had an amazing life, he was free to come and go and had many cat adventures. He was a hunter and and adventurer and a bit of a reputation as a fighter in the neighbourhood too. He was so intelligent, and love to play games, hide and seek was his favourite, he would hide and wait to be found, and then I would hide and he would come and find me. Snuggles chose where he slept and this was by my side under the duvet with his head on the pillow.





                        
Snuggles developed diabetes at the age of 16 years, and then had to have insulin injections twice a day.  I learnt how to do this myself and to test his blood sugar levels, it was terrifying and didn't seem right to stick needles in him at first. Snuggles was so patient and tolerant and gave me the courage and confidence to maintain this for three years. Sadly Snuggles also developed kidney problems and arthritis. From then on Snuggles led a more sedate life, he had access to the garden which was then fenced off to stop him escaping, although he sometimes he still managed to scale the 6ft gate, to attempt escape. 


Snuggles relaxing in the garden

Sadly Snuggles' health deteriorated, and I had to make the hardest decision of my life. Snuggles passed away peacefully in my arms at home with the help of the vet on 5/3/18.

A light went out of my life that day, Snuggles was my best friend, and my soul mate.
I feel truly blessed and honoured to have been his human mummy for the best part of 20 years, and for that I will always be grateful.


 

So thank you from the bottom of my heart, for giving me Snuggles.


If you have a story that you would like to share with us and our Facebook readers, please email us at : exeteraxhayes@cats.org.uk and mark it for the attention of Di or Gemma ( Facebook editors)

Thursday, 5 April 2018

The Scratching Post - Axhayes' newest place to be...


We hope you all had a fantastic Easter weekend! During the Easter weekend was our annual Easter Coffee Morning hosted by our Friends of Exeter Axhayes Group. The weather was thankfully dry on the day after week of rain and the threat of the snow returning. It also saw the official opening of our new tearoom – named The Scratching Post. All of this has been possible thanks to your generosity and supporting our events here at the centre. Thanks to the money we have raised over the years, we have been able to buy and set up our own tearoom on site for our future events.   
Just after it was built beginning of March

On our Facebook page we launched a competition to allow our followers to come up with names for our shiny new tearoom. The Scratching Post was chosen by popular vote by our staff members and Friends of Group. The lucky three winners came out for some free cake and goodie bags for them and their cats. We would like to thank everybody who helped get our tearoom up and running for our Coffee Morning we were worried we wouldn’t be able to use it in time. Special thanks to our volunteer Dawn for helping Mark (A/C manager) with painting the exterior when we had some sunshine. Thanks to Jan our new greenfingers volunteer for potting some lovely flowers around the grounds in time for Saturday. Thank you to our Friends of Group volunteer Libby for decorating the interior with lots of Easter bunting and tablecloths. Looked fantastic!

Looking great after few coats of paint

Decorated interior - lots of pretty bunting

Our fabulous homemade Easter cakes

The Scratching Post needs some more work on the interior in the coming weeks and we will share with you in the coming weeks on Facebook. Our Easter Coffee Morning was a huge success and very busy! We managed to raise in total £267 which is fantastic! Thank you to everybody who came out and supported us. All of the money will go towards helping cats and kittens here at the centre.

For more news about Exeter Axhayes Adoption Centre or Taunton Homing & Info Centre and the cats we have available for adoption, you can follow us on our Facebook @cpexeteraxhayes, Twitter and Instagram.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Cats at play

Playing with your cat is a great way to bond and have fun in the process. It's also important for their wellbeing and health as well as being key to a kitten's development.

Here at Exeter Axhayes Adoption Centre we keep our cats and kittens active with a variety of toys, scratching posts, puzzle feeders and cardboard boxes. All of our toys have been donated during Christmas Holidays (Santa Paws Appeal), from our Amazon wishlist, our VIP vouchers from Pets at Home, some are handmade by our supporters or donated in general. We would like to thank our kind supporters for our cat toys. These toys make cattery life a little easier for our cats. Our toys provide them with exercise, mental stimulation and help our cats and kittens bond with our CCAs and volunteers. Playing with these toys is also very important for our centre-born kittens development too. Here's some information about why playing is so important for cats and kittens....   



Why cats play
Cats that can freely go outdoors will often engage in hunting activity or will play with fallen leaves or grass blowing in the wind if there is no access to prey. The drive to hunt is not because they are hungry, but because hunting activity – the stalk, pounce, play and kill – releases feel-good hormones called endorphins. It's important that your cat is given lots of opportunity to play to keep them mentally stimulated.



Play is very important for cats, particularly kittens, as it teaches them the skills needed for life and lessons about the world around them. Play is a great way for a cat to use up some of their energy, keep fit and healthy and keep their brain alert and active. The best games encourage cats to stalk, pounce, chase and bat objects with a paw in a safe way.

Toys
Toys don’t have to be expensive as even a cardboard box with holes cut into it provides a fun hiding place. A ball of tin foil can make a perfectly adequate toy, as long as the cat can’t swallow it.
Play is more fun if you get involved too – you could use fishing rod toys with feathers on a string to mimic their prey. Allow them to catch and ‘kill’ the toy periodically will stop them getting frustrated. Cats like to win!


Older cats will love playing three or four times a day, while younger cats will be happy to play ten times a day or more.

Very short games of one to two minutes are fine. Swap toys around regularly to keep them interesting, but don’t leave your cat on their own with toys which could be shredded and eaten or ones that they can get tangled in. Check toys regularly for signs of wear, replacing them when needed.


Indoor cats need more entertainment than outdoor cats, so make dinner time more of a challenge by feeding cat biscuits through a puzzle feeder or a plastic drinks bottle, with biscuit sized holes cut into it. The cat will learn that batting the bottle releases a biscuit. It also means that he will take his time eating his food!
Cats love to climb and hide so getting a cat activity centre is a good idea, but a cheaper option is to give your cat some cardboard boxes to play in. Some cats go mad for the herb catnip. You can buy toys stuffed with dried catnip – give one to your cat and see what he does!

If you would like to donate a cat toy for any of our cats here at Exeter Axhayes Adoption Centre please visit our Amazon wishlist https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/registry/wishlist/2OAP2GCUQHOYK we appreciate any gifts we receive. Thank you for our support and generosity.

For more information about our adoption centre please visit www.axhayes.cats.org.uk. You can follow us on Facebook @cpexeteraxhayes, Twitter and Instagram.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

April update


You may remember our 15 year old lady April who came to us in December 2017. She was found in a bit of a state in a local skip hire yard. She was very thin, hungry and covered in dirt or arrival. She was microchipped, but sadly her owner had passed away. We managed to get in contact with her next of kin who was unable to take her and was happy for us to find her another home. A month later she was feeling much better and she'd put on weight, she was available for adoption at our Exeter Axhayes Adoption Centre.

April in our Taunton HIC


Sadly she hasn’t had much luck finding her forever home yet. Many of the cats around her were getting snapped up. To give her a change of scenery so she doesn’t get too fed up, she has travelled up to our Taunton Homing & Information centre. She is hoping she’ll have better luck finding a new home up there. She has already made herself very comfortable in her new pen and enjoying any attention from any visitors to come along to see her. We are keeping our fingers crossed it’ll be her turn to find a home very soon.

April is now at our Taunton Homing & Information centre. If you would like to meet her you can find us at Blackdown Garden Centre, West Buckland, Wellington, Nr Taunton, Somerset, TA21 9HY. Telephone - 01823 667945.Our Taunton cats will feature on our new website http://www.cats.org.uk/taunton-centre