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 

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Success Story - Jean

Jean came into our centre back in May 2017. She had spent life outdoors, but she saw that life with humans was something she wanted. She had spent many months with us, due to being quite shy in her pen and staying under her hide. Many cats around were more confident cats in our homing corridor were up at the pen doors meowing or jump out of their beds to greet passers-by. Jean was a sweet cat once she got to know you and earned her trust. She just needed that special someone to give her a chance and help her settle into her new home.  

Jean at Axhayes Adoption Centre in May 2017
 A day in September turned out to be Jean’s lucky day. One of our visitors to our centre saw her and wanted to give her a chance. We are hoping her story will inspire anybody who wants to give a shy/timid cat a forever home. Her owner has been keeping us updated regularly with Jean’s (now renamed Luna) progress. Her owner has spent us a wonderful email, we would like to share with you….

She said “I adopted Luna back in September 2017. It has been a long but rewarding journey getting to know her and getting her to feel safe and confident in her new home. It is only in the last week that she has ventured downstairs with people about four and a half months after her arrival. She spent the first month hiding away. I put her food close so she could easily access it and talked to her regularly for short periods."

"She eventually came out and sat on the windowsill. I could see that she desperately wanted to be petted but was just too nervous. The first time she let me stroke her was about six weeks after she had been here. I bought lots of toys to try and draw her out to no avail. In desperation I tried a scrunched up post it note and it worked! She loved it! It was amazing to see her playing for the first time.

This last week has been amazing, she has come down and jumped on the couch, come into the kitchen and followed me down in the morning for her breakfast. She is now also jumping up on the bed and sleeps beside me. We still have a ways to go, but each new step forward is another step to getting this lovely little lady to be the happy cat she deserves to be.
With some cats you never know what has happened to them in the past or what trauma has befallen them. They just need a bit of extra time, love and patience. Please don’t overlook the shy, timid or nervous ones. They too can be wonderful pets and companions. Thank you.”
Luna (was Jean) ventured downstairs

We would like to say thank you to Jean (now Luna’s) owner for sharing your story with us and giving Jean a chance. We have loved receiving her regular updates on Luna’s progress during the past few months. If you've adopted any of our cats or kittens from Exeter Axhayes Adoption Centre or Taunton Homing & Info Centre, tell us how they are settling in to their new homes or how they are doing. Share your photos on our Facebook @cpexeteraxhayes, Twitter and Instagram. You can email us at exeteraxhayes@cats.org.uk, we love to see how our ex-CP cats are getting on, thank you.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Success Story - Conker

You may remember our little black kitten Conker. He came to our Exeter Axhayes Adoption Centre back in October after he was found a member of the public rummaging through bins. He was desperately hungry, very dehydrated and was suffering from flu.  Our CCAs gave him lots of small meals to help build up his strength and re-hydration fluid to get him hydrated once again. Our vet gave him medication to treat his eyes and sniffles. A month later he was well and ready to find a new home.

Conker a week at Exeter Axhayes after he arrived

His new owner came in to our centre to meet him; he was quite shy and timid in his pen. He was brave enough to play pass the ball with her. She went away to think about it and speak to her daughter. Her daughter fell in love with him as soon she saw his photo. They contacted us straight away, the next day Conker was adopted and left Axhayes to start his new life. Conker has been with in his new home for two months now, his owner said “He took a couple of days to settle in and now we couldn’t imagine live without him. He is a cheeky and mischievous healthy boy who still plays passing the ball and loves playing with the conkers I have around my home”. We would like to thank Conker’s new owner for contacting us and sharing your story with us. We’re all so pleased Conker has settled in so well. Here are a few photos of him…   

Conker helping out in the office

Playing hide and seek
Conker is on the left with his new feline friend

If you've adopted any of our cats or kittens from Exeter Axhayes Adoption Centre or Taunton Homing & Info Centre, tell us how they are settling in to their new homes or how they are doing. Share your photos on our Facebook @cpexeteraxhayes, Twitter and Instagram. You can email us at exeteraxhayes@cats.org.uk We love hearing about our Ex-CP cats and kittens, thank you.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Help! My cat's gone missing!

Sadly, this is an all too frequent plea for assistance that we receive via our Helpline, social media sites and via our branches. Here is some advice about what to do….

Not all cats are house cats and it’s no surprise if your feline friend comes and goes as it pleases. However, if your return home greets you with little more than an untouched food bowl, you might be feeling helpless about what to do next. Don’t panic! Instead, read our guide on what to do if your cat goes missing.

All is not lost

Before you put a plan together, it is important you try not to worry. Even cats with a regular routine can disappear for days at a time and return later with no hassle. If you do find yourself in a situation where your cat is missing, it’s time to make an action plan.

1) Search first

It might seem obvious but it is important that the first thing you do is check around your home and garden. There’s every chance your cat might be hiding in the unlikeliest of places, from cosy cupboards to garden sheds. Shady places are favoured by felines when the weather gets warm, so check your garages and outbuildings if you have them.

2) Speak to your neighbours

The next step should be to ensure your neighbours are aware. Ask them to check their property, sheds and garages as well as keeping a look out. Talk to anyone who might have seen your cat recently; the postman, newspaper delivery people and your local vet are all worth speaking to.

3) Pick up the phone

Keeping a list of phone numbers pinned to a board or attached to your fridge in the event of your cat going missing is always a good idea. Keep the following details close at hand.

Speak to your local Cats Protection branch. To search for your local branch, visit www.cats.org.uk/find-us and enter your postcode

If your cat is microchipped, talk to Petlog on 0844 4633 999 so they can register your cat missing and also to check any ‘found cat’ reports in your area – lines are open 365 days a year 24/7

Register the details of your cat at www.animalsearch.co.uk

Get in touch with any other local animal rescue organisations in your area. Try www.catchat.org to find your local shelters

Call all local vet practices in your area

Speak to your local council’s Environmental Health Department. They’re likely to keep a record of cats found killed on the roads and although not an easy call to make, it is worth giving them a call to rule this out

4) Advertise

If you’re able to, make some flyers up to place around your area. Make sure to include a good description of your cat, the gender, age, colour, colour of the cat’s eyes, breed and any distinguishing features they may have. A photo is a big help.

A contact telephone is necessary but for your safety, it’s wise not to give your address. Take your flyers to local shops, vets and local notice boards.

5) Get online

Social media sites are packed with great resources to help track down your cat, as well as providing an opportunity to advertise your lost pet. Animal Search UK and CatAware have their own Facebook pages and with permission, you may also be able to post on the pages of local animal charities. If you have your own Facebook and Twitter accounts, it is worth posting up a picture of your cat and asking your friends to share or retweet; you’re likely to reach a larger number of people this way.

6) Tips and tricks

Hopefully by this time, your cat will have sauntered back in as if nothing has happened. If you’re still without your pet, it’s time to intensify your search with our handy tips and tricks.

If your cat has a favourite toy, try leaving it in your garden

Cats have a strong sense of smell so if there is a regular blanket or bedding that it usually sleeps on; leave it out in a dry spot to entice it out of hiding

Cats are generally more active at night, especially during hotter weather. Go out with a friend or family member when it is dark and call for your cat by name

Leave a bowl of water out and some food. Although you may find it attracts other animals, it is still well worth putting your cat’s favourite dish out to entice it out of its hiding place, perhaps with a tasty treat such as tuna

7) Keep your cat safe

Hopefully your cat will soon be home and safe but you can help to ensure this doesn’t happen again by following a few steps.

Keep your cat in at night. Even if your cat is particularly restless before bedtime, a little bit of exercise through playing will soon help them settle in for the night

Make sure your cat is microchipped and the information is kept up-to-date. Cats Protection believes all owned cats, even indoor ones, should be identified in order to trace their owner should they become lost or injured. The preferred method is to microchip as it is both permanent and safe

If you choose to fit a collar with your contact details attached, Cats Protection advises the use of a quickrelease or snap-opening collar in preference to an elasticated one. Always follow safety precautions when using cat collars; it must be fitted correctly and two fingers should fit snuggly underneath it when your cat is wearing it to prevent injury

Oscar reunited with his owners after 2 years

8) Don’t give up

Above all, it is important not to give up hope. We hear many tales of cats being found and reunited with their owners, sometimes years after they have gone missing. If you need more advice, contact our Helpline on 03000 12 12 12 or email
helpline@cats.org.uk (SOURCE: The Cat Magazine)

Saturday, 6 January 2018

April's Story

At the beginning of December we received a phone call from the local skip hire yard about a poorly looking cat hanging around the skips looking for food. CCA Jackie went out and collected her and brought her into our care. On arrival as you can see from our photos she was in quite a state, her fur was full of dust and her feet were caked in muck too. She was bald around her neck where she was probably wearing a collar for many years. She would have had an owner at some point. She was very thin and hungry; she had probably been outside fending for herself for quite some time. It was lucky she came in before the weather really turned colder.
April on arrival
April on arrival
We cleaned her up, gave her a good groom and cleaned as much of the muck off her paws as possible. We scanned her for a microchip, she had a microchip. We found out her name was April and she was 15 years old. We tried to contact her owner with no luck, after a couple of days it turned out her owner had sadly passed away and his son was happy for us to find her a new home if nobody else came forward for her.

April after a groom and clean up

During the past month we’ve built up April’s weight with regular meals. Her fur is becoming shiny and clean once again. Her eyes are clean and bright too. She enjoyed her warm comfortable bed and all the attention she wanted. She was checked over by our vet, had all of her vaccinations and had blood tests etc. Her blood test results showed due to her old age, she has a renal condition, which can be managed with a special diet. We’re hoping this will not put any potential adopters off her.
April now feeling much better in her new bed she got for Christmas
She is the sweetest little cat; she’s gentle natured and loves attention. She will the best companion for somebody, all she wants is a quiet retirement home with someone who will love her forever. She is now available for rehoming. If you live in the Exeter, Devon, UK area, please get in touch with us www.axhayes.cats.org.uk. Thank you.  

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Santa Paws Appeal 2017

We hope you’ve had a fantastic Christmas and we wish you and your feline friends all a Happy New Year!

We would like to thank everybody who donated gifts for our Santa Paws Appeal 2017, which was a huge success! Each of our 120 cats and kittens at the centre during the holidays had a gift to open on Christmas Day. Few extra presents were given out too; many of these were blankets so our cats were extra snug in their beds. We would also like to thank Beryl for donating Turkeys for our cats Christmas dinners, which they all enjoyed. We thought we’d share some of the photos we had taken on Christmas morning and there’s a video link too….
Our gifts under the tree...


Jasmine Rose

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

Friday, 1 December 2017

Brad's story and FIV cats

Poor Brad was found living underneath a house, desperate for food and shelter from the cold. Luckily he was rescued and brought into our care. He looks like he’s been in the wars and was quite frightened on arrival. His ears were really itchy and causing him some discomfort, after some ear drops, he needed to be neutered too.
Brad - December 2017
After lots of TLC he’s feeling much better. Once gaining his confidence with the CCAs he loves his warm comfy, bed regular meals and all the fuss he can ask for. He’s a very affectionate boy who will make a lovely companion for somebody. Due to living rough he has contracted FIV - Feline Immunodeficiency Virus so he will need to find an indoor home. Now Brad is ready for adoption, he is looking forward to finding a loving forever home.  
Handsome boy!

Here's some info about FIV and indoor life for cats below, Brad has of course done some modelling for this blog too.....

What is Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)?
FIV is a virus in cats that is similar to the human virus, HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus. However, FIV does not infect humans, and HIV does not infect cats.

How do cats catch FIV?
The virus is present in the blood, saliva and other body fluids of infected cats. It is very delicate and is unable to survive for long periods outside of the cat – so it cannot be transferred to other cats from your hands or clothes. Cats primarily pick up the virus through fighting – via bite wounds – or through mating behaviour, but it can also be passed from an infected female cat to her kittens.

Do all cats that get the virus become permanently infected?
Yes. A cat will produce antibodies, but these are ineffective and once a cat has FIV, they will be FIV positive for the rest of their life.

What are the signs of FIV?
There is an incubation period of months or even years when your cat may be perfectly healthy before signs of infection show. Many infected cats have years of normal life and may die from something else entirely before their FIV infection causes any problems.

Signs of FIV are varied but usually result from a weakened immune system and therefore a vulnerability to other infections. Once disease develops, infected cats may:

·         become repeatedly ill e.g with cat flu, sore gums, skin disease or digestive upsets

·         simply seem ‘off-colour’ or have a high temperature

·         take a long time to recover from infections

·         lose weight

·         develop tumours

How do I have my cat tested for FIV?
Vets can quickly perform a test that detects the antibodies to the virus in blood. It is recommended that positive results – particularly those from otherwise healthy cats – are sent for confirmation using a different test at an external laboratory, as false positive results can occur.

Kittens less than five to six months old may have had antibodies passed on to them by their infected mothers, but not the virus itself. On average, only a third of kittens born to FIV-positive mothers actually have FIV themselves. A special test to detect the virus should be performed on such kittens and antibody tests can be repeated when the kittens are five to six months old. Results can give a false negative if a cat has only recently been exposed to the virus.

Is there any treatment for FIV?
There is currently no reliable treatment for FIV and it is not possible to predict if and when signs may develop. Vets will treat each FIV-positive cat individually, depending on the signs they develop, but treatment may involve:

·         antibiotics and/or anti-inflammatory drugs as appropriate for secondary recurrent infections

·         drugs that may help through direct anti-viral activity

·         keeping infected cats indoors, with a good diet and ensuring they are fully vaccinated and regularly treated against fleas and worms. This will help to protect them from secondary infections, as well as help to prevent the spread of FIV to other cats.

Cats Protection recommends that FIV-positive cats are kept indoors and only allowed outside in an impenetrable garden or safe run. They should not be allowed direct contact with FIV-negative cats.

Indoor life....

Ideally all cats would be allowed access to the outdoors to express their natural behaviour. However, cats can adapt to living indoors, particularly if they are used to it from a young age. Some cats need to be confined indoors due to medical conditions and others prefer an indoor life. If they become bored they may develop behaviour problems so there are a number of ways to keep your cat happy:

Keep them occupied…
Domestic cats that have free access to the outdoors will still often engage in hunting activity even if there is no access to prey – e.g. playing with fallen leaves, or grass blowing in the wind. It is important to allow cats opportunities to exhibit hunting behaviour, as it keeps them mentally stimulated and releases feel-good hormones called endorphins. Indoor cats aren’t able to play outside, so it is important to provide them with toys and activities to keep them occupied.

Brad with a puzzle feeder

If you are out of the house all day, you might consider getting two cats. They may keep each other company and stop each other from becoming bored. However, while this set up can work well if the two cats have been brought up together, this is not a guarantee. Even some siblings may prefer not to remain together once they reach adulthood.

If you do introduce a new cat to your home, it is critical to do this slowly and carefully to avoid lifelong tension which may lead to behavioural issues and conflict. If the two cats do not get along, it can be even more stressful for them if they are confined indoors and can never escape each other.

Indoor benefits

Your cat will be protected from loss or outdoor hazards, such as road accidents, physical attacks from other animals and outdoor poisons, if they are kept solely indoors

Your cat may be less likely to contract parasites or infectious disease through not having direct contact with other cats or the environment used by cats or other animals

Your cat won’t hunt if kept solely indoors – assuming your house is rodent-proof – however, opportunities to play and express hunting behaviour must still be given

Keep your cat safe indoors….

·         Indoor hazards – It’s important to remember to keep cupboards, washing machines and tumble driers closed. Toilet lids should be kept down to avoid any risk of drowning. Balconies and windows should be safely fenced over with strong wire mesh or screens, making sure there are no gaps that your cat could fall through

·         Houseplants – some plants and flowers – particularly lilies – can be toxic to cats. It’s probably best to ensure you don’t have plants that are dangerous to cats in your home, or certainly not within your cats’ reach

·         Household products – cats are very susceptible to poisoning. A number of everyday household items can pose a danger to cats and should be kept safely away

·         inactivity and obesity – indoor cats need to be provided with opportunities to exercise to avoid them getting fat or inactive which can lead to other health issues

·         over-dependence – a solitary indoor cat will rely on its owner to provide stimulation, companionship and exercise and can become over-dependent

·         escape – keeping windows and doors shut to prevent an indoor cat escaping can be difficult in busy households. If the cat does get out, they’ll be highly stressed and disorientated as they’ll have no experience of the outdoor environment. It is recommended that you microchip your cat, even if they live indoors to increase the chance of them being reunited with you if they go missing

Cats in the wild spend a lot of their time on short, frequent hunting expeditions. In comparison, domestic cats are given food bowls, so it doesn’t take long for them to eat their daily ration or allow them to make use of their great senses. Try using feeding puzzle balls to give part, or all, of your cat’s daily ration. It is best to let cats get used to this gradually, to ensure they have enough to eat and don’t become frustrated.

Enhancing and maximising the indoor environment for all cats
Cats should be provided with a stimulating and safe indoor environment, whether they go outside or not. If your cat is solely kept indoors, then this is particularly essential. If you have more than one cat, offer enough resources in different locations where your cats can eat, drink, toilet, rest and hide.

Play and exercise
Keep your cat amused with toys, climbing towers or activity centres. These can be bought or made – a cardboard box with holes cut into it or a ball of tin foil can be perfectly adequate. Play is more fun if you get involved too – you can use fishing rod toys with feathers on a string to mimic their prey! Opportunities to exhibit hunting behaviour are often triggered by toys which move and attract the cat’s attention. Older cats will love playing three or four times a day, but the type of play may need to be adapted to suit their needs and level of mobility.

Brad playing with CCA Charlie

Younger cats will be happy to play 10 times a day or more. Very short games of one to two minutes are fine – cats use their energy in short bursts when hunting, so try to mimic this. Create interest at meal times by hiding biscuits around the house for your cat to find. Make a pyramid out of cardboard toilet roll tubes and hide food in the tubes, or use a puzzle ball. Swap toys around regularly to keep them interesting.

Somewhere to hide
It is important to always provide your cat with an easily accessible place to hide which will help to make them feel safe and secure. A hiding place can be something as simple as a cardboard box on its side, or upside down with large holes for access. Alternatively, you could purchase an igloo style cat bed, or offer space under the bed or in a wardrobe with the door left ajar. The cat shouldn’t be disturbed while they are hiding.

Brad enjoying a fuss!

Somewhere to get up high

Cats feel safer if they can view their surroundings from a height and this also increases their territory by providing extra vertical space that they can use. This is a common coping mechanism for cats that feel anxious or fearful. You could place a cosy blanket on top of a wardrobe and provide access by placing a stool or similar item next to it. Cats also love to sit on window sills and shelves. Extra consideration should be given to elderly cats.

On average, cats spend about 16 hours a day sleeping. Cats generally rest or sleep intermittently throughout the day and will prefer a warm, comfortable and safe place. There is a large range of cat beds available, including igloo beds, or hammocks for the radiator. A simple cardboard box with a blanket inside will also do the trick.

Scratching and climbing

A scratching post will provide exercise, claw maintenance and a focal point for your cat to express this natural behaviour

– it will help protect your furniture too. Cats like to stretch and scratch after they wake up, so try placing the scratching post near where they sleep. A good scratching post has the following features:

a strong sturdy base so the cat can lean against the post without it wobbling

tall enough that the cat can stretch fully

a vertical thread that allows the cat to scratch downwards

Eating grass
A type of grass that cats particularly like is Cocksfoot – it has long broad leaves so it is easy for them to bite. It is believed that eating grass helps cats to cough up hairballs. If your cat can’t go outside, Cocksfoot grass can be grown indoors. Seeds are readily available from garden centres and pet shops. If no grass is provided, your cat may try to eat other household plants which can pose a risk.

It is a good idea to have one litter tray per cat, plus one extra – especially if your cats are kept indoors. Place the litter trays in different quiet areas of the house, away from the food and water bowls. Cats don’t like using dirty or soiled trays so make sure the litter tray is cleaned at least once a day. This helps to prevent accidents as well as being more hygienic. Cats generally prefer at least 3cm depth of litter and a litter of a sandy texture. Make any changes to the tray, the litter or its location very slowly to avoid accidents.

Indoor cats can make extremely rewarding pets and giving a home to an FIV positive cat may give you both many years of happiness together. For more information please visit our website www.axhayes.cats.org.uk. Thank you.