Wednesday, 9 August 2017

How you can live with cat allergies

During hayfever/allergy season we thought we'd share this article from "The Cat" Magazine (Summer 2016). We have many cats which come into our care due to their owners suffering with cat allergies.

Cats might be Britain’s favourite pets, they’re also thought to be one of the most common causes of allergies. Sadly, many owners decide to give up their cats when symptoms of allergy strike, and while it may seem like the only option, there are many alternatives to ensure you keep your cat companion without impacting your health.

How do cats cause allergies?

Most people believe that airborne cat fur/hair is the cause of allergy symptoms, but this is not always the case. The symptoms you’re experiencing are more likely to be caused by a protein called Fel d 1 originating from sebum found in a cat’s sebaceous glands. Ironically, a cat’s attempts at keeping themselves clean may be the very reason allergies are exacerbated – this protein attaches itself to dried skin called dander and is carried through the air when cats groom themselves.

Dander can spread throughout your home and even be carried on your clothing, so it can often feel difficult to escape your symptoms. In some cases, repeated exposure to an individual cat can ease symptoms over time, although there is not yet enough research to support this.
How do I know if I have an allergy?

Red eyes, runny nose and itching are all signs you might be allergic to something. While these symptoms can be irritating, it is just your immune system’s unfortunate way of fighting off substances that might harm your body.

Before you blame your family pet, you need to determine whether it is indeed your cat that is causing your allergic reaction. There are many allergens encountered in the home, with the most common found in dust mites, pollen and mould spores – your itchy eyes and runny nose could just as likely be down to your old mattress rather than your feline friend.

Your local GP is the first place to visit. Simple tests will be able to confirm whether or not your cat is the cause and you’ll be able to discuss options such as antihistamine tablets or nasal sprays to ease your symptoms in the interim.

What next?

Taking antihistamines might be a good short term solution but adapting your lifestyle is the only way you’ll be able to cope with your allergy symptoms in the long term. Reducing the amount of allergens in your home is key and there are a number of simple things you can do.

Close encounters

Avoid letting your cat lick your hands or face. Cats harbour many bacterial organisms in their mouth and allergens are particularly present in saliva
Keep your cat’s fur clean. While previous advice suggested that bathing a cat would reduce the spread of dander, this is no longer recommended for owners or the cat, and we would certainly not recommend anyone washes their cat unless absolutely necessary! Using cleansing wipes to gently remove allergens from the fur is a much less stressful way to keep your kitty clean
Although it might seem obvious, washing your hands after petting your cat is highly important. We touch our face many times throughout the day and forgetting to clean your hands thoroughly can worsen your symptoms

In the zone

Designate areas in the house as pet-free zones to limit the amount of dander in the household. While you might enjoy having your cat sleep on your bed, allergies often become worse at night and keeping your moggy away from your bedroom is a good way to relieve your symptoms
Grooming your cat regularly can result in fewer allergens being released into the atmosphere. Make sure you brush them outside in the garden and preferably in old clothes to ensure no allergens filter through to your home
Insulated homes don’t just trap heat, they trap allergens too. Opening windows for an hour each day can increase ventilation

House rules

If your house is carpeted, it is important you vacuum often. Cat hair and dander can easily get caught in the carpet and intensify your symptoms, so a thorough clean at least once a week is recommended. Sprinkle baking soda, a substance harmless to cats, on your floor before you vacuum to eliminate any pet odours
Although hardwood or linoleum floors don’t attract hair in the same way, it is important you vacuum these areas too as sweeping will push allergens back into the air
Wash your cat’s bedding, accessories and litter trays regularly. Fel d 1 can also be released through your pet’s saliva or urine, so keeping these items fresh is important

Shop smart

There are a number of great products designed for those suffering from allergies and adapting your lifestyle will ensure that you and your cat continue to live side by side.

Invest in a washable allergen pillow and cover. Made from polyester and cotton, the fabric prevents a collection of allergy triggers and can be washed easily and regularly without damage
While fresh air is important to keep allergies at bay, unpredictable weather means it isn’t always possible to keep windows open. An air purifier will limit the amount of allergens in your home
Using a vacuum with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter limits the amount of dander into the atmosphere. Alternatively, you can choose to wear a dust mask when using your vacuum
Allergy control solutions, such as sprays, can be used on furniture and upholstery to alter cat allergens and make them less reactive. Use these according to manufacturer’s instructions and check they are safe for use around pets.

While it might take some time and a little trial and error to find out what is best for you and your cat, there are plenty of solutions that don’t have to result in you giving up your family pet. Hopefully these tips will make a world of difference. (Source: Cats Protection - The Cat Magazine)

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Greg Update

Greg is our lovable stray who came from the Midlands back in January. He was in such a terrible condition when he first came in, and he was aged as a senior cat with flu medications prescribed. Over time it became apparent that he was suffering from more than just a simple cold. Off his food and looking very sad he was taken into a foster home to bring him back to the energetic, lovable cat we knew he could be.

Four months on and several tests later we were still no closer to a diagnosis for Greg so the decision was made to make the journey to a specialist vet in Bristol for an ultrasound scan. Finally we have a diagnosis - Greg has a portosystemic shunt meaning the liver is not working to its full capacity and can have detrimental effects on his body and brain. This is a life threatening condition that without intervention would cause poor Greg to have short unhappy life.
Greg recovering at our local vets

In May we launched our Gorgeous Greg appeal hoping to raise £2,500 for this life living operation to repair his liver shunt. Greg travelled up to Bristol to have his liver shunt operation. Greg spent a week in their ICU whilst recovering from his operation. He did suffer some side effects now his liver was functioning properly and had to continue some of his medication. He returned to our local veterinary hospital for another week during his recovery process.
Back at Axhayes

Last week Greg returned to our adoption centre, still a bit wobbly on his legs but feeling more like himself, he is getting stronger day by day. He is back to his usual cuddly self. Over night he stays in his foster home with CCA Jackie. Our Gorgeous Greg appeal in the end raised £3,545, which is fantastic and we can't thank everyone enough for your generosity. We are slowly reducing his medication and we are able to use any addition money to pay for his medication and any future scans. Greg will continue his recovery at the centre and his foster home until he is fit and well enough to be adopted. We will continue to keep you up to date with Greg's progress. Again, a HUGE thank you to everyone who donated towards Greg's life-saving operation. 

For more details about our adoption centre please visit our website -

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Reunited after 5 years!!! How Ringo's microchip helped him find his way home.

During June we are promoting National Microchipping Month. National Microchipping Month is a campaign that encourages and promotes reponsible pet ownership through microchipping as the preferred method of permanent identification. 

Microchipping is the most effective way to identify a lost pet, and by keeping your details up to date, you'll increase the likelihood of a happy reunion if your cat goes wandering. You can get your cat microchipped by a vet, local authority or by a trained and insured member of an animal welfare organisation.

There is no minimum age to microchip your cat, and the procedure is simple and doesn't cause harm to your pet. Once the chip is inserted, your cat won't even be aware of its presence.
Ringo in our care

Only six days into June (aka National Microchipping Month) we meet a lovely cat called Ringo. He was found on a farm hungry and desperately looking for his next meal. After hanging around for a week, the owners of the farm contacted us for help. Our deputy manager Phil collected him and brought him into our care. During his routine health check, we found that Ringo had a microchip and had in fact been missing since August 2012! His owner had moved house during this time, thankfully she had updated her new address and telephone number so we were able to contact her. His owner was delighted we have found her cat Ringo after all of this time. She was happy for us to share his story to help promote the importance of microchipping your cat but also to update your address and telephone if you move house. We are delighted he has found his way home after all this time.

Reunited at last

To find out more details about microchipping your cat, please follow the link below

If you cat is already microchipped, when moving house please remember to change your address details on the central database when you move. In the UK, you can update your cat’s registered details by contacting your existing UK database company, or Petlog – on 0844 4633 999 or via – or Anibase – on 01904 487 600 or via If moving abroad, simply putting your cat through PETS or quarantine does not automatically update your records, so it is important that you remember to do this. For your own records also keep your cat’s unique microchip number safe. There may be a small fee when updating your details, but worth it to get your feline friend home.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Greg's Appeal

Gorgeous Greg came into our care as a stray with no history and no definite age. Greg was in such a terrible condition when he first came in, he was aged as a senior cat with flu medications prescribed. Over time it became apparent that he was suffering from more than just a simple cold. Off his food and looking very sad he was taken into a foster home to bring him back to the energetic, lovable cat we knew he could be.

Greg a week after arriving
Four months on and several tests later we were still no closer to a diagnosis for Greg so the decision was made to make the journey to a specialist vet in Bristol for an ultrasound scan. Finally we have a diagnosis - Greg has a portosystemic shunt meaning the liver is not working to its full capacity and can have detrimental effects on his body and brain. This is a life threatening condition that without intervention would cause poor Greg to have short unhappy life.
The good news is, this can be repaired by performing an ameroid constricter surgery to redirect the blood to get the liver working efficiently. Of course it is not without risks and expense (£2,500) but we are hopeful that being in excellent body condition Gorgeous Greg will bounce right back.

Greg at his foster home
Greg at the vets awaiting diagnosis
We need your help to pay for Greg's surgery so please donate to help us reach our target. If we are fortunate to raise over & above our £2,500 target, all surplus donations will go towards treating other cats and kittens in our care at Exeter Axhayes A/C. If you like to help Greg you can donate via JustGiving, Text Donation or donating to his appeal on our reception desk at the centre.

Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving - they'll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they'll send your money directly to the charity. So it's the most efficient way to donate - saving time and cutting costs for the charity. If you would like to donate to Greg’s Appeal – please follow the link below to our JustGiving page.
You can also donate by texting GGLS50 followed by amount £x to 70070.

Check out Greg's video below... he's a very cuddly boy!!! We will keep you posted on his journey whilst in our care. From Greg and everyone at Exeter Axhayes Adoption Centre THANK YOU!

For more information about our adoption centre, check out our website at

Monday, 8 May 2017

Moggies Marvellous for Mental Health

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, we thought we'd share this article written a few years back by Cats Protection to promote the benefits cats can have on our Mental Health....

Our cats have a special knack for bringing a smile to our faces, whether it's through furry kisses and cuddles or entertaining antics. It's no surprise that a survey conducted by Cats Protection and the Mental Health Foundation found that 87% of people who owned a cat felt it had a positive impact on their wellbeing, while 76% said they could cope with everyday life much better thanks to the company of their feline friends. Half of the cat owners felt that their cat’s presence and companionship was most helpful, followed by a third of respondents describing stroking a cat as a calming and helpful activity.

The study was carried out in July and August 2011 and involved over 600 cat and non-cat-owning respondents, with half of them describing themselves as currently having a mental health problem. Cats Protection is keen to highlight how looking after a pet can bring structure to people’s day, reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness and even lower blood pressure.

In addition to this, a cat’s purr is widely recognised as having therapeutic benefits for humans. “Sitting with a relaxed purring cat at the end of a hectic day is a soothing massage for the soul,” said Cat Jarvis from Cats Protection. “Perhaps this is because the reassuring hum is generally associated with calmness and gentle communication, or perhaps it is because the frequency of the vibration is in the range that can stimulate healing.”
“The research findings tell us what cat lovers have known for years – cats are not just great company but they can also be very good for you.”

Cats Protection has thousands of cats ready for adoption across the UK and works hard to match the right cat to the right home. For more information about our cats and kittens ready for adoption here at Exeter Axhayes Adoption Centre, please visit our website...

If you are currently unable to adopt a cat, why not became a volunteer cat socialiser, to get your weekly cuddles with our adorable cats and kittens.

(Source: Cats Protection)

(The study is based on a sample size of 621. Data was collected between July and August 2011 via Mental Health Foundation’s website/social networking sites. The majority of respondents were women (83 per cent) aged between 26 and 55 (78 per cent).)

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Air guns and cats

You may have seen this petition on Facebook recently but if you haven't, please have a look at it now.

We are asking as many people as we can to sign and share it so that we can get the law changed. We are aiming for 50,000 signatures and with your help we will get there.

We have had a cat in our care in the past that was shot and injured. The pellet was flattened when it hit his skull and he was very lucky that he didn't receive a more serious injury or even been killed.

The piece of metal in the cats head 

After veterinary treatment, this injury healed and the cat was able to be rehomed.

Cats Protection monitors reports in the press of cats who have been shot with an air gun. In 2016, 202 cats in the UK were reported in the press as being shot with an air gun. Crucially, 90% of these attacks were in England and Wales.

On the petition link above, you will find a video about the campaign and stories about some of the cats that have been affected.

Jalapeno who lost an eye from being shot

We believe making it illegal to buy, own or use an air gun without a license will stop these deadly weapons falling into the hands of those that would use them to harm cats and reduce the number of cats killed or left with life-changing injuries.

Thank you for taking the time to read & sign this petition to help us to change the law on air gun ownership in England & Wales.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Bear's Story and what to do if you find a stray cat?

Bear's Story 

Poor Bear is one of the many stray cats we take into our care every year. He was found living rough on the grounds of the Police headquarters in Exeter. He would often sleep in a car they used for training or in any open storage buildings. Luckily he was spotted by a kind lady who noticed he was desperately trying to seek warmth and shelter. He was very frightened and wary of people, getting near him was tricky. After borrowing one of our traps, she continued to feed him and look out for him. It took many weeks before he was eventually trapped and brought into our care. Our Facebook team and members of the public had shared his photos around the local Facebook lost and found groups, posters put up, but sadly no owner had come forward.   

Bear sleeping in a car

Successfully trapped and on the way to our centre

Understandably he was very frightened on arrival to our centre. After lots of TLC from our CCAs, he remembers what it was like to have attention once again. He loves curling up on a lap and enjoys tickles. He has also been enjoying the perks of cattery life, which includes shelter, a warm bed, and regular meals and of course lots of fuss and attention. Bear is now available for adoption, we are hoping he will find love and happiness once again in a new home…..  
Helping Bear settle in

Bear now - enjoying some lap time with one of our CCAs
What to do if you find a stray cat?

Most cats are by nature, inclined to wander - so it seems inevitable that you might come across a stray. Unlike dogs, there are very few laws that give cats legal protection and for our helpline team, one of the most frequently asked questions is what to do when finding a stray cat.

Is it a stray cat?

Cats can often appear lost and wanting for food and this doesn’t necessarily mean they are a stray. If the cat appears a healthy weight and well groomed, they might belong to someone else – worth thinking about before you take the cat in for yourself.
Ask your neighbours if they recognise the cat. There might be someone in the local area frantically searching for their lost pet. Check out local newspapers for listings of a missing cat, or post up a photo on community Facebook groups.

What should I do if I find a stray cat?
If the cat is friendly enough to approach, check if there is a collar or ID tags – if it belongs to someone, you can give them a call to arrange a happy reunion. If there are no visible signs of ownership, take the cat to your local veterinary clinic or Cats Protection branch. The cat will be scanned for a microchip and contact can be made with the registered owners.

Keep the cat safe

In the meantime, keep the lost cat safe and provide it with food and clean water. It is advised not to give a cat cow’s milk as many are lactose intolerant. If you’re unable to take the cat home with you, you might want to provide it with a temporary shelter. Try a sturdy cardboard box with an old blanket or some straw inside. A piece of waterproof sheeting secured over the top will help keep the rain out. Make sure it’s properly and safely weighted down to stop it being blown away by the wind.

Advertise the found cat
Download our poster pack of on our the Cats Protection website to advertise the missing cat in your local area – it might just catch someone’s eye. You can also report the cat as found on the Animal Search UK website. Post a picture on your local area’s Facebook group as well as the Cats Protection page, Animal Search UK and CatAware pages. Do the same on Twitter; you’re likely to reach a larger number of people if you ask your followers to retweet.

I’m worried about a stray cat’s health

A lost cat might be nervous, especially if sick and injured – so approach with caution. The safest way to move the cat is to carefully cover him in a blanket before picking him up. This keeps the cat safe as well as shielding you from claws!

If you’re worried about the health of the cat, call the RSPCA on its emergency number 0300 1234 999 (UK). If the cat is injured, take it to your nearest veterinary practice immediately. Vets have a duty of care to treat sick and injured animals and will help an injured stray cat at no cost to the finder.

I’ve found stray kittens. What should I do?
If you find stray kittens, you should first check that their mother is around. There might be no sign of the kitten’s mother but she may be frightened to return while you are there.
Check in a few hours and if the mother has not returned, you should call your local vet or Cats Protection branch. Give them as much detail as possible about the environment the kittens are in and they should be able to advise you on the best thing to do in this situation.

Kittens need veterinary care with worming, vaccinations and neutering before being rehomed, so it’s best to hand them into a rehoming centre as soon as possible.

I’ve accidentally hit a cat with my car. What should I do?
Unfortunately it is not unusual for cats to be involved in car accidents and although there is no law requiring you to report it, making an attempt to let the owner know is a good thing to do. If the cat is killed and you are able to pick it up, take it to a vet or rehoming centre to be scanned for a microchip. While it isn’t an easy thing to do, it’s always better for owners to know what has happened to their cat.

If the cat is alive and injured, take them to your nearest veterinary clinic. The vet should be able to find an owner or speak to a local rehoming centre to take in the cat after treatment.

How can Cats Protection help?
If you’ve had no luck in finding the lost cat’s owner, pick up the phone and speak to our National Helpline on 03000 12 12 12. They can give you the details of your nearest Cats Protection branch for a lost and found register. The Helpline team will also be able to send you some paper collars - you can also download these by following this link 
Put these on the cat with your contact details asking people to get in touch if the cat belongs to them.

Thankfully, many missing cats are reunited with their owners and in 2014, we helped reunite 3,000 cats with their owners. Unfortunately, there are cases where the cat has been abandoned and no owner will come forward. If you have no luck in finding an owner, contact your local Cats Protection branch. Our volunteers and staff will do their best to locate an owner and if no owner can be found, they’ll find a loving home for them. (SOURCE: Cats Protection)