Monday, 30 July 2012

Kitten Socialisation

Kittens grow up so quickly!

We started having kittens born at the centre in March and recently had three pregnant queens come in that delivered a week apart.

This is Tabitha and she has four kittens.
She has two sons Alf and Xavier and two daughters Indie and Irene.

These photos were taken on the 9th July when they were 3 weeks old.

It was amazing to see the differences in the three litters and watch the growth of the kittens day by day. All kittens are born blind and deaf and open their eyes about ten days. These three litters were very advanced and some of them even had their eyes open at birth! 

The eyes remain blue until about six weeks old and then they start to change colour. They learn to eat and use a litter tray by watching their mother.

Play and other cat social behaviour is learnt from their siblings. 

Irene and Xavier working out who’s in charge!

They are very inquisitive and interested in everything going on around them.

Alf is surprised by my camera!

We are taking part in a kitten socialisation study. The Cat Longitudinal Analysis of Welfare Study, or ‘C.L.A.W.S.’, is an exciting new study being undertaken by researchers at the University of Bristol. They aim to collect a range of information on kittens aged 2 – 6 months until they are 2 years old. Collecting information about kittens early on in life and then following their development into adult cats will inform them of how the early environment of a kitten shapes his/her later health and behaviour.

To find out more about this click on this link-

They are playing with different toys, getting used to new experiences such as walking on carpet and sounds like hearing music on the radio. For kittens born in a home, lots of things will be natural to them but the environment here is very different. We don’t have a TV, carpet, doorbell, hoovers, etc. We do have a lovely retriever dog, Max, who loves all the cats and kittens and it’s very useful for them to meet him too. 

Imagine how you would feel if someone took you to a strange place with sounds and smells you don’t recognise. This is why we provide advice about settling in your new kittens. We have leaflets to take away and are always happy to answer any questions you might have once you get home. 

This is Indie, she looks just like her mum.

Keep watching our blog for more kitten stories and updates on the cats at our centre.

If you are interested in adopting any of our adorable kittens, please contact us via our website at, thank you.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Summer is here!

After weeks of rain, we finally have some sunny weather here in Exeter. Our cats and kittens are enjoying the warm sunshine. Our cats on the sunny side of the cattery have enjoyed lying in the sun.  

Bluebell and Foxglove are still waiting for a home, they were born here at Axhayes back in March 2012. These two are growing up fast. They are now 4 months old and they only know life at Axhayes. To help give them an idea of what a garden is like and what grass feels like under their feet, this afternoon CCAs Gemma and Christie took them out to the playpen outside. Our outside playpen was built a few years ago and is situated on the hill near to our maternity pens. It’s a great way for our cats to get some exercise, fresh air and for any potential adopters to spend time with them. If it’s the cats first time in the pen, we will stay with them to give them reassurance and make sure they are ok before we leave them alone and we come back to check on them lots.

Once Foxglove and Bluebell were inside the pen, we opened their basket, Bluebell was first out to explore her strange new surroundings and Foxglove soon followed her. They had fun exploring the pen, the tunnel, slide, tree stump and lots of toys scattered around the pen. They also listened out for the strange noises from the planes and birds flying over head. Bluebell decided she would try eating some grass while Foxglove was interested his refection in the water bowl. Foxglove loved hiding in the long grass, especially pouncing on an unsuspecting Bluebell. They both loved stalking in the long grass and pouncing on each other and the toys. After lots of play fighting and hunting practice, they enjoyed relaxing and sunbathing until they were taken back to their pen an hour later. 

We decided to take Morpheus and Trinity up to our outside playpen too, as they have not experienced the outdoors. Once we let them out of the basket, we stayed with them to see whether they were happy or terrified of the pen. Trinity was a bit hesitant at first, meowing and running back to us for reassurance. Morpheus was taking it all in his stride, they very quickly got used to the sounds and grass. They were soon running around the pen, pouncing on each other in the grass, play fighting and sunbathing in the afternoon sun. An hour later, we brought them back down to the centre just in time for their teatime.

Foxglove & Bluebell, Morpheus & Trinity are still looking for homes in a safe area. All of these kittens are very friendly, affectionate and very playful, they will make wonderful additions to a home. For more information please visit our official website at, thank you.

Foxglove and Bluebell have starred in their own film on our Youtube channel called “The Life of an Axhayes kitten” with their mum and other siblings. Please follow our facebook links to view their video.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Our Friends of Group

Would you like to become a Friend of Exeter Axhayes?

Our Friends of Axhayes Adoption Centre are a group of volunteers who organise fundraising events and activities to raise money for the centre. We cannot carry out our vital work of rehoming and helping hundreds of cats every year without funds; so by becoming a fundraising volunteer you could really be at the forefront of helping cats in your area. If you have a passion for cats and can spare some time to fundraise or be an advocate for the charity's work, then we would love to hear from you! Even sparing a few hours a week could make a huge difference.

One of our biggest events organised by our Friends of Group is our Easter Eggstravaganza! This event has been held at the adoption centre grounds and it’s a great day out for the family! There are lots of cats and kittens to meet, food stalls, book stalls, toy stalls, our very own bouncy castle and of course the Easter Egg Hunt. This event has been getting bigger every year, we are really excited about next year!

Photo Courtesy of Gary Wakeham

Photo courtesy of Gary Wakeham

Our Firewalk was held on 20th October 2011, that evening 25 people including Axhayes staff, volunteers and members of the public walked over hot coals to raise money for a much needed feral enclosure to be built at the centre. This event was a huge success! Lots of people came out to support our Firewalkers. We would like to again thank everyone who took part and donated money to our Firewalkers, St David’s Veterinary Group for sponsoring the event and Time4Change. The total amount raised from our Firewalk was just under £4,000 which is fantastic! Our Feral Enclosure plans are currently being submitted to the planners, we will keep you updated on our progress on our blog and Facebook page.

Photo courtesy of Mike Slater
Photo courtesy of Mike Slater

Tesco and Street Collections – Our Friends of Group, cat-loving volunteers and Axhayes staff have taken to the streets of Exeter collecting money for our cats. Tesco Honiton and Exe Vale stores kindly allowed us to collect money from kind members of the public. We happily answered any cat related questions they had and gave out leaflets and stickers. These collections have helped raise some much needed funds for our cats. 

Our Coffee mornings started with our Christmas Mince Pie and Coffee Morning back in December 2011, we have held a couple more since then. Our Friends of Group set up a tea, coffee and homemade cake stall in our reception area at the centre. All of the money raised from our coffee mornings goes straight to the adoption centre. In addition to that, these coffee mornings have helped find homes for our cats and kittens. Our next coffee morning will be held on Saturday 11th August 2012 from 11am until 2pm. Please come along for a cup of coffee, a slice of homemade cake and to meet our wonderful cats here at the centre!    

We would like to say a HUGE thank you to our members of our Friends of Exeter Axhayes Group. Thanks to them we have had coffee mornings at the centre, done street collections, as well as high profile events like the Easter Eggstravaganza and the Firewalk. The money they have raised have helped us buy new beds, scratching posts, toys and money towards building our Feral Enclosure. We have lots more exciting fundraising events in the future, please check out our events page on our website and Facebook page. If you would like to help by baking a cake or to donate prizes for raffles and tombolas for any of our events please contact our centre, we really appreciate any donations made.  

If you are interested in becoming a fundraising volunteer, please contact us on 01395 232 377 for more information. Or you can email us at We look forward to hearing from you :) Thank you.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Happy Ending - Johnny Ray

A couple of weeks ago we told you the story of Johnny Ray. This poor little chap was found all alone in a graveyard, luckily for him, a kind cat-loving lady contacted us. Our CCA's Christie and Debbie went out in the van to rescue him. He spent some time in a foster home with CCA Gemma before coming to Axhayes to find a new home.

We are pleased to tell you that Johnny Ray has been rehomed. Our receptionist Fi and her husband fell in love with him this weekend, Johnny left Axhayes on Sunday. He has now been renamed Sergei. We have been told by Fi that Sergei is settling in really well in his new home. He has enjoyed lots of fuss and attention. He has loved playing with his new toys and his favourate place to sit is on his new scratching post, where he can watch TV or look out of the window. His favourite TV shows at the moment are Escape to the Country and Planet's Funniest Animals.

Fi said "He's such a cutie we all love him to bits already!" We are delighted that after his bad start to life, he has finally found a home where he will be loved forever. 

We currently have lots of kittens and cats at our centre looking for new homes, if you are interested in adopting any of them, please visit our website at or call us 01395 232377. Thank you for your support :)  

Monday, 16 July 2012

Caring for our kittens

A day with our kittens in our rehoming section...    

8:30am – Breakfast time – Our kittens were all lined up at their pen doors. They start meowing as soon as they hear the food trolley (with squeaky wheels) coming down the corridor. All of our kittens tuck into their breakfast of wet kitten food. Once everyone is fed, there was silence in the kitten corridor.

9 - 11am – In the morning our cat care assistants are very busy cleaning all of the 60 cat pens inside and out in the rehoming section before we open to the public. The kittens spend this time watching our girls collect their breakfast bowls, clean the pen surfaces, change or make their beds, clean litter trays and sweep the floors. It’s just like room service in a hotel for them. Once the CCAs have finished cleaning, our kittens can relax or play games with their toys or with siblings.

12 noonLunchtime for our kittens! All of our kittens start meowing and sitting at the pen doors as soon as they hear the squeaky wheels of the food trolley. Our kittens enjoyed their lunch.

1pm – 2pm – Most of our kittens like to spend their afternoon, playing with their toys outside in their run, play fighting or wrestling. They also enjoy any attention from the CCAs or volunteers who come to visit them. When lots of potential adopters come in to visit them, our kittens are very busy saying hello to everyone. They start playing games and enjoying lots of strokes and tickles from any visitors. There were not many visitors at the centre today, so our kittens had a quiet afternoon. Our CCAs spent some time this afternoon updating their stories for their pen labels and for the internet. These stories give our potential adopters some information about each cat and kitten(s). This afternoon Dexter and Casey were enjoying a fuss; these lucky ones have been reserved and will be going to their new home later this week. Foxglove and Bluebell were very relaxed this afternoon, they also loved strokes and tickles. Gary and Mark were playing with a ping-pong ball with one of our cat care assistants. Trinity and Morpheus were playing with their circuit toy and being filmed for a video to go onto our Youtube channel this week. Some of our more shy kittens need some extra TLC to help them build up their confidence, it's really important our CCAs and volunteers spend time socialising and playing games with these kittens.   

3pm – An hour before Tea. Walking down the kitten corridor at 3pm, all of them were cuddled up to their siblings in bed a sleep. Very quiet and peaceful in their corridor.    

4 - 5pm – Tea time and our CCAs check all of our kittens are comfortable. They check their beds are ok, check they haven’t knocked their water bowls over and to check they are all eating well. Everyone is doing well today; our CCAs leave the building for the night and back for another day tomorrow. 

All of our kittens are looking for homes where they will be loved forever! If you would like to adopt any of our pairs of kittens at Axhayes, please visit our official website at thank you.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Some of our Golden Oldies

Did you know that a 10 year old cat is only equivalent to a middle aged person? Cats of this age are very homely, love company and are often real lap cats. Many Cats live well into their late teens and even more are enjoying life well into their early twenties. That’s like being 100 in human years – but, alas, they don’t get a telegram from the queen. Just hopefully a loving home with you…Why not consider adopting an older cat?

Our Oldies section of the centre has been quiet and half empty for a few weeks. We’ve been lucky and haven’t had too much trouble finding homes for them. Now we have lots of new oldies filling these pens and they are all looking for new homes. Our Oldies section is a row of ten pens very close to reception, when potential adopters visit the centre these are the first cats they will see.

Here are just a few of our oldies available for homing….

Princess Snuggles 12 years old - Princess Snuggles one of the cutest old girls. As you may have guessed from her name, she is very affectionate and love snuggles. Sadly this adorable cat was found wondering the streets with no home to keep her safe and warm. She has a lot of love to give, if you are looking for an affectionate and loving cat, Princess Snuggles is the cat for you.

Amber 9 years old - Amber is one of our longest stayers on oldies; she is currently in her main rehoming corridor. She is a big girl with a big heart. She came to us back in January after her owner got sick and couldn’t look after her anymore. When Amber came to us she was overweight. She needed to go on a strict diet and have lots of exercise to get back to her former trim self. Which isn’t easy in a cattery environment, although she has managed to lose some weight, we are pleased for her. On sunny days we make sure she goes out into our outside playpen for some exercise. Amber isn’t keen on other cats, so she would need to be homed on her own. Please give Amber a chance.

Marmalade 12 years old - Marmalade is our only male cat on oldies at the moment. When Marmalade's owner became ill he worried so much that he started over-grooming. This worried his owner, and in the end he was going to be put to sleep. Luckily he came to us, and he is gettting better. Marmalade is very sweet - real gentle giant - and would like a nice new quiet home where he can relax and be a devoted companion again.

Florette 12 years old – Florette is another one of our long stayers who has been with us since March. She came to Axhayes when her owners moved house and sadly couldn’t take her with them. Florette is a fabulous cat, she is looking for a comfortable home with a garden she can sit in and explore in. She is looking for someone who will love her forever..  

Maddie 10 years old - Maddie has been with us since March. She came to us when her owners moved house and their child developed an allergy. She spent her whole life with her beloved family and she adored all her creature comforts. She is an absolute sweetie, she loves affectionate on her terms and even at her age she still enjoys chasing toys and playing. She likes to stay close to home if anything she will spend the majority of her time in the house.

Polly 15 years old - URGENT: PLEASE HELP POLLY! – Polly is currently our oldest cat on our oldest section. She is a very sweet little cat who really deserves a chance of happiness in her twilight years. She is very affectionate and loving. All she needs a quiet loving home where she can spent the rest of her days and a comfy lap to curl up on. Is that with you? We really are desperate to home her as soon as possible.

If you would like to adopt any of our golden oldies, please contact us on 01395 232377 or please visit our official website at thank you.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Homing Update - 4th July

We’ve had a wonderful afternoon at Axhayes which was full of surprises!

Two of our famous four kittens (Their youtube video has over 140 hits to date) Dandelion and Violet have been rehomed this afternoon. We are so delighted somebody has finally chosen these two; the four of them are the friendliest kittens on our kitten corridor. They are always purring loudly and run over to greet you when you open their door. Their brother and sister Foxglove and Bluebell are still looking for a home. Dandelion and Violet had a quick cuddle with CCA’s Gemma and Debbie (who saw them being born a few months ago) before leaving the centre to their new home.  

More great news! Our loveable Persian Gertie has left the building too. She went down to our vets in Exeter for treatment today. While she was there Peter the manager there at our vets has fallen in love with her and has taken her home. Our Deputy manager Louise quoted “She has been adopted by one of the top vets in the ‘world’!” A very happy ending for our Gertie.

Tinkerbell was featured in our first post on our blog. Her kittens Peter Pan and Tiger Lily were rehomed very quickly. Tinkerbell found the move to the main building quite scary at first, she hid outside from everyone. CCA’s Christie, Debbie and Gemma spent lots of time encouraging her to come inside and showing her that everything is ok. Tinkerbell now loves being in her pen and showing off to the public by purring really loudly. She is a sweet loving cat, she’s very affectionate and has lots of love to give. 

If you would like to adopt Tinkerbell please contact us on 01395 232377 or please visit our website for more information about her   

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Johnny Ray's story

We would like to introduce you to our adorable kitten Johnny Ray! Poor Johnny hasn’t had to best start in life, he was found in a graveyard all alone with no home to go to. Luckily for him, a kind cat-loving lady found him and contacted us. Our CCA’s Christie and Debbie went out in the van to rescue him and brought him back to Axhayes. He spent his first few days in a foster home with CCA Gemma, where he had a nice meal and warm comfy bed to sleep in. He then slept and slept and slept all evening in his pen. Even the Euro 2012 Football on the TV didn’t wake him up. Bless him!

During the next few days in his foster home, he was a very busy kitten, batting ping-pong balls around the laminate flooring, watching the football, enjoying a fuss (purring lots) and getting into a bit of mischief. Kittens will be kittens!

By the end of the week, Johnny Ray needed to see our vet, so he moved into a pen at Axhayes. Johnny is doing well at the centre, he is settling in to cattery life well, but what he really wants now is a family and a loving home. He’s now in our rehoming section with CCA’s Christie, Gemma, Debbie and Michelle caring for him. Johnny is quite a character; he’s very lively and very loving. He is a smashing little chap; he really wants someone who will love him forever.

Yesterday morning CCA Christie gave Johnny-Ray a fun new toy, which was a Christmas tree spring toy, with lots of toy balls hanging from it and a star on the top. He loved this toy! He was jumping on it, wresting with the toy and pouncing on the balls and mice. It kept him entertained for ages. Johnny Ray has had many visitors to his pen, he likes to climb on to peoples shoulders and look around. He was given a puzzle toy which Holly our work experience student made for him, he managed to find a few treats, but then wanted attention from Holly instead. Today Johnny has been very busy; he had lots of visitors at his pen including the CCA’s, our deputy manager Louise, our work experience girls and our cat cuddling volunteers. He had lots of cuddles, lots of shoulders to sit on, playing lots of games and some cat treats too.

He is a fabulous kitten with lots of love to give. He will make a wonderful addition to your home.
Johnny is currently up for adoption; please visit our website for more information about him.