Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Tribute to Digit

You may have seen him around reception and the office…our elderly grey and white cat Digit. It has been a really sad day here at the centre, we had to say goodbye to Digit. He peacefully passed away at the vets with Louise our deputy manager by his side this afternoon.

Digit was found living rough in Hemyock two years ago; he came to Axhayes to find a home. We soon discovered that he had renal disease which can limit his chances of finding a new home. After many months unhappy in a pen, it was unfair to keep him in his pen for so long and we were not sure how long he had left. He started hanging around in the office with our managers and receptionists. He was happy curled up on office chairs or sat in a sunny window. He would like to be awkward by walking over keyboards, paperwork and sitting on our till. He was no trouble; he was a good member of the Axhayes team.

He was a bit of a grumpy grey, you could look and you couldn’t touch. He didn’t like being stroked, you might get one stroke maybe two then he had enough and would tell you ‘get off!’ We still loved him and his spirited nature. He would always greet us in the morning by the reception entrance. During his time around the office he met Tom and they got along really well. Digit loved to have whatever Tom was having for breakfast, lunch and tea, even though we would give them the same food and favour. Sadly we lost Tom back in August of this year, now Digit too. 

Digit at our Halloween Spooktacular
Tom on the right hand side
Our office boys will be truly missed by all of our staff and volunteers. We all have happy memories of them.

Rest in Peace Digit and Tom -X-

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Unicorn's kittens update

It's been a month since Unicorn and her eight kittens were rescued from under a dual carriageway bridge by CCA's Diane, Christie and deputy manager Phil. They are settling into cattery life well. All eight kittens Aspen, Betony, Digby, Haddeo, Lucky, Norman, Russell and Rydon are making good progress. They are growing up fast, looking healthier and eating well.

Our CCAs who work on our maternity section are working hard to social these nervous kittens. These kittens have lived outside and had very little human contact, so it's really important for us to socialise them to help them find homes. To help them, we have been handling them lots, playing with them, giving them carpet and listening to the radio. Their confidence with us is growing each and every day. Our two tabbys Rydon and his sister Haddeo are the most outgoing. They love to sit on a lap and purr lots.   

Today CCAs Gemma and Therese gave them a little playhouse a.k.a - a box with a door and windows cut out for them to play with. We've had lots of deliveries and boxes containing prizes for our Halloween event later this week. We were able to give our kittens lots of boxes to play with. They loved playing with the box, pouncing on each through the windows, hide and seek, peak-a-boo and relaxing on the top. Hours of entertainment...for free! 

These kittens not available for homing yet, we will keep you updated with their progress on our blog and facebook page.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Weighing our kittens

One of our many jobs caring for our cats and kittens here at the centre, is weighing them. Each week we weigh our kittens to monitor how they are doing. This is especially important during weaning when they start eating solid food for the first time. When we weigh our kittens, it’s a good time to give them a quick health check and get them used to being handled. We record all of their weights so we can monitor their progress.  

This afternoon Galileo and his siblings had to be weighed so we can adminster the correct dose of wormer. From six weeks old we worm our kittens monthly until they are six months old. These kittens were very hyperactive today, we had to be patient and wait for the scales to settle. We are pleased Galileo and his siblings have gained weight and are doing well. These kittens are not currently up for adoption yet.  

CP Weight watchers – we also weigh our overweight/obese cats which come into the centre. These cats are put on a low calorie diet by our vet and we make they get plenty of exercise. We take to our outside playpen (when it’s not raining of course) to help them lose weight. In their pens we give our cats a variety of toys to play with, boxes to play in and puzzle feeders, these activities can also help our cats stay in shape. Our CCAs and volunteers play games with our cats with the fishing rod toys, ping-pong balls or feather wands too.

Zen and Zorba our water loving kittens!

Who said cats don’t like water? These cheeky brothers can’t seem to get enough of water! They are just fascinated by it! Each and every morning on holding/Admissions we find Zen and Zorba have most of the water in their bowl is all over their pen. We often have to clear up these puddles of water and change their wet blankets daily. We gave them a china bowl, as it’s much heavier, but this hasn’t stopped them. Their new trick of the week is to move the water bowl (spilling it a long the way) around their pen. Their favourite location is to push the bowl in front of the cat flap and run through it when they go in and out. When they greet you, you’re met with soaking wet paws and tails! We still love their antics!

Zen and Zorba have recently moved to rehoming, they are now waiting for someone to choose them. So far they are being well behaved with their water bowl. We think in a home they will love running taps and puddles!  

Did you know?

Some breeds of cat including Bengals, Turkish vans, Maine Coons really enjoy water activity ranging from pawing water from bowls, drinking from a dripping tap, joining you in the shower or even swimming in the pool.

Interested in these two and you live in the Exeter area? Please visit our website at www.axhayes.cats.org.uk for more information. Thank you.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Rescued from under a bridge

On Monday 24 September, we took a call from a lady who had seen a cat & kittens that she was concerned about.  Deputy Manager Phil and CCA Diane went out straight away to check the situation and see if they could rescue them and bring them back to the adoption centre. The site was on the right of this photo where the bridge over the dual carriageway goes into the trees. 

They had to use a cat trap to catch them safely as they could not get close enough to handle them and they were very nervous. They don’t get hurt in this but once they walk in the open end to eat some food, the pedal they stand on releases the catch holding up the open door and then they can’t get out again.

Mum was the first in the trap that evening but we needed her babies to come out or they might have been in danger of dying without her there to feed them. We weren’t sure how old they were and if they had started to eat solid food yet.

We moved mum from the cat trap into a crusher basket. It is called this as the side is able to be moved to allow treatment to be given to a cat that may not tolerate being handled. She was very afraid but did not lash out or try to bite.

Then, we had to wait. And wait… and wait. Due to the location, this meant standing on top of the bridge in view of passing pedestrians and cyclists. We had lots of attention from the public wondering what we were doing. We also met a few cat lovers who had previously adopted from our centre.  

We had been told that there were either 4 or 6 kittens so we had to be patient and make sure we had seen them all. It was Tuesday before we were able to trap any of them and we returned to the bridge with mum. In the morning, 2 went into the trap for some food. Then a few hours later 5 came out for food and we caught 3 more in the trap. 2 of the kittens ran back under the bridge when the trap went off.  When they were hungry again after a nap, they came out for some more food. This time there were 3 kittens. We had more trouble catching these and managed to get 2 of them but the smallest ran away. It was clear we would have to find another way to get the last one. CCA Christie was then asked to join the rescue party. So now we had 7 kittens and 1 still to catch.

CCA Christie returned the next day and waited for hours. The little one didn’t come out. When she came back in the afternoon, it came out from under the bridge and she was able to act quickly by covering it with a large towel and scooping it into a cat carrier. This little kitten was very’ lucky’ to have been rescued so that is what we named her.

 All of the kittens are very nervous like mum as they have not had any human contact before. They improve very quickly when they are so small and we believed they were less than 6 weeks old as they still had blue eyes. Our patient love and attention means they are slowly beginning to trust humans.

Living under a bridge is no place to look after a litter of kittens but that is what this pretty young tabby had to do. We have named her Unicorn and she has 8 lovely kittens. 
4 girls- Aspen, Betony, Haddero and Lucky and 4 boys-Digby, Norman, Russell and Rydon.  Haddero and Rydon are tabby like mum and the other 6 are black.

We are so pleased to have been able to bring them all back to the centre and give them a chance of a better life. They are getting used to us now and will be ready for homing in the next few months. We will keep you updated with their progress. 

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Black Cat Day - 25th October

Help black cats in Exeter improve their luck...

Cats Protection’s Exeter Axhayes Adoption centre is holding its annual National Black Cat Day on Thursday 25th October to encourage more people to adopt unwanted black moggies.

The charity aims to raise awareness of the plight of black cats which tend to lose out on homes to more colourful varieties.

Nationally, the UK’s leading feline welfare charity currently has around 1,300 black cats in its care and says that homes are far less easy to find for black cats than other felines. We currently have approximately 30 black cats and kittens at Axhayes. We have 16 black cats and kittens in our homing section, ready to find new homes. On Saturday 27th October we will be hosting a Halloween Spooktacular at the centre, please come along and say hello to our black cats and kittens.

To raise awareness, the charity is encouraging people to upload pictures and stories of their own black cats our Facebook page www.facebook.com/cpexeteraxhayes or our national Cats Protection Facebook page www.facebook.com/catsprotection.

Here are some of our black cats and kittens looking for homes…..  

2 year old male black cat

Time and patience is what this little cat is in need of. He has come to us as a stray so we have absolutely no history about him. All we do know is that he has spent sometime living on his wits. He is so young and life has already been incredibly tough. We are sure that with the right care and affection he will become a great pet as he is already showing some promise, he had a small abscess on his shoulder and there was never any problems he just let us wash it. He is a star.

6 year old female black cat

Thanks to a very thoughtful person I was bought to the centre after I was found homeless and hungry. As you can see I am a very beautiful girl, if I may say so myself and i am looking for someone who appreciates just how amazing I am! I am very playful and affectioante and am looking for a home where I will be loved and spoilt like I deserve! If you feel like you are what im looking for than please take me home today and I promise I will love you forever!!

Puddle duck and Waggle dance
5 month old male black kittens

Me and my brother were bought into the centre with our mum, after she was forced to give birth to us on the streets. We are energetic, playful and very curious! This is why we would like a nice safe garden so that we can explore the outside world safely away from dangerous roads and traffic. After we have finished playing we love to snuggle down and sleep so we would love a nice warm home, with a loving family, to be able to do all this. So all we need now is your love!!

2 month old male black kitten

This poor little chap was made an orphan after his mother was sadly involved in a road accident. A kind lady contacted us and he came in to us hoping to find a loving family. Bamboo is quite a character, he’s a typical lively youngster, loves attention, he loves playing and also he loves to sit on shoulders. He needs a home in away from busy roads and traffic so he can safely play and explore the world around him. Can you give this loveable cheeky chap the home he deserves?

6 month old male black kitten

Handsome little man who was found half starved in somebody's shed; he is such a friendly affectionate chap it makes you wonder how on earth he could ever have got into that predicament anyway. He would love a new family to take him home, will you pass him by or will he be the one for you?

If you would like to adopt any of our lucky black cats or kittens please contact us on 01395 232377 or please visit our official website www.axhayes.cats.org.uk for more information, thank you. 

Monday, 15 October 2012

Homing update - 15th October

We have had a fantastic couple of weeks homing; the girls at Axhayes have been very busy getting cats ready to leave the centre. We have had another good weekend rehoming our long-stayers. You may remember our kittens Foxglove and Bluebell in a previous blog many months ago. These kittens are famous on our social networking sites; they have starred in our youtube video called “The Life of an Axhayes kitten”. This video took me 9-12 weeks to record.

Nearly seven months later, these adorable kittens have finally found a new home together. Their new owners saw their video on our youtube channel and fell in love with them. We were so delighted on Saturday afternoon, myself and CCA Diane gave them lots of cuddles while getting them ready to go. Before our cats/kittens leave the centre, we give them a quick check over, we weigh them, we flea and worm them if necessary and we double check their microchips are correct on their paperwork. Once all of this is done, they are put into a cat carrier and leave the building with their new owners.
We are so pleased for them, Diane and I saw them born on Mother's Day afternoon and after videoing them for the first 9-12 weeks of their life we’ve all had a soft spot for them. It was really nice to see them go. We've already had an update via Facebook telling us they are doing well, Foxglove is enjoying his tummy tickled.  

This afternoon our long stayer Lennie who needed a special home because he has FIV (Feline Immunodefiency Virus) has finally found a new home. He has always been very popular with our visitors, volunteers, and of course our CCAs. He likes to sit at the front of his pen calling out to passers by (Meow meow meow) he loves to chat and churp to people. Lennie has been with us since April, now after six months, he has finally found himself a new home and new family. We are delighted for him. Good things come to those who wait.

You may also remember our blind kitten appeal a couple of months ago. We had two partially sighted kittens Ganesh and Harvey (and his sister Bianca). Harvey and Bianca went to their new home this weekend. Their new owners have already been in touch with us via our Facebook page. They have been renamed them Jack and Sparrow. They are really enjoying their new home; they have been lying in the sunshine in the kitchen, playing lots, running about and enjoying cuddles on their laps. We are so pleased Harvey and Bianca are happy in their new home after spending all summer with us.

Their siblings Sid and Maz have also been reserved this weekend, and will be going to their new home later this week. These adorable kittens have also starred in two youtube videos of their own. These kittens came to us very poorly and weak, after lots of TLC, they bounced back into healthy happy kittens. We are so pleased they have all been rehomed.

We thought we'd share this photo of Harvey and Bianca (Jack and Sparrow) relaxing on a lap at home.

If you would like to adopt any of our cats or kittens, please contact us on 01395 232377 or please visit our website at www.axhayes.cats.org.uk for more information about our homing policy. Please visit our Facebook page too :-)

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Shy and timid cats

While most cats settle into new homes quickly, some cats remain fearful despite a gentle welcome and time to get used to their new surroundings. Do not be too disappointed if your shy or timid cat tries to hide or run away from you. Showing patience and sensitivity will go a long way to ensure that you have a happy and extremely rewarding relationship with your cat.

Why is my cat so shy?

Shyness could be due to:
-          an inherited tendency – like people, some cats are naturally more anxious than others
-          a lack of contact with humans – if young kittens are not properly socialised with people they will not learn that people are a normal part of life and so may be stressed around them
-          a previous frightening experience that has made the cat fearful

What are the signs of shyness or timidity?

Cats communicate in a much more subtle way than humans and dogs. It is often difficult to recognise that your cat is attempting to tell you to move away. If your cat retreats to hiding places, cringes, cowers away or displays dilated pupils and/or flattened ears he is displaying signs of being frightened.

This fear can develop into aggression – where your cat adopts “fight” as a tactic instead of “flight”. Aggression usually develops because the cat feels cornered or trapped, or because he has previously learned that flight is unsuccessful. Avoid putting your cat into this situation and ensure he can always get away if he wants to.

Managing shy cats

There are a number of things you can do to make your cat feel more comfortable. With patience your cat will learn not to be afraid but you must take it step by step. It helps to:

-          Provide plenty of refuges for your cat around the house. Cats de-stress quicker if they can hide, preferably in high and/or dark locations e.g. in cardboard boxes, on shelves, behind sofas or under a bed.
-          Use synthetic scent pheromones. Available from your vet, these can create a reassuring environment for your cat and may help to reduce stress
-          Sit quietly in your cat’s vicinity to allow him to get used to you in his own time. Ignore him while you read a book or take a nap so that he does not feel pressurised. Do this while he is eating so he associates your presence with something positive. The time you spend near him can be built up gradually as he adjusts
-          Let your cat make the first move – direct approaches are extremely threatening so don’t force attention on your cat
-          Narrow your eyes and turn your face away to reassure your cat that you are not a threat

As your cat becomes braver, try:

-          Talking to your cat quietly in a calming tone – this is an excellent way to bond
-          Rewarding your cat with a treat when he approaches you. At first, give the treat as soon as your cat approaches but gradually increase the time between the approach and the treat. Over a period of weeks, work up to being able to calmly stroke your cat once or twice before giving the treat
-          Using toys you can for him, or fishing rod toys that invite the cat to interact without him feeling threatened by close contact.

Most importantly, never lose your temper or try to force your cat to socialise too quickly as this will reinforce his fears. Build on your successes gradually so your cat has time to learn that everything is not a threat, and that it is worth overcoming his fear for the reward of being around you! In some cases, you may find guidance from your vet or a pet behaviourist useful.

Overcoming a cat’s shyness through patient handling and care often leads to an extremely rewarding and close relationship between owner and cat and is well worth the extra time and effort.