Friday, 24 April 2015

Not yet over the hill, but often overlooked

 As your cat enters his golden years, he’ll need some extra understanding for his changing lifestyle. Cats are generally considered geriatric from around 12 years of age and there are lots of simple steps you can take to ensure the later years of your cat’s life are comfortable and happy. You will be rewarded with a content pet, who is often happy to spend much time quietly at home as a wonderful companion.
We will continue to cover the cost of veterinary treatment for pre-existing health issues, and also it is always nice to know that regardless of a cat’s age, we have a special agreement with pet plan, which means that you can continue their insurance cover for the rest of their lives. This means that ongoing veterinary costs will never be a problem.

These are our lovely senior cats available for adoption right now
The boys

Augustus age 12
Say "Hello" to Augustus! He came to us as a stray, but he must have had a home at some time as he is such a little dear. At his time of life, all Augustus wants is a loving forever home where he can relax and enjoy life. Could you take this handsome gent home?
Oscar age 14 
A lovely chatty boy who needs a new home as quickly as possible as he is approaching his twilight years and really misses the comfort and love of a real home. He is sweet and affectionate. If you have a cosy chair or an empty lap, Oscar would love to be the one to fill them. Can you offer him a nice quiet home where he can be the light of your life?
Tigger age 10
Tigger is a wonderful boy who is looking for a loving retirement home. His elderly owner went into a care home and sadly Tigger couldn’t go with her. He has lived on Dartmoor his whole life and has enjoyed going out on adventures so he would need a home with a nice garden. He is a sweet boy who is friendly and affectionate. Are you looking for a lovely companion cat?
The pairs
Blackie & Felix age 9 years
 Blackie and Felix are two sweet boys who are looking for a retirement home together. They are friendly and love strokes and a fuss once they get to know you. They need a quiet home with someone who has the time and patience to help them settle in and a nice garden where they can enjoy some fresh air. They are homely cats, so they won’t wander far. Can you give them the loving forever home they deserve?
Jasper & Alfie age 11
 When Jasper & Alfie's owner lost his job and his home, sadly they did too. Both of them are friendly, affectionate and love sitting on your lap. They have previously lived with children so they could fit into a family well. A nice garden to go in and enjoy the great outdoors would be great. Are these affectionate homely boys the cats for you?
The girls
Mandy age 14
Mandy is a quiet elderly lady who came to us when her owner was diagnosed with a terminal illness. All Mandy would like is to find a quiet and comfortable home to relax into retirement time. Do you have the space and time for this sweet female to grow old with you?

Lizzie age 14

Lizzie is a sweet elderly lady who came to us when her owner was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Lizzie is looking for somewhere quiet, where she will be loved and spoilt rotten. She is friendly and affectionate, so she will make a lovely companion. She would love a garden where she can relax and enjoy some sunshine. She has lived with another cat; she could fit into your home if you have an existing cat. Can you offer this sweet lady a loving retirement home?
Megan age 13
Megan has come to us as her owner has gone into care and could not take her with them. She has been living with her previous owners since she was a kitten and was a much loved pet, so they were sad to be saying goodbye to her. She is an independent girl who likes a stroke and a lap to sit in occasionally. Megan is looking for her own quiet retirement home where she can be pampered and spend her days enjoying the garden and the home comforts she has been used to. Can you offer her a happy future?

Cat-friendly homes for elderly felines
There are a number of small changes that can be made to your home which will have a big impact on the quality of your cat’s life. While a number of older cats appear to be ‘as young as they feel’ with many still showing kitten-like behaviours, others can benefit from a few home tweaks that ensure that all their resources are within easy reach.
Beds Allow your cat to reach favourite places to rest by strategically placing boxes or items of furniture for him to climb. Make sure he has a variety of cosy, well-padded beds in safe warm places that can be readily accessed. Your cat may enjoy the hammock style radiator beds as they are very warm.
Somewhere to perch up high Older cats can find it difficult to make accurate calculations when jumping and are not as agile as they used to be, especially if they are stiff, in pain or have arthritis. Provide easy ways for cats to access their favourite areas, such as using a ramp or small foot stool to give them access to high surfaces. Make sure it is wide enough and you could also cover it in carpet to give extra grip. It is a good idea to fashion some sort of crash mat underneath the ramp, in case the cat falls. Cushions under windowsills act as crash mats for uncoordinated or wobbly cats.

Litter trays and toileting Provide several litter trays in the house at all times, even if your cat has toileted outside all of his life. There are many occasions when an older cat will need an indoor litter tray, such as when it’s raining outside, if the normal toileting site has frozen over and is hard to dig, or if he feels intimidated by other neighbouring cats. Place the litter trays in quiet, safe areas of the home.Providing a large tray gives the cat plenty of space to move around inside. Make sure the tray has a low side so he can get in and out more easily. Some litter types that were acceptable as an adult may be too coarse for older cats. Don’t make any sudden changes, but provide additional trays with 3cm of soft, fine litter that he will find more comfortable under his paws. Older cats are less able to defend themselves or a territory and as a result may become more anxious or dependant on their owners. Some cats will feel reassurance from owners that accompany them outside so they are protected against the neighbouring cats. If your cat still prefers to toilet outside, provide a newly dug over border as close to the house as possible and maintain it regularly.
Water and food bowls Place water and food bowls in a variety of easily accessible locations around the house, both upstairs and downstairs so they are easy to find and he doesn’t have to walk up and down stairs just to get food and water. Speak to your vet about the most appropriate diet for your older cat.

Playtime Older cats still like to play, but they need more gentle, brief games than when they were younger. Use toys that are unlikely to intimidate them, such as a feather attached to string that is slowly moved past him. Experiment with different toys to see what captures your cat’s attention. Even if he only watches or slowly swipes the toy with a paw, it is still important beneficial mental stimulation.

Regular grooming As older cats may struggle to look after their coats, additional help and gentle grooming will help to keep your cat’s skin healthy and gives you some valuable bonding time with your cat. Stroking a cat is a great de-stressor and may lower an owner’s blood pressure.

Scratching posts Cats may still want to scratch but can find it difficult as they age. You could provide a horizontal scratching post or one with a lower gradient and softer material such as carpet, which he may find easier. Remember to check his claws regularly.
Routines Cats are creatures of habit and this characteristic becomes more pronounced as they age. They prefer a familiar, regular routine to provide predictability. Where possible, avoid moving furniture so that your cat’s environment is familiar and he can easily find his way around your home.

Veterinary care Seek veterinary advice early if you are worried. Remember, many of the disorders that affect older cats can be treated and managed to allow your cat a happy and content life, particularly when treatment is sought early. However, inevitably there may come a time when your cat is in continual pain, discomfort or distress, and the most loving and courageous way you can show him how much you care is to end his suffering. See Cats Protection’s Essential Guide: When to let go- for further information.

Your elderly cat and you Caring for an older cat in his twilight years brings a tremendous joy and many owners actively decide to adopt an older cat because of the endearing qualities he can offer. With their wandering days behind them, older cats tend to stay closer to home and appreciate gentle affection. Owners often comment on the special relationship they have with their older pet, enhanced by some simple measures and an understanding of his needs.
Please come and visit our older cats at the centre as they really love attention and need to be adopted as soon as possible as they get fed up in a pen. We look forward to meeting you and introducing you to our Golden oldies!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Success Story - Mary

You may remember Mary who came into us back in October 2014. She turned up at the centre unexpectedly with her siblings Emily and Wynn. We were told that they were stray farm cats. They were quite thin and none of them had any teeth. They were all very sweet and needed a special someone to offer them loving homes. Wynn and Emily had both found homes earlier in the year; poor Mary was left waiting until someone had finally adopted her.


Her owner has been touch with us via email and shared some lovely photos of her. Mary has been renamed Berry, she is very happy and settled in with her new family. She’s loving and very playful, has started going outside in the garden. We are very pleased Mary has settled in so well and would like to thank her owners for contacting us. We always love hearing about how our ex-Axhayes cats and kittens are doing. You can contact us via facebook or our email. Thank you.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Feline Asthma - Please help Emma find a special home.

Emma was found living rough after being abandoned by her owners. Luckily a kind cat loving couple were looking out for her and brought her here back in January. Unfortunately we have no history about her; while she’s been with us she’s been a sweet friendly girl who enjoys a fuss. She has lost her tail in the past; it doesn’t seem to worry her. During her stay here at the centre, she has been diagnosed with feline asthma by our vet. She’s been using her inhaler twice a day and she’s very good with it. We are looking for a quiet home for Emma with someone who will love her forever and doesn’t mind treating her asthma on a daily basis. She would prefer a home with no children and she’s ok with other cats. We’ve shared some information about Feline Asthma below, if you would like to give Emma a home, please get in touch with us.

Feline asthma is a term used to describe a number of conditions generally affecting the airways in the lungs. It is also known as feline chronic small airway disease, feline bronchitis and allergic airway disease. It occurs when the smooth muscle in the airways contracts, leading to increased production of mucus and inflammation of the airway tissue. As a result, the airways become narrowed and the cat develops difficulty with breathing. It can affect cats of all types and ages but Siamese cats tend to be more commonly affected.

What causes feline asthma?

The exact cause of feline asthma is not completely understood. In some cases it may be an allergic response to an irritant but in others no allergic cause can be found. Possible irritants include pollens, dust, cigarette smoke and some household sprays.

What are the signs?

The signs can vary and include:

 an on-going cough


laboured breathing or respiratory distress occurring suddenly and without warning

increased rate and effort of breathing

Signs can be mild and on-going and may not be noticed by owners for some time – they often come and go.

How is it diagnosed?

Other conditions which may cause similar signs – such as bacterial infections, lungworm or heart disease – should be ruled out before making a diagnosis of asthma. If these are ruled out, further examination will be required. As part of the examination your cat may need to be sedated or anaesthetised. This will allow your vet to take x-rays to look for changes in the airways.

Not all cats show changes so your vet may also suggest passing a tiny camera –called a bronchoscope – down your cat’s windpipe and/or collecting a fluid sample from the airways. These techniques allow your vet to inspect the airways and retrieve fluid to examine under the microscope. This provides useful information on the type and number of inflammatory cells present, which will indicate whether asthma is a likely diagnosis. The fluid collected can also be cultured for bacteria to identify any possible infection.

How is it treated?

Most cats diagnosed with asthma will require treatment to control their coughing and wheezing and prevent permanent, harmful changes occurring within their lungs. If you are aware of an irritant that triggers your cat’s asthma, this should be avoided or attempts made to reduce your cat’s exposure to it. For example, if pollen triggers the asthma, outside access could be limited while pollen levels are at their height. Avoid subjecting the cat to cigarette smoke, household sprays and dusty cat litter where possible.

Treatment may include:

anti-inflammatory drugs in the form of steroids. These can be given in tablet form, by injection or by use of an inhaler. Inhalers that are specifically designed for cats are available and most cats tolerate them well – this may be easier than giving tablets in the long term. Anti-inflammatory drugs help to reduce the inflammation within the airways and help to dissolve mucus

bronchodilators that open up narrowed airways can be used alongside anti-inflammatory drugs. They too can be in the form of tablets, injection or inhalers.

mucolytics can be added to your cat’s food as a powder. They help to break up the mucus which is produced in the airways

What does the future hold?

In the majority of cases feline asthma can be well controlled with appropriate medication and the affected cat will lead a normal healthy life. However, it is important that treatment is started as soon as possible as an on-going, untreated condition may permanently damage and scar the airways and sudden asthma attacks can prove fatal.

Emma is currently having her inhaler twice a day but it is hoped that can be reduced to just once a day soon. She is happy to sit in her bed and be given it and seems to be coping well with her new treatment. It is very easy to learn how to give it and if you are interested in adopting her, we can show you in a few minutes how easy it is to do.

We really hope Emma can find a new owner shortly as she really deserves a loving home after her prolonged stay in the centre.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Erin's Story

Poor Erin was found living rough in some woods before being rescued and brought into our care. She was rescued just in time as when she came in she was so thin and dehydrated. She’s been grateful for her comfy warm bed and tasty meals. Our girls and vet have been giving her plenty of TLC and are slowly building her up with regular meals. As you can see from her photos, she’s starting to look much healthier. Her new owner will need to continue this care.  
Erin the day she came into our care

Erin the day she came into our care

She has been with us for a couple of weeks now; she’s starting to gain weight and looking a bit brighter. She has moved on to our rehoming section, hoping to find herself a suitable home. She’s a lovely little girl who is friendly, affectionate and playful, she deserves a home with a family who will love and cherish her forever.
Erin two weeks later starting to look healthier
If you would like to give her a home, you live in the Exeter, Devon, UK area, please contact us on 01395 232377 or via our website, thank you.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Update - Panjo

As you can see from our photos taken today – Panjo is looking much better. Her medication is really helping her skin; the sores on her skin are healing up nicely. Her fur has grown back almost everywhere. She’s looking very beautiful now. Our staff and volunteers have been spending lots of time making a fuss of her and playing with her. She loves pouncing on her "cat’s meow" toy and chasing her ping-pong balls. She has been enjoying the lovely weather we’ve been having Devon recently, she’s been lying out on her pen floor sunbathing in the afternoons. All she really needs is a loving forever home of her own, can you help her?


Panjo playing with cat's meow toy

Panjo today looking healthier

Sadly this is Panjo’s second stay with us. She came to us originally as a stray, and was in a bad state - she has a terrible skin condition which we are treating with medication and TLC. Panjo eventually found a home, but it was a busy household and was too stressful for her, so she has come back to us. We are desperate to find Panjo a home as soon as possible, not just because it is her second time here, but because a pen situation isn’t good for her. She is looking for a quiet home where she will be the only animal, and where there are no young children, ideally with someone who works from home, or who is around a lot of the time because she loves company – she will purr for hours when you stroke her, and loves to chase her ping-pong balls – and she needs to be distracted from grooming herself too much.

Panjo two months ago before vet treatment
Panjo would make a wonderful companion – she just needs to find the right home. Could you help Panjo? Please call us on 01395 232377 or visit our website Thank you

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Homemade cardboard treat ball for your cat

How to make your cat a cardboard treat ball.

Make your own cardboard tube toy ball for your cat. It's easy! CCA Gemma saw this on the internet and has been making them for some of the cats at the adoption centre. Give it a try.

You will need.....

  • An empty cardboard Toilet paper roll.
  • Scissors.
  • Your cat's favourite treats (optional)
  • Mark four, 1/4-inch (or finger-width) marks on the side of the cardboard roll.
  • Use the scissors to cut each ring (the rings alone are great cat toys -- the cats love 'em!).
  • Insert the first ring into the second ring, then continue with the third and fourth, until you've formed a ball. 

Your cat will love batting this toy around on the floor, maybe pop a few cat treats inside the ball. Some of our cats like Val (here photographed) have been batting these toys around this afternoon, to get the treats out. Please share your creations with your cats on our facebook page.