Sunday, 30 August 2015

Success Story - Roger, Galilee, Venus and Garbine

We thought we’d share this lovely tale of four cats Garbine, Venus, Roger and Galiliee. These four came into the centre this month after the farm they lived on was sold which left them homeless. These four were very friendly, affectionate, sociable cats so they could leave farm life and go into warm cosy homes.


Garbine liked to sunbathe a lot on the farm as a result she sadly lost her ears due to the sun damage. Her new look didn’t worry her. After spending a few weeks with us seeing our vet and waiting for someone to choose them, they found their perfect home. Not one but all four of them, which doesn’t happen very often. We have already had news on how they are getting on; we would like to thank their owners for giving all four of them a loving home and for getting in touch with us….
I thought you'd like to see how Roger, Galilee, Venus and Garbine are getting on. As you can see they are all very happy to be together, they often clean each other and share their beds! It's almost as if they have all remembered each other and are delighted to be reunited. They haven't gone outside yet, they are still exploring the house, which they all seem to be enjoying very much! They're eating very well, particularly Venus, she's definitely into her food. But the others too never leave anything in their dishes. They particularly like the little tins of Gourmet Gold.”

Cats Living Together

Domestic cats are similar to the Africian wildcat in that they still have an inherent desire to be solitary hunters and maintain a territory. However, they can live well together in circumstances when…
-       They perceive each other to be in the same social group and
-       There are sufficient resources provided for them to avoid competition.

While some cats can form very strong social bonds, sometimes cats living in the household do not perceive each other to be in the same social group.

-       Some cats will “block” access to food, water and litter trays from other cats they live with. This is done very subtly so owners often do not notice and it can be very stressful for the affected cat.

-       Some cats operate a more tolerant “time share” system where one cat may use a particular area in the morning and the other will then use that area in the afternoon, for example

-       Others may live separately in a particular area of the house. For example, one cat may live upstairs, while the other cat lives downstairs.  

Same social group?
Signs of aggression and conflict are not the only way to tell that cats are in different social groups. The signs can be subtle, so you need to look for the positive signs of social interaction.

Cats are in the same social group if they sleep touching each other and spend time rubbing and grooming each other, sharing and reinforcing their common scent. There is nothing more endearing that seeing two cats choosing to cuddle up with one another.

If you have more than two cats, you may find you have more than two social groups – in fact it is quite possible to have six cats and five or six social groups within them. This is more likely to happen if they were introduced as adults, were forced to interact too quickly and given insufficient resources. Even sibling cats may not necessarily remain in the same social group and may drift apart as they approach social maturity between 18 months and 4 years of age.

Resource placement
Cats in one social group are best provided with separate food, water and litter trays from cats which are in a different social group. Place these in a different part of the home. In fact, it may even be a good idea to feed cats in the same social group in different areas to reduce the risk of relationship breakdown.


Important resources for cats 
-       Food and water. Cats like to drink away from where they eat, so place the food and water bowls in separate areas sited away from the litter tray.

-       Somewhere to hide. It is very important for cats to have somewhere to hide – for example a cardboard box in its side or under the bed.

-       A viewing platform. Cats love to view their surroundings from a height. You could offer access to high spots for example shelves, on top of a wardrobe or window sills. Ensure easy access by placing a stool nearby.

-       Somewhere to sleep – igloo beds, cardboard box, blankets in elevated places

-       A scratching post – try placing this near to where the cat sleeps as they often like to stretch and scratch after they wake up

-       Litter tray – placed away from food and water bowls. (SOURCE: Cats Protection)
By providing plenty of resources for each cat, many cats will live together in harmony. 

Monday, 24 August 2015

Sapphire's Diary


Today dear little Sapphire arrived at Axhayes.  She was nothing but a tiny grey blob wrapped in a green blanket.  She was brought to us by a gardener  who had saved her life – luckily he saw her on the grass when he was strimming.  She was helpless and all alone, and the only thing to do was to hand-rear her.

On arrival, she looked as though she couldn’t have been more than a few days old, but she was in good condition and had a full belly.  Her eyes were closed, and she could just about crawl along.  Later that day I weighed her – she was just 150g.  

When the working day was done and I had her at home, I picked her up – a wriggling grey ball – and tried to feed her using special kitten milk replacement in a bottle.  I heated the milk to body temperature to make it more appetizing for her, but, at first she refused to take it, and no wonder – it was nothing like her mum!  Eventually, she got the idea and drank some - I was very relieved!  Then I tried to stimulate her to go to the toilet, and after that she was tired so I popped her back into the tiny kitten bed that someone had kindly donated, covered her with a blanket and let her rest.  I would need to feed her every three hours or so, so I set my alarm and went to bed.


I fed her through the night, and although she never cried unless she knew I was there, she was always awake when my alarm went off. (She continued to be a quiet kitten on journeys to and from work in the car, and when in her little put-up pen, and later her pen at Axhayes, until she knew you were there…and then she squealed at about 100 decibels until she was fed, and then she would purr her little raggedy purr that sounded somewhere between a diesel car and a woodpecker pecking.)  As for her movement, she was crawling along on her belly, using her limbs in a swimming kind of motion rather than a walking one.  Her eyes were firmly closed still, and she was absolutely helpless – all she could do was suckle the bottle.


This morning at four a.m., Saffy opened her eyes!  It was a wonderful moment for me, cradling her in my arms, looking into those perfect dark blue eyes.  They’d been opening a bit at the corners yesterday, and I was expecting them to stay that way for a little while, so I was amazed when they opened fully. They wouldn’t be fully functioning straight away – that would take a few more days. I also felt quite proud, being the first person she saw.  I weighed her today and she was 190g – 40 more than when she came in.



Unfortunately, due to my cat being upset by the squeaking, pooing machine that was Saffy, I could no longer take her home after work so Phil, our deputy, and Mark, our manager took her home in the evenings.  I still fed her and looked after her during working -hours, and today she made me proud again, by sitting up like a big kitten.  Her little legs by now are beginning to take more of her weight, and her movements are more like walking rather than swimming.    She’s looking more like a little cat than a helpless kitten now, and her tiny teeth are growing.

Another proud day – Saffy used her litter tray!  It was remarkable because whereas most kittens would watch the behaviour of their mother, Saffy had no point of reference – we just put a tray with gravel litter in, and she started scratching around in it, and then just used it!

This was a happy day for everyone, as trying to stimulate a kitten to go to the toilet with a piece of damp cotton wool is no-one’s favourite job, and is far from glamorous!  Also, little Saffy had gone from having very loose faeces to being constipated, and we had been giving her a bit of lactulose to help her go, and on two occasions she had to have an enema, poor thing!.  She is walking about and can get quite a speed up, and loves to purr and roll over to have her tummy tickled.  She’s also becoming quiet boisterous, and loves to play-fight with you as she would a litter mate.  Her incisors and canine teeth are through, and she has a sharp bite though it’s not enough to break the skin.

Another mile-stone has been reached – today Saffy ate some weaning biscuits!  She still has her bottle and has been taking about 30ml at a time, but now, at about four weeks old, we can start weaning her onto solid food.  It also means that Phil, who’s done the lion’s  share of rearing can get some sleep!  Saffy’s ears and tail have lengthened, and she thrashes her tail around as she strides about looking for things to bat or pounce upon.  Her markings are becoming clearer too and she has quite a spotty belly.  Her eyes are now more turquoise than dark blue.  She’s turning into a little diva and we love her to bits!


Today Saffy’s mischievous little eyes look greener and greyer.  She’s growing up, and has taken to launching herself at you and crawling up your neck.  If she’s not doing that, she’s play-fighting.  Talk about trouble!

The people who rescued Saffy came to visit her!  They were delighted at how cute and big she had become, if surprised by how bitey she was!


Today Saffy is eight weeks old and she had her first vaccination. Where has the time gone?!


I can’t believe that Saffy is now big enough to be neutered!  She’s grown up so fast!


I stayed and played with Sapphire (who now weighs 1.23kg) for an hour after work to say goodbye to her.  She has found a home in Exeter with some lovely people and two other cats and a dog to make friends with, and I wouldn’t see her again.   A bitter-sweet day!


Today Saffy had her second vaccination, completing the course, and went off home with her new family.  We will miss her very much, especially Phil, whose house became her temporary home, and even though he could do without being beaten up by her every evening!  We are so happy and proud that the little helpless wriggling thing has thrived and grown into a beautiful kitten with a lovely home and family of her own.



Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Our Axhayes Shop

Visit our Exeter Axhayes Shop in Reception!!!!!

Our new A/C manager Mark and CCA Anna have recently given our shop a little make-over as you can see from our photos. This year we have started selling starter packs for £36 – they include a cat bed, scratching post, litter tray, litter scoop, Verdo wood chip litter, food bowl, knitted blanket and a toy. Everything you need to help your new feline friend feel right at home.

Our shop sells selection of cat accessories; we have a variety of toys, food bowls, blankets, new cat carriers, Verdo wood chip litter, litter trays and safety cat collars. We do sell second-hand cat carries (subject to availability). We also stock Sureflap microchip cat flaps, Feliway sprays and diffusers, Purina Proplan biscuits and Felix pouches. We sell cat merchandise such as cards, calendars, cuddly toys, mugs and much more. We do occasionally have home-made cards, knitted items such as catnip balls, hats and scarfs, even some cat advent calendars at Christmas which were donated for us to sell from our volunteers and supporters. We would like to thank them for making these items especially for us and for helping our cats.

If you are adopting any of our wonderful cats and kittens or visiting our adoption centre for a fundraising event, why not visit our shop. All of money we make in our shop goes to helping cats and kittens.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Success story-Echo


Echo was as small as a teddy

Echo was born at the centre on 11 Aug 14 in a busy week when we had 19 kittens born. Echo had 4 siblings but was much smaller than them but had the loudest voice.  When her mum arrived here, she was heavily pregnant but also brought her most recent kittens with her who were a few months old.

Mum decided that she no longer wanted to look after Echo and her siblings when they were a couple of weeks old, so the staff had to take over all of the motherly duties.

We had a bout of cat flu and unfortunately, she became poorly and she had to spend time in the vet hospital.

After returning to the centre and having lots of TLC, Di (cat care assistant) took her home to foster with her brother Elephant. She continued to need medications for cat flu, and help with getting her to eat.

Echo & Elephant being fostered in October

When we first starting weighing her, she weighed 0.31kg and slowly and steadily she gained weight. At the end of November, she finally weighed 1.05kg.

Echo in November

Elephant in November


Echo was still being fostered by myself (Di) before Christmas and was keen to get involved in everything including removing the ornaments from the Christmas tree.

Echo in December helping with the Christmas card writing

Echo was adopted on the 17 January this year and weighed 2.02kg. She went to live with a family with 2 daughters, 2 other cats and a spaniel dog.

Sleepy Echo with her toys and little bed


Echo in her new home



Echo has settled into her new home very quickly and her new mum Sue said she was marvellous on her first night with them

This is a recent photo update we have received of two of Echo's brothers

Elephant & Enigma

Another of Echo's siblings is Éclair, now known as a Mia

Éclair (now Mae) in July at 11 months old

Echo has chosen to ignore the house rules of no cats on the beds!
Her two 'cat mates' are better behaved than her

Echo in May

   This is the most recent photo of her on the eve of her birthday
Echo now 1 year old

Happy 1st Birthday Echo !

We are so pleased to have played a part in your life.
Thank you to Sue and her family for the regular photo updates.
Echo is a little diva who was lucky enough to be given a very loving forever home.