Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Success Story - Anastasia

We received a lovely email from Anastasia’s new owners with an update on how she’s getting on. Anastasia came into our centre back in September after living in a rabbit hole with her four kittens. Luckily we were able to rescue her and her kittens all found homes. It took Anastasia a few weeks to settle into cattery life, it was all a bit scary. She needed extra TLC to build up her confidence from our CCAs, especially CCA Carolyne, as she was very frightened to begin with. Once she was ready to sell herself in her pen, she moved to rehoming and eventually found her purr-fect home!

Anastasia at the centre

Her new owners have renamed her Pumpkin and have said “We just wanted to let you know she's settling in very well and we're so glad she's part of our lives. She likes to play a lot as she's still young. She wakes us up around 5am for cuddles and attention, then some play. She bites us a little bit but not hard, and then licks us afterwards!

We can't pick her up yet and have been too scared to let her outside, which will change soon as we don't think she'll run away. Her first vet visit is this Saturday. We're getting her used to her basket by leaving food in there, which is working well! She's registered at our local vet, Steve, Zoe and the team took good care of our precious Inky and I know they'll do the same for Pumpkin. Best wishes to you all and the cats in your good care”

We would like to thank her new owners for getting in contact with us, we’re so pleased she’s settling in well. If you are thinking about giving one of our more timid cats a loving home, here is some information to help settle them into your home….
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.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Coby the Devon Rex

This handsome boy finds himself here after his owner had to move house and sadly couldn’t take him with her. He is friendly and enjoys a lap to sit when he’s in the mood. He does not like other cats so has found it difficult adjusting to life at the centre. As you see he’s a stunning Devon Rex, he is looking for a home with someone who has knowledge of the breed so they can meet all of his needs. This may require living as an indoor cat to protect his coat from the elements.

Coby is 6 years old

The Devon Rex coat is soft and silky

Devon Rex are friendly, extrovert, lively, playful and attention seeking. They need a warm place to sleep due to their type of coat.

If you are allergic to cat hair, a Devon Rex may be a suitable cat for you as they have little fur compared to most other types of cat.
(Source: Encyclopaedia of the cat-Angela Sayer and Howard Loxton) 

The Devon Rex is a breed of intelligent, short-hair cat that emerged in England during the 1960s. They are known for their slender bodies, wavy coat, and large ears. These cats are capable of learning difficult tricks. They are even known to recognize their owner's name, just as they do their own.
The Devon Rex is a breed of cat with a curly, very soft short coat similar to that of the Cornish Rex. They are often associated with being one of the most hypo-allergenic cats available because of their type of coat. However, they are technically not hypoallergenic.

(Source: Wikipedia)

A few days ago, we gave Coby one of new toys from our Amazon wish list. A cat it 'Play & scratch' toy which he really enjoyed, especially as it comes with a small bag of catnip to sprinkle on to the cardboard scratch pad.

Coby really responds to catnip and proceeded to sniff it, eat it and play excitedly with his new toy.

Here's a short video of him on our You Tube page..

After he'd finished playing

If you are able to provide Coby with a suitable home, with no other cats, please come and meet him at the centre. You're sure to be charmed by this special cat.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Rosie - one of this year's head-rears

Meet Rosie one of our adorable orphans who was found in a garden without her mum before rescued by a worried member of the public. Rosie and her brother Jim were hand-reared by some of our CCAs and deputy managers here at the centre. Our CCAs and managers had been taking them home each night between them to help especially with the night feeds. They need feeding every three hours to begin with and help stimulating them to go to the toilet. As they have got older they have been living in a foster home with our deputy manager Phil. Now they are 12 weeks old, Rosie is ready to find a loving family of her own. Jim is unfortunately not ready for homing yet.    
Rosie now 12 weeks old at the centre
Here at Cats Protection Exeter Axhayes Adoption centre, we are always looking for cat fosterers to help us with our more nervous cats or kittens, older cats which don't cope with cattery, our kittens which need extra TLC and our mums with their kittens. It can be a hugely rewarding experience and helps the lives of our cats and kittens who need extra care. Interested in becoming a cat fosterer? Please read some information in this blog and any questions you would like to ask us, please contact us on our details below.....
Bottle feeding at a CCAs house

Rosie eating solid food

Interested in becoming a cat fosterer?

Over the last five years Cats Protection has helped over one million cats, fosterers have played a huge role in achieving this fantastic milestone, can you help us help more cats?

Unfortunately thousands of cats each year rely on the help of animal charities because of a change in their owner’s circumstances, they have been abandoned or have strayed. Volunteers at Cats Protection give these cats and kittens a second chance in life and help to create happy endings for cats across the UK.

Fostering is just one way you can be part of these happy endings for cats in your community! As a fosterer you take a cat into your home temporarily and provide the care and TLC it needs until it finds its new forever home. Some fosterers ‘house’ their foster cats in a cat pen in their garden or yard while others prefer to provide a spare room in their house for their foster cats.

Fostering not only benefits cats and kittens, it provides cat lovers with an opportunity to give back and help cats in the best way they can. Some volunteers can’t commit to owning a cat 365 days a year, others foster because they can’t guarantee that they will lead a cat-friendly lifestyle for the life span of a pet cat, others prefer doing something practical rather than donating money to the charity; all love cats and others like Mary do it for the joy it brings them every day…

Interested in becoming a cat foster carer?

As a fosterer I derive a great deal of pleasure in knowing that what I do makes a huge difference to the present and future welfare of the cats and kittens that come into my care. Seeing them go to lovely new homes is one of the greatest rewards of all.

Whatever your reasons for getting involved we welcome those with cats in their hearts as fosterers. Almost anyone can foster, you just need spare time to care for cats, be confident around cats, have a caring but practical personality, enjoy interacting with people and are happy to follow our cat care standards and charity policies. A thirst for knowledge around all things cat and happy to keep up-to-date information and complete paperwork for cats in care are also key for this role.

In return for your time, commitment and all the TLC you can offer cats we provide everything that you and your foster cat will require:

Cat accommodation e.g. a cat cabin or equipment to adapt a spare room
Food, litter, bedding, bowls, litter trays and toys for your foster cat
Veterinary treatment for Cats Protection cats/kittens in your care
Help, support and training so you feel confident and happy as a fosterer

Please get in touch with us if you would like to find out more about becoming a fosterer or volunteering with Cats Protection.

These are common questions we get asked from potential fosterers so
who else is better to answer them than people who already volunteer to
help cats in their area:

Ask our fosterers…

Which is best, fostering accommodation inside or outside?
This really depends on your and the branch’s or adoption centre’s circumstances; in some circumstances only one particular way of fostering will be available. Both ways of fostering has its benefits for you and the cats – other volunteers and staff at Cats Protection can help you decide which is best for you, the organisation and the cat.

What are cat care standards?
These are Cats Protections policies and guidelines which have been developed with vets, staff and volunteers to ensure the welfare of cats and people. They refer to the general care of a cat while they are with the fosterer, they are straight forward and there is plenty of guidance and training to help fosterers maintain great standards of care.

What if I have other pets?
You can foster if you have other pets but all foster cats must be kept separately. This is to protect the foster cat as well as the fosterer’s own pets. As rescued cats’ backgrounds are often unknown it’s important that all pets in the household remain healthy and we would recommend that a fosterer’s own pets are fully vaccinated and boosters are kept up-to-date.

Can I decide on what type of cat I want to foster and who decides which cat comes into care?
Sometimes it is possible to specialise in the type of cat you want to care for; some fosterers prefer caring for older or nervous cats while others like lively kittens. However this may not always be possible. Other volunteers or staff will discuss the range of cats that are in need of help with you and decide on the best foster cat for you and the best foster home for that cat at that time.

How do the cats get homes?
We advertise the cats throughout the local community and beyond, and there are a number of ways we can match the right cat with the right person. If you foster with a branch and the cat in your care has been matched with a new owner you will be contacted to liaise with the potential adopter to arrange a suitable time for them to meet the cat(s). If you foster with an adoption centre (AC) you may bring the cat to the AC to be rehomed or liaise with staff and volunteers at the AC to meet the potential adopter. We always carefully match the right people with the right cat by asking a series of questions so you can rest assured that once you have cared for the cat or kitten it will be very well taken care of in their new home.

What if I get too attached to the cat?
We know it is easy to fall for the cats, but fosterers remember that they are temporary carers. If you do want to adopt a cat you can talk to volunteers or staff and discuss what would be best for that particular cat. Most fosterers know that if they adopt cats their ability to help more cats decreases so are more than happy to be the temporary carers which are much needed.

What about holidays/breaks?
Fosterers liaise directly with other volunteers and staff to plan and arrange holidays and breaks. We can make arrangements for cats to be moved to another fosterer, to keep your space free until you come back or are ready for another cutie!

What do I do next?
If you are interested and live in the Exeter, Devon, UK area, we would like to hear from you!
Please contact Mark on 01395 232377 or visit our website at , thank you.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Amy-special appeal

Amy is a 3 year old female dark tortoiseshell cat that was left on our doorstep of the centre back in April this year. She is very gentle and affectionate and would be more suited to a quiet home where she can become settled in her own time.

As we have no information of her previous experiences, we do not know if she has lived with other cats or dogs, but we feel she could be rehomed with older children.

Do you like to pull the duvet up over your head and snuggle down for some peace and quiet? Well, if you come and visit Amy, you will find a cat shaped lump under her bedding!

Now you see me...
Cats naturally like to hide, to help them de-stress and some like Amy even like to hide their food. In the wild, cats do this to discourage predators.  
Now you don't!

It is important to provide your cat with a place to hide which will help to make them feel safe and secure. There are many things that can cause a cat to feel anxious or fearful, such as fireworks, building work in the house, unfamiliar visitors or conflict with other cats. A hiding place can be something as simple as a cardboard box on its side, an igloo style cat bed, a space under the bed, or in a wardrobe with the door left ajar. The cat shouldn’t be disturbed while they are in their hiding place.

She enjoys a biscuit diet rather than cat food but is a little 'rounder' than she should be due to a lack of exercise and time spent in a pen.

Amy spending time in our exercise area

Do you have a cosy place in your home that she could fit in? Please help us to find Amy a home for Christmas.