Wednesday 16 March 2022

New Exeter Adoption Centre

We're back! We are now several months into the build of our our new UK-first adoption centre!
Plans for Cats Protection’s trailblazing adoption centre in Exeter were revealed last year. Our new centre will feature pioneering facilities for cats, staff and visitors, including an enrichment garden.
The first building works, which will see a new adoption centre replace the feline welfare charity’s existing Exeter Axhayes Adoption Centre at Clyst Honiton, which begun in July 2021.

Stockport architects Bowker-Sadler have designed a bespoke centre on the current site, taking inspiration from historical local architectural forms including a Linhay or open-fronted stone building with a slate roof and expressed columns, for the main adoption centre building.
The new centre will be built by Shropshire-based construction company, Pave Aways, following its successful completion of the charity’s Wrexham rehoming centre in 2019. The firm will utilise sub-contractors and suppliers from Exeter and the surrounding area wherever possible.
The Exeter centre will be the first of its kind within Cats Protection to incorporate the latest learnings and best design features from previous centre-builds. It will provide the most progressive and comprehensive set of facilities within the charity’s portfolio of 37 centres nationwide and represents a pioneering approach which will successfully meet the needs of cats, staff, volunteers and visitors alike.

When it opens in late 2022, the centre will be a vital source of ongoing cat adoption assistance, emergency support and feline welfare information for the county.
The new premises will have 65 pens for day to day care as well as 16 maternity and isolation pens, giving additional capacity as needed. The 81 pens will provide temporary accommodation for around 750 cats who come through the centre’s doors each year. As a result of increased footfall and the improved adopter experience at the centre, it is expected that cats will be spending less time in care and will be able to move swiftly to their new homes.
Volunteers and staff will benefit from improved working areas while visitors and potential adopters will be able to take advantage of better accessibility and more parking, creating an enhanced experience for cats, potential adopters, volunteers and staff.
The build has been made possible thanks to a bequest from the charity’s ex-Chairman Philip Wood in whose memory the enrichment garden will be created, legacies from the charity’s Exeter and East Devon Branches as well as a donation from PetPlan Charitable Trust.
The enrichment garden will provide stimulation for the cats, who will be able to see nature and wildlife from their pens. It will also provide a restful natural area in the centre’s grounds where volunteers and staff may spend time away from the hustle and bustle of the centre.
As the build is finalised there will be more opportunities for people from across the local community to join the existing team of cat-loving volunteers in roles ranging from those involving hands-on cat care to others behind the scenes in a more office-based or physical support capacity.
Centre manager Mark Magee says: “This is an extremely exciting time for us. The rebuild has been planned for a long time and it is truly wonderful to have reached this first milestone. We are especially grateful for the legacies and donations which have made it possible and we are looking forward to honouring each of our kind donors whose generosity will have a lasting impact on cat welfare in Devon.
“The new centre will make a huge difference to cats, volunteers, staff and adopters alike. From the moment a cat arrives in care to the moment they go home, our state-of-the-art centre will create the best possible experience for all involved. We’re thrilled that ours has been chosen to be the first example a new kind of Cats Protection centre, uniting all the very best aspects of centres built to this point, shaping cat care not only locally but across the UK.”

Exeter Axhayes Adoption Centre will close during construction and the existing centre’s staff and volunteers have begun a phased reduction in the number of cats at the centre in preparation for the re-build. A set of eight cat pens at The Cats Motel in Exmouth will be dedicated to cats arriving in Cats Protection’s care with a member of management staff based on-site throughout the rebuild. Staff will also be working closely in liaison with the charity’s neighbouring branches as well as the charity’s centres further afield if required.

Anyone needing assistance with their cat or looking to adopt during the rebuild should still call 01395 232377 or visit - all calls will then be answered or referred to the most appropriate area of the charity to ensure the best outcome for the cats involved.
(Photos credit: Bowker-Sadler)

Thursday 28 June 2018

Norman's success story and FIV cats

We currently have five gorgeous FIV positive cats looking for indoor homes. Our boys Lucius, Barney, King, Tony and Socks are hoping they will find loving forever indoor homes of their own. At Cats Protection Exeter Axhayes we home our FIV cats as indoor only cats. The virus over time (may take months or years) will cause the cat to have a weakened immune system and become more susceptible to disease and illness. By keeping them as indoor cats with no other non-FIV cats they can be protected from disease. It can also stop the spread of FIV virus to other cats. Indoor cats are safe from road traffic accidents and other outdoor dangers but they will require lots of interaction and stimulation to ensure they’re hunting behaviours are met.   

Norman in our care April 2017

We thought we’d share our FIV boy Norman’s story to help promote FIV homes. A few weeks ago we received a lovely email from Norman’s owner. Norman arrived back in April 2017 after his owner could no longer afford to keep after a change in circumstances. He was described is very affectionate and loves to curl up on your lap. During routine blood tests at our vets his results came back as being positive for FIV, so he needed to find an indoor home. He was adopted at the start of June 2017, a year later his owner has spent some lovely photos and an update on Norman’s new indoor life with him.....

Happy at home

His owner said “This coming Friday, it will be one year since Norman brought light back into my life – following the passing of the late Wiggy. Although still a little nervous of strangers or sudden movements, Norman has settled into his forever home very well. I cannot imagine life without him and worship him totally.”
Norman's new Catio
“We built him a Catio to help celebrate his Birthday and to give him some secure outdoor space, which he loves very much. We would both thank everyone at Axhayes for everything you do and bringing us together”. As you can see - Norman can enjoy the summer weather out in his new Catio.

Outside in his secure Catio


We would like to thank Norman’s owner for contacting us and allowing us to share his story on our social media. We hope his story will inspire anybody who was thinking about offering an indoor home for any of our wonderful FIV cats. Interested in adopting any of our cats?? Please visit our website at

For more news about Exeter Axhayes Adoption Centre or Taunton Homing & Info Centre and the cats we have available for adoption, you can follow us on our Facebook @cpexeteraxhayes, Twitter and Instagram.

Wednesday 9 May 2018

Sheldon's story

Chilling on the sofa

Dear rescuers

I wanted to write and let you know how I am settling into my new home.  When my new guardians took me there I was very traumatized and scared. I was not motivated with food or anything.  They were very patient with me, left me alone to eat and did not pester me. They gave me a lovely soft igloo bed in an open cupboard where I felt safe.  They kept coming over and stroking me, bought me a brush and cat wet wipes to clean me as I just didn’t feel up to cleaning myself and I was a bit of a state after being in Birmingham for so long.

A week later and I was happy to sit on Erin’s bed and be stroked but liked to stay in my bed while they did this.  I never hissed at them as I knew they were kind but I was still very scared.

Feeling safe in my bed

By week two, I had progressed to coming out of my bed for Erin when she fed me and was purring.  There were quite a few other family members that came in and out of the house but they were all kind and patient with me. I didn’t like to move much but was becoming more confident every day.

Three weeks later and my guardian Erin has just had her birthday and her mum bought her a cat tree for me !!! I am now happy to be downstairs in the lounge during the day.  They have put my tree by the French doors so I can look outside when they are not home.  I am still not keen to be picked up and do not move around much but the hammock on the first floor of the cat tree is my favourite place where I now clean myself for hours. 

This cat tree is cosy
Great view of the garden from here

I also found myself playing with the fishing rod toy yesterday that they were tempting me to chase.  My favourite food is chicken flavour and they give me cat milk so I can put on a bit of weight.  I am still very skinny but I am now very motivated by food.

Relaxing after playing

It has taken Erin three weeks to decide on a new name for me and she has finally decided on NACHO although her grandmother keeps getting confused and calls me Dorito!  Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for rescuing me from the streets and bringing me down to Devon as I have given one young lady so much joy and she loves me as much as I will love her in return.

Much love Nacho (Sheldon) XXXXxxx

Sweet dreams 

Monday 16 April 2018

Tabby Tom Appeal

Last month we launched our Tabby Tom Appeal – we thought we’d share Tom’s story and recovery all thanks to the generosity of our supporters.

Tom is a handsome long-haired tabby and white boy who came into our care after he was found starving and living on the streets of Birmingham. He was too hungry he resorted to eating the bread put out of the birds. Our adoption centre has been helping a local cat charity in Birmingham so Tom came down to Exeter to start a new life. During his routine veterinary examination, our vet discovered that Tom had a very badly infected ear and will need a life-saving surgical TECA operation (Total Ear Canal Ablation) which will cost £700. Following the operation Tom should be able to live a normal life, albeit deaf in one ear. Our deputy manager Phil launched the Tabby Tom Appeal on our JustGiving page in the hope we would raise the money for his treatment.

Tom before his operation

Everyone has been fantastic! We smashed our target within 24 hours. In total we managed to raise £778.50, we would like to thank everybody who donated towards his treatment. On March 27th Tom went to our Veterinary Hospital for the surgical operation on his ear. His operation was very successful and he spent a few days recovering at the Veterinary Hospital. By the 7th March he came back to Axhayes to continue his recovery. He still needs lubricant eye drops in his eye regularly as part of post-op. He is wearing a buster collar to stop him from scratching his ear and his stitches. He is enjoying lots of attention and tummy tickles from our CCAs who are caring for him.

1 week after his op

Two weeks later....lounging around in his bed

We will keep you all posted on his progress over the coming weeks and when he is available for rehoming. Again, we would like to say THANK YOU to everyone who donated to Tom’s operation. For more news about Exeter Axhayes Adoption Centre or Taunton Homing & Info Centre and the cats we have available for adoption, you can follow us on our Facebook @cpexeteraxhayes, Twitter and Instagram.

Wednesday 11 April 2018

Snuggles story

One of the most lovely parts of our job is hearing how cats affect our lives.

We recently received a lovely email from Mandy about a cat that was adopted from our centre 20 years ago.

This is the wonderful story of Snuggles....

On 19/9/1998 my life changed forever. My sister bought a kitten from you for myself and my son to join our family. My sister was his registered keeper, but I was his human mummy. He was a little ginger kitten 8 weeks old, his fur mummy and siblings were shades of black and black and white. You had called him Knave.

Snuggles with Mandy's Son

My son chose him because he walked in the opposite direction to the rest of his family. There began the most amazing, pure love relationship I have ever had in my life. We renamed him Snuggles, Snuggles Frankie Sox was his full name. He was called Snuggles because my son thought he was snuggly. Snuggles had an amazing life, he was free to come and go and had many cat adventures. He was a hunter and and adventurer and a bit of a reputation as a fighter in the neighbourhood too. He was so intelligent, and love to play games, hide and seek was his favourite, he would hide and wait to be found, and then I would hide and he would come and find me. Snuggles chose where he slept and this was by my side under the duvet with his head on the pillow.

Snuggles developed diabetes at the age of 16 years, and then had to have insulin injections twice a day.  I learnt how to do this myself and to test his blood sugar levels, it was terrifying and didn't seem right to stick needles in him at first. Snuggles was so patient and tolerant and gave me the courage and confidence to maintain this for three years. Sadly Snuggles also developed kidney problems and arthritis. From then on Snuggles led a more sedate life, he had access to the garden which was then fenced off to stop him escaping, although he sometimes he still managed to scale the 6ft gate, to attempt escape. 

Snuggles relaxing in the garden

Sadly Snuggles' health deteriorated, and I had to make the hardest decision of my life. Snuggles passed away peacefully in my arms at home with the help of the vet on 5/3/18.

A light went out of my life that day, Snuggles was my best friend, and my soul mate.
I feel truly blessed and honoured to have been his human mummy for the best part of 20 years, and for that I will always be grateful.


So thank you from the bottom of my heart, for giving me Snuggles.

If you have a story that you would like to share with us and our Facebook readers, please email us at : and mark it for the attention of Di or Gemma ( Facebook editors)

Thursday 5 April 2018

The Scratching Post - Axhayes' newest place to be...

We hope you all had a fantastic Easter weekend! During the Easter weekend was our annual Easter Coffee Morning hosted by our Friends of Exeter Axhayes Group. The weather was thankfully dry on the day after week of rain and the threat of the snow returning. It also saw the official opening of our new tearoom – named The Scratching Post. All of this has been possible thanks to your generosity and supporting our events here at the centre. Thanks to the money we have raised over the years, we have been able to buy and set up our own tearoom on site for our future events.   
Just after it was built beginning of March

On our Facebook page we launched a competition to allow our followers to come up with names for our shiny new tearoom. The Scratching Post was chosen by popular vote by our staff members and Friends of Group. The lucky three winners came out for some free cake and goodie bags for them and their cats. We would like to thank everybody who helped get our tearoom up and running for our Coffee Morning we were worried we wouldn’t be able to use it in time. Special thanks to our volunteer Dawn for helping Mark (A/C manager) with painting the exterior when we had some sunshine. Thanks to Jan our new greenfingers volunteer for potting some lovely flowers around the grounds in time for Saturday. Thank you to our Friends of Group volunteer Libby for decorating the interior with lots of Easter bunting and tablecloths. Looked fantastic!

Looking great after few coats of paint

Decorated interior - lots of pretty bunting

Our fabulous homemade Easter cakes

The Scratching Post needs some more work on the interior in the coming weeks and we will share with you in the coming weeks on Facebook. Our Easter Coffee Morning was a huge success and very busy! We managed to raise in total £267 which is fantastic! Thank you to everybody who came out and supported us. All of the money will go towards helping cats and kittens here at the centre.

For more news about Exeter Axhayes Adoption Centre or Taunton Homing & Info Centre and the cats we have available for adoption, you can follow us on our Facebook @cpexeteraxhayes, Twitter and Instagram.

Thursday 8 February 2018

Cats at play

Playing with your cat is a great way to bond and have fun in the process. It's also important for their wellbeing and health as well as being key to a kitten's development.

Here at Exeter Axhayes Adoption Centre we keep our cats and kittens active with a variety of toys, scratching posts, puzzle feeders and cardboard boxes. All of our toys have been donated during Christmas Holidays (Santa Paws Appeal), from our Amazon wishlist, our VIP vouchers from Pets at Home, some are handmade by our supporters or donated in general. We would like to thank our kind supporters for our cat toys. These toys make cattery life a little easier for our cats. Our toys provide them with exercise, mental stimulation and help our cats and kittens bond with our CCAs and volunteers. Playing with these toys is also very important for our centre-born kittens development too. Here's some information about why playing is so important for cats and kittens....   

Why cats play
Cats that can freely go outdoors will often engage in hunting activity or will play with fallen leaves or grass blowing in the wind if there is no access to prey. The drive to hunt is not because they are hungry, but because hunting activity – the stalk, pounce, play and kill – releases feel-good hormones called endorphins. It's important that your cat is given lots of opportunity to play to keep them mentally stimulated.

Play is very important for cats, particularly kittens, as it teaches them the skills needed for life and lessons about the world around them. Play is a great way for a cat to use up some of their energy, keep fit and healthy and keep their brain alert and active. The best games encourage cats to stalk, pounce, chase and bat objects with a paw in a safe way.

Toys don’t have to be expensive as even a cardboard box with holes cut into it provides a fun hiding place. A ball of tin foil can make a perfectly adequate toy, as long as the cat can’t swallow it.
Play is more fun if you get involved too – you could use fishing rod toys with feathers on a string to mimic their prey. Allow them to catch and ‘kill’ the toy periodically will stop them getting frustrated. Cats like to win!

Older cats will love playing three or four times a day, while younger cats will be happy to play ten times a day or more.

Very short games of one to two minutes are fine. Swap toys around regularly to keep them interesting, but don’t leave your cat on their own with toys which could be shredded and eaten or ones that they can get tangled in. Check toys regularly for signs of wear, replacing them when needed.

Indoor cats need more entertainment than outdoor cats, so make dinner time more of a challenge by feeding cat biscuits through a puzzle feeder or a plastic drinks bottle, with biscuit sized holes cut into it. The cat will learn that batting the bottle releases a biscuit. It also means that he will take his time eating his food!
Cats love to climb and hide so getting a cat activity centre is a good idea, but a cheaper option is to give your cat some cardboard boxes to play in. Some cats go mad for the herb catnip. You can buy toys stuffed with dried catnip – give one to your cat and see what he does!

If you would like to donate a cat toy for any of our cats here at Exeter Axhayes Adoption Centre please visit our Amazon wishlist we appreciate any gifts we receive. Thank you for our support and generosity.

For more information about our adoption centre please visit You can follow us on Facebook @cpexeteraxhayes, Twitter and Instagram.