Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Lucky Black Cats!

Don't make us wait til Halloween

Hello, we're Bernard & Tootsie,a pair of cheeky cute kitties that feel we're never going to find that special home. Even our Mum went two weeks ago and we're still here. Let us tell you our story and maybe just maybe you might offer us your love and home...

Our Mum came into Cats Protection at the end of March heavily pregnant and two days later gave birth to three dear little kittens (that's us!) Our Mum or Iris as the big people called her and us babies were then put in a box and taken to another place - then a kind man took care of all of us. This room had lots of places to hide and as Mum was shy she took advantage of this. As we got older and more adventurous we started to explore our surroundings while Mum hid but keeping an eye on us. We got used to this big man who fed us and played with us but Mum, she wasn't so sure. 

When we reached 8 weeks we were put in the box again and taken to the place that has lots of cats. It was a bit scary at first with strange faces peering in at us and then inevitably walking away. The man they called "the vet" stuck this sharp needle in us, it was very confusing with lots of comings and goings. Mum looked after us well and we decided that if she could cope then so could we. Gentle hands would try to touch us and encourage us to play and as time went on we got used to this and soon it became fun. More people came to look at us but they soon walked away and if we could understand "human speak" we would have known that they didn't want us because we were just another pair of black kittens! Then one day our sister was put in a box and didn't return.... That left our Mum and us by then named Tootsie & Bernard.

 A few weeks later another lady spent a long time with us but talking to our Mum more than us. Mum wasn't sure but she decided that maybe she could live with this lady and decided to give her a chance so she let the lady tickle her head and stroke her a bit. The next day our nervous Mum was put into a box and disappeared. That just left us two. On the plus side we had more space to play and well... we are now grown up kittens so we guessed we didn't need our Mum now. It was really sad at first not having her to snuggle up with.

Fast forward 2 weeks and we have our big people friends come and sit with us
We now chase our dangly toys and we have been even known to sit on a lap! We feel we now need a home where we can stretch our paws, feel the grass between our tootsies, relax in the sunshine and generally have fun and entertain our human friends. We even had a letter from Mum! She said it was scary at first but now she is enjoying training her new human...

So what are we really saying? We have been in care for over 167 days. We need that special someone to offer us a home. We would suit most households and would love to live together.... we have each other for company when you are out!

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Heartbreak as family have to part with their cats!

Childs illness leads family to make hard decision to part with their cats

My little girl's health has continually suffered really bad breathing problems since birth! It has never really got better and she is on 2-3 inhalers constantly as well as granules and other medication! The doctors now think it's the cat hair and the dander that comes off them. This has given us the toughest choice I have ever made and I have now accepted that I must re-home our two wonderful cats!

Both cats came from Cats Protection and ideally I would love to help them find a new home so they don't have to go back to CP, especially for Tom as he is old and blind. I worry so much that nobody will want him! Tom is still very active as his disability doesn't stop him enjoying life. Being blind from birth Tom has not known anything different, he is a really amazing cat, I am heart broken as he is MY cat, I've had him for years and he follows me everywhere. Tom is mainly an indoor house cat but does enjoy a venture into the garden to relax in the sunshine (and to toilet) under supervision. Trixy is still quite young and adaptable and is a happy house cat.  She does go out to an enclosed garden but to be honest they both prefer the indoors.They could go together or on there own, to be fair we got Trixy a few years after Tom so they get on but are very independent! We think Tom might be around 15yrs and Trixie is only 4yrs It's not been an easy decision and one we have tried to think of ways around but sadly there isn't one. My poor little girl has had another 2 trips to hospital this week alone! I need to do what's best for her now.Please if there is anyone who can help my family in giving my cats a home where they can be loved and cared for, get in touch through Cats Protection. Thank you for reading this and I'm hoping someone out there will give these cats a chance. Scott

Monday, 10 March 2014

Enrichment for cats

 How can we help the cats at CP

We take pride in caring for all our cats at the IOW AC and our team of socialisers play an important role to make sure the cats are happy in our care. We really strive to do our best to help our cats who find living in a confined space very stressful. Being at CP is a really strange experience for the cats as they are surrounded by other cats and there are lots of different visitors to the centre looking at them. With no familiar scents around them they find it very disorientating. Thinking about the cat’s needs is very important to us and when a cat arrives we let the cat settle in at its own pace and try to avoid adding to any stress it may be experiencing.

Some cats cope in their new surroundings by trying to hide. Having somewhere to hide is sometimes quite difficult with a glass door pen so if the cat needs privacy we like to give the cat a hidey bed or cover the glass to make him feel safe. We  also consider that the cat may also want to spend time outside. This is where we can help by using plastic steps or play tunnels (see picture) which have more than one exit for shy cats. We don't want to make the cat feel cornered, so it can either come out to say hello or move away depending on how it feels. Socialisers will take care to build up the cat's confidence with a reward and play technique to make the cat feel much braver and happier and in turn then be more friendlier for the public when it's time for rehoming.

As our new arrivals settle into their new environment most prefer a regular routine but with some enrichment such as a rotation of toys and regular socialising.  Sometimes we can get cats that just get over-looked (usually for no obvious reason or for being the wrong colour!) and can be in care for several months! These are the cats that become bored and depressed. Cats like this need extra stimulation as we know that it's just a symptom of how they are feeling and not their true personality. Cats showing a change in behaviour may require a daily plan to encourage mental and physical activity to promote natural eating and hunting skills which helps reduce frustration and aggression. This can include being groomed, playing with dangly toys, using cat nip and using puzzle feeders which is fun for the socialiser and the cat!

v  Hunting is an innate behaviour in all cats, they are born with the instinct to hunt and this will be an instinct that continues throughout their life.

v  Initially, hunting will not be high on a newly admitted cat’s list of priorities, instead it will want to hide until it feels the new environment is safe and predictable – different cats will adapt at different rates.

v  Each cat needs to be given the chance to exhibit hunting behaviour once they have settled in.

v  By providing feeding enrichment toys, we can help manage the frustration associated with being in a pen.

v  This feeding toy allows us to add and change the different tubes so that we can adjust the challenge according to the individual cat’s capabilities.

(Aikiou Stimulo Feeding Bowl)

The Catit Senses Food Maze is another clever way to feed cats, as it allows you to challenge his abilities at the same time. The food maze can be set to various levels of difficulty.

The cat must move food or treats though the maze using his paws through the side openings until the food is dispensed into the food tray.

The food maze appeals to not only the cat's taste buds, but his sense of touch too, and keeps him physically and mentally stimulated whilst he works for food.

A challenge like this can prevent boredom which in a cattery can sometimes leads to over eating or frustration.
These are just two of the options available that could help cats like Noodles who has been at CP since November. It doesn't help that he is a black cat but now he is bored and fed up and having something like the above could give him a challenge to break up his long, lonely days. To find out more about Noodles please check out our facebook and website pages.

If you think you could help our cats by donating an enrichment toy to the centre, there are so many varieties of interactive cat toys and feeders so please have a look at our Amazon wishlist. This will give you lots of ideas of how you can help make the cats stay at CP more challenging, rewarding and stimulating so they are happy cats which will make them more homeable. (We try to use items that can be washed and reused to help as many cats as possible).

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Pickles aka Oscar Settled & Happy

Pickles lives up to his name as he enjoys his new home!

At CP we knew Pickles as Oscar, the lively chap who didn't understand hands were for stroking not biting. Through lots of exercise and play his behaviour improved and he became more affectionate and loving. Below we hear from his devoted Mum who knew as soon as she saw him that she wanted to offer Oscar a home bad habits and all!

Pickles has established his own little routine that suits him, watching the birds in the garden in the morning or he sun bathes if the weather suits, curls up on the bed for the afternoon until we get home and disturb his beauty sleep.  He has his tea and cuddles early evening then goes out on the town for most of the night!
Pickles and Jake

He gets on best with Jake (in the pic) who we re-homed from the RSPCA in 2007, they love playing with the flying frenzy toy together and running in and out of the table & chair legs chasing after a ping pong ball.  Pickles loves playing and will chase after things for ages without getting bored however he still hasn't caught any wildlife (well not that he's brought home anyway) which surprises me!

He loves his food and he is a really messy eater - It's always all over the floor and he makes some fantastic noises when he's eating so you can tell he is enjoying it.  His worst habit has to be that he expects you to share your dinner with him too and if you don't then he is quite happy to help himself!  He has a very mischievous personality and the change in his name completely reflects that.

This is my sofa!!

Pickles also used to flinch quite a lot when we first brought him home and as you know used to bite quite a bit but I'm pleased to say that this has to be where he has made the most progress.  The biting has gone from an almost daily attack when going to stroke or walk past him to the odd nip without much intent as it really is half hearted.  He even gives you the odd head butt when he comes for a cuddle.  He's actually turned into a bit of a softie but he won't thank me for telling you all that as he has a reputation to uphold....  I hope that one day we will be able to pick him up as that is still a big issue for him so it will be on his terms when and if it happens. 

This is my person! 

It's taken time and patience on both sides but he is slowly learning to trust us but it's really rewarding and watching him change has been great.  We would have loved him regardless though, it was love at first sight for me and I knew he was the one to join our family and share our home.  I still can't believe he was with you for that long, I keep telling myself it was because he was waiting for us, he was well worth the journey and we couldn't be happier together *:) happy