How can you make your cat feel more at home?

RSPCA's South Godstone Animal Centre Supervisor Liz Forbes-Dale gives us a look at the ways we put cats in our care at ease, offering some inspiration for how you might be able to help your own feline companion feel more at home.

Cats arriving at RSPCA centres can be frightened and confused. They may have been in several places before arriving, or they may have only lived in their owner’s home until now.

Click this link for Leona’s (pictured above) adoption page

Cats are often seen as the ultimate control freaks who find any change in their routine and environment very difficult to cope with.

Domestic cats are very similar in their behaviour to their wild ancestors, so some of the measures we take help to allow them to follow their instincts in what is an unnatural environment for a cat.

The cattery at South Godstone has 40 cubicles in total, each with both an indoor pod and outdoor run.

Pictured left: A view of South Godstone cattery’s indoor pods, complete with feline resident.

We often know in advance when new cats are arriving, so we will set up a cattery pod with a number of different things in preparation:

Hidey-holes

Covered beds or cardboard boxes both inside the cubicle and in the outdoor runs give cats the chance to hide away from people if they choose to do so. The beds and boxes are filled with warm comfy bedding, sometimes partially covering the top so the cats can peek out. (Cats mostly prefer to be warmer than cold, so we try to make them as comfortable & warm as possible.)

Click this link for Moana’s (pictured right) adoption page

We try to keep very new cats away from the public viewing areas. Like many catteries that the RSPCA run South Godstone is open for the public to view the animals, and this can be quite upsetting if the cats have just arrived. Cats are often more comfortable with new faces and experiences once they are familiar with and confident in their environment.

Comfy fabrics

Our pods are made from lovely, easy to clean plastic: very hygienic but not very stimulating for the average kitty! Rugs, duvets or mats add another element and texture to their limited environment.

Feline pheromones

Cat laying comfortably in his bed © RSPCAWe spray the bedding with Feliway Classic. This contains an artificial facial pheromone (scent) that cats naturally produce. Normally a cat will rub this around their environment so that it smells familiar and they feel that they have been in this place before.

Large litter trays

Sometimes we have pairs of cats that will need a litter tray each, plus a spare one. Toileting for cats is a time when they will feel vulnerable and, like people, they often do not like to be seen while doing their business. We try to give them some privacy from the other cats alongside them by giving them enough space, and offering covered trays.

Scratching spots

Cats like to scratch for 2 reasons: it helps to maintain the health of their nails, and allows them to scent mark an area using scent glands between the pads on their paws, making it familiar, and leaving a message for other cats. Some cats prefer to scratch vertically & others horizontally, so we offer both scratching posts and carpet tiles.

Boredom busters

Cat playing with toy rope © RSPCAConfinement in the cattery can be very boring for cats and they can become frustrated, so we aim to keep them entertained. When the cats first arrive we do not play with them as it may be overwhelming, but we leave toys in their pods so that they start to become familiar. When they are ready and settled, both the staff and volunteers will engage in play sessions with the cats if they are interested.

Grooming tools

We like to groom all the cats in the cattery. Sometimes the more nervous cats will let us groom them where they wouldn’t let us pet or stroke them. The brushes are left in the cubicles for when the cats are settled enough to allow interactions, leaving the brushes inside also allows the item to become familiar to the cat.

Drinking bowls

We put one water bowl inside the pod and one in the back run.Cats are very sensitive about where they drink, and may prefer this to be away from feeding areas. As space is at a premium inside, we we give them an extra bowl outside. Plastic bowls can taint the taste of the water so we try to use other materials: glass, metal or a ceramic.

Food boredom

Once the cats have settled we consider how we can help to mimic some of the cats wild behaviours. One of the easiest way is by getting them hunting!

Cat Danaerys seeks out biscuits hidden in pyramid toy © RSPCAHunting is a natural behaviour which is not solely linked to hunger. Cats in the wild will go on hunting adventures up to 40 times a day and may catch something 10 to 20 times, so with this in mind it must be very boring to have your dinner served in a bowl! As well as play, we try to use alternative feeding methods which simulate this search for food.

Pictured left: Danaerys tackles a toilet roll pyramid: the rolls are all glued together with biscuits hidden inside, meaning the cats have to seek out the hidden treasures!

We hope a few of these tips and trick from our cattery will come in useful if you’re hoping to welcome a new cat into your household soon, and may even help your existing feline feel more at home!

Still searching for the purrfect pal? Take a look at all the cats in need of new homes on our Find a Pet pages

Sign-up to our FREE Katzenworld Newslettter
Get the latest content directly to your inbox.
We respect your privacy and will never pass your data to third parties.

Advertisements

2017 Cat Weekend

icatcare banner

Love cats and want to learn more?

Join International Cat Care and the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors for a weekend of fascinating feline talks!

Day 1: Saturday 16 September
iCatCare Feline Day

A full day of varied talks from expert speakers including Vicky Halls, Celia Haddon and Andy Sparkes.

Topics:

  • From hospital to home – managing and supporting a cat with arthritis
  • The super fosterer – how fostering cats can benefit their wellbeing
  • The ultimate challenge – a stress-free vet visit
  • Cats and wildlife
  • Ethical dilemmas – ‘natural mutation’ or a breed too far?
  • From hospital to home – care for the cat with kidney disease
  • Ethical dilemmas – outdoor/indoor lifestyles, cat cafes and others
  • Desperate house cats – the less obvious consequences of keeping cats indoors (case studies)

Day 2: Sunday 17 September
iCatCare/APBC Day: Problem behaviour – it’s a team approach

International Cat Care, working with the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors, has planned a day with a difference!

Instead of the usual conference format, a problem behaviour case (fictional but based on true events) will be presented shown through the eyes of the people involved in the management of the case.

The aim is to show how all the different professions are involved in a case, how decisions they make can influence the case (for better or worse) and how they need to work together to get the best outcome for the owner and the cat.

Sarah Ellis from iCatCare will compere the day and there will be input from experts and discussion during the day.

The venue
The conference is being held at the new Birmingham Conference and Events Centre which is just outside New Street Station in Birmingham, UK.

Cost
You can attend either day or book for the whole weekend for just £140 including refreshments and buffet lunches, CPD certificate of attendance and access to online downloadable proceedings (Saturday only).

To find out more and to book your place click here.

Happy #TRT – Tummy Rub Tuesday (Week 156)

Hello everyone,

Welcome to another week of Tummy Rub Tuesday! Oh, and if you haven’t subscribed to our newsletter yet, why not sign up by clicking here to never miss a TRT again.

We have setup a Katzenworld Forum and would like to encourage everyone to make their entries for Tummy Rub Tuesday on our dedicated Tummy Rub Tuesday post. Simply leave a comment on the post and attach the image you’d like to use. If you’ve got more than one image to use, make multiple comments!

Alternatively you can still send them in via info@katzenworld.co.uk. Or just leave a comment with the link to the post / photo you’d like us to use.

This cutie is the newest product test at 4cats and doesn’t he look adorable?!?

This fluffy kitty is called Naja and is another great entry by Rose!

This lovely entry comes from one of our Twitter friends.

Alfie just can’t get enough of Tummy Rub Tuesday! But where is his belly today! Entice him out. 😀

This lovely entry comes from our friend WASHEKODA

This is Suzy, who LOVES to attack feets… 😉 This was sent in by Kristy via email.

And in case you missed last week’s post click here to see the full list!

Now we need ALL of you! Do you want to see your cat featured and join our fun blog roll? Follow the steps below. 😀

All you need to do is post a photo or photo story of your fur-friend on your own Blog and add your post link and photo into our Tummy Rub Tuesday post within our Forum.

Simply leave a comment on the post and attach the image you’d like to use. If you’ve got more than one image to use, make multiple comments! 😀

Should you not have an own Blog you can participate by sending us an email with your photo to info@katzenworld.co.uk – just let us know what you would like to have listed as source! 🙂

And to make it fair your cat photos don’t have to be a tummy shot we do understand that not all cats like showing off their belly! So any fun photo story will be fine but tummy ones will be even better 😀

And on next week’s #TRT we will be posting photos with links back to all you guys in the weekly Tummy Rub Tuesday post!!!

A big thank you to all participants from all of us here at Katzenworld.

Not on WordPress but would like to follow us? We are on Bloglovin too! 🙂

Katzenworld banner

Street Cats Winner – Mei Catherall

icatcare banner

2017 ‘Street Cats’ photography competition winning image – photographed by Mei Catherall from the UK

“I was in Sousse, Tunisia, just after the Arab Spring. I found myself alone down a seemingly abandoned alleyway when I was startled by the appearance of this cat. As I explored the area she kept an eye on me, as if tolerating my presence in her domain, popping up at a safe distance at every turn.

This was the last look back over her shoulder before she disappeared deeper into the labyrinth, daring me to follow her but somehow knowing that I wouldn’t and that she could go back to her streetwise lonesome scavenging, never being sure if she could have trusted me but having shared a moment with me that I still treasure.”

The judges felt that this image reflected the hot and tough life of many street cats and the need for us to care about their welfare.  They also loved the composition of the photograph and the direct gaze of the cat.

Mei’s winning image features in the 2018 Street Cats Calendar which will be sold to raise funds for International Cat Care’s cat welfare work.

To find out more and to pre-order your copy of the calendar for just £5 click here.

Feline Facts – Debunking 5 Common Myths

Feline facts – debunking 5 common myths

By Rachel Mulheron, Director, helpucover

Despite being the second most popular pet in UK households, our feline friends are often one of the most misunderstood. There’s a comprehensive list of things we need to know to care for them, but cats are also shrouded in myth and superstition. We’ve looked into the most common tall tales to see if they really are what they seem…

  • Cats are low maintenance

It is widely believed cats are low-maintenance as pets, possibly because they don’t need to be walked like their canine counterparts. However, it is important to understand that cats are more complex than they seem and thrive off human attention. Although they don’t need to be walked, they still need to be mentally and physically stimulated through play, problem solving and human or animal socialisation.

Cats need to be regularly groomed and bathed – ideally once a month for long-haired cats. Bedding needs to be washed frequently and litter trays need emptying every day – overall, they need just as much time and attention as dogs.

  • They can’t get enough of catnip

Catnip – a herb from the mint family – contains the chemical nepetalactone which can make cats very excitable. But not all of them will have the same reaction. Sensitivity to catnip is genetic and only about 50 per cent of the cat population will feel the buzz. Male cats are more likely to respond as it contains the same chemical found in a female cat’s urine. Give it a go, but don’t be disappointed if your cat looks unamused!

  • If they’re black, stay away!

The black cat can be a symbol for either good or bad luck, depending on where you are in the world. In England, as in most of Europe, a black cat was associated with witchcraft and evil spirits. Of course, this is based purely on folklore, there is no scientific evidence that the black cat is in any way unlucky – but superstitions remain. The harsh reality of this is that the black cat is the most difficult to rehome, so maybe show a bit of love the next time you see one.

  • They have nine lives

Or seven lives in Italy, Germany and Brazil. Or six lives in Turkey or the Arab world. Cats are not immortal, but they do have an instinctive righting reflex which gives them the ability to orientate themselves as they fall, giving rise to the saying ‘a cat always lands on its feet’. It is their natural suppleness and swiftness when faced with life-threatening situations that gives the impression they can cheat death. 

  • They cannot be trained

Cats are highly intelligent animals. However, owners rarely attempt to train them, even though it can actually strengthen your bond, curb bad behavior and provide physical and mental stimulation. All that’s needed is a little patience, a clicker and some treats to provide positive reinforcement. You can train them to come to you when you call, discourage aggression, use a litter tray and walk on a lead. Perhaps not to bring you the newspaper though!

Kitten loses one of her nine lives – and her tail – in road accident

Craft ideas for creative cat owners to make their own feline-friendly creations

Please find below a sad rescue story from our friends over at the PDSA which luckily at a happy ending over-all for the affected cat.

Unfortunately it once again displays the risks cars pose to our beloved cats and why all of us driving a car should be taking extra care not just while driving but also when we set off from home.

Thanks,

Marc

A kitten has used up one of her nine lives but lost her tail after sustaining horrific injuries in a road traffic accident.

Brave ten-month-old JJ managed to drag herself back home following the suspected collision. Her owner, Natalie Joyce, from Longsight, Manchester, was devastated by her poor kitten’s injuries.

julianbrownpictures.wordpress.com
Picture by Julian Brown for the PDSA
JJ the cat

She said: “I heard her meowing outside, but she didn’t seem to be able to climb through the window like she normally does. I went to let her in and she just collapsed on the floor, it was horrific.

“I knew she was in pain so I rushed her to PDSA.”

JJ was given pain-relief and x-rayed, which revealed her tail had detached from her spine. Fiona Buchan, vet at PDSA’s Manchester Pet Hospital, said: “JJ had a separation at her tail base causing severe damage to the nerves leading to her tail and bladder, which can be life-threatening.

“We had to allow time to see if she would regain function of her tail and bladder so she was kept on strong medication to keep her pain free and allowed to go home for strict bed rest. Natalie brought her in daily for us to check her progress

“She was struggling to urinate and we knew if she didn’t regain bladder control there would be a build-up of toxins which could be fatal. It was very touch and go for a while and we needed to monitor her carefully to prevent her situation worsening.”

JJ’s bladder started to show signs of recovery, but unfortunately her tail was too badly damaged and had to be amputated to prevent further complications.

“Cats are very adaptable so no longer having a tail won’t affect her quality of life,” said Fiona

“JJ is just one of the lucky pets to benefit from PDSA’s A&E service which has received generous funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Thanks to their support we’re able to provide thousands of life-saving operations and care.”

PDSA is urging people to be aware of animals which could be hiding under vehicles for shelter or warmth at this time of year.

Fiona said: “The nature of JJ’s injury is consistent with her being hit by a vehicle. Cats like to hide under cars, especially in colder weather and they have also been known to get under car bonnets, so please check before you set off on a journey.”

Natalie, who has four young children, said the family were extremely grateful to PDSA for the care given to JJ.

She said: “PDSA have been amazing and we can’t thank them enough. The kids call JJ a magic cat because everyone thought she would have to be put to sleep but she’s still here. We’re so glad because she means everything to us.”

For further information about PDSA and free pet health advice visit www.pdsa.org.uk

Baby Criminal Bailed Out!

It’s a little past one o’clock in the morning, and we are coming home after a nice walk on Ocean Drive, when we hear faint squealing. Right outside the police department, across the street from our house, stands a tall, young, Latin-looking policeman, holding something so small, it can’t even be seen. Lost in his huge muscular arms, the tiny peach colored fuzzy thing is squealing like mad. It’s a baby kitten!

“Where did it come from?”

“Something was squealing in the bushes,” – says the cop, “I thought it was a possum trespassing on police property, so I was about to call the animal removal people, but I went to investigate first, and here it is – a baby kitty.”

“What are you going to do with it?”

“Well, unless someone bails it out, our rule book says we have to take it to a pound.”

We heard the “p” word! There was a momentary hesitation: how would the two big cats, siblings who grew up together, do everything together, and rule the house together, take to the baby intruder? But the alternative was too terrible to contemplate! I took her into my arms and held her like a baby. The poor thing was trembling, but as soon as she felt the warmth of my body, she calmed down and went to sleep – like a baby.

At first we didn’t know whether it was a girl or a boy, so we came up with two names. The first priority, though, was to feed the baby. When we gave her a dish with kitten food, she almost inhaled it! We have never heard a cat making sounds like that while eating. She was ravenous – she must have not had anything to eat for quite a while, poor baby!

Once she ate her full, he became playful. She still wants to be next to Mama most of the time, but she also loves playing with toys, and she is a great explorer. Now we know – it’s a girl! She is about 4 – 5 weeks old, healthy, beautiful, and full of energy. As to the older cats, it was tough the first couple of days, but now they have accepted her.

Uncle Barmalei even lets her play with his favorite toy and catch his tail! He supervises her activities, to make sure she is safe.

The little trespasser is not a criminal any more; she is our baby.