Street Cats Winner – Catan Ngan

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2017 ‘Street Cats’ photography competition winning image – photographed by Catan Ngan from Hong Kong

“This community cat is lucky to live in a safer area in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, there are groups of people who will deliberately hurt or capture cats to sell.”

The judges loved this intimate picture which captures a battered but defiant street cat. The blue of the background reflected in his eyes also makes a very arresting picture.

Catan was chosen by the judges as the overall winner of the competition and his wonderful image now features as the cover of 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.

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The Cat Who Found my Inner Attic!

The Cat who showed me My Inner Attic

When I worked in a newspaper many years ago, there was a little cattery behind my office, which housed a 100 odd cats and kittens. When the rodents and rats, the rubble and the rust began to sour the workplace, with umpteen problems, malignancies and messes, I began to visit the cattery every evening. There the atmosphere of a Zen temple prevailed and I got back my peace and power.

The most intriguing and unnerving cat in that monastery of meowing Zen monks was a cat I named Mohanthal. Mohanthal is the sweet my mother made for Diwali, our festival of lights. It was a dark brown, orange and grey sweet made of sugar or jaggery, wheat, nuts and loads of butter, and it was the same color of the cat I named after it.

Mohanthal was the loner of the pack. She always sat alone, snoozed alone, kept aloof and seemed to have the look of a cat who truly did not need anyone else in the world! Solitude should have been her real name. The minute I reached the place I sought out Mohanthal who would be sitting on the most frightening ledge, edge of the roof hangout, where no one could reach her or touch her!

Then some spell of magic seeped out of her to reach me instantly. It always had one important message saying “now stand up for yourself, tell them (the ghouls at work) to get lost, and do something cool today.”

After I took in this message I reached home with a very different outlook. Instead of praying to God to kill the newest goon at work, who had refused to take my investigative story, or deleted my newest photograph, I would instead search out the book I had bought last year, and never begun to read. Or I would try out an orange and lemon cake for the first time. I would do something ‘cool’ as Mohanthal had advised.

That cat taught me that there is an inner attic of our own that no one can take away from us. And if we go inside it, a mountain of treasures waits for us there. While Mohanthal never listened to the million times I begged her to come off the frightening ledge, the crumbling roof top, the moldering parapet or the slithering wall, which would surely kill her, she always managed to send me inside my inner attic! She taught me to finally learn to be proud of my love of solitude instead of cringing when others told me it was weird or rude.

Inside my inner attic I discovered that poetry often and eerily waits for the time when your soul has crashed, or your heart has fallen out, to appear with a shimmer of words packed up in magic or wrapped around a sheet of silver wisdom!

I found that anyone could bake a cake, or write a short story, or get bedazzled by a poem that was born inside your own maddened self, simply because I had been firmly locked up inside my inner attic by a cat dressed up in brown, orange and grey fur-coated solitude of the soul!

Ends

Daksha Hathi

Our visit to Kitty Café – Nottingham: Cafe turned Magical Forest

Hi everyone,

This time around we first of all wanted to show of some more of the interior decoration of the Kitty Cafe in Nottingham. If you’ve missed Part 4 don’t forget to check it out here.

What stood out the most in the cafe were the trees that held the walking paths up for the cats and made it feel like you were in a magical forest full of cute felines. 🙂

Of course there were fun hiding entrances like the ginger tiger cat as well so that the cats could get away from us humans if they wanted to.

Many of the interior decoration were hiding spaces that would blend in to provide the resident cats with awesome places to nap on or watch the outside world pass by. 🙂

Being a cat cafe of course they also had Persian cats in the cafe. We do have to point out though that while Persians are very different to look at a lot of breeders have taken it to far in recent times and you may want to check out our word of warning when it comes to the over-breeding of Persians.

Thanks again for following us and we hope you enjoyed our story!

More to be featured soon. 🙂

Thanks,

Marc

Cat-titude! Give shy cats a chance

Shy cats can often get overlooked but just because they are quieter in the cattery does not mean they won’t make the perfect companion.

A cat can be shy or timid for a number of reasons, they may have been through a trauma, they could still be very young and learning the ropes, or maybe they are just waiting to find that special someone who can bring them out of their shell.

At the RSPCA Southall Cattery there are currently some timid cats who are looking for purr-fect homes.

Aneel Odhwani, animal care assistant at Southall in London, is urging prospective owners to give shy cats a chance.

He said: “All cats personalities’ are very unique, some might be feisty and some might be quieter but they could all make a great companion.

“Unfortunately this is quite a common problem which we see all over the country. People just don’t give shy cats a chance.

“People walk through catteries and don’t notice the timid ones as they pass through because they don’t go up to strangers immediately. The confident cats who stroll up to people are much more likely to catch someone’s eye.

Sindy (6)

“It is such a shame as just because a cat is shy in a cattery doesn’t mean they don’t make loyal, sweet-natured and often playful companions once they have settled in a home and have got to know their owners.

“Some might say that this extra bit of a challenge makes the bond between owner and cat all the more unique.

“The shy cat won’t go up to any old stranger with their love – it would be especially for you.”

Two year old Sindy was hit by a car in February and brought to Harmsworth Animal Hospital as she was unable to walk.

The black and white cat was found under a car by a passer-by in Brent and brought to the RSPCA for treatment.

No owner was ever found and so after a month of treatment she was back on her feet and arrived at Southall in March looking for a new home.

Aneel added: “She has recovered from her ordeal now but Sindy is a very shy cat. She’s not going to be anyone’s lap cat but she does want to make friends.

Besty“She would suit a quieter, adult-only home with a more experienced owner who understands her need to do her own thing.”

Three-year old Betsy is another cat who needs a little patience and lots of space.

She came in to Southall in March from a multi-cat household in London where 10 cats were living in total.

She shies away from the staff at the cattery and would rather be running around a field or out and about.

She would suit a home on a farm where she can have plenty of space to run around and be herself.

ParisnewParis and Andie are two timid foster sisters who are bound to come out of their shell soon.

The three month old kittens were brought in separately in April but have become foster sisters during their time at Southall.

Paris was found as a newborn with her mum in a back garden in London whereas Andie came in at about two weeks old without a mum. The pair have since become thick as thieves.

They are still quite timid but staff are sure they will grow out of this and will benefit from lots of company.

AndieThey will need a home with adults-only or older children who are used to cats. The new owners will also need to be experienced with cats as the pair are flu carriers.

Aneel added: “Shy cats can take some patience but in the end we’re sure it will be worth it.

“Southall Cattery is at full capacity and this isn’t a rare occurrence. We’d love it if more people took a chance on quieter cats and gave them the loving home they deserve.”

To rehome Sindy, Betsy, Paris or Andie, contact Southall Cattery, Hounslow, London on 0300 123 0746, or visit https://www.rspca.org.uk/local/southall-cattery/findapet#onSubmitSetHere

Or visit the national website at www.rspca.org.uk/findapet

To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit: www.rspca.org.uk/give or text LOVE to 87023 to give £3 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).

Drivers Need to Start Thinking About Cats on Roads – and be Held Accountable When They Don’t

On the night of 29th of April, 2017 our Red Point Siamese Henry was killed by a car in front of our house. Even though he was wearing a collar with all our details on his tag, he was left to die alone – the driver did not stop.  A few years earlier, a fluffy white boy named Snowy didn’t come home.  After months of searching, his family pieced together through neighbours and other witnesses that he had been run over, then picked up by the council binmen and taken to landfill – he was microchipped.

Normally, these two incidents would not end up in the mainstream news. These stories would not be talked about beyond the sphere of close friends and family, and when discussed, would even be met with comments such as, ‘Well, that’s just what happens.’ Or, ‘It’s just a cat.’

But not this time.  This time, I wrote this viral blog to the driver who killed Henry.  It was off the back of this blog that Mandy Lowe (Snowy’s owner), who had been campaigning for years for compulsory microchip scanning from all councils, contacted me and a few months later, the official CatsMatter movement was born.

Our campaign’s ultimate goal is to challenge UK law surrounding cat’s welfare on UK roads, because all cats matter. We continuously liaise with MPs and Government Departments and work tirelessly towards making it illegal for drivers to leave the scene without reporting if they hit a cat. We also call for it to be mandatory for all councils to scan every cat found and notify the owners, as well as spreading this message far and wide, in the hope of changing driver mind-sets that it is ‘just a cat’.

Scoff if you must, but the grief we feel after the loss of a cat is every bit as painful as that felt after losing a human, so why are drivers and councils leaving and binning our cats as if they are nothing?  You wouldn’t see that with a dog, or certainly not a human.  But cats, well… I guess society says it’s ok. But we are here to say it isn’t.

In general, there needs to be more awareness and consideration towards cats on roads.  If not because they are much-loved, integral parts of people’s families, then for the simple fact that if drivers were more vigilant in looking out for cats, they would be far less likely to put many other vulnerable road users, like children, the elderly, the disabled and cyclists, at risk.

According to figures released from Petplan in 2005/6, drivers in the UK hit 630 cats every day – and those are just the ones we know about. Petplan’s research also found 35% of drivers admitted to either hitting or nearly missing a cat, and three out of four drivers confessed to having no idea what to do if they were to hit a cat. 13% admitted that they would leave the cat for dead – though the campaigners at CatsMatter believe this particular statistic to be higher in reality, based on our own canvassing and campaign experience.

It’s precisely this gap in driver knowledge on both how to avoid hitting a cat while driving but also, what to do if you do hit one that we work so hard to address.

Hitting a cat with your car isn’t just a traumatic event for a driver. It unquestionably is for the cat and it certainly will be for the person (or people) who love him or her – but how a driver handles that situation will determine the degree of trauma experienced by all parties involved.  Does a driver  want to spend the rest of their life wondering if they could have saved the cat they hit, or done something differently?  Do they want the idea of the poor animal’s family searching the streets, seeing the cat’s missing posters on social media and through the towns – knowing that they are responsible for this prolonged agony and have done nothing to ease the owner’s suffering?  If they have a heart, the chances are probably not.

We believe that most drivers are inherently good people, and more often than not, it is a combination of panic at having to come face-to-face with the scene (as well as confronting the owner afterwards), coupled with a general lack of knowledge about what the correct protocol or moral thing to do would be after hitting a cat, that leads so many to make the most destructive decision: to drive off and do nothing.

Drivers also need to be held lawfully accountable. If only because where empathy fails, a hefty fine or other legal consequence may serve as an adequate reminder that, though they may not think much of killing a cat, society certainly does and has deemed it wrong to do so and not report it.

The way that both drivers react, and many of our local councils treat our beloved cats after road traffic accidents is an epidemic and it needs to change.

CatsMatter works to do just that.  As a 100% non-profit, grassroots organisation, we exist solely on the support of likeminded people who volunteer, donate and buy campaign materials from our online shop.  If you would like to get involved, please visit the website or email us here.

Guest Star: How I met My Zen Cat

Hi everyone,

Today’s guest post comes from Daksha and is a story about how she met her Zen Cat:

When I was working in a newspaper office, many years ago, I often collided with the dark, dolorous serpents of  jealousy and stupidity that squiggle around in offices all over the world.

Being somewhat ambitious, and too hard working for my own good, I was often able to dig out a good health story or a scam story in a day or two. The Editors began to love me, while the seniors above me, began to loathe me. They were the real bosses who ran the paper, so two of them, who had turned older, lazier, lousier and lugubrious, often strangled the stories I gave to them for publishing. Since I hadn’t learned the rules of workplaces, where you need to butter up creepy, cantankerous seniors I instead unfortunately stood up for myself and was forthright and furious, which got me into trouble! The serpents wrapped their oily scales around the story and me, and let me simmer in sorrow and despair.

At such derailed times, I often ran out of the office and climbed up the stairs to the roof of a friend’s house where a 100 odd stray cats were treated to royalty by him. Here I found the grey, brown and orange cat who always pulled me out of the vicious cruel mouth of the office serpents. This became the Zen Hour and the cat I named MOhanthal (after a dessert Mother often made during festivals) who was also called my Zen Cat.

When I was just beginning to wonder about Zen and what it really meant, this cat gave me an inkling of it. She sat under a pillowing pink cloud of flowers, and  seemed to be meditating. I first really understood the meaning of meditation, when I saw this cat under her  calming pink wall.  This was my very first Zen Hour….and many more were to follow, as office calamities mounted! But I never felt alone again……

Daksha

Adventures of Oliver & Nubia – Visit to the Cat Cafe

Hi everyone,

We are back for our seventh cartoon of The amazing adventures of Oliver & Nubia!

Today’s story kind of relates to one of our favourite activities, visiting cat cafes. For the cartoon we thought about what it would be like if Oliver & Nubia could visit one of these cafes. : )

Do you have some ideas for future cartoons? Let us know! : D

Thanks,

Marc