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!

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Review of Turkish cat film Kedi

After reading in the August Issue of Your Cat (page 24) that an online survey revealed 83% of cat owners kept their cats indoors due to their safety (50%), lack of interest by cat (30%) and health reasons (20%), it was extremely refreshing to watch the film Kedi. A film documenting the hundreds of thousands of Turkish cats that roam the metropolis of Istanbul freely. The film concentrates on the daily antics of 7 cats although many more were filmed going about their daily routines being cheeky, curious, demanding, manipulative, cute, fiesty and on top form when it came to hunting the many mice and rats in the city.

Beautifully shot and with a stunning soundtrack by composer Kira Fontana it was two hours of total bliss watching my favourite animal act naturally and freely. It helps that Turkish people love cats with the cat given a god like status in Islam.

anita kelsey cat behaviourist

What I loved about the film, apart from watching cats be cats, is the narration of the people of Istanbul. It was deeply moving listening to each cat owner express their feelings about the mog that had chosen them or their reasons behind feeding the local feral population.

Some of the beautiful warm quotes were:

“God brings us closer to him in different ways. For me it was these animals. I guess I was worthy of his love”

“Dogs think people are God, but cats don’t. Cats know that people act as middlemen to God’s will. They’re not ungrateful. They just know better.”

“A cat meowing at your feet, looking up at you. Is life smiling at you? Those are moments where we’re lucky. They remind us that we’re alive.”

“Life is beautiful if you know how to love. You love if your heart’s eye is open….If you can enjoy the presence of a cat, a bird, a flower, what can I say….the world will be yours….”

“The love of animals is a different kind of love. People who don’t love animals can’t love people either. I know that much.”

Anita Kelsey feline behaviour expert


Although most of the cat colonies and solo cats had specific feeders that tended to them daily the whole city seems to have taken the cat under its wings. Warm hidey holes and boxes are provided on many street corners and most of the market and shop sellers hand out bits of food and a cuddle to the street cats.

Everything about the film sums up the complex relationship we have with our pets. A connection that really cannot be put into words although this film comes damn close!

A must see film for every cat lover or person who needs to be convinced to become a cat lover 😉

Kedi website


Anita Kelsey Cat Behaviourist

Anita Kelsey is a cat behaviourist and published author of #ClawsConfessions Of A Cat Groomer – out on 7th September 2017


The Mayhew Animal Home Rebrands to ‘Mayhew’

The Mayhew Animal Home Rebrands to ‘Mayhew’

The longstanding London-based animal welfare charity, The Mayhew Animal Home, has rebranded, overhauling its brand strategy, identity and logo to appeal to a wider audience and highlight the range of proactive animal welfare and community outreach work it delivers in addition to the rescue and rehoming work it is well known for.

The charity has rebranded to ‘Mayhew’ with a new strapline, ‘for dogs, cats and communities.’ Their strapline was formerly `Helping animals and their carers since 1886.’

The rebrand was prompted after the charity recognised that supporters and the general public were not necessarily aware that the organisation is much more than an animal shelter with its increased focus on preventative work, education and community engagement, aimed at improving companion animal health and welfare both in London and overseas, whilst simultaneously retaining its heritage of more than 130 years of addressing the issues in its local area.

The charity also recognised that with the rebranded focus its supporter base could be broadened, appealing to a wider audience.

The London-based charity, which provides help and support to neglected, unwanted and abandoned animals as well as vulnerable, sick and elderly pet owners and the homeless and their pets, worked on the rebrand with the London branding agency, Fabrik Brands.

“We have had a significant and sustained, long-term impact over the years helping pets and their owners in the community across London and receive great affection from our supporters who know us and our work, however, this is not necessarily reflected in all of our audiences and the broader public awareness and perception,” said Sonya Brucciani, Head of Marketing and Communications at Mayhew.

“In order to engage with new supporters and raise the vital income we need to deliver our essential services in communities, both in London and overseas,  we want to increase our brand’s awareness and promote the wide range of animal welfare initiatives we deliver beyond our rescue and rehoming work.”

“This is more than just a logo and name change for us. We have also updated our mission and vision, placing our existing companion animal related human behaviour change activities at the heart of the charity.”

The charity’s strapline is changing from “Helping Animals and their Carers since 1886” to “For dogs, cats and communities” and Mayhew’s blue logo is being replaced by a purple logo incorporating a dog’s and cat’s tail.

The change in strap and logo reinforces the focus on education, preventative work and community engagement that Mayhew has led on for many years and also incorporates those dogs, cats and communities we are helping in the UK and overseas.

Caroline Yates, CEO, Mayhew, says, “We are really proud to be launching our new brand identity. A lot has changed since we started in 1886 but sadly a lot hasn’t. We still see the joy that living with a dog or cat can bring. But we still see the misery and suffering that comes from ignorance and neglect as well as the effect of treating animals as commodities.”

“We are one of the oldest London animal charities, having been at the forefront of animal welfare for 131 years, so we had to ensure that our new brand embodies the comprehensive and holistic range of innovative work that we do, as well as retaining our recognition and the loyalty and trust we have from our supporters.”

“Our animal welfare work involves so much more than being a rescue and rehoming charity with a shelter facility, so it’s important that we create wider awareness about our work in London and our efforts to create sustainable change and better lives for animals and communities where we work abroad in Afghanistan, Georgia, Russia and India.”

Mayhew is launching their new brand at their annual fundraising Family Day Out event, Hounds on the Heath, on Hampstead Heath on 16th July 2017. The day includes celebrity-judged Dog Shows, agility course, food, games and activities. The brand will be rolled out during July onwards.

For further information on our new brand, go to: www.themayhew.org/rebrand

For further information on Hounds on the Heath go to: https://www.themayhew.org/events/houndsontheheath

Reigning Cats: Why Felines have Ruled the Pet World for so Long

Despite the dominance of man’s best friend as the UK’s domestic pet of choice at 24% of households, cats come a close second with our feline friends occupying 18% of the country’s homes. In fact, according to the PFMA, cats and dogs leave the competition standing, with the next most popular pet being fish kept in tanks with just 9% of household.

The popularity of dogs can easily be explained by their historical role as working animals used to hunt. But our continuing love affair with cats throughout the centuries is more nuanced and has less obvious utilitarian roots. So what is it that makes cats so special to us, given all the other potentially domesticated animals out there?

Long Traditions

The relationship between humans and cats spans recorded history, with DNA evidence suggesting that cats were domesticated in the Middle East between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago. At this point in history, the rise of grain production would have meant that people began to be experience problems with mice, for which cats were – and still remain – the perfect predators. It’s likely that these early communities encouraged wild cats to stay around their grain stores by offering food or other attention, beginning the process of domestication which has created the cats we know and love today.

Behavioural Profile

Cats are fiercely independent and it was long believed that they cannot be easily trained. Though this has since be proven wrong through studies and books such as The Trainable Cat Book. They are certainly not suited to wearing a lead or accompanying their owner on long walks. Whilst dog’s loyalty seems to be their main appeal, it is this very independence that attracts so many people to cats. A pet cat requires very little training, beyond the basics of toilet habits, and are perfectly able to groom themselves. They are happy to be left alone for extended periods of time throughout the day, but will also offer affection and attention when in the company of the family. This makes them a suitably low maintenance pet for our busy modern lives.

Combine this with their innate cuteness and it’s not hard to understand why cats are so popular. In contrast to most other domestic animals, cats are able to retain a huge amount of their independence and to exhibit clear personalities of their own.

Thinking of Getting a Cat?

Before bringing a cat home, make sure the whole family are on board with the idea and are prepared to make the appropriate changes. It is essential that the cat feels safe and content. Although cats are independent, owners are responsible for providing food and water and for taking care of the litter tray.

Cats may not appreciate toys and playthings as much as dogs unless of course you get the right toys but they lap up attention. It’s important to make sure that all of the requisite supplies are acquired before bringing the cat home. Essentials include a litter box and the same brand of litter as the cat is already accustomed to using, a bed, food and water bowls, as well as plenty of cat food and a scratching post (to save your upholstery).

Once these items are in place, check the home for any escape points or hazardous materials that the cat might ingest. Some common plants are poisonous to animals to be sure to check if any decorative plants need to be moved to higher shelves or different rooms. You definitely look into taking out cat insurance in advance of the cat’s arrival, given the high potential cost of any veterinary attention during the lifespan of your new feline friend. Kittens need to have vaccinations at an early age, plus annual boosters, whilst accidents and emergencies can occur at any point in a cat’s life.

Cats are a rewarding companion to have at home, suitable for people of varying lifestyles who want the combination of comfort, beauty and independence that only cats can offer.

Oh and please don’t forget to subscribe to our Newsletter by clicking here.



#MyPetMadeMe: What will your pet make YOU do?

Hi everyone,

Our friends from the BlueCross charity are currently running this super fun campaign called My Pet Made Me! Basically the idea is that your pet will give you a challenge to complete and raise money for the charity in the process of completing the challenge together with your furred companion.

Full details below:

#MyPetMadeMe: What will your pet make YOU do? 

Blue Cross puts pets in charge of their owner’s destiny with new fundraising campaign

The internet is awash with cute viral cat videos and hilarious dog memes but national pet charity Blue Cross is aiming to switch the spotlight on to their owners with new fundraising campaign #MyPetMadeMe.

#MyPetMadeMe aims to turn the tables on all the dog shaming and cat-nap papping that takes place online, with a simple mechanic that puts power in the paws (and hoofs) of pets across the UK – and puts the human in the spotlight instead.

The online campaign will see pets select a cringe worthy challenge for their owner which they will need to carry out once friends, family and work colleagues have helped them to hit their fundraising target.

#MyPetMadeMe officially kicks off on March 20, however Blue Cross has already enlisted some high-profile recruits to kick off the campaign, including popular Instagrammer Marcel Le Corgi and his owner who will be demonstrating the mechanic and their steely nerve to the tens of thousands of fans on their Instagram and Facebook pages.

To take part, pets will select one of four pieces of paper numbered 1-4 placed in front of them by their owner (whether that’s using treats, toys or other rewards – it’s up to the owner!).

Their owner must film or photograph their pet choosing one of the pieces of paper before heading to the Blue Cross website to learn of their fate!

The website will reveal details of their challenge and the total amount they need to fundraise.

Owners must then share their video or photograph of their pet’s selection on social media with the aim of getting family, friends and co-workers to raise the fundraising amount to see them complete the challenge.

Challenges vary from the unpleasant – such as downing a sprout smoothie – to the downright embarrassing such as wearing pants over your trousers for a day, shaving off an eyebrow or busking in public.

Once they have reached their fundraising target, participants must capture themselves completing the challenge and share their film or picture on social media with the hashtag #MyPetMadeMe.

Matthew Cull, Blue Cross deputy director of fundraising, said: “Whether it’s abseiling down a tall building or wearing something silly, people have always been willing to swallow their pride or even their fear to help raise money for a good cause.

“With #MyPetMadeMe we wanted to give this incredible fundraising spirit a new twist – and put pets at the centre of it.”

Retired Japanese takes 10 Cats on Annual Road trip to raise awareness of Stray Cats

Hi everyone,

We came across this video on the New York Post which follows Masahiko Suga a retired japanese man and his 10 cats on one of his two annual road trips.

Apparently he does this massive road trip twice a year!!! Now while we personally certainly wouldn’t attempt to do this with our own kitties we find it absolutely admirable that he is doing this in order to draw attention to the stray cat problem of Japan.

As many of you know we travel to Japan a lot and have seen many stray cats along our travels, some looked after better than others.



Cat Has Emotional Reunion with Owner after Going Missing for Eight Months

Hi everyone,

Please find below another fantastic rescue story from our friends at The Mayhew Animal Home charity.

It’s another great example of why microchipping is so important and can help reunite families and their beloved cats. : )



Cat Has Emotional Reunion with Owner after Going Missing for Eight Months

A cat who went missing for eight months had an emotional reunion with his worried owner, thanks to having the correct microchipping details and The Mayhew Animal Home.

Two-year-old Pepsi arrived at The Mayhew, when a member of the public brought him into the Home after she found him living as a stray outside a school in Harlesden.

Pepsi was immediately settled into a comfy and warm cat cabin and was given a thorough health check by The Mayhew’s vet team. Thankfully, he was in a good condition and was wearing a collar.

The Mayhew’s Animal Welfare Officers were then able to scan Pepsi for a microchip, and found that luckily he had a chip registered to a family.

Cat Welfare Coordinator at The Mayhew, Georgina Disney, said: “One of the first things we do when an animal is brought in to us, is check for a microchip so we can contact the owner as quickly as possible. Fortunately, Pepsi was microchipped and his owner had called up the microchipping company to mark him as missing. As soon as I rang the chip company, I found out he had been missing for eight months and that his family would be looking for him, so I was easily able to contact them and give them the good news that he was safe at our Home.”

The Mayhew’s Officers discovered that Pepsi’s owner had last seen her beloved pet in October 2016 just before she went on holiday – a whopping eight months before he was found.

Pepsi’s owner, Davinia, said: “I couldn’t believe it when I got the call from Georgina at The Mayhew Animal Home to say Pepsi had been found. I honestly thought I’d never see him again and didn’t think it was real because it had been so long since we last saw him.”

“I had last seen Pepsi back in October 2016 when I went on holiday. I left him with a friend to take care of him when I was away, and unfortunately he must have got out and become lost. I desperately tried to find Pepsi again, and rang up every rescue to see if he had been found and notified the microchipping company that he was missing, but sadly had no luck.”

After being lost for such a long time, Pepsi was finally reunited back with Davinia.

Davinia, said: “I was so nervous, overwhelmed and excited to see Pepsi again. My kids missed him so much and it’s great to be able to have him back.”

“Since getting back home, Pepsi has settled in wonderfully, it is as though he didn’t go missing at all.  We’re all so pleased, including Pepsi.  He is very content and is getting spoilt.”

“Microchipping your pet is so important; if Pepsi hadn’t been microchipped I really don’t think we would have seen him again.”

Georgina, added: “We were over the moon to help reunite Davinia back with her beloved pet. We don’t know what happened to Pepsi during the eight months and can imagine he must have been so scared. We’re glad that he is safe now and is back with his family, where he can be loved again.”

“Pepsi’s story highlights how important it is to get your pet microchipped, as it means we can quickly reunite lost pets with their owners. Sadly we get hundreds of stray cats and dogs come in to us every year who haven’t been microchipped, and it’s heart-breaking to think that they could be someone’s missing pet.”

We strongly advise all pet owners to have their animal microchipped to significantly increase your chances of being reunited should the unthinkable happen and your pet becomes lost or is stolen. If Pepsi hadn’t been chipped we wouldn’t have been able to trace him back to his family, where he belongs.”

“It’s also so important to keep details up-to-date on the microchipping database, and to notify the chip company if you change phone numbers, address or if your pet does go missing. Unfortunately, we see many pets come in who have been microchipped but don’t have their owners current details registered to the chip, so we are unable to get in contact with the owner.”

Microchipping is cheap, harmless and takes seconds. The Mayhew offers low cost microchipping services at their Community Vet Clinic in Kensal Green, North West London. Please call 020 8962 8017 or email vetclinic@mayhewanimalhome.org to book an appointment.