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.

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Are Your Pets Right or Left Pawed

Yes, you read that right pets are like humans right or left pawed in the case of humans right or left-handed. There were two studies done one in Turkey and one in England. In the study done in Turkey it was discovered that the majority of domestic cats are right pawed that’s 50%, 10% are ambidextrous and 40% prefer to use their left paw. Now when it comes to dogs the study in England discovered that 50% of them tend to be left pawed with a smaller number being ambidextrous.

Interestingly enough it appears that it also depends on the gender of the animal as to which paw they will tend to favor. Female cats and dogs will prefer to use their right paw while their male counterparts will prefer the left paw. Now if your pet happens to be spayed or neutered at an early age, this particular distinction goes away. You can’t just play with your pets to determine their preference because unlike with humans they will weekly express which paw they prefer so it takes some time to see a pattern.  Now here I can say that our cat Sid prefers his right paw because this is the one with which he constantly bats my hand while I’m putting his dry food into his bowl. While he is lying in the window you can see that he has stretched out his dominant right paw and it sure is a big paw.

The best way to determine about your pets is to see which paw they most often shake with, which they reach out with when playing or trying to catch something and which they reach for a treat with like my Sid with his right paw reaching for his dry food. I never though about any of this because I had no idea about it until I discovered it on the Internet and decided to share these amazing facts with you.

Former stray cat Lenny lends a helping paw – to a dog charity

Former stray cat Lenny lends a helping paw – to a dog charity

A former stray cat is settling into an unlikely new home – at dog charity’s warehouse.

Five-year-old Lenny was adopted from Cats Protection by the owner of the warehouse in Sywell, Northamptonshire, which is used by the Retired Greyhound Trust to run its online store.

Having settled into his new home, the black puss now spends his days meeting and greeting visitors, entertaining staff with his mischievous antics – and curling up in the boss’s chair.

Tracey Dyett, fosterer at Cats Protection’s Northampton Branch, said she was thrilled the Retired Greyhound Trust had been able to offer Lenny a home.

She said: “Having been a stray, Lenny isn’t very domesticated, and while he will enjoy a fuss or a stroke, it’s very much on his terms. We knew he needed a home with plenty of space and freedom so we’re thrilled he could go and live at the Retired Greyhound Trust’s warehouse.

“We’ve been enjoying hearing how Lenny has settled in. He is clearly a team player and we suspect he believes he’s management material, as he already has a reputation for pinching the boss’s chair.”

Tracey added that Cats Protection frequently finds homes in working environments for cats in its care.

She said: “For some cats, a traditional home is not suitable and they may need more space and freedom. Other cats may struggle being in close contact with people, normally because they weren’t properly socialised as kittens.

“We’ve homed cats to all sorts of places such as garden centres, farms and pubs, along with other charities such as The Donkey Sanctuary.”

The Retired Greyhound Trust homes nearly half of the 8,000 greyhounds that retire each year. The Trust has around 60 volunteer-led branches across the UK, all dedicated to finding homes for the dogs in their area.

Rachel Poole, Merchandising Officer at the Retired Greyhound Trust, said staff at the warehouse were smitten with their new feline colleague.

She said: “We find loving homes for hounds every single day and we realise that a pet can feel at home in any space, large or small. Similarly, we feel that there is a greyhound for the vast majority of home settings, with and without other dogs and cats. We would urge people to consider a greyhound as their next canine companion.”

Cats Protection is the UK’s largest cat charity, helping around 500 cats a day – or 200,000 a year – through a national network of over 250 volunteer-run branches and 32 centres.

To find out more about adopting a cat from Cats Protection please visit

To find out more about The Retired Greyhound Trust, please visit


By feline behaviour consultant Anita Kelsey

The answer is absolutely!

How do I know?


Zaza on holiday with us at Wasdale, Lake District

Because I have trained my two cats to go out with me on a harness.

I won’t say it’s easy but with patience, perseverance and lots of understanding you can train a kitten to become accustomed to wearing a harness. I would say the older the cat is the harder to achieve so always try to start as young as possible. It took me 6/8 weeks to slowly introduce the process.

Obviously cats have different personalities so if you feel your cat would hate to go out on a harness or if your cat shows any signs of major distress  STOP – AND LISTEN. This is not about you .. it’s about what’s best for your cat.

Now… here’s how to do it:

  • Buy a kitten/cat harness from your local pet shop
  • Throw in with kitty’s toys so that they familiarise themselves with it. Play with them and the harnesses everyday for at least two weeks.

Now comes the hard part! Without putting the main lead in, try putting the harness on the kitten before his/her main meal time. Always associate this with meal times or treats so that the kitten associates putting on the harness with something nice. At first there will be a struggle but the motto here is try try try again. Never give up!

Walking in all weathers. Norwegian Forest cats have thick water proof coats and fur tufts between the pads on their paws so they are well protected against the snow

Walking in all weathers. Norwegian Forest cats have thick waterproof coats and fur tufts between the pads on their paws so they are well protected against the snow

Start with 5 minutes a day congratulating them and reassuring them every step of the way. They will soon realise that the harness leads to treats and cuddles and all good things. This part of the training takes the longest so be very patient. As you see your kitten getting more comfortable with wearing the harness extend the time that it is on. Soon they will be playing totally unaware that they are strapped up in a strange gizmo and you can give yourself a pat on the back that the hardest part has been conquered!

  • Make sure you leave enough space around the neck of the harness so that it is comfortable and not too tight. Test this by putting 2 fingers between the neck of your kitten and the harness. This applies to the body of the harness too. NEVER EVER leave your kitten unattended wearing the harness as it could get caught up on anything during playtime and lead to strangulation!
  • Once you can see that your kitten has adapted to this strange looking thing around it’s body then you are ready for the next step, attaching the lead. Do this process slowly. Remember small steps will eventually lead to major leaps! Let your kitten walk along at it’s leisure with the lead dragging along. Don’t attempt to lead the walk, as it will never work! Even when you get to the stage where you go out with your kitten on a harness you will never be leading, they will!

Kiki and Zaza, as kittens, playing with their harness

Kiki and Zaza, as kittens, playing with their harness

  • My kittens tended to play with each others leads and not much walking was done so I tried to separate them first which they didn’t really like so I quickly had to jump onto the next stage, taking them out, so that they understood what the lead was for. It’s difficult to know where to go that is A: quiet and B: dog free. One great place I have found is my local cemetery which says no dogs allowed. Doesn’t say cats!!! ;-). It helps if your road is quiet but if it’s a busy road try taking them out at night.
  • Make sure the harness is on secure. Be patient and always offer words of encouragement and reassurance. Make sure you attach the lead BEFORE they take their first steps out into the big world. My kittens made my job easier at this stage as they really enjoyed being outside and, although nervous at first, they soon had a ball sniffing the grass, chasing butterflies and climbing trees! If your kitten does go to climb a tree that’s great but don’t let them go to high. Always be in control and hold that lead TIGHT!

    This is a retractable lead which attaches easily to a harness. It gives more freedom on walks and is the best lead for your cat

    This is a retractable lead which attaches easily to a harness. It gives more freedom on walks and is the best lead for your cat

    When you are both relaxed at this you can buy a small puppy extendable lead which will give kitty more freedom to run along and chase things. It is never going to be like walking a dog. They go where they want to and when they want to so you just have to let them be cats and enjoy watching them lead YOU all over the place.


    Me with both cats in Lake District. The loved the mountains and watching sheep at a distance

Please be aware of dogs and foxes in your surroundings!

Most dog owners have sense and will cross the road with their dog when they see you have a kitten/cat on a lead. Don’t panic as this just strikes fear into your cat. Be observant and if you feel uncomfortable about a particular breed of dog, not on a lead, pick your cat up and turn your back on the approaching dog.

My cat Kiki at Wastwater, Wasdale, Lake District.

Happy walking folks.

Please let me know how you get on.



Anita Kelsey holds a first class honours degree in Feline Behaviour and Psychology (work based BA Hons) and runs a vet referral service dedicated strictly to the diagnosis and treatment of behaviour problems in cats. She is also a qualified cat groomer and specialises in grooming aggressive or phobic cats. Anita writes for Your Cat Magazine and is on their experts panel answering readers questions on cat grooming. She also advises on feline behaviour for the CFBA (Canine and Feline Behaviour) magazine as well as being a full member. Anita is based in Notting Hill, London but consults all over the UK as well as international requests. She lives with her husband, a music producer, and two Norwegian Forest cats, Kiki and Zaza. Her debut booked is published by John Blake and is called Claws, Confessions Of A Cat Groomer.

Please contact should you wish to book a home cat behaviour consultation.

To subscribe to Anita’s new monthly newsletter on cat news and mog tips please visit:

Guest Star: Gizmos Gotch ANNIVERSARY

Hi everyone,

Today’s guest post comes from Gizmo and his forever human:

On the 14th of February 2017 was exactly a year since Gizmo came into my life. I can’t believe how fast the last year has gone!? When Gizmo first arrived, he was 5 months old, and so scared that he used to hide in the dark under the dining room table if he heard a noise, or if anyone dared breathe too loud.


What a transformation from that timid little kitty, to the boisterous, mischievous (and blatantly naughty) kitty that I now share my house with?! He has almost completed his first mission, and destroyed my curtains. He is also making progress with the redecoration plans and is steadily stripping the wallpaper up to 1m from the floor as well?! As much as I do not encourage this behaviour, he cannot fail to make me laugh every single day and my life would feel much emptier without him!

He is still making good progress recovering from pancreatitis last year, but he still hasn’t fully regrown the fur that was shaved off…but each week he is looking slightly more like a normal kitty!

Admittedly, we didn’t do much in the way of celebrating the one year anniversary of Gizmos arrival, but we did have nice cuddles on the sofa, and lots of playing with his toys, until he decided it was nap time…. again!

So in the past year, Gizmo has helped to mend my broken heart, and also destroy my house?! And despite all this, I wouldn’t change a thing about him… I hope we have many more adventures together in the coming years…

We hope you enjoyed their story and don’t forget to subscribe to our Newsletter!



Two Red Cats 17 – Hard Times

Vitali began to feel ill at about the same time that Cat started to get closer to Lily.
He seemed to know it … seemed to know that Vitali would not survive.


Want to see more adventures (and photos!) of the Two Red Cats? Follow them on Facebook! Every day new photos and every week new comic strips! (And we are also on Tapastic!)

Oliver & Nubia: What have you got there for us?

Hi everyone,

It’s Oliver here today with a quick update from Katzenworld HQ!

Nubia: Oi! I should be leading the intro to this post… I was there first

Oliver: What in the flat? No… I was the first cat here…

Nubia: Anyhow! This post is a bit overdue as this was actually one of our Christmas presents but when who says that you can’t have Christmas in July? 😉


Nubia: Silly brother… not in the house… at the boxes! I was the first tone to see them. 😀


Nubia: I even tried to open them for us!


Oliver: You look rather unsuccessful with the opening of the box on that photo…

Nubia: Well… You could lend me a paw or too you know. ;o


Nubia: Eventually the humans opened the boxes for us and oh boy they were full with pressies. 😀


Nubia: I mean look at this! Food, crunches, toys. ALL a cat would ever want right? Oh and of course! A BOX!


Nubia: Needless to say… once it was unpacked WHO showed up?

Oliver: ME 😀 It’s all about a timely entrance!

Oliver: Oh what should I take with me to my cat cave?

Nubia: Excuse me… It’s meant to be ladies first!


Oliver: Really? What if I look adorable into the camera? Can I have it all?


Nubia: The answer to that is: NO! Because I have spotted my favourite!


Nubia: Pet Munchies. 😀 These shall be mine, though I might share some of these with you if you are nice to me…

Oliver: Fine, fine… I wouldn’t want to get onto your bad side. 😉

Nubia: At this point we would like say thank you so much to Pets Pyjamas who didn’t just send us one but two of these boxes! And just as well as you can tell how GOOD we are sharing right? 😉

Signed by,

Her Meowjesty Queen Nubia the Disturber of Peace
His Meowjesty King Oliver the Maker of Mischief