Piglet, the Pig Cat

Piglet1
Piglet Chilling in the Portal (Pre-Rescue)

I recently lost my tabby cat, Cricket. She was the last of a whole passel of critters I adopted back in about 2001. Around the time Cricket had died, another tabby cat showed up on my porch. At first, I thought he was part of the TNR cat group I’d been seeing around. However, he was clearly not feral, and soon became a regular visitor. A very noisy, talkative visitor, who settled into my porch area from time to time, sleeping on my chair, and tolerating my petting him and playing with him. After he warmed up to me, I noticed that he was (unfortunately) un-neutered.

Santa Fe Animal Control said they didn’t really come out on cat calls, so I was at a loss at what to do for gentle Piglet. Especially since I was already head-over-heels for the little guy. It was hard for me not to feel that it was fate–given that he was a tabby, and he’d shown up just when I’d lost Cricket (one year after I lost my other senior kitty, Lettuce). I wanted to take him in, instantly, but I knew I didn’t have the funds to take care of another animal. I knew how much pets cost, having just cared for 13 animals all the way through their end-of-life care. But I didn’t want him running around, un-neutered and making more babies. None of the neighbours I talked to seemed to know whose cat he was, either.

Finally, I reached out a local cat organization, Felines & Friends, who oversees a pool of foster homes for cats. I felt so guilty and selfish when I told them I couldn’t foster sweet Piglet, because I didn’t have the money, and also if I did foster him, given my current emotional state and still grieving and vulnerable, I knew wouldn’t be able to let him go when and if someone wanted to adopt him. Lucky for little Piglet, Felines & Friends still offered to take him, get him neutered, and move him into their adoption pool.

He was easy to catch and transport to Felines & Friends main center.  But I cried the whole way there, and then cried in the car, sitting next to him in the trap. He’d only been coming around a couple of weeks, but I had already gotten so attached. I wanted more than anything to be his forever home. But the responsible long-time animal rescue volunteer/shelter worker side of me knew I couldn’t manage it, and it would be so irresponsible to take him in, when I couldn’t afford to provide him with the care he would need throughout his life–at least until I would be able to get out of student loan debt and off food stamps, etc.

And now, I owed a whole other kind of debt to the amazing Felines & Friends for not only helping out the wonderful Piglet with a second chance, giving him safety and security, and a chance at a forever home, but also helping me out, with my big heart but empty wallet. Someone who just wanted the best life for sweet Piglet.

So, this blog is a big thank you to Felines & Friends for all their support and caring. Please, if you’re local to New Mexico, you can find Piglet and lots of other amazing cats available for adoption at their Petfinder web page: https://www.petfinder.com/pet-search?shelter_id=NM38. They also need fosters, so if you have the room, please consider joining their foster program. In addition to adult cats needing a foster home, it’s kitten season, so short-term fosters are also needed for a plethora of kittens and even mom cats nursing kittens. They can provide some supplies and other items needed to foster the cats, but donations of cash and cat supplies are always welcome!

Remember, ADOPT DON’T SHOP! And have your pet spayed or neutered to reduce pet overpopulation in shelters.

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Quirky kitties: investigating your cat’s most curious behaviour!

By the RSPCA’s cat behaviour and welfare expert, Alice Potter.

Many of us share a home with a cat and even consider them to be an important part of the family but do we really understand them?

This blog will try to explain some of our cats’ curious and quirky behaviours, because the more we understand them, the better we can be at making sure our cats are happy and healthy.

Why does my cat… not drink from her water bowl?

Image: wabisabi2015It’s quite common for cats to ignore the water in their bowl and to opt for another source such as the glass of water you keep next to your bed or a running tap.

This isn’t about being fussy, this is actually a very sensible behaviour they are believed to have inherited from their wildcat ancestors. In the wild, cats wouldn’t drink and eat in the same place, because they may contaminate their drinking water with the entrails of their prey.

Instead, they drink away from where they eat, ideally where there’s running water which is more likely to be clean and fresh. This is why your cat may jump up and drink from the tap when you clean your teeth or the glass of water next to your bed – because it’s far away from their food bowl.

Top Tip: Always place your cat’s water bowl away from where they eat, ideally in a separate room. If your cat enjoys running water, consider getting them a pet drinking fountain.

Why does my cat… rub against me when I get home from work?

In part this is a greeting behaviour but there is more to it.

Your cat is depositing scent on you to make you smell more familiar. Cats have a number of different scent glands on their body including on their cheeks, tail and the sides of their mouth. These scent glands  produce pheromones which have a unique smell.

When you get home from work or being out you will have picked up all types of new smells so by rubbing themselves on you, your cat is making you smell more like them, more familiar and more safe.

Top Tip: Familiar smells can help your cat to feel more safe and secure. If you move home, take your cat to boarding, or even just visit the vets, make sure your cat travels with an item that smells of home such as a blanket or worn piece of clothing.

Why does my cat… roll over and show her tummy but not want it to be stroked?

Image: Elle Cayabyab GitlinIt’s easy to assume that if your cat exposes their tummy it’s because they want to have it rubbed but many cat owners who have tried may have had an unpleasant surprise!

When cats expose their tummy it makes them vulnerable, so when they greet us in this way it’s a sign that they feel safe and trusting. However, it isn’t a request for a belly rub.

When your cat rolls over and shows you her tummy it’s best just to acknowledge her with a gentle little head rub.

Why does my cat… love being stroked one minute then seem fed-up the next?

We often think of our cats as being unpredictable or just plain grumpy but with a little more understanding we soon learn that isn’t the case.

As humans, we tend to enjoy more intense and longer social interactions compared to cats who like them to be short and sweet. This means that we can easily overdo it when we are giving our cats a fuss and might miss the subtle signs telling us that they’ve had enough.

Top Tip: As well as only enjoying short social interactions, recent research has also confirmed that cat’s only like to be stroked on particular parts on their body too. When cats groom each other they focus on the head and neck and they prefer these areas when being stroked by people too.

Why does my cat… really love boxes?

Image: Bobbi BowersHiding is a natural behaviour for cats and boxes provide the ultimate opportunity. Research has shown that being able to hide can help cats feel less stressed so it’s important all cats have hidey-holes around the house to retreat to for some time out.

In addition, cats are highly intelligent animals who are naturally motivated to explore. They also have the physique to jump and climb – so why not find out what’s in the box?!

Why does my cat… seem to prefer people who don’t like cats?PR stock image

It’s believed that the body language of people who aren’t keen on cats actually makes cats want to be around them.

In contrast to some cat lovers, people who aren’t so keen tend to give the cat more space, less eye contact and can appear overall as less threatening.

If cats have the choice to approach somebody in their own time rather than have it forced upon them they will likely feel more relaxed and comfortable with the interaction.

We hope we’ve cleared up some of your cat’s more perplexing behaviour! 

Did you know that London currently has a “cat crisis”? Read about it in our recent news story and City Cats report.

Lovecats! How nervous Patch found his purr-fect match

The tale of two star-crossed felines, with special thanks to Sarah Piggott from RSPCA Millbrook Animal Centre.

A rough patch

PatchPatch came into our care in May of last year. His owner had far too many cats to care for – they were all under-socialised and very timid. The household then suffered a house fire, which thankfully Patch managed to escape uninjured from.

He was utterly traumatised by his experiences and was one of the most nervous cats Southall Cattery had ever seen. He couldn’t be handled at all and would hide all day.

The day Seraphina came to stay

Seraphina arrived in November, having been rescued from another multi-cat household. She was suffering from a flea allergy and had severe hair loss. However, Seraphina was the complete opposite of Patch – she made herself at home in the cattery from day one and loved everybody she met.

Seraphina would have been snapped up straight away but had to stay at Millbrook for a few weeks for treatment. This turned out to be a serendipitous stroke of luck as during this time, staff noticed that Patch was very, very keen on Seraphina!

Stolen glances and cat-calls!

Patch&SPatch had started sneaking out of his hidey bed to watch Seraphina play in the corridor and would meow as she walked by.

Staff knew they had to introduce the two. Patch’s shyness lifted immediately when he was around Seraphina. He’d headbutt and groom her for attention. But they also noticed it changed his mood towards them – for the first time he wasn’t running away when the cattery staff went near him!

Seraphina was perfectly happy to spend her days in Patch’s pen too – so they moved in together and officially became a pair.

Love at first miaow

With Seraphina by his side, Patch became one hundred times braver than he used to be. He’d come to staff for attention and started to enjoyed having his chin scratched. He became almost unrecognisable from the scaredy-cat he was before.

The pair’s lust for life was noticed by a local woman who fell for the two tabbies when she visited them in early January. Determined to help the two sweethearts land on their feet, she took them home just a couple of weeks later.

In it for the long-haul

Patch_Seraphina_HomeWe were thrilled to receive a recent update:

“Patch and Seraphina are settling in really well so far. Seraphina has been sleeping on our laps and Patch sits nearby, gradually moving closer each day, which is really good to see.

“His confidence is growing each day and it is very sweet to see how devoted they are to eachother!

“I think a lot of Patch’s progress is testament to the patience and understanding of the RSPCA who laid the groundwork…and we are fortunate to be getting the benefit.”

Can you offer a special animal their fur-ever home?

If you can offer a loving home to one (or two!) of the fantastic animals in our care, head to Find a Pet to track down your purr-fect match.