Tuesday, 25 October 2016

National Black Cat Day - Beauty is more than fur deep

Well it's come round again! National Black Cat day on 27th October aims to raise awareness of the high proportion of black and black-and-white cats that are often overlooked in rescue centres. 

International Cat Care's campaign picture



 According to Cats Protection statistics black and black-and-white cats take, on average, 22% longer to find a home than cats of other colours.  This is not good news when we consider that black and black-and-white cats made up 45% of the total cats coming into CP care in 2015. We see this disppointing fact playing out in our own branch...

For example, beautiful black and white sisters Sian and Ceri have been ready and waiting for their new home since July this year. They have received very little interest and are living out their kittenhood in a foster pen, which is not a very exciting experience.  They have watched a number of others be adopted before them, being overlooked in favour of bolder and more colourful kittens. If you are interested in adopting one or both of this sweet young pair please call us on 0345 647 2185 and leave your details.

 

Molly is a very friendly young cat with a lovely personality and beautiful markings. She was found with three fresh new kittens in a pub in Rhyl.  Her kittens have now all been homed and Molly is ready to meet her new family.  She is socialised with young children but we are unsure about dogs.  To adopt this delightful little lady please call 0345 647 2185 and leave your details.  











Tweet #BlackCatDay to raise awareness and dispel the myths surrounding black cats and prove that monochrome moggies make just as good pets (or often even better) than those of other colours. 

 

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Summer Update

Goldie's 8 little terrors
Our fosterers are very busy with kittens at the moment, with Mary our coordinator having 13 kittens in her care right now!  As cute as little kittens are they do create a lot of work for both the fosterers and the mother cats.  Most of our pregnant/mother cats come to us as strays and are often still kittens themselves, being able to come into heat from just 4 months of age.  If the kittens are not handled and cared for by 10-12 weeks old they will become feral and will have to live as outdoor "wild" cats.  Neutering both male and female cats as early as possible is the only way to combat the problem of stray unneutered cats and unwanted litters. 


Six months was often the preferred age for neutering but now more and more vets are neutering both females and males from four months of age or even earlier in some cases.  Cats Protection hold an Early Neutering Register, which is now called the Kitten Neutering Database.  Veterinary practices can sign up to this database and state the age limits they are willing to neuter at.  

Cats Protection and the RSPCA Cymru have teamed up to offer a Wales-wide neutering scheme, which allows eligible people to have their cat neutered and microchipped for just £5.  To find out if you are eligible and which local vets are taking part you can either call the national Cats Protection helpline 03000 12 12 12 (option 2) or check the details and map on our Colwyn and District website.  



Our kittens will be available for adoption once they have started their vaccinations.  Our adoption fee is £50 per cat or kitten and this includes initial vaccinations, vet health check, flea and worm treatments, neutering, 4-5 weeks free insurance and a microchip.

June is National Microchipping Month, which aims to raise awareness of how important the practice is - only less than a third of all pet cats are microchipped!  As I mentioned above, so many cats come to us as strays and it would be so easy to reunite them with their owners by a scan of their microchip.  Implantation is a quick and simple procedure and is the only permanent method of identification for your cat.  There are always stories popping up of cats being reunited after varying periods of time, the latest cat being Cully, owned by The Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins, returning to her owner 3 years after going missing and having lived as a stray cat - read the full story here.  There are other stories featured on the national Cats Protection Facebook page, such as Rebecca being reunited with her cat Chloe after 6 years apart - read their story here.  



May was such a hot month!  We all know how cats like to keep warm but there's warm and there's heatstroke...  Cats Protection produced the following two features to advise on keeping cats cool so please take a look, just in case we get another burst of summer before the winter!


And lastly, please have a read of our summer newsletter featured on our website for news about our new volunteers and our outdoor cats working at Bodnant Gardens.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 9 April 2016

No Fleas Please

petplace.com
Fleas are the most common type of ectoparasite (parasite that lives on the body) that cats carry.  The cat flea, or Ctenocephalides felis, is in fact often the flea found on dogs too.  

I personally discuss fleas and the importance of treatment in both my role as Welfare Officer for Cats Protection and my role as a veterinary nursing assistant and SQP, which means I am a Suitably Qualified Person registered with AMTRA (Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority) trained to advise on parasite treatments.


Why is it important to treat fleas?
Fleas can cause our cats a number of problems including:
  • Irritation, or pruritis - intense itching
  • Anaemia – as fleas feed on blood a heavy infestation can lead to anaemia, particularly in small kittens
  • Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD) – where the cat is allergic to the flea saliva and the irritation leads to dermatitis
  • Vector-borne disease – the flea acts as a vector to transmit disease such as Mycoplasma (causes anaemia), Bartonella and Rickettsia bacteria
  • Tapeworm – the flea is the intermediate host for the tapeworm Dipylidium caninum – the flea larvae ingest tapeworm eggs in the environment and the cats consume the infected fleas from the environment or through grooming (the tapeworm itself will be discussed in another post)
  • Break of human-pet bond – no-one likes fleas! Fleas can affect an owner's relationship with their cat
Ctenocephalides felis (cat flea) International Cat Care
How do fleas reproduce?
As we all know, fleas reproduce rapidly and once they are seen on the animal they may well be fully established both on the pet and in the environment.  In fact, one female flea can lay 40-50 eggs in one day, leading to the generation of a possible 1,000 fleas in 3 weeks!   In order to treat successfully it is important to appreciate the flea lifecycle:

Seresto.com
Eggs can hatch in 1-6 days into larvae, which can then pupate in as little as 10-20 days in warm humid conditions.  In unfavourable conditions these pupae can last in the environment for one to two years in carpets, soft furnishings and cracks in floorboards until conditions are improved.  However, conditions are often favourable all year round thanks to centrally heated homes.  The adult fleas then hatch out of the pupae when they sense heat and movement by vibrations - the host animal.  

Fleas have many mammalian hosts in addition to cats and dogs, including rabbits, ferrets and wildlife such as hedgehogs and foxes. 

How do you know if your cat has fleas?
Fleas are easily identified by use of a flea comb - these can be obtained from your local vets or pet store.  The comb can catch both adult fleas - which are very small but clearly visible and mobile - and flea dirt.  The dirt will appear black but if applied to damp paper will turn red, as it is the undigested blood excreted by the fleas.  

Other signs can also include excessive grooming or scratching, areas of hair loss and/or skin irritation, black specks of flea dirt in the coat or on the cat's bedding or seeing live fleas on the cat or in the environment. 

How is best to treat the infestation?
Prevention is always better than cure in the case of fleas.  It takes just a few weeks for an infestation to take hold but it can unfortunately take a few months to eliminate.  For treatment to be successful it is essential to target as many stages of the lifecycle as possible:

  • Treat ALL ANIMALS in the household including dogs and cats – this will be targeting the adult fleas with an insecticide product to kill them
  • Treat the ENVIRONMENT – sprays include an "insect growth regulator" to stop the development of eggs and larvae.  Pupae are indestructible so they must hatch in order to be killed - vacuuming is useful as the vibrations will cause the pupae to emerge into adults to be killed by the insecticide. 
  • Treat FREQUENTLY and CORRECTLY - ensure you follow the advice from your vets about the frequency and correct method of application - some veterinary practices offer appointments for nurses to apply the products.  Cats Protection recommends the use of products from reliable sources, not those you can simply pick up off a supermarket shelf. 
Examples of flea treatments

Saturday, 6 February 2016

It's time to Snip and Chip

"Where did all these cats come from?"
This week has seen the launch of a widespread neutering campaign organised by Cats Protection, with support from RSPCA Cymru.  The Wales Neuter and Chip Campaign is running to help those receiving low income (including students and pensioners) or benefits ensure their cats are neutered and microchipped.  We receive many phonecalls asking for our help to rehome cats when quite often neutering is the answer to their problems - this scheme should hopefully help people to keep their cats and reduce the number of kittens we see coming into foster care.  And guess what? The scheme offers the operation and microchip combined for just £5!!*


Click to enlarge


There are many benefits to neutering, not only preventing kittens but reducing infectious disease, injuries and unwanted behaviours such as spraying and fighting. 

Find out all the details by reading Cats Protection's Neutering Essential GuideNeutering is so important Cats Protection even provide translated versions of this advice - see the Welsh version here







Microchipping is the best method of identification for your cat.  It is permanent and does not put them at risk of collar related injuries - we have a cat in care at the moment who had unfortunately been suffering for a long time with a collar injury as would not allow himself to be caught for treatment.  Our branch volunteers have finally got their hands on "Houdini" and he has had his wound cleaned.  It will be a long road to recovery but he is now safe and receiving lots of TLC. 


Houdini   -    Houdini's collar injury

The microchip registration is completed for you by the vet and all you have to do is keep hold of the database details and ensure you amend the registration whenever you move house or change any contact details, otherwise it can be impossible to trace you.  Find out all you need to know in the Cats Protection Microchipping leaflet.





Find your nearest vet on the main campaign page - the map will update as more vets sign up to the scheme - or ring the main Neutering helpline. This scheme is organised by the National Cat Centre, not the Colwyn and District Branch, so please refer to the main campaign page or the helpline number. 


*£5 Plus any additional costs stipulated by individual vets. 

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Two is the Magic Number

When reading the latest Winter edition of "The Cat", the quarterly magazine published by Cats Protection, I was reminded of the great poster encouraging the adoption of pairs of cats.  We have many pairs of cats in care at the moment so I thought I'd take this opportunity to showcase them! 

As the poster states, bonded pairs keep each other entertained and clean, they learn from each other, are often less demanding and are great fun to watch.  This does not often occur when introducing a new cat to an existing cat so save yourself the trouble of introductions as our pairs are already in love!  Many worry about double the work but two are usually as easy as one.  Double the money? True.. but double the love in return!  

Jimmy and Bonnie are two beautiful black and white youngsters with lots of love to give.  They were found in Tal-y-Cafn when they emerged after their mother was sadly killed on the road.  At around 7 weeks old they we were able to take them in and socialise them and now they are much more confident and very lively!  Jimmy and Bonnie would appreciate a home without small children or dogs as they have no experience of either.  


Jimmy (left) and Bonnie (right)

Misty and Bethan are two very sweet sisters looking for a quiet mature home.  At 8 months old they are still growing in confidence with new people and will need a patient and understanding home.  Our branch coordinator Mary has had the long task of socialising these lovely girls and can offer any prospective adopters advice on the best way to settle them in.  


Bethan (left) and Misty (right)

Oreo (male) and Cookie (female) came into our care when their owner needed to move abroad.  They are devoted as brother and sister and must be homed together.  These two have always been solely house cats so would need to live in a safe and quiet area if they were to start venturing into the great outdoors. Oreo is the more outgoing but both are very loving once they get to know you.  

Cookie and Oreo

Rose and Bella are the final two kittens from a large litter rescued from Prestatyn High School.  These pretty girls have been reserved already and unfortunately the adoption did not go ahead but these beautiful cats should not be overlooked again.  At 6 months old they are neutered, fully vaccinated, microchipped and have been treated for fleas and worms.  These are the standard treatments for all our cats so for £40 per cat we believe you get a great bargain!  


Rose (left) and Bella (right)

Will and Grace are two special little kittens who will need a safe indoor home to grow up in.  They both only have three fully functioning legs, both having suffered injuries when very young leaving them with feet missing on the same back leg. Originating from a caravan park in the Towyn area these two were rescued by one of our dedicated neutering volunteers who gives a lot of time to trapping and neutering feral and stray cats.  The site manager had found them in a box just inside the park gates! 

The vet who has been treating Will and Grace has recommended her hind leg be amputated as the limb is currently affecting her mobility.  It is logical to do this when she is speyed in a few weeks time.  The operation will cost the branch upwards of £150 and we all would be so grateful for any donations towards this.  Donations can be sent to our treasurer Joan Jones at 23 Bryn Heulog, Old Colwyn, Colwyn Bay, LL29 9NY.  Every little donation really will help this gorgeous playful little lady get back up on her remaining feet.  


Beautiful Grace

Grace's injured hind leg

Handsome Will

You too can support Cats Protection by subscribing to The Cat magazine.  For just £15 per year you will receive quarterly magazines full of news from the charity's branches and centres all over the UK, reader letters and photos, success stories, informative articles on behaviour and veterinary issues and knowledge that you have helped us to help more cats!  Please take a look at the website to find out more.

"Double the love, adopt a pair" poster in the latest edition

Friday, 16 October 2015

Black Cats need a Boost

Recent Colwyn Branch foster kitten, Eric
National Black Cat Day 2015 is being held on 27th October to raise awareness of black and black and white cats in rescue organisations looking for new homes.  

According to Cats Protection it takes a monochrome moggy 13 per cent longer on average to find their new home than more colourful cats - that’s one week longer in care!  This is why I have a special love for black cats and is partly the reason why I adopted my own black cat - his more colourful littermates were adopted very quickly, leaving him on his own, and I can vouch that he was just as lovely!

There has always been a lot of superstition surrounding black cats, some people believe them to be associated with witchcraft and bad luck, others believing them to be good luck.  Simply, luck has nothing to do with the fact they all need homes!  Here are 10 fantastic reasons to adopt a black cat...


http://www.animalrescueandcare.org.uk/

Black cats are featuring in the media more and more - Tom Cox, author of "Under the Paw" and more titles, has 294,000 followers of his Twitter account @MYSADCAT featuring his 20 year old black cat "The Bear".   His new book "Close Encounters of the Furred Kind" continues the story of his life with his four cats and gives such an endearing insight into his bonds with all of them; black, black and white and tabby alike. 


The wistful "The Bear"
Think you could say I'm a fan?

Simon's Cat, although white in the animated videos, is based on all Simon Tofield's cats but mainly his black cat, Hugh.  Sadly Hugh has recently passed away just this year - here you can read Simon's tribute to him, prompted by the international Black Cat Appreciation Day held on 17th August.  Simon talks in his video about his own cats how Hugh was likely the main inspiration for Simon's Cat due to his character as a kitten  - watch the whole video here.  He still has Ted, a striking black longhaired cat adopted from a rescue centre as a kitten - look out for him in the videos too! 

Simon Tofield's Hugh, inspiration for Simon's Cat
www.simonscat.com

Simon Tofield visited the Cats Protection National Cat Centre in Sussex in 2014 whilst working on his video and book entitled "Off to the Vet".  Nicky Trevorrow, feline behaviour expert, gave great advice about reducing stress and making visiting the vet less of a nightmare for both owner and cat!  Please check out the video here


There are a number of ways to support Black Cat Day online - 

  • Tweet with hashtag #BlackCatDay
  • Join the Thunderclap - click here to dedicate a tweet or Facebook post on 27th October
  • Enjoy some beautiful black cats on the Cats Protection Pinterest Black Cat board and pin your own
  • Enter the Cats Protection Facebook competition to be crowned Black Cat Champion and you could win some amazing prizes for you and your cat.  To enter, simply post a photo of your black or black-and-white rescue cat in the comments below the pinned post on the Cats Protection Facebook page, along with their story
  • Download Black Cat Day social media covers through the main Cats Protection website 
If you are interested in adopting a black, or black and white, cat please see our website for the cats we currently have in care and also those available privately.  They all deserve loving homes so please share our cause and speak up for black cats!


My Taran, adopted from Wrexham Adoption Centre 2012

Friday, 18 September 2015

Need to rehome? Rethink... Part 2

Photo: www.catster.com
My previous post started to explore the possible reasons why cats are rehomed to us at the Colwyn and District Branch of Cats Protection.  I discussed urine spraying and inappropriate toileting and how, with some time and action, both problems can be reduced and eventually eliminated - find the post here

Another common reason for cats being on our waiting list is that the owner has become pregnant.  Cat owners are often told, apparently by doctors, that they should not be around cats during pregnancy.  This is because of Toxoplasmosis

What is Toxoplasmosis?
Toxoplasmosis is caused by an organism called Toxoplasma gondii - this is a protozoan parasite (single-celled organism) that cats can shed in their faeces. 

As you can see in the lifecycle overview below, cats are the main, or definitive, host for Toxoplasma.  They shed oocysts in their faeces, which are immature forms of the parasite that go on to infect further hosts.  Toxoplasma can also infect rodents (intermediate hosts) and larger animals including farm species and humans.


Diagram: International Cat Care www.icatcare.org 

So it is true that cats are essential for the lifecycle to take place but are not essentially the source of all infections.  Most infections in humans in fact result from eating undercooked meat, gardening and eating unwashed fruit and vegetables, due to the organism being present in soil.


Why is this a problem?
For people with fully functioning immune systems the symptoms are mild and flu-like, if experienced at all.  However, in immunocompromised people, including the elderly, the very young, pregnant women etc., the effects can be more serious. According to International Cat Care, in pregnant women infection can cause abortion, stillbirth, birth defects and other problems affecting the nervous system and eyes.  However, foetal problems can only occur if the woman is infected for the first time during pregnancy.  If infected, it will only be passed on to a foetus in around 20-50% of women.  In many cases, even if the foetus is infected, no symptoms will be seen but in a minority of cases the infection can result in the issues mentioned above.


Assessing and reducing the risk
According to Cats Protection, contact with cats does not increase the risk of people becoming infected with T. gondiiCats only shed oocysts in their faeces for 10-14 days after being infected, and once passed, the oocysts only become infectious to people after the sporulation process which take 1-5 days The risk can be easily controlled by some simple hygiene rules:
  • wear gloves to clean out cat litter trays and wash hands thoroughly afterwards 
  • clean out litter trays daily - this will prevent oocysts becoming infectious 
  • avoid cleaning out litter trays if pregnant or immunosuppressed, either ask someone else to do it or use gloves and wash your hands afterwards 
  • litter trays should be washed out with detergent or catsafe disinfectant and boiling water, including 5-10 minute soak time 
  • cover children’s sandpits to prevent cats toileting in them 
  • avoid feeding cats raw or undercooked meat 


Find out more about Toxoplasmosis in this helpful Cats Protection Information Leaflet