Monday 28 November 2022

A New Friend!

There I was, sitting outside to get some fresh air, minding my own business .....

... when I heard a funny little squeak and spotted this funny little creature. "I've lost my mother and I need a cuddle," he said. "Well, don't look at me," I replied ....

.... but, call me an old softy, I relented and said he could cuddle up ....

.... now I can't get rid of the little blighter. Never mind, he's keeping my back warm.

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    Monday 14 November 2022

    A Purrfect Diet For Your Cat

    Muffy decides to make a careful analysis of her food before deigning to eat it!

    Seriously though, does anyone not buy ready prepared cat food? Do you feed your cats fresh meat and fish? If you do, do you cook it first? Do you feel it's better for them? We would love to hear your views.

    In the meantime, here is the advice from the PDSA:

    What should I feed my cat?
    With so many different cat foods available, choosing one can feel a bit overwhelming! Here’s what to look out for when picking the best diet for your cat:

    Complete: Always feed your cat a food that is labelled ‘complete’ because this means that it contains all the nutrients they need. ‘Complementary’ foods can be given in small amounts alongside their main diet.

    Commercially available: It’s really difficult to give your cat everything they need in a homemade diet so we advise to always buy a commercial cat food rather than making your own at home. 

    Life stage appropriate: The nutrients your cat needs will change as they grow older – for this reason, it’s important to make sure you’re always feeding the right food for their stage of life i.e. kitten, adult or senior. 

    Wet vs dry: Most cats like variety in their food, so many owners choose to feed a combination of wet and dry – you’ll just need to make sure that you’re feeding them the right amount by looking at the packets and working out the correct portion sizes. Feeding a wet diet can help to increase your cat’s water intake if they’re not keen on drinking.

    Flavour, texture and ingredients: Your cat may enjoy a variety of flavours and textures, or they might prefer to stick to a particular type – it doesn’t matter which one you choose, as long as they are happy. While it’s nice to know what in your cat’s food, the ingredients list can be confusing. All pet food ingredients need to legally pass a vet inspection as ‘fit for human consumption’, so unless your cat has a food allergy, the exact ingredients don’t really matter.

    Vegetarian and vegan diets for cats: If you’re not a meat eater yourself, it can be hard to feed meat to your cat. While we can choose not to eat meat and get a properly balanced diet from plant-based foods, cats need meat to give them certain nutrients that they can’t get anywhere else, so it’s very difficult for them to survive and stay healthy on a vegetarian or vegan diet. While there are some vegetarian and vegan cat foods available, before you start feeding them, it’s essential to make sure your cat will still get all the nutrients they need to stay healthy. Speak to your vet for advice if you are unsure.

    Raw diets for cats: Some owners choose to feed their cats a raw diet with uncooked ingredients instead of the more traditional cooked varieties. Raw diets can provide all the nutrients your cat needs, however, unfortunately, they can increase the risk of certain diseases or health problems, especially if the diet isn’t prepared or stored correctly. We do not recommend trying to make a raw diet for your cat at home, as it is extremely difficult to get the right balance of nutrients. Some of the diseases caused by raw diets can also be passed to people, so it very important to have strict hand and food hygiene if you decide to feed your cat a raw diet. 

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    Monday 5 September 2022

    Why Is Your Cat Yawning?

    It's late, you’re weary. Puss is wrapped around you like a furry scarf and soon you are both yawning.

    But, beware, this may be his cue to start galloping around the house like a demented harpy because cats sometimes yawn to get a quick shot of oxygen into their lungs to stave off sleep and get a bit more energy. He may not be ready for his nap yet.

    Or he may be trying to talk to you. He could be telling you that he’s bored and please get out that toy mouse on a string.

    But if your cat yawns excessively there may be more to it than plain tiredness. He may have a sore mouth, like a cut from chewing sticks once too often or his teeth may need attention. If he is also grinding his teeth or drooling, it’s time to take him to a veterinarian.
    Hopefully, if you're tired then puss may be tired too.  Or he may be just copying you! 

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    Thursday 28 July 2022

    Cats And Babies


    This video is so cute but families should take precautions before baby meets pussycat! 

    All cats are different when it comes to handling - some are happy to be touched all over, whereas others may only enjoy being stroked on their head or shoulders. It’s common for most cats to be sensitive around their stomach area and tail. If your cat doesn’t like being touched in certain areas, you will have to be mindful of this when your baby becomes more mobile, as babies can “grab” in their enthusiasm to want to touch and stroke, which can easily upset your cat.

    Avoid playing games that involve your hands, however tempting! Even if your cat is gentle when playing, it’s always best to use toys instead, as you don’t want your cat to favour fingers or hands, especially when your baby arrives.

    To prepare your cat for the sounds that babies make, play recordings of a baby crying, gurgling and screaming for short periods during the day. Initially the sound should be barely audible, increasing the volume gradually as your cat grows accustomed to the noises.

    New smells and objects
    A cat’s primary sense is smell, so new products and objects bought into the house can be a particularly challenging. Get your cat used to the smell of baby powder, soaps, shampoos and baby milk by using them in the months leading up to your baby’s arrival.  Put some of the products on your own skin (eg powder, baby lotion) – this way the new smells can mingle with a familiar “safe” smell. 

    To make the new objects smell more familiar (and therefore less threatening) wipe a soft cloth over your cat’s head and then using the same area of the cloth, wipe the new baby items. 

    When your baby begins to toddle and explore, cat food may prove an irresistible attraction so accustom your cat to eating in an area, preferably off the ground, where your child won’t be able to reach.

    A Quiet Place
    You are likely to have lots of visitors when your new baby arrives. Some sociable cats may enjoy the extra attention but others may become overwhelmed. Cats should always have a quiet, safe place to go to whenever they need to rest or retreat from the visitors or the baby.  

    Cats prefer high, dark, secluded places that have a good view of the household activities. A tall scratching post with extra tiers or a high shelf is ideal for this, as your cat will be able to get used to what’s going on at a safe distance. Encourage your cat to use these areas by placing a few tasty treats  on them.

    Health matters
    Make sure that your cat is in good physical health. Your cat should also be free from fleas and worms. Any suspicions about illness or developing ailments should be checked out by a qualified vet. Any pain or irritation that a cat is feeling will lower their tolerance to the changes that are about to happen, which may lead to spraying or aggression.

    How will your pet react?
    If this is the first time your pet will be living with a new baby, ask yourself the following questions. 

    Once the baby comes, will you want to exclude your cat from certain areas of the house? Does your pet have any behavioural problems? If so, they may get worse once a baby has arrived. You should contact your vet for a referral to a pet behaviour counsellor if you need help.
    If you are happy with your cat’s behaviour, then you can proceed with the general advice.

    After the baby is born
    First introductions:

    The baby should be introduced in a quiet room where the cat has few associations – not a place where the cat usually sleeps or eats. Hold the baby in your arms and allow your cat to sniff them. Reward your cat’s calm behaviour with gentle praise and tasty titbits. The cat will appear interested for a few seconds and will then lose interest. 

    If your cat prefers to run away from the baby, that’s fine. Forcing your cat to interact with the baby could be stressful. Allow your cat to escape and investigate in their own time. Carry on with the normal daily duties and routine and your cat should readily accept the new arrival.

    Due to hygiene concerns, people who do not have pets of their own may try and encourage you to rehome your cat. It’s essential that your cat is treated for worms and fleas regularly.

    Don’t leave dirty nappies on the floor, as they can cause the cat to wet or mess on that spot. Use antibacterial soap to clean your hands after feeding, grooming or playing with your cat and always wear rubber gloves, which are washed afterwards, to clean your cat’s litter tray.

    Never leave your cat unsupervised with a baby. 

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    Tuesday 12 July 2022

    What's In A Cat Name? Ask Sheldon Sir Bottom Wimple!

    Don't you dare give me a stupid name!

    Since new cat registration legislation came into effect in the Canberra area in Australia, more than 5,500 cats have been registered. 

    Since 1 July 2022, all cats are required to be registered via an online smart form– with details to be updated annually. Cat registration helps reunite lost cats with their families faster, through up-to-date contact details.

    People are still registering, but the Top Ten most popular names so far are:

    1   Charlie
    2   Luna
    3   Bella
    4   Coco
    5   Leo
    6   Missy
    7   Lily
    8   Rosie
    9   Mia
    10 Lucy

    Many are named after food, including, Bacon, Bagel, Gnocchi, Halloumi, Jelly Bean and Mashed Potato!

    Famous people and fictional characters are also inspirational, including, 50 Cent, Beethoven, Catrick Swayze, Elvis Purrsley, Leonardo DiCatmeouw and Sir Paul McCatney.

    Then there are the downright bizarre like Artificial Lunar Conspiracy, Fizzypop, Luna Valkyrie Moon Clown, Miss Kitty Fantastico and Sheldon Sir Bottomwimple!

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    Monday 27 June 2022

    How To Tell If Your Cat Is Cross With You

    Some cats are grumpier than others but even the most laid back kitty occasionally has a grouchy moment.

    So if you want to avoid the sideswipe or the horrible hiss learn how to tell if your cat is mad at you.

    1. They Give You The Cold Shoulder
    If your cat's mad, they might leave the area you're in, avoid getting near you, and simply watch your movements from afar. Cats just like to have some space if there's something bothering them or stressing them out, or if their routine gets messed up.

    2. They Swish That Tail
    A cat's tail will show you how they're feeling, and if your cat is mad, it's going to show. "A tail that’s flickering back and forth quickly or held low can indicate an irritated cat," explained iHeartCats. "The hair may also stand up on an angry cat’s tail." Look out for a tail that's lowered instead of standing up tall, and swishing back and forth, as this shows kitty is annoyed — and if their tail starts thumping, their mood has probably escalated from annoyed to angry, and they could become aggressive. This is usually a clear indication that kitty isn't happy with you or the current sitch, so steer clear.

    3. They Signal With Their Ears
    Cats use their ears to express emotions. If your kitties' ears lower down or flatten out against their head, it could mean they're in a mood. A bad one. Steer clear of heavy pets until they've perked up again.

    4. They Exhibit Fur-ious Fur
    The fur all over their body seems to stand up straight, totally puffed up, and they may even arch their back to appear even larger. Fluffy and adorable as they may look, this is a clear indication that they're angry or in fight mode. Conversely, they may instead try to make themselves look smaller by crouching their body low to the ground and hunching their shoulders. If you notice either of these body movements, it's good to make sure there are no other factors around that could be triggering this response, such as another animal outside the window or another animal in the household who may be antagonizing them.

    5. They Growl And Hiss
    If your cat is growling or hissing at you, they're probably unhappy with you or what you're doing. A low growling sound (or a deep, guttural vocalization that is different than a meow) is usually a clear indication that your kitty is cross with you or the situation. Same goes with hissing: It's basically a cat's way of saying "lay off," so listen to them. Once a cat starts making these vocalizations, stop whatever you're doing — petting, playing, etc. — and give the cat some space.

    6. The Paw Swipe
    Almost every cat person has experienced a paw swipe while petting their beloved kitty. Whether it's a gentle bat of the paw or a claws-out, blood-drawing scratch depends on the cat and how angry they are, but in either case, it could indicate that your kitty wants you to step off and give them some space.

    7. They Give You The Evil Eye
    Cat faces can be expressive too. Does your cat ever just give a look and you know what it means? Sometimes you can tell your kitty is angry with you because they're watching you and giving you that subtle but identifiable angry eye. Another indication that they could be angry is that their pupils dilate — although this could happen for a wide variety of reasons, so look for other factors in conjunction with that before you assume your cat's mad at you based on pupil size alone.

    Wednesday 8 June 2022

    Hospital Visitor Henry

    A fluffy ginger cat called Henry has gained a following of more than 4,500 on Facebook after making a hospital his second home over the past five years. In case you're worried about hygiene, Henry keeps his morale-boosting visits to outside.

    He has become a familiar sight to patients and staff at Addenbrooke's, which is an  internationally renowned teaching hospital and research centre in Cambridge, England.

    Patients said they had been soothed by his presence and staff told of being "calmed" by his cuddles after shifts. The hospital said Henry was a "character" but urged people not to tempt him inside.

    Pictures of the photogenic feline spawned a Facebook page, which sets out to " keep up morale of all at Addenbrooke's".

    Henry is seven and has been visiting the Cambridge hospital for several years. Two of Jo Stranix's sisters met Henry when they came to visit their father, who has been in Addenbrooke's for several months.

    They had not been able to see him due to Covid-19 visitor restrictions.

    "We weren't sure if this was going to be the last time they would see him alive," she said.

    The visit had been distressing but Henry was there when they left.

    "They told me 'in that moment he made us all smile' and I was so thankful to that cat I'd never met for being there to comfort my sisters in some small way when I couldn't."

    Henry was described as "a beautiful ginger hero" by one regular visitor to the hospital
    One parent, whose 14-year-old son had been treated for leukaemia for several years, said: "Henry really does bring joy to patients and staff alike.

    "You know it's going to be a good day when you get to see Henry."

    A worker said Henry, who is seven, had helped her "massively during the first wave of Covid".

    "Seeing Henry's ginger fluffy face at the end of the day was soothing. It's hard to explain really."

    Another said: "When I've had a challenging day and I see Henry and I call his name - his tail pops up and he comes for a chin rub. Henry is a big sparkle of joy."

    Henry's owners, who wished to remain anonymous, said he had a loving home nearby.
    They became aware of his "exploring" via social media.

    "I would try to bring him home, but that never lasted more than a couple of days," the owner said.

    "It's so nice that he's making so many people happy - if he helps just one person then that's more than many cats do."

    Aleks, a member of the hospital security team, has come across Henry many times as they both patrol the site.

    "Only animals that support our patients are allowed inside the hospital - they have to have a harness and fluorescent strips," he said.

    "But Henry does a great job just putting a smile on a grumpy person in the morning, or brings out a smile from a teenager in a wheelchair."

    He said he had occasionally been called on to evict Henry from inside the buildings and added: "There would be people who are not happy that a cat is browsing around the hospital, but 99% of people love him."

    Henry inspired the hospital's recruitment administrator, Thalia Barnes, to paint a portrait of him for an art exhibition at Addenbrooke's, called The Best of Us.

    "He has been a great sense of therapy and companionship to all those who are graced by his presence," she said.

    "We are very lucky to have such a wonderful animal, in fact not just an animal, but a part of the [hospital trust] family."

    A Cambridge University Hospitals spokesperson said: "Henry the cat is very much a character and does seem to have found a place in the hearts of many of our staff and patients.

    "However, for obvious reasons of infection control, no animals other than Pets As Therapy dogs and guide dogs are allowed in the hospital.

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    Friday 3 June 2022

    Call Me Cuddle Cat!

    There I was, sitting outside to get some fresh air, minding my own business ...

    ... when I heard a little squeak and spotted this funny little creature. "I've lost my mother and I need a cuddle," he said. "Well, don't look at me," I replied ....

    .... but, call me an old softy, I relented and said he could cuddle up ....

    .... now I can't get rid of the little blighter. Never mind, he's keeping my back warm!


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      Monday 2 May 2022

      "Dinosaur" Cat Looking For A Home

      Oxford Mail:

      Sweet cat Brian, dubbed the dinosaur cat, is looking for a home now he has been spruced up and treated by the Blue Cross rehoming centre in Oxfordshire in the UK.

      Brian, who is around 14 years old, was found wandering the streets alone with huge, matted clumps of fur along his back which reminded one of the helpers of a stegosaurus! 

      Although he has been clipped, groomed and bathed, Brian hasn't yet found a new home, probably because of his age. 

      Elisha Webber, Animal Welfare Assistant at Blue Cross said: “Poor Brian was in such a sorry state when he arrived with us. He was severely matted along his spine, dehydrated and was covered in fleas and ticks. He also needed extensive dental work and some teeth removed.

      “We’re not sure how long he had been alone and wandering the streets but he’s a very sweet-natured boy with so much love to give. He enjoys his food and loves to curl up in a nice warm spot.

      “His new owner will need to be patient with him as they’ll need to build up his trust but he’ll make a wonderful companion. He really does deserve a happy ending.”

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