The True Cost of Kittens

The True Cost of Kittens

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Cats Protection Stranraer supports national campaign to protect kittens bred for sale

Cats Protection has launched a national campaign calling for change in the law to protect young kittens being sold sick and underage.

The True cost of Kittens campaign was created in response to a growing commercial market resulting in kittens being bred in poor welfare conditions and landing new owners with hefty vet bills. It calls for urgent action to update the law on pet sales and clamp down on those who put money before basic welfare.

Cats Protection Stranraer Branch Manager, Sally Adam said: “Sadly as the local cat charity in this area, we see the results of this too often. Basically there are more cats in our region than homes on offer. Cats brought into our care sit in pens for too long before an adopter comes forward.”

Cats Protection is calling on the Government to bring in regulations which would ban the sale of kittens under eight weeks old, regulate repeat breeding from the family cat and define commercial cat sales.

If you’d like to get involved with the campaign, click here to sign the e-petition.

You can follow the campaign on Twitter by clicking here.

Microchipping Month

Microchipping Month

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Cats Protection’s Stranraer & District branch supports National Microchipping Month

Cat owners in Wigtownshire are being encouraged to keep their pets safe this summer by having their feline friend microchipped.

Cats Protection’s Stranraer & District is supporting National Microchipping Month, which takes place during June and promotes microchipping as part of responsible pet ownership.

Though microchipping is a safe and permanent means of identification which increases the chances of a missing cat being reunited with its owner, nearly half of the UK’s owned cats are not microchipped.

Sally Adams, Cats Protection Stranraer & District said: “I cannot stress how important it is that cats are microchipped. It would give cat owners more peace of mind and enhance our ability to reunite missing cats with their owners.

“Currently when a cat comes into our care, the first thing we do is look for some sort of identification, including scanning for a ‘chip. In a lot of cases there is no microchip so we have to trawl lost and found registers and advertise the cat as missing. It’s a very time consuming process with no guarantee that we will ever locate the owner, despite our best efforts. And yet all of these problems could be solved by a tiny ‘chip that is no bigger than a grain of rice.”

Microchipping can be carried out by a vet or suitably trained individual and involves a small data chip being inserted under the cat’s skin between the shoulder blades. The details are then stored on a national database and can be accessed by scanning the animal with a special device. Most vets and rescue centres will routinely scan all lost cats and can use the information to quickly reunite the missing pet with their owner.

To find out more about the benefits of microchipping, visit http://www.cats.org.uk/cat-care/key-cat-care/microchipping.

However, it is important for owners to keep their records on the national database up to date – for example, if they move home or change phone number.

For more information on microchipping contact your local vet:

Academy Veterinary Centre, Stranraer 01776 703131
Carol Baker, Stranraer 01776 889020
Creebridge Veterianry Centre, Newton Stewart 01671 402247
Priory Veterinary Centre, Whithorn 01988 500356

For more information about microchipping and the work of Cats Protection, please contact Cats Protection’s Stranraer & District branch on:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/CatsProtectionStranraer

Email: cpwigtownshire@btinternet.com

Telephone: 03453 712 759
Speaking Up For Cats

Speaking Up For Cats

Affectionate Aggie recently came into our care at Stranraer & District Cats Protection. She suddenly appeared at the door of a country farm, and her friendliness suggested that she was not a feral or farm cat. After appeals on Facebook found no signs of an owner looking for their missing cat, we sadly concluded that she had more than likely been abandoned.20160316_080804

After bringing Aggie into our care, a thorough vet check revealed that this young cat was pregnant. She now has a selection of nest beds to check out in preparation for her kitten’s arrival in a safe environment.

This experience only fuels our calls for MSP’s to back the Cats Protection Manifesto for Cats. In Scotland, 23 per cent of households have at least one cat, which is an estimated cat population of approximately 900,000. Of those it’s estimated that 45 percent (approximately 400,000) of owned cats are not microchipped and that there are approximately 90,000 unneutered cats in Scotland*.

Cats Protection is calling for existing and prospective MSP’s to get behind the Manifesto for Cats: Scotland in order to ensure that one of the nation’s best loved pets is fully protected by policies and the law. Presently they are not and many of you will have had experience of this.

CaptureIt’s 10-point manifesto calls for:

  1. Cat breeding: update the law to control the breeding and sale of cats to reduce the number of unwanted kittens and ensure good welfare.
  2. Microchipping: Make it compulsory to microchip owned cats in Scotland.
  3. Enforce and Monitor new air gun licensing laws to prevent injury or death to cats shot by such weapons. The Air gun licensing Act 2015 is set to come into force in 2016.
  4. Dangerous Dogs: review the effectiveness of Dog Control Notices as a way of preventing dog attacks on cats.
  5. Animal welfare education: include animal welfare in the Curriculum for Excellence, so that children learn about responsible care.
  6. Cats and Housing providers: ensure Scottish Government recognises the needs of people with cats and other pets in rented housing and care homes, to allow people to keep their pets.
  7. Care and wellbeing: ensure Scottish Government recognises the benefits cats and other companion animals bring to health and personal wellbeing.
  8. Labelling toxic products: clearly label flowers, plants and household products that are toxic to cats so cat owners know which to avoid.
  9. Banning snares: bring in an outright ban on snares on the basis they are inhumane and cruel and inflict suffering or death upon animals caught in them, including cats.
  10. Illegal Imports: create a national database to ensure that a central record is kept of all cats entering the UK legally so those entering illegally without a rabies vaccine can be identified without delay.

Delivery of this Manifesto for Cats would improve the lives of thousands of cats in Scotland, like Aggie, and help prevent them from harm.

What You Can Do:

*PDSA Animal Wellbeing Report (PAW) 2015

Easy Peasy for Evie

Easy Peasy for Evie

Following on from the blog post on World Spay Day 2016 and the importance of neutering, I thought I would share my own experience as a cat owner and the spaying process.

Having Evie spayed was the easiest and best thing I could have done for her. I can let her run around and play outside, safe in the knowledge that she won’t be able to bring home any litters of kittens!

We dropped her off at our local vets at 9am, and had her back home by about 3.30pm the same day. The cost was roughly £60, we paid into a pet plan in monthly installments to help with the cost, but this will vary depending on your vets practice.

Evie is used to being pampered, but when she arrived home after getting spayed, she really knew how to play us! Although she was a little cold and shivery, the vet said this would be normal and to keep her warm. The image below shows Evie in her favourite place, her radiator bed and we placed a light blanket on her for extra warmth.

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She was sleepy as was to be expected and the next morning she was back to her bouncy self. You can see from the photo on the right the small circle of shaved fur where her wound was, which was neat and clean, this grew back pretty quickly.

The vet advised us to reduce the amount of food we give her, as her body has less work to do. Evie is prone to weight-gain, so we changed her diet to a dry food which specialised in neutered kittens.

I hope by sharing how simple the spaying process can be, this helps put other cat owners mind at ease.

All views expressed are those of my own and not necessarily that of Cats Protection Stranraer & District.

Your Cats Wish List No.2: Neutering

Your Cats Wish List No.2: Neutering

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World Spay Day 23rd February 2016

In honour of World Spay Day this year, we’ve dedicated this blog post to some information on the importance of spaying and neutering your feline friend.

Our recommendation is that cats are neutered at four months of age to protect from any unwanted litters of kittens. Many cat owners are unaware that kittens are able to have kittens themselves, from less than six months of age!

Cats Protection Stranraer & District offer free neutering for people receiving benefits, pensioners, students and those on a low income. In November 2015 we ran a free neutering promotion for the second year running in Wigtownshire, totaling 265 cats neutered free of charge. This breaks down into:

  • 217 belonging to an owner
  • 42 farm/feral or stray cats
  • 6 cats brought into our care before re-homing

The cost for this to our small branch was £7,200, raised from fundraising and a small grant from the National Cat Centre. We are here to help those who really can’t afford the cost of getting your cat neutered, but feel they still want a furry friend to call their own. (We ask that those who can afford this one off bill, to allow us to use our precious funds for those who can’t and for the cats in our care waiting for new homes).

For the facts on neutering, including why it is still important to get your male cat neutered, visit our Essential Guide: Neutering – Family Planning for Felines.

If you would like help or advice about spaying or neutering your cat, please get in touch. Email cpwigtownshire@btinternet.com or call 0345 371 2759.

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Thank you!

Your Cats Wish List No.1: Vaccinations

Your Cats Wish List No.1: Vaccinations

It might not be the first thing on your mind when bringing home a fluffy new kitten to love and care for, but vaccination is vital to keeping your pet protected.

Kittens can be vaccinated from 9 weeks of age; two vaccines are usually needed – three to four weeks apart – to ensure kittens are not left susceptible to infection. This is alongside an annual booster to help maintain their immunity against certain diseases. Carrying out this simple trip to your local vet will help ensure your bouncy new kitten gets the best chance of maturing into a healthy cat.

Vaccines are not available for all infectious diseases, but luckily there are a number of vaccines available to help protect your cat from the life-threatening diseases that are commonly found in felines:

  • Feline parvovirus (FPV) – FPV is also known as feline panleukopenia virus and feline infectious enteritis – it causes severe disease in cats and especially kittens and is frequently fatal
  • Feline herpes virus (FHV) – FHV is one of the causes of cat flu and is a very common virus. It can cause serious and very unpleasant ulcers on the face, ears, neck and more worryingly the eyes
  • Feline calicivirus (FCV) – FCV is another common cause of cat flu. It is also one of the main culprits for stomatitis (painful inflammation of the mouth and gums) and chronic gingivitis in cats. This can become so bad that only steroid treatment can keep it under control. Leaving it untreated will cause the cat severe pain and prevent eating, grooming and drinking with ease. An annual booster will help the vet to spot this before it has any damaging effects
  • Feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) – FeLV is a virus that causes a fatal disease – it affects the immune system and can also cause vulnerability to other infections, anaemia or tumours
  • Chlamydophila felis – Chlamydophila felis is a bacterium that often causes painful conjunctivitis with discharge and redness of the eyes, but it can also be a cause of cat flu
  • Bordetella bronchiseptica – Bordetella bronchiseptica is a bacterium that causes flu-like signs such as sneezing, runny nose and eyes, high temperature and a cough
  • Rabies – Rabies is a lethal virus which is not currently a problem in the UK – cats travelling abroad under the Pet Travel Scheme must have vaccinations against rabies

Sadly, most cats coming into our care are suffering from diseases that could have been prevented with simple routine vaccinations. One of these cats is Blue, who alongside his brother Inky is one of our longest residents at the moment. Unfortunately for Blue, he has been suffering from the Feline Herpes Virus (FHV).

Blue arrived into our carBluee with a very sore eye, one of the causes of FHV. This can cause extensive ulcers that need long-term treatment. Thankfully Blue is responding to treatment from his fosterer. However eye-drops will become a daily need for him, something that could have been prevented with vaccination when he was younger.

Both Blue and Inky are very placid cats and easy to handle, making the application of his eye drops very easy for him.

Getting your kitten vaccinated and keeping up to date with the annual boosters would be our minimum wish list for your cat, and we think your cat deserves this consideration – we hope you do too!

Visit our veterinary guide on infectious disease and vaccination here for more information.

Boys together

If you think you could give Blue & Inky a loving home, visit our website for more information.

Thank you!

Christmas Wishes for our Cats

Christmas Wishes for our Cats

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Image courtesy of pixabay.com
Christmas is fast approaching us this year, and with just a few days to go, why not help make Christmas extra special for one of the many moggies who will be spending the holidays in care?

The Stranraer & District branch of Cats Protection is a small self-funded branch run solely by a few volunteers. We have set up an Amazon wish list  with items the cats in our care need. This ranges from litter trays and cat beds to small toys to help keep our felines entertained. Whatever your choice of gift, it will be gratefully received by our volunteers and help make a cat very happy.

If you have a knack for knitting, why not make a fun homemade present, the ‘Captain Cat-Battler’ mouse toy! This was originally designed by Lauren O’Farrell (www.whodunnknit.com) for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. Click here  to download the Captain Cat-Battler pattern. Whether it be for your own cat or to the kitties in our care, your gift will definitely help to make their Christmas.

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Captain Cat-Battler Toy
For more creative ideas for homemade toys, visit the posts by Cats Protection in their ‘Meow’ blog.

Advice from Cats Protection on homemade cat toys below:

“Please note that if you are knitting a toy or blanket for a feline friend, it’s best to avoid the use of stretchy yarns or small plastic items – such as those that can be used for mouse eyes – to reduce the risk of inadvertent injury/ingestion. Loose-weave blanket patterns involving the use of large needles are also best avoided. Any knitted toys should be avoided for cats known to be wool-chewers. Please supervise play with your cat and don’t leave your cat unattended with toys which could be shredded and eaten or cause entanglement. Check toys regularly for signs of wear, replacing when appropriate.”

Furry Friends with FIV

Furry Friends with FIV

What is Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)?

FIV is a virus in cats that is similar to the human virus, HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus. However, FIV does not infect humans in the same way HIV does not infect cats.

Signs and Symptoms

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Cats Protection Guide to FIV

An FIV positive cat can live healthily for years with the virus before any signs or symptoms start to show.

The main impact of FIV is a weakened immune system for the cat, which can make them vulnerable to other infections.

Living with FIV

FIV is present in the bodily fluids of infected cats, including their blood and saliva. The virus cannot be transferred to other cats from your hands or clothes, as it is unable to survive for long outside the cat.

Cats mainly pick up the virus through bite wounds from fighting; mating behaviour and an infected female cat can pass it on to her kittens.

Unfortunately, there is currently no reliable treatment for FIV and once a cat becomes infected, they will be FIV positive for the rest of their life.

Adopting a cat with FIV

FIV positive cats need loving homes just as much as FIV free cats. A perfect example is the lovely Mog, who landed in our care this week.

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Mog strikes a pose

Mog is estimated to be about 10 years old and apart from being FIV positive, he has had a full vet check-up and is fit in every other way. He is affectionate and friendly, and just wants a warm home with food and lots of cuddles.

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Loving and Cuddly

Although he has no need to be on medication for the foreseeable future, he will need to be kept indoors as a house cat, to prevent the spread of FIV to other cats. Advice from Cats Protection includes:

“Cats Protection recommends that FIV-positive cats are kept indoors and only allowed outside in an impenetrable garden or safe run. They should not be allowed direct contact with FIV-negative cats”

Mog will make the perfect house cat for an elderly person or couple.

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Mog and his mouse

At the ripe old age of 10 – we think he is doing ok! If you’re looking for a house cat with character, Mog is your man.

If you think you can offer Mog that special home, we’d love to hear from you.

Email: cpwigtownshire@btinternet.com

Phone: 0345 371 2759

Read the handy guide to FIV produced by Cats Protection here.