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Ithink we’re more conscious of our pets than ever. Owners’ we can improve elderly cats’ lives so they enjoy more positive
knowledge of how to care for their cats has exploded over experiences for longer.
recent decades. We know more about nutrition, diseases,
feline behaviour, medicine, and products — just think of We also delve into eco-friendly cat ownership this issue
how the cat owner’s lexicon has grown to include things (page 22). Sustainability and looking after the planet is
such as stimulation, preservatives, feline instincts, DNA testing, becoming an increasing priority and so in the first of a
antioxidants, positive reinforcement, taurine, pheromones…the two-part series, we look at how cat ownership can be
list goes on. detrimental to the environment and how owners and
businesses are trying to reduce the impact it has on the
Our cats have always been loved, but ailurophiles’ environment. It’s a real thought-provoking piece and gives
understanding of our feline friends has grown exponentially. food for thought about that little bit we can all do to help.
I think this can be seen in how our pets are more humanised
today. We treat our ‘fur babies’ as family members and aim to I hope this issue helps you to extend your knowledge of our
provide a lifestyle that reaches our own standards. feline friends, as well as having loads of great stories about
cats that you’ll love reading.
Helping cat lovers to extend their feline knowledge has
always been a key aim of Your Cat (as well as sharing stories MichaelUntil next month,
of the joy cats bring!). I think that this issue picks up on two
areas that are fairly new when it comes to cat care: looking Editor
after senior cats and eco-friendly cat ownership.
This month sees the start of the ‘Senior Kitizens’ series (page
12), which looks at how we can make our cats’ golden years
some of the very best we have together. With modern thinking,
5 THINGS WE LEARN IN THIS ISSUE…
Research Just how A CAT IS The challenges Cats can bring
suggests much of a positive CONSIDERED that need to people together
most owners AS ELDERLY be overcome
view their impact therapy if mandatory in the most
cats’ hunting cats have when AT 11 extraordinary
behaviour visiting hospitals YEARS microchipping of ways — even as
negatively. and care homes. OLD. cats is to become a postman to
a successful a penpal!
IN THIS ISSUE
sNereiwes 12Regular vet checks
Senior Kitizens HAIRBALLS: older cats Dkindoywo?u are recommended
In the ﬁrst in a new series on elderly cats, we look can be more prone to to monitor your
at when a cat is ofﬁcially classed as senior. hairballs as their digestion If your cat is toileting oldie’s health.
becomes more sluggish. next to the litter tray,
The senior years for our cats Key changes it may be because he
can be some of the best. IMMUNE SYSTEM: a cat’s is ﬁnding it painful to
While our cats will change, Here are some key changes immune system becomes
with the right care they can that can occur in senior cats: less efficient as they age, climb into.
still enjoy their old age. Senior meaning they are more
kitties still have a lot of good DULL COAT: a senior cat’s coat will susceptible to illness.
experiences ahead of them and often lose its condition and shine as it
a lot of love to give to owners. becomes more difficult for your cat to MUSCLE DETERIORATION: MEDICAL
groom himself. this is common in older CONDITIONS
Tweaking your cat’s diet, cats and may result in a As you will have noticed,
environment, and routine can all JOINTS: arthritis and general reluctance to jump, run, many of these key changes
give an OAP cat a better quality wear and tear can make a and play, and can lead that occur with age can
of life and that is what this series feline’s joints stiffer and painful. to joint stiffness also be symptoms of health
is all about. We’ll be looking at and arthritis. problems.This is one of the
how you can adapt things to suit tricky things about managing
an ageing cat.To kick the series a senior cat — determining
off though, we look at how we what is normal for their age
recognise old age in our feline and what is the result of a
friends and what we need to health condition that will need
WHEN DOES A CAT HEARING AND O SLEEP PATTERN: many THERE ARE SOME
REACH OLD AGE? VISION LOSS: senior cats will sleep MEDICAL CONDITIONS
The average lifespan of cats in the deteriorating more, but some may A CAT BECOMES MORE
UK is 14 years old, according to the hearing and vision become more restless at SUSCEPTIBLE TO AS HE
Royal Veterinary College. However, may result in your night. AGES, INCLUDING:
thanks to better nutrition, veterinary cat becoming O Diabetes
care, and home life, our feline more anxious and O INTERACTION: your cat O Arthritis
friends are ageing better than ever less adaptable to may become irritable and O Hyperthyroidism
and can live well beyond these change. less tolerant to physical (overactive thyroid)
14 years. contact or, on the other O Kidney disease
MOUTH: dental health end of the spectrum, more O Tooth and gum issues;
According to International Cat can decline leading to needy. first signs of these are bad
Care, a cat is considered elderly pain and a reluctance breath
at 11 years old, with 11 to 14 years to eat. Remember, if O BEHAVIOUR: older cats O Skin conditions
being classed as ‘senior’, and 15 your cat is losing weight can be less active, often O Bowel issues, including
years-plus ‘super senior’. at a rapid speed, it meaning they will spend constipation and
is important to get less time hunting, playing, diarrhoea
As with humans, there are many them checked out or outside.
changes a cat goes through immediately for any It is important to remember
as he ages; he will go through underlying conditions. many of these conditions can
physiological changes, as well be managed successfully
as physical and behavioral, and SENSE OF SMELL: your if picked up early. It is
become more vulnerable to illness. cat’s sense of smell recommended senior cats
These changes can be very subtle will deteriorate as have regular check-ups to
at first, meaning it is often difficult to he ages, which may spot any changes that may
spot when problems are arising, as result in a loss of signify a health problem.
they are confused with ‘just getting appetite. This is an important part of
old’. recognising your cat has
There are important things to W
consider in your elderly cat’s care
to ensure he lives his golden years
12 Your Cat March 2021 www.yourcat.co.uk 13
CAN CAT OWNERSHIP BE Cat ownership is on the rise so 22
there is an increasing need to
BAD FOR THE be more eco-friendly.
ENVIRONMENT? Ceri Roberts lives with her Top tip!
British Shorthair called Mavis.
In the ﬁrst of a two-part series, we take a look at the She’s written for a range of Neutering
impact our feline friends have on the planet and how magazines and newspapers, cats is vitally
pet ownership is moving towards being more eco-friendly. but spends most of her day important
handing out cat treats. to regaining
Increasing numbers of environmentally-conscious cat Hunting is another way cats says:“We believe every cat is that many cat owners are
owners are beginning to worry about their pets’ ecological impact on the environment. an individual so we wouldn’t concerned about, so we
paw print (EPP) — and with good reason. support blanket policies about recommend that cat owners
According to the PDSA’s annual Paw Report, 24 per cent keeping cats indoors. I don’t reduce the opportunities for Can we make cat
of UK adults now own a cat, which means that we’re sharing think we can put the welfare of predating on wild birds and ownership better
our homes and gardens with an estimated 10.9 million one species above the welfare other animals by restricting for the planet?
felines. And that number looks set to rise, as new data from of another and while some cats outdoor access at dawn and
Bought by Many pet insurance indicates that thousands of will be able to cope with living dusk when wildlife is most Did you
homes welcomed a new cat during 2020, when insurance indoors, there are many more active, and by attaching a bell know?
registrations increased by 205 per cent compared to the that won’t.” to a quick-release safety collar.”
previous year. The humanisation
Did you For this reason, the RSPCA ECO-FRIENDLY the ground, which leads of pets is one of the
At a time when so many of us are doing our best to reduce, know? advocates a cat curfew.“The to deforestation, loss of factors cited behind
reuse, and recycle, it makes sense to think more carefully impact of cats on wildlife LITTER wildlife habitat, erosion, an increase in pets’
about responsible cat ownership and consider the populations is subject to and depletion of natural
eco-credentials of the pet products we buy. intense debate,” admits Alice If you decide to materials. It can also pollute EPP.
Potter.“This is something keep your cat watercourses and harm fish
“Consumers have understandably become more indoors, even just and aquatic vegetation, “Our wood clumping
environmentally aware in recent years and this extends to good idea to (26 per cent) some of the time, as well as destroying litter comes from
cat owners, too,” says Alice Potter, the RSPCA’s cat welfare then cat litter is watersheds and increasing sustainably-managed
expert.“There are now lots of steps we can take to help keep mileage A 2009 book reported live indoors going to be a flooding. forests and the wood we
reduce our cat’s carbon paw print.” that pets have a higher regular purchase. use to make it is taken
down if you eco-footprint than only, with most But many cat Paul Trott, UK Marketing from offcuts and sawdust
can — and this owners saying owners aren’t aware Manager at Hagen pet from the lumber industry.
is better for the people from certain that they do of the environmental products, says that The production process is
countries. impact of the most eco-friendly cat litter also sustainable: the litter
cat, as most dislike this because they popular types of litter. (typically made from paper, is made in a factory in Italy
Mineral-based clay wood, straw, or corn) is now that’s completely off-grid,
car journeys.” believe it’s safer for and silica litters have one of the fastest-growing as it produces its own
to be mined from categories in the cat litter energy from solar panels.
Soon after you bring their pet, and gives them market, which is worth £120 It’s manufactured via a
Caring for cats million in the UK alone. In cold-press process, which
your cat home, experts also a better chance of living a involves a lot of November 2020, Hagen means that nothing burns
different products. launched two new types of so there are no emissions,
GETTING A PET cat owners get a kitten from recommend neutering. long and healthy life. Catit Go Natural! litter: one and the packaging is made
If you’re planning to welcome friends or family, but many is made from wood and the from plant-based cellulose
a new cat, or kitten, into your more are willing to travel far “Sadly, the UK is facing a cat Some cat owners choose other from pea husks, a paper — the entire product
home, there are a couple of and wide to locate a specific is natural, compostable and
key ways to help minimise breed. overpopulation crisis, with so to keep their cats indoors by-product of the food biodegradable.”
their ecological paw print. industry which would
“There is a desire to have many cats being born and because they’re concerned otherwise be sent
According to the PDSA, specific breeds of cats and to landfill.
almost a third of cat owners some people will travel the not enough homes for them,” about the impact that cats He
(32 per cent) get their pet earth to get the cat that explains:
from a UK rescue or rehoming they want,” explains Dr Sarah says Alice Potter.“This is why can have on wildlife. Past
centre.This is a great option Ellis, head of cat Advocacy,
as adopting helps to reduce International Cat Care.“It’s the RSPCA, along with other studies indicate that each
the numbers of cats looking worth considering that most
for a forever home. of us have the ability to find a cat charities, advise owners cat kills up to 18 birds and 21
cat in our local area, so it’s a
Around 25 per cent of new to get their cats neutered small mammals each year,
from four months old, to avoid and research from the PDSA
unplanned litters.” reveals that 14 per cent of UK
INDOOR CATS cat owners would like to find
a way to stop their cat killing
Although the majority of the wildlife, and a further 14 per
UK’s cats spend time both cent would like to stop their
indoors and outdoors, the cat bringing wildlife into the
24 per cent of UK adults PDSA’s research suggests house.
now own a cat
that the number of indoor However, Dr Sarah Ellis
cats has risen by 11 per cent believes that keeping
in the last decade. In 2021, cats inside is easier
just over a quarter of cats said than done. She
22 Your Cat March 2021 www.yourcat.co.uk 23
Contents March 2021
6PICTURE OF THE MONTH 26SUZI RUFFELL 51NEW BEGINNINGS
A fascinating feline image — and the We chat cats with one of the rising When Imogen is struggling at
story behind it. stars of British comedy, Suzi Ruffell. university, cats are a positive force in her
life — a short story.
8WHAT’S NEW PUSSYCAT? 28HERO CATS
The latest feline related news, plus the Meet the therapy cats who play 54CELEBRATING BLACK
Instagram interview. a heroic role in comforting patients. BEAUTIES
12SENIOR KITIZENS 32SCIENCE OF CATS Leading pet food brand Webbox are
When does a cat reach old age Dr Lauren Finka explains the helping to dispel the myths about
and what does it mean? findings of a study into owners’ attitudes black cats.
towards cats’ hunting.
16DIARY OF A CAT-SITTER 55MY FIRST CAT
Heading off on one of his famous 38CAT BREED INDEX A persistent puss made Paulene
tangents, Chris delves into the stories of Known for being incredibly friendly, Grant a first-time cat owner.
seafaring cats. the RagaMuffin is in focus.
17FREEBIES 40CAT CARE An exciting exhibition of your
There’s a host of prizes up for grabs Our experts answer your feline pet pictures.
— what do you want to win? queries and questions.
18CAT CHAT 44KEEPING A PROMISE There’s a mental workout with
Your letters, stories, and pictures. Behaviourist Peter Neville helps a a range of puzzles.
cat who is settling in with a new owner.
20“OUR CAT FOUND US A 62DIARY OF A FARM CAT
LOCKDOWN PENPAL 46INTERNATIONAL CAT When the farm cat had to meet
— AND HE IS THE POSTMAN!” CARE DIARY the farm dog!
How one cat has carried messages The charity looks at what needs to 12
between his owners and a friendly happen before microchipping can
neighbour during lockdown. become mandatory.
22CAN CAT OWNERSHIP 48THE FELINE GRIMACE
BE BAD FOR THE SCALE
Scientists have developed a way of
A look at how pet ownership is moving recognising if a cat is in pain by looking at
towards being more eco-friendly. their face — now, they need your help.
4 Your Cat March 2021
32 GET IN TOUCH!
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PICTURE OF THE MONTH
The story behind the photo...
In August 1968, this adorable black cat found its way into The Valley, home of professional football team Charlton
Athletic. He was given the name Lucky as his arrival coincided with an upturn in fortunes for the club. After Lucky
turned up, the team did not lose until the end of September and went on to finish third in the second division that
year — the team’s highest finish in over a decade.
As well as good fortune, Lucky brought amusement too, once relieving himself on the pitch during a league
match against Derby County.That again proved to be lucky though, as the Addicks won the game 1-0 with a late
goal from Ronnie Moore.
Fans on one Charlton Athletic forum still recall Lucky and believed he was cared for by various members of staff
and stayed around for many years.
Image: Courtesy of Alamy Stock Photos.
PuWshsat’ys ncew at? Feline news ● New cat products ●
Cats Protection WARNS of obesity crisis
More than three million Paisley before... and urinary infections. TO HELP KEEP THEIR
cats are overweight “At a time of year when CATS’ WEIGHT
IN CHECK, CATS
and the problem is only many of us go on a diet, it’s PROTECTION
getting bigger thanks to advisable to ask your vet if OWNERS:
the coronavirus pandemic, your cat needs one too.” ● Weigh out cat food daily, not
to overfill bowls, and if giving
according to a Cats One cat on a weight loss cats treats, reduce the overall
amount of food you provide
Protection survey. regime is Paisley.The them.
● Avoid giving cats human
In a survey of more than five-year-old weighed treats, such as milk or cheese
as many cats cannot digest
2,000 cat owners, more than ...and after. 10.75kg — twice her cows’ milk products.
a quarter (28%) said they recommended weight ● Ask neighbours to help
by not feeding them.This is
had overfed their pet since — when she was brought especially important if your
cat is on a special diet or
the start of lockdown in to Cats Protection last medication. Consider popping
a simple paper collar on to
March 2020. year. After being put on your cat stating that your
cat is on a diet and politely
Over a third (36%) said a specially prescribed requesting neighbours to avoid
putting out food.
their cat visited neighbours diet, she was adopted by
for a bonus feed, and, overall, James Frankland who has
Further tips for helping overweight
one in five cats (20%) had continued with Paisley’s or obese cats can be found at
typically gained between slimming plan.
1 — 2.25kg in weight. James says:“Initially, she
This echoes the charity’s CATS (Cats and was following a vet-prescribed diet and I
their Stats) Report (www.cats.org.uk/stats), later moved her to normal cat food while
carried out before the start of the pandemic sticking to responsible portion sizes. Paisley
that highlighted at least 3.2 million owned begged for food most days so I usually
cats were already overweight. bought her off with a catnip toy or a bit
Maggie Roberts, director of veterinary more play.
services for Cats Protection, says:“This “She is now getting used to normal sizes
survey suggests the extra time we’ve spent of cat food and has lost more than three
with our cats has led to us over-indulging kilos. Although she is still two kilos from
them. Sadly, we are doing them more her ideal weight, she’s already so much
harm than good as overweight cats are at more agile and lively. I have no doubt it’s
significant risk of diabetes, joint problems, extended her lifespan.”
Pandemic puss searching for forever home
Arescue charity is appealing to find a Hertfordshire branch in March 2020. Her her with her anxieties, which has led to her
forever home for a rescue cat that previous owner could no longer care behavioural problems.
has spent the entire Covid-19 pandemic for Flick as the five-year-old cat had
waiting to be chosen. become very stressed due to a second “She’s had a thorough health check and
cat in the household and had started the cause of her urinating is not medical
Feline Flick came into the care of the urinating in the home. or due to a lack of litter trays, so we believe
RSPCA Middlesex North West and South it is a result of stress and anxiety. We have
Flick was adopted from the RSPCA been working hard to socialise her and
last year, but was sadly returned after a build up her confidence. She has made
few weeks as her behavioural problems lots of progress while in our care and she
persisted. has learned to explore the outside with
slow introduction. Any adopter will need to
Tracy Deamer at the branch says: continue this gradual process with her.
“Flick is an anxious cat who has sadly
been given up twice because she “Flick loves human company and playing
urinated in the house. She is a gentle with her toys. She is a sweet and friendly cat
and affectionate feline looking for a who truly deserves a loving home.”
quiet home with no children or other
pets. She will need someone who will Flick has waited 10 long months
be committed to providing the time, throughout the pandemic to find her forever
patience, and understanding to help home and is looking for an understanding
owner. Could that be you?
Flick is waiting for info link For more information, visit https://www.rspca.org.uk/findapet/
a forever home. details/-/Animal/FLICK/ref/BSA2100884/teaser
8 Your Cat March 2021
Bookshop ● Instagram star interview ● Legislation New cat
BookshopTurn to page 59 CLICK
to enter to win. TO WIN This luxury CatLoaf
Cat Scratcher Bed by
5 to ‘WORKING FROM HOME WITH A CAT’ BY HEIDI UK based Jin Designs
win! MORENO (CHRONICLE BOOKS) is a stylish addition
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win! This book is full of cute and colourful illustrations that take Made from premium
the reader through a day in the life of author Heidi Moreno recycled cardboard,
and shows what it’s like working from home with her cat, the unique
Peanut. From the time she wakes up until the time she goes bowl-shape curves
to bed, she navigates working with Peanut, who knocks over gently inwards,
water glasses, interrupts her video conferences, steps all making it the perfect place for your cat to
over her keyboard, and more. However, at the end of the day, sleep, stretch, scratch, and loaf! It includes
‘Working from Home with a Cat’ reminds us that despite all free organic catnip.
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HYDROSOLS AND ESSENTIAL OILS FOR YOUR CATS’ to welcome a
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THORNE (NAYANA MORAG) includes: catmint
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'The Aromatic Cat' is a practical guide to using herbs, grow your own
hydrosols, and essential oils for your cats’ well-being, from catnip at home,
flea control to first aid. Combining 35 years of experience which most cats
in holistic animal care, the authors share with you a holistic adore; a really
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botanical profiles on 40 plants, how and when to use them the front of your garden border; a cat-face
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how to safely use essential oils with cats, why self-selection recipe card; and a fish-shaped cat toy for
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‘LET’S BAKE: A PUSHEEN COOKBOOK’ BY SUSANNE your-new-furbaby.html
NG AND CLAIRE BELTON (SIMON & SCHUSTER LTD)
This ingenious new
The ultimate cookbook for Pusheen fans and cat lovers carrier, from Pet
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and savoury snacks, inspired by the adorably plump and converts from a
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RESCUE Halo and Poppy.
HAPPY ENDING FOR HALO AND POPPY
Two cats who suffered multiple non-accidental by RSPCA Bryn-Y-Maen animal centre in
injuries have found their forever homes. Wales to new owner Rachel Foster. She
Halo and Poppy were rescued by the RSPCA says:“Buttercup is doing really well — she’s
after being handed in to a vet practice in amazing!
Shrewsbury. Poor Poppy had a fractured right
leg, chemical burns, and a tail injury that meant "She is a little bit jittery about loud noises, but
it had to be amputated, and Halo suffered a she’s such a sweet cat.”
Halo was rehomed in August 2020 from
Poppy, now named Buttercup, was rehomed RSPCA Blackberry Farm in Buckinghamshire
and has also settled in well with his new owner.
PuWshsat’ys ncew at? Feline news ● New cat products ●
ABristol-based rescue centre is needing to be spayed
offering a low-cost animal neutering
scheme to help prevent thousands of and castrated. Even
unwanted and abandoned felines.
now, many owners are
The charity says that due to Covid-19
restrictions meaning access to standard struggling to access
procedures, such as neutering, are
restricted, an increase in owned, stray, appointments for The scheme aims to help avoid unwanted kittens.
and feral cats giving birth is likely. Bristol
Animal Rescue Centre’s in-house vet neutering, as Covid
team is, therefore, stepping in to help with
a new low-cost cat neutering initiative. safety measures mean
During the first lockdown, the Royal vets are still concentrating their resources cats enjoying the great outdoors and
College of Veterinary Surgeons asked
vets across the UK to provide emergency on more urgent cases. living their best lives as soon as possible.
and essential treatment only, and
practices were not able to offer routine Damian Pacini, senior vet at Bristol Neutering has significant health benefits
services.This has led to a backlog of cats
Animal Rescue Centre, says:“Vets and as well, in both female and tomcats.”
animal welfare charities are advising The new low-cost service is available to
owners to keep unneutered cats indoors eligible cat owners on low-incomes and
to prevent unplanned litters and we microchips are included.
would agree with this advice. However,
over an extended period that can be info link For more information,
very hard on both the cat and the owner. including prices, visit
We wanted to find a solution to get www.bristolarc.co.uk
ARE GRUMPY CATS REALLY GRUMPY?
Some domestic cat breeds Some breeds may struggle The team placed 48 dots disrupted their ability to
have been bred to such with facial expressions. on the image of each cat’s clearly express themselves
an extent they may no longer face, enabling them to see and communicate.”
be able to clearly express Changes in the location of how these points changed
themselves via their faces, these muscles are associated across all breeds. She continues:“Many cat
a new study suggests. with changes in facial owners will be aware of the
expressions displayed by cats, While the different breeds different facial expressions
The research — by therefore, the method can of cats all had neutral their cats display and that
cat welfare specialists at be used to identify how these expressions — and therefore these expressions may
Nottingham Trent University plots move depending on an the facial muscles technically change depending on how
— argues that, over time, individual’s internal state, such should remain consistent they are feeling. Our findings
people have selectively as when they experience pain. — the researchers identified suggest that at a species
bred cats based on human significant variations in how level, these signals may be
preferences but which might Images of cats with the dots were distributed, disrupted; if certain breeds
make it more difficult for cats ‘neutral’ facial expressions illustrating how selective have been inadvertently
to communicate effectively. were chosen so that the breeding over time has selected to look grumpy or in
researchers were able to altered cats’ faces.This means pain, we might be motivated
Breeding cats to have distinguish changes caused the neutral facial expression to care for or give these cats
these features, such as by selective breeding, rather in one breed might now look more attention than they
brachycephalic breeds than differences caused the same as the expression of would prefer, or conversely
with flat faces, big eyes by specific expressions and pain or discomfort in another. be unable to tell when they
and foreheads, and often underlying emotional states might actually be in pain and
seemingly grumpy expressions, the cats may have been Lead researcher Lauren need our help. Cats may also
could be affecting their ability experiencing at the time. Finka says:“During the course struggle to communicate with
to communicate how they are of the cat’s domestication, one another which might
actually feeling. we have vastly altered lead to increased conflict in
their physical appearance, multi-cat homes.”
The study involved creating a diverse range ● The study was
the use of an analytical of modern cat breeds. Our published in the journal
technique called geometric preference for them to have “Frontiers in Veterinary
morphometrics, which features that we find cute Science”. www.frontiersin.
enables the researchers to or similar to the expressions org/articles/10.3389/
plot points on images of cats’ we recognise in humans fvets.2020.606848/full
faces to correspond with their may have unintentionally
underlying facial muscles.
10 Your Cat March 2021
The pair are
Bookshop ● Instagram star interview
Cat-ching up with...
INSTAGRAM CATS TIGGER AND TILLIE
We speak to owner Emma Lamb, from Glasgow,
about her two marvellous moggies,Tigger and Tillie.
Instagram name: Tigger
@_2scottishmoggies and Tillie.
Name: Tigger and Tillie The cheeky
Age: Three and one. kitties!
Favourite treat: Cheese
Dreamies. are play fights and real
Favourite thing to do: Sleep at fights every day!
least 14 hours a day!
Favourite toy: Catnip mouse Q) They are both so
from our favourite small busines photogenic. Do you
@bellas_pet_fashion have any advice on
how to take a great
Q) How and when did you later and fell head over heels cat photo? round and in the end, he had
first meet Tigger and Tillie? in love with her, and the rest A They are both trained to dismantle the entire unit to
A Tigger was actually a is history! to sit on command and retrieve her! She also ate my
surprise from my best friends. I always find that holding cactus!
After the passing of my Q) Was it easy to introduce a treat above the camera
first cat, I was absolutely Tigger to a new kitten? How while asking them to sit makes Tigger is much more of
distraught and had a very did they get on at first? for a perfect photo! an angel, although he does
large cat-shaped hole in my A Tigger was pretty horrified regularly bring us home live
heart. Baby Tigger fixed my that we’d gotten him a baby Q) They look like such a pair of mice and lets them loose in
broken heart. sister. It took him around a cheeky kitties! What’s the most the house.
month before he could be mischievous thing they’ve ever
Tillie was a long-awaited in the same room without done? Q) Describe Tigger and Tillie in
new addition. My boyfriend hissing at her.They went A Within the first week of just three words…
and I had been looking into through a very brief phase of having Tillie, she climbed A Cheeky, loving, and hilarious.
getting another cat for a being so close they’d sleep behind our en-suite sink unit
while and when I saw the next to each other but now and got herself stuck. I ended
advertisement for Tillie online, they have more of a sibling up having to call my dad to go
I knew almost immediately love/hate relationship.There
she was the one. We went to
see her less than six hours
Digital rehoming platform launches
Anew pet adoption platform has launched to help end Luke Fribbons, Animates founder and chief executive,
animal homelessness in the UK. Animates, the first says: “As passionate animal lovers, it’s heartbreaking to
digital platform to connect pet owners with UK shelters, see so many cats and dogs go homeless every year. And
launched in December 2020 and aims to provide an easy this year, with demand for pets higher than ever, we knew
way for people to adopt a dog or cat. it was the right time to help make a permanent change in
how we approach pet ownership.”
The platform is free to sign-up to and works by hosting
each shelter’s furry residents on the intuitive website. The platform also supports shelters by allowing users
People searching for a new family member can browse to make a direct donation, of which 100 per cent goes
by species, breed, and location, before viewing each straight to the shelter. When making a donation, visitors to
animal’s personal profile. Here, they can learn useful the site can choose to donate money towards a specific
information, from age and level of training, to how active animal’s care or to the shelter as a whole. Animates works
they are and whether they get on with dogs (and vice with and supports rescue centres of all sizes, from the
versa). RSPCA to small local shelters.
The site already hosts more than 1,000 cats and dogs info For more information, visit
from 323 shelters across the country, with more being link https://animates.pet
added each week.
In the ﬁrst in a new series on elderly cats, we look
at when a cat is ofﬁcially classed as senior.
The senior years for our cats Key changes DULL COAT: a senior cat’s coat will
can be some of the best. often lose its condition and shine as it
While our cats will change, Here are some key changes becomes more difficult for your cat to
with the right care they can that can occur in senior cats: groom himself.
still enjoy their old age. Senior
kitties still have a lot of good JOINTS: arthritis and general
experiences ahead of them and wear and tear can make a
a lot of love to give to owners. feline’s joints stiffer and painful.
Tweaking your cat’s diet,
environment, and routine can all
give an OAP cat a better quality
of life and that is what this series
is all about. We’ll be looking at
how you can adapt things to suit
an ageing cat.To kick the series
off though, we look at how we
recognise old age in our feline
friends and what we need to
WHEN DOES A CAT HEARING AND
REACH OLD AGE? VISION LOSS:
The average lifespan of cats in the hearing and vision
UK is 14 years old, according to the may result in your
Royal Veterinary College. However, cat becoming
thanks to better nutrition, veterinary more anxious and
care, and home life, our feline less adaptable to
friends are ageing better than ever change.
and can live well beyond these
14 years. MOUTH: dental health
can decline leading to
According to International Cat pain and a reluctance
Care, a cat is considered elderly to eat. Remember, if
at 11 years old, with 11 to 14 years your cat is losing weight
being classed as ‘senior’, and 15 at a rapid speed, it
years-plus ‘super senior’. is important to get
them checked out
As with humans, there are many immediately for any
changes a cat goes through underlying conditions.
as he ages; he will go through
physiological changes, as well as SENSE OF SMELL: your
physical and behavioral changes, cat’s sense of smell
and become more vulnerable to will deteriorate as
illness.These changes can be very he ages, which may
subtle at first, meaning it is often result in a loss of
difficult to spot when problems are appetite.
arising, as they are confused with
‘just getting old’.
There are important things to
consider in your elderly cat’s care
to ensure he lives his golden years
12 Your Cat March 2021
HAIRBALLS: older cats Regular vet checks
can be more prone to are recommended
hairballs as their digestion to monitor your
becomes more sluggish. oldie’s health.
IMMUNE SYSTEM: a cat’s Dkindoywo?u
immune system becomes
less efficient as they age, If your cat is toileting
meaning they are more next to the litter tray,
susceptible to illness. it may be because he
is ﬁnding it painful to
MUSCLE DETERIORATION: MEDICAL
this is common in older CONDITIONS
cats and may result in a
reluctance to jump, run, As you will have noticed,
and play, and can lead many of these key changes
to joint stiffness that occur with age can
and arthritis. also be symptoms of health
problems.This is one of the
● SLEEP PATTERN: many tricky things about managing
senior cats will sleep a senior cat — determining
more, but some may what is normal for their age
become more restless at and what is the result of a
night. health condition that will need
● INTERACTION: your cat
may become irritable and THERE ARE SOME
less tolerant to physical MEDICAL CONDITIONS
contact or, on the other A CAT BECOMES MORE
end of the spectrum, more SUSCEPTIBLE TO AS HE
needy. AGES, INCLUDING:
● BEHAVIOUR: older cats ● Arthritis
can be less active, often ● Hyperthyroidism
meaning they will spend (overactive thyroid)
less time hunting, playing, ● Kidney disease
or outside. ● Tooth and gum issues;
first signs of these are bad
● Skin conditions
● Bowel issues, including
It is important to remember
many of these conditions can
be managed successfully
if picked up early. It is
recommended senior cats
have regular check-ups to
spot any changes that may
signify a health problem.
This is an important part of
recognising your cat has
reached older age — when
you as an owner decide that Their dietary
your cat needs to be booked needs will
in for a regular check-up at change.
Cats are notorious for being
good at hiding their problems
so having your vet regularly
cast their eye over your pet
will help pick up on any
health problems earlier and
also help you understand
what is now more normal
for your pet but is nothing
to worry about. Inbetween
check-ups, you’ll need to
keep an eye on your pet and
if any problems arise, don’t
wait for the check-up, see
your vet promptly.
A useful tool for owners to
monitor their cats is to take
your own notes. Gather some
pictures or videos of your
cat playing and make a few
notes on their behaviour,
such as how much they
sleep, if they’re able to jump
up, and how much they go
out. Reviewing these notes
every so often will help you
be able to spot if your cat has
changed. Dkindoywo?u WHEN TO SAY
DEMENTIA IN CATS
Cats can enjoy old age but
Some owners are Being disorientated sadly, there will come a point Cats go through
concerned about some of and a change in when your elderly cat is no many changes
the serious conditions that longer getting an acceptable as they enter their
are more likely in old age, sleeping pattern are quality of life, despite your senior years.
including dementia in cats. among the ﬁrst signs of best efforts.
help you decide when it is
dementia in cats. Cats don’t necessarily the right time to say goodbye.
show pain the way you would Euthanasia is never a decision
Feline cognitive dysfunction expect and even cats in taken lightly but is one that
extreme pain will purr. is made with your cat’s best
is a gradual decline in cognitive A marked loss of interest in interests at heart.
their surroundings, food, play,
abilities caused by age-related changes in the brain. grooming, and abnormal Do not be afraid to ask your
sitting or laying positions, or vet or vet nurse questions, or
DEMENTIA IN CATS IS SLOW ONSET AND OFTEN LOOKS reluctance to move in general seek further advice. Experts
LIKE OTHER SIGNS OF AGEING, MEANING IT IS OFTEN can all be signs your cat is and friends will help you make
MISTAKEN FOR OTHER CONDITIONS, SUCH AS ARTHRITIS in pain. More obvious signs the right decision for your
OR THE CAT ‘JUST GETTING OLD’. SIGNS TO LOOK OUT include breathing difficulties beloved companion.
FOR INCLUDE: and persistent vomiting. ● For more information and
● Disorientation. guidance about end of life
● Change in sleep pattern. No pet owner wants to see care and euthanasia, visit
● Change in appetite. their cat struggling with hardly www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-
● Loss of toilet training. any positive experiences advice/time-say-goodbye-
● Unusual vocal behaviour, most commonly howling at in their life. Considering your-cat
night and loud meowing. your feline friend’s level of
happiness and comfort will
There are medications and behavioral remedies to
help a cat with dementia; however, it is important to
discuss treatment options with your vet.
14 Your Cat March 2021
Chronic kidney disease,
diabetes, arthritis, and
cancer are the ‘top ﬁve’
cats, according to
Many cats enjoy their lives Your elderly cat will
well into old age... appreciate a warm
and cosy bed.
Managing a senior cat
Many cats enjoy their lives well into old Adapting to how your cat wants to live can
age.There are plenty of ways we can help really improve their life. If your cat is reaching
senior cats have positive experiences, ease old age, discuss this
discomfort due to old age, and make life in We’ll be delving in depth into these topics with your vet. He or she
general easier for them.These include: in next month’s feature so you will find lots will likely have lots of
● CHANGING A CAT’S DIET — this can of simple ways you can help an elderly experience helping
help by providing a better balance of the cat. Often, the most important thing is elderly cats and will be
nutrients a cat needs as he gets older. It understanding your cat is reaching old age. an important part of how
can improve physiological functions, ease It doesn’t happen overnight so it’s better you care for your cat in
health problems, and maintain a healthy to be proactive, rather than a problem their golden years.
body weight. becoming so severe that you can’t ignore
● GIVING SUPPLEMENTS — these can help it. Accepting that your cat is reaching old More info:
top up the essential minerals and nutrients age means you can care for them in a way
your cat needs, and help some health that is not too taxing but will benefit For more information
problems. your pet. on senior cat care, visit
● ADAPTING THE HOME ENVIRONMENT icatcare.org/advice/
— making subtle tweaks to your home can So now you know what to elderly-cats-special-
help cats feel comfortable and give them look for and when your cat considerations
easier access to all the resources they is approaching their golden
need. years, you can be ready to
● CHANGING THEIR ROUTINE — cats crave help make them some of
control and knowing their own routine. the best times you ever have
Older cats tend to sleep more. www.yourcat.co.uk 15
In a nod to his new island life, Chris explores Chris Pascoe is a cat-sitter
the stories of cats who went to sea. and author. He has written ﬁve
books, including ‘A cat called
Confessions of a Birmingham’ and ‘You can
take the cat out of Slough’,
Cat-sitter which are available to buy
This being my first column written now I’m late and taking a daring leap on to the deck Churchill
fully living on the Isle of Wight, I thought as it pulled away.The crew were stunned meeting
I’d get into the island spirit by devoting it but U-Boat simply began washing as though ship’s cat
to that most unlikely of things: waterborne nothing had happened — very catlike! Blackie on
cats. As most of our domestic felines tend not to board HMS
go for water-based activities, (I’ve yet to see any Finally, in that same war, we find Blackie. When
arriving at our local swimming pool with towels Winston Churchill signed a historic agreement Prince
tucked into their collars) waterborne does of in Newfoundland, he boarded HMS Prince of of Wales.*
course mean cats on boats. Wales in front of the world’s assembled press.
Instead of being photographed meeting the Unsinkable
Cats first became essential shipmates around ship’s captain, historic photos show him being Sam was
10,000 years ago, taken aboard by Ancient greeted by a small black cat! a f loating
Egyptian sailors for rodent control. Considering furball of bad
the Ancient Egyptians are also notable for Going back in time, there’s Trim who in luck...
worshipping cats as gods, I’m not sure how 1803 became the first cat to circumnavigate
they thought it acceptable to use their gods to Australia aboard the Flinders expedition.Trim’s
catch rats, but that’s how it all began. so famous there’s a statue of him in Sydney. A
cat named Chibbly took things a step further,
From thereon in, most ships had a cat and circumnavigating the globe five times.
some of them became very famous indeed.
My favourite was a black and white shorthair Possibly the most famous of all ship’s cats,
named Unsinkable Sam. Unsinkable Sam though, was Mrs Chippy, in fact a male tabby,
was a floating furball of bad luck.Throughout aboard Shackleton’s ill-fated South Pole
the Second World War, he served on many expedition on the ship Endurance. Mrs Chippy
ships and they all got sunk. So, was the name belonged to the ship’s carpenter, hence his
‘Unsinkable’ ironic? No, Sam couldn’t be sunk, name, and appears to have been a total nutter.
even if everything he sailed on was. Once, launching himself overboard into frozen
seas. Upon being helped back aboard, he tried
He started out on the German battleship to jump again. Are all cats crazy, do you think?
Bismarck, which was very quickly destroyed
by the British Navy. A frantically paddling
Unsinkable Sam was hauled aboard HMS
Cossack, which was duly sunk by a U-Boat, so
Unsinkable swam over to HMS Ark Royal. With
Sam aboard, Ark Royal was now in serious
trouble and predictably got torpedoed.Though
rescued again, this time by HMS Legion,
Unsinkable had already made a name for
himself, but not a good one, and he was quickly
set ashore. As a relieved HMS Legion sailed
away, it was sunk by a Stuka bomber.
Another Second World War cat was U-Boat
(yes, a British naval crew actually named their
cat U-Boat), most famous for leaving his ship
at every port, before somehow returning just
seconds before departure, only once arriving
16 Your Cat March 2021
Over 40 prizes to be won! For your chance to win
prizes, enter online by visiting
giveaways using the code
PWN23PWN. Please note,
you can enter online from
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We’re giving nine lucky your own crochet cat toy kit. Caterpillar Claude, and My
readers each a 4kg Using natural materials and Little Pickle, and include all
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in calories and fat your kitty entertained.There are three levels for the balls to roll through We’ve teamed up with Felight
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comfy piece of cat furniture, ideal
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their heart’s content.The cute,
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and the top platform is fantastic for any
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Enter online at www.yourcat.co.uk/giveaways
UK only. For full competition terms and conditions, visit www.warnersgroup.co.uk/competition-terms
We want to hear all about your fabulous
felines! Email [email protected]
or write to us (see page 5 for our address).
DRAWING DEVONS Jack.
Ithought you might like to Tribute to Jack
see my drawings of my two
Devon Rex.The chocolate We are writing to pay tribute to our beautiful tabby cat Jack who went
calico is Pandora, who is over the rainbow bridge on November 28, 2020. He was 14 years old and
nearly four, and the black and came to us at eight months old after being fostered. He was loving, funny, and
white one is Theodore, who is feisty, and we adored him. Nothing we could write could really do him justice!
six months old.They are both
such good company in these We feel him all around us every day. Recalling Sue Dawson’s advice, we
difficult times. have made a memory box of him.Thank you, our darling Jack, for filling our
Janet Stevenson. lives with joy and love.
Carole Lewery and Linda Merryweather.
Iwanted to say thank you for
the hamper I won (I emailed
Webbox as well) — it made a
lovely Christmas present for
my cat, Bradley.
18 Your Cat March 2021
The hardest The robotic cats
have been making
decision a real impact.
One can read so much about the come by early March. ROBOTIC
subject, but it becomes hard The good relationship with his vets was CATS
having to say that final goodbye to a UPDATE
companion of so many years when worth so much at this moment, and we
one is confronted personally with that had a long conversation before reaching Ijust thought I would update Your
reality. Dr. Finka’s article (Your Cat the conclusion to put Vampi to sleep. It Cat about how our robotic cat is
December 2020) described exactly what was the only decent thing left that could getting on. It was donated to our
I experienced. be done for him. nursing home in Hornchurch from
Wakefield Rotary Club after the
By the end of 2019, my companion of In order to spare Vampi the stress campaign in Your Cat Magazine.
15 years,Vampi, had started to lose some of a trip to the practice, the vet came
weight, ate less, and occasionally moved to the house the next day, which was The cat has settled in nicely
in a rather wobbly way — something very kind of her.The good thing, if one — one of the residents has claimed
was wrong with him. It all developed very can call it that, is that Vampi died in his her and she will not let the cat
gradually and initially, it was not clear own familiar surroundings and we were leave her side. According to our
what was happening to him. Blood tests able to say goodbye to each other in a resident, the cat is called Penelope
did not set off any alarm bells either. peaceful way. However, it was still a hard and she is about 20 years old. She
decision to make. It’s never easy to say does not eat much but likes fish
Vampi continued to lose weight and goodbye to a dear friend. fingers and biscuits.
all interest in his favourite food. A month
or two later, in early 2020, and after Although there was nothing left that The resident is very protective
several visits to the vet’s, it became clear could have been done for my dear boy, of Penelope and does not allow
he was fighting a battle he could not there still was a certain feeling of guilt others to handle her if possible.
win. Until that moment, he had enjoyed a about it all. We had a chat about that When it’s chilly, the resident makes
good life but the life he was leading now afterwards, my vet and I, which helped a sure Penelope is warm by putting
was not worth living.There was obviously lot. Now, his urn sits on the mantlepiece, a blanket on her.
no joy in it anymore. so in a way he is still with me. But the Grace King.
house felt so empty without him.
Vampi developed acute kidney www.yourcat.co.uk 19
failure. Over a short period, his condition Of course,Vampi could not simply
deteriorated very rapidly.The time had be replaced and it took several months
come to discuss options with his two vets. before reaching the point where a
A few possibilities were still available, successor would be welcome.That
but in the end, it all came down to the successor had been living in the shelter
same conclusion: nothing could improve for nine months after having been found
his condition and we would only be abandoned somewhere in town.
postponing the inevitable.Vampi was
suffering. Meet Stella, now eight and a half years
old.Too old for some, but very welcome
As his deterioration initially had here.
developed very gradually, I had, in a way,
become prepared for the possibility that Dr. Finka’s article is not only worth
at one moment a difficult decision would reading, but one to keep. Nevertheless,
have to be made.That moment had one probably has to be a cat owner to
fully understand it.
Marc Heydens, Belgium
— and he Billy — the
is the postman!”
When sociable cat Billy brought home a note to his owners from a friendly
neighbour, it started an extraordinary lockdown friendship. Michael
Hallam takes up the story.
Social distancing has ways of keeping in touch, It was nice to have
taken over our lives and for one couple that way someone reaching out...
during the past year. has remarkably become
The coronavirus their cat. While cats get out POSTMAN BILLY lockdown — it was nice to
pandemic has forced us more than we do these days, have someone reaching out
away from other people, as feline Billy has become a “One day, my girlfriend to you through your own cat.”
we show how much we care lockdown postman, delivering noticed that Billy had
about each other by staying notes between an unknown, something attached to his Zack and Olga replied with
apart. friendly neighbour and his collar,” explains Zack.“It was a note of their own, attaching
owners Zack King and Olga a small note, tightly folded it to Billy’s collar and waiting to
We’ve all had to find new Shipunova, from Hackney up, wrapped in cling film, and see if their feline companion
in London. attached with a wire tie that would visit their neighbour
Zack and Olga. didn’t bother him. We opened again. He did and from there,
Billy as it and it was a note from a a penpal style relationship
a kitten. neighbour just saying:‘Hi blossomed. Zack and Olga
neighbour, just want to let you have exchanged regular
know that your cat is always notes with their neighbour,
coming round mine, he’s with Billy acting as a feline
really sweet, I love him, and postman.
just wanted to let you know he
likes to come and say hello to “At first, there was just a
people’. few niceties,” says Zack.“We
can’t fit a big note to him, it’s
“It was unexpected just scribbles on paper, so it
and quite delightful really, has been asking how you’re
especially as the nights were getting on with lockdown
drawing in and we were in and a little bit about what we
20 Your Cat March 2021
The original note.
The couple have is going to come, takes about us; Olga is A LOVE
chatted and shared you back to a place of originally from Russia
less expectation, which and a few top line OF CATS
recommendations is nice as you saviour details, but it is nice
in their letters. it more. not knowing who The story of Billy the postman
“We could of asked they are — if we knew captured the nation’s hearts
enjoy doing. So there were questions about who the where they lived and when Zack shared it on social
Netflix recommendations, person is, but they haven’t their phone number, media and it went viral.There
podcasts (because Olga asked questions of us. We there is not really a was an incredible reaction
loves her podcasts), and the know they are Canadian purpose for a delivery from people and it was
two of them shared home and live with friends, possibly cat anymore!” picked up by the mainstream
cooking suggestions. students but I don’t know, So, when the pandemic media with Zack appearing
and we’ve told them a bit is over and people can on BBC Radio 1 with Greg
“We tried out those meet up again, will Zack James and in national
recommendations. We did Billy with and Olga meet their friendly newspapers.
a squid stew which was the note on neighbour in person?
actually really delicious and his collar. “We’re enjoying it in “It’s a bit mad to be
we let them know about the moment, rather than honest!” says Zack.“It’s a
using wasabi paste into mash planning to meet up, but flash in the pan, just a nice
potato, so it was just little you never know,” says Zack. story, and I am happy for
things like that. Life can be a “It would actually be quite people to hear about it.
bit of a grind when we’re all nice to meet up, but there is I would encourage it if
going through this, so it was no expectation there.” people are in a similar
nice.” situation; if they know their
cat visits their neighbours
As their communication and you can attach a little
grew, Billy’s collar was even something in a way that
fitted with a device to make won’t annoy or hinder the cat,
it even easier for him to carry it seems like a good idea.”
the notes. While Zack and
Olga don’t know who their Zack and Olga rescued
neighbour is, they think this Billy in 2019 after he was
penpal style friendship has part of a litter that was
been a refreshing experience. abandoned outside a
veterinary practice. He has
“We live in a world of instant been with them throughout
communication but not the lockdown period and,
knowing who this person is, like so many cats throughout
where it is coming from, or if it the country, has provided
so much joy through these
tough times to them both
— and their neighbour, of
“Billy has been absolutely
great,” comments Zack.
“Regardless of receiving the
notes, he is such a joy. He’s
an independent character,
loving when he wants to
be, but it’s on his terms, and
that’s what I love about Billy
and cats in general. Cats
have evolved to grow along
with us.They like the look of
us and hanging around with
us. It’s all on their terms and
that’s what I really like about
cats — Billy really exemplifies
“He has been joyful and
sweet. He loves to cock
his head to the side and
he gives you funny looks
sometimes. It’s been a real
lift having him during these
times and he cheers me and
Olga up — the sharing of the
notes with a neighbour has
just been the icing on the
CAN CAT OWNERSHIP BE
BAD FOR THE
Ceri Roberts lives with her
In the ﬁrst of a two-part series, we take a look at the British Shorthair called Mavis.
impact our feline friends have on the planet and how She’s written for a range of
pet ownership is moving towards being more eco-friendly. magazines and newspapers,
but spends most of her day
handing out cat treats.
Increasing numbers of environmentally-conscious cat Hunting is one way cats
owners are beginning to worry about their pets’ ecological impact on the environment.
paw print (EPP) — and with good reason.
According to the PDSA’s annual Paw Report, 24 per cent Did you
of UK adults now own a cat, which means that we’re sharing know?
our homes and gardens with an estimated 10.9 million good idea to (26 per cent)
felines. And that number looks set to rise, as new data from
Bought by Many pet insurance indicates that thousands of keep mileage A 2009 book reported live indoors
homes welcomed a new cat during 2020, when insurance that pets have a higher only, with most
registrations increased by 205 per cent compared to the down if you eco-footprint than
previous year. people from certain
can — and this owners saying
At a time when so many of us are doing our best to reduce, is better for the countries. that they do
reuse, and recycle, it makes sense to think more carefully
about responsible cat ownership and consider the cat, as most dislike this because they
eco-credentials of the pet products we buy.
car journeys.” believe it’s safer for
“Consumers have understandably become more
environmentally aware in recent years and this extends to Soon after you bring their pet, and gives them
cat owners too,” says Alice Potter, the RSPCA’s cat welfare
expert.“There are now lots of steps we can take to help
reduce our cat’s carbon paw print.”
your cat home, experts also a better chance of living a
GETTING A PET cat owners get a kitten from recommend neutering. long and healthy life.
friends or family, but many
If you’re planning to welcome more are willing to travel far “Sadly, the UK is facing a cat Some cat owners choose
a new cat, or kitten, into your and wide to locate a specific
home, there are a couple of breed. overpopulation crisis, with so to keep their cats indoors
key ways to help minimise
their ecological paw print. “There is a desire to have many cats being born and because they’re concerned
specific breeds of cats and
According to the PDSA, some people will travel the not enough homes for them,” about the impact that cats
almost a third of cat owners earth to get the cat that they
(32 per cent) get their pet want,” explains Dr Sarah Ellis, says Alice Potter.“This is why can have on wildlife. Past
from a UK rescue or rehoming head of cat advocacy at
centre.This is a great option International Cat Care.“It’s the RSPCA, along with other studies indicate that each
as adopting helps to reduce worth considering that most
the numbers of cats looking of us have the ability to find a cat charities, advise owners cat kills up to 18 birds and 21
for a forever home. cat in our local area, so it’s a
to get their cats neutered small mammals each year,
Around 25 per cent of new
from four months old to avoid and research from the PDSA
unplanned litters.” reveals that 14 per cent of UK
cat owners would like to find
INDOOR CATS a way to stop their cat killing
Although the majority of the wildlife, and a further 14 per
UK’s cats spend time both cent would like to stop their
indoors and outdoors, the cat bringing wildlife into the
24 per cent of UK adults PDSA’s research suggests house.
now own a cat
that the number of indoor However, Dr Sarah Ellis
cats has risen by 11 per cent believes that keeping cats
in the last decade. In 2021, inside is easier said
just over a quarter of cats than done. She says:
22 Your Cat March 2021
Cat ownership is on the rise so
there is an increasing need to
be more eco-friendly.
cats is vitally
“We believe every cat is an that many cat owners are Can we make cat
individual so we wouldn’t concerned about, so we ownership better
support blanket policies about recommend that cat owners for the planet?
keeping cats indoors. I don’t reduce the opportunities for
think we can put the welfare of predating on wild birds and Dkindoywo?u
one species above the welfare other animals by restricting
of another and while some cats outdoor access at dawn and The humanisation
will be able to cope with living dusk when wildlife is most of pets is one of the
indoors, there are many more active, and by attaching a bell factors cited behind
that won’t.” to a quick-release safety collar.” an increase in pets’
For this reason, the RSPCA ECO-FRIENDLY types of litter. Mineral-based EPP.
advocates a cat curfew.“The clay and silica litters have to
impact of cats on wildlife LITTER be mined from the ground, sustainably-managed
populations is subject to which leads to deforestation, FSC certified forests
intense debate,” admits Alice If you decide to keep your loss of wildlife habitats, and the wood we use
Potter.“This is something cat indoors, even just some erosion, and depletion of to make it is taken from
natural materials. It can offcuts and sawdust from
of the time, then cat also pollute watercourses the lumber industry.The
litter is going to be and harm fish and aquatic production process is also
a regular purchase. vegetation, as well as sustainable: the litter is
But many cat owners destroying watersheds and made in a factory in Italy
aren’t aware of the increasing flooding. that’s completely off-grid,
environmental impact as it produces its own
of the most popular Paul Trott, UK Marketing energy from solar panels.
Manager for Catit, says that It’s manufactured via a
eco-friendly cat litter cold-press process, which▼
(typically made from paper, means that nothing burns
wood, straw, or corn) is now so there are no emissions,
one of the fastest-growing and the packaging is made
from plant-based cellulose
categories in the cat litter paper — the entire product
market, which is worth is natural, compostable and
£120 million in the UK biodegradable.”
alone. In November
2020, Catit launched The pea husk litter
two new types of Go
Natural! litter: one is
made from wood and the
other from pea husks, a
by-product of the food
industry which would
otherwise be sent to landfill.
He explains: “Our highly
efficient wood clumping
litter comes from
Eco-friendly products www.yourcat.co.uk 23
are becoming more
is even more innovative. Feline diets do have
It’s made by extracting a carbon footprint.
the fibres from pea husks,
and the finished product is Dkindoywo?u
vacuum-packed and sold
in cardboard boxes, which Millions of cats in
saves about 30 per cent of the UK are obese,
space in order to reduce reﬂecting an excessive
the environmental impact demand on pet food
Catit has a manufacturing process that aims
FOOD to be more eco-friendly at each stage.
Using insect protein is a new way of producing
Research from YouGov indicates their cats’ diet in order to be more a more sustainable food as consumers are
that over half of UK pet owners environmentally conscious, but it’s increasingly keen to be more green.
think that sustainable ingredients in important to know that cats are
pet food are appealing. However, strict carnivores and depend on More info:
in recent years, manufacturers some very specific ingredients that
have put increased emphasis on are found in meat, including taurine, For more information on Catit’s new
‘premium’ or ‘gourmet’ foods, most vitamin A, and arachidonic acid, so sustainable product ranges visit catit.co.uk
of which are made from select cuts they can become seriously ill if they
of meat. Producing this amount of are fed a vegetarian or vegan diet.” Next month…
animal protein uses an enormous
amount of natural resources: it takes Fortunately, the pet food industry In part two, we share lots of top tips on what you
a lot of land, water, and food to farm is already working on sustainable can do to be a more eco-friendly cat owner.
the cows, sheep, pigs, poultry, and alternatives. Catit is soon to launch
fish that are made into pet food, a new eco-friendly cat food called
plus thousands of food miles to Nuna, which is made from insect
reach your cat’s bowl. protein, mixed with small amounts
of chicken or fish. Paul Trott explains:
If you’re keen to reduce your cat’s “Insect protein is a hot topic in
EPP, simply choosing cat food which the pet food industry right now, as
comes in recyclable packaging switching from established protein
can make a difference. Dr Sarah sources like beef and chicken can
Ellis favours varieties that come help to reduce the ecological
in cans or foil trays, which can be impact of farming. As cat owners
easily recycled. Don’t worry if your know, cats commonly eat insects as
cat prefers single-serve pouches: part of their normal diet. Nuna looks
Cat’s Protection has partnered with like regular kibble, but its primary
Purina PetCare to create a free protein source is a nutrient rich flour
recycling programme. Pouches made from hygienically farmed
can be dropped off at a local insect larvae.These insects are safe,
Cats Protection centre, ready to clean, easy, and sustainable to farm,
be sent to TerraCycle where they’re as the larvae are fed on reclaimed
processed into plastic granules fruit and vegetables, which would
ready for reuse. As an added bonus, otherwise go to landfill.”
all donated packaging helps
to earn Terracycle points, which Paul adds:“As an organisation,
can be converted into financial we’re keen to increase our
donations to Cats Protection.The ecological credentials.These recent
recycling programme has been launches are just the first in a wider
paused due to Covid-19, but will be range of eco-friendly products that
running as soon it’s safe to do so. offer a great solution to cat owners
who wish to take a more sustainable
Although some cat owners may approach.”
like the idea of reducing the meat in
their cat’s diet, Alice Potter advises As we become more eco aware,
against this. She says:“Some it seems that people are pulling
owners may consider changing together to make cat ownership
more environmentally friendly.
24 Your Cat March 2021
Does my cat
Does your cat go outside or Does your cat appear Do you want to protect
live with another pet who does? healthy, with no signs of yourself and your family?
a worm infestation?
Worm eggs are all around us, and even pose a Some worms can be passed from pets to
threat to indoor cats. Worm infestations often develop people, causing serious health problems.
with no outward signs or symptoms.
Yes Make worming easy with
Vet strength wormers
Tablets and spot-on available
Available from pet shops and online
Use medicines responsibly (noah.co.uk). Beaphar WORMclear® Spot-On Solution for Cats contains praziquantel AVM-GSL beaphar.com
Beaphar WORMclear® Tablets for Cats contain praziquantel & pyrantel embonate AVM-GSL
Cats need special nutrition (and can be picky eaters too). To make an We’re also available at
irresistible and well-balanced meal, we mix lots of fresh meat and fish
with tasty extras, like herbs and berries for a nutritious botanical boost.
Naturally tasty food to help your cat look and feel amazing.
Celebrity interview✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶ ✶
Jill Eckersley chats to Suzi Ruffell, one
of the rising stars of British comedy,
about her love of cats.
Like most comedians, explained.“I started doing Suzi at home with was a celebrity, I think she
Suzi Ruffell’s career has some research to find out Velma. would be some kind of film
been transformed by the which breed would be starlet!
pandemic. Lockdown most dog-like.The Cornish especially male visitors. When
meant that stand-up gigs and Rex was mentioned and I I have to be away, I have a “During the lockdown,
a live tour had to be replaced eventually found a breeder in male cat-sitter for her and she she has been the most
by highly successful podcasts Staffordshire who put me on has a big crush on him!” wonderful company. When
such as ‘Like Minded Friends’ a waiting list for when a kitten I’ve been feeling down,
(with Tom Allen) and ‘Out with would become available. SPECIAL VELMA I just have to listen to this
Suzi Ruffell’. However, working I said yes as soon as I saw little purring creature
from her home in London has the kitten they suggested, Suzi says that basically Velma beside me and I feel better.
meant that Suzi has been and that was the beginning is an indoor cat. I have been through some
able to spend more time with of a beautiful friendship. Her turbulent times in the last
her seven-year-old Cornish Rex fur is ginger, tortoiseshell, “She sometimes goes on few years, for example when
cat, Velma. and white, and I called her to the balcony but she was my grandmother died.
Velma, after Velma Kelly in the scared of the garden and I had been very close to her
“I’ve been lucky; I didn’t musical ‘Chicago’, as I am a terrified of any other cats and whenever I was feeling
fancy doing online gigs at huge fan of musical theatre. she saw,” she explained.“She sad,Velma never left my
first, but they can work!” says certainly isn’t a hunter — she side. I’m sure she sensed
Suzi.“As for Velma, she loves to “She was travel sick all the will manage to catch a fly that something was wrong.
be with me. She will sit on my way home and hid behind now and then, but that’s all. She is very special and
shoulder when I’m working the sofa when we arrived, but Sometimes I think she isn’t I wouldn’t be without her!”
or on a Zoom call. I do miss within a couple of weeks, she very bright; she tends to fall
stand-up though.Velma has was completely comfortable off things when she is sunning
been mentioned in my routine and confident with me. She herself in a warm spot, but she
and sometimes audience has so much personality. is certainly beautiful, so if she
members will bring along Rather than meowing, she
treats for her, which is sweet.” cries like a baby when she
wants something, and she
GETTING A CAT needs just as much attention
as a human baby, too!
Suzi grew up in Portsmouth
and says her family did have “Every time I left the house,
a cat when she was a child, I would worry if she was all
but that it preferred an elderly right. She runs to the door to
neighbour’s quiet home to greet me when I get home
her family’s busier one! When and although she has two
she considered getting a pet cat beds of her own, she
of her own, her first plan was prefers to sleep on mine.
to get a dog, but she realised I don’t know why people
that as she is normally away think cats aren’t as loving as
from home a lot and works dogs, and are much more
irregular hours, giving a dog independent and rather
the walks it needed might be aloof, because Velma isn’t
a problem. like that at all. She loves
visitors who come round, and
“I then thought cat,” she
26 Your Cat March 2021
I don’t know Suzi Ruffell
● To ﬁnd out more about
think cats Suzi, including about
aren’t as her podcasts and tour
loving as dogs dates, visit her website:
Image: Aeman Sukkar, Jiksaw.
Cats as therapy pets are not
Comforting that common,but they have
xx an incredible impact. We meet
three cats who are heroes for
CATS their comforting ways.
Not all heroes wear capes people in stressful environments and
— some have fur. And it’s not helping them cope. Dogs are
always great dramatic feats well-known as being support animals,
that are heroic, it can be but cats are also great at this,
small acts of kindness and calmness. bringing their feline charm to work
Therapy animals do just this, visiting some magic. Kathryn Hearn is
a journalist for ‘The
Allie and Benjen: care home cuddles Guardian’ whose career
has included working at
Beautiful Maine Coons Allie and a few residents, letting them Newsround, as an RSPCA
Benjen aren’t just pretty faces stroke them and purring, and, at press ofﬁcer, and a pet
— they’re specially trained other times, they would focus on agony aunt. She grew up
therapy cats and regular visitors individuals, curling up next to them. with cats and shares her
home with Maine Coon,
Kylo, and rescue cats,
Tabby and Rey.
to Collingtree Care Home in “I take one cat at a time, on
Northampton.The furry felines, who a harness, and we split our visit the word goes round that the cat is
are grandma and grandson, make between the residents who are more visiting and there’s a real buzz.”
a real difference to the lives of the able and those with dementia,” she Unfortunately, their visits have been
residents, spreading joy, bringing said. put on hold during the pandemic to
comfort, and breaking up the days. “The residents absolutely love it protect the residents, but will resume
Their owner, Josie Hughes, said that and the difference the cats make to as soon as it’s safely possible.
each visit was different; sometimes people is unbelievable. As soon as Josie, who works for the Open
the cats would go between quite I bring the cat carrier into the home, University, added:“I think the cats are
28 Your Cat March 2021
complete heroes as their presence The residents
can be transformative to people. Just absolutely love
spending half an hour with someone
with dementia can mean so much it...
— having a cat to cuddle makes
such a difference to someone’s Margaret
mental health and their outlook.” with Benjen,
Each cat needed to pass a The home also has its own resident Lhoosnpdiotanl Mviseiotowr: ▼
stringent assessment to be registered cat, Bella, and a life-like interactive
as a therapy cat, and Josie had to robot cat. Natalie added:“These Hospital can be a scary place, but one
have security and health checks. cats make our rooms feel like home cat is on a mission to calm and comfort
for many of our residents who patients. Mr London Meow — or London
Allie, a blue silver tabby, was a have had pets all their lives.They for short — is a trained therapy cat who
show cat so was used to being in become part of the family and give visits the Royal London and Whipps Cross
strange environments and visiting residents something to focus on and hospitals in the capital.
new places. Black silver tabby Benjen care for.They provide laughter and
had been returned to Josie as his entertainment, as well as comfort The half-Ragdoll and half-Persian’s sunny
owners had split up and she knew and warmth.They are heroes disposition, his curiosity for new things,
that his gentle nature would make through and through.” and the fact he loves being out and about
him perfect as a therapy cat. (even travelling around the world) makes
Josie and Benjen. him perfect for the role.
Josie, from Hartwell in south
Northamptonshire, said the cats “When London walks into a ward, you
really enjoy all the attention that they can feel the excitement build up,” says his
get:“Maine Coons are very sociable owner Isabel Serafim.“It gives the patients
cats. Allie is very laid back and something positive to think about during
Benjen is simply a sweetheart.” what can be a very difficult period of their
She said that as well as the
physical side of being able to stroke “Some people may be recovering from
the cats, the residents liked to ask a car accident, an amputation, being
questions about them and often it stabbed or shot; sometimes the police are
sparked memories and tales of cats present — and London’s visit gives them
they’ve had in the past.
Josie said:“They cuddle up to
some residents and if their family are
with them, they might sit with them
for a while.They seem to gravitate to
people who are cat lovers or those
who could do with cheering up.”
As well as visiting the home,
Benjen had been making monthly
visits to 104-year-old Margaret Jeffs
who missed having a cat and
adored these visits. Josie said that
one time they were asked to go for
what looked like one final visit as
the elderly woman was unwell, but
when she knew he was coming, she
perked up, got dressed and out of
bed specifically to see Benjen.
Natalie Norman, manager of
Collingtree Care Home, said that
Allie and Benjen were remarkable,
and true heroes:
“A cat on their bed or nestled
on their lap for a cuddle can bring
real calm and a feeling of peace
to the resident.They cheer them up
when they need it and the residents
definitely feel a sense of well-being
when they are around.They are
heroes because they are so
good-natured and show the
residents such love.”
His trips to the
always raise smiles
the chance to escape their pain. London.
Stroking him or having him sit on their
lap can transport patients from the minutes. Afterwards, the nurse told me jumper to match his gorgeous yellow
four walls of the ward and remind that she had had very sad news and eyes.“People may wonder why he’s
them of happy times.” was struggling to cope. I could see dressed up,” said Isabel, 42,“but I
that being close to London gave her spray calming product on his clothes
London is one of the 65 registered some comfort and solace.” when he’s working and that can help
cats with the charity Pets as Therapy him stay relaxed if anything out of the
(as opposed to about 6,000 dogs) His trips to the children’s ward ordinary happens.”
and the charity is always on the always raise smiles in the young
lookout for new colleagues. patients, who are excited to see him The welfare of patients’ always
and talk about their own pets and comes first and at the moment his
“We know first-hand the joy some ask questions about London. Isabel visits have been curtailed due to
whiskers can give,” said Isabel. said that on one Sunday, London Covid-19. But Isabel and London are
“Therapy cats like London are made a beeline for a six-year-old, looking forward to the day when they
definitely heroes, not in the rescuing who was captivated by him, stroking can resume their trips.
people from burning buildings sort of his long fur and listening to him purr
way but these days the definition of as he lay next to her. All the while, her “Therapy animals are amazing,”
a hero could be doing small acts of mother fed the girl spoonfuls of pasta. added Isabel.“London does one act of
kindness every day, and that’s what kindness after another, spreading love
London does.” “Later, the patient’s mother came and bringing some comfort to people
up to me and gave me a hug,” said who can be at their lowest point. He’s
Isabel, an IT city worker, said Isabel, who lives near the hospitals. a fluffy hero with four paws and a bow
that London really enjoyed visiting “It turned out that the little girl hadn’t tie!”
patients, often anticipating who eaten in days, until London came
needed comfort.“One day London along.”
was pulling at his harness to go to
a particular patient in a side-room. The black two-year-old feline is a
She was so happy to see him and he real character, always wearing a tie
lay alongside her like a stuffed toy and often wearing full costumes, for
and she cuddled him for a good 10 example dressing up as a doctor,
the Easter bunny or wearing a jaunty
With a tie,
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THE SCIENCE OF CATS
Out and about: ALLOWING
CATS TO ROAM
As a nation, it’s fair to say that
towards cats hunting we are perhaps paying more
attention to and generally
Dr Lauren Finka is Can we manage our cats’ hunting thinking about our cats and
a behaviour and welfare instincts? Dr Lauren explores a study their management more than
scientist specialising in the that aimed to ﬁnd out. ever before.
domestic cat. She has
a PhD in cat behaviour Each month, leading cat welfare scientist Dr Lauren Finka is Many of us have also
and currently works as delving into the latest research into felines and breaking become much more aware of
a researcher at Nottingham it down for us everyday cat owners. In this month’s article, the daily routines of our cats,
Trent University. Lauren Dr Finka focuses on a recent study looking at the differing including when and where
also works as a consultant attitudes of owners towards their cats’ hunting and roaming they prefer to sleep through
for various animal behaviours — and their management. the day, and the times they
welfare organisations. prefer to be outdoors. With the
When it comes to managing your cat, are you a ‘Concerned huge increase in demand for
Protector’, a ‘Freedom Defender’ or a ‘Laissez-faire Landlord’? pets during the pandemic,
Dr Lauren explains all… many newly-acquired cats
will have started to venture
outside, exploring their new
territories for the first time.
Owners of previously
A cat who is not fed
by an owner could
make up to 10 — 20
kills each day.
Opinions on cats’ hunting and
roaming can differ among owners.
32 Your Cat March 2021
Birds are at risk from cats. Who conducted
the study? When
was it published?
This study was carried out by Dr Crowley, Dr Cecchetti,
and Dr McDonald from the University of Exeter, and was
published in the journal ‘Frontiers in Ecology and the
Environment’ in 2020.The research forms part of a larger
project which has the following aims:
● Understand how owners feel about their cats’
hunting behaviour and whether they feel any
responsibility to manage this.
● To scientifically assess the effectiveness of different
methods aimed to reduce hunting, focusing on both
traditional (such as attaching bells to collars and
keeping cats in overnight) and more novel strategies
(such as playing more with cats and changing
feeding regimes and diet).
● Understand how cat owners feel about different
cat management options, the impact they may
have on their cats’ behaviour and welfare, and how
practical they might be to implement.
● To seek input from and work with a range of
different expert groups including International Cat
Care, the RSPCA, and Songbird Survival.
indoor-only cats or those also pose possible risks to the FELINE IMPACT considered to have a sizeable ▼
with restricted outdoor cat’s safety, as well as that of ON WILDLIFE negative impact on local
access might have also local wildlife. wildlife populations.This may
started letting their cats go Not all cats are necessarily be of particular concern
outdoors more, perhaps Recent research looked at voracious predators in parts of the world where
because working from home owners’ attitudes towards cats (I remember my late cat there are very endangered
has enabled owners to feel hunting as part of a wider Barry giving only the briefest or fragile wildlife populations
they can manage this more project to see if feline hunting of acknowledgements to (usually species of birds and
safely. Some cats will not could be managed to reduce a rat as it boldly sauntered small mammals), especially
have coped well with all the impact on wildlife. (See box past in the garden). where these species have
extra activity in the home above right for information However, the majority may not evolved alongside
during the pandemic and about the aims of the study.) opportunistically try to catch cat-like predators, meaning it
many owners might have many of the little critters is hard for them to adapt their
recognised the benefits to Cats will hunt different found in our gardens and behaviour to avoid being
such cats of providing them types of wildlife. neighbourhoods. caught and eaten.
with regular outdoor access.
This outdoor access will have Humans are undoubtedly The UK is home to millions
helped those more sensitive the greatest global threat of cat lovers that value their
souls to have quality time to wildlife, but cats are also
and space away from the www.yourcat.co.uk 33
commotions of the family
home. However, the decisions
around allowing cats to roam
outdoors are complex. While
freedom to roam may benefit
aspects of the cat’s physical
and mental well-being, they
THE SCIENCE OF CATS
Image credits (from left to right): S Ross/Flickr (CC-BY-SA-2.0); Pixabay; S Hanaﬁn/Flickr
(CC-BY-SA-2.0); Rosino/Flickr (CC-BY-SA-2.0); Used under Creative Commons Licence.
cats’ freedom to roam, but at in terms of their practicality represented a range of WHAT WERE THE
different owner opinions on MAIN FINDINGS OF
the same time, there are also for owners to implement and the topic.These statements THE STUDY?
were then presented to
millions of nature lovers that their potential impacts on the the same cat owners who From these rankings, the
were then asked to rank authors were able to
value the UK’s wildlife, creating cats’ well-being.This need for the statements based on identify five main owner
how much they agreed or perspectives on their
potential conflict between better understanding was the disagreed with them. cat’s A) roaming and
outdoor access, B) hunting
the needs of cats and the premise for the recent study It’s really behaviours, and C) how
important to they should be managed.
protection of other animals. that sought to investigate the understand These helped to categorise
owners into the following
The management different opinions of UK cat the views types:
and ● Concerned Protectors
of domestic cat owners concerning that focus on their cat’s
concerns of safety
populations in order their cat’s roaming owners... ● Freedom Defenders that
to help limit their Did you and hunting prioritise cat independence
negative impact know? behaviours. and oppose any restrictions
on wildlife on their behaviour
● Tolerant Guardians who
is therefore Cats learn to hunt WHAT believe outdoor access
complex, and from their mother DID THE is important for cats but
in the case of during kittenhood. STUDY DO? dislike that their cats hunt
● Conscientious Caretakers
owned pet cats, In an initial study, that support outdoor
access but feel some
relies heavily on conducted the responsibility for managing
their cats’ hunting
the engagement previous year, the ● Laissez-faire Landlords
that are largely unaware
and cooperation of authors interviewed 48 of the issues surrounding
cat’s roaming and
owners. It is really important UK cat owners about their hunting
to understand the views and cat’s hunting and roaming
concerns of owners if effective behaviour, whether the
solutions that benefit wildlife owners tried to manage this,
— but do not negatively and if so, what strategies
impact on cat well-being they used.These owners were
— are to be reached. recruited to the study through
The best solutions are various means in order to
likely to involve people with obtain a diverse sample of
different perspectives and people with different options,
priorities communicating and from farmers to cat breeders.
working together. Solutions From these interviews
should also be assessed and other news sources,
scientifically for their benefits the authors identified a
to wildlife but also considered series of 62 statements that
34 Your Cat March 2021
Why is this
Where efforts are being made to try to
reduce the predatory impact of cats on
local wildlife, understanding more about
the diverse ways that owners may think
about and want to manage their cats is
essential to success.
Although the study suggests that most
owners may view their cat’s hunting
behaviour as a negative, some owners may
be much more receptive to proposed ways
of managing their cat’s hunting behaviours
than others. A one-size fits all approach
may therefore be ineffective and advice
to cat owners to permanently confine their
cats indoors to prevent hunting is unlikely to Did you Keeping cats indoors also
be adhered to. For example, the Concerned know? helps to keep them safe.
Protector may need little encouragement
to significantly restrict their cat’s outdoor Hunting style games
can help fulﬁl felines’
access or to cat-proof their gardens (but It is estimated that instinct to hunt.
more because this keeps the cat safe a cat’s attempts at
may take longer than others to get the
rather than before it protects wildlife), while hunting are successful hang of these, so start with some easy
ones and then gradually increase their
the Freedom Defenders may be much less than half the difficulty! Puzzle feeders can be used
less receptive to any forms of restriction, time. for both wet and dry food and come in
both static and moveable varieties.
and the Tolerant Guardians somewhere in
between these types. ● Stimulate your cat’s senses by
providing a range of cat-friendly plants
Both Tolerant Guardians and Conscious Provide your cat with a and place a bit of furniture or shelving
in the garden at different levels to add
Caretakers shared concerns about risks to stimulating indoor and outdoor extra dimensions.
● Try taking your cat’s favourite wand
wildlife but also thought outdoor access environment: toy and playing with them in the
garden.You could also try teaching
was important for cats.These owners This is a must for all cats, but your cat a recall, rewarding them with
a treat each time they come, or simply
might therefore be most receptive to especially those that are very chucking treats around the garden
for them to hunt and ‘catch’.These
implementing other strategies, such as active, inquisitive, or predatory. strategies may be particularly good to
keep your cat sufficiently stimulated,
increased play with cats and changes to Potentially, the more enriching your but distracted, during their peak
hunting times (see next page).
their environment and feeding regimes. cat’s indoor and outdoor spaces,
As the study only interviewed a relatively the more likely they are to focus
small number of owners, it’s important their attention on things other
to bear in mind that these five main than prey, as well as being more
perspectives may not represent all of inclined to stay local.
us.The authors highlight the need for
further research to better understand Indoor fun:
how owners’ characteristics and lifestyles ● Encourage your cat to play
might influence their opinions and ways of and ensure sessions are exciting
managing their cats. by regularly changing the toys
you use. Wand and fishing rod
HOW CAN I HELP TO type toys work well and can
be moved in a way to closely mimic
PROTECT LOCAL WILDLIFE the movements of prey (in short rapid
BUT ALSO KEEP MY CAT bursts along the ground for mice and
HAPPY? quick darting movements in the air for
It’s likely impossible to completely diminish birds or insects).
your cat’s desire to hunt, especially if he ● When playing with your cat, allow
or she is of the extreme predator variety. them to ‘catch’ and ‘kill’ their toys
However, there are various cat-friendly during each session, enabling them
strategies that you can try, in order to to unleash as much of their predatory
curb their hunting habits somewhat sequence as possible.
(some of these might appeal more or ● Try putting your cat’s usual food into
less to you, depending on which type of puzzle feeders and rotating between a
owner you are!). few different types of feeder. Some cats ▼
THE SCIENCE OF CATS
Ensure your cat
has plenty to
Identifying peak hunting times and The right diet can Providing correct nutrition and
prey preferences: help curb cats’ sufficient variety:
● Try to get a sense of the times of day hunting instinct. ● Cats that are fed good quality cat
your cat is most likely to hunt. While foods, complete with all the nutrients
your cat may have their specific prey local habitats used by wildlife. However, they require, may be less likely to want to
preferences, UK studies suggest that in particularly if your cat is the high energy, top up their diets with the local wildlife.
general, small mammals, followed by active type, ensure your garden is Additionally, a well-fed cat may be less
birds, are the most frequently caught as exciting and stimulating for them motivated to go out hunting, or at least to
types.These species are usually most as possible to prevent boredom and kill or consume their prey.Try feeding your
active at dusk and dawn, therefore your frustration. cat small, regular meals, or letting them
cat may be more motivated to hunt at have free, constant access to dry food,
these times. ideally in puzzle feeders.
● Ensure your cat has plenty to do ● While we may tend to feed our cats
indoors and outdoors during peak the same food for each meal, most
hunting times. For example, keep their cats actually thrive on variety.The more
puzzle feeders filled with food, provide variety in their daily meals, the less likely
them with interactive toys, or be ready to they may be to go out looking for more
keep them entertained with playtime in exciting things to munch on.Try providing
the garden. a range of flavours, shapes, and textures
for both their wet and dry food portions,
Managing outdoor access: although watch that their tummies are
● You could try confining your cat OK with any dietary changes you make.
indoors at the above times, although
bear in mind some cats will cope with this Using a collar and bell: CHOOSING THE RIGHT CAT:
better than others. If you do keep them ● There is some evidence to suggest
in, ensure there is plenty to keep them that attaching a bell to your cat’s collar ● If you are thinking of acquiring
occupied. may reduce their success of catching a new cat but you live in an area
● There is now a super high-tech catflap both birds and small mammals. Some with a lot of wildlife and important
(made by Sureflap) on the market cats may tolerate having a bell tinkling habitats, consider choosing an
that can be remotely controlled from in their ears whenever they move better older, less energetic cat that is less
your phone — this may provide a very than others (although scientifically we likely to roam far and/or one with a
practical way to limit outdoor access at don’t really know the impacts of this on history suggesting minimal interest
certain times of the day, but otherwise cat behaviour and welfare), so consider (or success) in hunting.
allow your cat to come and go as they whether this is something that your cat ● Ensure your cat is neutered to
please. is likely to cope well with. If using a collar reduce their desire to roam and to
● Using cat-proof fencing so that your on your cat, ensure it has a quick-release limit local cat population sizes.
cat is unable to leave the perimeter feature on it.
of your garden may help to ease any
safety concerns you may have about MORE INFO:
letting your cat roam outside, while
simultaneously limiting their access to FOR MORE INFORMATION ON MANAGING YOUR CAT’S HUNTING INSTINCTS,THE
FOLLOWING WEB SITES MAY BE VERY HELPFUL:
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE STUDY,THE AUTHORS HAVE PUT TOGETHER
A REALLY USEFUL DOCUMENT PROVIDING INFORMATION ABOUT THEIR WORK, ITS
AIMS, AND APPROACHES,VISIT:
PUBLISHED STUDY REFERENCE
Crowley SL, Cecchetti M, McDonald RA. Diverse perspectives of cat owners
indicate barriers to and opportunities for managing cat predation of wildlife.
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 2020 Dec;18(10):544-9.
36 Your Cat March 2021
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12 ISSUES OF HERO CATS: Real life
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COMEDIAN BREED FOCUS:
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& quote CATS/MAR21
CAT BREED INDEX: RAGAMUFFIN xx Rosemary Fisher entered
the cat fancy in 1974
The RagaMufﬁn is the when she purchased her
friend of everyone! Is it ﬁrst pedigree cat — a
the breed for you? Chinchilla called Brylou
Moonstone. She breeds
Persians and Exotics, and
judges in several sections.
She is currently a GCCF
Board member and
also serves on the
Health and kDnidowy?ou
important for the The price for
breed. a kitten from
The breed a registered
stems from breeder is
Ragdolls. suggested as
38 Your Cat March 2021 — £750.
The RagaMuffin owes part of its origin to the Ragdoll
breed (as you would expect from its name).The
original breeder who developed Ragdolls in Riverside,
California, Ann Baker, trademarked the names ‘Ragdoll’
and ‘Cherubim’ and set up the International Ragdoll Cat
Association (IRCA) in 1971 to register all Ragdolls
— they were not allowed to be registered with other cat
registries. Anyone wishing to breed or sell Ragdolls was
expected to adhere to Ann Baker’s strict restrictions.
Inevitably, some breeders eventually decided they
wanted to form their own group, and, in 1994, a group of
IRCA breeders did just that. Unable to use the breed name
Ragdoll and wanting to register their cats with the American
Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA), they originally chose the
name Liebling, but then one of the new group, Curt Gehm,
suggested RagaMuffin and this was chosen.
Wishing to take their cats in a different direction and in order
to improve the health and temperament, the new group made
use of a limited amount of outcrossing to Domestic Longhair
cats and later, Persians. RagaMuffins were granted championship
recognition with ACFA in 2001, registration status with the Cat
Fanciers’ Association in 2003, followed by championship status in
2011.The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy in the UK granted
championship status on June 17, 2015.
APPEARANCE They are very
There are obvious differences rectangular body, broad across CAT BREED INDEX: RAGAMUFFIN
between the Ragdoll and the chest and shoulders with the PURRSONALITY
RagaMuffin breeds, in spite of hindquarters as broad as the
them originating from the same shoulders.The tail should be well The temperament is of prime importance and
background. furnished, plume like, medium at the RagaMuffin is one of the few breeds to
the base with a slight taper to the specify this in their Standard of Points
The RagaMuffin is a substantial tip. — RagaMuffins should be amenable at all
cat, reaching maturity at around times! They are bred to be sociable, intelligent,
four years of age.The breed is The legs and paws are also extremely affectionate, cuddly ‘teddy
muscular and well-boned with a heavily boned, with the paws bear’ companion cats that are playful and
soft semi-longhair coat, with the being large and round with tufts entertaining throughout their lives.
females usually smaller than males. beneath and between the toes.
They are not particularly athletic cats, but
The head of the RagaMuffin The coat is medium to are playful and will chase and fetch, and use
should be very broad with rounded medium-long, plushy in texture, a large climbing frame.
contours and of moderate length. soft and dense, and with an
The forehead, muzzle, and cheeks undercoat.There is usually a slight They are friendly and extrovert, and happy to
are also rounded to emphasise the ruff around the neck and the greet visitors to your home. RagaMuffins want
broadness of the head.The puffed edges of the face, spreading down to be around and involved with their human
whisker pads emphasise the across the shoulder blades and family.They bond well with children and other
sweet look and gentle expression back, with the coat on the flanks family pets, and thrive on companionship.This
of the breed, and avoid a snipey, and underparts being medium to makes the tolerant RagaMuffin an ideal pet for
pinched look. medium-long and thick, and with a busy family home — they accept everyone
the appearance of knickerbockers as a friend!
The profile should show a on the hind legs.
well-developed chin that is slightly As a result, it is important to ensure your
tapered; there is an obvious nose With the exception of the RagaMuffin is kept safe either indoors, in his
break and then the nose is straight Siamese colourpointed pattern own catio, or a cat-secure garden; their trusting
to the tip.The ears are medium that is synonymous with the nature can make them unaware or fearless
sized with a slight forward tilt and Ragdoll, all colours and patterns of outdoor dangers.They are also
should be well furnished and in are allowed with or without white well-suited to apartment living, but don’t
proportion to the head. for show purposes. However, consider a RagaMuffin as a pet if he will be left
the colourpointed RagaMuffin alone for long periods, it would be most unkind
The eyes are a special feature variant is essential to the breed to to this sociable breed.
and should be large, produce the mink (darker pointed)
walnut-shaped, and spaced pattern.There is no emphasis on
well apart, with a sweet, gentle the symmetry of pattern or white
expression.Their eyes can be any spotting.The nose leather and paw
solid colour (the more intense pads are accepted in all colours
the better) with some exhibiting and in any colour combination,
heterochromia (eyes of different not necessarily related to coat
A short, strong neck leads to a
HEALTH Next Could it be
issue the breed for
Although semi-longhaired, the RagaMuffin is relatively low
maintenance. A regular routine of a few minutes brushing and you?
combing two or three times a week (perhaps more frequently
during spring and summer when moulting) to remove any old coat Attention turns to
is all that is required.The texture of the soft, plush coat is resistant to the Ragdoll.
The RagaMuffin is a relatively new breed to the UK and one that
has been carefully introduced by the original importers, emphasising
that health must be the overriding consideration. In order to begin
with sound foundation stock, all of the cats imported into the UK that
GCCF breeders are working with have been DNA tested negative for
hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and polycystic kidney disease
(PKD), as will any further imported RagaMuffins or official outcross
breeds. Presently, there are no reported inherited problems in this
As they are a large breed, care must be taken to ensure they don’t
become obese — keep a careful check on weight and control
portion size if necessary. Females usually weigh around 10 — 15lbs
(4.5 — 6.8kg), and some males can weigh more than 20lbs (9kg).
The average lifespan of a RagaMuffin is 12 — 16 years. If a
RagaMuffin sounds like the ideal pet for your family, you can find
registered breeders through the United Kingdom RagaMuffin Cat
OUR PANEL OF EXPERTS Got a question?
GENERAL CARE The Your Cat experts are here to help with all your feline
dilemmas! Send your question to our experts by email
Celia Haddon MA MSc MA ([email protected]) or post (see page 5 for our address).
is a well-known pet columnist
and author of numerous cat Dknidowy?ou
books. She is a cat lover and The Your Cat website
owner, with a cat behaviour has lots of advice on Cats can do with a
qualiﬁcation and broad grooming, including a helping hand when it
experience of feline issues. step-by-step guide to
grooming your cat. comes to grooming.
Aga Zoltowska BVSc
MANZCVS (Medicine of Q Do all cats need
Cats) DipCABT MRCVS grooming?
graduated from the University
of Liverpool in 2005 and is ANITA SAYS: good condition.
passionate about cat welfare. However, long-haired breeds of cats
Find out more at www. A Cats are great at self-cleaning
thecatboxsolutions.com but some need a helping like the Maine Coon, Siberian Forest,
hand from us to maintain the British Longhair, and Persians need their
BEHAVIOUR coat in tip top condition. coats combed through to prevent mats
forming.This is also true of cats with
Kim Houston BSc (Hons), The non-breed generic cat (the short but thick coats, such as British
Dip (AS) CABC, CCAB is moggie) is short-haired and low Shorthairs.
a consultant in feline behaviour. maintenance in terms of grooming.
She works with clients They will shed fur like all cats but in As for the hairless Sphynx cat, even
throughout the UK, helping general, they can maintain their coat they need grooming in the form of
to resolve cat behaviour well and would probably just need a regular baths, as their skin gets very oily
problems. Find out more at quick brush of the coat to keep it in and dirty.
Holly Mash BVSc IVAS
MRCVS specialises in
including herbalism and
also runs online courses.
Dr Sue Dawson is
a counselling psychologist
animal relationships and
Anita Kelsey BA Hons,
MCFBA, CIDBT runs a vet
referral practice dedicated
to behaviour problems in
cats. She is also an expert cat
groomer. Find out more at
Clare Hemmings Cert CFVH Nut
is passionate about pet nutrition
and a regular contributor to
veterinary publications. She
has owned many cats over the
years, who have all lived well
into their twenties; she attributes
this to excellent nutrition. She
is scientiﬁc communications
manager for Royal Canin, where
she has worked for 15 years.
Cat insurance call 03300 243 997
● Bad odour from the ear.
Q During the first lockdown, ● Cat scratching
I noticed our cat had lost
some fur on her ear. She must at the ear.
have been scratching but I hadn’t ● Excessive ear wax.
noticed. Inside looked a little brown ● The ear being
and gunky. I took her to the vet’s and
they gave me ear cleaning wash and sensitive to touch.
antibiotic ear drops. ● Bald patches
It took a few weeks to clear, every around the ear.
day wiping them inside with cotton ● Hearing loss.
wool.The vet did a test for ear mites ● Swelling of the ear ﬂap.
but nothing was found. It was a difficult
process as she is a really gentle and Increased ear wax can signal a skin problem.
affectionate cat who loves attention,
but she soon hated the ear cleaning AGA SAYS: cerumen increases.The increased earwax
sessions and would hide away and production may be the first sign of a skin
not sit with us in the evenings. It took A Healthy ears undergo a problem so it is worth consulting your vet.
a while for her to be her normal relaxed self-cleaning process which
self again. involves shedding skin cells from Cats often dislike having their ears
the deeper ear canal to the outside. cleaned. It may be because the ears are
I can see her ears are getting brown Usually, the brown secretion substance painful when they need to be cleaned but
inside again and I need to clean them. is earwax (also known as cerumen) that also, they may become irritated by the ear
I’m wondering if this is normal, why are is produced by the glands of the ear cleaner. I would advise you to speak to
they like this and are brown again? She canal. It is a waxy substance that helps to your vet about different types of cleaners
is not scratching, seems healthy and is protect the skin of the ear. A small amount to see what options you have.
eating well. She is about seven and a may be perfectly normal for your cat.
rescue cat we have had since August If you need to clean the ears, make
2019. Apparently, she lived with cats If the skin of the ear canal becomes sure that you warm up the cleaner bottle
and dogs in her previous home. irritated, usually the production of the in your hand and very gently drip a small
Emma Hughes amount into the ear, rather than pouring
in a large amount very quickly. If at any
time your cat becomes distressed by
the process, speak to your vet about
alternative treatments as we don’t want to
affect her trust of you.
GENERAL CARE CELIA SAYS:
A PAIR OF KITTENS A It is a very good idea to get two
kittens at the same time, as long
Q After losing our elderly boy, want to have a couple of cats and want as they come from the same
we finally feel ready to get to raise a kitten as we’ve never had litter.
another cat. Now that our one before. Is it a good idea to get two
kids have grown up and we’re still kittens at the same time? Or would it be Cats don’t always get on with other
sprightly enough ourselves, we would better to get a kitten and an older cat? adult cats, unless they have spent time
like to get a pair of kittens, almost Or even stagger getting the two cats? together in the early days of kittenhood.
like a project. Is this a good idea? We Jessica Northwood If you get two kitten siblings, the chances
are that they will be friends when they
grow up.That will make them happier!
It also is a boon to rescue shelters, who
will be able to home two instead of just
one.Two kittens is a win, win, win: for the
rescue centre, for the kittens, and for you
to have double the fun! Go get them!
Remember, there is a huge range of advice on
health, behaviour, general care, and more on
the Your Cat website.
Some cats will need
their claws clipped.
GROOMING TOP TIPS
Do indoor CLIPPING
claw clipping? ● Ensure your cat is relaxed
before attempting to cut
Q I’ve been a cat ANITA SAYS: the claws.
owner for many
years but am going A Cats can maintain their claws perfectly by ● Be prepared: set up where
to be getting my first indoor way of scratch posts in the home and bark/ you'll do it, in good light
cat. We’ve moved house wood posts or trees in the garden. However, and have your clippers
recently and with the new it’s useful to get your cat used to having the paw ready — this may be on
location, I think it is safer touched for when they may need a helping hand your lap if your cat is
to keep my cat indoors. with clipping the claws in their mature years.This is particularly calm there.
We’ll be making the garden because the nail thickens and can grow and bend
cat proof so he will have into the paw pad if your cat is less mobile and not ● Gently pressing each toe
access to the outdoors, but using their claws much. will help to extend the
I was wondering about his claw so you can clip it.
claws? With him not being There are some great videos on YouTube to help
an outdoor cat, will I have owners get used to clipping claws and the main ● When it comes to cutting,
to trim his claws? What’s the thing you have to be mindful of is not cutting you’re looking for the
best way to do this? into the quick, which is the pink part of the nail transparent tip.You should
Lydia Frost where blood vessels are. International Cat Care be able to see the quick,
has a good claw clipping video online that I’d which is usually pink in
recommend watching: icatcare.org/advice/ colour and closer to the
trimming-your-cats-claws/ paw. Avoid cutting this, as
this will bleed and the cat
will experience pain.
● If you or your cat are
struggling, don’t force it.
Your vet will be able to
help with claw clipping if
you need assistance.
Cat insurance call 03300 243 997
VETERINARY Toys are an area
where cats will
Specialist diets appreciate variety.
Q My elderly cat has kidney disease and I have been told that she needs GENERAL CARE
a specialist diet, but I am having problems getting her to eat the new
food. Even mixing it in with her normal food isn’t doing the trick and IS VARIETY THE
she’s not a big eater. Can you suggest anything else I can try or is there any SPICE OF LIFE?
medication to help?
Tina Fogden Q How important is variety to
cats? In terms of what they
AGA SAYS: offering less than a teaspoon. eat, play with, and their
After a few meals, slowly mix the environment?
A I understand and share your Maria Lance
frustration! My own cat has an diets and, with time, introduce more of
advanced kidney disease and the new diet. Offer both dry food and CELIA SAYS:
I remember introducing a prescription soft food. Dry food can be mixed in in
diet as a challenging experience. different proportions, slowly increasing A On the whole, cats like a
the amount. Warm the food up and steady routine, as you will have
There are a number of prescription liquidise it if your cat prefers lapping noticed when they remind you
diets that you can try. Just because she the food. to get up in the morning or remind
doesn’t like one variety, it doesn’t mean you that it is time you fed them. When
that she will not fancy a different one. If she feels better when you are their routine is severely interrupted by
around, encourage her eating by changing feed times, new people in
Firstly, make sure that your girl gently stroking her.Your vet may be the home, or the disruption of parties
is well hydrated and doesn’t feel able to suggest some medication to in the house, they can get very upset
unwell before you try a new diet. Cats stimulate her appetite — please do not and a few of them may even start
with kidney disease can become hesitate to talk to the practice about spraying in the house. So, keep your
dehydrated very fast and it puts them your struggle. main routine the same.
off eating.Your vet can help you to
address these issues. kDnidowy?ou Changes in the general environment
can spook them too.They have acute
The change of diet usually has to be Cats are much more likely hearing and road works nearby can
very gradual — don’t think about it as to get kidney problems in upset them, as can building work in
a few days but rather a few weeks to their older age. the house. Building work in the house
achieve.Try putting a small amount of not only means noise, it involves
the new food next to the usual diet to unknown visitors and also a complete
slowly introduce the new scent, initially disruption in the smell. Cats create a
reassuring family smell by rubbing on
Cats with kidney the house walls and furniture, rubbing
disease can get on their familiar humans and rubbing
dehydrated easily. on each other. Any major change of
smell means that the family smell is lost
and their territory feels less secure.
Cats like some variety in their food
which is why food manufacturers
usually package up different flavours
in the one box. However, they are
very individual in their response to a
change of brand, some like it and
What cats definitely do get bored
with is the same old toys. If you leave
toys lying around, they will often stop
playing with them. So, gather up all
the toys, buy or make some new ones
out of scrumpled paper, and put them
away in a box.Take different toys out
every week. If your cat likes catnip, get
hold of some dried catnip and put it
loose in the storage box, to freshen up
the catnip smell.
Behaviour Top tip!
If your cat is not
toileting in the
do get them
checked over by
your vet for any
Peter Neville is an adjunct Tanya inherited Thor
teaching professor in from a dear friend.
animal behaviour at The
Ohio State University, USA,
and a director of COAPE
International — an online
education provider of pet
behaviour therapy courses:
Peter Neville helps an owner who has
inherited a cat in the tragic circumstances.
Tanya Robertson Since Covid-19 started, I have NEW HOME
moved my whole practice
says: Dear Peter, online.Tanya emailed me and The initial transition went smoothly.Thor
I scheduled a Zoom was quite quiet and inactive for a few
I am the proud consultation with her the next day. days and according to Tanya, he seemed
to spend time looking for Heather.Tanya
Thor in the bath. new guardian of Before our appointment, I asked made sure that she was available 24/7
a magnificent Tanya to send me a couple of film clips during his first week to help him to settle
of Thor. I wanted to see him in action in and he appeared to realise after about
Maine Coon who and assess his emotional state at the a week that he was now staying with
time, so a film of him eliminating in the Tanya in a new home.
sometimes deigns to answer to the bath was definitely needed.Tanya was
very keen to help and I received the She adored him and lavished attention
name Thor. He is a wonderful cat and films and photos almost immediately. on him and when he reciprocated, she
was delighted.Thor was a confident,
I already love him very much. During our two-hour consultation, relaxed cat who also loved to play.Thor
Thor made frequent appearances and quickly bonded with her and before long,
Thor has a sad background as he even stuck his nose up against the he was sleeping in her bed.
camera a few times. It was Tanya’s best
belonged to a friend of mine who friend, Heather, who had sadly passed Nine days after Thor arrived,Tanya
away recently. Heather had made found him in the bath, urinating without
tragically passed away from Covid-19. provision for her pets in her will, and a care in the world! She put it down to
that’s why, when Heather passed away, nerves after all his recent changes but
He was much-loved by his previous Tanya was ready to bring Thor into her when it happened more frequently, she
home. decided to ask for help. I also asked
owner. when she had first noticed his
Thor has been with me for two weeks
and I am having some difficulty with
him. He likes to urinate in my bath and
is also a champion thief. He’s nicked
quite a few of my jewellery pieces and,
much to my embarrassment, a fair
amount of my underwear. How can I
stop these behaviours quickly, but in
the kindest manner?
44 Your Cat March 2021
clothes-stealing habits. She said that it Thor was a very big
had not been a huge problem. So, her Maine Coon...
priority was the urinating in the bath
problem and then if there was time, the used either of them. play with.Tanya realised that she had
clothes stealing. My first line of enquiry was to try to probably accidently taught Thor that her
underwear could be played with.The first
Step one was for Tanya to take Thor to discover what it was about the trays time Thor had batted at her underwear,
the vet's to rule out any health problems. that made them unattractive. I soon she had laughed, as anyone would, and
The vet gave him the all-clear and so figured out that the trays were played with him for a moment as that
we could proceed with the behaviour regular-cat sized and Tanya had been was the first time he had showed any
modification programme. While watching putting a silicone-based cat litter in them. interest in playing since he had arrived.
the video of Thor urinating in the bath, Thor was a very big Maine Coon and So, if play was what Thor wanted to do,
I could see that he was not looking he was accustomed to using garden we could reasonably expect him to shift
particularly upset or anxious. He was soil for toileting purposes, which is a his focus on to more suitable objects.
simply responding to nature’s call and as very different material to silicone-based
soon as he had finished, he just popped granules. So, a large bath without any I sent Tanya a list of toys that she could
out of the bath, had a quick groom, and substrate was preferable to a relatively make (fishing rod types with feathers at
then strolled off.That was a good sign. small box with silicone litter! the end of a line) and toys she could buy
A cat who is simply just eliminating (toy mice and balls with bells in) and
without any other reasons can quickly Tanya agreed to get bigger trays and showed her how to lure Thor into a game.
be taught to do it elsewhere — once we to use ordinary sand as the substrate Soon, the two of them were playing like
had found out why he wasn’t using the for a while at least. Just like that,Thor champions and, most importantly,Thor
provided trays, of course. stopped eliminating in the bath and quickly stopped stealing underwear!
used his trays! Sand is heavy and not
TRAY TROUBLES easy to dispose of and later we would try
to wean him over to a more convenient
I asked Tanya about the trays and if she and eco-friendly cat litter. It’s not often
knew what his elimination habits were like that I get a cat behaviour case where
in Heather’s home.There, he was allowed the problem can be resolved so easily, so
to go outdoors as he pleased and had this was a refreshing start to 2021!
no trays indoors.Tanya, however, preferred
to keep him indoors, unless she was with STOP THIEF! Thor has learned to
him for supervised outside time. play with toys now.
With the stealing, the first step was to
Indoors, he had his own beds, deny access to her clothes.
a scratching post, several feeding
bowls, and a constant human Next, I asked Tanya to make
companion. When he or purchase what was very
was outside, he would obviously missing from
often eliminate too, Thor’s new home
so there was clearly environment: toys.
no problem with He loved playing
actually performing and yet there were
the behaviour. no toys for him to
Tanya had placed
two trays in different Play gives cats an PROBLEM SOLVED!
areas of her home for important outlet.
Thor but he had never Tanya was a wonderful client to work
with and Thor was a very responsive
A cat needs a cat who was quick to learn and eager
litter tray they feel to interact with her.Tanya took her
comfortable with. responsibilities with Thor very seriously,
initially out of her desire to fulfil her
promise to Heather, but also because
she too had fallen in love with him.
Within just a few days of our first
consultation, all of Thor’s problems
had disappeared and the road
ahead was clear for a fantastic
relationship between them! That
made Tanya even happier because
she knew that had always been
Heather’s wish, and that helped keep
her memories of their friendship alive.
DIARY the owners, even if the animal UNOWNED CATS
has been found. Presumably,
With compulsory microchipping this can be improved by using The suggested change to
of cats back on the agenda, mobile phone contacts, but the law is for pet cats — so,
International Cat Care’s CEO more effort needs to be made cats that are owned. However,
Claire Bessant explains why the by the databases to remind unlike dogs in the UK, cats
implementation of a microchipping owners to update, as well as may also live alongside
law would need careful consideration. by owners to ensure contact society as feral, street, or
details are kept current. community cats, and many
The UK Government mandatory microchipping for of these are supported by
has launched a cats is not as straightforward ROLE OF THE voluntary organisations or
consultation on whether as it seems.The Government VETERINARY individuals who feed and
to make microchipping needs to address some issues PROFESSION neuter them, but they do
of cats mandatory.This follows to ensure it will work well in not live as pets (and are not
the change in the law which practice and to prevent any There have been suggestions suitable to live as pets).
saw it become compulsory for harm which could potentially that the veterinary profession
dogs in 2016. arise if it is not thought could police the system by Many individuals who feed
through properly. International scanning cats that come into and care for these groups of
International Cat Care has Cat Care supports the move practices. cats will not want to take on
always encouraged owners to to microchip all pet cats, but the legal implications which
microchip their cat to increase there are things to consider: International Cat Care’s come with ownership linked to
the chances of them being veterinary division, the microchipping. International
reunited if their pet is lost or EFFECTIVE International Society of Feline Cat Care suggests these cats
stolen, so there is no doubt IMPLEMENTATION Medicine, works with over are not chipped but have
that it would be a highly 7,000 veterinary members the left ear tipped during
positive move. There are multiple microchip worldwide and agrees with neutering (as is recognised
databases available to the BVA that:“vets’ primary worldwide as a sign that a
Other proposed legislation owners and these do not role must be in providing cat has been neutered) and
includes Gizmo’s Legacy that necessarily collaborate to veterinary care for animals
would make it mandatory to help owners — there needs and they should not be put They should
scan for microchips when a to be a clear, simple, and in the position of policing the
cat or dog is found dead by effective service for owners if law or untangling ownership not be put in
the roadside.This too makes microchipping is to be made disputes, which could result in
sense and would help many mandatory. Additionally, one people not seeking veterinary the position of
owners who have lost a cat of the main lessons learned treatment.”
without ever knowing what from dog microchipping is policing the
happened to them. that people do not update International Cat Care
the database entry when knows that there are many law...
However, International Cat they move, so there may not barriers to taking cats to
Care agrees with the British be an up-to-date contact for the vet and that cats are
Veterinary Association (BVA) not taken as often as dogs.
in saying that the issue of For responsible owners who
already microchip their cats
and make regular veterinary
visits, there would be no
problem, but encouraging less
responsible owners to access
preventative or early treatment
for their cats could be more
difficult if these owners
consider that the vet may
check and enforce whether
the cat is microchipped.
A pet microchip.
46 Your Cat March 2021
The Government is
of cats compulsory.
Did you TIMING Good news
know? from the USA
Under dog microchipping legislation, puppies have to
Over a quarter of be chipped by eight weeks of age. Most dogs in the UK The American Association
owned cats in the are sold by pedigree breeders or come from rehoming of Feline Practitioners
organisations that have processes in place to chip (AAFP) has announced that
UK are not puppies. from January it will only
microchipped. accredit veterinary practices
In the UK, up to 90 per cent of cats may be of under its Cat Friendly
that the UK works towards all non-pedigree origin and many may be as a result of Practice (CFP) scheme
cats being either chipped or accidental matings.These unintentional breeders may — which covers North and
ear tipped, according to their be unlikely to microchip kittens before they are sold South America — that
lifestyle. or homed after eight weeks of age. Because most do not carry out elective
eight-week-old kittens are smaller than puppies, their declawing.This move is very
This could help to new owners may also consider them too small to be encouraging and one AAFP
clarify where population microchipped (which is not actually the case) and has been working towards
management is taking place would rather wait until they are neutered (recommended for several years with the
using trap, neuter, and return at four months old) to undertake the procedure.The support of the International
programmes. Many such procedure would then be paid for by the new owners, Society of Feline Medicine
cats have been trapped in rather than the original breeders, and this may help to (ISFM), the veterinary
order to neuter them and increase uptake, so a different age may be appropriate division of the charity
are difficult to catch again, for kittens than for puppies. International Cat Care.
so having a microchip that
needs to be scanned by a There is no doubt that being able to identify cats In accordance with
person standing close to the would help in many different scenarios and help many International Cat Care
cat is not much help, and cats and homing organisations. As is often the case, cats policies and Cat Friendly
could be considered a waste are more complex than dogs and International Cat Care Principles, ISFM insists
of money for charities that wants to ensure that any issues that may reduce this surgical operations for the
undertake this work and are success are tackled before the law is changed. purpose of either modifying
often financially challenged! the appearance of the cat
This is where the tipped ear Scanning a cat or for non-medical purposes
comes into effect — this can for a microchip. (such as choosing to
be seen from a distance to declaw) are not performed.
show that the cat has been The ISFM encourages this
neutered and does not need and enforces this through
to be trapped again. its own Cat Friendly
Clinic programme that
Most importantly, these accredits veterinary
unowned cats must not be clinics worldwide — outside
considered as less worthy of North and South America
recipients of good welfare — and is designed to
than owned cats, and being create a more cat-friendly
unowned (and therefore clinic environment.
unchipped) should not be Declawing has been banned
seen as a reason to force in the UK for many years
them into situations that do but is still practised in many
not benefit their welfare. countries, including the USA.
Commenting on the move
Nathalie Dowgray, head of
ISFM said: “ISFM is delighted
this has now been achieved
— it is an important step
forward for feline welfare.
AAFP’s Claw Friendly
Educational Toolkit is a
great resource for practices
choosing to stop declawing.
Both organisations will also
work to educate owners
around the world that
scratching is a normal and
essential feline behaviour,
and that the procedure of
declawing is deﬁnitely not
Scientists have developed a way to tell if your cat is in pain just by
reading their facial expression — and now they need your help with it.
Researchers Beatriz Monteiro and Paulo Steagall explain all.
Beatriz Monteiro and Paulo Steagall, along with at their facial features: how pain after surgery, trauma,
colleagues from the University of Montreal, have open the eyes are, how the constipation, obstruction
developed a way of recognising if our cats are in pain ears are positioned, how tense causing an inability to pass
just by looking at their faces. Here, Beatriz and Paulo the muzzle is, how curved and urine, and cystitis.The Feline
explain how this works and ask if you can help develop this tense the whiskers are, and Grimace Scale is used in the
incredible tool — it could benefit cats all over the world… how the head is held above assessment and recognition
or below the shoulders. Each of acute — not chronic
Cats are brilliant at hiding THE FELINE action is assessed and an — pain. However, pain is a very
illness or pain. So, if you GRIMACE SCALE overall score given to indicate dynamic process and acute
could look at your cat and the level of pain the cat is in. pain episodes can also occur
recognise they were in pain, Along with colleagues from You can find out more in conditions which usually
would you be interested the University of Montreal, about the tool by visiting www. cause chronic pain.
in doing so? Being able to we have developed what is felinegrimacescale.com/
would allow owners to seek called the Feline Grimace about Cats with acute pain
veterinary care and catch Scale — a tool developed may show changes in their
health issues sooner, which for the assessment of pain in Following development, facial expression for several
cats based on changes in the tool underwent several minutes to several hours,
could mean cats suffer less, facial expressions. steps of scientific validation depending on the cause
treatment could be more to ensure that it measures of pain. Changes in facial
successful, and it could The Scale works by what it is intended to measure expressions related to pain
cost owners less too. observing a cat for 30 (in this case pain), that it do not happen just for a split
seconds and looking is repeatable by different second. For example, if your
evaluators and over time, cat is resting on the couch,
and that it can discriminate half sleeping, and hears a
between different conditions. noise in the background, it
It was found that it works on might have a facial expression
cats with different medical which is similar to that of pain
and surgical conditions, and (the ears are low, the eyes
that it can be used both by are half closed, and the head
looking at the cat itself or at a is down) for a few seconds.
picture of the cat. However, a few moments later,
the ears should return to their
The Feline Grimace
Our cats’ Scale has been found to be
faces could a valid, fast, reliable and
help us tell easy-to-use tool that helps
when they with pain assessment, which
are in pain. could be revolutionary in
helping our cats.
TYPES OF PAIN
We think of pain in two
different ways: chronic and
acute. Chronic pain refers
to long-term conditions,
such as osteoarthritis. Acute
pain is shorter-term pain
and, for example, includes
48 Your Cat March 2021 Paulo Steagall.