Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Cat-friendly homes for the elderly feline

Since it's Mature Moggies Week at Cats Protection Exeter Axhayes Adoption Centre, we thought we'd share some advice on how to make your home more elderly cat-friendly.....
There are a number of small changes that can be made to  your home which will have a big impact on the quality of your cat’s life. While a number of older cats appear to be ‘as young as they feel’ with many still showing kitten-like behaviours, others can benefit from a few home tweaks that ensure that all their resources are within easy reach.

What you can do to help an older cat

Make sure your cat is microchipped in case they become disorientated or goes missing. A microchip carries a unique number linked to a database holding your contact details, allowing you to be quickly traced should they stray and be scanned.

Allow your cat to reach favourite places to rest by strategically placing boxes or items of furniture for them to climb. Make sure they have a variety of cosy, well-padded beds in safe warm places that can be readily accessed. Your cat may enjoy the hammock-style radiator beds as they are very warm.

Somewhere to perch up high
Older cats can find it difficult to make accurate calculations when jumping and are not as agile as they used to be, especially f they are stiff, in pain or have arthritis. Provide easy ways for cats to access their favourite areas, such as using a ramp or small foot stool to give them access to high surfaces. Make sure it is wide enough and you could also cover it in carpet to give extra grip. It is a good idea to fashion some sort of crash mat underneath the ramp, in case the cat falls. Cushions under windowsills act as crash mats for uncoordinated or wobbly cats.

Litter trays and toileting
Provide several litter trays in the house at all times, even if your cat has toileted outside all of their life. There are many occasions when an older cat will need an indoor litter tray, such as when it’s raining outside, if the normal toileting site has frozen over and is hard to dig, or if they feel intimidated by other neighbouring cats. Place the litter trays in quiet, safe areas of the home.

Providing a large tray gives the cat plenty of space to move around inside. Make sure the tray has a low side so they can get in and out more easily. Some litter types that were acceptable as an adult may be too coarse for older cats. Don’t make any sudden changes, but provide additional trays with 3cm of soft, fine litter that they will find more comfortable under their paws.

Older cats are less able to defend themselves or a territory and as a result may become more anxious or dependant on their owners. Some cats will feel reassurance from owners that accompany them outside so they are protected against the neighbouring cats. If your cat still prefers to toilet outside, provide a newly dug over border as close to the house as possible and maintain it regularly.

Water and food bowls
Place water and food bowls in a variety of easily accessible locations around the house, both upstairs and downstairs so they are easy to find and they don’t have to walk up and down stairs just to get food and water. Speak to your vet about the most appropriate diet for your older cat.

Older cats still like to play, but they need more gentle, brief games than when they were younger. Use toys that are unlikely to intimidate them, such as a feather attached to string that is slowly moved past them. Experiment with different toys to see what captures your cat’s attention. Even if they only watch or slowly swipes the toy with a paw, it is still important beneficial mental stimulation.

Regular grooming
As older cats may struggle to look after their coats, additional help and gentle grooming will help to keep your cat’s skin healthy and gives you some valuable bonding time with your cat. Stroking a cat is a great de-stressor and may lower an owner’s blood pressure.

Scratching posts
Cats may still want to scratch but can find it difficult as they age. You could provide a
horizontal scratching post or one with a lower gradient and softer material such as carpet, which they may find easier. Remember to check their claws regularly.

Cats are creatures of habit and this characteristic becomes more pronounced as they age. They prefer a familiar, regular routine to provide predictability. Where possible, avoid moving furniture so that your cat’s environment is familiar and they can easily find their way around your home.

Veterinary care
Seek veterinary advice early if you are worried. Remember, many of the disorders that affect older cats can be treated and managed to allow your cat a happy and content life, particularly when treatment is sought early. However, inevitably there may come a time when your cat is in continual pain, discomfort or distress, and the most loving and courageous way you can show them how much you care is to end their suffering.

Your elderly cat and you
Caring for an older cat in their twilight years brings a tremendous joy and many owners actively decide to adopt an older cat because of the endearing qualities they can offer. With their wandering days behind them, older cats tend to stay closer to
home and appreciate gentle affection. Owners often comment on the special relationship they have with their older pet, enhanced by some simple measures and an understanding of their needs. (Source: Cats Protection)

If you’re the proud owner of a senior kitizen, show the world just how amazing they are by leaving a comment below or sharing your photos and stories using #MatureMoggies on our Facebook @cpexeteraxhayes, Twitter and Instagram. If you would like to adopt one of our senior kitizens please contact our adoption centre via www.axhayes.cats.org.uk. Thank you. 

Monday, 13 November 2017

It's Mature Moggies Week!

Kittens may be cute, but older cats still have a lot of love and purrs to give those looking for the purrfect feline companion.

Sadly, mature moggies aged 11 and older in Cats Protection’s care take over twice as long to find their forever home as their younger counterparts. These senior kitizens take an average of 33 days to be adopted, while kittens are typically adopted in just eight days.

To raise awareness of older cats still looking for homes, Cats Protection is hosting Mature Moggies Week from 13-17 November. Across five days we will be highlighting the benefits of adopting an older puss and providing helpful cat care information for anyone who owns, or is thinking of owning, a feline friend.

In a survey conducted by Cats Protection, just 24% of people said that they’d consider adopting an older cat, compared to 68% who would be happy to home a kitten. Reasons people gave for not wanting to adopt an older cat included; the fear that it wouldn’t live long, concerns over health, worries about the cost to nurse an old cat back to health and the belief that an older puss would not be playful.

However, as many owners of older cats will know, mature moggies can make the best pets. When asked about the benefits of owning a senior kitizen, the top reasons owners gave included; they are calmer, they don’t want to leave the house as much and they feel like they are more of a family member.

Check out some of lovely Senior Kitizens currently available for adoption at our Exeter Axhayes Adoption centre.....

Sabrina is 15 years old - Sabrina is a lovely older lady looking for a new home after her owners were moving abroad. Sabrina has been described as an affectionate cat who has a big soft spot for older people. She is used to a quiet home as she doesn't get on well with other cats but is okay with older children. Sabrina would love to get back to homely comforts soon where she can get back to sleeping on the sofa and lounging out in the garden. Sabrina's hunting days are now over so would love a purrfect retirement home!  


Black Cat and Luka are 12 and 11 years old. Black Cat and Luka find themselves here after the loss of their beloved owner. Black Cat and Luka are an affectionate pair, that are partial to a lap and certainly don’t mind a fuss. Black cat and Luka have had access to a garden and don’t tend to wander off too far and would like to find a home with opportunity to go outside in a safe garden. They don’t like canine company as they find it quite stressful and scary and so would like a home where there are no dogs. As Black Cat and Luka like a quiet, chilled environment and haven’t been around children a home with older children could be considered. If you are looking for a lovely pair of cats to complete your home, this could be the pair for you! Please ask to meet them today.
Black Cat and Luka


Camille is 15 years old. She has been on quite the journey during her many years. After first leaving Axhayes in 2008 she was found moving into a neighbour’s house as she didn't get on with other cats in her household. It was attempted to reintegrate her many times but with no avail. Her new owners took her on but unfortunately can now no longer keep her. 15 is a terrible age for a cat to be in care so please do ask to meet her and take her home with you soon! Camille has been known to be a very affectionate cat who loves a lap to sleep on, she doesn't venture too far and her hunting days are over.

Coco and Misty are both 11 years old. Coco and her sister Misty find themselves here after their owners moved house after they broke up. They are hoping to find a loving home together. Misty is the outgoing, she loves all people and a lap to curl up on. Coco is a bit shy at begin with, she loves a cuddle and a lap to sit on too. They are great with children of all ages, so they can fit in a family well. They would like access to a garden so they go out exploring and hunting. These two lovely ladies will make a lovely addition to your family, please take them home.
Coco and Misty
Reggie is 11 years old. This handsome boy has found himself here after not being happy in his last home. Reggie is a big softie just looking for a quiet retirement home with no other cats to bother him. Reggie is also a bit of a grump when it comes to noisy children so a house with adult companions would be best. With some encouragement to build back his confidence Reggie would sure make a perfect pet.

If you’re the proud owner of a senior kitizen, show the world just how amazing they are by leaving a comment below or sharing your photos and stories using #MatureMoggies on our Facebook @cpexeteraxhayes, Twitter and Instagram. If you would like to adopt one of our senior kitizens please contact our adoption centre via www.axhayes.cats.org.uk. Thank you.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Our Taunton Homing & Info Centre is a year old!

Our New Taunton Homing & Information Centre has been open for just over 12 months now, so far we have rehomed 100 cats which is fantastic! We are hoping the next 12 months will be just as successful! Many of our cats and kittens come up from Exeter Axhayes or from the local Taunton & Wellington Branch.  Our latest addition to Taunton HIC is our longest stayer Millie, she is hoping to have better luck up there and her new pen will be a nice change of scenery. We have our fingers crossed she will find her forever home very soon….

Millie settling in to her new pen
If you haven’t heard about our Taunton Homing & Information centre, here’s some information about our newest adoption centre. It is a small satellite centre which is managed by our Exeter Axhayes Adoption Centre. Our Taunton Rehoming and Information Centre is based at the Blackdown Garden Centre, Wellington, Somerset. We are open from 10am until 4pm every day. Our shiny new centre has five purpose built pens – where you can walk in and meet and greet the cats! If you are in the area, why not say hello to our friendly staff!
Tillie (rehomed Spring 2017) in one of our Taunton Pens
If you live in the Taunton/Wellington area and are thinking of adopting a cat or kitten - our friendly staff at the centre are ready to assist you every step of the way! Each of our cats available for adoption is neutered, fully vaccinated, microchipped and treated for fleas and worms. Our cats also come with one month's FREE Petplan insurance. We do ask for an adoption fee of £60 per cat or kitten - this fee helps cover some of the costs - as on average it costs £200 to care for a cat in our centre. Any donations are gratefully received.

Outside of our Taunton Homing & Info Centre

You can find our Taunton Homing & Information Centre at Blackdown Garden Centre, West Buckland, Wellington, Nr Taunton, Somerset, TA21 9HY. Telephone - 01823 667945.Our Taunton cats will feature on our new website http://www.cats.org.uk/taunton-centre 

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Success Story - Gorgeous Greg

You may have seen Greg featured on here, Facebook and Instagram. Back in May we launched our Gorgeous Greg appeal hoping to raise £2,500 for this life living operation to repair his liver shunt. Greg travelled up to Bristol to have his liver shunt operation, which was a huge success and he can now enjoy a healthy happy life. As you can see from his photos he's looking much healthier. His eyes are bright and his fur is all shiny and soft.  

Greg ready for adoption 

We thought we'd give you a quick blog update on the Gorgeous Greg! He was signed off by our vet as "fit to home" at the end of August. He didn't hang around our rehoming block for long. His owners were keen to meet him after seeing him on our Facebook page and watched his cute cuddly video on our Youtube channel. After a chat with CCA Jackie (who has been fostering him) and our vet, they were happy to adopt him. He finally left the building on 31st August to start the next chapter of his life...

Greg leaving Exeter Axhayes

Three weeks later we have received some lovely photos of Greg in his new home. He has settled in very well and they are really happy with him. His owner's have said "He is very much loved and apart of our little family" Here's just a few of the wonderful pictures of Greg....

Again we would like to say THANK YOU to everyone who had donated towards the Gorgeous Greg Appeal. In total we raised £4,230.30 any surplus donations will go towards any future cats which need operations whilst in our care. We like to say thank you to Greg's owners for allowing us to share their photos of Greg in his new home. If you would like to share photos of our ex-Axhayes cats who have adopted from us, free feel to post them to our Facebook page, Tag us on Instagram or email us at exeteraxhayes@cats.org.uk . We always love hearing your stories about your cats and kittens you have adopted from us.    

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

How you can live with cat allergies

During hayfever/allergy season we thought we'd share this article from "The Cat" Magazine (Summer 2016). We have many cats which come into our care due to their owners suffering with cat allergies.

Cats might be Britain’s favourite pets, they’re also thought to be one of the most common causes of allergies. Sadly, many owners decide to give up their cats when symptoms of allergy strike, and while it may seem like the only option, there are many alternatives to ensure you keep your cat companion without impacting your health.

How do cats cause allergies?

Most people believe that airborne cat fur/hair is the cause of allergy symptoms, but this is not always the case. The symptoms you’re experiencing are more likely to be caused by a protein called Fel d 1 originating from sebum found in a cat’s sebaceous glands. Ironically, a cat’s attempts at keeping themselves clean may be the very reason allergies are exacerbated – this protein attaches itself to dried skin called dander and is carried through the air when cats groom themselves.

Dander can spread throughout your home and even be carried on your clothing, so it can often feel difficult to escape your symptoms. In some cases, repeated exposure to an individual cat can ease symptoms over time, although there is not yet enough research to support this.
How do I know if I have an allergy?

Red eyes, runny nose and itching are all signs you might be allergic to something. While these symptoms can be irritating, it is just your immune system’s unfortunate way of fighting off substances that might harm your body.

Before you blame your family pet, you need to determine whether it is indeed your cat that is causing your allergic reaction. There are many allergens encountered in the home, with the most common found in dust mites, pollen and mould spores – your itchy eyes and runny nose could just as likely be down to your old mattress rather than your feline friend.

Your local GP is the first place to visit. Simple tests will be able to confirm whether or not your cat is the cause and you’ll be able to discuss options such as antihistamine tablets or nasal sprays to ease your symptoms in the interim.

What next?

Taking antihistamines might be a good short term solution but adapting your lifestyle is the only way you’ll be able to cope with your allergy symptoms in the long term. Reducing the amount of allergens in your home is key and there are a number of simple things you can do.

Close encounters

Avoid letting your cat lick your hands or face. Cats harbour many bacterial organisms in their mouth and allergens are particularly present in saliva
Keep your cat’s fur clean. While previous advice suggested that bathing a cat would reduce the spread of dander, this is no longer recommended for owners or the cat, and we would certainly not recommend anyone washes their cat unless absolutely necessary! Using cleansing wipes to gently remove allergens from the fur is a much less stressful way to keep your kitty clean
Although it might seem obvious, washing your hands after petting your cat is highly important. We touch our face many times throughout the day and forgetting to clean your hands thoroughly can worsen your symptoms

In the zone

Designate areas in the house as pet-free zones to limit the amount of dander in the household. While you might enjoy having your cat sleep on your bed, allergies often become worse at night and keeping your moggy away from your bedroom is a good way to relieve your symptoms
Grooming your cat regularly can result in fewer allergens being released into the atmosphere. Make sure you brush them outside in the garden and preferably in old clothes to ensure no allergens filter through to your home
Insulated homes don’t just trap heat, they trap allergens too. Opening windows for an hour each day can increase ventilation

House rules

If your house is carpeted, it is important you vacuum often. Cat hair and dander can easily get caught in the carpet and intensify your symptoms, so a thorough clean at least once a week is recommended. Sprinkle baking soda, a substance harmless to cats, on your floor before you vacuum to eliminate any pet odours
Although hardwood or linoleum floors don’t attract hair in the same way, it is important you vacuum these areas too as sweeping will push allergens back into the air
Wash your cat’s bedding, accessories and litter trays regularly. Fel d 1 can also be released through your pet’s saliva or urine, so keeping these items fresh is important

Shop smart

There are a number of great products designed for those suffering from allergies and adapting your lifestyle will ensure that you and your cat continue to live side by side.

Invest in a washable allergen pillow and cover. Made from polyester and cotton, the fabric prevents a collection of allergy triggers and can be washed easily and regularly without damage
While fresh air is important to keep allergies at bay, unpredictable weather means it isn’t always possible to keep windows open. An air purifier will limit the amount of allergens in your home
Using a vacuum with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter limits the amount of dander into the atmosphere. Alternatively, you can choose to wear a dust mask when using your vacuum
Allergy control solutions, such as sprays, can be used on furniture and upholstery to alter cat allergens and make them less reactive. Use these according to manufacturer’s instructions and check they are safe for use around pets.

While it might take some time and a little trial and error to find out what is best for you and your cat, there are plenty of solutions that don’t have to result in you giving up your family pet. Hopefully these tips will make a world of difference. (Source: Cats Protection - The Cat Magazine)

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Greg Update

Greg is our lovable stray who came from the Midlands back in January. He was in such a terrible condition when he first came in, and he was aged as a senior cat with flu medications prescribed. Over time it became apparent that he was suffering from more than just a simple cold. Off his food and looking very sad he was taken into a foster home to bring him back to the energetic, lovable cat we knew he could be.

Four months on and several tests later we were still no closer to a diagnosis for Greg so the decision was made to make the journey to a specialist vet in Bristol for an ultrasound scan. Finally we have a diagnosis - Greg has a portosystemic shunt meaning the liver is not working to its full capacity and can have detrimental effects on his body and brain. This is a life threatening condition that without intervention would cause poor Greg to have short unhappy life.
Greg recovering at our local vets

In May we launched our Gorgeous Greg appeal hoping to raise £2,500 for this life living operation to repair his liver shunt. Greg travelled up to Bristol to have his liver shunt operation. Greg spent a week in their ICU whilst recovering from his operation. He did suffer some side effects now his liver was functioning properly and had to continue some of his medication. He returned to our local veterinary hospital for another week during his recovery process.
Back at Axhayes

Last week Greg returned to our adoption centre, still a bit wobbly on his legs but feeling more like himself, he is getting stronger day by day. He is back to his usual cuddly self. Over night he stays in his foster home with CCA Jackie. Our Gorgeous Greg appeal in the end raised £3,545, which is fantastic and we can't thank everyone enough for your generosity. We are slowly reducing his medication and we are able to use any addition money to pay for his medication and any future scans. Greg will continue his recovery at the centre and his foster home until he is fit and well enough to be adopted. We will continue to keep you up to date with Greg's progress. Again, a HUGE thank you to everyone who donated towards Greg's life-saving operation. 

For more details about our adoption centre please visit our website - www.axhayes.cats.org.uk.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Reunited after 5 years!!! How Ringo's microchip helped him find his way home.

During June we are promoting National Microchipping Month. National Microchipping Month is a campaign that encourages and promotes reponsible pet ownership through microchipping as the preferred method of permanent identification. 

Microchipping is the most effective way to identify a lost pet, and by keeping your details up to date, you'll increase the likelihood of a happy reunion if your cat goes wandering. You can get your cat microchipped by a vet, local authority or by a trained and insured member of an animal welfare organisation.

There is no minimum age to microchip your cat, and the procedure is simple and doesn't cause harm to your pet. Once the chip is inserted, your cat won't even be aware of its presence.
Ringo in our care

Only six days into June (aka National Microchipping Month) we meet a lovely cat called Ringo. He was found on a farm hungry and desperately looking for his next meal. After hanging around for a week, the owners of the farm contacted us for help. Our deputy manager Phil collected him and brought him into our care. During his routine health check, we found that Ringo had a microchip and had in fact been missing since August 2012! His owner had moved house during this time, thankfully she had updated her new address and telephone number so we were able to contact her. His owner was delighted we have found her cat Ringo after all of this time. She was happy for us to share his story to help promote the importance of microchipping your cat but also to update your address and telephone if you move house. We are delighted he has found his way home after all this time.

Reunited at last

To find out more details about microchipping your cat, please follow the link below http://www.cats.org.uk/cat-care/key-cat-care/microchipping

If you cat is already microchipped, when moving house please remember to change your address details on the central database when you move. In the UK, you can update your cat’s registered details by contacting your existing UK database company, or Petlog – on 0844 4633 999 or via www.petlog.org.uk – or Anibase – on 01904 487 600 or via www.anibase.com. If moving abroad, simply putting your cat through PETS or quarantine does not automatically update your records, so it is important that you remember to do this. For your own records also keep your cat’s unique microchip number safe. There may be a small fee when updating your details, but worth it to get your feline friend home.