We're so excited that Completely Cats - Stories with Cattitude will be available from Amazon on 21st August 2017. We're so grateful to all our contributors, without you this book would not have been possible. Remember, 20 per cent of the profits are donated to International Cat Care to help cats in need.
Our friends at Community Petco have produced this fabulous graphic with tips for introducing a new cat to you home. For further information, do visit their website at https://community.petco.com/t5/Blog/Bringing-Your-Cat-Home-How-to-Prepare-for-an-Easy-Transition/ba-p/85039
Cats are one of the domesticated animals we love. We love their persnickety-ness, their affection, their habits. And when it comes to our cats, we do a whole lot to try to figure out what makes them happy. That includes favorite toys, favorite beds, favorite water bowls—and favorite food.
One of the options for food for cats is, of course, wet food. But if you’ve never given your cat wet food, then you might not know everything there is to know about wet food. Because one thing’s for certain: Wet food isn’t the same as dry food.
For starters, dry food is, well, dry, which means that its texture is pretty uniform. But wet food has a surprising array of texture, from shredded to morsel like—and your cat may end up with a preference for one and a dislike of another.
Thinking about wet food for your cat? This graphic tells you what you need to know.
Today's post is from our friend Gizmo and his human-slave, Leanne. Check out their blog, Kitty up the Curtain at https://kittyupthecurtain.wordpress.com/
It’s been a stressful festive period in my house. Not because of the pressure of Christmas, but because Gizmo, my beloved (and usually highly naughty) one year old cat, was quite poorly. And how did I know he was ill?! Well, he was being too well behaved; he hadn’t stripped my wallpaper or climbed my curtains for a few days and he didn’t want to play with his favourite toys. Those were the first things I noticed, but this rapidly got worse over the following days.
To cut a long and stressful story short, between 24th Dec and 29th Dec, I took Giz to the vets on four separate occasions because I was getting more and more concerned. His behaviour was getting more lethargic, he stopped eating and he was starting to lose weight. For the first three visits, the vets were unable to find anything abnormal, and I was told it was probably a tummy bug.
In true Gizmo style, (even though he was feeling very poorly and hadn’t eaten for a few days) he still managed to lighten the situation slightly on his third visit to the vet. I can only assume he was getting fed up of having a thermometer placed up his bum during each visit, and he was rapidly trying to get out of having it done again, at any cost…
Firstly, I struggled to get Giz into the wire cat carrier, despite him being quite weak and lethargic. Once I succeeded, I placed the carrier (with Giz inside) in the truck, on the passenger seat. I got into the driver’s seat and gently drove out of my street and started the short 5 minute journey to the vets. In the time it had taken me to drive out of my road (and without me noticing) Giz had somehow managed to slide out the long pin that fastens the carrier lid. The first thing I knew about it was when his head popped out of the corner of the carrier as he looked for his best direction to disappear in. I wasn’t quite sure what to do in this situation.
Before I really had time to think the situation through, he was out of the carrier and loose in the truck. I considered turning the truck round and heading home, but I didn’t want to be late for Gizmos appointment so I reluctantly decided to continue on our journey, driving even more carefully than before! I made it to the vets, having watched Giz avidly explore the inside of the truck, from the leather front seats to the boot, and ending up on the back seat behind me. When I parked at the vets, I knew I had to somehow get Giz in the carrier box before opening a door. As luck would have it, I was able to catch him quite easily, and put him back in the carrier within a few minutes! Phew…! His truck adventure must have exhausted him temporarily. Note to self…find another way to secure Giz into the cat carrier on journeys to and from the vets, and not rely solely on the carrier pin.
Once we got into the vet consultation room, it was decided that blood tests should be taken to investigate his illness further, as his condition wasn’t improving. The vet went to get the assistance of an experienced veterinary nurse, and let’s just say that between the three of us, (vet, nurse and myself) Gizmo was NOT happy about having blood taken. We tried for several minutes, in several different positions to restrain Gizmo the Gremlin, but still Giz was NOT going to allow anyone to take his blood. He even had a mask/hood put over his head in an attempt to stop him from seeing the needle coming, but that made things worse! The vet suggested giving Giz 5 mins in his cat carrier to calm down, and we would try again, but I had a better idea. I suggested keeping Giz at the vets and trying again once he had time to calm down.
I remember the vet clearly saying that they would contact me in about an hour, to come and collect Gizmo, but by the time I got that call, 5 hours had passed, and they still hadn’t managed to get any blood due to Gizmo's continued naughty behaviour. It was suggested that another appointment was booked in two days’ time, and Gizmo was to be sedated for blood to be taken, and possibly other tests at the same time, if his condition did not improve. But the very next day, Gizmo deteriorated again and was sick, so I immediately rushed him back to the vets, making sure that the lid was secured with additional reinforcements this time.
On this fourth visit, the vet immediately admitted him, sedated him, ultrasound scanned and X-rayed him, and diagnosed pancreatitis within a short time. Gizmo was hospitalised straight away, put on a drip, given medication and monitored closely. Despite being poorly, Gizmo was still living up to his reputation of being naughty, as the nursing team quickly realised. He successfully managed to chew through his leg bandage and chew through his drip tube in a short space of time. As a result of his continued chewing, he was made to wear the cone of shame… a symbol of naughtiness and defiance in his case! I was also told that he seemed to like the sound of his own voice, as he was repeatedly singing a strange rendition of a song that no one could identify.
After being on fluids and medication, he was starting to feel better, as he used every opportunity to try and escape…at one point, launching himself at a veterinary nurses head when she went to check on him. Thankfully, the nurse is not psychologically scarred by this experience, but Gizmos repeated naughty behaviour ensured he will not be forgotten by the nursing staff anytime soon.
After 48 hours of being on fluids and monitored closely by the wonderful veterinary team at Penmellyn Vets (St Columb), Gizmo was eventually deemed well enough to come home on New Year’s Eve and he continues to recover at home. (Personally, I think his repeated naughty and challenging behaviour got him booted out of the practice, but the nursing team were far too polite to say this…!). Since 31st December, Gizmo has been recovering at home, using me as a source of heat due to his current bald situation thanks to the shave he had prior to the ultrasound scan…
On the 3rd January 2017, I took Giz back to the vets for a check-up. Gizmo was NOT happy about going back to the vets, but he was VERY happy to come home again. Thankfully, the vet was pleased with his progress, and Giz is currently showing no discomfort from his pancreas, so fingers crossed we have found a way to manage the situation. Gizmo is now on a very strict (and expensive) diet for the foreseeable future. He always did have expensive taste in food, but at this rate, I will be considering selling one of my limbs each month to fund his food bill!
When Gizmo and I got home from the vets, he found the postman had delivered a parcel for him. It was a lovely blanket from his friends at Tillypops Toys! This lovely blanket has been keeping Gizmo comfy and warm ALL afternoon. Gizmo is such a lucky kitty. Not only is he feeling better, but he’s also getting gifts from his friends, helping him on his road to recovery.
Always trying to find a positive outcome in the situation, I just want to raise the issue of having pet insurance. Until I got Giz, none of my cats were insured, but when I got Giz I was encouraged to get insurance, and I’m SOOOOO glad I did. If I hadn’t taken out the policy, I would now be facing a bill exceeding £1000 which I could not have paid; these costs are from consultations, investigation, treatment and specialist care in the space of 6 days. I assumed Giz was a young, healthy kitty, but this experience has shown me that ANY cat can get ill for no apparent reason, and unless you have adequate funds to pay for ANY treatment your beloved kitty needs, insurance cover will be vital should your kitty need medical attention.
Between the time Gizmo was first taken to the vets, to this present day, I have been overwhelmed and touched by literally hundreds of messages from people on social media, wanting to know how Gizmo is doing. These messages are from people across the world who have never met Gizmo or myself, but have gone out of their way to send messages of support and encouragement to us both. The cat community have really helped me stay positive through the past two weeks, and I thank every single person for taking the time to contact me.
Cats have always been special to me, and as I’ve found out in the past 10 days, cat-loving people are pretty special too.
Wishing you and your cats a happy 2017.
From Gizmo and his human slave, Leanne x
Today we bring you a story from our friends at Let the Animals Live, Israel about Yisrael, one of the many cats they've helped.
It was a typical Jerusalem morning. It was still dark outside, and we made our way to another TNR campaign (Trap Neuter Return). While we were in the midst of the campaign I suddenly felt a cat rubbing against my legs. I looked down and saw Yisrael. He meowed in a heartbreaking way and looked up at me. At that moment the thought was that his condition was so bad that we might need to take him out of his misery. He had a cold and a runny nose and he couldn't smell or eat anything, his eyes were almost completely shut. It looked like something was hurting him - he was suffering pains in his mouth, and he was thin and weak. He came to ask for help.
If only he could speak he would probably tell us about his tough life in the Jerusalem streets, about the battles he had with other males, about his desperate search for food, about his hunger and thirst that accompanied him from the moment he woke up until he went to sleep. If only he could speak. But actually, if we think about it, he DOES speak, they speak to us all the time, WE are the ones who don't always listen. If only we would listen more, and if only there were more people who were sensitive to their suffering, to the pain they endure each and every day, to their rough lives in the streets, to their battles, to their asking for help.
For Yisrael there was someone who listened. The professional cat trapper who came to the TNR campaign put him in a cage, with the sad thought that it was the end. But Yisrael wanted to live, and he came at exactly the right time to be saved. He was checked by a vet and a big ulcer was found on his tongue and he had several rotten teeth. Moreover, he was very dehydrated, frail and had a cold. During his checkup and treatment he was also neutered, in order to prevent having to anesthetize him again and because neutering male cats is a simpler procedure than the spaying of female cats.
Now Yisrael is going through a recovery and rehabilitation process, with devoted care, antibiotics and nutritious food. For Yisrael there was someone who heard him. Unfortunately, there are many cases of cats who need help, like Yisrael. In order to prevent situations like this we are embarking on a shared journey, a campaign to establish a spaying and neutering clinic with the highest professional standards, at low cost, while listening to and caring for the cats themselves and their quality of life.
In the photos you can see Yisrael when he first arrived at the clinic, and the amazing improvement in his condition after being taken care of. After several weeks of treatment and lots of love Yisrael was released back to his "natural" surroundings, and as you can see from a recent photo, he is happy and healthy, and very thankful for the help he received.
To support the work of Let the Animals Live, Israel follow this link http://www.letlive.org.il/eng/donate/
Cats are great companions for a busy urban lifestyle. They are self-sufficient when you’re out and about, and a brilliant stress relief for when you’re home. Giving you lots of playtime and cuddles to remind you that there is more to life than just work.
But what happens when you have to go away on business or your well-deserved holiday? What if your friends and family members aren’t available to take care of your fur baby while you’re gone?
You could send your kitty to a cattery, but make sure you do your homework, book well in advance and prepare your cat for unfamiliar surroundings. As most cats are very territorial and can get very stressed, this may not be an ideal solution for everyone.
In fact some owners find the thought of sending their fur babies to an unfamiliar place so stressful they can’t even imagine going on holiday!
So then there’s the option of using a local cat sitter, and that’s where Cat in a Flat comes in. Cat in a Flat is the UK’s biggest cat loving, cat sitting community, it connects cat owners with trusted and insured cat sitters in their neighborhood. Its mission is to help cats stay in the comforts of their own home / sock drawer while their owner is away.
All cat sitters are fully insured, undergo all the checks and are required to write a full, personal profile. Cat owners are encouraged to meet the sitters beforehand to make sure the ‘boss’ approves of their choice.
Cat in a Flat is a great community as all sitters who sign up and offer their service, do it not as a full time profession, but because they are true cat lovers and can’t wait to spend time with your furry friends.
They understand that cats aren’t just pets — they’re part of the family, our confidantes, our BFFs (best furry friends)… they also understand the stresses of leaving your cat behind while going on holiday as most of them are cat owners themselves.
To find your perfect cat sitter, simply enter your postcode and you’ll be matched to some lovely sitters in your area. Here you will see their rates, reviews and profiles. Feel free to contact as many sitters as you like and invite your favourite around for a cuppa tea. That way you can get to know each other before you go ahead with the booking - no strings attached.
Self funded. Self motivated.
This community has been created by founders Kathrin and Julie, they both have cats of their own and always had trouble finding the perfect person to look after their fur babies while away.
They said in a Timeout article:
We set about creating a network where true cat lovers would look after our cats, giving us peace of mind that they are being fed, played with and getting plenty of belly-rubbing/sock-chasing/window-staring/box-sitting while staying in the comforts of their own home.
Cat in a Flat is perfect for anyone planning a holiday and wanting to cancel out stressful ventures to catteries. Or anyone who simply just wants more cats in their life. So whether you're a cat owner or a cat lover, this is the community for you.
Next time you go away, why not try and find a trusted cat sitter through catinflat.com. It’s also a great way to meet some more people in your neighborhood.
Moet is our new friend - read her story below and check out her website
I was brought into a country called Oman from my birthplace, but I’m not sure where that was. I was taken to this place called the ‘pet shop’ and all the other fluffy kittens there said it was horrible but I’d soon be out of there. One by one my companions left, but one of them had given me cat flu and I wasn’t well so nobody really wanted me. The mean people at the pet shop didn’t care; I was left often without food and water, a dirty cage, no bed to lie on, no toys. Nothing.
I was so miserable and then I just got sicker and sicker. Eventually the bright colours and things I saw started to go fuzzy and one day I woke up and there were only shadows and light. It wasn’t too much after that I could see only darkness. My world was miserable and I just lay down to find eternal sleep.
It was suddenly and abruptly that the cage was opened and a lady’s hand reached in for me. Loud voices, insistence and a lot of scuffling and I was put into a carry-box. I was so tired and low by this time I didn’t move a muscle. I just lay there thinking that perhaps I was going to the rainbow bridge that everybody had spoken of.
I felt the cold of a metal table, kind voices, the sting of an injection and then a soft bed. I ate some food offered to me and then I slept… waiting and waiting for the kindness to take me to the bridge. But it didn’t come and after a while I drifted off, waking every now and then for more food, water and a stroke from the kind voice-hands.
After a day or two, I was taken again to the cold metal table and given another sting that made me drift off quickly.
When I woke up I knew something was different about my eyes, they were sore on the outside, but inside they didn't hurt so much and oddly, they felt better. The nice voices said I had “stitches” and so I had to wear this horrible plastic collar. But I didn’t mind because oddly, I felt like I was more energetic and stronger now and just felt a lot better. The kind voices came and went, I was given the most delicious food I had ever eaten and I always had a soft bed to lie on. Maybe I was over the rainbow bridge?? No, this was real! I didn’t much like the daily stings, but the nice voices said they would make me feel better and that one day maybe I would have a home of my own. A home?! Really?? But I also heard the whispers and something about it being difficult to find a ‘good’ home for a blind cat. I wasn’t too sure what that meant, but I was happy and purred loudly at the kind voices and strokes that came my way. In fact, they said I was one of the happiest kitties they’d ever met. I didn’t know why, but that made me even happier.
Six days after my ‘surgery’ a new lady appeared from nowhere. She also spoke to me in a very kind voice and stroked my cheek. I rolled over for the next stage – the belly rub. She cooed and ahhh-ed and said “yes, I’ll take her”.
It was two days later after they removed my “stitches” and finally free of the annoying collar that I was again put into a carrier and taken to a new place. I knew there was another cat there because I could smell her, but the lady didn’t let her get me and we had our own separate areas for about five days. I loved my new place. I had strokes and cuddles every day, great food, lots of different beds and so many toys I kept forgetting which one was my favourite. I also learned that if I lost a toy, my human would go and retrieve it if I let out the merest squeak (which is all I do by the way, I’m not into shouting loudly).
I've been in my “forever home” since September 2013. My mum is just the best and loves me lots (I think maybe I’m her favourite, which annoys sisfurs and brofur – two of whom arrived after me – mum rescued Lily from a tiny birdcage in a horrible local market and Cosmo came from another country where he was abandoned!). We are a happy family, but sometimes I have to tease Luna to play with me. I like to play a lot. Sometimes mum says I never sit still. But I do, I like sleeping too, because there are so many nice places to curl up – my mum’s bed, three cat trees (one of which is like a real tree) and two comfy sofas. My mum also has a nice balcony, which she says she made ‘safe’ by enclosing it. We are allowed to go out whenever we like!
I know I’m home. I know I’m loved. I am lucky to have my mum and fur-siblings. I am so happy.
Should I let my cat explore the great outdoors, or should I keep him inside where I know he’ll be safe? This is a question for many cat owners particularly if you live close to a busy road. According to the PDSA, 24% of cats live permanently indoors in the UK. However, the garden offers adventure and enrichment unrivalled by a life indoors and many vets, welfare organisations, and charities suggest that outdoor access is imperative for a cat’s mental and physical wellbeing. Cats are natural hunters and roamers, and it is essential for every cat to be able to express natural behaviours such as climbing and exploring.
If you’re keen to allow your cat outdoor access, but are worried about the dangers of free-roaming, you could consider enclosing your garden with cat proof fencing – either in its entirety or by sectioning an area off – creating a cat enclosure. If you secure your garden, your cat will have the opportunity to enjoy being outside to explore, whilst being contained in a safe environment.
The solution of a cat safe territory is close the hearts of Simon and Eve Davies, founders of ProtectaPet. ‘We lost our own cat Lola in a road traffic accident in 2009. Devastated by our loss, we were determined that her brother, Leo, wouldn’t share the same fate. Simon designed some fence top brackets, which we used in our garden for years and I didn’t think any more about it. It was only when friends and family started to ask us to install the same brackets in their gardens that there was a real desire among cat owners to control their pets’ territories and experience our peace of mind. We’ve come a long way since then.’
There are many benefits of cat containment including preventing road accidents, pet theft, territory disputes. Eve says, ‘First and foremost, your beloved cat is safe and you’ve got total peace of mind. Nothing beats that! I think many cat owners experience lots of additional benefits: no more ‘presents’ left on the doorstep, a reduced risk of picking up ticks and fleas, enjoying better relationships with your neighbours, and reduced vet bills. A cat-proof fence can also deter cats from coming into your garden which can be a source of stress for many outdoor cats.’
ProtectaPet have developed a flexible system which can accommodate all garden boundary types: using freestanding enclosure fencing where there is privet hedge or an overhanging barrier on existing fences or walls. They can cat-proof sheds, garages, conservatories and trees using the inward facing bracket which cats cannot climb over. Eve says, ‘Our British-designed and manufactured system has been optimised for agile breeds such as Bengals and Orientals. Our patented products are precision-manufactured using the latest laser-cutting techniques and the matt black powder coating provides the least intrusive aesthetic finish and has the additional benefit of prolonging longevity in use. Our high tensile mesh has been selected as a result of seven years of testing and development because it is fine and unobtrusive, UV-stable and extremely strong under the weight of snow. Finally, there are no moving parts which can break or require maintenance, so the customer and their kitties can sit back and enjoy!’
How to cat proof your garden
A. DIY or Expert Installation?
ProtectaPet® offers cat containment solutions which enable cats to explore the outdoors without exposure to the risks associated with ‘free-roaming’. We offer cat fence brackets, cat enclosures, cat runs and ‘catios’, which enable the cat owner to control the territory with the assurance of their cats’ safety. DIY Kits are available in our online shop and installation requires a moderate degree of technical expertise. Before ordering, watch our video tutorials to see if it is for you. For more complex gardens or if you don’t fancy a DIY project, our expert installation team can design bespoke solutions around cat owners’ needs and the layout of the garden. Cat enclosures can be built around mature trees, privet hedges and garden features such as sheds, arbours and conservatories.
B. What do I need for a DIY project?
1. Measure the height of your garden boundaries to determine the types of cat barrier required. You can order any combination of ProtectaPet® products to accommodate the different boundary types around your garden's periphery. Not sure what to order? Send us photographs of your garden for advice.
2. Calculate the length of your garden boundaries to determine which ProtectaPet® products you require: we can accommodate any height of wall or fence from or boundaries where there is no pre-existing fencing. We use freestanding fencing to section off parts of your garden or to put in front of privet hedging.
3. Account for garden features such as trees or sheds, which will require extra mesh and brackets.
4. We recommend ordering 10% surplus to requirements to ensure you have enough materials to complete the job. Place your order online or ring our team of experts on 01782 900117.
C. How do I book an installation?
Some complex gardens require specialist installation skills and mesh roof catios are also exclusively available through our installation service. Our installation team also undertake commercial cat containment projects for catteries, breeders, adoption centres and vets. To find out more, please ring us on 01782 900117 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
• Measurement around the edge of the garden boundary
• Type and height of existing garden boundary (including photographs of the whole garden)
• Details of features such as trees, sheds or conservatories
• Your full address including postcode
We will then undertake a pet and garden assessment in consultation with you. This will involve discussing you and your pets' requirements.
D. How much does it cost?
Our cat containment solutions are available to purchase for DIY enthusiasts in our online shop or customers have the choice to have them professionally fitted by the ProtectaPet® installation team, who travel the length and breadth of the UK. DIY cat fence barriers start at £139.99 for a 10m Kit while the average 30m perimeter garden costs £399.99. Professional installation starts at £1,000.
Our product’s success has been based on a passionate commitment to intuitive design for pet owners, high specification UK engineering, intelligent innovation and outstanding service. We provide the best combination of quality and value for money. All our clients will have peace of mind that after the initial cost of the installation, their pet will be safer and future vet bills will be minimized.
E. Promotions Exclusive to Completely Cats Supporters
Are you a cat breeder? We can provide you with pamphlets and referral rewards but – best of all – peace of mind that your kitten is going to a safe home. Are you a cat owner? If you would like any advice on cat containment, please call the ProtectaPet® cat containment experts on 0800 999 4008. ProtectaPet® are offering supporters of Completely Cats 10% off the online shop and £50 off installations with discount code ‘completelycats’. Expires 31st October 2016.