Deaf and wobbly Windsor kitten defies all odds to find her happy ending

A deaf kitten has overcome all obstacles to find a loving home with the help of Battersea’s staff and volunteers.

The five-month old kitten called Kara was born in the home of a Battersea foster carer and it was only a few days after she was born that they noticed something was a little bit different about her.

They noticed that the way she moved was different and she had an adorable yet odd habit of walking backwards when she was startled or confused.

The tiny tortoiseshell was born with cerebellar hypoplasia, an incurable neurological condition that causes her head and body to involuntarily twitch. After close monitoring over several weeks, Kara’s foster carers and vets started to suspect she might also be deaf. Despite her conditions, Kara is in no pain and vets expect her to live a full, happy life.

Georgia Randall, Team Leader at Battersea’s Old Windsor Cattery, said; “All of the cats we see here at Battersea are wonderful in their own unique ways, but there is something extra special about cats like Kara. As anyone who has met her will tell you, she’s taken everything in her stride and has become a little livewire that loves to play all day, every day. It’s truly a joy to see and I know she’s going to be an amazing addition to her new family.

“Watching her defy the odds and exceed our expectations for such a young cat with her health limitations, truly proves that even the smallest of underdogs can be top cats.”

The admirable young cat departed Battersea earlier this week to start her new life in Berkshire. Her mum and siblings have also found new homes.

Battersea needs support from the public to continue to be here for vulnerable animals like Kara. To make a donation please visit donate.battersea.org.uk

 

Help dogs adjust to Covid-19 face masks

More and more people are wearing masks out in public and the RSPCA is offering dog owners tips on getting pets used to the new face coverings.

Since 15 June in England, everyone travelling on public transport must wear a face covering and, in Wales, a three-layer covering is recommended where physical distancing is not possible.

Lorella Notari, head of RSPCA’s clinical animal behaviour team, said: “For many pets, seeing people in face coverings will be a new experience and some may feel anxious of afraid. Dogs use our facial expressions to understand what we are feeling and so having our faces covered may be strange for them.

“To help during this time, we’ve pulled together some training tips to help your pet feel happy and relaxed around people wearing face mass. We would advise that, when introducing pets to face masks, you do so gradually and to only progress if your pet is happy and relaxed.

“These tips can be particularly helpful if your dog tends to be shy in the presence of new people of unfamiliar faces.”

Step 1

Put on a face mask but keep it ‘half on’ so that your dog can see your mouth and nose. Our dogs are used to seeing people with scarves so this should not cause any particular reaction. Keep the mask half on while you feed your dog, give treats and play with him. If you notice no difference in his/her behaviour, put the mask on gradually. Cover your mouth a few times, then proceed to cover your mouth and nose. Repeat the same positive actions and interactions a few times and take it slow.

Step 2

Ask your family to do the same, the consistency and gradual progress will help.  Also, try to change the type of mask – using masks of different colours, for example. This will help get your dog used to the different ‘looks.’

Step 3

Put your mask on just before entering your home. If your dog seems more excited than normal, ask him/her to sit and then give them a treat. Ask your family members to do the same. This will help your dog to make positive associations with approaching people wearing face masks.

Step 4

Dogs tend to focus on people’s faces, and for shy dogs, not being able to see human facial expressions may be confusing and trigger fearful reactions. If your dog gets used to familiar people with face masks, they will more likely not get scared if strangers with face masks approach them.

To further encourage your dog, when walking them, ask for their attention and give out a treat if you see him/her focused on someone with a face mask.

For more advice to help your pets during lockdown, please visit the RSPCA’s website: www.rspca.org.uk/coronavirus.

 

 

 

Tractive launches new activity monitoring feature to keep pets fit

Vets believe over 50% of UK dogs and 44% of cats are obese and that the prevalence of obesity has increased over the last five years.

Furthermore, 80% of vets cite a lack of exercise as a significant factor to the pet obesity epidemic.

Despite loving our pets, it’s easy to lose track to how much activity they need, how much rest they’re getting and how many treats they’re enjoying.

That’s why, Tractive is launching its new activity monitor feature to keep pets fit and help them live a healthier, longer and more active life.

Along with Tractive’s highly trusted GPS tracking features, Tractive’s new activity monitoring feature will help pet parents follow their furry friend’s every move and keep their pets in shape. Tractive’s new activity feature gives pet owners the ability to:

  • Track how much time your dog or cat spends being active and resting
  • Monitor calories burned from your pet’s daily activity
  • Set daily goals to keep you and your pup on track
  • Compare activity with furry friends worldwide

Michale Hurnaus, CEO of Tractive explains: “This feature is designed to give pet parents all they need to take care of their beloved pet. We are giving pet owners peace of mind, whenever and wherever they need it.”

Get active with Tractive

The new activity monitoring feature lets pet parents follow their cat or dog’s every step and track their activity day and night. With pet obesity rates reaching around 60%, this new features offers a much-needed solution for those looking to keep their pets healthy and makes getting on the move even more fun for both humans and pets.

Founder of Runtastic and Tractive Chief Growth Officer, Florian Gschwandtner comments on the latest news: “Tractive has the potential to be the next Runtastic – with this new feature, we have an all-in-one product that provides enormous value to pet parents and their pets. We are very excited for the launch and the months to come.”

Socialise, compete with others and hit goals together

Trusted by hundreds of thousands of pet parents in over 150 countries, Tractive draws on millions of data points gathered from real-life activity – as well as the expertise of vets and pet specialists – to provide a clear picture of usual pet behaviour, and breed-specific patterns. The new activity monitoring feature puts this data to good use, to support pet parents in keeping an eye on their dog or cat’s fitness levels, as well as their location. It also rewards users for hitting four-legged fitness goals and lets them compare their pet’s activity to four-legged friends worldwide.

The new Activity Monitoring Feature will be available worldwide from July 9th, 2020. Tractive GPS Tracker, RRP: £44.99 and is available to purchase from https://tractive.com/en/

 

Nutravet offers tips and advice for pet owners during the Covid-19 outbreak

Natural animal health company, Nutravet continued their dedicated support for pet owners throughout the Covid-19 crisis with a continued campaign of updates and advice on pet health to make sure pets receive the best care possible whilst many veterinary practices offered a limited service.

The company who manufactures the number 1 veterinary exclusive joint support, Nutraquin+ saw an increased demand for their products during the outbreak and wanted to make sure it was doing eveything to meet the needs of pet owners and their stockists.

Managing Director for Nutravet, Matthew Shaw comments: “We have worked tirelessly to meet the unprecedented demand for our range during the Covid-19 outbreak. The extra time owners were spending with their pets meant they were more attentive and able to see changes to their pet’s health and behaviour. Many pet owners were stocking up on our range, utilsing our products to help their pets anxiety due to changes in routines or to help them train whilst spending extra quality time together.

Animal health is important to us and at a time of crisis, some owners were worried about their pets, especially with limited access to veterinary practices. We hope the advice and information we offered pet owners was valued during a very stressful time.”

To view the tops tips from nutravet you can visit www.nutravet.co.uk

 

Fat cat found with huge lump of matted fur was unable to wash due to weight

A cat who had put on so much weight he wasn’t able to groom himself properly was found with a huge lump of matted fur on his back.

Lucky was taken in by the RSPCA after an officer was called by neighbours who were concerned for his welfare due to his weight and a large lump they’d spotted on his back.

Lucky after the matted fur was removed

RSPCA inspector Kate Levesley went to the address in Brownhills, Walsall on Thursday 25 June.

She said: “Neighbours were concerned about Lucky after popping in to take care of him while his owner was away from home and unable to care for him. It seems as though he was being fed but not getting enough exercise and unfortunately has become very overweight.

“Lucky had a massive matt on his back probably because he couldn’t groom properly and was unable to wash due to his weight.”

Kate took Lucky to Hillfield Animal Home, run by RSPCA Burton upon Trent & District Branch to be taken care of. She shaved the matted fur off of poor Lucky’s back and made him more comfortable. He weighed in at 7kg which is around 3kg heavier than a healthy, adult make cat should.

Lucky has now been put on a special diet to help him shed some weight before being rehomed at a later date.

Cyan Hulland from the animal home said: “He is very shy and doesn’t move around a lot but he is a very sweet boy. Hopefully, when he trusts us better and loses a bit of weight, he will be more active and show his personality.”

RSPCA pet welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: “Pet obesity is a serious welfare issue affecting a large proportion of our pets today. Recent studies have suggested that around half of all pet dogs are overweight and this can cause serious health and welfare issues for them such as heart disease and diabetes.

“Obesity can afftect all types of pets and the main cause is from eating too much or not exercising enough. As a rough guide for dogs and cats – you should be able to see and feel the outline of their ribs without excess fat covering them.

Other tips are that you should be able to see and feel their waist and it should be clearly visible when viewed from above. Anyone who is concerned about their pet’s weight should speak to their vet for advice.”

If you’re concerned about your pet’s weight, please speak to your vet for advice. If you’d like to adopt a cat from the RSPCA please visit www.rspca.org.uk/findapet for more information.

 

 

 

Are you ready to get the pawty started with the ‘Virtual Kitty Corner’?

LondonCats Worldwide want to keep you entertained and feline good whilst stuck at home with their brand-new Virtual Kitty Corner.

Live streaming on Saturday 11th July from 12pm, the virtual event will be filled with delightful treats for the whole family to enjoy.

You can expect an epic festival-style day of everything feline-related, from live discussions with cat owners and breeders from all around the world – so you can learn cool and new facts about pedigrees and moggies – to expect grooming tips for your cat.

And, there’s more! You can also find out what the best food for your kittens and cats is (raw diet, anyone?), hear tips for building cat furniture from recycled materials, talks about animal blood banks, get to have your burning questions answered in the live Q&As with cat experts and so much more!

It sucks to be stuck at home, but a day spent at Virtual Kitty Corner watching, learning and enjoying about our awesome feline friends from comfort of your own home.

Don’t miss out and reserve your virtual seat today! Limited space so to get tickets while they’re still available for just £10.

For more information on LondonCats Worldwide’s paw-some virtual events, check out their website here.

Pups drenched in oil rescued by Dogs Trust as cruel puppy smuggling trade continues during lockdown

Dogs Trust is warning the public about the perils of buying dogs via online adverts after rescuing dozens of smuggled pups since the start of lockdown worth tens of thousands of pound.

Since the beginning of lockdown on 23 March, when demand for puppies began increasing rapidly, Dogs Trust has rescued 43 dogs via its Puppy Pilot scheme* that were illegally imported into the UK from central and eastern Europe, with an estimated street value of £80,000.

The charity has also saved 12 heavily pregnant mums, who have given birth to 53 puppies worth around an additional £100,000 to cruel smugglers.

The latest innocent victims are a group of six terrified pups, found covered in sticky oil in the back of a van, that would have been sold on to UK dog lovers as puppy smugglers continue to operate and take advantage of the demand for dogs during the coronavirus lockdown.

The puppies were seized at Dover port during lockdown, having been illegally imported from Romania – underage and after a journey that would have taken more than 24 hours – despite the coronavirus lockdown restrictions in the UK preventing non-essential travel.

That is why the UK’s largest dog welfare charity is again urging the Government to act now to end this cruel trade, as promised in its recent manifesto.

The three Maltese, two Havanese and one Bichon Frise pups, aged at around 11 weeks old, were found in an appalling condition, drenched in oil and suffering from diarrhoea.

The six puppies had to be shaved because of the oil spill, which happened due to unsafe travelling conditions in the back of the van during the arduous journey across borders. They are now in Dogs Trust’s care and will be rehomed responsibly when they are fit and able.

Dogs Trust believes that this is just the tip of the iceberg of this cruel trade and is warning potential dog owners; Don’t Be Dogfished, as it is all too easy to be scammed into buying dogs like these via online adverts.

With millions of us working from home, we have seen a huge spike in demand for puppies, with Google searches for ‘buy a puppy’ increase by 120% when lockdown was announced, according to data from Propellernet.

That is why we have been asking the nation to consider whether now really is the right time to be getting a dog and, if it is, to make sure they are sourcing their puppy responsibly without falling victim to illegal puppy smugglers.

Paula Boyden, Dogs Trust’s Veterinary Director, said:It is absolutely heart-breaking that we continue to see dogs being illegally imported into the country, often in terrible conditions to make huge profits for cruel puppy smugglers.

“We might be in the midst of a pandemic, but these devious sellers will still use every trick in the book to scam unsuspecting dog lovers. Sadly, it’s all too easy to be Dogfished and it can be very difficult to know if you are buying a puppy that has been smuggled. We would advise you to always see a puppy with and interacting with their mum and go and see it more than once. Ask lots of questions, and ask to see vital paperwork, such as a puppy contract. If you have any doubts or it feels too good to be true, as hard as it may be, walk away and report the seller.”

Smuggled puppies often haven’t had the important early life experiences of socialisation with people and habituation with everyday objects which help prevent them being fearful in later life. They are often forced to endure long journeys from Central and Eastern European countries, such as Poland and Hungary, with little to no food or water and no toilet breaks.

The Puppy Pilot scheme has rescued 1,167 dogs since it began in December 2015 with most popular breeds including Dachshunds, French Bulldogs, Maltese and even larger breeds such as Chow Chows.

 What Dogs Trust is calling for: 

The story of all these dogs and thousands more like them is why Dogs Trust is calling on immediate action from the Government, after it promised in its manifesto to crack down on puppy smuggling.

We are calling for:

  1. A requirement for every dog to have a rabies blood test before entry into the UK, together with a wait period which is in line with the incubation period of rabies. This would significantly the increase the minimum age for importing dogs and help to stop the trade.
  2. Visual checks at ports carried out by enforcement agencies with animal welfare expertise, with physical checks where necessary.
  3. Stronger penalties for puppy smugglers caught illegally importing dogs into the country which will act as a deterrent for this abhorrent trade.

What to do to avoid being Dogfished

Sadly, it is all too easy to be scammed into buying a dog which may not be what it seems. We call this Dogfishing. Remember:

  • Always see puppy and mum together at their home and make sure to visit more than once, even if it via video call due to coronavirus restrictions.
  • Ask lots of questions and make sure you see all vital paperwork, such as a puppy contract – which gives lots of information about their parents, breed, health, diet, the puppy’s experiences and more.
  • If you have any doubts or feel pressured to buy, as hard as it may be, walk away and report the seller.
  • For more information and advice about how to avoid being misled when buying a puppy advertised online, search ‘Dogfished’ or visit www.dogstrust.org.uk/dogfished

 

*The Puppy Pilot is a scheme established by Dogs Trust to aid the interception of dogs seized by APHA (Animal and Plant Health Agency) at the ports and provide care and rehabilitation for them prior to finding them new homes.

One in three puppy buyers could not identify a reputable breeder

The Kennel Club urges people to ‘wait it out’ before getting a puppy as pandemic buyers fall victim to scams, rip offs and rogue breeders.

With the surging demand for ‘pandemic puppies’, scams rife and rogue breeders cashing in, dog welfare organisation the Kennel Club has released tips to help puppy buyers find a good breeder, as well as how to spot key red flags – which when missed can lead to devastating emotional and financial consequences:

  • Research is vital if you are to bring home a happy, healthy puppy which suits your lifestyle and will be your friend for life. A quarter of puppy buyers (25 per cent) spend less than two hours researching their puppy and where to get it from, meaning they are less likely to be aware of what to look out for.
  • Due to Lucy’s Law campaign to end puppy farming, it is now illegal in England to buy a puppy or kitten from a third party – so once you’ve done proper research, go direct to a breeder and be prepared to wait. Over one in three (38 per cent) admit to sourcing their four-legged friend from third party sellers, directly over the internet or from an online pet shop.
  • Always see the puppy’s breeding environment and interaction with its mum and littermates – they will have an obvious bond. 37 per cent don’t collect their puppy from where it was bred, instead the seller delivered or met the puppy buyer in a neutral location, like a motorway services. Not collecting the puppy from its breeding environment can enable unscrupulous breeders and traders to hide horrific breeding conditions.
  • Responsible breeders will also health test to ensure puppies are healthy and happy. 71 per cent of puppy buyers don’t receive the relevant health tests for the puppy’s parents and 61 per cent miss seeing relevant vaccination certificates for their puppy.
  • A good breeder will always be interested in you and ask you lots of questions – they want the best forever homes for their puppies. Three in four puppy buyers admit they weren’t asked any questions about their suitability for owning a dog or puppy.

Bill Lambert, Head of Health and Welfare at the Kennel Club commented: “It’s absolutely vital that puppy buyers know what to look for when it comes to sourcing their new best friend responsibly, especially at the moment.

“We are concerned that nearly one in three puppy buyers – 31 per cent – admit they couldn’t confidently identify a reputable breeder and want to raise awareness of both how to know the breeder is doing the right things, and the red flags to look out for. Scammers and puppy farmers are clever and will do what they can to disguise their cruel trade so it’s vital to be extremely vigilant of tricks and fakery.

“We’re urging anyone considering getting a puppy not to make a decision without doing thorough research on the seller, as this really can cost. Rogue breeders and profit-driven puppy farms are cashing in as demand for puppies surge, with absolutely no concern for health or welfare, and you could end up with a very sick puppy, sky-high vet bills and potential heartache.”

The Kennel Club has produced a behind-the-scenes video with Dragons Den entrepreneur and Assured Breeder, Jenny Campbell, which follows her litter of puppies from birth to their new homes,  and shows puppy buyers what a responsible breeder looks like.

The video is available at www.youtube.com/watch?v=20zqKm7Rhbc and more top tips from the Kennel Club to help puppy buyers bring home a happy, healthy puppy are available at www.thekennelclub.org.uk/buyingapuppy

 

 

RSPCA braces for summer surge in abandonments

The RSPCA is bracing itself for a surge in abandoned animals and fears the fallout from the Covid crisis could see more owners struggling to keep their pets.

Typically, the charity sees abandonment peak in the summer months, with 16,519 animals reported abandoned between June and August 2019, which accounts for 30% of all animals abandoned last year.

During the summer months the charity had nearly 180 calls about dumped animals – 5,600 about cats and 6,400 about dogs.

The RSPCA is braced for an even bigger impact this summer following the easing of lockdown and the financial impact on the coronavirus pandemic and has launched an emergency appeal to continue its vital work.

Dermot Murphy, head of the RSPCA’s animal rescue teams, said: “During lockdown we’ve seen pets become a source of comfort and support for people and it appears many people have taken on new animals. Fortunately, during this time we’ve dealt with fewer abandoned pets however we are worried that as lockdown eases, people return to work, go on holiday or struggle financially we will be facing a massive surge of animal abandonments.

“Sadly, summer tends to bring with it a surge in abandoned animals. We don’t know why but it may be a combination of the warmer weather making people feel less guilty about dumping a pet to fend for themselves and people going away on holiday abandoning pets instead of arranging care for them.”

What people can do if they’re struggling to care for their pets:

  • Ask friends and family for help
  • Contact your vet about payment plans, discounts or vouchers for neutering or any other treatment needed
  • Get in touch with local rehoming charities for advice
  • Visit the RSPCA website for welfare advice

To help the RSPCA continue to rescue animals that have been abandoned this summer, please visit rspca.org.uk/abandonments

 

Dog tied to tree and left in dark woods

The RSPCA is appealing for information after a Staffordshire bull terrier was heard barking for help after being left tied to a tree and left in the woods.

RSPCA inspector Rebecca Goulding was called to Gledholt Woods in Huddersfield on Tuesday evening (30 June) by local people who’d heard a dog barking from the woods.

Rebecca said: “People who live nearby heard barking coming from the woods and went to investigate. They found this poor dog tied to a tree with a harness and lead. They told us he’d been there for at least two hours and it was clear no one was coming back for him.

“It seems a strange place for someone to tie up a stray if they found him running loose in the woods without telling anyone as he was very remote, so it seems as though someone has deliberately walking him into the woods to abandon him.”

The brindle and white, adult male Staffie was unneutered and wasn’t microchipped.

Rebecca added: “Thankfully he wasn’t injured and seemed to be in a good condition so I contacted the dog warden. He’s now being cared for by Kirklees dog warden so anyone who believes he may belong to them should contact the council.

“I understand that things are difficult right now and that there may be a very good reason for a family to need to give up their pet. But they should never have taken this poor boy into the woods and tied him to a tree and just left him. There are always other options and animal welfare organisations that can help.

“Anyone with any information about who may be responsible for abandoning him in this way should contact our appeal line on 0300 123 8018.”