Celebrity Cavalier Owners Join Battle With Kennel Club

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STRICTLY Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood and other celebrities have joined thousands of campaigners urging the Kennel Club to stamp out a growing health crisis among Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

A lack of screening means more and more Cavaliers are falling victims to heart problems and another painful condition where the dog’s skull is too small to accommodate its brain.

Cavalier lovers, including Revel Horwood and his partner Damon Scott, TV presenter Lisa Riley, celebrity chef Richard Corrigan and Made In Chelsea star Binky Felstead are among more than 2500 who have signed an online petition.

They claim the Kennel Club is not doing enough to ensure that Cavaliers are screened for Mitral Valve Disease and Syringomyelia before they are bred from.

Craig and Damon were told recently their Cavalier Sophie, who has MVD, has months to live. “She is the most beautiful little girl. We need to make sure all Cavaliers are MRI scanned and heart tested before breeding,” says Revel Horwood.

Has the KC learnt nothing?

Despite labelling itself “the UK’s largest organisation dedicated to protecting and promoting the health and welfare of all dogs”, campaigners say the Kennel Club has failed to take a strong stance, despite outrage after the TV documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed that showed Cavaliers screaming in pain. This resulted in the BBC ditching its coverage of Crufts in 2008.

“The Cavalier is in serious trouble and the Kennel Club needs to do much more. Mandatory testing for both these conditions is the bare minimum,” says Jemima Harrison, the documentary’s director.

“How many more scientists need to raise the alarm before something is done? How many more Cavaliers have to suffer before we see real action to save this breed?”

A “Cavalier” attitude to health and welfare

“Many people wrongly believed losing the BBC’s Crufts’ coverage was a watershed but most breeders continue to mate Cavaliers that are untested. Even puppy farmers are able to register their litters with the Kennel Club,” reveals Margaret Carter, petition organiser and Cavalier campaigner.

KC and breeders blame everyone but themselves including owners

“There is a voluntary MRI screening scheme for CM/SM but most of the small number of breeders who do scan don’t submit their results to it,”concedes Carter. The need for an official scheme for MVD was agreed in 2008 but nothing has materialised, showing there is no genuine will for reform.

The Signatories
Catherine Farnsworth bought two-year-old Kookie the Cavalier from a Kennel Club assured breeder. “Kookie’s parents were not tested. He started showing severe symptoms of CM/SM at just four months old,” she recalls. “On bad days, he is very vocal. It’s distressing to watch and I worry about the long-term impact of the medication.”

Mother-of-three Charlotte Mackaness says her family was distraught when their first Cavalier died of MVD. “Just months later our two-year-old, Beebee, was diagnosed with CM/SM. Like many with SM, much of Beebee’s pain is around the head and neck so my children can’t play with her like before.

“The Kennel Club is all talk,” she continues. “The breed club seems exactly the same. Pet owners understand testing isn’t a guarantee. All we ask is breeders do everything possible to reduce the risk.

“Beebee’s breeders have won several Crufts’ Best of Breed titles and came highly recommended from a Cavalier Club puppy coordinator but we’ve since learnt their health record is far from ideal. While they collect trophies, all our darling dog has to look forward to is a life of pain.”

WHAT IS MITRAL VALVE DISEASE?
MVD is a degenerative disease of the heart valves that leads to congestive heart failure. In 2009 a report by a leading veterinary cardiologist stated that 50 per cent of Cavaliers develop MVD heart murmurs by their fifth birthday. It is the biggest killer of Cavaliers under 10.

WHAT IS CM/SM?
Syringomyelia is a painful neurological condition most often seen in Cavaliers, although other breeds like their close relations the Brussels Griffon are also seriously affected. It is often attributed to Chiari-like malformation (CM) of the skull. Put in lay man’s terms, the skull is too small for the brain causing severe pain and forming fluid-filled that cavities that destroy the spinal cord.

View the petition at https://www.change.org/p/the-uk-kennel-club-stop-registerin-g-cavalier-king-charles-spaniel-puppies-unless-their-parents-are-mri-scanned-and-heart-tested

For more information, please contact Margaret Carter at [email protected] or call 01707 262035.


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Dog owners have “gone to war” with Kennel Club over genetic defects in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels 

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Dog owners have declared war on the Kennel Club for failing to act over two potentially fatal conditions affecting Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

They claim the Club is failing to ban shoddy breeding practices that cause pets to die of heart failure or an agonising condition where a dog’s brain becomes too big for its skull.

In a matter of days more than 1,700 owners have signed an online petition demanding that only the puppies of Cavaliers screened for Mitral Valve Disease (MVD) and Syringomyelia (SM) could be registered by the Kennel Club. Breeding from dogs screened clear significantly improves the chances of producing unaffected offspring.

MVD is the same disease Sophie, the Cavalier of Craig Revel Horwood, suffers from. The Strictly judge recently admitted his agony when the terminal condition was diagnosed.

Has the KC learnt nothing?

Despite labelling itself “the UK’s largest organisation dedicated to protecting and promoting the health and welfare of all dogs”, campaigners say the Kennel Club has failed to take a strong stance, despite outrage caused by the TV documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed that showed Cavaliers screaming in pain that resulted in the BBC ditching its coverage of Crufts in 2008.

“The Cavalier is in serious trouble and the Kennel Club needs to do so much more. Mandatory testing for both these conditions is the bare minimum,” says Jemima Harrison, who directed the documentary. “How many more scientists need to raise the alarm before something is done? How many more Cavaliers have to suffer before we see real action to save this breed?”

A “Cavalier” attitude to health and welfare

While signatories were leaving comments describing the distress involved with losing and caring for dogs with serious painful and life-limiting conditions, the Kennel Club was promoting National Canine Health Testing Week. “What an irony. Our breed is heading for disaster yet the Kennel Club is asking for people to post ‘healthyselfies’,” says Margaret Carter, petition organiser and long-time campaigner.

“Many people wrongly believed losing the BBC’s coverage of Crufts was a watershed but most breeders continue to mate Cavaliers that are untested and, because of the lack of rules regarding testing, even puppy farmers are able to register their litters with the Kennel Club,” she reveals.

KC and breeders blame everyone but themselves including owners

In a statement the Kennel Club blamed poor uptake by breeders of its voluntary MRI screening scheme for CM/SM. “It is true that even of those breeders who do MRI scan, very few submit the results to the scheme,” concedes Carter. “Breeders claim the scheme is imperfect but how can researchers improve it if nobody uses it, and how is the puppy-buying public able to make informed choices without information being made available? The need for an official scheme for MVD was agreed in 2008 but nothing has materialised, showing there is no genuine will for reform.

The statement also said more pet owners should volunteer their dogs for the scheme. “To ask Cavalier owners to shoulder more responsibility, when they are already have the emotional and financial burden of caring for sick dogs, is astonishing. Medication is extremely expensive. Plus, an MRI to diagnose SM costs well in excess of £1,000, while the official scheme for breeders is a mere £350,” says Carter.

The Signatories
“My own experience of pain has at times made me feel like I just want out,” says Lynn Burton, who suffers the human version of CM/SM. “How people can breed Cavaliers without doing everything possible to reduce the risks is unbelievable. I can explain how I feel. A dog has no voice.”

Catherine Farnsworth bought two-year-old Kookie the Cavalier from a Kennel Club assured breeder. “Kookie’s parents were not tested. He started showing severe symptoms of CM/SM at just four months old,” she recalls. “He has seven different daily medicines. On bad days, he is very vocal. It’s distressing to watch and I worry about the long-term impact of the medication.”

Mother-of-three Charlotte Mackaness says her family was distraught when their first Cavalier died of MVD. “Just months later our two-year-old, Beebee, was diagnosed with CM/SM. My young children find it hard to understand why she’s no longer a lively little dog. Like many with SM, much of Beebee’s pain is around the head, neck and spine so the children can’t play with her like before.

“The Kennel Club is all talk,” she continues. “The breed club seems exactly the same. Pet owners understand testing isn’t a guarantee. All we ask is breeders do everything possible to reduce the risk. Beebee’s breeders have won several Crufts’ Best of Breed titles and came highly recommended from a Cavalier Club puppy coordinator but we’ve since learnt their health record is poor so we are taking legal advice. While they collect trophies, all our darling dog has to look forward to is a life of pain.”

WHAT IS MITRAL VALVE DISEASE?
MVD is a degenerative disease of the heart valves that leads to congestive heart failure. In 2009 a report by a leading veterinary cardiologist stated that 50 per cent of Cavaliers develop MVD heart murmurs by their fifth birthday. It is the biggest killer of Cavaliers under 10.

WHAT IS CM/SM?
Syringomyelia is a painful neurological condition most often seen in Cavaliers, although other breeds like their close relations the Brussels Griffon are also seriously affected. It is often attributed to Chiari-like malformation (CM) of the skull. Put in lay man’s terms, the skull is too small for the brain causing severe pain and forming fluid-filled that cavities that destroy the spinal cord.

View the petition at https://www.change.org/p/the-uk-kennel-club-stop-registerin-g-cavalier-king-charles-spaniel-puppies-unless-their-parents-are-mri-scanned-and-heart-tested

For more information, please contact Margaret Carter at [email protected] or call 01707 262035.


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Has your pet got the Xmas Factor?

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We’re searching for the most festive of pets for our #PetXmasFactor competition. Up for grabs are three cushions from DigilabelUK that will feature your pet. 
 
To enter, simply take a photograph of your pet looking Christmassy.

Then, visit the Pets Magazine Facebook Page or Twitter page (@Pets_Mag) and post your pet photo with the hashtag #PetXmasFactor. IMPORTANT – it must include the hashtag #PetXmasFactor for the entry to count. 

The deadline for entries is Wednesday December 24 at 12 noon. 

Three lucky readers will win one of three microfibre 20 x 20 cushions of their pet. Winners will need to email the photo they would like to use on their cushion to [email protected]


About digilableUK 

www.digilabeluk.com
offers cutting edge, top quality digital photo printing onto various home furnishings, clothing and other personal items including quilt covers, pillows, cushions, dog beds, tablecloths, table runners, napkins, aprons, sport towels, sports bags, beach bags and sarongs, with new products being added monthly.

The website is intuitive and easy to use, and allows customers to create exactly what they want, with a choice of delivery dates. All textiles used are washable and colourfast, and prints are produced using the very latest in digital textile printing technology. Users can upload their own images and designs using the inbuilt configurator and have the option on some products of customising the size, allowing the user to create a unique, one-off product.


10% festive discount on all orders

Promo code:  PETSMAG1

Please enter your code on checkout and it will automatically discount the 10% before payment. Paypal is the swiftest way of payment but a bank transfer option is also available. Please note, if paying by bank transfer your order will only be confirmed upon receipt of payment into our account. Digilabel will not be held responsible for delays in the payment process from bank to bank.

Offer valid: from Monday December 1 to Wednesday December 31st.

Terms & Conditions 
There will be three winners for this competition – all entries sent in after the above date will not be counted. The competition is open to all pets. All entrants must be either uploaded to our Facebook page or Twitter page and must include the hashtag – #PetXmasFactor. The deadline for photos to be sent in is Wednesday December 24 at 12 noon. Three winners will be announced and contacted on Wednesday December 24 2014. This competition is only open to UK residents. By submitting this image you are allowing us to use it for marketing purposes. Winners are required to send an additional photo of their pet that they would like to feature on their cushion via email by January 31st 2015. 


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Reader offer: Cat postcards & trump cards

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Cat Postcards by Sue Parslow, illustrated by Polly Horner and published by Laurence King, is a set of 21 cat postcards that feature beautifully commissioned illustrations of some of the nation’s favourite felines.

Featuring hand-drawn illustrations of the most popular and interesting breeds of cat, along with facts on each from animal expert Sue Parslow, this set of postcards is the perfect gift for anyone who adores cats.

Cats: Best in Show by Sue Parslow, illustrated by Polly Horner, is a set of trump cards that feature beautifully commissioned illustrations, paired with pedigree facts and trivia on your favourite felines.

Cats: Best in Show
& Cat Postcards, each for £6.00 (RRP is £8.95 each.) NB/ Please note that the Cat Postcards are published on January 5, 2015, so will not be available for dispatch until then.

Code: Cats6

Pets Magazine ‘Cats’ promo start & end date: Monday November 24 at 8.00am to Saturday 31st January at 12 midnight.

The code must be activated at the checkout stage of the following website www.laurenceking.com (after adding the item/s to your shopping basket) and entering Cats6 when prompted which automatically applies the discount.


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Brave Boyd better now

Boyd the horse

A six-year-old pony called Boyd is on the search for a home after intensive rehabiliation at Blue Cross rehoming centre in Rolleston has finally paid off.

Boyd was one of a number of horses rescued from a farm in South Wales in April 2011. All were severely underweight and Boyd also had a matted lice infested coat. He had not experienced much contact with people so was very nervous and frightened when he arrived.

Kath Urwin, Blue Cross Centre Manager said: “We have put in a lot of time to help Boyd gain confidence and become the healthy, happy horse he is today. We are delighted that our efforts have developed him into a wonderful horse and hope to see him finally settled in a home of his own soon.”

Boyd is looking for a home as a non-ridden compantion to another horse. He would like to continue his training  in his new home. As with all Blue Cross horses, Boyd will be rehomed on a monitored and supported loan scheme, Blue Cross will reimburse his annual vaccinations, dental and health check along with provide his first years worming programme.

Blue Cross helps over 40,000 sick, injured and unwanted pets every year. If you can help a homeless horse like Boyd or would like more information about the horses at the Rolleston-on-Dove centre please call 0300 777 1520 or visit www.bluecross.org.uk.


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World’s first in-home smart monitoring system for cat owners

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Tailio, the smart litter box device and app to monitor your cat’s health, has launched on crowdfunding site Kickstarter.

Tailio is the world’s first in-home smart monitoring system designed to help pet owners with early detection of many common health issues and improve lives of the world’s cats. Tailio includes a Wi-Fi enabled device that sits under the litter box, data analytics in the cloud, and a mobile app that helps cat owners know when their cat needs care with alerts and tools on a smartphone. Pet Wireless hopes to raise $30,000 on Kickstarter.

Tailio has two intuitive parts: the physical sensory device and the app. The Tailio device is simply placed under your cat’s litter box and through Wi-Fi connection, Tailio seamlessly monitors a cat’s weight, waste, visit patterns to the litter box, and behavior inside the box. Once users download Tailio’s smartphone app, owners automatically receive updates about their cat’s day-to-day wellbeing from wherever they are.

Pet Wireless created Tailio with the aim to help cat owners all over the globe to meaningfully understand their pet’s habits, behavior and ultimately health. Tailio data analytics learns each cat and generates a ‘Pawprint’ – an individual profile of physiology and behavior that is unique to each cat. The Pawprint serves as a baseline for Tailio so it can pick up on regular patterns and notify owners if something out of the ordinary happens.

As a cat owner, Pet Wireless founder Alex Treiner developed Tailio with his own personal experiences in mind. He said: “I know the heartbreak of discovering your beloved cat’s illness a little too late. I knew if I could develop a device that detected signs of disease or distress earlier that owners would and alert them, it would help owners to avoid the pain of losing beloved pet before their time, that my family and I experienced. That’s why I created Tailio.”

Treiner put together a product development team and worked with veterinarians to create a device that would be easy for cat owners to use, and also wouldn’t upset the free-spirited cat with obtrusive sensors and devices. With the help of the experts, he soon developed the ‘under-the-litter-box design’, which is also what makes Tailio unique.

“Tailio’s advanced technology helps owners care for their cats at a much earlier stage of many common health issues, and significantly improves the chances of positive outcomes with less suffering,” Dr. Mark Goldstein, DVM and former President of the San Diego Humane Society, notes.  “Through the intelligence of Tailio analytics, the smart platform can help cats live longer, healthier lives, and also provides owners peace of mind.”

Tailio is available to back on Kickstarter, with early bird pledge levels starting at $99.


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Our pets are now king of the castle

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  • 59% of Brits buy luxury products for their pets at least once a month, compared to 25% who confessed they do not buy gifts for their partners!

  • More than a quarter of people say that their pet is their best friend

  • 32% obtained a pet because they felt they were a necessary addition to their family


We’re a nation of pet lovers, and if we care for our beloved animals and show them affection, they’ll be loyal and show it back. But can the same be said for our better halves? Compared to past times, today sees a much less hierarchical distance between parents, partners, kids and their pets. The latter rule the roost nowadays, with 46% of Brits surveyed allow their pet to sleep anywhere they want in the home.

Research conducted by Vetsure Pet Insurance has revealed that 75% of pet owners say their pet is equally, if not more, important than other family members!Two in five go as far as allowing their pet to sleep on their bed and, of these, 14% said that this has had a negative impact on their sex life!

Ashley Gray, vet and founder of Vetsure Pet Insurance, said: “This research highlights that the special relationship we have with our pets is becoming ever closer and more complex. As pet owners we are benefiting more and more from our pets on an emotional level – in ways that our ‘non-furry’ loved ones just can’t replicate. Pets don’t judge us, they are incredibly forgiving of our faults and usually give more than they get from the relationship. How can any partner compete with that?!”

Clara Guzzardi lives with her husband, five dogs and two cats in Surrey. The findings certainly reflect the goings on in her household, Clara explains: “I’ll call the dogs the love of my life and my husband says are you talking to the dogs or me?!  Our affections go towards the animals, then whatever we have left to each other! When I have spare money, I often spend it buying the dogs treats. The dogs are also on a specific diet which is only available in a few shops, so sometimes I get the dogs food but haven’t got anything for us to eat!”

Our love for our pets is also reflected in our spending habits, pet owners admitted to splurging as much as £846 a month on their pet. 59% of pet owners suggested that they bought luxury items such as treats and accessories for their pet at least once a month and a generous 27% admitted to buying pet presents on a weekly basis!

Our partners faired less well in the research, as only 33% of those questioned confessed to treating their other half every month and a mere 11% on a weekly basis!  Perhaps relying on our pet is more paw-pular than we thought?

However, despite the research highlighting that we are loving and spoiling our pets, only a quarter of us have pet insurance for them.


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The Cockapoo is now the favourite puppy of UK Internet users

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Insurance pioneer Bought By Many has analysed a ton of Internet search data to find the UK’s most popular puppies of 2014.

The surprising results show that the Cockapoo is the new favourite puppy of UK Internet users, while last year’s champion, the Cocker Spaniel has dropped three places to 4th place.

German Shepherd puppies have seen a surge in popularity in 2014, rising six places to 5th, with Husky, Golden Retriever, and Boxer puppies also making gains. Meanwhile, Chihuahua, Pug andShih Tzu puppies have all seen a decrease in popularity.

Surprisingly, Rottweiler puppies are the only new breed to enter the top 15 and have displaced Border Terrier Puppies who previously occupied the 15th Spot in 2013.

Evergreen favourites like the Labrador, Jack Russell Terrier, and the Bulldog have all held their positions, along with Beagles and French Bulldogs.

What’s behind the year-on-year movements?

Could the decline in the Cocker Spaniel’s fortunes be Royalty related?

Perhaps the birth of Prince George, Duke of Cambridge, on 22nd July 2013 took attention away from Kate’s Cocker puppy Lupo?

Could recent media coverage of the Tulisa Drug trial be a factor in the renewed interest in Rottweiler puppies? Or could is be showering Youtube sensation Lena the Rottweiler? How does demand for puppies correspond to supply?

Interestingly, there is actually very little correlation. At the time of writing, there are 2,064 Chihuahua puppies (15th most popular) listed for sale on Pes4Homes, but only 195 Beagle puppies (7th most popular). Similarly there are significantly more pug puppies for sale (1,005) than there are Cockapoo puppies (536). This could mean the price of Cockapoo puppies and Beagle puppies is set to increase, while prices for Chihuahua and Pug puppies fall.

Bought By Many spends a lot of time pawing over statistics about dogs. This kind of data is enormously helpful in providing useful information to members, and in matching the right breeds to the right insurers.

One of the most common things they search for is information about how the popularity of different breeds is changing over time. The Kennel Club produces a very interesting report about new breed registrations each quarter. But that data leaves a couple of gaps. Firstly, it only covers puppies and breeders who are Kennel Club registered. Second, there is inevitably something of a lag between a puppy being registered, and the publication of the data.

With Trending Puppies, Bought By Many hopes to be able to provide a leading indicator of the changing popularity of puppies, nearer to real-time.

How is Trending Puppies compiled?

Bought by Many licenses a tool called Hitwise from Experian. Among other things, Hitwise enables you to research anonymised Internet search data for millions of UK Internet users. For this research, we looked at searches containing the term “puppy” in the 12 weeks to 28th June 2014, and compared them to searches for puppies in the 12 weeks to 13th July 2013. They removed the searches that weren’t relevant (such as those for Hush Puppies) and then summed up different variations on the same search (for example, “cockapoo puppies” and “cockapoo puppies for sale”). Finally they sorted the data set by the volume of searches to create these results.

A note about Huskies

One the interesting aspects of analysing Internet search data is the terminology people use which does not necessarily correspond to what an expert or insider would say. Searches for “Husky” are a case in point: these occur over 100 times more than searches for actual Husky breeds (such as Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute).

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New RSPCA stats show people snub luxuries in favour of their pets

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Pet owners who don’t want to leave their animals home alone miss out on luxuries such as holidays abroad and meals out, new RSPCA figures have revealed.

A survey carried out by the charity revealed more than 51% of people who took part don’t go on foreign holidays, while 29% miss out on time with family and friends because they don’t want their pets to be lonely.
 
A further 29% said they don’t devote as much time as they would like to hobbies and leisure activities, 25% didn’t go for meals out and nearly 24% said they had turned down opportunities for better paid jobs because of the impact a longer commute would have on the time they were away from their pets.

TrustedHousesitters, a leading house & pet sitting website, has now given anyone signing up at TrustedHousesitters.com the option of making a donation to the RSPCA.

Leanne Copp, RSPCA corporate account manager, said: “The RSPCA is delighted that Trustedhousesitters.com has chosen to support us. Using their great service will mean that your pets can be cared for in their own home while you are enjoying your holiday and it might save you money too.

“It won’t be long before many people start to think about visiting friends and family around Christmas time, while others may have invitations to festive parties, so Trustedhousesitters.com could offer the perfect solution for both owner and pet.”

“The money that Trustedhousesitters.com raise will go towards ensuring that we can continue our vital work in caring for animals and eliminating cruelty and neglect.”

Andy Peck, CEO and founder of TrustedHousesitters.com, said: “To be able to offer our support and to help our members become involved with such an important and well established charity, for the good of all animals, fills us with pride. We started this business to help pet owners find a solution and we know just how important their pets are to them.

“It is a shame that in our world there is still suffering for animals and we know our members are extremely passionate about animal welfare. By joining forces we are enabling them to become part of this essential ongoing work and all of our efforts go towards helping the pet animals we all love so much.”

For more information, to find a pet sitter near you, or even to sign up as a sitter yourself, visit www.trustedhousesitters.com <http://www.trustedhousesitters.com/>

Help the RSPCA rescue animals from cruelty this Christmas – text RESCUE to 78866 to give £3 (texts cost £3 plus standard network rate) and help turn a cruel Christmas into a happy New Year for animals today. Click here for Terms and Conditions.


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RSPCA busts nine myths around mysterious moggies this Hallow’een

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Throughout history cats have had an air of mystery surrounding them and the RSPCA hopes to debunk the nine most common myths.

The RSPCA has more cats in the charity’s care than any other animal and this year has taken in 20 per cent more than during the same period last year.

As we near Hallow’een we are getting to the bottom of some of the myths surrounding cats in the hope that it will help people to gain a better understanding of our feline friends and create more homes for the high numbers in animal centres.

Whilst some myths about cats can be traced as far back as medieval times, others, for example, the old wives tale that should have a litter of kittens before being spayed or that cats pose a risk to pregnant women or babies are just modern day mythology and scare-mongering.

RSPCA scientific officer and cat welfare expert Alice Potter said: “Sadly, one of the most common reasons that people call the RSPCA about wanting to give up a cat for adoption is because they are expecting a new baby. How much of this stems from these misconceptions is not known, but the reality is that cats make great family pets.

“This, coupled with the belief that cats should have a litter of kittens before being spayed means that we have high numbers of unwanted cats in rescue centres.

“We would encourage anyone thinking of getting a cat to first look at adopting one of the ones in our care desperately looking for a home.”

Here are the most common myths around cats and the answers our experts have given to them to show that they are mostly no more than myths.

  • Black cats are unlucky Not true. Black cats are just the same as every other cat! They won’t bring you bad luck, good luck, riches or hard times. More than 70 per cent of the cats in the RSPCA’s care are black or black and white, as this is the most common colour of cat – not because they are unlucky. Typically most cats are most active at dusk or dawn – technically this is known as crepuscular – as in the wild this is when prey is most active.


  • Pregnant women cannot live with cats This myth has come about because in some rare circumstances directly touching cat litter or cat faeces while pregnant then not washing hands afterwards then handling food can cause toxoplasmosis which is harmful to unborn children. This can also be caught from handling raw meat or digging in the garden. However, maintaining basic hygiene practices around cat litter is protection from this and there is no harm in petting or stroking your cat as normal. New mothers will naturally be protective of their babies and may worry that the cat could harm or suffocate them. While it is wise to introduce sensible precautions, e.g. not leaving a cat unsupervised with a baby until he or she can interact with the cat safely, there is no reason that cats can’t continue to be a member of the family.


  • Cats should be allowed to have a litter of kittens before being spayed According to an RSPCA study, more than a third of cat owners believe that a cat should have a litter of kittens before being spayed, but this simply isn’t true. A cat can get pregnant from as young as four months, while still a kitten herself. Vets and animal welfare charities recommend that cats should be spayed at four months to prevent accidental litters – the RSPCA’s study also found that 85% of litters of kittens are unplanned.


  • Cats have nine lives While some cat owners may suspect that their curious cats have escaped death by their poise and prowess in fact this is a common myth which has been around centuries – possibly even since Egyptian times. Typically cats live for fourteen years, but many live for much longer.


  • Milk is good for cats Water is all cats ever need to drink once they have been weaned at eight to twelve weeks. Because they are unable to digest lactose giving cats milk can be harmful and can cause nasty stomach cramps and diarrhoea.. Cats should have constant access to fresh drinking water.


  • Cats like to live indoors There is some truth in this. Some cats will like their home comforts and if they have always lived indoors only they may adapt to living without outdoor access. However cats that are used to going outside may find adapting more difficult.Many cats enjoy spending time outdoors roaming around, climbing, running and lying in the sunshine! Some indoor environments can become predictable and boring, leading to stress, inactivity and  obesity. The RSPCA wouldn’t recommend keeping cats that are used to going outside, as ‘indoor-only cats’, except for health reasons.


  • Cats purr only when happy Cat lovers enjoy hearing the sound of their cats purr as it is associated with contentment but actually a cat’s purr is more complex than that and can show a variety of emotions including stress. The sound is made after signals in the brain cause muscles in the voice box to vibrate.


  • Cats always land on their feet As an active and tree-climbing animal a cat’s survival depends on its ability to survive falls. Cats have a flexible spine and no collarbone allowing them to use their hind legs to right themselves during a fall. Although cats are capable of landing on their feet this isn’t always the case, at some heights they are unable to righten themselves. More importantly landing on their feet doesn’t always mean they get away unharmed!


  • Cats are nocturnal
    Typically most cats are most active at dusk or dawn – technically this is known as crepuscular – as in the wild this is when prey is most active.

    The RSPCA encourages anyone who is considering adopting a cat to base their decision on character rather than colour. To see the cats in the RSPCA’s care, please visit rspca.org.uk/findapet <http://rspca.org.uk/findapet>


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