Cats and hot weather

British summer has officially started, with the hottest day of the year on Saturday reaching over 30 degrees in some areas. And while most of us will be taking the opportunity to enjoy the heat and the sunshine, our cats might not be having so much fun.

Hot weather can be dangerous for cats, especially young kittens, elderly cats, and sick cats. The risks include dehydration, heatstroke, and even sunburn. Here’s how to protect your pets as the temperature rises.

Sunburn: This might not be the first thing you think of, but your cats can sunburn just like you!

Sunburn on the nose
  • Cats that have light coloured fur are especially at risk
  • Ears and noses burn easily
  • Sunburn can increase the risk of skin cancer
  • Ask your vet for a suitable product, as not all are safe for cats.

Food and Water: Most cats will go off their food a little during warmer weather. This is normal, but if your cat stops eating altogether its important that you take them to the vet.

A fountain helps encourage drinking
  • Feed wet food instead of dry. Cats naturally get most of their water from their food.
  • Add a splash of water on the food to encourage your cat to drink.
  • Provide plenty of water bowls and keep the water fresh and clean. Place them around the house so your cat always has access to fresh water.
  • Try a drinking fountain – many cats prefer to drink from running water.

Keeping Cool: There are lots of easy ways to help your pet stay cool in warmer weather.

Cooling mats are an easy way to help your pet stay cool
  • Provide shady spots for your pet to rest
  • Use a fan to circulate air. Don’t point fans directly at your cat though!
  • Open the windows. If your cats are indoor only, use child locks to restrict how far the window can open.
  • Try a cooling mat – you can buy these at most pet shops
  • Wrap an ice pack in a towel to make a nice cool spot to lie
  • Wipe your cat down regularly with a damp cloth
  • Try playing with water! A small paddling pool and some toy fish can provide endless fun for many cats, and it keeps them cool.

Spotting problems: If you cat becomes dehydrated or over-heated it’s essential that you act quickly. If you spot any signs, you should take your cat to the vet right away. Dehydration and heat stroke can be fatal, and cats can become vet sick very quickly. The signs of dehydration or heat stroke are not always very obvious, but can include include:

Keeping hydrated!
  • Being lethargic or unusually sleepy
  • Being floppy
  • Vomiting
  • Breathing fast
  • Stumbling when they walk
  • Panting like a dog
  • Loss of appetite
  • Eyes looking dry or sunken
  • Mouth looking dry and gums looking pale

This video from Kitten Lady shows how to check for dehydration, and also shows a way of giving your cat some fluids if you can’t get to the vet right away. We would always encourage you to seek vet treatment – never try to treat your cat on your own. This is just a stop gap until you can get to the vet.

We hope this helps you keep your cats comfortable and safe through the summer. Now put your feet up, grab a cold drink, and enjoy the sunshine! Preferably with a cat on your lap, of course.

June Update

June was another busy month for us at Henry’s Haven, with 25 cats and kittens going to their forever homes.

Tabitha and Sierra were among the re-homes for this month. Look at those gorgeous little faces! These babies will be growing up loved and cared for rather than on the streets.

Sadly thousands of other kittens will be born to short, difficult lives in bushes and sheds. There’s a simple way to solve this of course – spay and neuter. We talk about neutering a lot here at Henry’s, because we see the unnecessary suffering that happens when people fail to neuter their pets. It’s the healthiest option for your cat, and for kittens everywhere. Healthy kittens are adorable, but poorly kittens that die in their first few weeks of life are heartbreaking. You can prevent this suffering. Please spay and neuter your kitties.

Also this month little Fleur was ill and needed emergency vet care. This meant an overnight stay and of course a huge bill for Henry’s! Thankfully Fleur is feeling much better now and improving every day but our finances are looking a bit less healthy.

Fleur – before her illness

Fleur’s vet bill wiped out our emergency fund, so we now need to raise funds to replace that. If you’d like to help us raise this much needed cash, you can help us by donating cash, helping out at a fundraising event (or even planning one of your own), or donating items for our auctions and tombolas. You can also help us more generally by buying a gift for our cats from our Amazon Wishlist.

A huge THANK YOU to all our supporters, adopters, and well-wishers. Your support is so important to us all.

Holiday time!

As the boss is on a much needed and well earned holiday, we will be taking a short break and will not be taking in or re-homing any cats.

Any re-homes that have been organised in advance will still go ahead, and of course all our cats and kittens will be cared for by our foster team.

If you’d like to adopt a cat, please fill out our adoption form as normal, and we will get back to you in around 10 days time.

If you need help with a cat urgently there are several other cat rescues in the area who may be able to help – email us if you’d like a list of contacts. If you need help but it’s not urgent, drop us an email and we will follow up on Debbie’s return.

Actual footage of Debbie on holiday ;-P

You can still contact us as usual via our Facebook page or by emailing us at The admin team will be on hand to respond to any queries.

Thanks so much for your patience and continued support. We’ll be back in business soon!

May Update

With kitten season now in full swing it’s a busy time at Henry’s Haven! We are knee deep in kittens and pregnant mums, and it’s all hands on deck to care for all these new lives.

Smurfie’s surviving kittens

This month we have re-homed a whopping 30 cats, which is definitely something to be proud of. Of course we couldn’t do any of it without our amazing volunteers, so we’re extending a huge ‘thank you’ to all our Henry’s family.

Our homing successes this month included gorgeous John, who has been with us for a long time. We’re so thrilled for him, and he’s settling really well into his new home. Adult cats can get overlooked at this time of year so we are really grateful to Johns new owner for giving him a chance.

John. Just look at that gorgeous face!

Kitten season may come with buckets of cuteness, but there have been some very sad times too. We lost our precious Artemis – the smallest of 12 kittens rescued from the same home – and also lost three of Smurfie’s litter, and Doris’s only kitten. These losses came despite the best efforts of our team, who worked around the clock to give these babies and their mums the best possible chance.

Little Artemis – ‘Missy’ to her friends – gained her wings

All this sadness and loss could be avoided if everyone spayed and neutered their pets. For us this is maybe the most frustrating and upsetting part of kitten season.

With so many mouths to feed our resources are stretched. We would especially grateful for financial donations of any size, as well as food – both kitten and adult – and wood pellet or corn based litter.

A huge thank you from all of us to our Henry’s family and all our supporters for all your love and support this month.

February Update

Spring is in the air as we come to the end of February, and it’s time for our end of month update, letting you know what we’ve been up to over the last month.

Henry’s Haven volunteers have been busy this month. We took in 16 cats this month, including Lily, a tiny black and white cat who is pregnant, and a family of four who’s owner had been made homeless.

Lily, a black and white female cat, sitting in a brown cat bed, with a red star toy hanging near her head

Our gorgeous Teeka, who arrived last month, gave birth to three beautiful kittens today, and is being a great mum to them. This story could have had a very different ending if Teeka hadn’t been brought into Rescue. Kittens born outside have a much lower chance of survival, and if not found early enough, will become feral. Those kittens then have kittens themselves, and the whole cycle repeats. Spay and neuter avoids this.

A tortie cat lying on her side feeding newborn kittens. She is looking up at the camera.
Teeka and Babies

Teeka should never have had to go through pregnancy and birth, and much as we adore her little fluffy babies we are sad that she’s been put through this. Teeka is a lovely cat who must have had a human family at some stage. Once her kittens are weaned Teeka will be available for adoption – however we will not be responding to applications for Teeka or her kittens at this stage.

This month we re-homed 23 cats into wonderful forever homes, including Marigold and Tarmac. We’ve been focussing on the adults this month, as kitten season is just beginning and we are already seeing pregnant cats coming in. That means a lot of pressure on our foster space.

A ginger and white cat wearing a collar, curled up on a purple blanket

‘Kitten Season’ is a term you might hear a lot at the moment. While cats breed all year round, most kittens are born in the spring. That means that for Rescues this is a very busy time.

Check out our infographic below on what to do if you find kittens living outside. 

Untitled-Project (2)

Kitten season puts a strain on our finances and our foster space. You can help by:

  • Donating! Hit the PayPal button on our front page to donate. You can set up a monthly donation too.
  • Volunteer – we need foster spaces, preferably with people who have some experience of caring for pregnant queens and socialising kittens. If that’s you, we’d love to hear from you!
  • Gift an item from our Amazon wishlist
  • Follow us on social media, and share our posts.

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who has helped support us this month – we can’t do any of this without you, and we love our West Yorkshire kitty family so much!

Meet our Volunteers

Sophie is a long time Eccentric Feline Enthusiast, and has been volunteering with Henry’s Haven since the very start. We caught up for a quick chat.


Can you tell us a bit about what you do at Henry’s Haven? All sorts! I’m a foster carer, mainly for short term fosters. That means cats recovering from an operation, or cats that need somewhere safe for a few days until a longer term place can be found. I also help with paperwork like developing policies and procedures, and look after the website.

What made you decide to volunteer at Henry’s Haven? My last volunteer role had ended and I was at a bit of a loose end. I’m a huge cat lover and have four of my own, so when Debbie reached out to me to help with a local stray, it was a really natural fit. I didn’t have any rescue experience besides helping a friend rescue a stray, so it’s been quite a steep learning curve.

What’s the hardest part of Rescue for you? Seeing how badly some people treat animals. That and when people refuse to neuter their pets. I find that really upsetting because spay and neuter means healthier, happier animals, that are not bringing unwanted kittens into the world.

What do you enjoy most about your role? Seeing cats go to their forever homes! When I started I was worried that I’d not be able to let go of my foster cats, and that it’d be too hard emotionally. What surprised me was that although I do get attached, it’s been really easy to let go because I know they are going to such great homes.


What do you do for fun outside of cat rescue? Cats are my main hobby, but I also make jewellery, do a bit of sewing, and love curling up with a brew and a good book.

Do you have cats of your own? Yes – I’ve got 4 cats of my own. Two came from a local rescue. Bumble is a big ginger girl who is a proper snuggler. She came into rescue as a pregnant stray. I fell in love the second I met her. Zoe is a fluffy long haired tortie. She was found abandoned in a box next to a canal at just 6 weeks old along with her two brothers. She’s quite aloof and definitely not a lap cat, so when I do get a cuddle it’s extra special.

My other two cats, Luna and Katniss, are pedigree Bengals. Buying from a breeder isn’t something I’d do again, although I’m not completely against breeding. I just think it needs to be much more heavily regulated to stop irresponsible breeding. As much as I love Bengals and want to always have one in my life, in future I’ll adopt rather than shop.

Helping Community Cats

In this freezing weather our community cats – the stray and feral cats that live outside – are struggling. 

We know a lot of our followers would love to know more about how to help these cats, especially through the winter.

The first thing to do of course is to speak to us, as we may be able to help. However sadly Henry’s Haven can’t always be there to help. This is because financial and space constraints mean we can’t take every cat. We will always prioritise cats living outside, especially if they are sick or injured, but we can’t help as much as we would like to. We know that even if we can’t help, these cats need support. And there is so much that you can do. So here’s our guide on what YOU can do to support the community cats in your area.

Spay and Neuter:

If you are feeding a community cat, the single most important thing you can do is to spay or neuter that cat. This will help prevent any more kittens being born outside, and will reduce the chance of injury and disease.

To get help neutering a community cat, contact your local vet, or the Cat’s Protection League. 

Feeding is not enough – spay and neuter is essential.


This will help keep cats healthy, and also helps to build trust in humans.  You can feed any wet or dry food. Try feeding community cats on a regular schedule as this will make it easier build trust, and to trap them.

Keeping Warm:

This is especially important during the winter months, but helps all year round. If you have a shed, consider fitting a cat flap and popping a cozy bed in there.

You can also build a basic shelter out of cheap materials. Here’s a video from Buzzfeed showing how to build an easy shelter from cheap or recycled materials.

Make sure to check the shelter every day, and remember to be careful – it’s possible that a wild animal or feral cat could take shelter.


To get a cat to the vet or to a rescue, you will first need to catch her! You might find that your community cat isn’t too keen on getting into a carrier. Here’s how to catch a cat with minimal stress – to you and the cat.

  • Feeding your community cat on a regular schedule and building trust will help.
  • Bring a carrier outside and place it close to where you usually feed the cat. Every day, bring the food bowl closer to the carrier.
  • Eventually, you can place the food just at the entrance to the carrier, then a bit further in, and then right at the back.
  • Once the cat is eating the food inside the carrier, close the door behind them.
  • Cover the carrier with a blanket or towel. This will help keep the cat calm.
  • Take the cat to the vet or rescue as soon as possible.

If you are going to keep the cat in your home for any length of time, make sure she is kept in a room away from your own pets. You should also make sure that your own pets are up to date on vaccinations and flea and worm treatment.

Some cats can’t be caught in this way, and will need to be caught using a baited trap. Contact us if you think this might be the case, as we may be able to help. Never try to force a cat into a carrier.


Penny Jan 19

If you see kittens on their own outside, remember that this means there will be a mother cat around somewhere! Mum won’t stay with their kittens all the time, as she needs to go out and find food for herself.

It’s really important that kittens stay with their Mum if at all possible. Keep an eye on the kittens, without touching them or moving them. If you don’t see the Mum for a couple of days, or if the kittens are looking sick or injured, then you can catch the kittens and take them to the vet or to a rescue.

If Mum is around, you should try and catch her and the kittens together, using the trapping tips above, or contact us for advice and support.

Your Safety:

  • Wear suitable clothing. Long sleeves and sturdy gloves are really useful. If you are bitten you should always see your GP as cat bites can get infected very quickly.
  • Remember that your community cat might have fleas and worms, and that these can affect you and your family too. Giving your community cat flea and worm treatments will help minimise the risk.
  • Involving your children in caring for community cats is a great family activity. It helps kids learn empathy and gentleness as well as learning to care for animals. Children should always be supervised, and should never try to catch a community cat on their own.
  • Never place yourself in a dangerous situation or trespass on private property in order to catch a community cat. If a cat is in danger and you cannot reach them without placing yourself at risk, call the RSPCA. The police non emergency line may also be able to advise

Meet our Volunteers

Debbie H has worked alongside our founder Debbie Newsome for many years now, and is an experienced foster carer. We caught up with her for a chat.

Can you tell us a bit about what you do at Henry’s Haven?
Loads! I foster, carry out home checks, and do some fundraising as well as helping with our auction page.

debbie h pic for interview 3

What made you decide to volunteer at Henry’s Haven?
I got involved with Henry’s as I had been fostering for another rescue when Debbie Newsome was running it. When Debbie started up on her own, I decided to support her as I enjoyed working with her so much. She is clearly very passionate about the kitties and so friendly and supportive to everyone who gets involved.

What’s the hardest part of Rescue for you?
For me, it’s seeing the state that some of the animals have been left in or abandoned by previous owners. It’s so upsetting to know that some people would allow that to happen. Also, sometimes, letting a foster go that you have become particularly attached to is really difficult.

What do you enjoy most about your role?
Kitten cuddles! And seeing a turn around in cats that come into foster very wary, and then seeing the change in them when they are worked with. It’s especially rewarding when they go to their new home and you get to see them settled.

debbie h pic for interview 1

What do you do for fun outside of cat rescue?
Outside cat rescue, I also volunteer in dog rescue, so most of my spare time is doing things to help the dogs and cats.

Do you have cats of your own?
I have two cats if my own: Hunter who is part Maine coon. He’s only 9 months but he’s HUGE! He was from the first litter that Debbie rescued on her own before starting Henry’s. My other cat is Cinder who is a Henry’s Haven kitty and is 5 months old. I also have two German Shepherds: Ruby who is 7, and Radar who is 10 months old. They all absolutely adore each other.

January Update

As we near the end of January, here is a little update on what we have been up to.


Our little girl Smokey has seen an eye specialist, and we are fundraising for her operation. Smokey has a rare birth defect that means she only has half eyelids. This is creating a lot of pain for her, so we want to get it sorted soon. Unfortunately despite our wonderful specialist vet giving us a very significant discount, her operation will cost around £1,500. Medications and after care will be an estimated further £500.

If you’d like to donate to Smokey’s fund, or sponsor her ongoing care with a regular monthly donations, we would be super grateful!

molly jan 19

We’re re-homed several cats this month, including long term resident Custard, gorgeous Boomer, and lovely Molly. We’re thrilled for all the cats who have found new homes this month and wish them long, healthy, happy lives.

Unfortunately we are having to temporarily stop taking in cats. This is due to financial constraints. We hope to be able to start taking in cats again in the next few weeks, and we’ll let you know when this happens. We will still be adopting out cats, so do get in touch if you’d like to give one of our wonderful cats a loving home.

UPDATE: We are able to take in emergency cases only, with priority given to cats living outdoors in this cold weather. 

Henry’s Haven is entirely dependant on donations from people like you. Our adoption fee doesn’t cover the full cost of caring for a cat and providing the essentials like neutering, vaccinations, and microchips. Any support we get from our community is valued and appreciated. Whether it’s a box of food or a monthly donation, every little counts and helps us to help cats in need.

Finally to everyone who has supported us this month, THANK YOU! We couldn’t do any of this without the support of YOU – our wonderful and generous community. 

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