Monday, December 15, 2014


Brrrr—it's cold outside!  The following guidelines will help you protect your pet cats when the mercury dips.

1.Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed. Cats who are allowed to stray are exposed to infectious diseases, including rabies, from other cats, dogs and wildlife.

2.During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.

3. Make sure your cat always wears ID tags.

4.Thoroughly wipe off your cat's legs and stomach when he/she comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. They can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking their paws, and their paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.

5.Never leave your cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.

6.Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. Visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center more information.

7.Make sure your feline has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Get Your Cat Off of the Couch with Agility Training

Feline agility?

We know what you might be thinking. The chances of getting your cat to do agility are about as likely as:

1. Winning the lottery
2. Getting struck by lightning
3. Your cat finally accepting that you are the master of the house

Yet cats around the country are competing in agility competitions or doing courses in their own homes.

Still don’t believe it? Check out this video:

Not only is putting your cat through hoops fun, it’s also great for your cat, says Marla McGeorge, DVM, of The Cat Doctor animal hospital in Portland, Ore.  That’s because agility training fights obesity and boredom, two very common cat problems, she explains.

Want to keep your cat fit in body and mind, but not sure where to start? Check out this video tutorial ( to see one way to train a cat. If it doesn’t work, there are plenty of other methods to try: This is just one of YouTube’s 4,500 videos on cat training.

As you get started, keep these points in mind:
Watch for signs of osteoarthritis or other joint pain.
If your cat suffers from joint pain or other soreness, some of the obstacles in an agility course could make your cat’s condition worse. But knowing whether your cat is in pain can be nearly impossible, because cats don’t give obvious signs.

Watch for these signals that your cat is in pain:

hesitating before jumping
walking up stairs more slowly than he or she used to
missing the mark when he or she jumps

If your cat does any one of these things, visit a veterinarian to find out what hurts and to relieve the pain.

And don’t give up altogether on agility. Modify it to work around your cat’s sore spots.  So, for example, if jumping hurts your cat, then have your cat crawl through a tunnel or walk up a ramp instead.
Protect your cat from mental stress.

Agility competitions reward cats and their owners for their hard work, but traveling from place to place and dealing with the hustle and bustle of competitions can be nerve-racking for a cat that is not used to it. 

If your cat freaks out when you attend a competition, don’t push the issue, she warns. Instead, build your own agility course at home.

Feeling ambitious? Duplicate the blueprint of the course from the recent the Cat Fanciers’ Association–Iams Cat Championship’s Feline Agility Competition. Or stick to simple, homegrown tricks like jumping from couch to couch or weaving through chair legs.
Remember—you have a cat, not a dog. Cats are not small dogs.

Cats have short bursts of energy. You’ll be lucky to work in 10 minutes of training in a day. You’ll have the best luck if you train for five minutes at a time, twice a day.

When it comes to motivation, cats and dogs couldn’t be more different. A dog will do anything for a treat, but cats consent to undergo agility training only if it is fun.

And that’s a good thing. You never have to worry if you’re forcing your cat to do something that he or she doesn’t want to do. As Weller says, “Cats will look at you and be like, ‘whatever’, and walk away.”


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Labor Day Safety Tips for Cats

1. Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your cat that is not labeled specifically for use on animals.

2. Made in the shade. Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water, and make sure they have a shady place to escape the sun.

3. Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of paws' reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing-or even kidney disease in severe cases.

4. Keep your cat on his normal diet. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pet severe indigestion and diarrhea.

5. Keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of reach. Ingesting any of these items can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression in your cats, and if inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Caring for Cats During Emergencies

Consider your location
First things first. You can only be prepared with a plan of action if you know what you’re planning for, so take some time to think about the area you live in. Some areas are naturally prone to certain disasters California’s earthquakes, for example. Find out what types of disasters have previously struck your area hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, blizzards, etc. Contacting your local emergency management office or Red Cross will help you to identify what could affect your particular neighborhood. You should also plan for non-natural disasters fires, gas leaks, chemical spills, etc. If, for example, there’s a big chemical processing plant in your area, then you need to be aware of the possible dangers so that you can react if need be. No matter where you live, you’ve got your own special brand of disaster just around the corner, and it may strike at any time.

If You Leave, They Leave
In the event that you have to leave your home, take your cats with you. If it isn’t safe for you to be there, it isn’t safe for them either. Too often people rationalize that their pets’ instincts will kick in, and they’ll be okay. Even if your cat, who has spent the last six years of his life hunting only the fake mice you pull around on a string for him, does have the instincts to survive, it doesn’t mean that the conditions are survivable. No drinkable water for you means no drinkable water for him too. Of course, you have to have somewhere to take your four-legged friends--Red Cross disaster shelters cannot accept pets. Make a list of all the places with in a 100-mile radius of your home where you might be able to take your pet if the need arises, include boarding facilities, veterinarians with boarding capabilities, hotels that will accept pets (ask if they’ll allow pets during a disaster situation), and animal shelters. (Use animal shelters only as a last resort, as they will be overburdened with other animals whose owners did not plan for them). Also, you need to gather your critters inside the house as soon as you are aware that you may have to leave, so that you can easily get them when it’s time to go. Then, when you do leave, make sure you have your little friends under firm control--even the best behaved cat can become scared during an emergency, making his behavior less than predictable.

Be prepared
Make sure that your cat’s kit is contained in something that is easy to pick up quickly and take out the door with you. You should replace this food and water every six months and rethink your feline’s needs for the kit once a year to make sure that the supplies meet your current needs the same collar that fits your new kitten is not likely to fit him a year later.

The kit should include a week’s supply of food and water in nonbreakable, airtight containers to ensure safety and freshness. If you pack canned food you’ll want to make sure you have a hand-held can opener too. And don’t forget a plastic dish that can double as a food and water dish. An extra collar and leash are also important things to have in your kit. You should also have a portable kennel for each of your critters handy. The San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says that the official Red Cross policy is that there are no animals allowed in emergency shelters, but they have been known to make exceptions if the animal is securely confined. Pets such as birds will obviously have to have a carrier of some sort as they cannot be leashed. You will want to make certain that you have a well-stocked first-aid kit for your pet that includes tweezers, gauze bandages, first aid cream, antiseptic spray, and hydrogen peroxide. Ask your veterinarian about storing any medications that your pet may need to take regularly.

All the right papers
Many people have their home telephone numbers on their pets’ ID tags. You may want to have an extra set of tags made that list the number of a friend or family member outside the area so that if your phone lines are down, or you’ve been evacuated, your pets can still make it back to you. Another option is to simply include an out-of-area number on your pets’ everyday tag, which can be useful if you’re away on vacation too. And many people don’t have tags for their cats at all, even though they should. According to the 1996 National Council on Pet Population Study, out of  580,000 cats that were taken in as strays, only two percent of the cats made it back to their owners. The American Humane Association strongly believes that tags are your pets’ ticket home. You may also want to consider having your pet microchipped or tattooed. And finally, don’t forget the paperwork. Have a copy of your pet’s recent vaccination records in your kit--some boarding facilities may require them before they will take your pet in. A recent picture of your pet may also come in handy if you should become separated and need to make "Lost" posters. Hopefully you won’t ever have to put them up, and hopefully you’ll never have to use your disaster plan. But if you do ever need it, you’ll be very thankful that you were prepared; it could make a trying time a bit easier for you and your faithful companion.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tips on Flying With Your Cat

If you’re planning on traveling with your cat this summer, there many important things to keep in mind. Your pet’s first flight can be a somewhat traumatic experience.

Here are some tips to help your cat have a safe flying experience:

  Book Early- Most airlines have their own pet policies, so it is important to find out what their rules are in regards to traveling with your pet.

 Visit The Veterinarian- It is important to make an appointment with your pet’s veterinarian for a check-up and make sure all vaccinations are up to date. Obtain a health certificate from your veterinarian dated within 10 days of departure.

  Buy a Carrier- Carriers are available in both hard-sided and soft-sided. Soft-sided carriers are more suitable for carry-on and tend to fit better under the seat, but they're only permitted in the cabin only. To make sure the carrier will fit under the seat on your flight check the size restrictions of the airline in our Airline Pet Policies section.

  After you've purchased an appropriate carrier, write your cat’s name on it and include identification tags with your home address and phone number as well as the address and phone number of someone who can be reached at your destination. Carry a current photograph of your pet as well. If they are lost during the trip, a photograph will make it much easier for airline employees or the local authorities to search effectively. 

Take a Test Drive- Animals travel under less stress when they are accustomed to their carrier before they travel. In the weeks prior to your trip, put your cat in his/her carrier as often as possible for trips around town.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Disaster Preparedness Tips

You may have heard about, if you were not part of, the natural disasters that have happened around the world.  One thing we know for sure is that hey can happen at any moment, so it is important to be well prepared. 

Emergencies come in many forms, and they may require anything from a brief absence from your home to permanent evacuation. Each type of disaster requires different measures to keep your pets safe. The best thing you can do for yourself and your pets is to be prepared.

Here are 3 easy steps that will help you get started on disaster preparedness.

Step 1: Get a Rescue Alert Sticker to let people know pets are inside your home. 

Step 2: Arrange a Safe Haven in the event of evacuation.

Step 3: Keep an Emergency Supplies and Traveling Kits handy and make sure everyone in your home knows where it is kept. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Seasonal Allergies for Pets

The spring season is upon us, and while we may be experiencing seasonal allergies, it’s important to note that our cats may be as well! In our pets, seasonal allergies look a little different. We may have headaches, coughs, and runny noses, but our pets have different symptoms. They may have itchy ears and skin.

If you notice your cats shaking their head excessively or scratching their skin a lot this season, we recommend contacting us right away for advice. We have options for helping pets that are experiencing uncomfortable seasonal allergies. Ask us today!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tips on How to Prepare Your Pet for Severe Weather

If faced with sudden disaster, would you be prepared to help your entire family – including pets – prevent dangerous situations? 

Here are some tips to help you better prepare your pet for severe weather:

           Identifying shelter. For public health reasons, many emergency shelters cannot accept pets. Find out which motels and hotels in the area you plan to evacuate to allow pets well in advance of needing them. There are also a number of guides that list hotels/motels that permit pets and could serve as a starting point. Include your local animal shelter's number in your list of emergency numbers. They might be able to provide information concerning pets during a disaster.
·         Take pet food, bottled water, medications, veterinary records, cat litter/pan, manual can opener, food dishes, first aid kit and other supplies with you in case they're not available later. Before you find yourself in an emergency situation, consider packing a "pet survival" kit which could be easily deployed if disaster hits.
      Make sure identification tags are up-to-date and securely fastened to your pet's collar. If possible, attach the address and/or phone number of your evacuation site. If your pet gets lost, his tag is his ticket home.
·         Make sure you have a current photo of your pet for identification purposes.
·         Make sure you have a secure pet carrier, leash or harness for your pet so that if he panics, he can't escape.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Why Spay and Neuter?

Spaying and neutering pets is a very simple, but also very important procedure. If your pet is not going to be used for breeding, we recommend spaying or neutering as early as possible. Not only does this procedure eliminate the risk of unwanted litters, it also helps to prolong your pet’s life by minimizing the risks of a number of health conditions!

In female pets, spaying lessens the threat of mammary tumors and cancer and ultimately eliminates the possibility of uterine and ovarian cancers. In male pets, neutering eliminates the possibility of testicular cancer and decreases the odds of prostate cancer.

Additionally, spaying or neutering your pet eliminates a lot of negative behaviors. Female pets will no longer enter a heat cycle or attempt to escape in hopes of procreating, and male pets will become more contented house pets, not out seeking females throughout the neighborhood. This tendency to roam can cause a lot of problems, such as danger in the roads (males seeking females are a lot more likely to be hit by cars!).

Spaying and neutering can be done early in a pet’s life. We recommend for females it is performed before they have had their first heat cycle.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

How to Care for Outdoor Cats in Winter

Shelter, food, and water are especially important to stray and feral cats in cold weather
No matter how resourceful outdoor cats are, they need help surviving winter. Follow our tips for making sure your local outdoor cats have shelter, food, and water during the cold months.

Step 1: Give outdoor cats shelter from the cold  
Yes, their thickened winter coats help stray and feral cats (often called "community cats") weather winter’s chill, but they still need warm, dry, well insulated, and appropriate-sized shelters.
It’s cheapest to build your own shelters, and there are many plans and instructions that can help you get started.

How to get help building your outdoor-cat shelter
A shelter-building party can be a fun weekend project! Ask your friends, neighbors, and coworkers to join in. Try contacting local youth groups to find out if they will help build shelters as a service project.

Where to find materials for your outdoor-cat shelter
You may find inexpensive or free materials by asking building-supply stores or contractors if they have scrap lumber. Ask friends, neighbors, and coworkers for used dog houses, which can be modified to make good shelters. You can even use a storage bin from the local hardware store.

Creating a life-saving shelter for outdoor cats is easy and inexpensive.

Why size matters with cat shelters
A shelter must trap the cats’ body heat to warm its interior. If the shelter is too large, it will be difficult for the cats' body heat to keep the space warm.

What to put in your outdoor-cat shelter
Straw is the best material to put in a shelter because it allows cats to burrow. Pillowcases loosely stuffed with packing peanuts and shredded newspaper also work.

Keep things clean: Replace straw and newspaper if moist or dirty and wash and re-stuff pillowcases as needed.

However, if it’s really cold where you live and you can’t check on the shelters regularly, don’t use the above insulations. “Wallpaper” the shelter’s inner walls and floor with Mylar. It reflects back body heat, and it’s okay for cats to lie on it.

What NOT to put in your outdoor-cat shelter
Don’t use blankets, towels, or folded newspaper; they absorb body heat and chill cats who are lying on them. Forego hay, too, which may irritate noses and cause allergic reactions.

Step 2: Give outdoor cats food and water
Where to place food and water
Protect outdoor cats from hunger and thirst this winter by keeping their food and water from freezing.

If you can do so without compromising the privacy and security of the shelter, place food and water near the shelter so the cats won’t have to travel far.

A way to protect food and water is to place two shelters—doorways facing each other—two feet apart. Then create a canopy between them by securing a wide board from one roof to the other. Then put the food and water under the canopy.

How to keep outdoor cats' food and water from freezing
What you put food and water in can make a difference. A thick plastic water container that’s deep and wide is better insulated than a thin plastic or ceramic container. A solar-heated water bowl can prevent or delay water and canned food from freezing.

If shelters are well insulated, you can put bowls of dry or moist food inside them but far from the doorway. Even if the moist food freezes, the cats’ body heat will defrost it when they hunker down in their shelter.

Don’t put water bowls inside the shelter. Water is easily spilled, and a wet shelter will feel more like a refrigerator than a warm haven.

To TNR or not to TNR outdoor cats in winter?

Don't attempt TNR activities in the winter unless you can return the cats to a warm shelter
People may be concerned about Trap-Neuter-Return during winter because they worry about releasing females who have had their stomachs shaved for surgery. But winter trapping has its advantages. There are far fewer pregnant cats, which makes for a less complicated surgery, and you’ll prevent the birth of many kittens come spring, when the majority are born.

Before you start winter trapping, however, you must ensure that the cats will have adequate shelter when you return them to their territory. If you've followed the directions above, they'll be in good shape.

Originally posted Nov. 26, 2013