Why Altering is Medically Best for Your Pet

Why Spaying/Neutering Is Medically Best For Your Pet
By Dr B. Griffin Auburn University School of Veterinary Medicine

For your MALE dog or cat:
Intact males are at risk to develop serious problems such as:

  • Testicular Cancer
  • Prostate Disease
  • Hernias
  • Perianal Tumors

For your FEMALE dog or cat:

Spayed females are often healthier than those who are not spayed.

  • Intact females may develop such problems as:
  • Breast Cancer
  • Ovarian or Uterine Cancer
  • Uterine Infections
  • Vaginal Prolapse

These problems can be life-threatening.

Breast cancer occurs more frequently in dogs and cats than in humans.

Mammary tumors are the most common tumors in female dogs and nearly 50% are malignant. A dog spayed before she has had her first heat cycle has virtually NO RISK of developing breast cancer. Her risk dramatically increases if she is allowed to experience heat cycles.

In cats, mammary tumors are the 3rd most common type of cancer and nearly 90% are malignant. They have usually spread to other parts of the body by the time they are diagnosed. A cat spayed before she is 2 years of age is 7 TIMES LESS likely to develop mammary tumors.

Significant Reductions In Behavior Problems

For your MALE cat:
Spraying

  • Reduced in 90% of cases for adult males 5 months or older
  • Most early spay/neuter kittens will not learn to spray later unless allowed outside to be taught by a local tomcat.
  • The strong urine odor of an intact cat is significantly reduced within days of neuter surgery.

Roaming drive is reduced.

Tendency for inter-cat fighting is reduced.

For your FEMALE cat:
Spraying

  • Reduced in 95% of cases for adult females 5 months or older

Roaming drive is reduced.

Contribution to Pet Overpopulation Problem

For your MALE or FEMALE cat:
Intact cats contribute to the breeding of excess pets that must later be euthanized

  • Cats can be sexually active as early as four months of age.
  • Females typically have two litters per year, with 2.8 female kittens surviving.
  • Properly caring for and placing a liter of kittens can be very expensive
  • Include costs of 4 vet checkups for mom and kittens (with shots most visits), spaying of all the kittens, diarhea medication, flea control (on older kittens).
  • Kittens require time to socialize them to become good pets and time to take them to the Vets.

Giving away or selling unaltered kittens shows a void in consciousness of the pet overpopulation problem and the difficulties that face the future generations of your mom cat.

Ban on Declawing

October 15, 2007

THIS WEEK, THE CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT DECLINED TO REVIEW THE CASE OF CALIFORNIA VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION V. WEST HOLLYWOOD.  THIS DECISION UPHOLDS THE FAVORABLE JUNE 2007 DECISION OF THE CALIFORNIA APPELLATE COURT, WHICH RULED IN FAVOR OF THE CITY OF WEST HOLLYWOOD,  ALLOWING THE PROHIBITION OF DECLAWING.  HOPEFULLY OTHER CITIES NOW WILL BE ENCOURAGED TO ENACT SIMILAR LAWS.

PRESS RELEASE:

West Hollywood’s Groundbreaking Ban on the Declawing of Animals Upheld: News Conference to be Held on Monday, October 15, 2007
Thursday October 11, 7:07 pm ET

City of West Hollywood to Begin Enforcing Ban on Declawing of Animals

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Yesterday, the California Supreme Court announced that it is refusing to review a decision by the California Court of Appeal upholding West Hollywood’s ban on non-therapeutic declawing of animals. The City of West Hollywood will hold a news conference to address this issue and to announce its enforcement of the ban on the declawing of animals at 10 a.m. on Monday, October 15, 2007 at West Hollywood City Hall, 8300 Santa Monica Boulevard. The lower appellate court decision had concluded that the City’s ground-breaking ordinance is a proper exercise of the City’s police power and not in conflict with State law. West Hollywood’s declawing ordinance is the first of its kind in California and sets a precedent for local government across the state.

“We are elated by the California Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the appeal filed by the California Veterinary Medical Association (CWMA),” said West Hollywood Mayor John Duran. “From the time I introduced this ordinance, I was confident that protecting animals from mutilation was the right thing to do no matter who opposed it. Declawing amounts to amputation and we should call it what it is. Animals deserve the right to exist the same way they were born and not be “adapted” to meet people’s needs,” he continued.

Declawing involves removing not only the claw but also all or part of the last bone and connecting tendons and ligaments on an animal’s paw. Many consider the procedure to be unnecessarily painful and cruel, and the procedure has been banned as a form of animal cruelty in numerous countries.

News conference participants will include Orly Degani, the lawyer who assisted West Hollywood in defending the ordinance in court; West Hollywood Mayor John Duran, who sponsored the declawing ordinance; and Dr. Jennifer Conrad, DVM of The Paw Project, who provided medical input regarding animal declawing to support the ordinance.

The California Veterinary Medical Association, a veterinarian trade group, challenged the West Hollywood declawing ordinance in court, claiming the ordinance was preempted by State law, and that West Hollywood has no authority to regulate the medical practices of veterinarians. West Hollywood disagreed with that position and defended the ordinance. A Los Angeles judge overturned the ordinance in 2006, ruling that cities lack power to limit the practice of state-licensed professionals. The court of appeal reversed the lower court decision, allowing West Hollywood’s ban on animal declawing within its City limits to be enforced. The California Supreme Court has now denied CVMA’s petition for review of the decision by the appellate court.

For more information, regarding the City of West Hollywood’s Declawing Ordinance, please contact Hernan Molina, Deputy to West Hollywood Mayor John Duran, at 323-848-6460 or Tamara White, Public Information Officer, at 323-848-6431.

Breeders – Hoarders – Collectors

Animal Breeding/Hoarding/Collecting is not something new to us.  Whatever name you call them, these people find their victims from ads on the internet or in newspapers.  Unaltered pets are the most appealing to the Breeders group because they can breed the unaltered pair and sell the kittens.  Many of the offspring that come from these unions have deformities or other health issues associated with inbreeding.  The bottom line to these people is money.  As long as the female cats produce kittens they are kept alive and confined to small cages until they can’t breed any longer.  Then they are dumped, or euthanized, as soon as a younger replacement can be found.

Persians and Siamese seem to be the most sought after by these breeders since they are the most recognized.  Owners give up their Persians to people who look normal, act normal, and say all the things the owner wants to hear.  The owner thinks their precious little loved one is being placed into a loving home, when in reality, the place the cats are housed in is a living hell.

Please educate yourself about Backyard BreedersHoarders and Collectors.  If you know of someone who may fit the description of these 2 groups, please contact your local animal Rescue, or Animal Control agency, or Humane Society immediately.  Do not let these beautiful animals suffer in these environments any longer.

We thought you may be interested in reading about some of the larger cases that we have been involved with.  We were called in to help with these situations by other rescuers, neighbors, Police, Sheriff’s Office, Animal Control, Humane Society, or the owners themselves.

Please help us to continue our work for these beautiful animals by donating whatever you can for their maintenance and care.  It costs us an average of $300.00 per animal during their stay with us. These costs can be higher if the animal needs medical attention outside of the normal spay/neuter.  Some of the costs include: spay/neuter, FeLV/FIV testing, vaccinations, eye infection, Herpes virus, URI, UTI, flea treatment, ringworm treatment, microchipping, grooming, food, litter.  Thank you for helping us so we can continue to help them.

2012 – Mesa, AZ –Woman saves 80 cats at Mesa Home; owner had recently died

2011 – Gilbert, AZ – Persians in carriers on a deserted dead-end street – we were notified about this situation by a young gal who was walking her dog early one morning.  The cats were found next to an old TV and computer monitor on a deserted dead-end street in a remote part of town.  The cats were so matted that it took several days to completely shave them all and months to rehabilitate them before they were able to be placed for adoption.

2011 – Cottonwood, AZ – 91 Pixie-Bobs, Siamese, and Bengals were in urgent need of rescue in Cottonwood, AZ. An older, very ill breeder had 91 Bengals, Pixie-Bobs, and Siamese in Cottonwood, AZ.  None of them were altered. The owner was moved into assisted living by her two sisters.  Some of the cats were able to be adopted by the purebred rescues, but many were too feral to be adopted.

2010 – Mesa, AZ – Dozens of Persians were dumped at night and found by a City Employee – We were called to take these cats after they were found by this employee who showed up for his early a.m. shift at a City facility.  These cats were obviously placed there by the owner/breeder.  None of the cats were altered, and all of them had to be shaved to remove the mats.  They were dehydrated, low weight, had upper respiratory and eye infections.  Some, by not all, were able to be adopted.

2009 – Chandler, AZ – Breeder relinquished 55 cats due to owner’s poor health.  We were contacted by the breeder that due to his worsening health, he needed to relinquish his Persian cats.  None of them were altered, none of them were vaccinated, none of them were tested.  It took thousands of dollars for us to get these cats in adoptable shape.  The money collected from adoptions didn’t begin to cover their medical bills.

2009 – Palm Springs, CA – 25 Persians from a Hoarder-Collector – We took in 25 Persians from a gal who contacted us needing help with the number of cats that she had collected over the years.  They were in need of dentals, vaccinations, grooming, and testing.  It took months and thousands of dollars to get the cats in shape for adoption.  Many of these cats had infections so severe it required operations to remove eyes, hernias, teeth, and cysts.  Some were able to be adopted.

2008 – Peoria, AZ- dozens of Persians were relinquished by a dog groomer who thought that becoming a breeder was going to be easy.  She had over 40 cats in an 8×10 bedroom.  On one side of the bedroom there were four cages laying on the floor with 4 cages laying on top of those, and the same setup was on the other side of the room.  There was barely enough room to walk between the cages.   Each cage contained 4-6 adult cats.  The litter boxes were overflowing with feces, and litter was in the water and food bowls.  The bacteria level had to be very high.  The cages were filthy and hadn’t been cleaned out or disinfected.  The cats all had upper respiratory, and eye infections.  Not only were the cats depressed but being in such close quarters they were also fighting with each other.  The male cats were kept in a very small carriers on the floor, and young kittens were being kept in small cages in the closet on the floor.  The stench from  unneutered cats made your eyes water.  She relinquished some of the cats and kittens to us, because they were unsellable.  She refused to let us take the rest.  Her home was filthy, piles of laundry was everywhere, dirty dishes were under the sofa, beds, and on tables.

  • 2008 – Apache Junction, AZ 175 Animals were confiscated –  http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0206animals0206-ON.html

  • 2007-2008 – Phoenix, AZ 90 Persians Live In Filth – Elderly lady had so many Persian cats in her home, that even she didn’t know how many she had.  Her Homeowners Association told her to get rid of the cats or she would be forced to move.  In the course of a year she relinquished over 90 cats, and we believe that she still has more.  The cats have major breathing issues, eye issues, are flea infested, have worms, and earmites so bad some of the cats are deaf.  They were kept in cages 24/7.  The litter boxes were overflowing and litter was seen in their food and water bowls.  Most of them have never been handled and are considered semi-feral, and are not adoptable.
  • Jan 2008 – Sacramento, CA – Elderly Breeder Becomes Too Ill to care for her persians.  All 50 of these beauties have lived in small cramped cages in solitary confinement their entire lives.  All have feces stuck to their behinds, many can’t walk upright, some walk in circles when left out of the cage,  many have rotted teeth and are in terrible pain.  They have worms, ear mites, and will have ongoing health issues.
  • Sep 29, 2007 – Breeding/Hoarding 16 Persians in Home, Chino Valley, AZ – Here is another story about this woman.  The case went before the judge and he refused to turn the animals back in to her possession.  The rescuers who have been caring for the animals will now be able to get them vetted and ready for adoption.  We took in 10 Persians, the other 6 Persians were cared for by fosters in the Prescott area.  Jeanne Semet, the hoarder, received 87 days in jail and 1 year probation.
  • Aug 30, 2007 – Hoarding 52 Cats, 6 Found Dead, Tacna, AZ – The Breeder in this case had been shut down several times before, but nothing was done to her other than they confiscated her animals.  Since there was no jail time or fines imposed, she was allowed to start her operation up again and again.  We took in the majority of the cats from this Breeder. The rest of the cats went to a California rescue. This woman was breeding Scottish Folds, a rare and hard to find breed, and very expensive if obtained from a reputable breeder.

    UPDATE:  2009 – This woman was found again breeding and was once more shut down.  Again they removed over 50 cats.

  • Mar 11, 2007 – Hoarder had over 100 Cats in her home, Sierra Vista, AZ – It took two rescuers over a year to gain the confidence of this mentally ill woman and little by little she allowed them to take the cats out of her home.  The woman was eventually hospitalized and the cats were finally removed and rehomed.  We took in a Ragdoll from this place.  When the cat first arrived she was so depressed, her fur was matted, filthy, full of dandruff, and in horrible shape.  She trusted no one, and there was no life behind those sad blue eyes.  The gentleman who eventually adopted this Ragdoll had been looking for a female Ragdoll for over a year.  He had his name with breeders and rescues all over the country.  And where did he live?  – not any further than 4 miles from this house in Sierra Vista of course!!! The cat we called Ragtime, literally went from Rags to Riches in a matter of days.  She and her new “dad” are constant companions.
  • Aug 15, 2006 – Iowa Animal Abuser Moves to Queen Creek, AZ – We had received many calls from people who adopted a Persian from this woman.  We eventually were able to meet her and were successful in removing 3 Persians she had, but she would not let us have the rest.  Sheriffs from Maricopa County and Pinal County were called in to investigate her and her property for neglect and abuse.  They are keeping an eye on her.
  • Jun 9, 2006 – Boxes of Persians Left Outside of Animal Control, Mesa, AZ – These cats had ringworm, earmites, upper respiratory, and a host of other ailments.  They were no doubt intended to be “breeder” cats as all of them were not altered.  The owner must have realized how expensive it was going to be to treat this many cats so her solution was to dump the animals at Animal Control before they opened.  There were 7 females and 1 male.
  • Mar 30, 2006 – Breeder Dies & Leaves Behind Dozens of Persians, Bizbee, AZ – Elderly woman dies and leaves behind her “breed” stock.  She was supplementing her Social Security income by breeding and selling Persians.  It took several transporters to get the animals to us.
  • Mar 13, 2006 – Boxes of Persians Left Outside of Humane Society, Phoenix, AZ – These cats were so sick with upper respiratory, it took several different kinds of antibiotics to finally get the cats healthy.
  • Nov 12, 2005 – Breeder left Husband and Dozens of Persians, Tucson, AZ – We were called by the husband so we didn’t have any trouble getting these cats removed from the home.  The cats had been living in a caged area off the kitchen, they had one water bowl, and a footlong food bowl.  We are guessing that they were fed and watered only once a day.  When they were fed they gorged themselves on food then promptly vomited it up because they were so hungry.  Most of them were sick with upper respiratory, skin rashes, itching, sores, runny eyes, diahreah. One of the cats we adopted will still gorge on food, so he has to have his food rationed out in several small amounts throughout the day.
  • Jul 15, 2005 – Owner was jailed for possession of Cocaine, Apache Junction, AZ  – Owner was breeding Persians to subsidize his drug habit.  These cats were located in a separate building at the rear of the family home.  They were housed in a 7′ long by 5′ wide by 7′ high building.  No windows, no shelves, no toys, no air conditioning, only a 6″ wire opening around the entire perimeter of the roofline of the building to allow air in.  The interior of the building was divided down the middle by wire fencing, and on each side were 2 mating pairs of Persians.  On the floor was a litterbox, food bowl and water bowl.  The litterboxes looked like they had never been emptied.  Litter was everywhere including in the food bowl, food was in the litter box, and the water bowls were empty.  The building was sitting directly in the sun, no shade anywhere.  The temperature outside was 117 degrees, and of course it was hotter than that inside the building.  The cats were panting and were in severe heat distress.  We removed the cats, one male cat was completely blind, with missing patches of hair all over his body.  More than likely he pulled out his fur to be cooler. All the cats had missing and rotted teeth.  Lack of vet and dental care caused infections in their body, which caused a whole host of other ailments.  Only one cat could be saved, the other three had to be euthanized.
  • Nov 9, 2004 –  Hoarding 80, mostly Purebred cats, & 3 Dogs, Mesa, AZ  – These cats were kept in a 1 bedroom 500 sq ft apartment. The cats had pee’d on every surface.  I couldn’t get near the door without getting sick.  The counters and the floors were inches thick with pee and feces.  At some point the excessively pee’d on sheet rock in the bathroom gave way making a huge enough hole that was a convenient hiding spot behind the bathtub.  Many of these cats had major health issues, including lung problems.  Kendall found these purebred cats from internet sites where people posted ads similar to “FREE TO GOOD HOME”.
  • Oct 4, 2004 – College Student Breeding Persians, Mesa, AZ – College student was evicted from two apartments when complaints by tenants brought his activities to the attention of the Apartment Supervisor. The college student was breeding and selling Persians to help pay for his education.  We removed the 13 teenaged kittens whose white fur was stained from urine and feces.  Several bathes later it was somewhat better, but the stains had not disapeared.  We took the females to one vet for their spays, and we took the males to another vet neutering.  Within two days every kitten but one, had died.  The Vet suspected the cats were so inbred that they had heart and other internal problems.
  • May 8, 2004 – Dozens of Cats and Dogs Removed from a Pet Store, Mesa, AZ – Several Citizen complaints brought the Sheriffs Officers to investigate allegations of animal abuse. Dead kittens, rabbits, birds, turtles were found in the store and the owner was ordered to remove all the cats and dogs with 2 days.  We took out 24 cats, including an Exotic SH, an Egyption Mau, some Siamese, Burmese, and Russian Blue kittens/cats.  The building did not have air conditioning and even in May it was stifling hot.
  • Jan 24, 2004 – Persian Found in a Sealed Tupperware Box  – The box was placed in front of Maricopa County Animal Control.  When found it was raining outside.  The box did not have any air holes in it.  The Black Smoke male Persian had a temp of 84 (normal is 102+/-), he had difficulty breathing, a lot of nasal discharge, and was severely dehydrated.  He survived and was subsequently adopted.
  • Aug 14, 2003 – Hoarding 88 Persians & Poodles, Gilbert, AZ – We took in several persians from this group.  They were so matted we had to shave them.  The feces was so thick in their behinds we could hardly cut through it.  Many of these cats were very undersocialized to the point of being feral, because they had been caged and bred continuously for years.  We talked to other breeders who knew this man, and we talked to several people who told us they adopted from this man.  Even though the cat they were looking at was really sick and in bad shape, they felt so sorry for the cat they bought it because they didn’t want to leave it there.
  • Jan 30, 2003 –  Hoarding/breeding 74 Persian Cats, Phoenix, AZ  – We took in several Persians from this case.  Our cost to house, feed, spay/neuter, test, vaccinate, medicate, disinfect, and transport = $3487.59.  Adoption fees only covered $1000.00.
  • Jul 20, 2002 – Hoarder/Collector 35 Siamese in a Mobil Home, Apache Junction, AZ –  By the time we were done, we had taken out 35 Siamese cats & kittens. The owner’s name was Buck, so each of the kittens had the name Buck in it’s name…. Bucking Bronco, Bucko, Buckwheat, Buckeye, Buckshot, Buckles, etc.   A happy ending to a 3 month long rescue effort.
  • Jul 13, 2002 – Elderly Woman Hoarding/Breeding Dozens of Cats, Emu, Ducks, Geese, Peacocks, Gilbert, AZ – It took weeks and an army of rescuers to convince the daughter to release the animals.  Finding homes for the feathered friends was easy compared to finding a place for the feral cats.  Cages upon cages of cats were lined up in two rows the backyard.  The temperature was over 110 in the shade, it was very humid, no air movement at all, and puddles from the evening monsoons held mosquitoes.  Each cat cage contained a unaltered male & female, some cages had very young kittens.  Cats and kittens had no fur on their bellies.  We discovered that the momcats would pluck out the fur from the newborn kittens tummies to make them cooler.  After peeing on old squares of filthy carpet they layed on top of it to cool off.  The heat, humidity, lack of exercise, stimulation, food and water made the cats look like death warmed over.  There was virtually no life behind the eyes.  Most of the cats had severe health issues and were feral or very undersocialized.  It took months, but finally they were all spayed/neutered and adopted. Here is a picture of two of the girls in their new home in Fountain Hills, AZ.  And another rags to riches story.
  • Jul 3, 2001 – Breeder turns over 29 Purebred Siamese, Laveen, AZ – The owner of these Siamese became very ill.  She would not allow us to get on her property, but we could imagine what these cats lived in by the looks of their coat and their health.  After several baths you could still see the yellow on their fur.
  • Apr 1999 – Hoarding/Breeding 65 cats, Tempe, AZ  – A man was taken into custody after a domestic abuse call was made to Police.  Inside the home they found a Meth lab in the kitchen.  The 2yr old baby of the couple was taken to Child Protective Services, and we were called in to take the cats.  Many of the cats were Siamese.  We pulled litter after litter of kittens from inside the sofa cushions that were stored in the garage.  Not counted in the 65 were dozens of dead cats around the house and in the backyard.
  • Jan 15, 1999 – Over 150 Cats Removed from Hoarder/Collector, Mesa, AZ – The neighborhood cat lady passed away and left behind over 150 cats in her home.  Dead cats were even found in the freezer. Several animal rescue groups were called in to help.  These cats exhibited signs of stress and depression, and many of them had lifelong illnesses caused by the strong ammonia fumes from urine and feces in the home.
  • Nov 12, 1998 – Hoarding 203 Cats seized from feces-laden home Phx, AZ  – This case was a huge one, not only in terms of where do you find room to house 203 cats, but for the rescuers who had to witness this carnage in the home.  It was the biggest case of Hoarding that we had heard of.  Most people had never heard of Hoarders, they didn’t know how to prosecute it, there were no laws against it, so it made a lot of headlines.  Since this case a lot of study has gone into this behavior, and we now have a lot of laws on the books.  23 Law Colleges/Universities are now offering Animal Law in their curriculums.  We expect to see HUGE changes in the next few years regarding the laws on Animal Cruelty, Abuse, Hoarding, Collecting, Fighting, etc.

Key West Moves to Protect 6-Toed Cats

KEY WEST, Fla. – City officials have sided with Ernest Hemingway’s former home and its celebrated six-toed felines in its catfight with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Key West City Commission exempted the home from a city law prohibiting more than four domestic animals per household. About 50 cats live there.

The house has been locked in a dispute with the USDA, which claims the museum is an “exhibitor” of cats and needs a special license, a claim the home disputes.

The new ordinance, approved Tuesday, reads in part, “The cats reside on the property just as the cats did in the time of Hemingway himself. They are not on exhibition in the manner of circus animals. … The City Commission finds that family of polydactyl Hemingway cats are indeed animals of historic, social and tourism significance.”

It also states that the cats are “an integral part of the history and ambiance of the Hemingway House.”

A USDA spokesman did not return messages left late Sunday.

The cats are descendants of a six-toed cat given as a gift to the writer in 1935. All carry the gene for six toes, though not all display the trait.

PS:

  • Polydactyly – abnormal number of toes. True polydactyly caused by a dominant gene does not occur in pedigreed cats; however, an unconnected condition of having “dew-claws” on the hind legs as well as the front is sometimes seen. Absence of Toes and other Toe Abnormalities – The cat has five toes in front and four behind, all separate digits. Abnormal fusion of two or more toes may impair balance/movement.

Tips We’ve Learned Along the Way

Cats and Plants

– To prevent your cat from digging in the dirt around your houseplants, go to your local craft store and buy a few pieces of the plastic needlepoint mesh. Cut it to fit the pot, with a slit and an opening for the plant. Place it on top of the dirt. Or, dampen a cotton ball with oil of clove, then bury the cotton ball just below the surface.

–  To stop cats from chewing on houseplants, mist the leaves with water and sprinkle a small amount of cayenne pepper on the leaves.  Or you can buy Bitter Apple from your local pet store and spray it on the leaves.

– Orange peels, vinegar, and water can all be useful as cat repellants.

EARS

– Q-tips dipped in hydrogen peroxide, to clean the ear, and it helps with earmites too.

Pee & Poo

– Sprinkle a generous amount of salt on top of the carpet where your cat or dog has peed. Leave it long enough to soak up the urine, let it dry before you vacuum it up. You can then putGet Serious on the spot to remove any residual odor and stains.

– Cats are fastidious about their “litterbox”, so make your litter box inviting to your cats by emptying it completely and refill with fresh clean litter at least once a month if you use scoopable litter, weekly if you use clay litter. Sanitize and deodorize with a solution of 1 part bleach and 32 parts water.

– Brown stains on the bottom of the box can be removed easily with Shower Power. Spray a generous amount on, let sit, then wipe out and rinse well. Repeat until the brown stain is removed. The brown stain comes from the lime in your cats urine and is usually found when using clay litter.

– After the litterbox is clean and sanitized, spray a generous amount of spray wax on the sides and bottom of the litterbox to help keep debris from sticking to the sides of the box, and makes it so easy to clean.

– We use plastic storage boxes as our litterbox.  The boxes measure approx. 21″long, 14″ wide, and 12″ deep.  We have seen them at drug stores, mart stores, and office supply stores.  They usually cost around $5-$8.  We have several cats, and we found that they all like the new box.  It is big enough to accomodate a 40# box of scoopable litter.  It solved so many problems like: male cats overshooting the sides, cats who like to scoop out most of the litter, cats who don’t like covers, cats who like privacy, cats who like to play in fresh clean litter, odors aren’t trapped, it is big enough to accomodate any sized cat.  Because it is clear they can see who is coming so they don’t feel penned in.  Even baby kittens like it.  It is a challenge for them to get inside it.   It is so easy to clean, and the best part, you can throw it away and get a new one every other month and still save money over the ones in the pet stores.

Before you adopt a pet

Why do you want a pet?  Ask yourself this question before you get a pet. Adopting a pet just because it’s expected  or because the kids have been crying for a puppy or kitten usually ends up being a big mistake. Don’t forget that pets may be with you for 20 years. When adopting a pet for your children, remember they will have distractions in their life and you will be come the primary caregiver.

What breed is right for you?  Research breeds before you adopt. What special care is required for the breed you are interested in? Will the breed fit into your lifestyle? If you are a couch potato who wants a lap dog, active terrier breeds are not your perfect match. Below are some breed information web sites.

  1. Dog Mania
  2. Dog Biz
  3. Dog Breed Information
  4. Feline Breeds  
  5. Cat Breeder 
  6. Absolutely Cats 

Do you have time for a pet?  Dogs, cats, and other animal companions cannot be ignored just because you’re tired or busy. They require food, water, exercise, care, and companionship every day of every year. One of the most common reasons animals are turned over to shelters and rescues are to do “I can’t give it the time and attention it needs”.  If you travel a lot or work long hours will you be able to give the animal the time it needs?

Can you afford a pet?  The costs of pet ownership can be quite high. Licenses, training classes, spaying and neutering, veterinary care, grooming, toys, food, kitty litter, and other expenses add up quickly.

Some average costs:

Spay/Neuter $240 Dog Food $25 Litter $10 Vet Visit $40
Grooming $50 Cat Food $20 Dog License $10 Wormer $10
Toys $20 Microchip $50 Vaccines $30 Collar $6
Treats $15 Training Classes $90 Rabies Vaccine $12 Leash $8

Are you prepared to deal with special problems that a pet can cause?  Shedding, Flea infestations, scratched-up furniture, accidents from animals who aren’t yet housetrained, and unexpected medical emergencies are unfortunate but common aspects of pet ownership.

Can you have a pet where you live?  Many rental communities don’t allow pets, and most of the rest have restrictions. Make sure you know what they are before you bring a companion animal home. Be sure to ask about pet rent and pet deposit costs. If you are in a area that has a home owner’s association check for pet restrictions.

Is it a good time for you to adopt a pet?  If you have kids under six years old, for instance, you might consider waiting a few years before you adopt a companion for them. Pet ownership requires children who are mature enough to be responsible. If you’re a student, in the military, or travel frequently as part of your work, waiting until you settle down is best for you and for the animal.

Are your living arrangements suitable for the animal you have in mind? Animal size is not the only variable to think about here. For example, some small dogs such as terriers are very active—they require a great deal of exercise to be calm, and they often bark at any noise. On the other hand, some big dogs are laid back and quite content to lie on a couch all day. Before adopting a pet, do some research. That way, you’ll ensure you choose an animal who will fit into your lifestyle and your living arrangements.

Do you know who will care for your pet while you’re away on vacation? You’ll need either reliable friends and neighbors or money to pay for a boarding kennel or pet-sitting service.

Will you be a responsible pet owner?  Having your pet spayed or neutered, obeying community leash and licensing laws, and keeping identification tags on your pets are all part of being a responsible owner. Of course, giving your pet love, companionship, exercise, a healthy diet, and regular veterinary care are other essentials.

Finally, are you prepared to keep and care for the pet for his or her entire lifetime?  When you adopt a pet, you are making a commitment to care for the animal for his or her lifetime.

Get an Animal for Life

Sure, it’s a long list of questions, but a quick stroll through an animal shelter will help you understand why answering them before you adopt is so important.

Many of the shelter’s homeless animals are puppies and kittens, victims of irresponsible people who allowed their pets to breed. But there are at least as many dogs and cats at the shelter who are more than a year old—animals who were obtained by people who didn’t think through the responsibilities of pet ownership before they got the animal.

Please, don’t make the same mistake. Think before you adopt. Sharing your life with a companion animal can bring incredible rewards, but only if you are willing to make the necessary commitments of time, money, responsibility, and love—for the life of the pet.

*some information is compiled from the Humane Society

I am an animal rescuer

My job is to assist God’s creatures.
I was born with the drive to fulfill their needs.
I take in helpless, unwanted, homeless creatures
without planning or selection.
I have bought dog food with my last dime.
I have patted a mangy head with a bare hand.
I have hugged someone vicious and afraid.
I have fallen in love a thousand times.
And I have cried into the fur of a lifeless body
too many times to count.
I have Animal Friends and friends who have animal friends.
I don’t often use the word “pet”.
I notice those lost on the road side
and my heart aches.
I will hand raise a field mouse
and make friends with a vulture.
I know of no creature unworthy of my time.
I want to live forever if there aren’t animals in Heaven,
but I believe there are.
Why would God make something so perfect
and leave it behind?
Some may think we are masters of the animals,
but the animals have mastered themselves…
something people still haven’t learned.
War and abuse make me hurt for the world,
but a rescue that makes the news gives me hope for mankind.
We are a quiet but determined army
and we are making a difference everyday.
There is nothing more necessary than warming an orphan,
nothing more rewarding than saving a life,
no higher recognition than watching them thrive.
There is no greater joy than seeing a baby play
who, only days ago, was too weak to eat.
By the love of those who I’ve been privileged to rescue,
I have been rescued.
I know what true unconditional love really is,
for I’ve seen it shining in the eyes of so many,
grateful for so little.
I am an Animal Rescuer.
My work is never done.
My home is never quiet.
My wallet is always empty,
but my heart is always full.

Author Unknown
And for all selfless animal rescuers…

When a person who has given tirelessly and made it their life’s work to save and succor abandoned animals and find them happy homes comes to the bridge, first one animal will stop and look into the distance, then more and more will look up and watch. For this is a person all the animals know about. As they have waited for their loved one(s), they have told the story of their rescue from loneliness, neglect and impending death, and the wonderful people who helped them until a special loved one could be found. O special friend of animals, you have been spotted, and all the dogs and other animal friends will run over the fields to thank the person who has enabled so many to have had good lives and memories. Then, will they all walk to the gate of St. Peter and say, “This is a person whose name is surely entered on the roll once for each of us whose life was changed.” Then those friends who will be forever together step forward and, to the sound of great rejoicing from all the animals, cross the bridge together 

Stress in Cats

JUST LIKE US, cats can suffer from an overload of stress. How much is too much will depend on a number of factors: the stress `immunization’ that the cat received as a kitten, the coping strategies that the cat has learned as a result of this process, and the duration and nature of the stressor.

What do cats find stressful?

Interestingly, nearly all the triggers which will cause or exacerbate stress in cats are environmental. These environmental triggers can result in the cat having an emotional reaction which can affect behavior and, eventually, their health too.

In my experience, the most common stressors for cats are those which appear to threaten their resources, particularly the inner security of their homes. The threat of another cat coming into their `den’, a new baby in the home, a puppy, or even builders, can trigger off an immense psychological reaction in some sensitive cats, which can be hard to rectify, particularly if the `threat’ is permanent.

How do they demonstrate this?

Unlike humans, cats are unable to show their emotional state through language or facial expression. Instead, they reveal their feelings in ways which can be distressing, if not distasteful, to their human owners.

In the short-term, cats under pressure or feeling anxious may show their feelings by increasing activities which usually make them feel more secure. Some cats may cling to you more, or may rub the furniture or their owners more frequently. Cats which are facing trauma outside may choose to stay indoors more, while those facing stress in the home may spend prolonged periods outside.

In the absence of relief from the stress, cats may increase their marking behavior dramatically. Scratching, spraying urine, and middening (deliberately depositing feces somewhere noticeable!) may be an attempt to regain the security that they once had in the home, while leaving home altogether may appear to be the only option for cats which can no longer face the interior of the `den’.

Occasionally, in our behavior practice, we see cats which are so overcome by anxiety or stress that they simply give up attempting to fight it or flee from it, and become passive and unresponsive. This extreme kind of learned helplessness is thankfully rare, but can mean that the cat no longer washes itself, loses interest in food and remains almost motionless for long periods of time. In certain respects, this could be likened to the symptoms of severe clinical depression in humans, where any kind of behavior is suppressed and unrewarding.

Long term, stress has been shown to increase the risks of illness and disease. Animals and people which are suffering from chronic, irresolvable stress may start to have immune breakdown as the body struggles to cope with being under constant threat. Interestingly, infections and digestive complaints are common in stressed individuals, and seem to form a vicious cycle of illness, fatigue and a consequential inability to deal with the emotional problem that caused the clinical weakness in the first place.

What can we do to prevent this stress?

Many examples of human and other species’ behavior suggests that animals which have many chances to experience and resolve low-level stress when young, manage stressful situations far better as adults. This is because the individual has become slightly desensitized to the effects of stress during those early weeks and has learned coping strategies which can then be applied to other similar situations in later life. The stage that cats learn to handle stress without undue anxiety is very early indeed — between two and seven weeks of age. This means that an unstimulating, unchallenging environment will leave a kitten with very few emotional defense mechanisms — no matter how well he or she was cared for at the time. Ideally, all kittens should be thoroughly handled by as many different people as possible during these critical weeks. Altering their environment to allow kittens to learn for themselves is also essential, as those kittens which have had a chance to become familiar with all the chaotic sights, sounds and smells of a domestic home will have a huge head-start. Allowing kittens to meet and mix with friendly dogs, children, and all manner of people will act as `stress immunization’ in order to protect them later in life.

How can you tell if your cat is suffering from a stress overload?

Sudden behavioral changes should always be reported to your vet, as they may indicate that there is a clinical problem which needs investigation.

However, once this possibility has been rejected, the next part of the detective work is to look for signs of potential stress. Ask yourself when the cat started to behave differently. Did this coincide with an unusual occurrence in the home? For some over-attached cats, even a brief absence from their owner can be traumatic. This can make holiday times a nightmare, as the presence of a stranger in the home (no matter how kind!) to feed and care for them just does not help.

What can you do to alleviate this stress?

Of course, the easy answer is to identify the cause of the stress and remove it! However, this can often be easier than it sounds. Offering more resources, as well as safe hiding places away from permanent stressors, such as babies and dogs can often work well, as can removing the cat from the environment while temporary stressors, such as building work, are present. Ironically, for the over-attached cat, a good cattery may be a far better option than being cared for at home during holidays. This is probably because the total change has a lesser overall impact on the cat than the very obvious absence of the owner.

Overall, awareness is the key. Those who enjoy close, attentive relationships with their cats often spot the early stages of the effects of stress, and can prevent them from escalating towards distress, before long-lasting damage has been done.

Second Hand Smoke

It surprises me how often we do things that potentially hurt the ones we love the most, usually without thinking. The only thing our K9 friends want, besides food, is to be with us and please us. Our feline friends, of course, want nothing better than for us to serve them. But in either case their main concern is for us to be near and spend time with them.

Physically, and biologically, there are many differences between the dog, the cat, and humans, but there are also many similarities. Included in these similarities is how they respond to environmental toxins. I’m speaking of a directly controllable toxin in the form of second hand smoke. For those of us who are non-smokers, it’s easily detectable which animals belong to households where people smoke. Even after a day or two of hospitalization, the smoke is detectable on their fur. As much as this toxic substance coats the exterior of the pet, it also coats the interior and absorbs into the lung tissue and blood stream. We frequently see the same types of problems in pets as we do in humans relating to the second hand smoke. Included in these are lung disease, cancer, liver disease, heart disease, kidney disease, asthma and many more. The one component that lowers the instance of complications from this toxin is that our pets’ life expectancy is so much shorter than ours. Fifty years of smoke is much more damaging than twelve years. Could we make that life expectancy greater without the smoke?

About a year ago I treated a beautiful 7 year old Old English Sheepdog named Bentley for lymphoma (a generalized type of cancer that attacks the lymph system). Bentley lived in a wonderful home where he meant the world to his owners. But both of them were avid smokers and every time Bentley came to see us, he reeked of smoke. After some very aggressive chemo-therapy, Bentley did very well for about a year. Unfortunately, Bentley just recently passed away from complications of the spread of the cancer.

Unlike our friends and family members, our pets don’t know that they are slowly being poisoned. All they want is to be with us, yet they can’t ask us not to smoke around them. So I’ll ask for them. Please, quit smoking (for your own health), if you must smoke, please do it outside or in a well ventilated area away form your pets.

Thanks and your friends will thank you in this life and the next.  If you have a friend or family member who smokes, and loves their pet, print and send them this letter.
Thom Myers D.V.M

 

The scoop on litter

Understanding what cats look for in a desirable toilet area reveals preferences that are not unlike our own. For example, it must be clean, private and easily accessible. They also have some requirements that are based on their survival instincts: It must contain an easily-raked substrate and it must offer escape potential.

– Cats with long fur don’t like to feel closed in.  You’ll rarely ever see them under the covers, under a chair, or under anything, so give them a litter box without a cover, and make sure the box is big enough for them to turn around in comfortably, and make sure that their hind end doesn’t stick out over the edge.   We are noticing that more cats are using one box to pee in and one box to poo in.  This is true for single cats or cats in a mulit-cat household.  It is true for declawed cats as well as cats with claws.

– Use natural cat litters with the Exotic/Himalayan/Persian breed.  The less dust the better for their sensitive noses.

The type of cat litter for the litter box is critical to the success of litter box training. Your cat will be most interested in the smell and texture of the substrate (litter). Your concerns may be scoopability, disposability, and odor control. The bottom line, of course, is “will your cat use it?”
1) SwheatScoop Wheat Litter – SwheatScoop wheat litter is perfect for cat owners who are looking for an alternative to clumping clay litters. This litter is flushable (a big plus), scoopable, and biodegradable – an environmentally friendly option for your cat.

2) World’s Best Cat Litter – Except that it’s pricier than most, World’s Best Cat Litter lives up to its name. I have used no other litter for years, and my cats love it. Made of whole kernel corn, this litter is virtually dust-free, safe for kittens, and clumps, so it can be safely used in automatic litter boxes (it’s specifically recommended for the Litter Robot.) The natural corn odor is mild and regular scooping keeps the box odor-free, mitigating the initial costs.

3) Nature’s Miracle Odor Control Clumping Cat Litter – This cat litter offers the best of both worlds: hard-clumping corn-based litter, combined with the enzyme action of well-respected Nature’s Miracle, for “litter-ally odor” free litter boxes. Add flushability for a litter product that is hard to beat.

4) Feline Pine – Feline Pine is made of natural pine pellets, and is dust free (a boon to asthmatics and their cats), non-tracking, and flushable. It’s economical too, as the litter only needs changing when the pellets have dissolved – about every two weeks, on average. Feline Pine is non-clumpable, and some cats may find the pellets uncomfortable on their feet.

5) Yesterday’s News – Aptly named, Yesterday’s News cat litter is made of recycled crumbled paper pellets, and is biodegradable, flushable, and environmentally friendly, but non-clumping. Its softer texture is more comfortable for some cats, and it is suitable for cats who have sore paws from recent declawing.  The ink does rub off, so your pretty little white kitty away will suddenly turn an ugly gray.

6) Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract Cat Litter – Sometimes for one reason or another, cats begin to avoid the use of their litter box, or a previously outdoor cat needs to be trained to the use of a litter box. Cat Attract was developed by a feline-only veterinarian as a “training litter.” This litter contains a natural herb “attractant” that piques a cat’s curiosity in the litter. Although it is a clumping clay litter, it has been found to be very useful in retraining cats to the litter box.