Category: “General”

Trimming Your Cat’s Claws

Trimming Your Cat’s Claws

Each cat you adopt from us will arrive with trimmed nails. As a new parent, you should continue this practice throughout the cat’s life. Claws that are not clipped can cause scratches, accidental injury to you or another cat during play and can damage furniture, drapes and walls. Unclipped claws also can grow to encircle the toe pad and it is possible for the claw to pierce through the toe pad causing injury and pain to the cat.

It’s best to attempt nail trimming when the cat is on the sleepy side. If a cat has had a good nap and is ready to play, you are more likely to encounter a lack of cooperation.

How to trim dogs nails.
How to trim cats claws.

Use cat claw clippers to make the task quick and easy. I personally like the  one shown as it provides excellent clipping control.

There are 5 toes with claws on the front foot and 4 on the back foot. The fifth claw on the front foot is called the dew claw. Each claw has a dermis or “quick” that supplies the nail with blood vessels and nerves. On light colored claws the pink colored “quick” is visible. Claws should be trimmed well in front of the quick. If the “quick” is cut it will bleed and make your cat leery of future nail trimming. Holding the paw and exerting a slight pressure on the toe pad will extend the claw, making it easier to clip.



Report Animal Cruelty

From MCACC website:
Q:  How do I report animal cruelty or dog fighting?
A:  Reports of animal cruelty should be reported to your local law enforcement agency. If you live in unincorporated Maricopa County, then call the Maricopa County Sheriffs Office. They have the legal authority to investigate animal cruelty complaints.

From AHS website:
A:   Reports of animal cruelty should be reported to your local law enforcement agency. If you live in unincorporated Maricopa County, then call the Maricopa County Sheriffs Office. They have the legal authority to investigate animal cruelty complaints.

For animal cruelty, Arizona Humane Society covers the cities of Phoenix and Scottsdale ONLY.  To report animal cruelty in other cities, please call the appropriate number below:




Fountain Hills

480-503-6500  or email




Paradise Valley


602-997-7585 ext. 2073

Queen Creek

602-997-7585 ext. 2073

Sun City



Top 10 Safety Tips for Parents

Attention, companion animal caretakers! AJ’s Best Friends would like to call your attention to these common-sense cautions that will help keep your pets safe and stress-free this time of year.

1. Please don’t leave your pet out in the yard on Halloween. There are plenty of stories of vicious pranksters who have teased, injured, stolen, and even killed pets on this night.

2. Keep your outdoor cats inside several days before and several days after Halloween. (P.S. It’s also our duty to remind you here that kitties are healthiest and happiest when they live inside ALL year round!)

3. No tricks, no treats: That bowlful of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Sammy. Chocolate in all forms can be very dangerous for dogs and cats, and tin foil and cellophane candy wrappers can be hazardous if swallowed. If you suspect your pet has ingested a potentially dangerous substance, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

4. A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise extreme caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.

5. Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets. Please don’t put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it (yup, a few pets are real hams!). For pets who prefer their “birthday suits,” however, wearing a costume can cause undue stress.

6. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal’s movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe or bark. Keep a look out for small, dangling, or easily chewed-off pieces on the costume that your pet could choke on.

7. Take a closer look at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not obstruct her vision in any way. Even the sweetest animals can get snappy when they can’t see.

8. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room during peak trick-or-treat visiting hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.

9. When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn’t dart outside.

10. IDs, please! Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and become lost, a collar and tags and/or a MICROCHIP increase the chances that he or she will be returned to you.

Pet Disaster Kit

Chances are you will never encounter a natural disaster in your lifetime, but if you do, you’ll kick yourself a thousand times over for not being prepared.  In the event that there is a disaster while you are away from home, please make arrangements with neighbors, family or friends ahead of time for your pets to be rescued.  Below are some things to have prepared and ready to go, “just in case”.

Put Pet Alert Decals on the windows of your home.  This will alert emergency personnel and neighbors that there are pets inside the home, the type of pet/s you have, and how many there are.  This is essential if you are planning to be away on a trip.

Emergency contact information 
– friends, family, and your veterinarians information
Microchip your pet – keep this information up-to date
One crate for each pet – a travel crate should be large enough for your pet to sit, stand, turn around, lay down, legs should be able to extend
At least three days of food (minimum) – sudden changes in diet can cause your pet to have diarrhea, be sure to pack your pets regular diet
Favorite toys, treats, bedding – these will be familiar items to your pet, also include something with your scent on it, such as a t-shirt
Leash, collar and harness – leashes are required when you take dogs (cats should be in a pet taxi/carrier) into a public place, especially in a disaster situation.
Muzzle – pack a muzzle, especially if your pet is of the nervous sort, your pet will be even more nervous in stressful surroundings
Kitty litter, pan and scoop – a small litter box, plus pine pellet-type litter (it’s lightweight and absorbent for several days usage)
– to line the pet taxi/carrier
Food and water dish – metal or plastic bowls only
Stakes and tie-outs – 
besides keeping your pet on a leash at all times, a stake with a tie-out can come in handy
Trash bags, plastic bags, paper towels- nervous and stressed pets potty more frequently
Instructions – document your pets medications, dosages, vaccination history, keep in a plastic baggie
Photos – include photos of your pets face, body, unusual markings, and a picture of both you and your pet together in order to provide ownership, put in a plastic baggie

It’s always good to have a pet first aid kit on hand for emergency situations.


State Laws that Protect Animals Left in Parked Vehicles

by Rebecca F. Wisch
Animal Legal & Historical Center
Publish Date: 2008 (updated 2010)
Place of Publication: Michigan State University College of Law Printable Version

Is it illegal to leave your dog in a parked car?  The answer to this question, of course, depends on in the state in which you live.  Actually, only 14 states (AZ, CA, IL, ME, MD, MN, NV, NH, NJ, NY, ND, SD, VT, and WV) have statutes that specifically prohibit leaving an animal in confined vehicle.  The next factor important to the question is the condition under which the the animal is left in the vehicle.  Most of these laws provide that the animal must be confined or unattended in a parked or stationary vehicle.  Further, the laws add that in order for a person to violate the law, the conditions have to endanger the animal’s life.  Some of the statutes specifically state that extreme hot or cold temperatures, lack of adequate ventilation, or failing to provide proper food or drink meet this definition.  Other laws are more vague and just require that the conditions are such that physical injury or death is likely to result.

While not all states have laws that address animals in parked vehicles, numerous local ordinances prohibit this, and more may be enacted.  It is critical then that owners are aware of their local laws concerning this subject.  Even with out a state or local law, this action could still constitute cruelty under some circumstances.  In fact, in the Texas case of Lopez v. State, the defendant left his dog in his car on a hot day to go and watch a movie in a theater.  He was ultimately convicted under the state’s anti-cruelty law.  Notably, Texas does not have a statute that specifically addresses dogs left in parked vehicles.  Below is a table that describes these laws by outlining the major concerns within the laws.

Table of States with Laws Prohibiting Inhumane Confinement of Animals in Parked Motor Vehicle

State Citation and Link Animals Covered Circumstances Prohibited Penalty Rescue Provisions
AZ AZ ST § 13-2910


An animal (“animal” means a mammal, bird, reptile or amphibian) Unattended and confined in a motor vehicle and physical injury to or death of the animal is likely to result.


Class 1 misdemeanor A peace officer, animal control enforcement agent or animal control enforcement deputy may use reasonable force to open a vehicle to rescue an animal.


CA CA PENAL § 597.7


An animal Leave or confine an animal in any unattended motor vehicle under conditions that endanger the health or well-being of an animal due to heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, or lack of food or water, or other circumstances that could reasonably be expected to cause suffering, disability, or death to the animal.


First conviction: fine not exceeding $100 per animal.

If the animal suffers great bodily injury, a fine not exceeding $500, imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding 6 months, or by both.

Any subsequent violation of this section, regardless of injury to the animal, punishable by a fine not exceeding $500, imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months, or by both.


Peace officer, humane officer, or animal control officer is authorized to take all steps that are reasonably necessary for the removal of an animal from a motor vehicle.

Must leave written notice bearing his or her name and office, and the address of the location where the animal can be claimed.

IL 510 ILCS 70/7.1


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:

  • 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:

  • 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



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.

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.


  • 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.


– 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