Good nutrition is essential to your cat’s overall health. The best diet for your cat is one that replicates what she would eat in the wild—a moisture-rich, meat-filled diet. Cats are obligate (true) carnivores, and therefore require more quality-source protein in their diets than most other animals. We suggest feeding your cat a diet consisting mostly of quality canned foods. It is also important to follow feeding guidelines. Do not overfeed, or leave a large bowl of dry food out.
WHY CANNED FOOD?
Cats usually rely on their diet for moisture and don’t drink as much water as they might need. Canned foods have significantly more moisture than dry or “semi-moist” foods. Canned foods also are lower in carbohydrates and can be especially beneficial for cats with urinary issues, diabetes, and other illnesses, as well as in the prevention and treatment of feline obesity. Although there has been concern in the past that feeding only canned food could result in dental disease, we now know that most dry diets do not significantly improve dental health. In fact, only specific dry dental diets with the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal have been shown to reduce tartar and plaque formation and gingivitis.
HOW OFTEN AND HOW MUCH SHOULD I FEED?
We recommend meal feeding rather than free feeding. Meal feeding means that you feed a specified amount of food, as opposed to leaving out a large quantity of dry food for your cat to graze on throughout the day. You can start by feeding twice daily, using the food label as a guideline. Then review that amount with your veterinarian during your cat’s annual or semiannual examination. The amount to feed may vary depending on your cat’s ideal weight and activity level. Meal feeding also gives you an opportunity to monitor your cat’s appetite and helps you notice any change in your cat’s overall food intake, which is often one of the first signs of stress or illness. Depending on your cat’s specific situation, it might be best to consult with your veterinarian before implementing any diet regimen.
WHAT FLAVORS SHOULD I CHOOSE?
Of course, every cat will have her own preferences, so you may need to test several flavors and brands to discover what food your cat prefers. It is important, however, to avoid feeding too many fish flavors as fish is high in magnesium, thiaminase, and heavy metals, all of which may be detrimental to your cat’s health, if fed in excess.
WHAT ABOUT “SEMI-MOIST” CAT FOOD?
We do not recommend these highly processed foods as they are high in magnesium (which may cause urinary tract problems) and carbohydrates, and they have little nutritional value. Also, their dyes, preservatives, and other additives can cause allergic reactions in some cats.
WHAT ABOUT DRY CAT FOOD?
Many cats enjoy dry food, and certainly it is an easy and convenient option for guardians; however, feeding exclusively dry food is not always the best choice for your cat. Because dry foods are high in carbohydrates, they can cause cats to develop diabetes, obesity, urinary or kidney problems, diarrhea, or vomiting. If your cat is on a dry food only diet and suffers from any of these ailments, you may want to consider reducing the amount of dry food you feed, and replacing it with quality wet food. If you’re committed to a dry food only diet, there are healthier options: try quality “fixed formula” dry foods, grain-free dry food, or prescription foods for cats with health problems and/or special dietary needs.
THIS FOOD IS CHEAPER. IS IT THE SAME?
If you are unsure about the quality of your cat food, check the first ingredient. If the first ingredient is a meat or fish, it’s most likely a good brand. If the first ingredient is not meat or fish, but is corn, rice, soy, or grain derivatives such as gluten or meal, we would not recommend it. Check for the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) certification for some assurance that the food has met minimal nutrient criteria. You should let your veterinarian know what type and brand of food you are feeding your cat. It may be best to feed foods that contain muscle meat (such as chicken or turkey) in addition to, or instead of, organ meats (such as liver) and byproducts (items not suitable for human consumption).
WHAT ABOUT RAW FOOD?
Many argue raw food is the most natural and nutritionally complete feeding regimen, if prepared and fed properly. There are, however, some risks involved, and careful preparation and hygiene standards need to be followed to feed it successfully. If this feeding option is something you’re interested in, we advise that you discuss it with your veterinarian. Whether you feed a commercial product or you make your own, consult your veterinarian to ensure the diet is nutritionally complete for cats. Cats, although they need to eat meat, cannot live on meat alone; they require nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, and specific amino acids.
ARE TABLE SCRAPS OKAY?
We don’t recommend feeding them in excess. Nutritionists suggest keeping table snacks to less than 10 percent of cats’ daily intake. Occasional treats of meat, fruit, or certain vegetables won’t hurt, as long as you feed them in small doses. Don’t feed dairy, fried foods, or sweets as they can contribute to problems such as obesity, diabetes and stomach upset. Never feed cooked bones as they are sharp and brittle and can cause severe injury. Also, never feed onions or chocolate to cats—both are toxic.
MY CAT IS OVERWEIGHT. SHOULD I BE CONCERNED?
Yes. An overweight cat is more vulnerable to many chronic and lifespan-shortening health problems, such as diabetes and arthritis. Also, fat cats often are unable to groom themselves, so their coats become dull and oily and they develop dandruff and mats. In addition, cats who cannot groom themselves may become clinically depressed. Often fat cats cannot reach their own hindquarters, which means that fecal matter and urine can build up and cause discomfort and infection, even if you clean your cat on a regular basis. Although fat cats may be perceived as cute, you are doing your cat a disservice by allowing her to gain too much weight. You can control your cat’s weight by going to your veterinarian and working out a diet plan that will ensure very gradual weight loss (be sure to consider an all wet-food diet). Never put your cat on a crash diet; it is very dangerous for a cat to lose weight too fast and doing so could lead to life-threatening liver issues. A safe way of promoting weight loss is to encourage your cat to become more active through play. Once your fat cat has become a slimmer, more active cat, you can be sure her overall health and, therefore, quality and length of life, has improved.
WHAT SHOULD MY CAT DRINK?
Water! Keep plenty of fresh water available at all times. Also, using a pet water fountain encourages cats to drink more and keeps them away from toilets and faucets. We don’t recommend giving your cat milk on a regular basis. Many cats can’t tolerate it and can experience digestive troubles, including diarrhea. What about dishes? Plastic feeding dishes can cause skin irritation in some cats. A shallow, stainless steel or ceramic bowl is your best bet as cats prefer to keep their whiskers and faces out of their food. Don’t use chemical disinfectants or strong detergents to clean your cat’s food dishes. Not only can they be poisonous, but cats are easily put off by harsh odors.
We also recommend the following websites:
The danger of poisons and toxins surround us every day, especially for our pets. What may be edible, even enjoyable to humans, can be toxic or even deadly to our dogs and cats. March is Poison Prevention Awareness Month, a great time to remind ourselves of the dangers in our homes, garages and yards. PetFirst has compiled 10 poison prevention tips to keep in mind for your pet including foods, medications, common household and garage chemicals, and more.
1) Foods of all sorts: there are numerous foods that present a hazard to our pets. These foods contain ingredients that become toxic if consumed by dogs and cats. Here are a few of the most common foods to keep away from your pets:
Moldy or spoiled foods
Raisins and grapes
2) Human medications: Pain killers, cold medicines, diet pills, and all medications need to be stored in a pet-free zone. Even the child-proof cap is no match for a dog who chews! Keeping all medications in closed cabinets out of your pet’s reach is highly recommended.
3) Pet medications: Medications given to you by the vet for your pet are a danger if consumed inappropriately. Keep these medications stored in a closed cabinet and out of your pet’s reach.
4) Dog Rx for dogs & Cat Rx for cats: This mainly refers to the flea-control medications. If the medication is prescribed for your cat, give it to the cat. Specific medications made for cats may contain additives that will harm your dog. There are medications that can accommodate both cats and dogs. When in doubt, always check with your vet.
5) Kitchen chemicals: Dish washer tablets, steel wool cleaning pads, and degreasers for the kitchen, are all hazards for your pet and can lead to significant intestinal issues if consumed. Consider using the baby-proof cabinet locks to keep nosey cats and dogs out of these storage areas under your sink.
6) Car chemicals: Car chemicals such as anti-freeze produce a sweet smell that entices the most curious of pets, but it can be fatal to your dog or cat. First, consider the garage off limits for your pet, especially if they are unsupervised. Second, make it a habit that every time you finish a project in the garage, all chemicals are returned to their proper storage space that is out of your pet’s reach and that used chemicals are disposed of properly. This will protect your pet and the environment.
7) Yard chemicals: Helping your grass be green and lustrous and adding fertilizer to the garden is normal. But when left in the open for curious noses and licks, these chemicals can be dangerous to your dog or cat. Again, when you finish yard chores or tending to the garden, put the chemicals away.
8) Tamper proof garbage cans or storage containers: Making the investment in tamper proof garbage cans and storage containers is a penny well spent. The up-front cost may be overwhelming, but the end result will be protection for your pet and the avoidance of emergency vet visits. If you can’t afford the purchase all at one time, consider buying one a month to get you started.
9) Flowers in the house and outside: Flowers inside and outside can be dangerous to our pets. A great example are Lilies which can be fatal for cats. Do your homework when selecting flowers to plant or for decoration in your home. A quick online search can tell you which ones are pet friendly and which ones are not.
10) Laundry supplies: Dryer sheets, detergent, and stain removers all are potential poisons for our pets. Keeping everything secure and out of reach is a safe bet to keeping your pet happy and healthy.
All of these examples could end in an emergency trip to the vet for treatment or evaluation. Another added layer of protection for your dog or cat is pet health insurance. By having pet health insurance, pet parents will be reimbursed up to 90% of their vet expenses should their dog or cat be injured in an accident or become ill. Pet insurance plans offer several options, allowing a plan to be customized to a pet parent’s budget as well as their pet’s physical needs.
Taken with permission from PetFirst Insurance
A feral cat is a descendant of a domesticated cat that has returned to the wild. It is distinguished from a stray cat, which is a pet cat that has been lost or abandoned, while feral cats are born in the wild; the offspring of a stray cat can be considered feral if born in the wild.
The term “feral” is sometimes used to refer to an animal that does not appear friendly when approached by humans, but the term can apply to any domesticated animal without human contact. Hissing and growling are self-defense behaviors, which, over time, may change as the animal (whether “feral” or “stray”) begins to trust humans that provide food, water, and care.
Feral cats that are born and living outdoors, without any human contact or care, have been shown to be adoptable and can be tamed by humans, provided they are removed from a wild environment at a young age before truly feral behaviors are established.
The number of feral cats in the U.S. is estimated to be in the tens of millions. Sadly, many communities still opt to control populations using outdated methods, including lethal elimination or relocation. Not only are some of these methods horribly cruel, they are also highly ineffective. It’s time to focus on feral cats in the fight to end animal cruelty. When whole colonies of cats are trapped and put down, it creates a “vacuum” where the colony was located. So, when a colony is taken out, a new one will just replace it.
Connecticut Cat Connection endorses Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) as the only proven humane and effective method to manage feral cat colonies. You can identify a TNR feral cat by noticing if it has a ‘tipped ear’. This is the practice of clipping a straight edge off the top of one ear to ‘tag’ the cat as already being, “Trapped-Neutered-and Returned” to its environment. This “Ear-Tipping” practice helps ensure cats already treated are not returned to shelters unnecessarily.
Connecticut Cat Connection strongly believes in yearly check-ups for your animals. Vaccines will need to be boostered and a wellness exam is a great way to promote a long and healthy life for you pet. When it comes to cats, there are several vaccines available.
WHAT DO VACCINATIONS ACCOMPLISH?
Vaccinations are given to prepare the body’s immune system against invasion by a particular disease-causing organism. Vaccinations contain antigens which to the immune system “look” like the organism but don’t, ideally, cause disease. When the vaccine is introduced by injection or some other means, the immune system responds by mounting a protective response. When the cat is subsequently exposed to the organism, the immune system is prepared and either prevents infection or reduces the severity of disease.
Feline Panleukopenia Virus Vaccine
Feline panleukopenia (also called feline distemper) is a highly contagious and deadly viral disease of cats. Feline panleukopenia virus is extremely hardy, is able to survive extremes of temperature and humidity for many months, and is resistant to most available disinfectants. Until recent years, panleukopenia was the most serious infectious disease of cats, claiming the lives of thousands every year. Thanks to the highly effective vaccines currently available, panleukopenia is now considered to be an uncommon disease. However, because of the serious nature of the disease and the continued presence of virus in the environment, vaccination is highly recommended for all cats.
Feline Calicivirus/Herpesvirus Vaccine
Feline calicivirus and feline herpes virus type I are responsible for 80-90% of infectious feline upper respiratory tract diseases. Most cats are exposed to either or both of these viruses at some time in their lives. Once infected, many cats never completely rid themselves of virus. These “carrier” cats either continuously or intermittently shed the organisms for long periods of time — perhaps for life — and serve as a major source of infection to other cats. The currently available vaccines will minimize the severity of upper respiratory infections, although none will prevent disease in all situations. Vaccination is highly recommended for all cats.
Rabies Virus Vaccine: Rabies in cats is a major public health concern. Because of the routinely fatal outcome of infection in cats, and the potential for human exposure, rabies vaccination is highly recommended for all cats; it is required by law in most areas of the country.
Feline Leukemia Virus Vaccine
Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is the leading viral killer of cats. The virus is spread from cat-to-cat through bite wounds, through casual contact with infected cats, and from an infected mother cat to her kittens. The individuals most at risk of infection are outdoor cats, indoor/outdoor cats, and cats exposed to such individuals. Cats living in households with FeLV-infected cats or with cats of unknown infection status are also at risk. Indoor-only cats with no exposure to potentially infected cats are extremely unlikely to become infected. FeLV vaccines are recommended for all cats at risk of exposure to the virus.
Chlamydia, Feline Infectious Peritonitis, and Ringworm
Vaccines are available for each of these disease-causing organisms, but their use is not routinely recommended for all cats. Your veterinarian will help guide you in deciding whether your cat should receive any of these vaccines
TRUTHS AND ALTERNATIVES TO DECLAWING
In modern day veterinary care, the practice of declawing cats has become far too common an alternative to training a cat with scratching issues. What many people don’t realize is how severe, traumatizing and effectively life-changing Feline Digital Amputation (or “Onychectomy”) really is to a cat. It can change your cat’s entire personality and lead to psychological and behavioral complications later. Training a cat with scratching issues is very possible and takes some understanding on the part of the owner as to why it is happening as well as ideas about the best approaches to adjusting the behavior.
There is also a list of very helpful
Scratching Deterrents here. If you need additional information feel free to contact the shelter anytime.
THE FACTS ABOUT DECLAWING
(FELINE DIGITAL AMPUTATION – “ONYCHECTOMY”)
The anatomy of the feline claw must be understood before one can appreciate the severity of declawing. The cat’s claw is not a nail as is a human fingernail, it is part of the last bone (distal phalanx) in the cat’s toe. The cat’s claw arises from the unguicularis crest and unguicularis process in the distal phalanx of the paw (see below diagram). Most of the germinal cells that produce the claw are situated in the dorsal aspect of the ungual crest. This region must be removed completely, or regrowth of a vestigial claw and abscessation results. The only way to be sure all of the germinal cells are removed is to amputate the entire distal phalanx at the joint. Thus declawing is not a “simple”, single surgery but 10 separate, painful amputations of the third phalanx up to the last joint of each toe. A graphic comparison in human terms would be the cutting off of a person’s finger at the last joint of each finger.”
Many vets and clinic staff deliberately misinform and mislead clients into believing that declawing removes only the claws in the hopes that clients are left with the impression that the procedure is a “minor” surgery comparable to spay/neuter procedures and certainly doesn’t involve amputation (partial or complete) of the terminal-toe bone, ligaments and tendons. Some vets rationalize the above description by saying that since the claw and the third phalanx (terminal toe bone) are so firmly connected, they simply use the expression “the claw” to make it simpler for clients to “understand”. Other vets are somewhat more honest and state that if they used the word “amputation”, most clients would not have the surgery performed! Onychectomy in the clinical definition involves either the partial or total amputation of the terminal bone. That is the only method. What differs from vet to vet is the type of cutting tool used (guillotine-type cutter, scalpel, or laser).
PSYCHOLOGICAL & BEHAVIORAL COMPLICATIONS
Some cats are so shocked by declawing that their personalities change. Cats who were lively and friendly have become withdrawn and introverted after being declawed. Others, deprived of their primary means of defense, become nervous, fearful, and/or aggressive, often resorting to their only remaining means of defense, their teeth. In some cases, when declawed cats use the litterbox after surgery, their feet are so tender they associate their new pain with the box…permanently, resulting in a life-long aversion to using the litter box. Other declawed cats that can no longer mark with their claws, will mark with urine instead resulting in inappropriate elimination problems, which in many cases, results in relinquishment of the cats to shelters and ultimately euthanasia. Many of the cats surrendered to shelters are surrendered because of behavioral problems which developed after the cats were declawed.
Risk factors for relinquishment of cats to an animal shelter:
Among 218 cats relinquished to a shelter, more (52.4%) declawed cats than non-declawed cats (29.1%) were reported by owners to have inappropriate elimination problems.” Source: World Small Animal Veterinary Association – 2001
The incidence of behavior problems following onychectomy in cats; two months to five years (median 11.5 months) after surgery:
33% developed at least one behavior problem.
17.9% had an increase in biting habits or intensity.
Source: World Small Animal Veterinary Association – 2001
Many declawed cats become so traumatized by this painful mutilation that they end up spending their maladjusted lives perched on top of doors and refrigerators, out of reach of real and imaginary predators against whom they no longer have any adequate defense. A cat relies on its claws as its primary means of defense. Removing the claws makes a cat feel defenseless. The constant state of stress caused by a feeling of defenselessness may make some declawed cats more prone to disease. Stress leads to a myriad of physical and psychological disorders including suppression of the immune system, cystitis, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Regular Nail Clipping
For information on regular nail trimming (not the same as declawing)
visit this website.
15.4% would not use the litter box
Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) are two of the most important infectious diseases of cats worldwide. So much is misunderstood about these diseases. CCC’s mission is to help educate people about FIV and FeLV. Unbelievably in this day and age, some veterinarians still recommend euthanizing cats that test positive.
Please read on to educate yourself and put to rest unnecessary fears about FIV and FeLV.
Feline Leukemia Virus is a disease in cats that can cause anemia and lymphoma, among other illnesses. The virus can also suppress the cat’s immune system affecting their ability to fight off bacteria.
FeLV positive cats may live many years in a healthy state. A little more than half of the cats that test positive for the virus develop antibodies and are able to fight it off. A little less than half of the adult cats that test positive for FeLV will succumb to the disease.
FeLV is commonly transmitted through saliva. Therefore mutual grooming, nose-to-nose contact, and shared food and water bowls can be sources of infection. It takes large amounts of virus to infect an adult cat, so usually prolonged contact or a bite is necessary for transmission. Vaccinating against FeLV helps to control the spread of the virus. FeLV cats should be kept indoors, both to protect them from exposure to disease, and also to prevent them from spreading FeLV to other cats.
The Feline Immunodeficiency Virus is a slow virus that affects a cat’s immune system over a period of years. FIV is a cat-only disease that cannot be spread to humans or other animals. FIV cats most often live long, healthy and relatively normal lives with no symptoms at all.
The disease has a wide range of effects. The cat can fight off the infection and become totally immune, can become a healthy carrier that never gets sick itself, or a mid-level case in which the cat has a compromised immune system.
FIV is not easily passed between cats. It cannot be spread casually – like in litter boxes, food and water bowls, or when snuggling and playing. The virus can be spread through blood transfusions, badly infected gums, in-utero from mother to offspring, or penetrating bite wounds (typically associated with un-neutered tom cats). A neutered cat in a home is extremely unlikely to infect other cats, if properly introduced.
FIV-positive cats should be kept as healthy as possible by feeding them a high quality diet. As with all cats, they should be kept indoors and free from stress. Treat any secondary problem, such as an upper respiratory infection, as soon as they arise.
FIV is difficult to transmit, the main route is via a bite where the virus is actually injected into the bloodstream.
There is often confusion between FIV and FeLV, this is particularly the case regarding the transmission of the virus. The FIV virus is present in the saliva, and for transmission to another cat to take place, the live virus has to enter the bloodstream of the recipient cat. There are two main reasons why FIV isn’t transmitted via shared bowls or mutual grooming as is sometimes wrongly suggested.
Firstly the virus is very fragile, and does not live for long once outside the body – it is destroyed by drying, light, heat and basic detergents – normally the virus will be long-dead before any surfaces come to be cleaned, it is the initial drying that sees off the vast majority of the virus, and this will normally happen in seconds.
This is why the route of transmission is primarily via a bite, where the still wet saliva containing the live virus is effectively injected through the skin directly into contact with the blood of the recipient cat.
The second reason is that the mucous membrane is a fairly effective barrier to the virus, so even if some virus does enter the cat’s mouth, it is very unlikely to cross the mucous membrane, so will likely die within the stomach. It has been suggested that, for the virus to actually infect a cat when taken in through the mouth, there would need to be ten thousand times as much virus present for it to achieve a cross infection.
Interestingly, this is confirmed by the fact that kittens born to an FIV+ mother are rarely infected with the virus – although the kittens are not infected directly in the womb, as the placenta will protect them, the virus is present in the mother’s milk, so all kittens will have prolonged exposure to the live virus in their digestive systems, yet it is very uncommon for the kitten to actually become infected – this is testiment to how effective the mucous membrane must be in preventing transmission.
It is for these reasons that the often-prescribed “keep separate from other cats” is NOT valid. FIV cats can live communally with non-FIV cats with very little risk of the virus being transmitted between them – unless the cat is a fighter and gives another cat a serious bite, which is rare with properly introduced household cats. The vast majority of cats, once neutered, will not bite other cats they live with – they may play and scrap, but this rarely leads to the serious bite required to inject the virus. There are numerous examples of households with large numbers of cats living together with FIV-positive cats without the virus being transmitted. A slow and careful introduction is required when bringing any new cat into an existing household, especially so with an FIV cat.
CARING FOR CATS WITH FIV OR FELV
The goal of caring for FeLV and FIV infected cats is to keep them healthy, detect problems early and treat the associated diseases promptly and aggressively so that the cats can enjoy the maximum quantity and quality of life possible.
Spay & Neuter
WHY SPAY AND NEUTER?
Millions of unwanted and homeless cats are born in this country each year. During the peak of the kitten season – from late April through September – pounds and humane shelters kill unwanted and abandoned cats at the rate of over one per minute. Others less fortunate are left to wander – easy pray for larger animals, easy targets for automobiles, and easy marks for cruel pranksters. If they do survive, they attain maturity and bring forth five or six kittens, mostly females, to continue this vicious cycle. Every cat owner whose pet is not spayed or neutered and allowed to roam; must bear the responsibility for this terrible over-population. Astonishingly, one female cat’s cumulative off – spring in ten years could total over 80 million!
TWO UNCONTROLLED BREEDING CATS… plus all their kittens and all their kittens’ kittens, if none are ever neutered or spayed, add up to:
• 2 litters per year
• 2.8 surviving kittens per litter
• 10 year breeding life
• In 10 years could reach 80,399,780
FOR RESOURCES ON LOW COST SPAY AND NEUTER IN CONNECTICUT VISIT WWW.SPAYCT.ORG
BENEFITS OF SPAYING (FEMALES):
BENEFITS OF NEUTERING (MALES):
No heat cycles, therefore males will not be attracted
Less desire to roam
Risk of mammary gland tumors, ovarian and/or uterine cancer is reduced or eliminated, especially if done before the first heat cycle
Reduces number of unwanted cats/kittens/dogs/puppies
Helps dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives
TOP 3 REASONS TO SPAY/NEUTER
Reduces or eliminates risk of spraying and marking
Less desire to roam, therefore less likely to be injured in fights or auto accidents
Risk of testicular cancer is eliminated, and decreases incidence of prostate disease
Reduces number of unwanted cats/kittens/dogs/puppies
Decreases aggressive behavior, including dog bites
Helps dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives
It helps to reduce companion animal overpopulation. Most countries have a surplus of companion animals and are forced to euthanize or disregard their great suffering. The surplus is in the millions in the United States. Cats are 45 times as prolific, and dogs 15 times as prolific, as humans. They do not need our help to expand their numbers; they need our help to reduce their numbers until there are good homes for them all.
Sterilization of your cat or dog will increase his/her chance of a longer and healthier life. Altering your canine friend will increase his life an average of 1 to 3 years, felines, 3 to 5 years. Altered animals have a very low to no risk of mammary gland tumors/cancer, prostate cancer, perianal tumors, pyometra, and uterine, ovarian and testicular cancers.
Sterilizing your cat/dog makes him/her a better pet, reducing his/her urge to roam and decreasing the risk of contracting diseases or getting hurt as they roam. Surveys indicate that as many as 85% of dogs hit by cars are unaltered. Intact male cats living outside have been shown to live on average less than two years. Feline Immunodeficiency Syndrome is spread by bites, and intact cats fight a great deal more than altered cats.
Your community will also benefit. Unwanted animals are becoming a very real concern in many places. Stray animals can easily become a public nuisance, soiling parks and streets, ruining shrubbery, frightening children and elderly people, creating noise and other disturbances, causing automobile accidents, and sometimes even killing livestock or other pets.–
The American Veterinary Medical Association
The capture, impoundment and eventual destruction of unwanted animals costs taxpayers and private humanitarian agencies over a billion dollars each year. As a potential source of rabies and other less serious diseases, they can be a public health hazard.–
The American Veterinary Medical Association
What to Do If Your Cat Goes Missing
TIPS FOR BRINGING HOME A MISSING CAT
Keep your cat as indoors only! This is for their safety and the safety of wildlife. Yes, indoor only cats can escape too – this doesn’t make you a bad cat parent. Not trying to find them does.
As soon as you realize your indoor only cat has escaped: search the surrounding area – look under decks, under cars and in bushes. Most cats won’t stray too far from home. Call their name calmly – they are likely already on edge.
If you cannot immediately locate your cat – alert your neighbors. Create flyers and hang them in your neighborhood and surrounding areas. Post on local Facebook pages, groups and missing pet pages – spread the word!
Post your missing cat in online directories (
Pawboost is popular).
Does your pet have a microchip? Immediately alert the database where the information is stored that the cat is missing.
Contact local vets, shelters, and animal control – share your flyer with them so they can alert you if the cat is brought in.
Set a humane trap. A shelter or animal control can likely loan one out to you. They will explain how to use it, but you will put stinky smelly cat food in the trap, in hopes your cat will walk in, releasing a “trigger” that will close the trap behind them. This is safe and does not injure them.
If at all possible, sleep on the ground floor the night your cat goes missing, they usually return between dusk and dawn, and you don’t want to miss any meows or scratches at the door.
If a couple days have passed, consider setting a “trail cam” or outdoor camera near your home to see if there is any activity from your cat during evening hours. You can also set this near colonies you are aware of, in case your cat has migrated there.
Don’t Give Up!
We have heard stories of cats returning home weeks and months later.
So your kitty returned? Yay! Make sure they are not injured – then celebrate with hugs and treats.
Lastly – find out how this happened, and how you can prevent future escapes.
Resources: To create flyers and post missing pet listing:
http://www.lostmykitty.com/(this also has paid services including sending “Amber Alerts” to all phones in your area –
Post in local newspapers and newsletters – print and digital.
A NOTE ON COATS:
Feeding cat your at a proper diet will help keep her coat healthy, but grooming is also essential. Keeping your cat’s coat healthy and mat-free is your responsibility.
Cats keep themselves clean by licking, so baths are generally unnecessary, but regular grooming with a long-tooth, stainless steel cat comb for longhairs, or a short-tooth, stainless steel cat comb or slicker brush for shorthairs, helps control shedding and prevents your cat from swallowing too much hair.
“Hairballs” form in the stomach and are usually passed or coughed up without trouble. But in extreme cases, large hairballs can be life threatening and require surgery. Regular grooming—especially of longhaired cats and particularly in hot weather—is the best prevention.
One of the most important rules when it comes to grooming your cat’s coat is to never use scissors to remove a mat, regardless of how careful you may be. Cats have thin skin that can easily be nicked or cut without you realizing it, and the resulting wound could become infected and form an abscess.
If your cat has a mat that cannot be removed by combing or brushing, try a mat splitter or a seam ripper. You can work out the mat by tearing it through the middle and up toward the end of the mat, away from the cat’s body. If your cat has too many mats and is not amenable to being groomed at home, consider having her professionally groomed by a veterinarian or reputable groomer.
Regular grooming sessions are a great way for guardians to bond with their cats. Many cats enjoy the grooming process and look forward to time spent with their guardian. So, in addition to helping keep your cat clean and mat-free, grooming also can be an enjoyable way for you and your cat to spend time together.