Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Therapy for Cat with Behavior Issues



My husband rescued an older cat that had been abandoned in our woods a few months ago. This cat is a nice with people but is not crazy about any other animal. The veterinarian confirmed that this cat has arthritis and suspect that this is the reason for his bad behavior as well as the anxious behavior from being abandoned.

Know that it is difficult to find adopters for mature cats with health concerns and bad behavior. This cat will undergo therapy for its behavior, then be placed with a animal foster or we will keep the cat.

We tried the usual therapy for cats with behavior issues; feliway diffusers and rescue remedy treatment for drinking water. They helped some but this rescue still suffered from not being able to go outdoors. (Meowing loudly, scratching on the side door and becoming aggressive when not let out of the house)

The cat wants to go outdoors and we have been reluctant due to the coyote that reside close to our home. Fearful that this rescue cat would become an afternoon snack for the predators that cross our side yard to get to the pond in the woods.

I decided to teach rescue cat to walk on a leash. I bought him a cat harness and a leash and took him outdoors. Talk about a happy cat, he rolled around in the grass, did his nails on the bark of the oak tree. Marked his territory and yes walked me around the yard.

Know that taking a cat for a walk does take practice. I presently walk this cat 4 times a day. I also walk him on the leash to my greenhouse. I do not have to worry about the cat in the greenhouse as he has his routine and the door is shut so he can not go outdoors. He stays with me while I garden.

The outdoor activities has greatly improved the rescue cats behavior The cat seems to get along with our cats and dogs. His territorial behavior is under control thanks to outdoor exercise. By allowing this cat to go for walks and be outdoors was the right therapy.

Note: We are still using the feliway diffuser as it is a good way to lessen cat stress overall.


Here is a video of cat walking on a leash.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Cat House for Outdoor Usage




Where I reside the winters are long, cold and windy. The stray cats in my area go into my shed to sleep in plastic and cardboard boxes that have thick layers of straw. The cats rest well during the daylight but at night they all leave my shed. I decided that they must be cold and that the straw is not keeping them warm during the night hours. To remedy this situation I decided to buy a heated or insulated cat house.

Here is a photo card that I created that will show you a stray cat sleeping in straw bed in my shed.

Feral Cat Sleeping in Winter Shelter Post Card


While shopping at Amazon.com I saw a heated outdoor cat house by K&H and read the customer reviews. They were very good however, I did learn that the house was not intended to be freestanding, it had to be kept either on a covered porch or in a garage area as it would not withstand rain or snow and would need to be tied down if left on the porch and weather was windy. My needs for this house met the requirements because it was intended for my shed.

The cat house came with a heated pad or without I bought the heated pad with an electrical cord because it would only add warmth when the cat was lying on the pad. (The pad would not heat up if there was no cat in the house.) The cat house was easy to put together all pieces connect with Velcro. It is heavy cardboard with a plastic cover that is water resistant.

Set up for cat house was in the back corner of the shed where there was an electrical outlet. The stray cat's food and water bowels were to the front of the shed and the stray cat arrived to eat right on time. When cat went into the shed I ran to the side window to watch the cat. The cat did see the house and went to investigate, the house was not met with cat approval, the stray hissed at it and left the shed.
Stray tabby cat in my garden

I decided to unplug the electrical cord and put a self-heating pet bed on the floor of the cat house. This bed was sprayed with catnip and so were the interior walls of the house. There is a plastic door flap on the front and back. I removed the front flap because I thought that it might scare the cat.

When the stray cat went into the shed an hour later he did not come out. When I looked in the window I could see the stray inside the cat house lying in the bed.

I sprayed the bed daily with the catnip and the stray cat comes to the shed and sleeps in the K&H cat house nightly. Eventually, I was able to replace the flap on the door and this was a way to keep the cat warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

When the temperature dipped bellow zero I did add a layer of straw to the interior of cat house for extra insulation. The self-heated bed was set in the middle and straw was like a cocoon around the bed.

The heated pad was never met with the approval of the stray cat. I tried several times to plug in the pad for the cat but each time the cat hissed at the pad and left.


I am satisfied with my cat house purchase because The heated/insulated house will keep outdoor cats cozy and comfortable throughout the winter months as long as it is located in an area that is protected from wind, heavy rain or snow.

Here is a photo of the cat house set up on my covered porch.  I needed to move it indoors because the windblown rain was damaging the top of it.  

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Providing For Your Cats in Your Will

Over the years my husband and I have rescued many cats, some we found adopters for others we paid for their vaccines and spay or neuter and released them to a colony. Then there are the FIV cats and the older cats that nobody wanted that we provide a home for. We share our home and our life with animals that depend on us but what happens to the cats if we die?


Many people will provide for their children and church but omit long term care of their pets. Pet owners assume that their loved ones will take in their cats but unless there is a provision in their will chances are family members will change their minds and take that cat to a shelter.
If you died tomorrow what would happen to your cat?
Many cats become strays when their people die. Nobody wants them.

Have you made arrangements with a family member to take your pet? If so did you make it in writing and have their signature on file with your will? It is no guarantee that they will care for your pet but it is a contract. You can go one step further and provide for your pet in a trust.
Who will love and care for your cat when you die?

I have friends who have a provision in their will that states that specific people will reside in their home to take care of their cats. Generally, a contract is drawn up by an attorney and this document is motorized by the person who is to inherit the house and the taking care of the cat.
A cat we took after a tornado, Cats people never found.

Presently I have a mature cat in my home that I agreed to care for when my neighbor passed away. My neighbor had a trust set up and monthly I am compensated for his care. Also, money was provided for his medical care and all I need to do is make the appointment at the veterinarian and all of the cat needs is provided at no charge.
When a pet owner adds a provision in their will for their animals, it shows that they love the animal and are responsible.
Week old kittens rescued when their person passed away,
no provision as to who would care for them. 

One cannot assume that your beloved cat will be adopted by your family or friends. Even if they said yes they would take your pets, a verbal contract cannot be enforced after you die.
This is Leo, his people died and he was left in the house.  2-weeks of meowing neighbor left him out, He was lost, confused and suffering from the death of his person.
We rescued him


Who will care for your cats if you die tomorrow? Have you made provisions in your will for your cats?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Abandoned Cat Gets Forever Home

A handsome tuxedo cat was abandoned. His person left him in our woods nine months ago. The cat was put out in a box that my husband thought was trash.
Original photo of Cat Abandoned 



My husband observed a man parking this car at the end of the street then walking down the hill with a cardboard box. The man returned without the box and my husband yelled at him, thinking he had just dumped trash.



Trash was not dumped in our woods, nope that man abandoned an adult tuxedo cute that was terrified by his new surroundings. Cats that are abandoned do not respond well to strangers. So when my husband tried to coax the cat to come to him The cat was fearful and ran when my husband approached him.



Immediately we let our neighbors know what the cat looked like and that it was abandoned. It is a nice looking cat and a few of my neighbors said that the would take it in. But this abandoned cat was so afraid of people that nobody could get close to him.



Trapping was not something we considered because the cat was stressed out, we wanted the cat to come to us when it was ready. That did not mean that we did not leave our garages open, provide the cat with warm bed food and water. The cat would enter our garages but ran when people tried to befriend him.



I always said that a cat will choose who he wants to be with. My friend that told me that she loved this cat and that she had been socializing the cat for the last 8 months. She was trying to get the cat to trust humans again and it worked. This cat got a second chance at having a forever home.



This stray cat will sit on the woman’s porch every morning at 5 AM to eat at her feeding station. Then he will rub on her legs and she is allowed to sit close to him and pet him. She loves this tuxedo cat and he loves her.




We are happy that the cat that was abandoned in the wood now has a forever home with an adopter that loves cats. It does not happen all the time but when it does it is always nice to know that an abandoned cat gets a second chance.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Winter Feeding Station for Feral Cats

Whenever the weather is cold or snowing it is important to have a feeding station that will keep the food from getting wet. It is also important to keep to your feeding schedule because the cats are dependent upon you.
Cat in winter

On chilly mornings in winter it is easy to think that it is too cold to go feed the feral cats, but you should know that these cats are accustomed to a certain feeding time and they will come out of their warm and safe shelters to go to the feeding station. If food is not there they will sit and wait, waiting could cause these cats to develop frostbite so if you feed the cats at 6 in the morning then keep to your schedule through the winter season, the cats are dependent upon you for food and water.
Insulated wooden feeding station 


This morning it was a chilly 37 degrees Fahrenheit and even though I would have preferred staying in bed all cozy under the down comforter I got up at 5:30AM and put on my winter hoodie and my insulated hiking boots. Then took to the trail to hike to the feral cats feeding station.

The feeding station is a wooden insulated box with an entrance and an exit and it is elevated so that rain water does not pour into the box. . I also have a feeding station set up in my yard for the stray and feral cats that frequent my shelter in the shed and a station in the woods.

Two bowls are set inside the feeding station for dry kibble food and water. Two cats can fit inside the box. Food is never left in the feeding station as it would attract predators. I feed the feral cats twice a day, 6 AM and 4 PM.

Know that if there is snow, you must still feed the cats, if you cannot get to them then they cannot get to you so take your snow shovel and clear a path to the cats. Here are photos of my feral cat feeding station in my yard and of the path we cleared in winter to get to the cats at the colony.
Pathe we cleared to cat colony



You can make a feeding station from a plastic storage container and styrofoam insert for insulation. Follow directions for a shelter, but instead of cutting for one entrance, add an exit also. No straw needed, this is for food and water. The insulation is helpful as it will aid in preventing the food / water from freezing.  I found this video at YouTube.com and think the directions are easy to follow.





Thursday, October 6, 2016

Why Cats Should Live Indoors

This week I was asked if I thought it was best for the cat to live indoors and
normally I would say yes to this because so many cats are left out of the house with NO supervision and these cats are in danger of being chased by a dog, tormented by people and getting into fights with cats that are diseased; Feline Leukemia or Feline Immunodeficiency.

When a cat lives indoors one does not have to worry about a cats outdoor behavior. Cats are more aggressive when living outdoors. They have to be cautious at all times.

I have heard both sides this topic and what I heard was positive and the negative. Many people believe that cats are meant to go outside to urinate and to have access to nutritious grass. That a walk around the block for a cat keeps them happier and healthier. Other pet owners told me that “when I go to work the cat goes outdoors, that my cat loves going outdoors and the cat is current with vaccines, then there should be now worries. Followed by my cat has claws, can climb a tree or fight off a dog

It is a good thing that your cat is up-to-date with vaccines including feline Leukemia then your cat will not be infected if it gets into a fight with a diseased cat, but it does not mean your cat will not get FIV. There is a vaccine for FIV but most veterinarians do not vaccinate cats because the vaccine will show a false positive for the rest of the cats life. Lets say your cat is lost and is found and they test it for immunodeficiency feline disease at shelter, your cats results are positive, you know it is false due to the vaccine, but shelter does not. Most shelters euthanize sick cats.

Cats have claws but a large dog can overpower them and a two or more dogs are no match for a cat with claws. My neighbors cat was killed by two stray dogs in the yard, her claws were no match to the dogs and she had no access to a tree or getting back into the house because the owner had shut the door, it was a nice day and they thought the cat would like being outdoors for a few hours.

Know that this same neighbor who let their cats out unsupervised lost another cat because it was hit by a car. That’s two cats in less than a year. Even though my neighbor has lost two cats in a year, he still lets his other cat out of the house unsupervised.

There are other concerns that a cat owner should be aware of and that is kids that torment cats. Kids will be kids and some kids are not nice to cats. They torment them and some kids and adults are down right mean to cats. People that do not like your cat doing their business in their garden may poison your cat. It has happened before in my neighborhood, so I advice everybody to supervise the outdoor cat or keep the indoors.

Yes there are positive and negatives to cats being allowed to go outdoors. I take my cat Leo outdoors with me. He has free roam of the backyard and I watch him. I also take Leo for a walk around the block. My cat is fitted with a harness and I use a light weight extension leash. The harness and leash is great because if need be I can pick Leo up and protect him from dogs that are not on a leash.


So there you have it, my recommendations on why a cat should be kept indoors.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Trauma Cats Need Experienced Adopters

Ten weeks ago I agreed to care for a rescued kitten that was near death; eyes had clouded over.  My friend had found the kitten in an abandoned field, she saw that the other littermates had been hit by cars and a few died of malnutrition and or dehydration.  She rescued the one remaining kitten and nursed it back to a stable condition, but could not keep it.  The kitten was surrendered to a senior citizen who loved cats, but the little trauma kitten was too much for the adopter.

The senior citizen was overwhelmed with caring for the trauma kitten. This kitten very small for its age and does not know when to go to their food bowl and needs help with the litter box. We suspect that when the eyes clouded over that perhaps oxygen was lacking in the brain, making this 10-week old kitten slower than most kittens at this age.   When there was no rescue to take the kitten, I took him in.

We named him Oliver and he is now 14 weeks old and is growing very slowly.  He weighs 3.75 pounds, does not know to go to his food bowl to eat when he is hungry and still needs help getting into his litter box.  Other than that he is a delicate little angel.

We had one cat adopter that had teenage boys and both parents worked long hours. The mother said the house was loud and doors were always being left open.  This home was not a good fit for delicate Oliver, as he needs people who will pay attention to him and are aware of his special needs.

Oliver is not a sickly cat, but that is not to say he does not get ill.  Last night   Oliver started vomiting.  It is normal for cats to vomit, but Oliver was throwing up all of his food and when I checked him I realized that he had a fever.  Oliver spent the next two hours on my lap and when my husband came home and examined him we both agreed that he was too small to have a fever and to be sick.

Even though Oliver was up to date with his booster shots, he had symptoms of a cat cold with a fever.  So he got an antibiotic shot and we were told to watch him  and if there were no signs of improvement we were to take him back to the veterinarian

Today I spoke to the rescue who had surrendered Oliver to me and we both agreed that whoever adopts Oliver, that they need to be experienced with handling trauma cats because Oliver is a cat that needs special loving care.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Truth About Animal Shelters

Many people surrender their pets to an animal shelter because they assume the shelter will find their beloved pet a forever home. But the truth is that most animals will only see a cage and a cold table where they will be euthanized. Yes, I know that when you surrendered your pet that they told you “we will find a home for your pet, or we have a family looking for a cat just like yours” They will smile at you and you will leave knowing your pet was in good hands.

WRONG!

That is what animal shelter workers tell everyone.  It is in their employee handbook to say this to every person that surrenders a pet.  The truth of the matter is that animal shelters are in every city and on average they take in more animals than they adopt out. My local humane shelter wrote that they have room for 125 cats and 275 dogs and took in 800 animals in August this year. When I asked what happened to the excess animals I was told that 100 were adopted, other animals went to fosters and other pets that did not meet the standards of the shelter were euthanized.



On average, an animal shelter will keep the surrendered pet for seven days however if the pet is sick, feral or not socialized, or fearful of their new surroundings, or deemed not adoptable they will euthanize it to make room for pets that fit the profile.

If you are in a predicament where you can no longer keep your pet then I would recommend that you try to find a home for your pet before surrendering to a shelter and choose your shelter wisely. Better to surrender to NO Kill shelter. Best to keep your pet.

Example if your companion does not like your pet, then explain to them that your cat is important to you and that you will not get rid of it. My husband did not like cats, I did not get rid of my cats, and my husband learned to love them. We have been married 22 years.

The apartment that I like does not allow pets. Instead of getting rid of my cat, I looked for an apartment that accepts pets.

I am allergic to cats, the doctor asked me if I would get rid of them, I said no. I take allergy pills daily and use Earthbath grooming wipes daily to remove cat dander and saliva. Two things that I am allergic to. I took steps to live under the same roof as my cats. I did not surrender them to a shelter.


With so many cats being killed annually at humane shelters, please stop before you surrender your pet, see if you can make changes in your life to accommodate your pet or network community, neighbors, family and friends for a new home for your cat.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Fostering Baby Cat


This week  I agreed to foster a baby cat that was found in a field that was adjacent to a highway. The baby cat was skin and bones with eyes clouded over which is a sign that death is soon.  This baby cat was lucky because his meows were heard by a person who was taking a walk before church service. She found the cat and rushed him to animal emergency care, then returned to search for other kittens. 

All of the littermates had been killed on the t highway. These baby cats had been abandoned to an area that had no food water, or shelter and kittens would not survive because the only way to get to a neighborhood meant crossing the highway.

Unfortunately, the rescuer could not foster the kitten and had to surrender to another foster.  The rescuer brought the kitten  to my city which is an hour away. She gave the six-weeks old kitten to a foster who was elderly and it was not a good match. I was visiting the elderly woman and saw that both kitten and foster was suffering, so I took the baby cat.


The baby cat has suffered great trauma and must be the runt because it is very small. I am keeping until it puts on weight and can get its booster shots. The kitten will be put up for adoption soon. We would prefer to adopt this kitten to a family with experience with cats that have suffered trauma. A trauma kitten or cat needs a family that will pay attention to it.  

Sunday, July 31, 2016

What to Do When Stray Cat Looks Sick


Two days ago when I went out into the woods to feed the feral cats I noticed a stray cat off to the side, sitting alone on a rock. Since I did not recognize the cat as being one of the colony cats I took the cat's photograph. The photo indicated that the cat is sick or something is wrong.  Whenever a cat looks sick we then will put out the traps.  The cat may need veterinarian care. The photograph indicates that there is something wrong with the stray cat, it looks sick so the cat becomes a priority.

Know that this cat could be from the neighborhood, and it may have crossed the line with a tomcat or other cat. Since the cat looks ill we decided to not wait to find out if the cat went home, back to the neighborhood. My husband and I decided that it was best to trap the cat, and bring to our shed shelter where there are cat cages, heat an air conditioner.  Once trapped we will be able to put out flyers in the neighborhood to find its people. 


When handling new cats that show up in our woods we do the following;  


  1. Make up a chart with the cat's photograph and start a feeding schedule. 
  2. Watch the cat for a few days to determine if it is going back to the neighborhood which would indicate that it belongs to someone. 
  3. Determine  if the cat is domesticated, comes to us, rubs on us and is friendly then we will take the cat indoors and start the search for its family. Because it could be lost and the woods is not a safe place for a domesticated cat.