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A Cat-Proofed Home is a Cat-Safe Home

Cat Proofed HomeA cat-proofed home is a cat-safe home whether your new pet is a newborn kitten or a fully- grown cat. Before that first front paw crosses your threshold for the first time, your home must be a health zone, not a hazard zone. Be especially attentive to the sensibilities of former “outside” cats, who may never have walked on wooden floors, carpets or tiles, or been exposed to so many unfamiliar sights before.

Begin the process of cat-proofing by walking through your home, room by room, searching for things a kitten or cat might climb, knock over or pull down, and either secure, remove or store them. Keep all trashcans behind closed and latched doors and wastebaskets (covered if possible) out of sight. Ensure that all heating/air vents have covers. Snap specially designed plastic caps over electrical outlets. Tie electrical cords together and tuck them out of reach.

Install childproof latches to keep inquisitive paws from prying open cabinet doors in kitchens and bathrooms, and ALWAYS keep toilet lids down. In bedrooms, keep all medications, lotions and cosmetics off accessible surfaces such as bedside tables. Store collections – from buttons and coins to marbles and potpourri – on high shelves, and keep breakables on low surfaces to a minimum.

Most chemicals are hazardous to kittens and cats and should be replaced if possible with non-toxic products. A partial list includes: antifreeze, bleach, drain cleaner, household cleaners and detergents, glue, nail polish and polish remover, paint, varnish and sealants, pesticides and rat poison.

Many indoor plants, however pretty, can prove poisonous to kittens and cats that are, by nature, explorers, climbers and lickers. A partial list of these plants includes: amaryllis, azaleas and rhododendrons, chrysanthemum, cyclamen, kalanchoe, lilies, oleander, peace lily, pothos, Sago palm, tulip and narcissus bulbs, and yew.

Seemingly harmless “people” food can often be lethal for kittens and cats. These include alcoholic beverages, bones from fish or poultry, canned “people” tuna, chocolate, grapes and raisins, liver (in large amounts), macadamia nuts, milk, mushrooms, onions and garlic, potato, rhubarb and tomato leaves and stems, raw eggs and fish, and yeast dough.

Although prevention is the key to your new pet’s wellbeing, accidents can and do happen. The truly protective pet parents are prepared pet parents and know to keep a list of vital numbers handy:

  • Veterinarian
  • 24-hour veterinary emergency clinic
  • ASPCA Poison Control: 888-426-4435
  • Pet Poison Help Line: 800-213-6680

Hopefully, these are numbers you’ll never use. And as long as you remain vigilant, both you and your new, best furry friend can rest, assured.

Article written by Nomi Berger. Nomi is the best selling author of seven novels, one work of non-fiction, two volumes of poetry and hundreds of articles. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with her adopted Maltese, Mini, and now devotes all of her time volunteering her writing skills to animal rescue organizations throughout Canada and the USA.

#cats #kittens #catsafety #poisoncontrol #veterinaryemergency

Why Foster a Cat?

Why Foster a Cat“Fostering a cat is not a lifetime commitment, it is a commitment to saving a life.”

This is the watchword of cat rescues everywhere.

To foster a cat is, quite simply, to save that cat’s life. A foster home provides this same cat with a safe, temporary place of refuge until he/she is ultimately placed in a permanent, adoptive home.

Most rescues rely solely on a network of dedicated, volunteer foster homes, and could not survive without them. And rescues NEVER have enough foster homes.
Why? Because there are more cats in need than there are foster homes available to meet that need.

There are many benefits to fostering, many pleasant surprises and many unexpected rewards. Foster parents, past and present, describe it as one of the most memorable and gratifying experiences of their lives.

Fostering is both a way of enriching the lives of the cats and people involved, and a constructive way for people to give back to their communities. Fostered cats can provide endless hours of entertainment and love for their humans, and provide invaluable life lessons for adults and children alike.

By taking a deserving cat into their home, fosters increase that cat’s chances of being adopted. Foster families have the time and the ability to transform their foster cat — through one-on-one contact, exercise, feeding and training — into a happy and well mannered companion pet any person or family would be proud to call their own.

Fostering provides a needy cat with a stable environment, coupled with love, attention and affection. While the foster family provides the food, the rescue usually provides everything else, including payment of all medical costs to ensure the cat’s ongoing health and wellbeing.

Fosters are the essential eyes and ears of rescue. By spending every day with their foster cat, fosters will learn all they can about his/her particular personality. They will be able to identify any behavioral issues that need to be addressed, then work on addressing them.

If fosters already have a cat – either their own or another foster — in residence, all the better. The more animals their foster cat meets, the more socialized he/she will become, the more easily he/she will handle stress, and the more relaxed he/she will be around strangers.

For those who have never owned a cat, fostering provides them with the unique opportunity of seeing whether they themselves are suited for permanent “pet parenthood.”

But fostering a cat is NOT a form of trial adoption for that particular cat. There is even a term for it: foster failure. The most successful fosters are those who, despite being emotionally invested, know that they are essentially a stepping stone towards their foster cat’s future. And that as one successfully fostered cat leaves their home, another needy and deserving cat is waiting to enter it.

Ultimately, then, fostering a cat saves not just one life, but two.

Article written by Nomi Berger. Nomi is the best selling author of seven novels, one work of non-fiction, two volumes of poetry and hundreds of articles. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with her adopted Maltese, Mini, and now devotes all of her time volunteering her writing skills to animal rescue organizations throughout Canada and the USA.

#pets #cats #kittens #foster #animalcaretaker

Why Spay and Neuter Your Cat

Photo Courtesy Alley Cat Allies

Photo Courtesy Alley Cat Allies

The problem of cat overpopulation is a global one and requires a solution on a global scale. But like every journey that begins with a single step, this particular journey must begin with every cat owner in every community, town and city in the country. Those conscientious owners who act responsibly by spaying and neutering their cherished family pets.

Spaying (ovariohysterectomy) is the surgical removal of a female cat’s ovaries and uterus, while neutering (castration) is the removal of a male cat’s testicles. To minimize discomfort and pain, both procedures are performed under general anesthesia. Most cats are back to their “normal” selves within a few days, the surgery site usually heals within two weeks, and any skin stitches removed by your vet at a follow up appointment.

Did you know that in seven years, an unspayed female and unneutered male cat (and their offspring, if none are spayed or neutered) can result in the births of a staggering 781,250 kittens?

And the inevitable outcome? Hundreds of thousands of cats being euthanized each year through no fault of their own. Why? Because they are the tragic, but avoidable, results of over breeding and overpopulation. Why? Because there are too few shelters to house them and too few homes to either foster or adopt them. Why? Because there are still too many cat owners unwilling to spay and neuter their family pets.

Both intact male and female cats may try to escape their homes in order to roam outside. Neutering your male will eliminate roaming, urine spraying, and fighting with neighborhood cats. Spaying your female will eliminate the estrus or “heat” behavior of yowling that attracts and invites mounting by roaming males.

Despite some owners’ fears, spaying and neutering will not alter their cat’s basic personality – except many males will be less aggressive and more docile. Their playfulness, general activity levels, excitement, and vocalization will remain the same. Although neutered males and spayed females may gain weight due to decreased roaming and other sexual behavior outdoors, keeping them active indoors and managing their weight through diet will keep this potential problem under control.

Spaying and neutering cats before the age of six months is growing in popularity and the benefits to their health and well being are well documented. Spayed females are less likely to develop breast cancer and won’t be at risk for either ovarian or uterine cancer. Neutered males won’t develop testicular cancer, and without the need to roam, their risk of being injured or infected by other cats is drastically reduced. And males neutered prior to puberty (six months) won’t develop the large head and thick skin of intact males. Early spaying and neutering may also prevent problem behaviors before they occur and may either eliminate or reduce certain behaviors in older cats.

Imagine if every conscientious cat owner in every community, town and city in the country took responsibility for spaying and neutering their family pets. Imagine what we, as part of the global community, could accomplish then.

The Cat Network offers low cost spay neuter services for both community cats and pets. Click here for more information.

Article written by Nomi Berger. Nomi is the best selling author of seven novels, one work of non-fiction, two volumes of poetry and hundreds of articles. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with her adopted Maltese, Mini, and now devotes all of her time volunteering her writing skills to animal rescue organizations throughout Canada and the USA.

#spayneuter #spay #neuter #pets