Jul 22 2011

Cats vs Kittens: Which Adoption is Purr-fect for You?

When you walk in to the cat adoption area at Wayside Waifs it’s extremely hard to not make a bee-line straight towards the pile of kittens. Their sweet little pink noses, inquisitive eyes, and their need to play with that loose piece of string on your shirt is just too much to ignore. But while you’re playing with your cuddly kitten, there’s an adult cat watching you and thinking “well, I could do that too and not look so…juvenile”. Adult cats are just as much fun; I can attest to this! 

I have a cat named Henry Fritzgerald. He is the love of my life, and he’s almost 2 years old. I also have a foster kitten named Rugby Scott who is a ball of energy and 2 months old. The differences between them are completely obvious and I hope by sharing their differences, I’ll be able to help you choose the right age for your household. 

Henry is a lover. He likes to be in your lap, but is fine with purring at you from a distance. He spends most of his days on my bed enjoying the streams of sunlight coming through the window, and playing with my hair ties or bobby pins. In other words, he is independent. Rugby is a spitfire. He zooms around the room like a bat out of…well, you know. He will play with whatever he can find (shoelaces, electrical cords, pens, etc) and enjoys tormenting plastic bags. He’s also a lovebug; he will snuggle with me, close his eyes and enjoy the attention for about 10 minutes. Once he’s reached his quota of lovin’ he’s quick to jump out of my hands and in to mischief. So, Rugby is more of a dependent type, since I have to watch him every few seconds.

Now, obviously, every personality is different. My cats do not by any means complete all feline personalities. However, they are very different. And one of the reasons they are very different is because of the age difference. Henry, although playful, is mostly very lazy. He likes to lounge and enjoys attention. Rugby, although he can be sweet and calm, he is mostly an energetic active feline who enjoys playing more than he enjoys relaxing. Henry is perfect for my house (I’m gone most of the day and am not very active), whereas Rugby would probably be extremely bored at my house if he were to stick around since he needs too much activity and play time. 

Instant connection and interest is the main drive of any adoption. Your eyes meet, your hands/paws touch and the chemistry is there; you know when you’ve found your cat. I know someone who used to say “Be careful who you hang out with, because you can’t help who you fall in love with”. The same is true with animals. You can’t help but fall in love with that sweet little kitten face, but will it be the right fit? Do you have the time and energy to spend on the socializing and well being of this feline’s life? If the answer is no, as hard as it is to put that kitten down, take a chance; check out the other kennels that have just as sweet of a face, and just as funny a personality. But don’t think that if you get an older cat that you don’t have any work to do. Henry has literally smacked my face before when I was not paying enough attention to him. Older cats are mostly self-sufficient though. They’re already comfortable in their personalities and they certainly don’t need your help in trying to change them (or want your help, for that matter).   

Every cat is different. I know some very active older cats (one who plays fetch) and I know some very calm kittens (one who only wakes up for meals and treats). But when you choose your companion, you really don’t know what their personality is. Think it through. There is no right answer- it’s not as simple as “Get a kitten” or “Get an adult cat”. It’s all based on what kind of relationship you want and you can provide. 

So which kind of cat person are you; a Henry or a Rugby?

Written by Alyssa Willet
Adoptions Supervisor at Wayside Waifs


Jul 8 2011

Feline-Ality: Finding Your Purr-fect Match!

Who’s excited about Wayside Waifs new feline adoption process? This girl! Feline-ality is the newest adoption survey program at Wayside Waifs. Feline-ality helps to match adopters with their ideal feline companion. Sound a little like a Match.com advertisement? Well, it kind of works like that too. You are asked to fill out a short survey before you go to the Cat Adoption area when you visit Wayside. This survey asks you questions such as “I would consider my household to be like, a) A library b) Middle of the road c) A carnival” or “I want my cat to love being with children in my home, a) It’s not important b) Some of the time c) Most of the time”. It’s as simple as that. Once you’ve finished your survey you are given a color and a personality. Based on your answers from the survey, the color and personality you are given is going to guide you to a cat on the adoption floor that would be the best matched cat for you. Pretty easy, huh? But what are the steps behind Feline-ality? 

Feline-ality is a process. It’s not as simple as “I believe this cat should be the color ‘orange’, and his personality should be a ‘sidekick'”. A lot of time and effort is put in to each cat that goes through the Feline-ality assessment. When cats enter the building at Wayside Waifs they are given a thorough exam and medical attention, and are then placed in their kennel. For the next 2-3 days they are not interacted with, but they are watched. Our feline staff record notes about the condition of the cats kennel, if they are eating, how they react if anyone approaches the kennel, and if they are adjusting. On the third day, the cat is taken from his kennel into a small room for his behavior evaluation. The assessor looks at different things during this test; how the cat reacts to toys, if they are social, if they like being held, if they are sensitive, etc. The behavior evaluation takes 12-15 minutes per cat. 

Based on the results of both the assessment and the behavior evaluation, a color and personality is chosen for each cat. Purple cats tend to seek attention and be pretty affectionate; orange cats enjoy being their human’s shadow; green cats are very adventurous and tend to be more independent. 

Feline-ality is not meant to be a quick answer or a guarantee on an animal’s behavior. It is meant for the adopter to use so they can better understand how their feline will be when they get home. Will their new companion run for the hills and not be seen for a few days? Or will they simply walk out of the carrier and in to their new owners lap? The results of the assessment and evaluation give the shelter inside information to how the cat will behave. Before feline-ality, we could only tell adopters what we had seen from the cat on a personal level. Now, we have a better guesstimate as to how a cat is going to behave in their new environment; which in turn, makes for a happier adopter and feline! 

Still want some more information? Go to the ASPCA’s website and search “Feline-ality”. You can take a test yourself, and also find out more information about each individual color and personality. If you are sold on feline-ality, come out to Wayside Waifs! We have plenty of felines with colors and personalities displayed proudly on the front of their kennel just waiting for their perfect match to come along and take them home!

Written by Alyssa Willet
Adoptions Supervisor at Wayside Waifs


Jul 1 2011

Keeping Your Pet Safe this 4th of July

It can be the worst weekend of the year for your pet – July 4th weekend.  Few of us are blessed to have pets who pay little attention to all of the booming, crackling and sizzling of fireworks.  Each year thousands of pets are separated from their owners after becoming so stressed from the noise of fireworks and subsequently run away from home.  Here are some recommendations to help you keep your pets safe and at home this 4th of July weekend.

1.  Don’t take your pet to the fireworks shows.  The large crowds, unfamiliar surroundings combined with the loud sounds of fireworks is simply too much for any pet.

2. Keep your pets indoors at home in a quiet room.  Some pets get so stressed they become out of control and destructive.  Remove any objects in a room that might harm your pet.  You can play soft music or turn on a television on to keep them company if you are not home.  Include their favorite toy or blanket for added comfort.

3.  Consider a babysitter for your pet if you are planning to be out enjoying the festivities.  Pets find comfort in having human companionship especially with someone they know and trust.  Being held and petted will help your pet deal with the stress.

4.  Never leave your pet outside unattended on the fourth even if you have a fence or a lead.  When animals become fearful and stressed-even those who would normally not jump a fence- can become unpredictable in their fear and try anything to get away.  Pets have choked themselves on leads and even hung themselves when they tried to jump a fence while attached to a lead.  Create a cool safe place for your pet in the home or garage area.

5.  Make sure your pet has the correct identification on their collar.  Now is a great time to make sure that your pets tags are current with your contact information.  Tags should include the pets name, your name and phone number.  If you can, also include the address.  Consider having your pet microchipped.  You can have this done for a small fee at Wayside Waifs and it is could mean being reunited with your pet sooner should your pet become lost.    

6.  If you are shooting off fireworks, take the proper precautions in making sure sparklers and other fireworks are completely cooled after burning.  Sparklers, for instance, can stay hot for hours after burning out and can not only burn your pets paws, but become lodged in between their feet.  Keep a bucket of water on a table to dump these types of fireworks in to prevent further burning. 

7.  Clean up the area where you have been shooting off fireworks.  Our pets are curious about debris and will go in close to smell anything.  These items are packed with poison even after they have been lit and sharp edges can cut their mouths, noses and pads of their feet.

8.  Finally, if your pet has a history of becoming seriously stressed by loud noises, like fireworks, consult with your veterinarian to see what options you may have to help with their stress.

Should you find a pet or your pet becomes separated from you, go to our website and file a lost/found pet report.  Make sure to include a photo, complete description of the pet and your contact information within the body of the posting. 

 
Written by Trish Stinger
Web Marketing Manager at Wayside Waifs


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