Nov 17 2017

The Importance of Play in Cats

Contrary to the adorable picture above, playtime is not just for kittens! Adult cats enjoy and benefit from playtime as well. Even senior cats like to get in on the fun! This blog post is meant to educate our readers on the importance of play in cats, and how it can answer many questions you may have about your cat’s behavior!

When kittens first start to play, they are very young, and they learn social skills, and mimic hunting behavior. The next time your cat is playing, pay attention. Does your cat wiggle its butt before pouncing on a toy? Cats do this to steady themselves before they pounce on their prey (or toy). Are your cat’s eyes dilated or constricted?  Before they pounce, their pupils might be dilated. This is to take in a larger surrounding area and it means they’re excited. Once they have caught their prey (toy), their pupils might be more constricted to focus on the one object. What do they do with the toy? Toss it in the air, carry it around, paw at it, scoot it across the floor to chase it around more, or hold and kick it. They might not want to share their prey/toy with others, including their human! Some toys are so valuable, and if you interrupt your cat, they might swat at you or growl.  Let them have their prize!

It’s all about the hunt. The best way to play with your cat is to mimic a cat’s hunting sequence. Following this sequence fulfills their need to hunt. Starting with a wand toy, move it around to entice them. Move it around the way bugs or birds flit around, or a snake slowly moves around objects. Lead your cat around furniture, through a tunnel, up and over the sofa, etc… Some cats prefer slow movements and others prefer fast movements. See what your cat prefers most! Mix it up a little even; allow your cat to catch the toy often, otherwise they might become frustrated and lose interest.

Some cats will play for a few minutes, others will continue to play for 20 minutes or more. Once you have an idea of how long your cat usually will play, slow the movements down during the last 5 minutes of the play session, and then completely stop all movement (in other words, the cat has killed its prey). Once it’s “dead”, cats often leave the toy alone. Give your cat a few treats, or feed your cat its meal immediately afterwards. This makes the cat feel fulfilled, in that they have hunted, caught, killed and is now eating their prey. Their natural instincts should take over, and after a good meal, they will likely groom themselves and then take a nice, long nap.

Cats tend to play more often in the early morning and early evening. That is because cats are crepuscular; meaning, they tend to be more alert and playful during twilight hours. Because cats are both a predator and a prey animal, this is the best time of day to hunt, but also to be on the move to avoid their own predators.  This is often the reason guardians are woken up by their cat running around around the house or asking to be fed at this time of day. Providing mental and physical enrichment can help to alleviate any stress a cat might be experiencing. A fulfilled and tired cat is a good cat! If you are experiencing behavioral issues with your cat, please consult with your veterinarian first.

Types of Play:

  • Individual play – leave cat toys lying around; rotate toys weekly or as needed so they don’t become bored; kongs with treats or some canned food inside; strategically place toys as if they are hiding (keeps cat busy when you are out)

  • Team Play (person & cat) – increases the bond between human and cat, as it is a positive experience; for cats that are very exhuberant and are high energy, it provides safe distance so the cat doesn’t grab or bite anything except the toy; wand toys should never be left out unsupervised since cats could ingest the wire, string or feathers; depending on cat’s energy level, play session should last 10-20 mins. per session; some cats need several pay sessions throughout the day.  Cats at Wayside Waifs highly recommend Da Bird, the Cat Dancer or the Cat Charmer wand toy.

  • Playing with another cat (or dog!) – some cats love to have a buddy of their own to play, chase, and wrestle with.

The following is a video where Mercury, a shy and fearful cat, is using play to reduce stress and build trust with people. Mercury came in two days ago, and was untouchable. Now look at Mercury! It truly shows how important play is in helping cats relax, and enjoy their time at the shelter, and more importantly, in their homes! Click on the link here to enjoy!


So, don’t just leave toys out for your cat to play with, but take the time to play WITH your cat. They will love you for it!

Meet some of our fun feline friends, and canines, during our adoption hours!

  • Monday: CLOSED
  • Tuesday: CLOSED
  • Wednesday: 12pm-8pm
  • Thursday: 12pm-8pm
  • Friday: 12pm-8pm
  • Saturday: 10am-6pm
  • Sunday: 1pm-6pm

Edited by Teryn J. Written by guest Bonnie Still-Wayside Waifs’ Feline Care Manager, and certified Cat Behavioralist.

Oct 6 2017

Pet Memorial Services: Department Highlight

We like to highlight departments in our shelter, as there are so many people that are working “behind the scenes” to make Wayside Waifs what it is today. Previously, we showcased our Feline Care Department, and this month, we would like to showcase our Pet Memorial Services and Facilities crew. They do such a wonderful job in maintaining our grounds, cemetery, and helping people in the process of grieving.

Our Pet Memorial Services area currently has one member-Tiffanie. She has recently become the only employee back there, and is doing a wonderful job! Thankfully, our Facilities department also helps her out. Those guys are Livio, Harold, and James. Together, they all make our shelter look amazing, and represent compassion at its finest.

The building pictured above is Pet Memorial Services, and it is located in the back of our campus. Inside, there is a viewing room, and several private rooms for owner appointments. Here at Wayside, we strive to make you as comfortable as you can during your time of troubles. We also have our urns and boxes out, so people can choose only the best for their pets.


There are, of course, certain sections of the Pet Memorial Services building that we do not want to show pictures of, only because of how private it can be. There are rooms where owner euthanasias happen, and in the back is where they get the cremations ready, of the owners choose that route. However, this facility is clean, and very organized. Tiffanie goes out of her way to maintain records and schedule appointments on her own, until she gets the help of another staff member. Tiffanie is pictured below.

Our Facilities department does a number of things for the shelter in general, but for Pet Memorial Services specifically, they keep the plots organized, get them ready for burials and ceremonies, and keep the grounds mowed and treated. They are also very helpful whenever Tiffanie needs any extra help with any number of things, so they are all well-rounded guys!

While our grounds are very big, this is one of many beautiful sections of our cemetery. There are some interesting facts about our cemetery as well!

  • We have one monkey buried here named April, back in 1972.
  • We also have two Bearded Dragons, and a couple of “Fire Dogs” that are memorialized by fire hydrants. 
  • As early as 1946, over 12,000 animals have been placed here, whether they are owned animals, or communal. 
  • Fenby Webster was the lead contributor who helped to found Wayside Waifs. She helped found the cemetery in 1946.
  • We named different parts of our cemetery. Top of the World is our oldest part of the cemetery, having dates as far back as 1946. Cedar Shadows is where most of our cremations are. Peaceful Meadows(see arch above) is where our body burials are. We also have a section called Companion Fields, which is for our communal burials and cremations. 
  • We have a wonderful gazebo in the center of Peaceful Meadows, that is a great for a nice resting place for dog walkers, or if you are just gazing upon our beautiful grounds!

My own personal favorite is the gazebo, as it is a nice place to come and sit, and look at our beautiful campus. We have a business behind us, and Tiffanie says they often will walk around our cemetery during their lunch breaks, just to go on a nice walk. If you are curious about how you can help our Pet Memorial Services crew, consider making a donation in their name. The more money they have, the more upkeep and renovations they can do, and Tiffanie really wants to clean up or cemetery, and make it even better! I will end with some pictures of our cemetery, and current graves that are being kept in wonderful condition, and with regular visitors!




Please stop by our cemetery and take a look around!

Written by Teryn J.


Dec 11 2009

‘Tis the Season…to Help the Animals



It’s been quite a year at Wayside Waifs.   By the end of the year, we expect our final admissions number to be well over 7,000.  Just think, over 7,000 homeless, abandoned and abused animals coming through the doors of Wayside.   Where would they go if it weren’t for Wayside Waifs, the areas largest no kill animal shelter?  Animals like Braveheart, who was brought in last week from Belton Animal Control.  ”

Braveheart was so emaciated and weak, he literally collapsed when he got to our vet clinic.  Our team quickly went into action, IV’s were placed, vitals were checked and he was wrapped in warm blankets to stabilize his rapidly falling body temperature.  An x-ray revealed that Braveheart had ingested metal shards, bones and solid objects.  He was so starved, he literally ate garbage.  Partnering with VSEC, the Wayside Staff came up with a course of treatment.  Within 24 hours, Braveheart was re-hydrated, walking on his own and giving staff big kisses.  We are happy to report he is well on his way to a complete recovery.

We are so grateful to our amazing staff and volunteers at Wayside Waifs, who tirelessly provide the love and care to these precious creatures.  We are also incredibly grateful to you, our donors, who truly make it possible.  Since Wayside Waifs receives no government grants, we rely primarily on individuals like you to support our efforts for the animals.  Animals like Braveheart.

It’s not too late to make sure we end this year well, and further, are well prepared for the thousands of animals who will come through our doors in 2010.  There are many ways go give:

1. Make a cash gift:
        Online at

        Come visit the animals and drop off your donation in person at
        3901 Martha Truman Road, Kansas City, MO  64137

        Mail your gift to:   Wayside Waifs
                                     PO Box 9791
                                     Kansas City, MO  64134

2. Take a look at our Wish List and choose items to donate.

If you happen to be 71 or over, you can make a tax-free gift to us from your traditional IRA.  You won’t pay income tax on the amount of your gift.  Tell your traditional IRA administrator that you want to make a “qualified charitable distribution” to Wayside Waifs and gift them our federal tax
ID 44-0605374, and our legal name, Wayside Waifs, Inc.  The administrator will send your tax-free gift directly to us.  It must be postmarked by December 31, 2009.

Regardless of how you give or the amount of your gift, we hope you do remember the animals this holiday season.  We simply couldn’t help them without you!

Written by Marla Svoboda
Director of Development at Wayside Waifs

Dec 13 2008

Are you making a list and checking it twice?

If so, we hope you’ll include an item or two from our Wish List on your giving list this holiday season. While others may be dreaming of sugar plum fairies, we have visions of puppy pads dancing in our heads!

Our Wish List includes all sorts of things we use at the shelter to help care for thousands of animals each year. Here are just a few of the items Wayside Waifs is wishing for this holiday season:

  • Dog and cat treats
  • Cat and kitten toys
  • Kong toys
  • Puppy pads
  • Small mammal supplies
  • Paper grocery sacks
  • Ball and rope toys

For a complete list of items you can donate, visit our online Wish List at

(Please note that we do NOT need dog or cat food donations at this time).

Wishes for every budget, large and small
Please have a look at our Wish List and keep us in mind on your next visit to the pet store or the office supply store. (There’s a PDF version of the Wish List you can download and print to take with you when you’re shopping).

If you can spend just an extra $10 or $20 on supplies when you’re shopping for yourself and your pets, that’s $10 or $20 that Wayside Waifs doesn’t have to spend. You might even find that you can buy some supplies in bulk at a much better price – including office supplies like paper and batteries. Then keep what you need and donate the rest to Wayside Waifs.

In fact, you don’t have to spend any money to make a difference. Your family can save and donate paper grocery bags (kitties love to hide in them!) and newspapers. You can also donate cardboard soda flats (we use them for kitty litter). We also need gently used kennels and crates.

On the other hand, if you’re feeling extra generous this holiday season, we have a few very special items on our list. If we were sitting on Santa’s knee, we’d ask him for a laptop computer, an LCD projector, a portable projector screen, a chest freezer, and (because we’ve been very, very good!) a van or truck.

If you would like to make one of these wishes come true (or make a monetary donation dedicated to the purchase of one of these items), contact Marla Svoboda at 816-986-4401 to discuss the details.

It’s always a season for giving!
Of course, our Wish List isn’t just for the holidays. We need a wide variety of supplies every day of the year.

So when you’re stocking up at Costco or Sam’s Club and see a great deal on paper towels, or 55-gallon trash bags, or puppy pads – or dozens of other daily supplies on our Wish List! – think about how these unglamorous but very necessary supplies will help provide care and comfort to the animals.

On the Wish List web page, you can also sign up to be part of our Critical Needs Network and receive emails when we experience a critical shortage of supplies. This is a special way to be part of our “supply safety net”.

Just visit the Wish List page at and click on the link to the right-hand side to sign up for this important network.

However and whenever you make donations to Wayside Waifs, THANK YOU for your support. Every wish list item that comes through our doors helps us care for the animals in our shelter.

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