Jul 14 2017

Poe: Happy Tails

Being employed with Wayside Waifs is a very rewarding experience, and volunteers have the same feeling. Sometimes you get those special cases with cats or dogs and you cannot help but root for them. Poe is one of those cases. Pictured above is the day Poe came in, with a staff member assisting her with snuggles.

I work in our Admissions department, and I was working the day Poe came in our shelter back in February. She was an owner surrender who originally was found as a stray, and the surrender socialized her so she could be brought in for our adoption program. Below is a photo of Poe when she first came in.

I know what you are thinking. “Awe she is adorable with her stocky legs and big eyes! She must be a Munchkin cat!” Actually, Poe is a regular Domestic Shorthair, but her looks provided a different kind of answer. Every animal is required to have a blood test taken unless it has already been done recently. We drew Poe’s blood, and we noticed something different.

First, there was concern with potential neurological disorders. Our veteran foster Annie Hughes fostered her for a few days to test her vision, hearing, brain power, and litter box usage. The results were positive, as she could track and follow objects with her eyes, she listened well, had a very quirky personality, and she was going just outside of the litterbox, but that wasn’t a huge concern because she was only a kitten. At that point the relief vet decided to draw blood again, but this time, for thyroid issues. She tested positive for Hypothyroidism.

Hypo- or Hyper- thyroids can be in people and animals. Poe has Hypothyroidism, which is an under active thyroid. Hyperthyroidism is in turn an overactive thyroid. Hypo is where the thyroid gland is not producing enough of the hormone that effectively produces iodine. Without that, it can cause a number of symptoms, such as poor ability to tolerate cold, a feeling of tiredness, constipation, depression, and weight gain. Most people and animals with hypothyroidism symptoms and confirmed thyroxine deficiency are treated with a synthetic long-acting form of thyroxine, known as levothyroxine. Poe looks the way she does because her body is gaining more weight than it should be. With those results, she was put on levothyroxine and sent to foster again with our outstanding volunteer Annie Hughes.

After four doses of her medication, Poe transformed into a different kitty! According to her foster mom, “She runs, jumps, climbs, plays, takes toys to her lair, uses the litterbox every time, covers her poop, covers her uneaten food, communicates normally, grooms herself, solves problems, lounges around, gets picky about food, and expects me to do things her way.” Here are some pictures of her thriving in her foster home. 

 

 

 

 

 

Poe’s foster mom even included a video to showcase Poe’s funny walk. Because of her shape, she had a special kind of strut. You can watch the video here.

She continued to do well in her foster home, and they rechecked her thyroid levels on the twenty-first of March, and everything was back to normal. Poe’s body started to regain it’s normal shape and she started to grow more. Originally there was concern of a hernia that needed to be repaired, but they later dismissed that as her body filled out and she exhibited no pain. After tests confirmed there was no hernia, she was cleared for adoption. However, there was a twist. Her foster mom wanted to adopt her. The picture below was Poe’s ‘gotcha’ day with her new mom! Annie does a lot with our shelter. She fosters, she is in charge of our Waif Runner program, she works with our energetic dogs, and she assesses our cats’ personalities. She does a little bit of everything, and we are eternally grateful. She also fostered my current kitty, and is always happy to cat sit for me, which is amazing. Poe is a lucky girl, and so is Annie! Here are some pictures of Poe now, in her forever home!

 

 

Poe is thriving, and it is stories like this that makes what we do worthwhile. Please send us updates of your furry friend, we love seeing them in a home!

You can meet others like Poe during our adoption hours:

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

We have a special going on until Sunday, learn more about that here.

Written by Teryn

 

 

 


Jul 6 2017

Black Cat Fever

At Wayside, we currently have 28 black cats and kittens available for adoption. That may not seem like a big number, but they take up a majority of cats here. Black cats have the stigma of being unlucky, and they also tend to not stand out in the eyes of adopters when looking at a different colored cats. It really is nothing personal, it just always happens that way. We have decided to showcase our black feline friends because of how fantastic they are! The following are some reasons why black cats are so awesome!

1. Ancient Egyptians valued black cats so much, they worshipped one as a goddess. 

Bast was one of the most popular goddesses during ancient times, and she was thought of as a feline goddess. She personified the playfulness, grace, affection, and cunning of a cat as well as the fierce power of a lioness. Her name implied that she was sweet and precious, but that under the surface lay the heart of a predator. So adopting a black cat could mean inviting royalty in your home!

2. They always look clean.

Just like a black car, or black furniture, black cats do not really show dirt or grime that well, so they always look clean. The cat will not care if it is raining, or if it is muddy or dusty outside, they know they will still look good! Adopting a black cat means always having a spotless looking companion, and having the bragging rights to go along with it!

3. They go with everything.

Black is a color that goes with everything and never clashes. Are you wanting a selfie buddy that will not ruin your look? Black is a very slimming color, so they aim to show off your best! A black cat is the way to go. Are you changing the decorations in your house to a new style? No worries, your furry friend will continue to go with the new patterns. Bringing home a black cat means never having to worry about color clashing.

4. They have famous cats in their community.

As pictured above, Salem in Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, is a very popular black cat in pop culture. Also famous is Sylvester from Looney ToonsFelix The Cat, Binx from Hocus Pocus, The Cat from The Cat In The Hat, and Lucifer from Cinderella. Black cats are kind of a big deal. Adopting one will probably lead to movie deals and recording contracts. Probably.

5. If they shed, as long as you wear black, it blends in. 

If you have that little black dress on, or black pants, the hair will not show up as much. That is always a positive versus having to use a lint roller all the time minutes before leaving the house. Black cats want love too, they just know you want your clothes hair free as well. Wearing black never seemed so nice right?

6. They have their own day, or days!

Because black cats are so amazing, countries gave them their own day of celebration! In the United Kingdom, October 27th is ‘Black Cat Day’ which encourages people to adopt those furry friends in hopes of sharing their uniqueness. Here in the United States, we have a ‘Black Cat Appreciation Day’ that encourages people to adopt and share photos of their beautiful black cats!

7. They look like Toothless from How to Train your Dragon.

It is like having your own personal dragon! Black cats blend in with the exception of their mesmerizing yellow or green eyes. Because of that interesting look, they have been compared to that popular character Toothless. If you adopt a black cat, you can brag to everyone that you actually own a dragon.

8. They are your own personal paranormal investigator. 

Granted, if you do not believe in ghosts, this one will not pertain to you. However, if you love watching shows like Ghost Adventures and going on ghost hunts, black cats are for you. They come with superstitions, as they were known to be the cats in the Salem Witch Trials. If you hear things that go bump in the night, black cats are for you!

9. You have the best mouser around town.

Black cats are nearly invisible at night, making them the perfect hunter for their prey. If you have a mouse or bug problem, they will be solved with the addition of a black cat. Cats have that predator tendency to hunt, and enjoy a challenge. If they present it to you, it is a sign of respect and they mean to give it to you as a gift, so be courteous!

10. They are like mini Panthers.

Have you ever wanted a jungle cat but being afraid and laws prevented you from owning one? Black cats look like mini panthers, and that is kind of adorable. They have that sleek black coat with those piercing eyes, and they strut like they own the place. Besides bragging about having a cat in general, you can brag about owning a panther!

I think black cats are fantastic, and I think this list proves they are even more. As I said earlier, our shelter is full of these black beauties, and we hate to see them get overlooked as they do. Consider meeting one of our furry friends during our adoption hours! Here are some of our featured black cats and kittens!

This is Lucky, a two year old male black and white tuxedo cat. Learn more about him here.

This is Merida, a four year old female black cat, with similar looks like Toothless! Learn more about her here.

This is Jon, a one year old male black and white tuxedo cat. Learn more about him here.

This is Oat, a four month old female kitten. Learn more about her here.

These are the Ninjas. They are a litter of five black kittens, three girls and two boys. This is their dojo, and they train in here. Always have a buddy when entering their room, as the Ninjas are escape artists. Their names are Aspen, Cherokee, Ruffles, Zazzle, and Fuzzball. Come and meet them today! Or watch them on our Kitty Cam here.

Adoption Hours:

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

Written by Teryn

 


Jun 30 2017

Heat Wave

While we are having a grim end to the month of June, July, as usual, promises to be the hottest month of the year for Kansas City. Our summers are hot, muggy, and wet, while our winters are chilly, dry, and windy. Being in the midwest, you get a little bit of everything here, apart from tsunamis and hurricanes. You can learn a little more about weather in this metro area here. You can also view the weather monthly here. With the upcoming heat wave, we figured now would be a good time to provide tips for protecting your pet from those harmful rays, while giving suggestions for safe fun in the sun!

1. Visit the vet for an early spring or summer checkup.

My animals coincidently have their appointments in the summer, but it helps me out because I can see how bad allergies are and my dog always gets her yearly heart-worm test. These worms are spread from host to host through mosquito bites, and are more common in the summertime. It’s also recommended that you get monthly prevention if you are in an area that has a high mosquito rate. Your vet will have the prevention to purchase at their office.

2. Always keep fresh, clean water at the ready.

This should be nothing new, but always provide a nice clean bowl of fresh water for your pet. I personally have two bowls of water in the house and one outside on our patio, if my dog wants to lay in the shade outside. If it is too hot, only take them outside for necessary potty breaks, and no need to over-exercise. We wouldn’t want you or your pet to get overheated!

3. Know the symptoms of heat stroke in your pets.

Excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse are all symptoms of heat stroke. Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees. You’ll want to watch out for these during our high heat and humidity days! Do not leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle, it can cause a fatality!

4. Be careful about grooming your pets.

Feel free to trim longer hair on your dog, but never shave your dog: The layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating and sunburn. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. And be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.

5. Check the pavement before you go on a walk.

Before you head out for a walk, touch the pavement. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paw pads. Walk on the grass and stay off the asphalt. You also might want to try booties for your dog so his paws don’t burn. You can still go on walks, but staying in shaded areas of grass is really the only way to go in the heat.

Now for some fun ideas in the sun that will be both entertaining and safe for you and your furry friend!

1. Kiddie Pools

It’s summertime, and some dogs love being in the water, so why not invest in a kiddie pool?! My dog is forty-five pounds of love, and on Sunday we usually get her pool out and she has the time of her life. Always supervise your animals near water, but it’s a cheap and fun way to stay cool outside! Our first picture above is a Waif here that is enjoying their kiddie pool!

2. Ice Treats

This is always fun to make, and you can do it at home! Instead of soda flavors or fruit, you can freeze peanut butter or dog treats and give it to your pet on a hot day. It gives them something to work on, and it tastes great to them as well! Some people even freeze their toys for some extra fun times. Just make sure all the food is dog/cat friendly. 

3. Anything you can throw or toss. 

Now is the time to break out that frisbee or rope. Keep in mind that during the heat of the day, you and your dog should be inside for safety reasons, but two or three throws wouldn’t hurt. You can even do this indoors if you have the access. That way they can get ample amount of playing time while still staying cool, and you as well!

4. Sprinkler toys

Once again, some dogs really enjoy the water, and sprinklers are a cheap entertainment option. There are sprinklers you can purchase for your yard, there are dog specific sprinklers, so many different kinds! If your dog isn’t a fan of the water, they may want to sit this one out, but sometimes the price is worth it!

There you have it! Hopefully these tips for surviving in the heat and enjoying the summertime with your furry friend! Always check the weather so you nor your pet will have to suffer in the heat! Follow the links above to check Kansas City weather patterns. From all of us here at Wayside Waifs, enjoy your summer, and have a safe Fourth of July!

Adoption Hours for our campus are below. Let Freedom Ring for the animals at Wayside Waifs! It’s a grrr-eat time to adopt! Join us for our Let Freedom Ring adoption promotion starting this Wednesday, June 28 through Sunday, July 2! Half -price adoptions* for all adult dogs & cats (5 months and older), and all kittens! Adopt one kitten and the adoption fee is waived for a second kitten adoption! Hundreds of dogs, cats, puppies and kittens are ready for a second chance and a forever home! All of our adoptable pets are spay/neutered, current on age appropriate vaccinations and microchipped. You can meet all of our adoptable pets on our website. Be sure to check back daily as more animals are cleared for adoption.
*This promotion excludes puppies under 5 months of age.

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

Written by Teryn


Jun 23 2017

Fourth of July Safety Tips

It’s the time of year to celebrate Independence Day! It is an annual Federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence and registering as a country, the United States of America. We typically celebrate with family, friends, fireworks, and good times. However, our furry friends don’t enjoy the holiday as much as we do, so we here at Wayside thought it would be helpful to provide tips on Fourth of July safety for our four-legged family members.

1. Have updated ID and photos of all your pets.

This goes without saying, but sometimes the animals get so nervous and scared they might try to run off and find a safe place. Having proper identification and updated photos greatly increases their chances of coming home sooner. At our store Whiskers & Wags, we sell a variety of collars and ID tags that you can purchase on campus.

2. Leave your pets at home.

To avoid something like a lost pet happening, and to ease your furry friends’ stress, consider leaving them at home for the celebration. Most pets do not want to be near fireworks when they are set off, and find the most comfort at home. Please do not lock them in the car either, because they could suffer from heat stroke and/or brain damage.

3. Don’t put insect repellant on your pet.

This also should go without saying, but if your family is having a get-together and you would like to take your pets before the fireworks show, do not put insect repellant or sunscreen on your pet. There are certain ingredients in both that are poisonous for animals, and will have effects like neurological disorders and lethargy.

4. Never leave alcoholic beverages unattended to where your pets could reach them.

Dogs and cats are naturally curious, and if a beer or cocktail is left on the ground, they might consider knocking it over and drinking it. If consumed, the animal can get intoxicated and very weak, and could even go into a coma. Put those drinks on coasters on a high-rise table so they are unable to reach it, and provide fresh water for them to drink instead.

5. Keep your pet on their normal diet.

This is the time of year when people are barbecuing more and more because the weather is nice. And keep in mind that foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes, raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to companion animals. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pet severe indigestion and diarrhea.

6. Don’t give your pet access to glow jewelry. 

Glow jewelry is that super popular item that people put in freezers and wraps around your joints in place of bracelets and necklaces. While the luminescent substance contained in these products is not highly toxic, excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still result from ingestions, and intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic containers.

7. Don’t force your pet into a costume for the holiday. 

It may seem cute to dress them up in the red, white, and blue, but unless your dog (or even less likely, your cat) loves to play dress-up, don’t push the issue. If they have a medical condition, some sort of loose clothing is definitely acceptable. Also, if your animal shuts down during the fireworks, consider purchasing a thunder shirt, which can be found at our store Whiskers & Wags. They are proven to help make animals feel safe and secure, while keeping anxiety levels down.

8. Do keep matches and lighter fluid out of the animals’ reach.

Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing—or even kidney disease in severe cases. Lighter fluid can be irritating to skin, and if ingested can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression. Keep those items on a high-rise table out of their reach, and all will be well!

9. Consider getting calming treats and Adaptil collars

Calming treats and Adaptil/anti-anxiety collars are both sold in our retail store Whiskers & Wags, and they have been helpful to ease stress for our animals here. The collar mimics the dogs’ natural pheromone that helps ease tension, and can help them relax during a fireworks display, as long as they are indoors. Calming treats will help do the same things, and will taste good as well!

10. Brush up on flea/tick treatment.

Ticks and fleas are more abundant than ever because of the mild winter we had. They will find a host environment in dogs and cats, and during a celebration it might go unnoticed. We also sell seresto collars which help battle unwanted visitors for up to eight months. They will help during that barbecue and high heated areas! They can be found at our retail store Whiskers & Wags.

These are just some tips that help our furry friends, and you, prepare for the celebratory holiday! Enjoy, and be safe! Our retail store Whiskers & Wags is open during our adoption hours, provided below.

Adoption Hours:

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

Written by Teryn


Jun 8 2015

Calling All Cat Lovers!

Felinecarevol_hero

Who would not love to start their day with kittens, upon kittens, upon kittens? We are looking for a special group of volunteers to help us with this crucial shelter role. Keeping the shelter clean and our animals healthy is a big responsibility. Support is needed each day of the week from 8- 11am. We know it is early in the morning, but you will have other smiling and happy faces to work with while you are here. Do you know anyone else who loves cats? Volunteering with cats and friends is doubly rewarding.

Here are the details about what you would be doing. Keep in mind this is a short term commitment and your care will help these felines in their journey to finding a forever home!

IMG_0247

Volunteers will be asked to commit to a once a weekly schedule. All days of the week are available, even weekends. Shifts are 8am – 11am. Anyone interested in volunteering, but not interested in this specific opportunity, should sign up for our general program at waysidewaifs.org

To get started helping our kitties, sign up for one of these classes be emailing AnnMarie Thomas, athomas@waysidewaifs.org. Please note in your email which shift you are interested in filling or if you are interested in volunteering for more than one day.

*These classes are ONLY for the Feline Comfort Support volunteer position.

June 13th 8am – 11am

OR

June 15th 8am – 11am

Feline Comfort Support Volunteers support the Feline Care Techs (FCT) with a variety of tasks. These include cleaning and sanitizing kennels, picking up and distributing blankets/toys, and providing food and water. Volunteers will be provided with general volunteer training and one on one mentoring to ensure success in this position!

Purpose:

  • This is a partnership of volunteers and staff working to provide the best quality of life for the cats at Wayside.
  • Support feline socialization and the importance of touch.
  • Decrease shelter stress and the spread of disease.
  • Apply consistent deep cleaning techniques for kennels once they are vacated.
  • Provide cats with basic necessities, clean surroundings, and toys for mental stimulation.
  • Overall – Increase the adoptability, health, and welfare of cats at Wayside Waifs.

Have questions? Contact AnnMarie Thomas, athomas@waysidewaifs.org.

Abner

 


Dec 18 2013

Paw-Lick’n Holiday Pet Treats

If you are looking for some paw-lickin’ holiday treats for your family pet, there is no need to head to the pet store. It only takes a few ingredients to make some of your own tail-waggin’ holiday treats. When it comes to pets, the little things can make a difference – holiday pet treats are no exception. So, next time you and your family pet are in the kitchen, be sure to try out one of these pet-friendly holiday treats. 

DIY Holiday Pet Treats:

For the Canine…

Dog Bark

If you have ever slipped your four-legged friend a morsel of cheese or let him or her lick your peanut butter-clad hands clean, you know how much pups love their people food.  This all-in-one treat is the real deal. With cheese, peanut butter, and bacon, what’s not to love? In less than forty minutes, your pooch could be enjoying some of their very own holiday Dog Bark.

Dog Nog

Add Dog Nog to the mix for some extra holiday cheer. Good news about this seasonal recipe? Your pooch doesn’t have to be 21 in dog years to enjoy it. Dog Nog is sure to keep your pup safely hydrated and happy. This holiday treat earned brownie points for its simplicity – something every pet owner can appreciate. By the time your pooch can say ”Dog Nog,” this delicious dog elixir will be ready to drink. All you need is baby food, low-fat, organic yogurt, eggs, water, and –for good measure—a banana slice.

For the Feline…

Tuna Crackers

If your kitten has behaved well all year, reward Santa’s little helper with something savory and nutritious. When you are leaving a special delight by the tree for the big man on the sleigh this year, prepare some goodies for your kitty, too. These tuna crackers are comprised of canned tuna, cornmeal, flour, and water. This holiday treat is cat-friendly and easy-to-make. In fact, these holiday treats are so simple to prepare that these kitty crackers can be enjoyed year round.

Cat Cakes

holiday gifts

Cats have always had a flair for the dramatic, which makes cat cakes the purr-fect treat for your kitten. This holiday season spoil your cat by preparing a truly fancy feast. The flour and tuna-filled cat cakes are delicious holiday gifts that your family feline can enjoy for days to come. For details about this one-of-a-kind holiday treat, reference the complete recipe.

At Wayside Waifs, we remain dedicated to helping you provide your family pets with quality care.  Want to shower your pup or cat with even more holiday love?

For more holiday treats, be sure to visit Whiskers & Wags, our pet boutique that helps support the rescue animals in our care.  


Oct 5 2009

Shaving Isn’t Just for Dogs Anymore!


Shaving cats seems like a foreign idea to most, but in reality it is becoming more and more common.  Living with all the hair a cat can shed throughout his/her life can be a big turn off to many.  Seeing the cat hair roll across the floor like tumble weeds, the constant hacking up of fur balls, or the hair on your clothes can become a deal breaker.  Some people are allergic to cat hair.  To live peacefully with our feline friends, one option I can suggest is shaving.  For some breeds, this can even be a necessity.

Most cats do not like the loud noise caused by a shaver or the vibrating of it next to their skin.  Precautions must be taken so you and your cat don’t get hurt.  Cats have thinner skin than most dogs and are easily cut by blades.  In order to prevent a painful wound, the right blade and proper technique must be used.  Plus, if you accidentally cut a cat, chances are the cat will never want another blade on them in the future.  I suggest having a professional groomer show you how to properly groom a cat and have them groom your cat the first few times.  This will hopefully allow your cat to become comfortable with the grooming process. 

A groomer might use a cat muzzle, which may appear to be inhumane or mean, but cats respond heavily to the visual stimuli.  A cat muzzle can prevent them from seeing a shaver and reacting due to fear.  You also need to protect yourself from cat bites.  Cat’s teeth are extremely sharp and a cat bite can cause serious pain and a nasty infection.  If you are unsure how your cat will react to grooming, a cat muzzle is a must tool.

Some cat breeds must be groomed regularly.  Persians, Himalayans and other long haired breeds cannot fully take care of themselves by licking.  Some have softer, cotton-like coats, which are easily tangled.  Grooming is an easy remedy to these minor issues.  Plus, there are a variety of really cute cuts.  The most common is the lion trim.  It leaves the head, legs and tail long.  This is an adorable cut that leaves most people in awe.  Let’s not forget about the short haired cats.  It is acceptable to shave them and can make them more comfortable as well.  If you are thinking of adopting a cat but you do not want to deal with the hair, or if you already have a cat who is constantly shedding, consider shaving them.  Shaving isn’t just for dogs anymore!

Written by Kristin Sampson
Foster Care Coordinator at Wayside Waifs


Aug 20 2009

The Ultimate Litter-Box Solution

It’s arguably the least pleasant aspect of your feline family member–cleaning out the litter box. And because we encourage you to keep your cats indoors for their safety and health, you can’t avoid this chore. Or can you?

I’ve heard rumors for years that cats can be taught to use the toilet. I never tried it with ours, figuring that she was an old-lady cat whose arthritis might preclude such a feat. But the idea is intriguing, and thanks to YouTube, I’ve seen actual proof that this is possible.

Can any cat be toilet-trained? Personally, I think that cats are such independent, unique creatures that perhaps quite a few can’t be persuaded to depart from the litter-box habit. But maybe yours has the right stuff. Does he fit this profile?

  • fairly easygoing; not too freaked by changes in routine
  • motivated by treats/training to do what you want
  • already litter-trained
  • still a kitten (probably easier than training an adult)
  • not a tiny kitten (must be big enough to avoid falling in)

If your cat seems toilet-friendly, and you have the time and patience, check out this how-to article. Products are available to make the process easier, but jazz musician Charles Mingus  swears by good old-fashioned cardboard boxes to do the trick. If you give this a try with your kitty, let us know how it works! Good luck!

posted by Claire M. Caterer


Jul 6 2009

Those Lazy Days of Summer

Not a recommended toy for kitty. Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Not a recommended toy for kitty. Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

What did your cat do today? Let me guess. Long yoga stretch,  ear shake, house patrol (stop at litter box), drink of water, brief snack, catnap in a square of sunshine. Repeat.  

Sometimes I marvel at how much time our pets spend sleeping. Cats actually sleep about 16 hours a day, although a lot of the time they’re semi-alert while napping. Either way, they don’t look like they’re doing much.  

A boring life? Well, maybe. For the eight hours a day that your cat’s awake, she’ll want some kind of fun. Often that will be laptime or scratching-post therapy. But your kitty comes from a noble lineage of predators. And since most of our cats aren’t kept in the barn with a colony of mice, you need to help your cat satisfy that urge.  

For the modern housecat, the predator urge comes out as playtime. Your cat likes to stalk, pounce, chase, and fight. Not only does it release energy (which otherwise might be channeled into destructive behavior), playing stimulates a cat’s complex brain and provides needed exercise. And while a cat enjoys some playtime alone, his relationship to you will be enhanced through interactive play. Make a habit of checking out the toy aisle when picking up the catfood, and think about ways to vary your cat’s environment. If you’re convinced your cat “never plays with anything,” maybe you haven’t found the right kind of toy. Be creative and note what your cat likes to do–hide, run, stalk? Chase the sunlight rainbows from your prism chandelier? Coax him out of his summertime lethargy if you can. It will do you both good.  

For some great ideas on playtime for cats, visit Jackie Fuchs’s page on Examiner.com.

posted by Claire M. Caterer


May 4 2009

Flea Prevention Starts Now

Regular bathing and brushing can help keep fleas at bay. (Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis)

Regular bathing and brushing can help keep fleas at bay. (Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis)

Finally enjoying some warm weather? Chances are your pets are too. As the foliage greens up, shrubbery and undergrowth become denser, and the grass gets longer, another creature shows up for a romp: the flea.

Prevention is the best way to deal with these pesky creatures. Once they get a firm hold of your pet, they’ll end up on carpets, upholstery, bedding–and you. Eradication at that stage is a migraine waiting to happen, so take action now, when fleas are just starting to lay eggs.

If you’ve had flea problems in the past, or your yard has a lot of dense undergrowth, consider a yard application as well as direct prevention on your pet. Concentrated liquid insecticides that you apply with a garden hose work well and are available at hardware stores and home and garden centers. Because the KC metro has a long warm season, two applications will probably be necessary.

In the house, be sure a dog or cat’s bedding is washed in very hot water weekly during flea season. Vacuum frequently and empty vacuum-cleaner bags right away. While this will cut down on fleas taking hold in the house, you’ll need an indoor insecticide if you’ve actually seen fleas on pets or furniture.

Finally, and most important, your dog, cat, or other mammal needs its own flea prevention if spending lots of time outdoors. Recent research has brought up concerns over the safety of over-the-counter topical flea preventatives, which have shown to be toxic in some cases to animals and humans. Veterinarian-prescribed preventatives have fared much better in safety tests and still are considered the best option for direct flea prevention for mammals. But to be safe, consider these factors:

  • Products are not interchangeable. Follow directions for species and weight of each pet.
  • Administer the product exactly as the manufacturer recommends.
  • Ill, pregnant, and elderly pets may be poor candidates for topical flea preventatives.
  • Check with your vet before using any chemical product, particularly those available over the counter.

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