Thursday, March 29, 2012

Change Happens

My old cat Micky is wasting away -- well that's a bit of an exaggeration, but not much.  I brought him in to see Dr. Shillito the other day.  When you take your animal friend to the vet, the doctor asks all sorts of questions.  Obviously, the questions are directed at you since the cat can't speak, or at least talk  in a mutually understandable language.  Anyway, Micky's blood and urine were drawn, diet was discussed and then Dr. Shillito asked what I use for flea and tick prevention.   I proudly said, "Nothing".  After all, Micky, Merl and Charlotte don't go outside, so why would they need flea preventative?  Dr. Shillito was not buying my logic -- he said Nigel goes out, I go out, windows are open, there are ways for fleas, and even ticks to make their way inside the house for a tasty meal of  feline blood.   He strongly suggested a flea and tick preventative.  I begrudgingly said okay.  But not convinced, I looked up "Indoor cats and flea and tick prevention."   AND,   I found numerous articles that said --
Other animals in the household that do go outside (like dogs and people!) can bring in different parasites that can affect the “indoor” cat -- from www.CatHospitalofChicago.com
Even if your indoor cat never goes outdoors, it is not a bad idea to implement a flea, heartworm and intestinal parasite prevention program. This is not just my opinion, but that of the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC). The parasite control recommendations from the CAPC website www.petsandparasitescom state the following: “the use of year-round heartworm and broad spectrum flea, heartworm and intestinal parasite medications, as well as appropriate flea and/or tick products, is the foundation of an effective parasite control program for your cat”. -- at  http://www.petparents.com/show.aspx/question/do-inside-cats-need-flea/tick-medicine.

So, I ordered the monthly preventative and am psyching myself up to apply it to the feline trio.   But, for now, Micky doesn't have fleas, nor do I think he has had them in the ten years that he has lived with me, but he has lost 2 pounds since January.   The diagnosis is not yet totally complete, but the broad, general thought is that he is old and things are changing -- including my opinion regarding flea and tick prevention for indoor cats. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Every Open Door

An adventure for Charlotte --
Scoping out the bathroom
from the inside of the linen closet!
Charlotte is FEARLESS.  On more than one occasion she has run out the front door.   Luckily, she stops to take in the many smells on each blade of grass, so it's not hard to grab her and bring her back inside where she belongs.   An indoor cat is a safe cat, a cat permitted to go outside is not -- it's just that simple.   Everyone who has ever lived with a cat knows that they are  incredibly curious.  But, those wonders of the outside world also include many dangers that reduce a cat's average life expectancy.  According to Nicholas Dodman, D.V.M., the average life span of indoor cats is about 14 years – though this is reduced to 4 years in cats that are allowed to roam free, exposing themselves to the hazards of outdoor life.  There are countless dangers outside -- not just cars, but poisons, predators, cruel people, disease, and numerous other horrors.    Charlotte finds every opportunity to explore new things and new places.  Recently there was another open door that Charlotte ventured through -- the door to the linen closet! 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

It Takes a Village to Rescue and Raise Puppies

Katrina,  lying on the blanket, 
and her friend enjoy the spring-like weather
 with  PUPPIES!

A mother dog, and her ten puppies, were victims of a horrible hoarding tragedy.   People who collect animals may be well-meaning when they start taking in animals, but their good intentions quickly go astray causing horrible, overcrowded living conditions that result in the fear stricken animals fighting to survive.   The pups, born to an older retriever mix shortly after the seizure, are thriving in Washington Animal Rescue League's foster care program.   The mom dog was one of 108 dogs rescued in December by the Humane Society of the United States' (HSUS) Animal Rescue Team.  The League took in more than a dozen of the rescued dogs and,  fortunately, had a wonderful volunteer foster family willing to take in the mother dog and her pups.    

The initial  HSUS press release from Macon Mississippi read ...When responders arrived on the scene Tuesday morning they found breeds ranging from hound mixes to Labrador retriever mixes housed throughout the property. Many of the dogs suffered from medical ailments such as skin infections, untreated wounds and other serious ailments. The dogs were being allowed to reproduce and several pregnant dogs were rescued. They were being housed in feces-ridden outdoor pens with little protection from the elements.

Fosters Susan and Tom, and their children Katrina and Nicholas, are quite popular these days.   Lucky for the pups the early socialization is endless.  Had they been born and left in the deplorable conditions, where their mother just barely survived, the pups would never have made it.  Now, in just a couple of weeks they will move on to their forever homes, many not far from their foster home.  

Monday, March 12, 2012

After All These Years, There are Still Too Many!

This picture of cat condos is NOT at the Washington Animal Rescue League.  It was taken at ARF -- Tony LaRussa's Animal Rescue Foundation in Walnut Creek, California.   I was there for the annual humane educators' conference.  There were nearly 100 of us there attending the two-day event.   Seeing the cats and dogs at ARF and talking to all of the wonderful shelter personnel, volunteers and conference attendees reminded me once again that the companion animal overpopulation problem is not limited to Washington, DC.   Unfortunately, shelters throughout the United States remain overcrowded -- if anything, there are more humane groups and shelters today than there were when I started in animal welfare work more than 30 years ago.   The care we give homeless animals has improved immeasureably over the years.  But the fact remains -- we live in a disposable society where cats and dogs are tossed aside like an old pair of shoes; and, even with low-cost spay/neuter programs readily available, cats and dogs reproduce.  And, they reproduce exponentially!
I came home from California to a yard sprouting with daffodils and above average March temperatures,  which can only mean one thing -- SPRING.  And, with Spring comes an influx of kittens and puppies.  Kittens and puppies are cute -- only Cruella Deville, would say otherwise -- but a  litter of unwanted homeless kittens and puppies is heartbreaking -- they break the hearts of shelter staff and volunteers every day.

Enjoy Spring.  Stop to smell the flowers, enjoy the rising temperatures and tell a friend or neighbor to get their cat or dog spayed or neutered.