Pet Care 

Tips to help your pet live longer, happier and healthier.


PLEASE DO NOT DECLAW YOUR CAT.  It is cruel, painful, unnatural and can lead to behavioral problems.  Cats can be trained to use scratch posts.  You may also be able to trim their claws with instructions from your vet.  For more information about declawing, why we are opposed to it and learn what you can do  in the alternative , please visit 
www.pawproject.com.  Thank you.

POSITIVE CATS
CATS THAT TEST POSITIVE for FIV or FELV do not necessarily have to be put down if they appear healthy.  They can live a normal life for many years, but they have low immune systems so need extra supplements, high quality food and take precautions from exposing them to potential viruses and respiratory illnesses.  They should be kept indoors exclusively and in households where they are either the only cat or with other positive cats.  Also, test results can be false, particularly if the cat is not in the best physical condition, stressed, nervous, exposure, etc. – we recommend either waiting and trying again and then if still positive, obtain a bone marrow test.  Kittens should not be tested until they are at least 13 weeks old and may not get an accurate reading.  Re-test after 30-45 days.

POISONOUS PLANTS ALERT:

Beware of the Sago Palm - do not let your pet chew on any part of this plant - highly toxic - can be fatal!

Sago Palms may be attractive and hardy, but they are HIGHLY TOXIC AND LETHAL TO ANIMALS.  Eating just a small amount of this plant will cause a long, suffering death to your pet.  Through the diligence of Susan Medland, there is finally a petition online asking the large retailers that sell the majority of these deadly plants (which can even cause illness in a small child) in the U.S. to clearly warn shoppers of this plant’s toxicity to pets (as little as 2 seeds can poison a dog).  If you agree that consumers should be made aware of highly toxic plants, please go online to sign this petition at www.petitiononline.com/bellacat/petition.html.  Look for further updates (either by mail or email, website) about introducing legislation to that effect.  In the meantime, do not purchase any, get rid of any you have and please tell others about the plants and the petition.  Smaller versions (a la bonsai trees) are also sold as indoor plants. 

Awareness is key in preventing accidental plant poisonings in your pets. Get more important information on the five most deadly plants to pets on this website:  http://www.krdotv.com/global/story.asp?s=3459215  Also go to www.aspca.org for a complete listing of poisonous plants.


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Urgent:  Do not give medicine and pain relievers made for humans to your pet.  Some can cause illness or death.  Be especially careful that your pet not ingest anything containing "acetaminophen."  Products containing this ingredient include Tylenol, Tylenol Arthritis, Excedrin, Percocet, Ultracet, Vicodin, Darvocet, analgesics in general.  Keep these and all pain medications in a secure cabinet above countertop level.  If you think your pet has accidentally ingested acetaminophen or any other potentially dangerous substance, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Control Center emergency hotline at (888) 426-4435 for 24-hour telephone assistance.  In the Valley, you can contact any one of the Emergency Animal Clinics (see Resource Page for locations and phone numbers).

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THE IMPORTANCE OF KEEPING PETS INDOORS

 

DOGS

 

Dogs should not be left at will in a yard unattended.  You’d be surprised how many ways dogs who are unsupervised, bored and/or curious, get out of a yard.  If they are left out there, day in and day out, all day long, to their own devices, they dig, chew and other things that you don’t want them to do out of boredom and frustration, and escape and get lost.  They are happier, better adjusted dogs when they receive basic obedience training (along with their masters and family) and live inside with them.  If you must leave your dog out in the yard, make sure that children, visitors and workers know to securely shut and lock all doors and gates.  This is how most dogs get out and lost from their homes.  Of course, in the summer, it is vital that your dog have shade and plenty of water, and please NEVER, NEVER tie your dog to anything and leave it unattended.

 

We also do not recommend the use of doggy doors.  Many a cat and dog has been lost because it can get out a doggy door, get out a gate, and gone forever.  Doggy doors are a cop-out, a lazy alternative to training a dog properly.  All dogs can be trained to not go inside or use a box if you have a small dog. 

 

When taking your dog out of the house or yard, please always have them on a leash – 1st, it’s the law, 2nd for other people’s safety, and 3rd, but not least, for the animal’s safety as well.  You don’t know what your dog is thinking or what can cause him to run into the street or other unexpected move that could risk its life. 

 

 

CATS

 

It’s a fact that inside cats live longer, healthier lives than outside cats.  An indoor cat never faces the dozens of dangers waiting outside your front door.  Outdoor cats live an average of 3 years; indoor cats can live up to 15 years or more.

 

Cars are the number 1 killer of outdoor cats.  No matter how street smart you might think you cat is, it’s only a matter of time.  They do not understand about cars.

 

Then there are the other cats ready to fight and exposure to infectious, sometimes fatal, diseases from other cats, fleas, ticks, worms, abscesses, cuts, and other animals.  Among the most contagious and deadliest diseases they can catch from other cats are feline leukemia (FeLV) and the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) which they can get from sharing water bowls, food and blood from cuts in fights.  Cats can typically carry these viruses from months to years before showing any signs of illness (meanwhile exposing others to it as well).  There is a vaccine for FeLV (although no vaccine is 100% guaranteed), but none for FIV.

 

Predators . . . there are dogs that get loose that will kill a cat; we have also seen coyotes in the neighborhood, and hawks have been known to prey on cats and small dogs.  There are also sick, depraved people/kids who will take a friendly cat for mutilating or other cruelty.  This is horrible way for your loved pet to die.

 

Poison food put out by people wanting to kill pigeons, rats and even cats.  Antifreeze causes a horrible suffering before death.

 

What’s more if your cats aren’t altered, they contribute to the already overwhelming population of cats – 1000s are put to death by shelters every year for lack of homes and available space.  If your cat is not altered, please do not offer kittens for free to strangers – they might turn around and sell them to a research lab for $25 – always charge something.

 

In addition, they needlessly threaten the many wild birds that populate our neighborhood because of all the trees and vegetation we have.

 

Outdoor cats are more prone to get lost.  Searching for a lost cat without an identification tag is time-consuming and often heartbreaking.  They may be able to fend for themselves for a time; however, despite what most people think, they are surprisingly ill-equipped to survive and most ultimately become diseased and may or may not have a consistent food source.  They have a diminished quality of life and succumb much earlier than house pets.

 

Cats raised indoors are perfectly content with their world.  Cats who have experienced the outdoors will need some time to get used to an upgraded indoor status, but eventually they will learn to relax and enjoy the comforts of home if they are given their own space, cat furniture, toys, etc.  You will need to put in a little effort to make the switch, but if you truly care about them, it’s worth it.  Calm Cat and Rescue Remedy are safe, natural liquids you can put in their food or water; or in extreme cases, your vet can give you a mild tranquilizer for the first few nights.  We at KTN have successfully adapted a number feral cats to the indoors – call us for tips!

 

Keeping them in a screened-in porch area might be an alternative.  If you still want your pet to enjoy the privacy of you backyard, be sure it is fenced in, but because a fence may not prevent other animals from entering your yard, you should always be present when you provide your cat with this opportunity. 

 

And remember, when transporting your cat, no matter how tame or obedient it is, please always put it in a carrier or on a leash before removing it from the house.  Carrying it loose and leaving it loose in the car can risk its life as well as yours. 

 



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