Spring is a very busy time for animal welfare workers and volunteers. It’s the time of year when the warm weather means that homeless cats in your community (and unaltered pets allowed to roam) will mate and produce lots of kittens. Each year, animal shelters and cat rescue groups are flooded with homeless kittens (sometimes with mom, sometimes orphaned) that need care.
Want to know what it’s really like to be on the front lines during kitten season? Cat rescue advocate Hannah Shaw–aka “Kitten Lady”–has recently shared a video about how shelters handle kitten season on her YouTube channel.
If you haven’t heard about the work that Hannah does rescuing vulnerable shelter kittens and raising awareness about this issue, check out the Kitten Lady website to learn more! And if you’re interested in helping your local shelter or rescue group, you can consider fostering…or donating much-needed kitten season wish list items like kitten food, formula, and other supplies. Check with you local animal welfare organization to find out what’s needed most.
What month has more animal awareness events than April? Not only is it Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, but there are also many other pet health and well-being awareness activities going on as well. Pet first aid awareness, heartworm and Lyme disease prevention, dog bite prevention, pet ID awareness…to name just a few.
But this week gives us all a chance to thank the hard-working animal care and control professionals in our communities for the dedicated work they do (in often difficult conditions) to help pets in need. National Animal Care & Control Appreciation Week is an opportunity to recognize the people who save the lives of trapped and injured animals, and rescue abused and neglected pets in sad living situations.
Be sure to say “thank you” the next time you see an animal control officer trying to catch a runaway dog streaking through your neighborhood! You can check out the website of the National Animal Care & Control Association to learn more about what these professionals do in your town.
Ohio State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine has a great program called the Indoor Pet Initiative, which was created to enhance the health and welfare of our companion animals so that our pets can enjoy optimal well-being and thrive in a safe indoor environment.
As a non-profit that assists pet owners with emergency veterinary care, we have seen many sad cases in which cats and dogs allowed to roam outdoors have experienced life-threatening injuries from incidents like being hit by a car or being attacked by another animal.
The Indoor Pet Initiative provides a ton of information for both veterinarians and pet owners to ensure that our dogs and cats live long, healthy, and happy lives. What kind of information? Cat owners can learn about how to enrich the environments of indoor cats, as well as gain a greater understanding of what makes our cats tick. You can learn about how to solve common behavioral problems and identify stressors in your cat’s environment. They also have great information on the importance of microchipping your cat. Cat information is also available in Spanish!
For dog owners, you can check the website for lots of information on how to care for your dog from puppyhood to old age, including environmental enrichment techniques. Whether you have questions about crate training your puppy, introducing your dog to a new baby, or understanding your dog’s cognitive changes as she ages, you’ll find answers here.
Remember, along with spay/neuter, keeping your pet safely indoors is one of the most important things you can do to reduce the number of homeless animals in your community and improve your own pet’s quality of life.
We like to keep up with all the latest pet research, and a new study from Oregon State University definitely caught our eye. The researchers tested a variety of preferences among a group of adult cats, both pets and shelter cats. The findings will come as no surprise to cat lovers everywhere…but for those who think cats are not social or friendly, and would take a bowl of food over human company…well, it might be time to re-think that.
The study is nicely summarized on the website Motherboard. Each cat in the study was deprived of food, toys, and human contact for a few hours. Then the cats were presented with stimuli in 4 categories: human socialization, food, scent, and toys. The results? Among both pet cats and shelter cats, human socialization was preferred over any of the other categories.
50% of the cats preferred human interaction over all other stimuli, while 37% preferred the food. The bottom line? Presented with a choice, most cats would take quality time with you over any other type of “treat.” And the fact that the cats in the study were deprived of human contact for some time, makes it all the more important for us to give them the affection they need after we’ve been out of the house for a while!
The Humane Society of the United States recently announced the creation of their new “Humane Puerto Rico” initiative. Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the U.S. and according to HSUS, there are many dogs, cats, and other animals there that are in urgent need of help. Did you know that the euthanasia rate for shelter dogs and cats is 95%, and that many thousands of homeless pets roam the streets of this island?
What will the initiative do? There will be a multi-faceted effort to improve the lives of the animals of Puerto Rico in several areas, including:
Training law enforcement officers and prosecutors on animal cruelty crimes.
Donating law enforcement evidence-gathering kits.
Cracking down on puppy mills.
A humane education program that will reach every K-12 public school student.
New tools and technology for animal shelters on the island.
Partnering with Humane Society International on low-cost spay/neuter programs.
Puerto Rican government officials signed an agreement pledging their cooperation to help solve critical issues such as animal cruelty, the street dog population, and the euthanasia rate. HSUS notes that many tourists visiting Puerto Rico have been struck by the number of homeless animals in poor condition wandering the streets, and have contacted various organizations to see what can be done.
Interested in learning more about the HSUS Humane Puerto Rico initiative? Click HERE for the original story. For an update on what’s been going on lately, including a contraception program for the free-roaming horses of Vieques, and the launch of the Sister Shelter Project, in which shelter professionals from several states will provide assistance to Puerto Rican shelters, click HERE.