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.
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!
With Halloween coming soon, October is a great time to remind potential cat adopters to consider adding a beautiful black rescue cat to your family! While some shelters and rescue groups do not feel comfortable adopting out black cats around Halloween, others use the holiday as an opportunity to spread the word about how adopting a black cat is a cool thing to do! Black cats (and dogs) are overrepresented in the shelter population, so now is the perfect time to open your heart to an animal in need.
Here are a few awesome facts about black cats, courtesy of the website Catster:
A black cat’s fur color can change over time. Like us humans, they can go grey as they get older, and some black fur will “rust” with exposure to the sun.
Solid black coloring in a cat requires both parents to carry the same black color gene. Tabby is the dominant cat coat type, so some black cats actually have faint tabby markings in their fur if you look closely at them.
Black cats tend to be healthier than cats of other colors. Research has shown that the genes associated with black color also make the cats’ immune systems stronger. They tend to be more resistant to diseases like FIV than other cats.
Black “panthers” are actually two different cat breeds, depending on where they live. In the Americas they are jaguars, and in Africa they are leopards. Like domestic cats, the black coloring in big cats is genetic.
Still need more convincing that black cats are cool? Just ask cat lover Norman Reedus of The Walking Dead (click image to enlarge):
Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a fatal disease that is the number one cause of death in cats under 2 years of age. What is FIP? The disease is caused by the feline coronavirus (FCoV). Under normal circumstances, when a cat is infected with the virus, it will develop a typical immune response and not be negatively impacted. For reasons not 100% understood, some cats will develop deadly FIP after exposure to the virus.
In cats with FIP, the coronavirus will infect a cat’s monocytes (white blood cells) and begin replicating itself. The virus will take over an affected cat’s immune system and cause widespread damage throughout the cat’s body. “Wet” FIP is an acute, lethal form of the disease that causes fluid to accumulate in the body. “Dry” FIP is a more chronic condition, but still serious and eventually fatal.
Cats are commonly exposed to the feline coronavirus in multi-cat environments like animal shelters, breeding and boarding facilities, and even in multi-cat households. While blood tests can show that a cat has been exposed to the virus, they can’t necessarily tell that it has become virulent and will lead to FIP. There is no cure or even an effective treatment for FIP. It is a fatal disease and treatments consist of supportive care like anti-inflammatory medications and fluid drainage.
A cat named Bria was a Birman kitten who passed away from FIP at 9 months of age back in 2005. Her “mom” was Susan Gingrich, sister of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Susan and the Winn Feline Foundation established the Bria Fund a few months after little Bria’s death. The mission of the Bria Fund is to support research on FIP, and also to raise awareness about the disease.
From now until October 31, 2016, a small $5 donation to Winn’s Bria Fund allows you to participate in the Fund’s annual prize raffle drawing. Cat lovers can help find a cure for this terrible disease…and win a neat gift at the same time.
Have you heard about the “Remember Me Thursday” pet adoption awareness movement? Thursday, September 22, 2016 has been designated as Remember Me Thursday. This event was founded four years ago by Mike Arms, President and CEO of the Helen Woodward Animal Center, right here in San Diego County!
The aim of the movement is simple—to raise awareness about the millions of adoptable pets in the world who are waiting for their forever homes. In past years over 160 countries and 500 animal welfare organizations have united in support of this awareness event.
You can be a part of Remember Me Thursday, too! Just spread the word on your social media accounts using the hashtags #RememberTheRescue and #RememberMeThursday. Share your rescue pet’s story and pictures with animal lovers just like you!