Category Archives: pet care

Why Should I Keep My Cats Indoors?

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates that cats who are allowed outdoors live about ¼ as long as cats that live indoors exclusively.

Luis

There are an estimated 1-3 million stray and feral cats in LA County alone. Many of these cats may carry diseases that can be passed on to your pet if they come into contact with them. A number of these diseases can be serious or potentially fatal. Some common diseases your cat could contract are:

  • Feline Leukemia (FeLV)
  • Feline AIDS (FIV)
  • FIP
  • Feline Distemper (Panleukopenia)
  • Upper Respiratory Infections
  • Tritrichomonas foetus
  • Giardia
  • Coccidia

Cats can contract parasites outside such as:

  • Ringworm
  • Ear Mites
  • Ticks
  • Fleas
  • Intestinal parasites (Tapeworms, Giardia, Coccidia, Tritrichomonas foetus)

These parasites can cause a variety of symptoms, such as scratching, skin infections, vomiting and diarrhea. In addition, these creepy crawlies can hitch a ride into your home and infect your family. Parasites can be very difficult to eradicate from your pet, from humans and from your home.

In addition to the risks posed by fellow cats, other potential hazards can seriously threaten your cat’s well-being and even their life.

CARS

Cats don’t always have the innate instinct to avoid busy streets and they frequently get hit by cars. Cats also like to hide under and in cars, causing them to become injured.

Bruno was found on a street with an open wound and broken leg. It was obvious he had been hit by a car. Even though he had to have his leg removed - he was lucky to make it out with his life. His owners gave up ownership after finding out what had happened to him out in the world.

HUMANS

Roaming cats may also be at risk for animal cruelty. Sadly, some people have been known to shoot cats with BB guns or arrows. Some cats end up being trapped, abused and killed.

Joan of Arc was found with ocular distress from a foreign substance being poured into her eyes. Someone had tortured this kitten while she was out on her own. Luckily, she was rescued, fostered, medically treated, and was able to keep her eyes and sight.

ANIMALS

Cats outside are commonly attacked by dogs, coyotes, racoons and foxes. Injuries from wild animals and stray dog attacks are very serious and often fatal.

Harper was turned into the shelter as a kitten after suffering an attack from some sort of creature out in the "wild." She had a large bite wound and a broken arm that had to be repaired with an external fixator. She was able to keep the leg and all her wounds luckily healed well.

ENVIRONMENTAL

Trees can be a source of some danger for cats who climb to a place to avoid a predator and are afraid or unable to climb down. In some cases, they could be up a tree for days without food or water or fall and suffer serious or fatal injuries.

Henry was found out in the antelope valley with a badly scrapped up arm. He had been traveling around in the big open world and managed to injure his arm by getting it caught in between something that messed up his arm. He needed in cleaned and wrapped periodically for over a month. Henry was able to recover fully.

REHOMED

An outdoor cat may be mistaken for a stray and end up in an animal shelter or take in by someone else. Cats do not always end up back with their owners even with a microchip.

Carly was part of a home for many years, but was found outside wandering around a parking garage. She had a microchip, but the information was not up-to-date and therefore the owner could not be properly contacted and she became available for re-homing.

POISONS

Outside cats also face the danger of coming into contact with toxins and poisons. Antifreeze is often ingested by animals as it has a pleasant taste but is highly toxic. Cats may also end up accidentally exposed to rodent poison as they like to hunt and eat rodents. Some common garden plants and flowers such as lilies and poinsettias are toxic to your cat.

Riley was brought to the shelter after being found on the streets. She was not eating and slowly losing weight. After a visit to our internal medicine doctor, an ultrasound revealed she had a seed pod blocking her intestines. A surgery was performed to remove it, but because she was unable to eat properly for a long period of time developed hepatic lipidosis. Riley needed a feeding tube placed to help reverse the disease.

If you’re concerned that the cat will miss the sunshine and fresh air, train him to wear a leash and harness (not a collar) and walk him outdoors. Or build a catio (a 360° screened, secured outside space) that allows the cat to experience the outdoors while safely confined. Just be aware that once a cat goes outside, they often want to keep going outside and will have a tendency to bolt.

Myth 1: Indoor cats get bored. They need to outside to have more to do.

Fact: The truth is, indoor cats can and do get bored, but letting them outside is not a good solution.

Instead, make your home more interesting: Set up perches where he can watch birds from the safety of inside, build a DIY cat playhouse, hide his food or modify his feeder so he has to “hunt” for it. Finally, if your cat is up to it, you might consider adopting a second cat as a playmate.

Myth 2: Indoor cats are overweight. They need to go outside to get more exercise.

Fact: If your cat is overweight, the safest way to help her trim down is by combining portion control and a daily exercise and play routine. Stop free feeding your cat, or at least be mindful only to feed a healthy amount per day. Cats love a schedule. Try feeding him at the same times each day and he’ll get used to the routine quickly.

**Have a cat who won’t stand for an empty food dish? Keep him distracted with the activities mentioned above — a feeder toy/puzzle feeder would be perfect for him. If you feed wet food, try stuffing a smaller dog’s toy with the food so your cat will have to work to get the food out. You could also choose to use an automatic feeder that works for wet or dry food, so you have options.

Myth 3: Indoor cats are destructive. They have to go outside to scratch on trees and use the restroom because they won’t go in their litter box.

Fact: Destructive behavior or not using the litter box is often a sign that something else is going on. Is your cat sick? Bored? A talk with your vet or a behaviorist may be in order.

Solving the problem might be simpler than you think. If your cat won’t scratch a vertical scratching post, try a horizontal one. If they don’t like scratching sisal, try a carpeted post.

Myth 4: My cat’s always been allowed outside, so he can’t be indoor-only.

Fact: Many cats have successfully gone from outdoor-only or indoor/outdoor to indoor-only. The key, again, is making sure the indoor environment is just as interesting as outside — and being vigilant about preventing escape attempts. 

Myth 5: My cat is safe when he goes outside because he stays close to my home/yard.

Fact: A lot can happen even within a small radius of your home. Other animals could come in and your cat may decide to explore a little further out. So, if you really want to let your cat outside, consider harness training him or creating a screened-in enclosure for him.

Myth 6: I need to let my cat out of the house because I’m allergic to her.

Fact: You may very well be allergic to your cat, but it’s possible you’re actually allergic to something she’s bringing in: indoor/outdoor cats pick up fleas, ticks, pollen and other allergens from the environment. If you really are allergic to your cat there are several easy ways you can reduce the allergens in your home, even when your cat is indoor-only.

Your New Cat

Now that you’ve decided on your cat, here are some tips on how you can make the transition a smooth one for your new cat and you!

Please keep in mind that no matter what age or type of cat you adopt into your home, they all need and want ample play time and toys to challenge them. Your personal interaction with your cat will ensure a loving and bonding relationship for a lifetime.

This document should be used as a general guide, keeping in mind that every situation will be different. In every circumstance, we ask that you be patient while your new cat adjusts to her new home.

If you have any questions or concerns at any time, please do not hesitate to contact us by phone or email.

Bringing Your New Cat Home

It’s a big world out there! Your new cat may have been at our kennel for a few months or even years, or only for a week or two. In any case, your home is a new world and a LOT bigger than what she has been accustomed to. It can be overwhelming.

For this reason, we offer the following suggestions:

  • Introduce your new cat to one room at a time.
  • Until your cat feels comfortable, you may want to confine her to one room.
  • Be with your cat as she explores the new surroundings; this will help her to not feel so frightened and to help set boundaries as to just where she can go.
  • Show your cat where the litter box will be kept and place her gently into it for a moment.
  • Show your cat where the food bowls will be (have fresh water and food in the bowls when you do this).
  • Avoid loud noises – this will most certainly frighten your cat any time, but especially when she is not yet comfortable in the new home.
  • Talk, talk, talk.. Your new cat will be soothed by your gentle voice.

If you have another cat in your home:

  • Keep your new cat in a separate room from your resident cat. Rub small towels against each of the cats, and leave each scented towel with the other cat.
  • Be sure to show ample (or even more) attention to your resident cat so she does not feel left out or resentful toward the new addition.
  • Have supervised and limited interaction between the resident cat and your new cat.
  • Depending on how the cats interact with each other, you may need to keep the separation period for as little as a few days or for as long as two weeks or more.
  • We all want our pets to be the best of friends. This is not the case in all situations, and sometimes the best scenario is that they will simply “tolerate” each other.
  • Above all – please BE PATIENT while everyone is going through the adjustment period.

New Cat Supplies

  • Litter pans – We suggest 1 litter pan per cat/kitten. Size is important. If you are bringing home a kitten, you will want to start with a small litter pan; increase the size of the litter pan as your kitten grows, depending on how big he or she gets. Your cat needs ample room to “scratch and dig” and to relieve himself or herself comfortably without eliminating over the sides of the litter pan. World’s Best Litter is a natural, non-toxic brand of litter and “clumps” very well. (Particularly recommended for kittens whose little lungs can be more sensitive to the dust of clay litter.) Another good clumping litter is Tidy Cat and can be found in most all supermarkets as well as pet stores. Note that not all cat litter is “flushable.”
  • Scoopers – Litter pan scoopers to “scoop” the waste from the litter pan. Scoop as needed, at minimum twice per day, more often for multiple-cat households. Litter pans should be emptied and thoroughly washed once or twice per week depending on usage and number of cats. Simple Green brand cleaner is non-toxic and biodegradable and can be diluted with hot water to wash out the litter pan.
  • Food and Water Bowls – Stainless steel, ceramic, or glass are best. Plastic bowls hold in bacteria, can cause feline acne, and are not recommended.
  • Quality Food – Wellness canned (most are grain-free) and dry food are a good example of quality food for a standard diet. Others can be found in pet stores such as Petco, Centinela Pet and Feed, or Pet Depots. Typically the staff at these stores are knowledgeable and helpful. If your pet has dietary restrictions, prescription diets can be found at your vet’s office.
  • FRESH Water – Water (NOT milk) is vital to cats’ well-being. Always have fresh water available. Consider using filtered water.
  • Wire Brush and Comb – Cats and kittens love to be brushed and combed. If they are frightened at first, slowly introduce brushing into their daily routine. Even if this means only one stroke. Once your cat is comfortable with you and knows that the brush and comb are good things, this routine will provide wonderful bonding time for both of you as well as promote a healthy, shiny coat, and reduce dander, shedding, and hairballs. Regular brushing is critical if you have a long- or medium-haired cat. Without regular brushing, knots or mats can form close to the skin and be extremely painful to your pet. If the knots or mats cannot be combed out, the pet will need to be shaved.
  • Hairball Remedies – Since cats and kittens are fastidious groomers, they can ingest a lot of hair, even with regular brushing. A good, natural remedy to help them eliminate hairballs is “kitty grass”. You can find “kitty grass” at most supermarkets and just about every pet store. Another alternative is Petromalt, an intestinal lubricant that comes in a tasty paste and aids in hairball prevention and elimination. A veterinarian may give specific directions regarding Petromalt dosage. Follow your veterinarian’s advice closely. Hairballs are generally more common in adult cats than young kittens.
  • Scratching Posts – Let’s face it, cats and kittens love to scratch; it is a healthy and a natural instinct for them. Declawing your cat  is NOT an option. It is inhumane, as well as a violation of your contract with us. Having a couple of durable, sturdy scratching posts will not only make your cat or kitten very happy, it can also help to deter unwanted scratching on your furniture. Be sure to show your new cat the scratching posts. Gently put her front paws on the scratching post and be sure to praise her for using it.
  • Kitty Perches and Condos – Some cats and kittens love a bird’s eye view to survey their surroundings. Be sure it is sturdy and will not tip over if your cat jumps on or off the perch.
  • Toys, Toys and TOYS – Cats and kittens love to play with toys. Little catnip mice or glitter balls are great to toss around for them to chase and pounce. Feather poles are another fun and interactive way for you and your cat to engage in play time. This is also very stimulating for your cat. Be careful of small toys or toys with loose parts that your pet can accidentally ingest.
  • Catnip – A sprinkle of fresh catnip every now and then is always a fun treat for kitty.
  • Nail Trimming – Even with ample scratching on a scratching post, your cat’s nails will require periodic trimming, averaging once every 4 to 6 weeks.  You can do it yourself or take your dog to your vet’s office  or groomer for routine nail trimming.
  • Flea Preventative – Fleas multiply rapidly and quickly and can spread from pet to pet; if you have any suspicion that your pet has fleas, contact your veterinarian immediately to determine the best treatment for your pet. Flea preventative is recommended on a case-by-case basis. We suggest using Comfortis (pill) or Frontline (topical). Please make sure whatever product you use is safe for cats. Some dog-specific flea preventatives are extremely toxic to cats.

    Reasons to use a flea control product can be:

    • if you have a dog. Since dogs go outside regularly, there is a likely chance that your dog could be exposed to fleas.
    • if you work or play outside or in a garden. Fleas can be brought in on your own shoes or clothes.
    • if you like to walk on the beach. The beach can harbor sand fleas.
    • if you care for a colony of feral cats. (May we add a special thank you if you do this!)

    How to tell if your cat has fleas:

    • An unusual amount of scratching, biting and licking
    • Bumps on the skin (could mean an allergy to a flea bite)
    • Tiny droplets of blood in the food or water bowl
    • White worms near the cat’s anal area. Flea infestation is not only very uncomfortable for your pet, it can lead to her developing worms and other more serious issues if left untreated.

Quality Vet Care

  • All of the kittens and cats that come into our kennel are tested for the FELV (Feline Leukemia Virus) and the FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus).
  • Kittens require 3 rounds of shots (given at different stages).
  • Provided your cat shows no signs of ill health, annual check-ups should be sufficient.
  • If you don’t currently have a vet, make it a priority to find one that you trust.
  • Establish a relationship between you, your pet, and your vet while your pet is healthy; do not wait until your pet is sick and needs medical attention to find a quality vet.
  • Know the address of your closest 24-hour veterinary emergency hospital and keep their phone number handy.

Your New Dog

Please keep in mind that no matter what age or type of dog or puppy you adopt into your home, they all need and want ample play time, exercise, walks and toys to challenge them. Your personal interaction with your dog will ensure a loving and bonding relationship for a lifetime.

This document should be used as a general guide, keeping in mind that every situation will be different. In every circumstance, we ask that you be patient while your new dog adjusts to her new home.

If you have any questions or concerns at any time, please do not hesitate to contact us by phone or email.

Bringing Your New Dog Home

It’s a big world out there! Your new dog may have been at our kennel for weeks, months, or even years. In any case, your home is a new world and a LOT bigger than what he has been accustomed to. It can be overwhelming.

For this reason, we offer the following suggestions:

  • Before bringing your dog or puppy into your home: Take a good walk around the block with your new addition. This will create a calmer dog or puppy entering your home for the first time.
  • Ok, time for coming into the new home! Keep in mind how exciting this is for your new dog! Once you enter the home, keep your dog with you on a leash, so he can get familiar safely with the new home. At this time, be sure to show him where the food and water bowls will be, as well as the sleeping area.
  • Establish your routine on day 1. Our dogs are all kennel trained, not housebroken. You must put your dog on your schedule now. Never forget that dogs aim to please their humans – always praise your dog after going to the bathroom outside (or on his designated area if you are training a puppy.)
  • Use a kennel/crate (only for positive training) or a baby gate to confine your dog to one area. This will help him or her to adjust to the new surroundings.
  • When you leave your new dog alone for the first time, he may have some anxiety. For this reason, do NOT make a big deal over your leaving OR your returning home.
  • Above all, please be patient. It could take a couple of weeks, or even a month or more for your new dog or puppy to feel completely secure.

New Dog Supplies

  • Collar – We recommend the Martingale or no-slip collar. To check for a proper fit, it is CRITICAL that your dog’s head cannot slip through a too big collar. You can check if the collar is a comfortable fit by checking If two of your fingers can fit between your dog’s neck and the collar.
  • Leash – We recommend a 6-foot leash. We are not in favor of retractable leashes. It does not give you control.
  • Microchip – Every dog we adopt out is microchipped. Think of it as a permanent ID tag. For the microchip to be effective, you must add your contact information and keep the microchip updated if any of your information changes.
  • ID Tag – ASAP. Even though your dog is microchipped, he should ALWAYS have a tag with his name and your phone number.
  • Food and Water Bowls – Stainless steel, ceramic and glass are the best. Plastic holds in bacteria and are never recommended. Be sure to always have fresh water available.
  • Quality Food – When switching to a new food, be sure to gradually add the new food to the old to eliminate upset stomachs. We do not recommend supermarket food.
  • Dog Bed
  • Crate – Optional. Crates should only be used to represent a positive environment for your puppy or dog, never for punishment. This could be your best investment for housebreaking and getting used to a new home.
  • Toys – Have lots of rope toys and “kongs” to save your belongings.
  • Treats – Our dogs do not get treats on a regular basis, so reward with treats sparingly. We do not recommend rawhide bones or Greenies, as those can be fatal if it were to lodge in your dog’s throat.
  • Brush and Comb – In addition to being important for your dog or puppy’s coat, proper brushing and grooming should be a positive and bonding experience for you and your dog or puppy.
  • Nail Trimming – Even regular walks on pavement, your dog’s nails will require periodic trimming, averaging once every 4 to 6 weeks. You can do it yourself or take your dog to your vet’s office  or groomer for routine nail trimming.
  • Training – Since every dog and puppy is different, training will vary. One basic obedience class is always recommended. We would be happy to give you referrals if you should need one.
  • Flea Preventative – Fleas multiply rapidly and quickly and can spread from pet to pet; if you have any suspicion that your pet has fleas, contact your veterinarian immediately to determine the best treatment for your pet. Flea preventative is recommended on a case-by-case basis. We suggest using Comfortis (pill) or Frontline (topical).

    How to tell if your dog has fleas:

    • An unusual amount of scratching, biting and licking
    • Bumps on the skin (could mean an allergy to a flea bite)
    • Tiny droplets of blood in the food or water bowl
    • White worms near the dog’s anal area. Flea infestation is not only very uncomfortable for your pet, it can lead to him developing worms and other more serious issues if left untreated.

Quality Vet Care

  • Puppies require 3 rounds of shots (given at different stages).
  • Provided your dog shows no signs of ill health, annual check-ups should be sufficient.
  • If you don’t currently have a vet, make it a priority to find one that you trust.
  • Establish a relationship between you, your pet, and your vet while your pet is healthy; do not wait until your pet is sick and needs medical attention to find a quality vet.
  • Know the address of your closest 24-hour veterinary emergency hospital and keep their phone number handy.