FINDING A NEW HOME FOR YOUR PET

It is always preferable for an owner to find a new home for a pet vs. placing the animal in a shelter. Life circumstances change and a responsible pet owner wants to make sure that his/her pet will be cared for by a responsible person. Shelters are overcrowded and there is no guarantee of an adoption. No-Kill shelters are particularly overcrowded as they have so many resident cats. If your pet was adopted from a shelter, be sure and call as many will take their own adoptions back. To increase your chances for finding a good home, make sure that your pet is spayed or neutered and in good health. Also, have your pet reasonably well groomed and assure the prospective adopter that your pet is house trained. You can advertise widely in web sites or set up a facebook page. There are general adoption websites such as http://www.petfinder.com. Give yourself plenty of time to place your kitty and use word of mouth with family and friends.

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ANIMAL ABANDONMENT

Our shelter opens early in the morning for the cleaners and feeders and our many cats. The resident side has about 60 felines at any one time and there are at least another 40 on the adoption side, in the infirmary, or in the special needs areas. In addition, we can have up to between 20 and 30 kittens with fosters. It is common for the morning staff to arrive at the back of the building to find abandoned animals. They are placed there under the cover of darkness without food or water. Recently, a family of lovely gray cats; a mom, dad and two kittens, were found crammed into a carrier barely large enough for one adult cat. They were covered in urine and feces and the mom and male kitten have been quite ill in our infirmary. We are a no-kill shelter so all the abandoned cats are brought inside and given excellent care. Our medical expenses, however, are skyrocketing. We also get cats and kittens who have been abandoned in parking lots, gas stations and even dumped out on major highways. I remain puzzled about why humans engage in this type of behavior.

LOST CATS: A GROWING PROBLEM

Each week we receive several frantic calls at St. Francis Animal Rescue from cat owners who have lost their beloved pet. In the year I have been here full-time, we have had only one case where a lost kitty brought to us was actually reunited with his owner. When we take reports, we find most were house cats that had no microchip or collar. It is often a simple mistake of visitors or workers leaving a door open giving the cat a chance to explore unknown territory. The cat can become disoriented or scared and often hides in nearby bushes or actually under the house. We advise owners to look for the cat day and night, including dusk and dawn. They can walk the property and need to call it in a moderate and calm voice. At night a flashlight can pick up a reflection of kitty’s eyes if it does not respond to your calls. You can also leave food out near our door or scents that remind kitty of home such as her blanket or scattering used litter in the yard. In Florida we have coyotes, bob cats and other predators that are dangerous to lost cats so the best solution is to be aware of changes in routine that may promote an escape. Even better is to chip the cat or make sure there is a collar with an ID tag.

FELINE STOMATITIS

Feline Stomatitis is a severe disease of the mouth in cats when the body becomes allergic to the normal plaque formation around the teeth. There allergic response is inflammation around the gums but painful lesions can form in the back of the throat. Cats with this malady may have difficulty chewing hard food, drool and may decrease their self grooming. Medications can be given including antibiotics, steroids or interferon. Severe cases often result in total extraction of the teeth which resolves 60-80% of the cases. We have two cats, both siblings, affected with this condition. Our beloved young female cat finally had to be humanely euthanized after we had done everything possible for treatment. She could not eat and was in severe, constant pain. Her brother has done much better on low dose interferon daily. It is, however, expensive to maintain the medication and although extremely sweet, his medical needs have discouraged potential adopters.