Info for Animal Lovers

10 Million Reasons to Spay/Neuter

 

More pets are being born than there are homes for them. For this reason, over 10 million dogs and cats are euthanized every year in the U.S.

Sadly, the majority that are being destroyed are not old, injured, sick or unfriendly. They are young, attractive, healthy, friendly and playful.

No data exists for the numbers of animals who die each year due to abandonment, neglect, abuse, starvation or cruelty because they are unwanted.

Because of this tragic pet overpopulation problem, female cats need to be spayed and male cats need to be neutered. This prevents the animal’s ability to reproduce.

Anyone who believes they are going to make money by breeding their pet must realize: Professional breeding is a science involving years of studying desirable breed characteristics. For the novice, little money, if any, can be made when the mother pet is properly cared for and her offspring are properly fed, wormed, vaccinated, advertised and sold. Please leave the breeding to the pros.

And, those who say, “I always find homes for my kittens/puppies,” please note: These pets are taking up the limited number of homes that would have adopted a stray. It’s like musical chairs – there are just so many chairs and when the music stops, those that get left out are euthanized or suffer a painful, tragic end if abandoned.

 

Benefits of Spaying/Neutering

  • Pets are less distracted by sexual instincts and are more responsive to people and a more loving companion pet.
  • Spayed/neutered pets are less likely to roam and become lost or injured in search of a mate.
  • Cats are less likely to fight with other cats, thus they are not going to transmit viral diseases or become injured.
  • Spaying/neutering does not make your pet fat or lazy. The metabolism of a cat changes after spaying/neutering and the cat requires less food.
  • Spayed/neutered cats are less likely to develop cancer. They are also less likely to spray and defecate in inappropriate places.

 

Debunking The Myths About FIV/FeLV


Special thanks to http://www.vetcentric.com/ for providing information on these diseases.

What is FIV? Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (also known as Feline AIDS) is a disease of cats that is of the same subfamily of retroviruses as the human HIV virus. The FIV virus is transmitted in the saliva or blood, commonly through the bite wound from an infected cat. Once inside the cat’s body, the virus will invade the cells of the cat’s immune system, preventing the cells from performing their vital role of fighting off infections and diseases. As a result, cats that contract FIV generally succumb to a wide variety of secondary diseases.

The timetable for when a cat with FIV actually becomes ill from the infection will vary. Typically, the virus goes into a dormant state for several years, during which a cat will not show signs of disease. Once the virus comes out of dormancy, however, the cat most likely will die from a terminal disease. There is no vaccine currently available for FIV.

FIV is not transmittable to humans or animal species other than the cat family.

What is FeLV? Feline Leukemia Virus has been compared to the human AIDS virus because of its effect on the immune system. A contagious and often fatal disease, feline leukemia can cause multiple organ disease, cancer, bone marrow suppression resulting in low numbers of platelets and red and white blood cells, and a weakening of the immune system that makes it less likely that an affected cat will overcome infections. There is no cure for feline leukemia, but there are medications that can help enhance the cat’s quality of life.

Feline leukemia virus is contagious and affects cats of all ages, sexes, and breeds. It is passed from cat to cat most commonly through a bite wound acquired while fighting. Outdoor, male cats that have not been neutered are most likely to develop the virus because they frequently roam and fight other cats to defend their territory. There is a vaccine available for cats at high risk for the disease; however, because the vaccination, in rare cases, has been associated with a form of cancer, it is not recommended for animals that have a low risk of contracting feline leukemia.

FeLV is not transmittable to humans or animal species other than the cat family.

 

 

What’s In Your Cat Food?

 

The packages can be irresistibly cute. Little pouches of Friskies are shaped like a cat’s head and feature two pointy ears. The names are captivating — Meow Mix, Fancy Feast, Pedigree, Sheba, Mighty Dog. Some names support your intention of giving your pet something good for its health like Science Diet or Nature’s Recipe.

Cats and dogs are our family members. We love them as much as we love our children, or we have pets instead of children. We shelter them, play with them, talk to them, cuddle them, clothe them, insure them, and feed them.

But when you buy that colorful package of dog or cat food, are you really getting what you think you’re paying for? Or if your intention is to feed them the best nutrition — are the advertisements steering you in the wrong direction?

If you have niggling doubts about the food in your pet’s bowl, you might be inclined to raise the price you’re willing to pay for truly wholesome pet food, but are so-called premium brands guilty of the same offenses as well known supermarket brands? To find the answer, you’ll have to read those lists of ingredients, so let’s outline the most troubling aspects of commercial pet food before contrasting them with premium brands to see what’s really going on.

 

False Indicators of Excellence

You could be misled by any of these:

  • Government standards
  • Recommendations of veterinarians
  • Advertisements

 

Problems with Protein

Are your pet’s protein sources drawn from the four D’s: Dead, Dying, Diseased, Disabled?

Is the protein sterilized destructively at high temperatures?

What are by-products, anyway? Does pet food really include gross components such as beaks, feathers, claws, hooves, tumors, eyeballs, and even tankage from condemned carcasses? What about chicken heads, chicken feet, duck heads, fish heads, hides, hooves, and intestines?

Crude protein such as the above is not easily assimilated by cats and dogs, and is conducive to kidney disease.

Furthermore, these by-products are more likely to contain traces of barbiturates used to euthanize the animals from which the protein is drawn.

 

Suspect Ingredients

The actual composition of ingredients labeled “meat meal” and animal fat are usually not identified.

Starchy material might consist of poor-quality carbohydrates. Whole grains are desirable, but expensive. Manufacturers include reject grains, as well as fractions of grains: hulls, gluten, flour, and midlings. All these are poor sources of nutrients.

Other horrors on the forbidden list are corn and corn cobs, cottonseed, citrus pulp, breakfast food by-products, soybeans, fillers, weeds, straw, hulls, and chaff.

Chemical colors and flavors add nothing of nutritional value and might be detrimental to your pet’s health.

Dry food might include harmful preservatives. Chemical preservatives lead to liver and kidney damage, and cancer. Watch for the insidious preservatives BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), ethoxyquin, and propyl gallate.

 

Natural Pet Food

Companies that produce natural pet food emphasize high-quality proteins, fats, carbohydrates, natural preservatives and no by-products.

Premium pet foods are preserved with vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, and vitamin E, or tocopherol, which preserves fat.

Good protein ingredients to watch for are chicken, turkey, lamb, fish, eggs, and cheese. Also check for whole grains: barley, brown rice, millet, sorghum, and oats.

Beneficial oils include flaxseed, borage seed, and sunflower.

You can add some of your own fresh meat, grains, and vegetables (not cruciferous) to your pet’s food, along with a natural vitamin-mineral supplement.

We all know that premium and natural pet foods cost more. But pet guardians who feed their cats and dogs only these foods report that their animals are satisfied with less, so that’s a consideration. With this in mind, the price differences might be negligible.

Remember that cats and dogs are carnivores. Supermarket brands of pet food contain carbohydrate fillers, and your pet needs to eat more of these foods in order to feel satisfied; that is, in order to get the protein he needs. They also all contain the dreaded by-products. But premium foods are nutritionally dense.

Pet guardians who switch to high-end brands notice an improvement in the quality of the animal’s coats. With cats, there is less shedding and fewer hairballs. Also, especially with cats, UTI’s (Urinary Tract Infections) are certainly more of a concern and prevalent when they are fed supermarket cat food. By simply switching to high quality foods, and paying no attention to television commercials or advertisements that make you believe their food is best — such as Fancy Feast or Sheba served in crystal — you can avoid costly vet bills and the deterioration of your pet’s health.

 

The Commitment for Health

Conscientious pet guardians that switch to a better diet for their pets is just like changing the typical American junk-food diet to a more reasonable and nourishing regimen. Yes, we can learn to give up burgers, fries, fatty desserts, and salty chips, in favor of the whole grains, complex carbohydrates, and vegetable proteins that make us feel satisfied and look healthy. For humans, it takes discipline and detemination. For pets, it takes a committed and knowledgeable guardian.

Some brands to try: Wellness, Innova, Royal Canin, Solid Gold, Newman’s Own (Paul Newman’s), Merrick, and Nutro. These are just a sampling of a new wave of manufacturers that make quality food without byproducts which are sold in pet supply stores, not supermarkets.

 

Sources:

Animal Protection Institute — What’s Really in Pet Food

http://www.api4animals.org/facts?p=359&more=1

 

Consumer Reports — Cat Food Consumer Report

http://www.consumersearch.com/www/family/cat_food/fullstory.html

 

What’s Really in Your Pet’s Food

http://www.petcaretips.net/petfood_ingredients.html

 

 

Feral Cats 101

 

Is It a Feral or Stray or Owned Cat?

 

Tragically, feral (or wild) cats are everywhere. They live in the nooks and cranny of our world, hiding during the day and foraging at night, competing for food with the other wild creatures.

A feral cat has lived its entire life outdoors and has reverted to its natural, wild state. Or, maybe the cat was abandoned at a young age, and left to fend for itself. A cat becomes feral due to lack of human interaction and contact. It is naturally fearful and mistrustful of people.

A “stray” cat is a homeless, tame, cat who has had human contact. A tame stray cat may act feral because it might be frightened, sick, or hurt.

Sometimes it’s difficult to tell if a stray is an owned cat. A real stray cat is usually hungry, thin, dirty, or sick looking and skittish. An owned cat that’s allowed to go outdoors is usually not very hungry; looks clean, healthy and acts confident of its surroundings.

Some of the cats we trap are a part of cat colonies. A cat colony is a cluster of stray cats that live together around a common food source. Cat colonies are usually found behind restaurants – of course, near the dumpsters!

There are “managed” and “unmanaged” colonies. A managed colony has caretaker(s) who provide the cats with shelters and fresh food and water every day.

So, we find homes for the stray, tame cats and kittens that are adoptable but…

…What Do You Do With the Wild Ones?

We Trap-Neuter-Return. T-N-R has been proven to be the most effective, humane way of controlling the vast number of homeless feral and stray cats everywhere.

TRAP – We have found that the traps made by the Tru-Catch company (1-800-247-6132) are the most reliable. The Tru-Catch traps are easy to set and bait and are so quiet, the cat does not realize it has been trapped! As soon as the cat is trapped, quickly cover the trap with a sheet or towel (it keeps the cat calm and quiet and prevents it from hurting itself).

Use a smelly cat food for bait. Fancy Feast’s “Shrimp, Crab and Sardines in Jelly” or “Fish and Shrimp” are winners. You can also use people tuna or sardines in water, fresh chicken or deli cuts.

Put a folded newspaper on the bottom of the trap, and leave a “trail” of small bits of the food – from the front of the trap to the back, leaving more at the back. If the cat is very shy and not familiar with you, feed the cat a few days before trapping by putting the food in front of the trap at first and gradually moving it farther inside.

NEUTER – With the cat in the trap, ideally you should take it to the vet as soon as possible for examination, neutering and vaccinations. If the cat has to be held until the next morning, you can leave it in the trap, but only overnight.

If the appointment is not for another day or two, the cat should be transferred to a crate large enough for the cat to sleep and for a small litter box and food bowls, where the cat can eat and eliminate comfortably. If you are new at transferring feral cats from a trap to a cage, please ask someone who knows how to do this for assistance.

As with all unknown outdoor animals, please refrain from handling or touching the cat. Leave that to the vet, who is familiar with handling strays. And, the vet might be able to tell if the cat is adoptable or not. Ideally, the transfer from trap-to-cage should be done at the vet’s office while the cat is still under anesthesia. The recovery period in the cage is usually about five days for a female and one to two days for a male cat.

An altered, free-roaming cat should get an “ear notch” or “ear tip,” which is a visible indication that the cat has already been neutered.

RETURN – After the recovery period, the cat is released back to its original location. If the location has been deemed unsafe or there is no person available to feed the cat on a daily basis, the cat should be relocated elsewhere.