December 19, 2007
BY Kathryn A. Burger of Community Life
Caring About the Strays, a non-profit organization that finds homes for stray, surrendered and abandoned kittens and cats, operates the C.A.T.S. Resale Shop at 80 Kinderkamack Road, Westwood, to support that mission and to raise funds to establish a no-kill cage-less animal shelter in the area.
“For every birth of a human baby, seven puppies and 15 kittens are born,” Lynn Morchel, of C.A.T.S. said. “There are just not enough homes for the animals born each day. By spaying and neutering pets, owners will be doing their part to help end this tragic cycle. There are many loving, loyal, affectionate animals in shelters, foster homes, and on the streets fending for themselves. Ultimately, many of the latter die miserably. Area no-kill rescue groups are doing their best to handle the ever-increasing number of stray and abandoned pets. Some shelters are forced to euthanize healthy, sweet, animals – young and old – due to space constraints.”
If, after careful consideration, the decision is made to bring a new pet into the home, C.A.T.S. offers some advice.
Once the decision to adopt a pet has been made, C.A.T.S. recommends pre-adoption.
If there is a lot of commotion in the house – children, holiday gatherings and parties, and/or other pets, C.A.T.S. suggests pre-adopting a pet from your local rescue group or shelter and bringing the animal home after the holiday festivities. If parents are planning to surprise their child with a pet, there are several ways to accomplish that without having the pet there on Christmas morning. A photo of the pet, a dog or cat bed, or appropriate pet toys, can be wrapped and tagged for the child to open. Adopting a pet can be a family experience: caring for an animal in need that will be considered a member of the family.
For those who choose to bring the pet home at holiday time, it is important to keep a watchful eye on them.
Pets new to the home may find an open door – when guests arrive, or when deliveries are made, for example – a chance for an adventure. They may run out, not realizing the consequences. If guests are expected, it might be best to keep pets secured in another part of the home. It is also advisable to keep chocolate, small toy parts, tree trimmings, poinsettia plants, and other items pets may find enticing, out of their reach.
A home that is quiet and low-key would be a good place for an adopted pet to be welcomed into one’s family.
One special cat would be very happy to have a home for the holidays, and the rest of his life, is Beckett. After being abandoned, and then hit by a car, he was rescued by Kim Carbone, a volunteer at C.A.T.S. [Carbone was profiled in a feature article in the Sept. 26 edition of Pascack Valley Community Life.] His broken jaw has been wired and mended and he is ready for his “forever home.” He doesn’t get along with other animals, but would be a wonderful companion for someone who only wanted one cat to hug. He’s the “curling up in your lap” kind.
Adopting a cat with FIV or FeLV
Kittens and cats with special needs are often overlooked. C.A.T.S. advises that neither the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus nor the Feline Leukemia Virus are transmittable to other species. Under the right circumstances, these cats can live normal, long, healthy lives. Morchel said, “By keeping their stress levels low and feeding them a nutritious diet of foods that do not contain by-products or fillers, they can live a very long time.
Cats with FIV can share a home with cats that don’t have the disease. This disease is spread from blood to blood contact. They can share the same food bowl, drink from the same water bowl, and groom each other without spreading it. Out in the wild when cats are not neutered and are fighting for their territory or mating is when the disease is transmitted via a deep penetrating bite wound. Tame cats that are neutered and share a home are not in these types of situations” (For more information see www.bestfriends.org/theanimals/petcare/cats_fiv.cfm).
Cats that are FeLV positive do need to be kept separate from cats who are negative because it can spread through litterboxes and other means. Those who are considering adopting one cat and have no other cats are asked to consider one with leukemia. Many of these cats are overlooked by those seeking to adopt, but C.A.T.S. advises they are still able to give lots of love and will be forever grateful for their chance at life.