Feral Felines: How to Help

Stray Wet Kittens

Do you have any feral in your area? It’s likely you do. A feral cat is one that is born and raised in the wild, or has become wild in order to survive after being abandoned or lost. These cats are often too scared to be handled by humans and often live in groups called colonies.

Sadly, life is not easy for these cats, and most do not live to be older than 2 years. Some colonies are lucky enough to have a caretaker in their neighborhood that helps to provide them with food and fresh water, and a safe, outdoor shelter in extreme weather. With the help of these caretakers, many feral cats may live longer than two years. Still, it’s a hard life for the feral cat.

Be a Good Samaritan

Most feral cats are pretty self-sufficient when it comes to living outdoors. However, during more severe weather, such as the heat of summer or dead of winter, these resourceful felines appreciate whatever help they can find. Here are a few things you can do to help:

  • Give them shelter. A discreet enclosure in a quiet location can provide a sheltered area for kitties to huddle away from the elements. Insulating the shelter with straw or elevating it off of the ground also helps to conserve heat or keep the shelter cool in the summer months.
  • Provide food and water. Regardless of the time of year, all animals need food and water. During summer months, the simple act of keeping an accessible bowl of fresh water is a kindness that will not go unrewarded. Likewise, cats need calories, particularly if they are trying to stay warm in the winter months. Feeding outdoor pets (feral or otherwise) on a regular schedule enables them to know when to expect their meal, and allows them indulge before the food and water has a chance to freeze or spoil. Consider providing a feeding station that has a roof and sides to protect feeding felines from the elements.
  • Be on the look out. Always tap your hood and check under your car before starting it in the winter to be sure that there are no cats in harm’s way. Keep antifreeze out of reach and clean up spills or leaks immediately. This lethal substance is very tasty to cats as well as other animals.

A Humane Solution

Unfortunately, many communities attempt to use outdated methods to deal with cat colonies, including lethal elimination or relocations. Not only are these methods cruel, but they are also ineffective. Currently, Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) is the only method of population control endorsed by the ASPCA.

This method involves trapping the animal in order to provide them with both vaccinations and a spay or neutering procedure, and then releasing the animal back into “the wild.” Not only does this technique help to curb population growth, but it also stops nuisance behaviors such as spraying and fighting, as well as the spread of diseases. Likewise, it also prevents shelters from becoming overrun with feral cats, which are often not ideal candidates for adoption.

If you find that your neighborhood has become home to a feral colony, do not contact your local humane shelter. Often, local shelters are not equipped with a TNR program, and instead just euthanize the animals.

Contact Feral Fixers or CatVando for assistance. These organizations will do what it takes to help these cats live a safe, healthy, and reproductive-free life.

Summertime Considerations for Your Cat

A cat in a field of dandelions

We hear all about keeping dogs out of the heat, out of parked cars, and in the shade during the hot summer weather. But what about our feline friends? Summertime can be hazardous for cats as well.

Keep in mind the following considerations during the summer months:

• Cats can get heat stroke also. Outdoor cats are at highest risk (consider keeping cats indoors on the hottest days), but indoor cats are only safe when the house is kept cool. Don’t turn off your air conditioning during the day, and if you are going to be out of town make sure someone is checking in on your cat and ensuring the house is at a safe temperature. If your cat does go outdoors, be sure that they have access to fresh, clean water at all times. Elderly, or sick cats are at the highest risk of succumbing to the heat.

• Summer means lots of critters are out and about besides your cat. Increases in the number of cat fights and animal encounters are seen during these months. Be sure that your pets are up to date on their vaccines. Spaying or neutering your cat can decrease the number of these incidents. Declawed cats should never be intentionally left outdoors.

• There is an increase in the number of parasites that are lurking about in the summer. Fleas love to hang out in cool, shady areas where your cat will likely be. Heartworms, which are transmitted by mosquitoes, are also a summer risk for cats. Make sure your cat is on a quality parasite prevention program.

• Some summertime hazards are impossible to avoid for an outdoor cat. You cannot eliminate the risk of exposure to chemicals such as rat poison, slug bait, or lawn and garden chemicals. Vehicles are also a very real danger for cats.

We hope that this summer is a safe, healthy season for you and your cat!

How To Prepare for a Visit to the Vet

Vet CheckupWe are sure that you have expectations of us when you come to visit. Of course you would like our hospital to be a safe and friendly environment. You expect a clean facility and personal attention. Our clients want to receive the highest quality care and have their pets treated utilizing cutting-edge medical techniques. Did you know, though, that we have expectations of you as well? Continue…

Protect Your Pet This Summer – Get Caught Up on Vaccinations!

Hurrah! A vacation!There’s not many things more enjoyable about pet ownership than watching a content dog or cat basking in the sunshine.Even in the dead of summer, our pets find creative ways to keep cool and soak up the rays all at the same time. But those places, both in our yards and in the forests (or wherever you take your pets to play), all have one thing in common—the potential for your pet to get into something he or she shouldn’t.

Actually that risk is everywhere, especially during the summer months. Vacations, hiking, swimming at the lake, even just a walk through the neighborhood—no matter where your summer takes you, your pet is at risk for bringing home something undesired. So before you hit the summer running, make certain that your pet is up-to-date on his or her vaccinations.

Pesky Pests

Both routine vaccinations and specific preventatives are crucial for pets that enjoy the great outdoors. Something even as simple as a bite from the wrong mosquito can infect your pet with heartworms—a condition fatal for cats and both risky and expensive to treat in dogs.

Likewise, fleas and ticks pose an increased risk to your pet’s safety over the summer months as well. With the weather prime for these pests it’s common to find that your pet has become an unsuspecting host to these problematic pests.

As you may know, both fleas and ticks can pose serious health risks to your cat or dog. The bite of a tick can result in Lyme disease and fleas are not only extremely irritating (and hard to get rid of), but can also cause hotspots on your pet or infect them with tapeworm. Luckily, there are excellent preventatives available that help to mitigate the risk of your pet becoming infected.

On the Go

Ensuring that your pet is current on his or her vaccinations before the summer months hit is also crucial for anyone planning a vacation. Whether you’re hitting the road with Fido in tow or checking your furry friend into our Dog Suites or Kitty Condos you’ll want to make sure that he or she is ready to go.

If you’re planning a vacation with your pet, check with your vet to see if there are any additional preventatives he or she should have before heading out. This is especially important if you are heading to the Rocky Mountains, as there are excellent preventatives available to mitigate the dangers of a rattlesnake bite.

If you’re checking your pet into a kennel while you’re away, he or she must be current on his or her vaccinations prior to boarding. If the kennel does not require this, there’s a problem and you should make different arrangements. Not only do pre-boarding vaccinations keep your pet safe, but they protect the other boarders from potential illness as well.

Thankfully, there is a full compliment of vaccinations and preventatives available to keep your pet healthy and feeling frisky no matter the time of year. But, the only way they work is to ensure that your pet is up-to-date on his or her vaccination schedule.

If your pet is overdue for his or her vaccinations, or is in need of any specific preventatives, please call us for an appointment. Even if you are unsure, a quick phone call is all it takes to check your pet’s records and will give you peace of mind that your pet is protected in the months ahead.

How Yearly Heartworm Checks Can Help Keep Your Dog Healthy

A dog being given a pill

You administer heartworm preventative that was purchased from a reputable source (your veterinarian!) every month without fail. So why on Earth do they insist that you test your dog on an annual basis?

Here are some interesting facts to consider in the case for routine testing:

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Does Your Pet Suffer From Springtime Allergies?

itchy dogsApril showers bring May flowers – and with those flowers comes one thing, pollen. Humans are not the only ones affected by pollen and the seasonal allergies it can cause. Animals, including our beloved dogs and cats, suffer from hay fever and allergies just like we do. And, unfortunately, their suffering is just as miserable as ours.

Known as atopy in dogs and cats, seasonal and environmental allergies brought on by inhaled particles of pollen, mold, and dust can be just as insufferable for your pet as they are for you. But, since your pet is unlikely to have (or present) the same symptoms we humans suffer, you may not recognize your pet’s symptoms for what they are.

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Whipworms in Pets: Protecting Your Pet Against Intestinal Parasites

A cut of soilSome intestinal parasites are easier to get rid of than others, and perhaps none is quite as formidable as the dreaded whipworm. A relatively common parasite of the dog (as well as coyotes and  foxes), the whipworm, or Trichuris vulpis, can be hard to get rid of.

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