Kitty Zen

Moments sharp, sweet and soft

How To Find a Lost Cat and Where To Find a Lost Cat in the Philadelphia area

Posted by smallspark on March 3, 2009

This is primarily for lost cats, but of course, some of them have dogs as well.
Tips at the top, recommended Internet sites at the bottom.

THE TIP SECTION

STUFF TO DO NEAR YOUR HOUSE – this is HUGE to do. Most important.

POSTERS - All this Internet stuff is great but large obnoxious Florescent Posters work really, really well.

Your cat has not marked their scent outside, so they can’t smell their way home. They are totally lost. Especially now that it has rained and snowed. PUT THEIR LITTER OUTSIDE. Put YOUR scent, or the scent of their favorite person OUTSIDE. Most don’t roam too far. There is a good chance they will smell it and be able to find you.

Make sure your neighbors are aware of your lost pet. Put smaller version of the poster in their mailboxes – as well as the corner stores if possible.

If you walk around looking for your cat, look and call for them when it is very quiet out. That means early or late hours. Be safe and don’t be dumb – do this with a friend. Assume your animal is afraid, and move slowly. Remember winter clothes mean they can’t smell you. So maybe bring a bit of your cats litter or a bit of worn smelly clothing with you as well, to tip them off that you are around because your voice might not.

There is no guarantee your animal will make it onto the Internet. It’s a tool. Once a week (more or less) walk around your shelters – all of them – including isolation/sick areas  – and look at all the animals yourself. There really is no substitution for this.

And if you are lonely – foster one of those sick animals for a couple weeks until they get well and can be adopted to their new home. They will be grateful, and so will you.

SEARCHING tips on individual Internet sites below (if search is available)

As SIMPLE as possible – searches on all these sites are really bad, you can test it. I would recommend using “cat” as much as possible. Why? Because people could describe a cat many different ways. For example, “tuxedo cat” or “black white cat” or sometimes people just say “black cat” for a “tuxedo cat”. I’ve seen it. Insane. So – just search for “cat” even if you want to try other variations. I guarantee with “cat” some will turn up that your “better” descriptions missed.

MINDSET
Get your mindset straight.

Don’t expect your animal to come to you, easily. You will have to work to get them back. You are the most motivated to get your own cat home, right?  You will have to pay attention to the found animals out there, and do the work of posting your lost ad. But you can. Just expect that you will need to put hours in. Basically, this is homework, kids. But this is homework you really want to do because your friend is depending on you to save them from the pound.

THE SYSTEM

Expect them to immediately turn into adoptable animals. Many do. Even if you notified and did all the right things, people don’t pay attention and most likely staff is overwhelmed. They will try but they will not remember. Do NOT make the mistake of assuming they will. They can’t. They are drowning in animals who need homes and trying to take care of them, and it’s overwhelming. They do the best they can but they are very outnumbered. But YOU, you are focused on your one buddy.  I’m giving you tools. Use them.

AD posting tips:

VERY IMPORTANT: Most of those sites do not let you post photos SO – post to www.flickr.com and put the link in your ad.

Images are HUGELY important.This way, I swear people will be able to help you more. Photos get more attention. They get the MOST attention. Otherwise, it’s really just noise.  We’re all in a hurry. When I look, I can’t help it – I  look at photos most because these are the people, I think, who want their animal home. Text descriptions just don’t do the job well.

The text descriptions, however are important for search terms, even if you do have a photo. So your ad – Put the details first – colors, pattern, what their ears look like, hair length, nose color, male, female anything that might help identify your animal and cut down on the spam. Anything you think someone would use should they find your animal.  Then put your zip code, what town or what area of Philly you are in – street names too if you want but basically what town and zip.  Think google maps.  No way I know your area that well. I rent, I move and I don’t drive. So do many others. Please don’t assume we know, safely assume we’re idiots who are also from out of town, like me. :) Dumb it down. It’s ok.

Remember that ads expire. Keep them active because your cat can hide for awhile, or a good samaritan or agency could be slow putting an ad up or searching. It happens. Many times, I’ll search on all the sites before I put my found ad up.

Good luck!

Here are the sites:

SEARCH these sites:

Main SPCA’s

Philadelphia SPCA: http://www.pspca.org/adoption_centers

PAWS Philly http://www.phillypaws.org/Adopt/default.asp

Delaware County, PA SPCA http://www.delcospca.org/

Camden County SPCA: http://www.ccasnj.org/ (it’s only right across the bridge)

Northeast Animal Rescue http://members.petfinder.com/~PA283/index.html

Womans Humane Society: http://whspets.rescuegroups.org/

Montgomery County SPCA http://www.montgomerycountyspca.org/

Bucks County SPCA http://www.bcspca.org/

Main Line Rescue http://www.mainlinerescue.com/animals/list

extra:

Adoptapet http://www.adoptapet.com is sometimes useful, there are a lot of pets on there. And they also list other shelters in your area. This list is not everything!

Petfinder www.petfinder.com has animals from many shelters. Too many animals from shelters and no way to sift through them easily by color/pattern. It will take some serious time to hunt through here. Zip code parsing is odd but it eventually comes back to your area again. No way to skip through the ones you think don’t apply.

Small Cat ONLY Rescues: Little bitty places who rescue cats you never knew about: These are my go-tos but there are more out there.
Green Street Rescue http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/PA422.html
City Kitties adopt list http://www.citykitties.org/adopt/index.html
City Kitties neighborhood classified list http://www.citykitties.org/adopt/neighborhood.html
Flat Iron wildcats http://www.flatironwildcats.com/adopt.htm
Feline Pipeline http://www.felinepipeline.net/
Stray cat blues http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/straycatblues.html
Cat Angel Network www.catangel.org
FFUR: The Foundation for Feline Urban Rescue http://www.ffur.org/catlog/index.php/site/catlog/C4/
Catnip Cats (Springfield, PA) http://www.catnipcats.org/catnipcats/Welcome.html

POST AND SEARCH on these sites or as many of the places below as you can:

Lostandpound http://www.lostandpound.com/

Petfinder classified: http://www.petfinder.com/local.html

Future Best Friend lost/found: http://www.futurebestfriend.com/lostandfound.html

Craigslist philly lost and found: http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/laf/

Craigslist philly pets: http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/pet/

www. tabbytracker.com is just a fyi – not what I would recommend unless you put a photo b/c they don’t let you put decent info on there – and even then, blech.

Good luck. I really hope you find your animal. There are lots of nice people out there who help, if they see your ad, and even if they don’t. Keep posting be very visible and many times, you can get your buddy home.

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A Fishtown Winter – One more Stray Found Cat (and a dog too!) pt 1

Posted by smallspark on February 24, 2009

Sick Kitty warming up

Sick Kitty warming up

As usual in Fishtown it’s stray kitty time. One found me last week and is currently holed up in my bathroom. I only took some quick snaps and they don’t show him at his best but isn’t he an absolute cutey! I haven’t come up with a name yet – the closest I have come is “Magical Forest Creature.”  His coloring and long fur,  and tiny tiny size has just charmed me. He looks like he’s from another world.

Not sure if he’s staying or going, but please let me know if you want to adopt him.

I checked the lost cat postings on every site I know of and found nothing. I posted a found ad on craigslist and on fishtown.us.  So far, I haven’t found  the owners. But soon I’ll have posters out, and maybe they will turn up. Or maybe not.

First things first – I talked to Laura at FlatironWildcats  – one of the people who got me straw for my winter cat shelters  – and made an appointment at the feral/stray cat clinic at the PSPCA on Saturday for neutering, flv/fiv testing, rabies and felv vaccinations. I highly recommend them!

Day 1 (wed): So MFC or “Mags” came to my attention at 3 AM by his long, drawn out cries. I could hear him way before I could see him. They were the kind of cries you hate to hear from anything or anyone – total pure terror. I grabbed a bowl of food and ran outside. As soon as I got outside, he rounded the corned across the street and kept on running as fast as he could go – and that was pretty fast! I started shaking the cat food and saying hey Hey! c’mere c’mere and that got his attention. He did a 180 and ran full tilt, still wailing, over to me and my bowl of food.  He started gobbling and didn’t seem to care if I petted him or not so, after a minute of panic – what on earth will I do with him?! – I decided I’d figure it out as I went along and picked him up with the bowl of food.  He didn’t even struggle, and in we went.

All my cats came over and wanted to do their sniff thing but that’s a big no-no with a strange animal so we bypassed the hulabaloo and went right to the bathroom – one of the only enclosed spaces that would work. I got him food and water and and then started poking around my house for a box I could use for litter. It’s not a large bathroom, and it’s my only one, so it’s going to be interesting to have a cat there. That box ended up in my shower stall and then it was time to find him bedding.  Mags didn’t care, and wasn’t bothered by my coming or going; he was busy eating.

I grabbed a kitty bed heating pad and wrapped it in a towel, and put it near the window. Then I opened the window a bit because after Mags finished eating some food, he was starting to freak out a bit about being inside, with new smells and with other cat smells around him.   I can’t imagine the scents of my cats would have been comforting. Some petting of him had revealed fight scars – and by the amount of scarring, he hadn’t fared well. He didn’t smell that great when he got here, so neither did the bathroom. It quickly started smelling like Mags.  The fresh air calmed him down and aired out the place.

Although I have cats, they were all neutered quickly. I had no idea that Mags was unnuetered and scenting his area as his territory.  I expected him to relax and cuddle, as my other cats did, especially after his horrific evening, but he didn’t. He started kneading my tummy with his paws, which my cats do as well. No problem we’re just getting to know each other. I had just fed him and saved him from whatever freaked him out so that self-comforting move wasn’t unexpected. What I didn’t expect was the FOUR paw knead and the endless circles. To my mind, he couldn’t seem to get comfortable or feel balanced. This was the very weirdest kneading ever! I just let him go on circling- totally not understanding.

Comprehension dawned when i noticed my t-shirt was damp. ew and oops. Won’t miss that move again. ever. So apparently, he likes me and I’ve been christened. ok! Explains why all my cats avoided me afterward. lol.  Feliway and Rescue Remedy were immediately brought into the room and it seems to calm him down.

Mags hasn’t done it since then. I’m hopeful that it was because of extreme stress.  If I can keep him stress-less until he gets neutered, I feel more comfortable that it will  not become a habit.  From what I read neutering solves 87% of all spraying issues unless they are habitual, and sometimes even then.

Mags - Day 1

Mags - Day 1

Day 2 (thurs) : It was obvious Mags was once a housecat. He just knew the drill with no prompting. It was also obvious he was not well. Within a day of arriving at my house, his eye began to swell, it seemed like he had a UTI, and the poor thing was sneezing and snorting to clear his nose. I don’t think he slept, just dozed.  He was friendly, and welcoming to me but he wasn’t interested in playing or cuddling or even being petted much. All he really wanted was food, and water, and dim light. Bright lights seemed to bother him – the dark did as well. Until I put a nightlight in the bathroom, he cried.

He didn’t eat, he kept on gobbling! And the lessons for me on how to take care of a sick cat kept coming – lol.  I fed him every couple of hours, some dry some wet – unkowingly creating the pefect internal storm. Apparently Hills Science Diet brand dry and Wellness brand wet is rich food, and rich food and that – plus as much water as he could get –  into an empty empty tummy will take awhile to pass through but when it does, it really does – oh my!

Well, I didn’t want that again, so a quick google search I found that boiled chicken is the way to go for poor sensitive tummy’s.  MUCH better, as it turns out. And it must have helped settle him down because when I came in a couple of time to check on him after feeding that cat was so deeply asleep he didn’t even hear me come in.  Not a blink or a whisker twitch. That cat was OUT. This was most of day 2. Eat to deep sleep.

Day 3 (fri): Kitty’s Friday was a repeat of day 2 with a little less sleeping and a little more sitting, looking out the window. He’s calm and ok with being inside and warm.  His eye is a problem and it looks like it hurt, so I kept wiping it, and twice wrapped him in towels and rinsed his eye with saline. He didn’t like that – ya think?!-  but it seemed to make his eye better, if only for a short while.  He just wants to be quiet and his new diet is working for him. Good.  Phew.

Buddy is his name-o!

Buddy is his name-o!

And just to make my busy days, busier – I guess it’s stray week for me. A nice dog whose real name is Buddy, which coincidentally was what I was calling him.  He must have been very confused on why I didn’t just take him home if I knew his name. Buddy was so cold and lost he was shaking, poor thing.  He didn’t have a collar, so a nice passing bicicylist  lent me a cord and then helped me get him home.  I even brought him inside to get warm which resulted in a lot of kitty puffy tails and arched backs but fortunately for all of us, the dog was not interested in cats at all.

He is a big dog but the sweetest sweetest thing and very well trained to boot.  Understood sit, stay and give me your paw. Endless paw shaking – how do you do? Truly a love.  Buddy thought he was a lap dog and just wanted to curl up next to me or on me on the couch.  I love dogs.  They just plop down and breathe on you.  My neighbot Kristen lent me a collar so we could go for walks more safely.  I met a lot of my neighbors on Friday! I love dogs for that too.  They just make everyone more social and pleasant.  Buddy was happy to be taken care of but whining go home and we walked around the neighborhood a couple of different times to try to find them. And at the end of the day, we found them – for me, regretfully –  I now miss the big guy!  But it was really nice to know he was home and safe and loved.

The cats were very glad once they came out of hiding and realized he was gone;  watching kitty’s peeking around corners and slowly come out of hiding is very cute. Surprisingly, during all of this, Callie was the bravest cat in the house – she just made sure she was out of reach of him but let herself be seen.

Day 4 (sat): Time to get the kitty fixed! Or not, as it turns out.I took a cab to PSPCA, and found the feral cat clinic. Ohmygod. Mahem. They had 35 cats there that day, I found out later. I walked in and not really surprisingly, got upset.  As a rule, I avoid shelters and I even avoid pet stores.  Animals in cages, especially those whose life is threatened by space constraints, completely and totally horrify me because I can’t help them, nor take them all and have to leave them to their fate.  This location – the pspca – had all of the above plus about 40 people in a small space with cats being operated on.  Unbelieveably, there were Roosters, yes Roosters, fighting roosters awaiting a trial,  crowing crowing crowing in the background.  wow. It was awful (to me) and it hits you like a brick when you walk in. (and then, later, when I came back, it wasn’t so awful, and I was able to see the positive things.) So I gulped, and filled my paperwork,  knowing I was doing the right thing,  and left kitty there to wait his turn to get looked at. He was #28.  I didn’t go far – just around the corner and worked on my computer for awhile. I didn’t stay away long, either. After about an hour I was bored/unable to concentrate so I came back to see how things were going.

Someone said why don’t you stick around and started me on doing the release and rabies certificate paperwork. That’s fine, I liked having something useful to do, rather than get upset watching. I put my back to all the animals lying on the tables and all the cages, got busy and just started listening to all the different people talk, and all that was going on. It was definitely still mayhem, but the people there are good at what they do and have a really direct sense of humor too.  I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at some of the jokes and commentary.  How amazing their attitude is. I was glad I came back. Seeing and meeting all these people who work so hard for all these animals (plus being around to help my kitty out when he latched himself to the cage) helped calm me down about being in  a shelter environment with trapped animals.  I could see how much people were trying to make it be about life – not death. I even think I would like to go back and help, once my scooter is useable. I think.

Mags turn!  I knew kitty was sick but didn’t realized he was quite as sick as he is. I think the vet was pissed at me until she realized the cat had only been with me for 3 days and I hadn’t created that situation. She calmed down quickly but recomended waiting for his surgery until he got better.  ( I’m glad she got pissed. Kitty’s not being treated well need other people to be pissed. This helps protect them.) They did test him for felv/fiv and he’s negative which is a huge, huge relief. So it’s antibiotics and an eye cream for Mags and he’ll be all better soon! Then I’ll get to meet the real Mags.

Day 6 (Mon): It’s Monday as I write this and I’m beginning to see a little more bounce to kitty’s step.

Late Evening update:  It’s working! In fact – kitty now has his first toy and is playing happily -really happily – at chase the ever-circling-sometimes-hiding mouse.

Yay!!

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Urgent: PAWS shelter closing Jan 1. They need foster help for a month.

Posted by smallspark on December 29, 2008

Update: A false rumor on craigslist prompted my post. See below for  information and to read the SPCA’s information on the PACCA/PAWS takeover.

————

Please please – if you can foster a dog or cat or several – if you have an extra room in your house…if you ever wanted to make a difference…if you weren’t sure about taking an animal permanently and wanted to test out pet ownership…please Foster an animal from PAWS right now. For one month.

The PAWS/PACCA shelter is closing Jan 1 due to the city’s new contract with SPCA. Animals need transitional homes from 1 week to 1 month. (They always need foster homes for animals however not for the transitional reason)

Literally save an animals life – YOU really do make a difference here. SPCA really will kill them, if they are sick or if they are not. (FALSE RUMOR info noted below)

New foster parents are teamed up with experienced foster parents…they will help you and teach you! (True)

Please look in the pets section (http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/pet/) at for more info or go to PAWS immediately. They are staying very late there so the animals can find safe places to stay. (Not sure if this is true however they are open from 11-6 most days)

PAWS closes Jan 1. (True – they are being taken over by PACCA Jan 1)

Please help a furry, huggable, sad little animal be safe and give them a chance to find a new home where they can be part of a family. (Always True!)

PAWS Main Shelter  (Soon to be PSPCA shelter)
111 West Hunting Park Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19140
Ph: 267-385-3800

———–

I received a comment from Kim, below, and it seems that the craigslist postings on the above are an untrue rumor.  I’m posting the SPCA page here in my post to help inform others.

————

Philadelphia, December 1, 2008 – The City of Philadelphia today announced that it has awarded its animal control contract to the Pennsylvania SPCA (PSPCA). The contract goes into effect on January 1, 2009.

“We are honored to have been selected to provide comprehensive animal services for the City of Philadelphia. Our board, staff and volunteers are eager to devote our experience and compassion to ensure that Philadelphia has a first-class animal care and control program,” said PSPCA CEO Howard Nelson.

Taking leadership of the Philadelphia animal control contract involves a major operational transition in a short period—one month. “We are focused on building the best animal control function for the city. Over the course of the next four weeks, PSPCA staff will be working hard to ensure as seamless a transition as possible as we take on this new challenge to better serve the city’s residents, and most importantly, its animals in need,” said Nelson. “We will share in detail our animal control plans for the public’s review shortly.”

This site is still under development. Please check this website for updates as they are available. Philadelphians with questions regarding the PSPCA’s animal control team can email ACT@pspca.org.

Collateral

PSPCA’s Request for Proposal to the City of Philadelphia
Animal Control Team (ACT) Powered by the PSPCA – Organizational Chart

Companion Animal Protection Act and Animal Rescue Policy

The PSPCA will support and comply with all components of No Kill Solutions’ Companion Animal Protection Act (CAPA). The provisions of CAPA are in line with the PSPCA’s commitment to strengthening its 141-year-old mission to rescue animals from abuse and neglect, provide lifesaving care and treatment, guarantee a home for every adoptable animal, and reduce pet-overpopulation through low-cost spay-and-neuter clinics and public awareness initiatives. For more information about CAPA, view the abstract and FAQs or the 2007 Companion Animal Protection Act. To read PSPCA CEO Howard Nelson’s letter to Nathan Winograd, author of CAPA, click here (PDF – 32.5MB).

Currently, the citywide euthanasia rate is higher than most major cities per capita. This is unacceptable and the PSPCA the programs outlined below in its efforts to make Philadelphia a no-kill city.

ACT Powered by the PSPCA: Myth vs. Fact

Myth: Animals at PACCA will be euthanized on December 31, 2008.

Fact: The animals will not be euthanized. When ACT powered by the PSPCA takes over the shelter at Front Street and Hunting Park Avenue at midnight on January 1, 2009, it will implement new animal care standards for animals currently residing at the shelter and new animals coming in. The new care standards include medical staff, a behaviorist, and more lifesaving staff dedicated to working with foster, rescue and shelter partners.

The PSPCA and Pit Bulls: Myth vs. Fact

Myth: The PSPCA practices breed-specific Pit Bull euthanization.

Fact: The PSPCA does not practice breed-specific euthanization of Pit Bulls. We believe Pit Bulls are loving animals that can make great pets, and we do everything we can to give them a second chance at life. As with any other breed, we evaluate each Pit Bull’s temperament and health, ensuring that the dog is not “dangerous” and it will not experience prolonged pain and suffering.

For more facts about the PSPCA’s Pit Bull adoption policy, click here. We encourage the public to visit our adoption center at 350 E. Erie Avenue to see the lovely pets, including Pit Bulls, that we have available for adoption each and every day. The public can also see adoptable animals here.

ASPCA’s Mission Orange Philadelphia Program

According to the ASPCA’s Mission Orange Philadelphia program, of which the PSPCA is a partner, Philadelphia’s live release rate was 50.26% for January-June 2008. In a city with more than one million people, this number is not acceptable. The PSPCA, by being committed to CAPA, is working to increase the live release rate to 85% for Philadelphia. For more information about Mission Orange, click here.

ACT Program Enhancements

ACT powered by the PSPCA is dedicated to better serving all of Philadelphia’s animals in need. Animals will be fed twice a day (three times for emaciated animals). ACT will offer more lifesaving staff working with foster, rescue and shelter partners to find homes for more animals; a larger fleet of vehicles, removing animals from the street where they could possibly be hit and injured by cars; a behaviorist to assess animals entering the shelter; and a medical team to provide necessary lifesaving treatment.

ACT is committed to enhancing the animal care facility. Volunteers and contractors wishing to participate in a shelter makeover to clean and organize the shelter on December 31, 2008, and January 1, 2009, should call 215-426-6304, ext. 244 or email splattenberger@pspca.org.

Jobs

The PSPCA is looking for dedicated, qualified individuals to join the ACT team, including Director of Animal Control. View available positions and email your resume to jobs@pspca.org. Please be sure to reference the position(s) that you are interested in.

Volunteers

The PSPCA welcomes animal control-focused volunteers who want to make a difference in the lives of Philadelphia’s animals in need. Find out how to become a PSPCA volunteer. For dates of upcoming PSPCA orientation sessions, contact PSPCA Volunteer Coordinator Stacey Plattenberger at 215-426-6304, ext. 244 or via email at splattenberger@pspca.org.

ACT Advisory Council

A 10-member ACT advisory council is being formed. Those interested in serving on the council should email a resume and letter of interest to mpolo@pspca.org.

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Cheap, Warm, Easy-to-Make Outdoor Cat Shelter for less than $30

Posted by smallspark on December 21, 2008

UPDATE – I made a better version of the cat shelter! I did a variation of the CSM winter cat shelter found here, with thicker insulation: http://www.neighborhoodcats.org/info/wintershelter.htm

You can see photos of the cat shelters I made here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/24531335@N06/sets/72157612673614313/

Kitty switches between the original shelter and the new shelter. I have them facing in two different directions, and I have leaned plywood over both of the shelters to add more protection from the cold, wet and wind. He’s definitely feral and hisses at me when I refill his food and bring warm water but he doesn’t run as far away now, and has started to come over and watch me when he hears the back door bang open. He knows I bring the goodies. :)

———————-

It’s COLD outside. I have one little kitty that comes by for food that I’ve been trying to catch for about 2 weeks now. I’m not sure if he’s feral or stray.  I can’t get close to him often. This cat doesn’t want to be caught and I can’t keep on staying awake until 3 AM which, of course, is when he likes to come by.  Unfortunately it’s cold enough the cats can actually freeze to death now, especially if they get wet.  :(    I have heard of this happening already and it was sad.  The reality this actually happens really bothers me.

So, I’m giving this shelter idea a try.  I just made a warm shelter for kitty and just put it outside! It was actually amazingly easy and I had most of the supplies in the house.  Best part? It only took me an hour and it’s actually turns warmer after a moment or two when I stick my hand in. So the mylar is helping.

In the original version of the shelter, I used a variation on the Chicago idea below since I didn’t quite have the right pieces. But since it’s supposed to snow tomorrow it’s much better than nothing. I originally made it for my favorite stray Buddy: Buddy, my favorite feral/stray

To start, I just put a cat litterbox cover on top of a cardboard box. Then I put thick Styrofoam from a sewing machine box inside the cardboard box, wrapped it all in mylar, put a trashbag around it and taped all the garbage bag edges to the piece of cardboard I used to make a small overhang and decrease the size of the entrance.

I then put a piece of mylar inside, on top of the styrofoam base, place paper shreddings on top of that (since I don’t have straw right now) and added straw.   I then placed it on two pieces of wood underneath to lift it off the ground, and put some leaves on top of it for more insulation and for protection. I put it next to my stoop since that’s where I’ve been feeding him, but that is not recommended since it puts the kitty in a vulnerable position.  I’ve since moved the shelter and feeder to my backyard and he found it, I guess by following his scent markers.

If cats outdoors in this weather stresses you out too, and you want to make one, here are some links to outdoor, inexpensive cat shelter ideas. Most are less than $30, if not cheaper. Put the shelters somewhere the kitties will feel safe.  Orient the shelter so it is not facing into the wind, and protect it as much as you can. The shelters help but it is cold out there.  (and if you are able to go above and beyond, get a outdoor heated floor mat, and/or heated water bowl so water won’t freeze. Better yet, get them inside, if they will go.  Another option is to trap them. )

NYC outdoor cat houses using styrofoam
http://www.neighborhoodcats.org/info/wintershelter.htm

Chicago idea incorporating solar pool covers
http://www.pacthumanesociety.org/core/WinterShelter.htm

NYC outdoor cat styrofoam (in a covered location)
http://www.all-creatures.org/ak/feral-shelter.html
If you don’t want to make your own, buy one here 59.95 + shipping : http://www.feralvilla.com/ This company seems to be the most popular and pretty cost effective, however other companies do make them too.

For more information on helping feral/outdoor cats survive the winter check out this article: http://www.petfinder.com/journal/index.cgi?article=472

Keep them warm and safe!!

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Videos: Engineers guide to cats & Funny Cat Fighter Jets

Posted by smallspark on December 8, 2008

First of all, I just need to post these for posterity. They’ve been out for a bit but I always enjoy watching them.  Their dry sense of humor is super amusing.

If you haven’t seen the Engineers Guide to Cats you tube video, drop what you are doing and go watch it. It’s only 7 minutes long.

There is also a newer video out called Funny Cat Fighter Jets which is entertaining as well.

Hope this gave you a laugh today. :)

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The art of playing with cats from a dog person pt 1

Posted by smallspark on September 28, 2008

I just came back from playing with the cats. This is always really funny, no matter how reluctant I sometimes am to give them the time it takes to REALLY play with them. Because playing with cats is just different from playing with dogs. Dogs I know how to wind up and wind down and make a really good play session. A good play session with a dog gives me a lot of exercise and we’re both exhausted at the the end.

Cats , on the other hand, are creatures I’m still adjusting to and their play habits have almost a totally different energy. I’m seldom exhausted. But I can tell, even if I just play for a minute or so (literally) when they request it, that they feel better and have gotten rid of some stress. It’s so palpable! Playing with animals, (and kids too) makes for smiling. Not only for the goofy things they do but for the simple pleasure of watching them be interested, and the surprising ways in which they play and how their little community interacts. Everyday something changes, somebody learns something or changes it up.

One thing that is important is the distinction between WHAT the animals are playing with. With a dog, they are playing with the toy but also interacting and playing with the person. With a cat, they are playing with the moving toy and they appreciate the person who makes that happen.

Totally different.

Another difference is having to be STILL when playing with cats. Or at least with feet mostly in the same position. The only thing moving in a cats line of sight should be the toy they’re about to attack. Same with noise. No new noise. Otherwise, at least for mine, I end up freaking someone out and the game has to start over. Them freaking out means they’ll either flip out and run away/around or just take a couple minutes to reorient themselves to what’s around them.

With a dog, running around constantly just adds to the fun. :)

Now another thing is there are a lot of different cat games, did you know? “Pounce” the movement (my hand or a stick under something – blanket, paper, cloth, curtain), “toss up” which could either be low – just lifting the paws or a high – a full-on leap in order to catch a toy midair. (That’s my favorite game and only Callie plays it.) “Chase” which involves me trying to keep a feather ahead of them on either the floor or about a foot about the floor. This ends up with lots of sliding around on the wood floor when changing direction and this game lasts awhile because the smart little cats have learned to to take turns. When one tires out, the next one literally leaps in.

The standard “catch” is always fun, which is making the feather toy freak out in the air above them and then they leap up to get it. Other variations of this are “lazy catch” where they roll over on their backs and try to get the feather toy with as little movement as possible. Usually they like this one when they are laying on something soft, like the couch.

They also like it when I roll tiny toys down the hall for them to chase, especially if I just took it out of the catnip box where I keep them. (I’d love to teach them to bring it back.) The usual scene is me rolling jingle balls, them catching and playing and then stopping and looking at me – would I do it again – with me then contorting into whatever spot the toy landed in to get it, and give it a spin in the other direction.

What other games are there to play with multiple cats?

Anyone make any toys that were a hit?

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PA Puppy Mill Bill Senate going off course plus Oprah show update TODAY (kz)

Posted by smallspark on September 25, 2008

The Senate today made amendments and is (more or less) nullifying MAJOR parts of the PA HB2525 bill the House passed with flying colors. PLEASE don’t let them.

PLEASE go to www.savingPuppies.com and let them know you DO consider this important.

The House got a lot of pressure and knows we care. The Senate hasn’t had as much exposure to people’s opinions. Let’s make them aware their constituents care, and have an opinion, please.

And OPRAH is back on the subject and she is having another puppy mill show on Sept 25th.
TODAY!! :)
Watch the show and understand what the fuss is all about on this issue.

Please pass this on.

Sources: CBS 3
North Penn Puppy Mill Watch
Main Line Animal Rescue
Oprah.com
www.savingPuppies.com

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Help the senate find puppy love Both HB2525 and HB2532 passed the House!

Posted by smallspark on September 19, 2008

It worked! Both HB2525 and HB2532 passed the house in a landslide. (Take notice of that, Art Hershey!) So many congratulations for all those helping our House representatives stay aware of what we want! What do you know, it actually works – especially if people continuously inundate representatives of the House with that message. :)

That was only part of the fight – so keep up with the steam and don’t let this bizarre presidential contest deter you from making sure the Senate is equally aware. Please contact your senator today!

Write your letter to the Senate via the ASPCA template form here!

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TODAY Puppy Mill Rally in Harrisburg – Noon to 2 pm

Posted by smallspark on September 16, 2008

CAPITOL DOGS

WHAT: Rally to support higher standards for the state’s commercial dog kennels WHEN: Noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday

WHERE: Soldiers and Sailors Grove, Commonwealth Avenue and North Drive at the Capitol Complex

SPEAKERS: ASPCA investigator Annemarie Lucas, who appears on Animal Planet’s “Animal Precinct” TV show;
Bill Smith, the founder of Mainline Animal Rescue, who recently appeared on an episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” devoted to conditions in some of Pennsylvania’s dog kennels; Jana Kohl, author of “A Rare Breed of Love,” about Baby, her three-legged dog, which survived a kennel she calls a puppy mill.

To RSVP ASPCA just wants to know how many people are coming

ps. sorry for the late notice

OTHER UPCOMING EVENT:
Puppy Mill Awareness Day Sept 20th – A preview of this Lancaster county event is written up quite nicely on dogster.

You can also get info on the event (and more) straight from the site: http://www.awarenessday.org/

———Reprint from smallspark.wordpress.com (sister site)

If you’ve seen the Oprah show on this subject, maybe you understand how important, though minor, this law will be for those constantly pregnant animals forced to live their ENTIRE life in an open, small, wire-floored cage outside with no vet care. The endless rounds of puppies go to stores while Mama suffers.

“Among other essential changes, this bill would double the cage space required for dogs, mandate regular veterinary care, prohibit the stacking of cages, ban wire cage flooring and require that dogs have continuous access to clean water.”

“Passage of HB 2525 is vital if Pennsylvania is to improve conditions for dogs kept in commercial kennels and put an end to the state’s reputation as the “Puppy Mill Capital of the East.”

For more specific info, and to know exactly who to call, please go to the ASPCA website link below.

https://secure2.convio.net/aspca/site/Advocacy?page=SplashPage&pagename=homepage&id=2401

*Info in “” re-posted from ASPCA website.

Please call!

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kitty and puppies video

Posted by smallspark on September 2, 2008

House cat discovered by puppies

House cat swarmed by puppies

This video has a good end and the cat gently pats and plays from a higher height.
But the beginning….wow, I’ve never seen a cat get literally swarmed by puppies.

Posted in Dog, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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