Archive for the ‘Cats’ Category

Sun, sand and the 22nd Annual Galveston Home and Garden Show brought people to Galveston Island.

The Galveston Home & Garden Show is an event that directly benefits the Galveston Island Humane Society where it makes it possible for them to provide many services to the public such as: adoptions, medical care, humane education and prevention of animal cruelty. Without these types of fundraisers it wouldn’t be possible!

Even thought it was the first weekend of Spring break in Texas, over 3,500 people attended the Galveston Home and Garden Show on March 13th-14th to raise funds and awareness for the many of the lost and unwanted animals that are brought into GIHS annually.
All proceeds from the show supports the day to day operations of the GIHS. There were over 130 exhibitors offering special show discounts on merchandise and services. GHIS had a pet adoption center where many dogs and cats were available for adoption. There were many volunteers helping in the adoption center. The PetangoStore.com set up an adoption area at our booth to help find new homes for a couple of kittens. GIHS adopted total of 7 animals by the end of the show.

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Naturally hairless cats and dogs are a rare and, to some, unsettling sight. Wrinkled and bald they look like extraterrestrials set adrift on an alien and inhospitable planet. These unusual animals are so vulnerable to extremes of temperature and excess sunshine that hairless cats are almost always kept indoors and hairless dogs are usually only let out under carefully monitored conditions.

There are a number of recognized varieties of both hairless dogs and cats, and while most of the dog breeds have long and well established histories, the hairless cats are relatively new breeds developed through selective breeding during the past century. For many people their only exposure to the world of hairless cats and dogs is through watching Mr Bigglesworth, Dr Evil’s Sphynx in Austin Powers and Fluffy, the Crested Chinese dog in 102 Dalmatians.

The recognized breeds of hairless cats include:-

Sphynx (Canadian Hairless Cat) first bred in 1978
Don Sphynx (Donskoy) first bred in 1987
Peterbalt first bred in 1994

Hairless cats are said to be unusually social with humans, demonstrating little of the aloof independent nature commonly associated with domestic cats. They usually have soft warm skin coated in downy “peach fuzz” which generally has many wrinkles. Hairless cats are expensive and those who choose them tend to take care of them. However hairless cats may still end up in the care of the animal welfare community due to the fact that two well known ‘facts’ about hairless cats are actually unfounded myths.

Myth #1 – Hairless cats are hypo allergenic – while they are less likely to induce allergic reactions due to the lack of hair and dander, their skin produces large amounts of oil that may also trigger strong reactions in allergy sufferers;

Myth #2 – Hairless cats are easy to care for – although these cats do not require brushing and combing, they do require weekly bathing to remove the oil and dust that builds up on their skin. Their ears need regular cleaning as they have no hair to stop dust and dirt from entering their ears. They have a comparatively high metabolism and require a lot of high quality food to enable them to keep their core temperature up.

The recognized breeds of hairless dogs include:-

Mexican Hairless Dogs (Xoloitzcuintle, Xolos), evidence suggests that their history stretches back thousands of years
Peruvian Hairless Dogs, similarly they are believed to have originated prior to the Incas
Chinese Crested Dogs –they are thought to have arrived in China on trade ships from the African coast, in which they were used to kill rats
American Hairless Terrier – the only “new” hairless breed of dog, first bred in 1972

Hairless dogs may find their way into the safety of the animal welfare community due to a mixture of both health issues and character traits that may not have been properly considered by new dog owners.

1) Both the Mexican and the Peruvian Hairless Dogs demonstrate strong personalities that require training from a young age if their negative traits are not to become a problem. While both breeds are good family dogs they can be overly protective of the family. In addition the hunting instinct is quite strong and may result in the dogs running away from home to chase other small animals;

2) While hairless dogs do not require such frequent bathing as hairless cats, it is recommended that they be washed twice a month to avoid skin irritation. They also need to have moisturizer applied to their skin to keep it from drying out and sunscreen to avoid sunburn;

3) Many hairless dogs have problems with their teeth which can be crooked, crowded, prone to decay or in many cases they will not have a full set of teeth, which can lead to problems eating;

4) Hairless dogs do appear to be less likely to cause allergic reactions in allergy sufferers than hairless cats.

Should one of these cats or dogs end up at your organization we hope that you will find the special someone who will take care of their unique needs and make them part of their Forever Family.

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North America’s #1 Pet Insurance Program for Adopted Dogs and Cats to Offer Four New Enhancements

Pethealth, owner of ShelterCare® Pet Insurance Program for newly adopted pets, is pleased to announce it has added four new enhancements to its industry-leading pet insurance program designed for those pet parents who choose to adopt their new dog or cat.

The ShelterCare Pet Insurance Program was first introduced in 2002. More than 1.8-million dogs and cats have been enrolled in the program to date. The program features a 30-day pre-paid gift program provided by animal welfare organizations to those adopting dogs and cats from their facilities. Over $7-million in claims has been paid out under the first 30 days of coverage alone.

Expanded Coverage
Coverage under the program has been expanded significantly to include all accidents, eye and ear illnesses, flea allergy related dermatitis, heartworm disease and tick borne diseases. Previously, the coverage had been limited to 11 specific perils.
“Extending the coverage available under the ShelterCare gift program to include all accidents and these additional illness coverages has been made in response to our shelter partners’ desire to provide greater value added to those pet parents who choose to adopt their dogs and cats,” said Mark Warren, President and CEO, Pethealth Inc.

Extended Coverage Period
The second announced change is that adopters can now extend the pre-paid gift period from 30 to 45 days by making a simple phone call to the ShelterCare call centre between 9.00 a.m. and 1.00 p.m. (EST) Tuesdays through Saturdays.
“Extending the gift period from 30-45 days is an additional change desired by our partners in the shelter community that we have been happy to make based on the generosity they have exhibited,” added Warren.

Increased Coverage Limit
The coverage limit per event under the gift program has now been increased from $500 to $750. A corresponding increase in the deductible from $50 to $75 has also been made.
“Since 2002, veterinary fees have increased in line with or ahead of inflation rates in general,” said John Warden, Vice President. “As a result, it seems sensible for us to increase the dollar limit per event under the ShelterCare program during the gift period to $750.”

ShelterCare for Renters
Pethealth also announced that pet parents living in rental accommodation can choose to add a renters’ endorsement to their 30 day gift of ShelterCare by calling the ShelterCare call centre. This endorsement will cover any damage the newly adopted pet causes to the pet parents’ rental unit.

“Our increasingly strong relationship with the animal welfare community has made us cognisant of a couple of significant trends,” said Warren. First, organizations have had difficulty attracting potential adopters who live in rental accommodation due to concerns about the ability to obtain landlord permission for the pet. Secondly, with the current crisis in the housing market, we are concerned that pet owners who currently own their own homes may soon become renters and we want to make sure that our friends in the animal welfare community are not suddenly inundated with dogs and cats who are unable to relocate with their pet parents,” added Warren. “Given our success to date in promoting pet health insurance to those that adopt dogs and cats, adding coverage for renters made good sense.”

Animal welfare organizations that wish to inform their community of this new renters’ endorsement may do so by using the prepared release – click here to access release http://www.pethealthinc.com/pr_15_may_08.htm

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The question for pet parents over whether to allow their cats outdoors or to keep them indoors is one which elicits a barrage of responses from proponents on both sides of the debate.

The HSUS and most members of the animal welfare community are unequivocally in favor of keeping cats indoors, in addition two out of three veterinarians recommend keeping cats indoors* . Despite this, the idea of keeping a cat indoors is one that remains difficult to sell to many pet parents.
*Veterinarian study conducted by Jacobs Jenner & Kent in June 2001 for The HSUS.

There is strong evidence to support the view that indoor cats will live longer, safer lives. Indoor cats are estimated to live 12-14 years on average compared to a lifespan of less than 5 years for outdoor cats as outdoor cats are exposed to many dangers including:-

•    Death or injury from vehicles;
•    Accidental or intentional poisoning (including many lawn care and garden maintenance products);
•    Death or injury while hunting wildlife (not to mention the death or injury that the cat itself causes);
•    Disease transmission from other cats and wildlife;
•    Exposure to and infection with parasites;
•    Death or injury from dogs or other cats;
•    Wandering away from home (the chances of a cat getting back to its original pet parents are not good,    particularly as many cat parents do not microchip their cats, thus leaving the cats unidentifiable)

Despite these real and quantifiable risks, many pet parents remain swayed by their preconceived conceptions of the emotional needs of cats.

The following is a list of some of the arguments forwarded by proponents of allowing cats to go outside, together with some suggested responses:-

It would be cruel to keep a cat inside

The outdoor experiences that cats have been through priorto finding sanctuary in the care of the animal welfare community are, in general, unknown. However by the time a cat is ready for adoption it has become used to the security of an indoor environment and It would be cruel to put it back outside to revisit its past fears and experiences.

Cats are free willed animals and should not be kept indoors

The independent nature of cats is one of the characteristics that cat parents often find very attractive, however pet cats are domesticated creatures and rely upon their human caretakers to provide them with food, security and health care. Cats can (and will) demonstrate their free-willed nature inside quite happily, it is not necessary to expose them to the danger of the outside world to do so.

Cats will not scratch the furniture if they are allowed outdoors

This is not true. Scratching their claws is a fundamental requirement for a healthy cat, all cat owners should invest in an indoors cat tree/post to allow them to do so.

Outdoor cats do not need a litterbox

Again untrue, all cats should be provided with a litterbox inside the house to ensure that they maintain proper elimination habits – even outdoor cats will need to have annual trips to the veterinarian and may need to go to a cattery while their family is away.

Cats are lazy and will get fat if they stay indoors

As long as an indoor cat is given the correct amount of food, toys and other stimuli it will not get fat. In the wild cats are nocturnal hunters so will naturally sleep more during the daytime, their domesticated cousins have retained this trait.

Cats like to go outside

Cats like to be indoors sleeping safely in a warm and comfortable spot away from the noise and dangers of the outside! That having been said – an indoor cat’s enjoyment of the outside world does not have to be eliminated – just managed. Indoor cats generally love to sit and watch the outside world – window hammocks, cat trees with a view out of the window and screened in areas and windows all offer indoor cats a safe way to enjoy the outside world. Those who feel that their cat must actually go outside can investigate the various outdoor options such as leash walking and carrying baskets.

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The animal welfare community has to deal with many highly charged and emotional situations during the course of their everyday working lives and one that is particularly hard on humans and animals alike is the intake of blind animals.

While blind cats and dogs can live happy and fulfilling lives as part of a family in their own home, the entry of a blind animal into a shelter is particularly overwhelming. At intake blind animals do not know where they are or who they are with, it is more than likely to be very noisy for their sensitive ears and their fear may turn to aggression if not handled properly. In many cases the animal will calm down quickly once given their own safe space within the organization.

Cats and dogs may be born blind or may lose their sight due to an accident or illness including glaucoma, cataracts and untreated entropion (inturned eyelashes), brain damage or poisoning. Similar to humans the degree of animal blindness ranges from total blindness to partial blindness (cloudy sight, ability to differentiate between light and shade and tunnel vision). You may be able to tell that an animal is blind by examining their eyes; the eyes of a blind animal will often be cloudy or their pupils may remain dilated even in bright light.

Often the reasons for blind cats and dogs ending up in the care of the animal welfare community are heartbreaking: animals that have illnesses that have been left untreated, animals that have been wounded by abusive humans and breeders that cannot sell a blind puppy/kitten and so do not want it. Whatever the cause of the animal’s blindness or the reason that it has ended up in your care, it will take a special adopter to provide a truly Forever Home.

The kindest and safest home for a blind animal is usually one in which there are no children and where the owner is well prepared for the special needs of their newly adopted pet. We have prepared a short tip sheet that all are welcome to download and give to new adopters of blind cats and dogs to help them cope with their special needs and to give the animals a better chance of finding their Forever Home [click here to download].

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Watching a cat as it goes about its daily bathing ritual, one can only be amazed by the flexibility they demonstrate. Similar feats of contortion may be witnessed when observing a cat slip through a tiny crack or when viewing slow motion footage of a cat righting itself mid-air. What is it that allows these masters of escape to earn their proverbial nine lives?

The answer to this question lies in a combination of three factors that work together to provide cats with their death defying abilities:-

  1. Skeletal Structure – The extreme flexibility of a cat is due to the uniqueness of the cat’s skeleton – they do not have a collarbone, and the bones in their backbone have more mobility than in many other animals. These skeletal attributes allow them to get their bodies through any gap that is large enough for their heads and also gives them their uncanny flexibility. Furthermore cats have shock absorbing pads on the bottoms of their paws and have unique (among small mammals) ability to land with flexed joints thus allowing them to absorb much of the shock of impact:
  2. Righting Reflex – from the age of approximately 3-4 weeks cats start to develop the ability to orientate themselves in the air, a skill that is perfected at 7 weeks. This righting reflex is due to the existence of a small organ in their inner ear, the vestibular apparatus, that acts as an internal gyroscope;
  3. Pure Physics – When falling from a high place a cat can right itself through a series of movements that result in the rotation and stretching of the body until the point at which its feet are pointed towards the ground. In addition, during falls from extreme heights cats reach a speed at which they are no longer accelerating – terminal velocity – at this point the cat starts to relax and moves into a spread eagled position thus reducing its speed and minimizing its risk of serious injury.

The regularity with which cats fall from high places resulted in the coining of the phrase in 1976 “Feline High Rise Syndrome” by Dr Gordon Robinson. In 1987 two veterinarians, Drs Wayne Whitney and Cheryl Mehlhaff of the Animal Medical Centre in Manhattan conducted a study on Feline High Rise Syndrome, the results of which were published in the Journal of American Veterinary Medicine and are as follows:-

  • The science of falling cats is called Feline pesematology;
  • Of the 115 cats who were brought into the Medical Centre having sustained a fall of between two and thirty two stories 90% survived;
  • 10% of the cats which fell between 2-6 stories died;
  • Only 5% of the cats which fell between 7-32 stories died – the doubling of the survival rate as the height increased can be accounted for by the effects of terminal velocity;
  • The most common injury following a fall is nose bleeds.
While the most common injury following a steep fall may well be a nose bleed, cats often suffer serious internal damage following a fall and all cat owners should take steps to ensure that their pets are not put into a position where they could jump. Balconies and windows should be off limits to cats or screened in to allow your feline friends to enjoy the scenery and fresh air in safety.

The Pethealth Family

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