February 14, 2017
February Save Ten Special
Since the holiday season, A.P.E. has taken in 7 owner-surrendered cats. While we understand that some surrenders are necessary, we also feel compelled to tell you that most surrenders are not. We’ve talked before about how we believe pets are family, and for this reason, giving up your dog or cat should be your very last option. Though A.P.E. is considered “no-kill”, many animal shelters are not, and your once-beloved family pet could be euthanized if surrendered to one of them.
Also, many dogs and cats do not present well in a shelter environment – they are incredibly stressed out and will probably act much differently than they would in a home. This could decrease the chances of them finding a home. Senior pets, in particular, have a much more difficult time being adopted out. Another issue is the crazy overpopulation of cats and kittens in shelters – not only during kitten season, but all year long! So before you give up your kitty, make sure you have thought long and hard about any other possible solutions.
The problem: Allergies. Possible solution: Medications and reducing allergens. I know several cat-owners who are, in fact, allergic to them! But they refuse to let their runny eyes and stuffed-up nose get in the way of sharing their home with kitties. An allergy doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get rid of your pet. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, about a quarter of Americans are allergic to cats, and the symptoms can range from mild to life-threatening. Before surrendering your cat, visit an allergist to see how severe your allergy is; there are many medications that will help those with moderate allergies live comfortably with a cat. You can also do many things to reduce allergens, including cleaning and vacuuming frequently, installing an air purifier, and taking your cat to a groomer regularly to help control shedding.
The problem: Moving. Possible solution: Simply don’t consider housing that doesn’t allow pets. Seems obvious, but we see this a lot – the owner is moving and is unable to bring their pet to the new place. If you’d like to keep your pet with you, look for pet-friendly housing only. A landlord is more likely to accept a cat if you convince them you are a responsible pet owner and that your cat is litter-trained and spayed/neutered. We understand that pet-friendly housing can often be difficult to find, especially if you only have a certain amount of time in which to find it – in this case, find a great boarding facility or pet sitter in your area and see if they can watch your kitty for you while you search for a place that will allow her.
The problem: Litter box issues. Possible solution: Depends on the cause. Many shelters say this is the #1 reason cats get surrendered. But there’s always a reason for this behavior – if your cat suddenly stops using its litter box normally, there’s a problem. Many times, it’s medical. Take your kitty to the vet ASAP to rule out a urinary tract infection or blockage, particularly if there is blood in the urine or abnormal licking of the genitals. A blocked urethra is very serious, so if your cat potties outside his box, the vet should be your first option. Another reason might be that your cat is not spayed or neutered – cats, particularly males, will often spray when they reach sexual maturity. This solution is simple: Get that kitty fixed! Your cat could also be trying to tell you something by going outside the litter box. Has the box been cleaned out lately? Have you been using a different kind of litter? Is the box big enough for your cat? Cats can be picky, and they will tell you if they’re unhappy with a dirty box or that new scented litter you bought. Pay attention, and you can learn your particular cat’s preferences.
The problem: Destructive scratching. Possible solution: Read this post! We discussed this at length last week, and there are plenty of options for you.
The problem: Expecting a baby. Possible solution: Do your research. The idea that pregnant women should not be around cat litter has been around for a long time. Toxoplasmosis, while very serious and dangerous to an unborn baby, is unlikely to be contracted through contact with cat feces. A cat would only have the disease if it were to eat raw meat or contaminated birds/rodents. According to the Humane Society of the United States, a pregnant woman would be more likely to contract toxoplasmosis from eating undercooked meat or working in her garden, not from handling cat litter. If you’d like, put on rubber gloves or have someone else clean the litter, but there’s really no reason to give up your cat.
The problem: Cost. Possible solution: Look in your area for organizations that can help. Low-cost veterinary care is pretty commonplace nowadays, and many organizations – including A.P.E! – offer low-cost spay/neuter, vaccination, and microchip services. Always have your pet spayed/neutered, and have it vaccinated; this will prevent much more costly problems in the future. Some churches also offer free pet food to owners in need. Do some searching where you live and see what your local rescue organizations offer.
These beautiful cats are two of those recently surrendered to us. On the left is Miranda, a gorgeous Maine Coon, and on the right is her bonded buddy Max, a sleek black Manx (no tail!). If you’re interested in adopting these two gorgeous and unique kitties, please fill out our adoption application!
If you find yourself having these issues or others with your cat, don’t be afraid to reach out to local veterinarians, shelters, or rescues. They will be more than willing to answer your questions and help you as best as they are able. Chances are, with their help, you can find another option other than giving up your pet.