Volunteer Wednesday

This weeks visit to the animal shelter included spending time with some felines that had been rescued from a hoarding situation. Thankfully the majority of the cats had been in relatively decent shape, although some had tested positive for the Feline Leukemia Virus, or FeLV for short. In a hoarding situation the virus had ample opportunity to spread.

Feline leukemia virus adversely affects the cat’s body in many ways. It is the most common cause of cancer in cats, it may cause various blood disorders, and it may lead to a state of immune deficiency that hinders the cat’s ability to protect itself against other infections…secondary infections are responsible for many of the diseases associated with FeLV.” – Cornell University of Veterinary Medicine

Handsome Bronx, the eyes have it ID# 683297

cats, Toronto Animal Serivces, Felie Luekemia, Special needs cats, adopt, rescue,

cats, Toronto Animal Serivces, Felie Luekemia, Special needs cats, adopt, rescue,








Marvin the strong silent type ID# 683299cats, Toronto Animal Serivces, Felie Luekemia, Special needs cats, adopt, rescue,









While some of the cats in the group tested positive for the virus, Bronx, Marvin and Starbuck all tested negative the first time around and will be tested again in a few weeks to ensure they are virus free. If it turns out they do have FeLV, they still have a chance at a good life and can live for years. The new family will have to educate themselves on the condition and do things like ensuring the cats  “have a stress free environment away from other ill pets, are kept indoors to avoid exposing other cats to FeLV and receive appropriate veterinary care.” – Pet Education.com

Starbuck and his adorable pink nose! #ID 683312cats, Toronto Animal Serivces, Felie Luekemia, Special needs cats, adopt, rescue,













Bronx, Marvin and Starbuck will make great companions and be content living out their lives in a loving home. If you live in Toronto and are interested in adopting one of these special cats, you can visit them at Toronto Animal Services South Region located on the CNE grounds. 🐱

Tips For Adopting A Cat

I often get asked about what I think are some of the things a person should consider when adopting a new cat, so I put together a list of tips that are pretty universal and can apply to anyone anywhere.

  • If you are bringing a new cat home for the first time you can set up a space that they can call their own, cats are about territory so this will give them a sense of comfort and security while they adjust. Set up the space with everything they will require: bed, litter, food and water dishes, toys. Of course it should also be spacious enough for you to be able to spend time in bonding with them. This initial set up is temporary while your new cat acclimatizes to their new surroundings.
  • Once your cat is ready to move beyond his temporary space be sure to set up the litter in an accessible, quiet low traffic area, if you like your privacy I guarantee you your cat does to. Consider using the 1+1 rule (one litter box per cat plus one extra), and always remember to scoop at least once per day. Keeping food dishes separate from the litter is always advisable.
Cats, Kittens, litter box, privacy, scoop once a day, one litter box plus one per cat

Kitten in a covered litter box – Image Wikimedia Commons

  • Provide items like covered cat beds, boxes, window perches and climbing trees or cat towers so they can get up high, or away from it all if they choose. Cat towers are a great way to give cats extra space when you have other pets in the home and they can also double as scratching posts.
  • Scratching posts will encourage your cat to scratch where it is preferable, there are options and styles to suit every budget and taste. It’s good to remember that scratching is a natural tendency for cats and they use their claws for climbing, marking territory and defense. Learn how to trim your cats nails and start when your cat is young, if you adopt a kitten. Ask your vet to show you how to do it properly and safely if you don’t feel comfortable or are unsure. I do not believe in declawing cats, some countries and cities have even banned the practice, and advocate for alternatives such as Soft Paws and implementing tips like these.
cats, kittens, Using scrtaching post,

Cat using his scratch post – Image Amazon.com

  • Do your research and talk to your vet when it comes to nutrition, there are many brands on the market and tailoring a diet to your cats specific needs should not be an issue. This topic is vast but I will touch briefly on what I find common, the wet vs. dry scenario (I have always fed my cats a mix of both). The wet provides the necessary moisture which aids in a healthy urinary tract, providing enough water to your cats diet is vital, not enough of it can cause problems like urinary tract issues “urethral obstructions cause tremendous pain and suffering and can result in death if the bladder ruptures…it is also extremely painful. Many of these cats, understandably, develop litter box aversions secondary to associating the litter box with their pain.” For detailed reading on proper nutrition and the benefits of wet food check out this in-depth article here at CatInfo.org.
  • Once you bring your new family member home, let them adjust at their own pace, or in the room that you provided. Adjustment periods will vary from cat to cat so be patient, and if you have other pets be sure to supervise introductions. Using playtime to bond and help build confidence is also another great way to encourage a smooth transition. If you are looking for creative ways to keep kitty entertained check out some of these inexpensive and interactive game time toys.

Other things to consider

Choosing a veterinarian is something you should put on your list, if you have never had one before. Asking people you know is always a good way to get a referral and checking out new clinics before making the first appointment is also advisable.

Cats, kitten, Pet insurance, Canada, US, UK

Pet Insurance may be something to consider as it can provide that extra peace of mind when it comes to your cat’s health and cover unforeseen or unexpected health problems. I have a client whose cat developed and was diagnosed with cancer and because they had purchased pet insurance when they adopted her the insurance company covered the majority of the cost, which turned out to be in the thousands.

A general search for insurance in your country is advisable and using a search form like Pet Insurance Review to help you evaluate what is out there is a good place to start. Talk to people who have it, your vet and be sure to inquiry directly with any company you are interested in. You will need to consider things like cost, coverage type, exclusions, and your cats needs before purchasing.

In Canada it can be obtained through companies like PetPlan or Trupanion who also happen to offer coverage in USA.

If you live in the UK the choices are broad and include companies like Pet-Insurance.co.uk If you are interested please do be sure to check them out.

All the above tips are guidelines only and I encourage cat parents to do their research – adoption is forever so ensuring you are properly informed will help guarantee a lifetime of  health and happiness for your new feline family member. 🐱

Kitten Season On My Mind

Kittens, Cats, spay, neuter, shelter animals, adopt, rescue “No matter how much cats fight, there always seems to be plenty of kittens.” Abraham Lincoln

Spring means most animal shelters are beginning to receive more kittens than they can handle so the message needs repeating – have your cat spayed or neutered. It will help prevent unwanted litters, it will ensure cats already in shelters have a chance at being adopted and it will provide numerous health benefits to your cat. You can also help by spreading this message and educating others.

This has been a MeowMonday public service announcement. 🐱

Caturday! Volunteer Tails – Jasper the Cat

I have been volunteering with cats at Toronto Animal Services for a long time, I have met many cats, I am always happy when they find good homes and if I was able to personally adopt all the cats I fell in love with, well I would be at infinity and beyond by now 🐱

There are some special kitties who I will never forget and Jasper is one such cat currently waiting for adoption at the shelter. Jasper is a black and white domestic short hair cat, but once you take a look at him you can see he is anything but ordinary! He is a 2-year-old neutered male who was surrendered to the shelter, and I can’t imagine why as he is super affectionate, loves to be near you and adores attention.

He purrs, gives head butts and is simply delectable I mean come on look at this face!

cat, adoption, Toronto, Toronto Animal Service, spay, neuterHe is a joy to be around and despite being in an animal shelter he is a very happy, playful cat. He loves to be brushed and is content to be near you or sit in his little cat bed where he drifts off dreaming of his future home – I am sure!

cat, adoption, Toronto, Toronto Animal ServicesAll the cats at the shelter are wonderful individuals, but what makes Jasper special? If you spend a little time with him you will notice that he has a funny way of walking, his back legs look like they are not quit working the way they should.

Jasper has been diagnosed with what is called “Legg-Perthea a disease of the hip-joint in animals. It is when blood flow to the ball joint in the hip has been reduced, causing the joint to start to die off, causing pain and lameness. It is very rare for this to affect both hips. Legg-Perthes is more common in dogs, but the treatment is generally the same for cats and dogs.”

Jasper has some really good things going for him including the fact that he is young, light weight (being heavier would put extra pressure on the joints) and not in any pain. This disease in cats is very rare but once the veterinarian has confirmed the diagnosis they can decide on the best treatments which include: Rest, physical therapy, and changing the diet if kitty is overweight. Surgery, a very final option, would only be done if the conservative treatments did not help and this would be much later when and if the joint degenerated to the point where it was no longer functioning.

Jasper is a special cat who deserves a loving home, he has no idea that he is different or that he has any problems, and when you see how he gets around you will only see a beautiful little cat full of life and joy.

cat, Toronto, adoption, Toronto Animal Services If you are interested in meeting Jasper he is at Toronto Animal Services South Shelter Animal ID#  is A671452. He will also be featured on Animal Housecalls Tuesday April 15 @ 7pm

Cats and Mushrooms – Crimini Gate

This is Spinner, my cat, yes I love him to death but that doesn’t mean he isn’t naughty

014_11AHi I am Spinner aren’t I handsome? Innocent and cute yes, but I am full of sass to!

Today there was a frying pan with some Crimini mushrooms all fried up…and left unattended. This is something that I rarely do, leave food things unattended, especially food that a cat might be interested in. After the Asparagus incident a few years back I never expected Crimini-Gate. He had a clandestine meeting with a cooled down frying pan and had eaten at least 3 or 4 mushrooms by the time I got to him. First thought was OMG are they poisonous?! The fact that it was just National Poison Prevention Week was not lost on me. I am very aware of household toxins when it comes to plants and most foods, but he had never gone after mushrooms before.

Quick check revealed that most store bought mushrooms are not dangerous (not that I suggest warming up a mushroom stir-fry for kitty) but outdoor mushrooms are very toxic and symptoms range from upset stomach to seizures. As spring approaches anyone with outdoor cats should be aware of this.

Cats need meat (protein) so why mushrooms? It turns out “Mushrooms have a lot of glutamate, an amino acid that gives them their rich, savory flavor. Glutamate is one of the chemicals responsible for the umami flavor. “

Cats, tigers and other felines have genes for the receptors that detect the umami flavor (amino acids in protein). So Spinner was really looking for protein, not for fungi!

So Spinner is safe, and looking quit pleased with himself at the moment I might add likely plotting his next move.