Cat Library

Borrowing a book from a library may not be high on many people’s list these days, but instead of a book what if you could borrow a kitten? How would you take out a kitten you ask? Well, there is a kitten librarian receptionist of course! This is an older story that I came across but worth sharing as it demonstrates a positive and innovative way to help homeless cats.

The Dona Ana County office building in Las Cruces, New Mexico installed a Kitty Kondo, what employees later renamed the cat library, in the lobby of their building where cats from the local animal shelter are made available for adoption. Animals considered less adoptable or special needs in a shelter environment, like cats that have been abused or have minor medical issues, are also given equal time in the Kitty Kondo. There is a great deal of exposure, perhaps more so than in the shelter, by having the cats in the center of a very public place with literally hundreds of people walking through the lobby daily. The end goal is to help reduce euthanasia, increase cat adoptions as well as educate the public about cats that need homes. The other winners in this are the employees who get free stress relief by being able to check out a cat for an hour to have at their desk while they work.

The kitty condo is 5 years old this May and with a 137 cat adoptions to date they have lots to celebrate. All work including socializing, cleaning and feeding is done by employees and, the cats come spayed or neutered, micro-chipped, vaccinated, checked for feline leukemia and heart worm all for a minor adoption fee of $50.

The program has attracted a lot of attention and has created interest in other governmental offices which means it’s only a matter of time before we see more programs like this pop up elsewhere – a win-win situation for all involved.

New Ride

Cassidy the two-legged miracle cat has come a long way since being rescued last year by TinyKittens, a non-profit rescue located in Fort Langley, BC. He continues to get around in his custom-built wheelchair while receiving daily physical therapy in hopes that it will help make him a candidate for prosthetic legs one day. Recently Cassidy has changed it up by  enjoying a new ride, one that has become a favorite with internet cats and viewers.

Most kittens aren’t as lucky as Cassidy, which is why it is so important to help your friends, neighbors and co-workers understand how important it is to spay and neuter. Only 1 in 12 kittens born ever finds a home, and only 25% of kittens born to unowned cats will survive longer than 6 months. The rest will die from starvation, disease, predators or cruelty. Here’s more about our work with feral cats, and some of the shocking things we’re learning.” – TinyKittens.com/ferals

TinyKittens is doing amazing work to help cats including fostering, education, TNR, research, and Feral Cat Mapping. They are always looking for volunteers, foster parents or donations to help them continue to help cats like Cassidy. If you aren’t in a position to volunteer or donate you can be a voice for cats everywhere by simply sharing his story.

The Four Seasons

Seasonal changes are welcome, and if you are like many spring and summer are the most eagerly anticipated. For animal shelters and rescue groups spring is also the time when they become inundated and overwhelmed with litters of kittens. So what do the seasons have to do with it?

“Cats are seasonally polyestrous. This means they will have repeated heat cycles over a year unless they are bred, and the heat cycles are influenced by the seasons. The mating season in cats is determined by a number of factors, including the length of daylight, environmental temperature, and the presence of other cats.” – Pets.WebMD

Winter

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Most people know the benefits of spaying, but the reason behind ensuring it is done before the spring kitten rush, may be less obvious.

The reason there are so many programs aimed at early spay/neuter of cats comes down to biology and understanding the female cats reproductive system. Animals 24-7 explains why winter can be a crucial time to ensure females are spayed, preventing “a successful winter mating season” and future litters.

“December the 21st is the start of the winter season, marking the shortest day of the year with each succeeding day becoming longer. The incremental increasing lengths of daylight that begin after December 21st are being received through the eye and sent by the queen’s (unspayed non-sexually active females) optic nerve signaling this fact to the pituitary gland which, in turn, makes a hormone signaling the ovary that it’s time to make follicles!”  Biology is cool and amazing.

The follicles = eggs and estrogen. Estrogen turns a queen into “a vocal tom-seeking maniac.” Let the games begin!

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Cats are considered to be primarily induced ovulators, which means mating causes them to ovulate. A cat will continue to go into another heat cycle unless she breeds or the daylight factor takes over.

Spring

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“Shelters call May, June and July the kitten tsunami season, as there are multiple litters arriving per day!” – Image Wikipedia

“March 20th begins the gestation/delivery/nursing season. By this time all unspayed queens are in various stages of the active breeding cycle. Queens who mated in January will be delivering their litters starting in mid-March.”

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” It’ s 61-63 days later that an average of three to five kittens are born. Then, two months (8-9 weeks) later the kittens are weaning.

Summer and Fall

Once the days start to shorten on June 21, the first day of summer, kittens and cats of all all ages abound and some queens will get pregnant a second time if given the opportunity.

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The traditional calendar reports September 23rd as the beginning of the fall season. Pretty much by the end of August, cycling (periods of a cats heat) has stopped. This means closure as the current kittens are weaned generally making fall a period of feline tranquility until the next winter breeding season begins.

Depending on where cats reside this pattern can vary slightly, however the message will always be the same regardless of geography, and that is spaying female, and neutering male, cats early reduces the number of unwanted litters.

Toronto’s Pets Go Blue

Toronto, you now have another reason to get your cat licensed!

Toronto, Toronto Animal Services, cats, pets, License. BluePaw rewards programWhat is The BluePaw Program? “The BluePaw Pet Licensing Rewards program provides exclusive offers and discounts on pet-related products and services to pet owners who license their dogs and cats.”

I reached out to Mary Lou Leiher, Program Manager, Partnerships and Marketing at Toronto Animal Services to find out more about the program.

Why has the City of Toronto decided to implement this program now?

MLPet licensing is a priority for the City because it helps to ensure that pets stay with their owners and don’t enter an animal shelter. If a pet becomes lost and is wearing a licence, he/she can be returned to the owner immediately 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. BluePaw is a way to reward pet owners who license their pet – it’s our way of saying “thank you” to mindful pet owners who support licensing for the same reasons we do!”

What are some of the other benefits?

MLBluePaw business partners are invested in pet licensing as a tool to keep pets with their owners. Consumers who own a pet and want to support businesses that are truly “pet-centric” will want to support businesses that are doing their part to advance the welfare of animals.”

Where did the idea of having a pet licensing rewards program come from?

MLThe animal care and welfare community is very keen and interested in networking. Ideas and program frameworks are freely shared for the greater good of animals. The City of Toronto uses many ideas from other organizations and we also freely share information about programs that work for us. There are a handful of pet licensing rewards programs in other municipalities in Canada and all are relatively new (implemented within the last few years). We had a teleconference with these municipalities and also some others that were planning to implement a program. The feedback was very positive and inspiring.”

Are there plans to expand the list of vendors, and how can new vendors join?

MLBecoming a BluePaw business member is so easy and there is no fee involved! The submission form is available here and once submitted we will get in touch with the business to guide them through the rest of the process which is all designed to be simple, quick and easy (we’ve had extremely good response to the ease of the process so far). Currently there are about 83,000 pet licences on file and all of these pet owners are advised to shop or use services at a BluePaw partner to save money, so the benefits to the business members are huge! So far the roster of businesses is growing every week as a result of newsletters, transit shelter ads and word of mouth. We are planning to implement some other simple marketing tools to attract new businesses, but it’s really a “no brainer” so it practically markets itself to the corporate community”

What was your role in creating the program and why do you personally feel it is so important?

ML “I was tasked with development and implementation of the program and I had a lot of help and support from the City’s Strategic Communications and Design Services staff. My current role in Toronto Animal Services involves engaging partners in the community with whom we can develop a mutually beneficial working relationship. BluePaw is a perfect example of a program that assists TAS with the goal to reduce the number of animals that end up in shelters (through a pet licence) and also benefits the corporate sector by increasing traffic to their business. Of course the real benefit of BluePaw is to the mindful pet owner, who gets rewarded for doing something great for their pet”

How will the City of Toronto be advertising the program?

ML “Look for transit shelter ads, newsletter articles and posters around Toronto. In the near future, we’ll also be using technology like a BluePaw app and giving BluePaw a QR (quick response) code so that pet owners can find a BluePaw business member very quickly and conveniently.”
Mary Lou with her sweet cat Phoenix!

Cats, Toronto, Animal Services BluePaw Program, pet licenseML “For those pet owners that are already accessing BluePaw discounts, look on the website regularly! New business members are joining every week, so make sure to keep up to date!”

Licensing costs be found here (it’s only $15.00/yr for a cat that’s spayed/neutered!) Toronto what are you waiting for? Check out the The BluePaw Program and get your kitty licensed today!