Tag Archive: cat care

  1. Protecting Every Life

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    How We’re Helping Save the Most Fragile Kittens

    Cody on his first day in his foster home at age six weeks.

    Cody on his first day in his foster home at age six weeks.

    When the teeny kitten Cody first opened his eyes just nine days after he was born last August and saw the world around him, his first sight was likely the soft nest his mother created under a bush in a Laurel, Md. yard. Next, he probably saw the humans who found him—and whom he would grow to know well.

    When Cody was found, he was neonatal, meaning that he was too young to survive without his mother’s care or the equivalent. If the mother of neonatal kittens is present, the kittens should always be left with her if it’s safe. When neonatal kittens are raised by people, they’re called “bottle babies.” It sounds cute—but it is much more. Watching a tiny kitten drink from a miniature baby bottle is a heartwarming sight. Caring for newborn kittens is also an incredible amount of work—and requires a special knowledge of neonatal kitten care.

    Cody has been raised by humans almost his whole life, and you can tell by his personality—he’s ridiculously social and loves people. Like all bottle babies, Cody had to be bottle-fed a special kitten formula around the clock—including in the middle of the night. He was meticulously cared for and weighed daily since it’s crucial that infant kittens consistently gain weight. Bottle babies may even need to be burped after their feedings, much like human babies. This is just the beginning of what it takes to care for a neonatal kitten.

    Caring for bottle babies can seem like a daunting task, and Cody is lucky that his foster parent-turned-adopter (an Alley Cat Allies employee) was up for it—and knew how to care for him. As a result of his top-notch care during those critical months, Cody is a strong, healthy kitten loving his life.

    Many kittens aren’t so lucky. People who encounter neonatal kittens don’t always know how to care for them. They often take them to a shelter or a veterinarian. Unfortunately, many veterinarians aren’t trained on how to treat unweaned kittens, and if a kitten as young as Cody is taken to an animal pound or shelter, he is almost always “euthanized” (i.e., killed). It’s heartbreaking that these young kittens who have their whole lives ahead of them don’t have a chance in the vast majority of shelters.

    Alley Cat Allies believes that every cat—no matter what her age—deserves to live and be safe. That’s why we’re working to protect the lives of these especially vulnerable kittens—one of the most underserved populations in shelters and rescue groups. Thanks to the continued support of our donors, we’ve launched a series of webinars on neonatal kitten care, with sessions geared toward veterinary staff, rescue organizations, shelter staff, and others who want to help save kittens. We want to make sure that anyone who cares for orphaned kittens is ready to provide the food, love, and care these babies need to survive—and to thrive.

    Our webinar series is hosted by Feline Outreach, Rescue, & Education Co-Founders Rosemarie Crawford, a licensed veterinary technician who has worked in high-volume shelters and large veterinary practices and regularly fosters ill kittens, and Susan Spaulding, who has fostered thousands of neonatal kittens and advises numerous shelters on neonatal kitten care. From decades of experience, Crawford and Spaulding have learned countless tips for caring for kittens, including many practical, resourceful approaches.

    “I’ve walked out of numerous shelters with neonatal kittens stuck in my blouse,” says Spaulding. “Body heat is one of the best ways to warm them!”

    Attendees will learn the basics of feeding and housing neonatal kittens, how to identify when immediate critical care is needed to stabilize kittens, and how to recognize early symptoms of illness. They’ll even learn how to make a simple emergency kitten-saving kit so they’re prepared if they find an orphaned kitten. The expert advice and guidance in the webinars will help everyone from veterinary staff to community members save the lives of the youngest, most underserved kittens.

  2. Maryland Elected Officials Fail to Approve Bill to Protect Cat Caregivers

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    The 2014 legislative session in Maryland ended this week. We’re disappointed to report that the House and Senate versions of a bill that would have protected compassionate citizens caring for cats did not move forward before the session ended.

    Thank you to everyone who contacted their elected officials in support of SB 1010 and HB 1473!

    Even though these bills failed this legislative session, we will continue to press for humane policies in Maryland. We’ll keep you in the loop about how you can help. Thank you for all you do for cats!

  3. Maryland Residents: Urge Your Senators to Support a Bill that Protects Maryland’s Caregivers

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    We are lucky there are so many Good Samaritans who spend their time, money and energy caring for stray and feral cats. These compassionate people form a cornerstone of animal care in our communities by caring for cats for whom they are not responsible. In some communities, caring for cats is discouraged—or even criminalized.

    A bill has been introduced in Maryland that would support caregivers and protect their right to provide life-sustaining care for cats. The bill is up for a hearing this Wednesday, and we are are asking Maryland residents to contact their Senators and ask him or her to support MD SB 1010.

    Providing spay/neuter surgeries and other care to stray and feral cats benefits the whole community. These efforts should not be prohibited or criminalized.

    Maryland Residents: Take Action!
    Not in Maryland? Learn how to change your community to protect and improve the lives of cats.

  4. Alley Cat Allies Launches Neonatal Kitten Care Webinars

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    Kitten_Webinar_SiteGraphic2Finding a tiny kitten outside can be overwhelming. Alley Cat Allies wants to make sure that anyone who cares for orphaned kittens is ready to provide the food, love, and care these babies need. We’ve launched a new series of webinars on neonatal kitten care, with sessions geared toward veterinary staff, rescue organizations, shelter staff, and anyone else who wants to help save kittens.

    Neonatal kittens (zero to four weeks) should always be left with their mother if she is present and it’s safe. Our first neonatal kitten webinar will cover the first steps you should take if you find an orphaned neonatal kitten. You’ll learn the basics of feeding and housing and how to identify when immediate critical care is needed.

    WHAT: “Help! I found a kitten!” Webinar, Hosted by Feline Outreach, Rescue, & Education

    WHEN: Friday, April 18, 1 – 2:30 p.m. EST (90 minutes)

    REGISTER: Learn more (registration information coming soon).

    Read our guide to caring for neonatal kittens.

  5. REMINDER: Please Do Not Take Feral Cats to Pounds or Shelters, Even in Extreme Cold

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    Twitter_Graphic2If you care for outdoor cats in your community, please remember cats should never be taken to animal pounds or shelters, even in extreme cold. In animal pounds and shelters nationwide, seven out of every 10 cats are killed rather than adopted out—and for unadoptable feral cats, that number is virtually 100 percent.

    Feral cats are accustomed to life outdoors, and will instinctively seek warmth and shelter until the extreme cold passes. If you are concerned about cats in cold weather you can help using our winter weather care tips.

    Read the press release.

  6. As Temperatures Dip Below Freezing, Alley Cat Allies Offers Safety Tips for Outdoor Cats

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    LN_WinterCatIf you care for outdoor cats in your community, a few simple steps can go a long way in keeping them comfortable in freezing temperatures.

    Feral cats are hardy animals and are well-adjusted to outdoor life, but as temperatures plummet, a few extra steps can ensure they stay warm and safe even in below-freezing temperatures.

    Here are a few suggestions to help the feral and stray cats in your community hunker down in the extreme cold:

    • Provide an outdoor shelter and a refuge from cold and wind. Find shelter options—including an easy 5-minute styrofoam shelter—at alleycat.org/ShelterGallery and general shelter guidelines in our Colony Care Guide.
    • Insulate the shelter against moisture as well as cold. Use straw, not hay, to insulate shelters. If you have a shed or garage, remove any potential hazards (like antifreeze) and allow cats to have acccess during severe weather.
    • Provide fresh water daily and additional food. Insulated and heated bowls can help prevent water and wet food from freezing.
    • Clear pathways. In heavy snowfall be sure to dig out cat shelters.
    • Avoid salt and other melting products. These products can be toxic and injure cats’ paws. We don’t recommend using them near colonies.
    • Check your car before you drive. Cats will sometimes crawl into or under cars for warmth, so check before you drive and give the hood a few taps.

    Get details and find more tips at alleycat.org/WinterWeather
    Read the Press Release.

  7. Keep Cats Safe this Holiday Season

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    Holiday celebrations can be a lot of fun, but they can also introduce seasonal hazards to our animal companions.

    For instance, did you know that tinsel—the glittering strands used for Christmas tree decor—can be deadly to cats? Cats may like to play with tinsel, but it and other string-like items such as ribbon and yarn can cause serious problems when ingested.

    It’s important to take extra precautions during the holidays. Be sure to check out these holiday safety tips from the Pet Poison Helpline.

  8. Keep Cats Cool with Alley Cat Allies’ Summer Tips

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    Facebook_SharePhoto_SummerTips3Warmer weather means special considerations for feral cat colony care. We’ve got tips for keeping the outdoor cats you care for happy, healthy, and cool.

    • Place narrow, deep water bowls in the shade to reduce evaporation.
    • Keep wet food from drying out by adding a little water.
    • Elevate feeding stations and surround them with baking soda to deter insects.
    • Take care when you TNR! Always keep an eye on cats in traps, and don’t place traps on hot surfaces.

    Read more warm weather cat care tips.

  9. New Year, New Home Adoption Event

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    Alley Cat Allies is proud to announce our New Year, New Home Adoption Event!

    It’s a new year – so why not a new home? Get 2013 off to a great start by giving a forever home to one of Alley Cat Allies’ adorable and adoptable cats and kittens! Each of these furry felines is looking for a loving family just like yours. Won’t you help make their wish for a new home in the New Year come true?

    Contact us at info@alleycat.org or call toll free 866-271-5534 to learn more.

    Follow our New Year, New Home adoption event.
    See all of our cats available for adoption.

  10. Share Your Love of Cats with an Alley Cat Allies Holiday eCard

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    It’s the time of year we all stop and reflect on the things in our lives that we cherish, including our beloved cats. That’s why we’re back this year with our Alley Cat Allies Holiday eCards.

    Not only is this a unique gift for your loved ones, but it’s also a great way to show your devotion to protecting cats by spreading the word about the critical work we’re doing at Alley Cat Allies.

    Send a FREE Holiday eCard Today!