Since my birthday is in July, I thought I would bestow myself with one the best birthday presents and take a weekend trip to Toronto, Canada for the second annual Meowfest event. The one-day catextravaganza raised over $10,000 for non-profits animal organizations and got some rescue kitties adopted in the process! The first one last year took place in Vancouver, British Columbia. British Columbia is one the most beautiful and greenest places ever. I decided to go to CatCon in Los Angeles instead. Well, this time, a girl is doing both! CatCon in June and the next week heading to Toronto in early July.
With this 24 degree New York City weather, I needed something to cheer me up and warm me up. Lancelot will not be happy with my absence but he never complains with all the goodies I bring back.
The New York Assembly Standing Committee on Agriculture is considering an important bill to ban the declawing of cats statewide. Please ask the committee to hold a hearing on the bill, Assembly Bill 1303, which would prohibit declaw surgery throughout the state. Click on the Alley Cat Allies link that will take to you to the letter that will go out to all your state representatives. The fact we still have this barbaric practice when countries have banned the procedure is astonishing and embarrassing we are lagging behind. We can help end this and help all kitties stay healthfully intact.
PetCon2018 was held last November at the Jacob Javits Center. It was a weekend-event featuring vendors, pet celebs and their owners, along with some very excellent panel discussions of varying topics to building a social media pet platform to the devastating effects overfishing for human and pet consumption is leading to the disastrous eco imbalance to ocean wildlife.
The most packed panel I witnessed was the panel for pet’s health entitled The Doctor’s In: Hot Topics in Animal Health featuring Dr. Lisa Lippman of @drlisalippman, Dr. Amy Kantor, Dr. Kendra Pope, and Melissa Trihey of @furballsInc. They covered six main topics: grain-free food, vaccinations, dental care, heartworm medication, a raw food diet, and veterinarian check-ups.
To Grain or not to grain. The veterinarians addressed the question if owners should feed pets a grain-free diet. Many people are unaware that dogs not strictly carnivores, like cats. Their dietary needs are similar to people. They need an omnivore diet with carbs and grains to stay nutritionally balanced.
Vaccinations on dogs. Overvaccination is a real concern for pet parents. The veterinarians have seen if a puppy gets the proper amount of vaccines during that young stage in their life will help reduce the need for more vaccines in the future. The procedure of titers (measurement of how many antibodies are in the animal’s blood) is expensive but effective. A sufficient amount may prevent needing additional vaccination. However, the law does not recognize titers for rabies, and if your animal bites a person, they can quarantine the animal or order the pet to be destroyed. Vaccinations for rabies must be administered regularly to stay in the state’s compliance.
Dental care. How many of us are regularly cleaning our pet’s teeth? I don’t clean Lancelot’s teeth as much as I should. The veterinarians couldn’t stress enough the importance of regular dental hygiene, starting when they are kittens and puppies. Circular motion with a pet toothbrush, wipe, etc., is the best technique to dislodge the plaque buildup. Years of oral hygiene neglect may require a professional dental cleaning – x-rays are strongly suggested before any dental cleaning. Dental disease can transfer to other vital body organs with fatal consequences. Teeth and gum care are of paramount importance! Daily or every other day.
Heartworm medication. This can be an agonizing choice for dog owners. Depending on the dog’s lifestyle will determine what heartworm medication will be best. One size does not fit all. Older or dogs with compromised immune systems may have to look for alternatives than pesticide treatments. Heartworm is debilitating if your pet contracts it. The treatment is a long process so prevention is key. The mosquito carrying disease is on the rise with pet animal rescue from disaster areas such as Puerto Rico.
The raw food diet movement. Feeding raw food is not a new concept but it has certainly gone mainstream by more companies offering raw food products for pet owners. The veterinarians strongly cautioned administering such a diet because of the risk of food poisoning like salmonella. They have seen some animals do better on a raw diet due to their unique health issues. Please speak with your veterinarian about a raw food diet.
The final question was about veterinarian checkups. How often? Once a year is sufficient until the pet becomes eight years or older. All the panelists agreed the animal should come in every six months with bloodwork to measure the function of their liver, kidney, etc. A very good discussion. I look forward to PetCon 2019.
Start with the mice!
Today is National Pet Day. It’s making me a bit nostalgic to relive a time when a feisty, loving tortie cat entered my life. This is a bit of a long read but ones that tugs on your heartstrings.
Not so long ago, I noticed a small tortoiseshell cat on the corner of a major avenue intersection. She crouched down looking at the world around her of rowdy teens and overtired adults.
When I got closer to her, I noticed her fur had several bald patches. Despite her obviously ill appearance, she had an outgoing and confident personality living up to the tortie legend. Petting her I felt the bones protruding under the skin. I began a routine of feeding her breakfast and dinner when I came home from work. People noticed me feeding her and giving reports she’s been chased by angry homeowners and fighting the more seasoned street smart cats. I knew I couldn’t let her stay on the street.
I took to my vet. She tested negative for FIV and FeLV, plus, she had a spay scar. The bad news she had friends of fleas and their internal buddies – parasites. The craziest part came when the vet scanned her shoulder to discover she was chipped! The office called the owners registered to the chip number. They shamelessly said they were not interested in the cat anymore.
I thought this had to be a divine sign. I had been wanting to get Lancelot some company, perhaps this girl was the one. Because of her infections, the vet instructed she and Lancelot could share the litter box or food/water bowls. This meant their interacting together had to be very closely monitored. The saying you never get a second chance to make a first impression certainly fit Lancelot and Swee’Pea’s (her new name) encounter. Disaster from day one and even after two months, it never got better. Only worse.
Lancelot became obsessed with her. He wouldn’t give the poor thing space, nor would he take the cues of her growling and hissing to leave her alone. I got Lancelot from the ASPCA and his origins are somewhat of a mystery. I always suspected he did not have the opportunity to be around his siblings and his mother long enough for proper socialization. I tried switching them in different rooms, giving Swee’Pea towels he laid on to get used to his scent. These two were so incompatible, my then boyfriend at the time put a pet gate in between them when we went to work. By the approach of the third month, I knew she couldn’t stay but she would stay as long as it took until she could find a loving home.
I told a cat-loving coworker about my stressful situation. He said to call the Mayor’s Animal Alliance for NYC’s Animals. They helped him out when he rescued a stray off the street. I hesitated hoping I could find her a home but a lot of people were not interested in adopting (understandably so) a cat when they were still undergoing parasitic treatment. I finally broke down and spoke to a representative at the Mayor’s Animal Alliance, she said since the cat is chipped look if it can be traced back to a shelter or rescue. She said if they’re a no-kill shelter they will want her back
The people at HomeAgain would not release the origin of her microchip number. They said it had to come from a veterinarian’s office or animal rescue. My boyfriend had lady luck on his side. He said the customer service person told him right away Swee’Pea’s original chip owner was on other than the ASPCA! I immediately called them, and they verified that Ms. Swee’Pea was indeed theirs. They would be more than happy to take her back and finish up her medical treatment.
While joy and relief swept through me, I also had a horrible feeling. Those owners who dumped Swee’Pea adopted her from their organization. Their vetting process isn’t very thorough as I got Lancelot for a mere $30.00 and filled out an application. With a cautious heart, I did take Swee’Pea back to the ASPCA. They told me she has been here twice times already. One family took her back after they adopted her followed by those demons who left her to die on the street. I wanted to cry right then and there. They said they will continue treating her and when she is well enough to be put up for adoption.
I wanted to know about the people who abandoned her and left the cat to die. She said they are now flagged on their database and will be escorted off the premises if they fail to leave voluntarily. I asked who is in charge of their adoptions. They gave me the contact information of the executive director of their adoption center. I wrote a heartfelt and very detailed letter about Swee’Pea. I gave her the chip number all the information I could about this very sweet girl. I explained it can’t be stressed enough that due to this poor girl’s history of abandonment, stricter vetting procedures must be made in her case.
I got a response back that Swee’Pea is doing well and I could call anytime to check up on her. I did just that. They told me she is healing up nicely and getting a lot of interaction with staff as she has been through a lot. I kept checking up on Swee’Pea until I found out she got adopted. I pray in my heart of hearts this is her final home. It’s too bad she and Lancelot couldn’t stand one another. A definite love connection fail. I won’t give up hope. I know his “Guinevere” is out there for him.