With many people out of work and without a steady income, you may be struggling to feed your cats. Luckily, there are nationwide and statewide pet food banks that can serve you during these trying times. ACR has complied a list of food banks that provide essentials for your cat if you are having difficulty affording them yourself. Similarly, if you have extra food or the resources to purchase food, these pet food banks are eagerly accepting donations. Click on the button below to find a list of pet food banks in your state that can help you during you and you cats' time of need.
With the spread of COVID-19, there is a very real concern that there will be an increase in the number of feral cats on the streets. TNR programs that are designed to curb the population of feral cats have been largely suspended due to the pandemic. Without active TNR programs, which include the spaying and neutering of free roaming cats, there will undoubtedly be an increase in kittens born on the streets, especially as kitten season nears.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most vet clinics have temporarily closed. This means that TNR groups do not have access to mass spaying and neutering as they did before. Cats breed rapidly, with a female able to give birth at only five months old. Similarly, she can become pregnant again while still breastfeeding. One cat and her offspring can produce roughly 420,000 cats in just seven years, with the female giving birth to two or three litters per year.
While it’s easy to think of the ramifications of this pandemic on human populations, it’s important to remember the impact it has on feral cats as well. Some clinics are still open on an appointment only basis, so if you are still practicing TNR, contact your local vet clinics to see if they can assist with spay/neuter services.
Have you been affected by the shutdown of vet clinics during this pandemic? Are you still able to effectively TNR during this time? Please share your experiences with us in the comments below.
During kitten season it’s not uncommon to find a litter of unattended kittens, or a seemingly orphaned kitten by itself. Although it may be tempting to jump in and help, take the following steps before doing anything.
Chances are, momma cat is somewhere nearby. She may be watching from a distance, or off searching for food. It is not uncommon for a momma cat to leave the kittens alone for several hours. If you find a kitten alone, she may be in the process of moving her litter from one location to another.
Before doing anything, assess the kittens’ apparent health. Does their fur look healthy full and fluffy? Or are they dirty and look sickly? Are they sleeping quietly? Huddled together? Or are they crying? Lastly, are they dry, or wet? Next, asses the environment. Are the kittens in immediate danger from rain, wet weather, or the cold? Are there potential predators around, such as racoons or dogs? Is there traffic, like pedestrian foot traffic, bicycles or cars?
After assessing the situation and determining that the kittens are not in immediate danger, it is best to wait and watch to see if the momma cat will return. You should stay at least 35 feet away, but the father the better. Do not place food near the kittens to try to entice the mother to return. She almost always hides her litter away from food sources to protect them from other cats or predators.
In some cases you may need to leave the area completely and check back in 4-6 hours to see if the kittens are still OK. Especially if momma cat is feral, she will most likely not return until she no longer senses the presence of humans. Keep in mind that healthy kittens can survive several hours without food as long as they are warm. Hypothermia is a much greater risk than starvation for neonatal kittens.
If momma cat returns and you’ve determined the area is relatively safe, leave the kittens along until they are weaned at approximately 5-6 weeks. You can monitor the area from a distance and offer shelter and food, but keep the two apart from one another. Mom won’t use the shelter if food is nearby.
At five to six weeks old, it is time to take the kittens from the mother for socialization and adoption. Any time after eight weeks is suitable to TNR.
Remember, female cats can become pregnant while she is still nursing, so make sure that the mother cat is spayed so she does not have any more kittens.
If momma cat does not return and you decide to intervene, be prepared to see the kittens through until you can get additional help, which may be days or weeks.
Many people think that declawing is a quick fix solution to solve the problem of unwanted scratching. However, the practice of declawing is far more harmful than it is helpful. Many countries around the world, cities in the United States, and the state of New York have all banned the practice, declaring it inhumane. Furthermore, declawing can also cause lasting physical problems for your cat, as well as behavioral issues such as refusal to use the litter box and a tendency to bite.
Often, people believe that declawing is a simple procedure that removes a cat’s nails, as same as having your fingernails trimmed. However, this is far from the case. Traditionally, declawing involves the amputation of the last bone of each toe. If the equivalent procedure was performed on a human, it would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle. Prominent animal welfare groups, such as the ASPCA, have condemned the practice unless medically necessary.
Aside from being extremely painful for the cat, there are additional negative effects from declawing. It can cause infection, tissue death, lameness, and back pain. There can also be a regrowth of improperly removed calls, nerve damage, and bone spurs. Litter can irritate declawed feet, increasing the chances of cats refusing to use the litter box. Some cats may begin biting because they no longer have their claws for defense.
There are several steps you can take to prevent damage to your furniture and to avoid unwanted scratching. First, keep your cat’s claws trimmed to minimize damage to items in your house. Second, provide scratching posts and boards for your cat to use around your home. Offer different materials as well as different styles, and use catnip to tempt your cat to use the posts and boards. You can also use a special tape on furniture to deter your cat from unwanted scratching. By adhering to these simple solutions, you can successfully mitigate scratching while keeping your cat happy and healthy.
Many common cleaning products can be hazardous to cats. They contain chemicals that can be toxic, and even deadly. Cats are especially at risk because they groom themselves, therefore ingest chemicals on their fur and feet. Additionally, cats can have allergic reactions to the chemicals and fumes found in commercial household cleaning products. Luckily, there are safe and cheap alternatives to these common products that are also environmentally friendly.
Using a non-toxic cleaner on floors is especially important because cats are low to the ground. Use a vinegar and warm water solution on wood, ceramic tile, linoleum or vinyl flooring. If you’re using a carpet steam cleaner, use a water and vinegar solution (one part water to one part vinegar) to clean.
Bathrooms and Kitchens
Use baking soda to dust surfaces in bathrooms and kitchens, then wipe with a moist cloth or sponge. Another option is to use vinegar and warm water. If you’re trying to remove mildew or grease stains, first spray them with lemon juice, let it sit for a few minutes, and then use a brush to scrub the residue away.
Unclogging a Drain
Drain cleaner contains numerous chemicals and comes with a multitude of warnings. Instead of a commercial cleaner, use baking soda and vinegar. Pour a few tablespoons of baking soda down the drain, then a cup of vinegar. The reaction of the two products will help unclog the drain. Afterwards, rinse with hot water.
Olive oil, or a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice (two parts olive oil, one part lemon juice) makes an excellent furniture polish.
The self-cleaning feature on ovens often release fumes during the cleaning process that can irritate cats and humans alike. Instead, make a paste of baking soda and water, then coat the inside of your oven. Let it sit overnight, and then scrub away the dirt the next day.
The chemicals contained in dryer sheets, as well as in fabric softeners and laundry detergents, are absorbed by your skin and therefore your cats’ skin as well. These products are known to contain carcinogens and neurotoxins.
Sometimes it is unavoidable to expose our cats to toxic fumes. When it comes to painting, ensure that the area being painted is well-ventilated. One way to do this is with an ionic air purifier. If you don’t have one, set small bowls of vinegar around the room, and change them daily. The smell of the paint fumes will be absorbed by the liquid. Leave these bowls out until all paint odor has dissipated.
While these homemade cleaning projects might require a little extra work, you will have peace of mind knowing that not only is your cat safe from toxic chemicals and fumes, but that you are also saving money and contributing to a healthier planet.
Alley Cat Rescue is leading in the way in promoting humane and compassionate care for ALL cats.