Alley Cat Rescue has been taking care of 11 colonies of cats for many years. We make sure all are sterilized and we feed them daily. Every day, on holidays and even when it rains or snows!
Most of the colonies have declined in size over time, but in just a few instances, new cats have joined the colonies, mostly when the cats are near an apartment complex. Many people move and leave behind their cats “to fend for themselves” ---this is a very bad idea as most cats cannot fend for themselves---many cats cannot hunt, despite the idea that environmentalists have tried to implant in our heads that all cats hunt.
Our outdoor cats are always in good condition. We provide them with shelters filled with clean straw (note - NOT hay, blankets, or towels) and feeding stations so the food remains dry. Cats live quite well outdoors, if fed and provided with shelters.
Years ago when we heard that often caretakers of cats-- indoors and outdoors -- died or became disabled, and left no provision in their wills for someone to take of their cats, we developed our Pet Trust Brochure. This brochure shows you how to plan for your own cats and for the colonies you take care of should anything happen to you.
If you want a copy please email the ACR office at firstname.lastname@example.org
Weaning is the process of transitioning a kitten from a liquid to solid diet. One key component is starting at the right age, as kittens’ bodies are very sensitive to premature weaning. Up until five weeks, kittens should be either nursing or bottle feeding. Around five weeks, kittens’ premolars will begin to come in. This is a sign that the kitten is ready to start trying out solid food. However, some kittens may need more time based on health issues or differences in weight or size. If you observe any changes in the kitten’s health during the process, immediately revert back to bottle feeding.
Having the right supplies is also important. Pick up some wet kitten food, making sure it says ‘kitten’. Kitten food is higher in calories, fat, and protein which will help them grow big and strong. Wet food also provides moisture to help them stay hydrated. Shallow food dishes are also necessary so that the kittens can easily reach the food.
Start the transition by beginning with slurry, which is a mix of formula and wet food. Begin by adding a small teaspoon of wet food mixed with formula, which lets the kitten become familiar with new proteins and flavors. As the kitten becomes more comfortable with eating meat, you can begin increasing the ratio of wet food to formula. There are a couple ways to introduce the slurry, so use your judgement on the best way. Some kittens prefer wet food blended with formula then fed to them in a bottle. Other kittens may be able to eat off a tongue depresser or from your finger. Over time, the kitten will learn how to eat the slurry from a dish. During this time, be sure to supplement your kitten’s diet with bottle feeding if you aren’t sure that the kitten is getting a full meal.
Once the kitten is comfortably eating slurry on her own, you can switch completely to wet food. Monitor this transition to make sure there are no concerning changes in weight, behavior, or condition. At this time, you can also begin to introduce water in a small, shallow dish. Large dishes can cause a safety hazard to little kittens, so keep the water dish to roughly two inches high. It’s normal for kittens to struggle with water initially, but she should be drinking comfortably within one to three days.
While bird advocacy groups are often quick to point the finger at cats for the decline in bird populations, it is becoming increasingly evident that humans are playing a significant role in the death of birds. Oil spills, drowning by fishing nets, and electrocution by power lines all account for accidental deaths of migratory birds, which for the previous decades, was a punishable offense. Under Republican and Democratic presidents alike, killing migratory birds, even accidentally, was a crime, with fines ranging from $250 to $100 million. This served as a deterrent that protected birds and allowed the government to hold companies accountable for environmental disasters.
But in part due to President Trump’s interior secretary nominee, David Bernhardt, the protection provided to these birds is being severely undermined. Bernhardt pushed a December 2017 legal opinion that declared the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) only applies when companies kill birds on purpose. This new policy has resulted in a significantly more ‘hand’s off’ approach when it comes to human action resulting in the harming or killing of migratory birds or their eggs. For example, when a tugboat spilled oil into Great Harbor in Massachusetts, which resulted in the death of dozens of birds. “As this spill involves the incidental take of birds protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, there is currently no enforcement action planned,” according to an email from a Fish and Wildlife agent.
This new interpretation of the century-old Migratory Bird Treaty Act places birds at an increased risk, but also could potentially further harm cats’ reputation as well. As cats have long taken the brunt of the blame for bird deaths, an increase in numbers of deaths could also be falsely attributed to cats. Therefore, it is in the best interest for both birds and cats that the MBTA is restored and strengthened to what it once was.
Cats are well known for their varied, and often feisty, personalities. Some are shy, some anxious, others playful. But what does it mean if it seems like your cat is acting depressed? Can cats even suffer from depression? The answer is a bit more complicated than yes or no.
While cats can exhibit depressed behavior, it is generally accepted that they do not share the same emotional changes with depression found in humans. In humans, depression is diagnosed by self-reporting, but as vets cannot ask cats how they feel, it becomes more difficult to determine. Instead, we must rely on the clues they provide us through their behavior and activities and make assessments based on those criteria.
Clinically, the way depression in cats manifests is loss of appetite, avoidance behavior, decrease in activity, and abnormal behavior, such as hissing. Some cats may exhibit changes in litter box usage, while others may have a disturbance in their sleeping patterns.
However, most of these symptoms can also be caused by other underlying medical conditions. Many diseases can mimic depression in cats, so it is important to take your cat to the vet to rule out other options. According to experts, pain is one of the most underdiagnosed conditions in cats, in particular senior cats, and is one of the premier causes of signs of depression. An accurate diagnosis and treatment can greatly increase your cat’s quality of life.
Vets begin the evaluation by taking a full history of symptoms and completing a robust physical exam. Tests will likely be suggested by your vet in order to determine a good overall picture at your pet’s health and organ function. Changes in behavior due solely to stress and anxiety can be difficult to differentiate from medical conditions, so vets often have to rely on process of elimination to come to a diagnosis.
If your cat gets the all-clear, your vet can help you determine potential external stressors. Cats can suffer from anxiety dues to changes in routine, feeling threatened, or the addition or loss of a family member. Anxiety is one of the leading behavioral issues seen by vets. Hair loss, aggression, or changes in litterbox usage are often symptoms of anxiety. If the stressors can be eliminated, it is likely that your cat will return to normal over time.
In more severe cases, vets can prescribe anti-anxiety medication, which is useful for some cats. Another option is to visit a veterinary behaviorist, who deals primarily in behavior issues and can help manage the problem through behavior modification as well as medication.
Any cat showing signs of depression can benefit immensely from an evaluation by your vet. By evaluating them from a cat-friendly perspective, there is often a lot that you can do to make your cats happier and healthier.
Alley Cat Rescue is leading in the way in promoting humane and compassionate care for ALL cats.