Would You Be Ready for Harvey?

Would You Be Ready for Harvey?

You’d have to have had your head in the sand for the past week if you don’t know about Harvey.  This is probably the largest and most costly natural disaster to have ever happened in the United States since we started tracking storms. The category four hurricane did an immense amount of damage to one of the most populated cities in the US. And after the winds died down, the rain continued causing horrendous flooding. Even though people had warning and knew it was coming, the severity of the storm took everyone by surprise and many people were forced to evacuate without much notice.

A major difference between this hurricane and Katrina, which hit 12 years ago, is that this time people were encouraged to take their pets with them. It was a hard lesson learned that people refused to vacate their homes without their pets and new laws came about ensuring that people’s animals would be included in all future disaster plans. It’s interesting and a bit sad, how judgmental people are about others in life-threatening situations. I’ve heard people say repeatedly, no matter the situation, “Oh, I would never leave/give up my pets.” But there are myriad reasons why it could happen that pets get left behind. So, in addition to having to set up facilities for the pets of the evacuees, there is a huge effort to go back through the areas affected and rescue any animals that were left behind. There are several national groups assisting the local agencies and donations are needed to get this work done. Sadly, there isn’t one group overseeing this so donate to a group that you trust – HSUS, ASPCA and Best Friends are all there and the Houston SPCA is also in need of support.

In addition to pets in homes, there are the strays that never had a home, livestock and wildlife — all equally affected and in danger. There have been so many heart-warming stories shared on Facebook about people with boats going around to help their neighbors (and strangers) evacuate.  Shelters across America have stepped up to accept animals that were already in the Houston area shelters so that they would have the space to take in the new evacuees. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg so to speak.

It’s great that people could get their pets out of their homes and  stay together in the emergency centers that were set up. But once the immediacy of the moment is over and people move on to stage two of a critical situation, which is cleanup and assessment, the question remains where will these people and pets, go? Many not only lost their homes in this disaster but they lost their jobs too when nearby businesses were destroyed. Without a means to support themselves and no home, these people are at the mercy of family or friends who are willing to take them in – and sometimes the pets are not as welcomed. Often the logistics and expense of keeping the pet they rescued becomes too much and in the end, they get surrendered. What a heartbreaking situation to be in.

It’s a good time to check your own emergency disaster plans and kits. They say to be prepared to be on your own for about three days. Do you have pet food included? A printout of any medications your pets are on? Do you have a designated person outside your immediate area that all family members know to use as a contact person? Carriers and crates for your pets so you can take them with you into a motel or evacuation center? Extra litter and a litter scoop that is easily assessable? Are all your pets microchipped and wearing collars and ID tags to make reuniting you with your pets easy? Reminder that both are free to RP and Cotati City residents at the RP Animal Shelter – glad we can help you check one item off your list!

If hearing about Houston is not enough to get serious about planning for an emergency then you truly are living with your head in the sand. Know that your pets are counting on you to be prepared and able to provide for them during whatever nature throws our way – power outages, heat waves, flooding, hurricanes – or in our area more likely, earthquakes.  I hope you’re ready!

Bad things come in three’s

Bad things come in three’s

They say that bad things come in three’s. If that’s true then the good news is we’re done!  Have to say, it has been a rough, not to mention expensive past few weeks.  If you follow us on Facebook then you already know what I’m referring to.

It started with three dogs who came down with kennel cough.  Except for the fact that it’s highly contagious to other dogs, it’s mostly just a nuisance.  Certainly not life threatening unless you already have a sick or immune compromised dog. But trying to contain it so it doesn’t spread through a kennel is difficult and time consuming – changing smocks between rooms, wearing gloves, tons of disinfectant and using separate exercise areas. Employees who handle those dogs can’t go in our other dog rooms and instead clean the cats; it’s a lot of juggling, but we made it work. Thanks to our diligent staff and volunteers no one else came down with the cough and all three dogs recovered and have been adopted.

When we were at the end of the coughing dogs’ quarantine – we got in a sick large breed puppy.  He was just abandoned in a crate at our door without a note or any information, (what were the owners thinking!). We didn’t know he was sick (we assumed he was just shy and overwhelmed in a new place) so he was in our stray room. When we realized he really wasn’t feeling well we immediately tested for Parvo and, sadly, he was positive. Had we known he was sick we would have isolated him and immediately begun treatments. Now we had to disinfect our whole stray area! Fortunately he hadn’t been taken out to any of our dog fields or other rooms of the shelter.  Sully, as we named him (because he crashed and survived!) wasn’t terribly young or frail and responded well to treatment – gallons of fluids, anti-nausea mediation and antibiotics.

A couple days into his treatment there was another box at our door (is this a thing again? Suddenly we’re back to having animals abandoned here!) This time with two very sick, very young Rottie type puppies. Immediately suspecting the worse, staff set them up in ISO and started treatment. Parvo is one of the few words that will strike fear into any shelter workers’ heart. Many puppies don’t survive and many of the bigger, more crowded shelters can’t risk the spread of the disease and euthanize immediately. We are fortunate to have a separate isolation area to quarantine these animals so we do try to save them. But sadly, these two puppies were already too sick and first one, then the other, succumbed in spite of our best efforts.  Heartbreaking.

Then, believe it or not, we got in three injured animals in the same week! A young pup with a broken leg, a teenaged cat and then separately a kitten, both with broken pelvises. What are the chances of that? The estimate for surgical repair was $5,000 – a price way over our head especially if you multiply it by three animals. We shopped around, begged and pleaded for help and through the generosity of VCA (Veterinary Corporation of America) found a local vet hospital and surgeon willing to take on our cases at a much reduced rate.

Upon further examination and diagnostics, it was determined that the puppy’s leg was not a complete fracture and could heal if just splinted and given cage rest. The older kitten, Ramblin’ Rose had surgery and a plate put into her hip and she is doing well. The kitten was discovered to have much more extensive injuries and a poor prognosis and, sadly, was euthanized. Again our hearts were broken. Sometimes we just have to focus on those we can help and give them all we can!

We have no budget for these kind of medical cases and rely on the Animal Shelter League for financial support. Donations are gratefully accepted online at animalshelterleaguerp.org, or cash and checks can be brought or mailed to the shelter (301 J. Rogers Lane, RP 94928). Help us be ready for the next Sully and Rose that comes limping, or coughing (or worse) through our doors!

Would you like your cat to be happy?

Would you like your cat to be happy?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the information from a cat behavior course I took last year. I’m finally getting around to rewriting our cat adoption packet to reflect some of the new thoughts and this summer I presented the cat care talk to our summer campers. Not wanting to be insulting, I skipped the part about cats needing food and water and tried to focus on simple things we can and should do as good cat parents to keep our pets safe and happy. It’s really not that difficult if you whittle down all the possible extras that you could do and stick to the core items.

One of the most common reasons for cats to be surrendered to shelters has to do with litterbox issues. Cats are extremely fastidious creatures and also have a highly developed sense of smell.  Put those two things together with a dirty litterbox and you can see right away where the problem lies. It’s our job to provide enough litterboxes to give everyone a choice – that means one per cat plus one extra. And to keep them clean (to their standards, not ours) – which means scooping twice daily and washing it out weekly.

Understanding how cats in the wild live can help us understand some of our pet cats needs and instincts. The wild cat does just five basic behaviors all day – hunt, kill, eat, groom and sleep.  Repeat. So does that mean we should all let our cats outside to indulge their need to hunt? Well the campers came up with a pretty impressive list of dangers to cats that are outdoors so that is definitely not the answer. As we’ve become more urbanized the risks outweigh the benefits by far. Of course you could compromise by buying or building an outdoor cat enclosure so they can feel sunshine yet be safe – check out one option at www.cdpets.com, or google catios for lots of ideas. But we can also enrich our indoor cats’ lives by giving them the experience of hunting (there are hundreds of interactive toys on the market and you only need two-10-minute play sessions a day to keep your kitty happy), followed by a small meal or treat. Play is a positive release for pent-up energy and can help build the confidence of a timid or shy cat.

Cats are both preys and predators and need both high places and hiding spots to feel safe. So easy to do in the home! Jackson Galaxy, the Cat Daddy, coined the term “catify” to describe making the home more cat friendly. You can buy climbing trees and tunnels or just get creative and put a cat bed up on a bookcase and cut out windows in a cardboard box. Most conflicts between animals are because of perception of limited resources that need to be guarded.  Make sure there are plenty of high and low sleeping spots, multiple food and water dishes (instead of one big bowl) in various places, lots of scratching posts and multiple litterboxes in safe locations and you’ve reduced the reasons for conflict.

I love sharing simple ideas that can have such a powerful positive effect on our pets’ lives.  If you’ve built a cat enclosure or special climbing post, came up with a fun game or catified your house in some way please post pictures on our Facebook page. It would be great to start sharing these good ideas so we can all make our cats happier. That is our job as their parents after all!

Puppy Envy!

Puppy Envy!

OK, I admit it. I’m consumed with puppy envy! My sister just adopted the cutest little puppy and since she doesn’t live close by, I get to follow him via Facebook.  I want to snuggle his furry little body and smell puppy breath! I guess it’s hitting me harder than when she adopted a puppy a couple years ago since then I was set with my two dogs and could only think back to the one time I did adopt an 8-week-old pup and how difficult that was! Since then I have always said “been there, done that – never again!” Having a puppy is a lot of work, especially if you are serious about trying to do it right.

First you have to be aware of the two fear imprint stages (8-12 weeks and about 8-10 months).  This is a time when a scary event, sudden noise, a too rough dog, friend, etc. could have lasting effects on your dog.  Enough to make you want to put the pup into a safety bubble!  But on the other hand according to Dr. Ian Dunbar, puppies have a critical socializing period between eight weeks and four months where they need to be exposed to other animals, surfaces, sounds and at least 100 new people each week in order to be a well adjusted, social, friendly, fearless dog as an adult. Uh huh – you read that right!  Just like some people go into parenting assuming they will instinctively know what to do, too many people assume that if you provide food and water and a bit of exercise that puppies will grow up to be good dogs automatically.

I guess the down side is I know enough to be frightened of the responsibility! My one and only puppy was a real learning experience for me. It was back when I was just starting in the animal welfare field and, of course, I thought I knew everything! She was allowed to come to work with me so she had a very stimulating environment. It’s amazing how quickly a puppy can do damage though. I left her loose in my bedroom (in a rental house) for less than two minutes while I ran to the bathroom and when I returned she had chewed a hole through the plaster of the wall.  Right in the center of the room. I have no idea why. But that cost a pretty penny to have it patched and painted.

The biggest mistake I made raising Shana, was that I wanted a dog as a friend and treated her that way instead of being the parent and setting rules and making sure she followed them. As she matured it became apparent that I was not her leader and that made her both insecure and confused. I didn’t realize that raising a youngster meant saying “no” sometimes and having consistent repercussions for disobedience. That was back in the day when training was a bit more coercive and we used choke chains to get dogs to do our bidding. Training meant putting on the chain and doing 10 minutes of sit, stay, down and come.  I didn’t realize that training was really what happened the other 23 hours and 50 minutes of the day! I would do things so differently now.

I guess the reason that this time I am envious, rather than pitying my sister for all the work she has before her, is that I’m down to just one dog at the moment and have begun the search for a second. My current dog can be selective about his dog friends so I have to be careful in my selection. My husband has also requested that since we’ve taken on a few dogs with behavioral issues it would be nice to just have a friendly easy dog (is there really such a thing?).  Which makes me think maybe I should just raise one! But my husband is against a puppy and he also has to agree to our next canine. So I just wait for the next cute video of my new pup-nephew and give my two cents of advice when asked. Can’t wait to meet him!

One-month countdown

One-month countdown

Only one month left before our fees go up – including animal licenses! Licenses for altered dogs and cats will go from $12 to $18 and if your pet isn’t fixed yet, (what are you waiting for?) it will go from $30 to $36. If your license is due soon I suggest you renew it now and get one more year at the lower fee. If you’ve never licensed your pet before, now is a very good time to do so since the late fee is also increasing from $15 to $25, which is a bigger slap on the hand, and will hopefully motivate more people to license their pets, (if being legally required wasn’t enough motivation for you).

Why should you license, you ask? Besides feeding government pockets what’s the point of a license? Well there are several reasons to license your animals besides being required by law (although being a law abiding citizen is a good thing in and of itself – and sets you up as a role model to your children and neighbors).

It’s been shown that people are more apt to help a lone dog or cat if it’s wearing a collar and tag showing clearly that s/he is a lost pet vs. a feral animal. A collar and tag shows the world that this is a loved family member and a license is traceable and can help reunite a lost pet with his worried parents. A microchip is a good back-up for that just in case the tag falls off – or is removed – but a visible tag is the first layer of protection that all pets should have.

A current license also indicates that the animal is up-to-date on his rabies vaccine. That’s actually how licensing got started – as visible proof of rabies protection. Through a diligent program of vaccination we are able to control the spread of rabies in our pet population. It is still out there though in wildlife such as bats, raccoons and foxes so we can’t become complacent. Rabies is zoonotic, which means humans can get it and there still is no known cure once infection has taken hold. If you are bit by an unvaccinated animal, or one with an unknown vaccine history, you might have to go through a series of anti-rabies shots – which is no fun at all! If all animals had on their license tags you could tell at a glance that the dog or cat that bit you at least had a rabies vaccine once (can’t tell without looking up the license number if the vaccine is still current). That is helpful information if you weren’t able to catch the animal to quarantine.

License fees are also used to pay for animal services in the community. The City run’s a (very nice, I might say) animal shelter so that the lost pets in Rohnert Park and Cotati have someplace safe to go while waiting to be reclaimed. Running animal services costs a lot and license fees offset some of that expense. It would be nice, and more fair, if all pet owners paid their share instead of the burden falling on those who comply willingly (or have been caught and made to comply). It is estimated that there are approximately 22,500 dogs and cats living in Rohnert Park. If everyone licensed their pets it would cover the costs of all the services, we provide!

So here’s your chance to step up and make your pet legal while the fees are still at their lower amount. The higher rates will take effect on July 1 so take advantage of this last month and get your dogs and cats caught up on their rabies shots and come in for a license (no late fee if you do this voluntarily!).

War heroes with four legs

War heroes with four legs

Ever read the book “Yorkie Doodle Dandy”? Ever hear of it? Me neither until I did a google search on animal war heroes. There are more of them than you would think but actually that shouldn’t be a surprise given that animals have accompanied us into battle since we first started domesticating them.
Smoky, a little Yorkie served in the Pacific during WWII. She warned the troops of incoming artillery shells (dogs can hear them coming much sooner than we can) thus saving many lives. She also was useful in pulling telegraph wire through tunnels (advantages of being a small dog). Her cute tricks entertained the troops and just her presence was a soothing influence during hard times. Her handler wrote a book about Smokey’s adventures called “Yorkie Doodle Dandy” to honor his little brave companion.


Smoky isn’t the only animal that has been honored for their service. Chips, a Shepherd Mix, was the most decorated animal in WWII having been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart, and Silver Star for his actions. Stubby, a pit-bull, is the most well-known service dog from WWI and has the Stubby Award for Animal Heroism named after him. He is also preserved and on display with his medals at the Smithsonian Institute.


There have been statues, books and movies made about animals that served during wars. The most recent is “War Horse” a movie about a single horse used during WWI and his unique bond with the boy who raised him – but it’s really a salute to all the equines used during war. “The Invincible Sgt. Bill” is a true story that was made into a short movie about a goat that served during WWI and saved many soldiers’ lives. He was stuffed and is still preserved in Saskatchewan, where the real Bill came from.


We usually think about dogs and horses when we think of military animals but, in fact, every kind of animal has been used at some point. Dolphins, elephants, camels, pigs, pigeons, cats and even slugs! Who knew (except the scientist studying them) that they could detect mustard gas in the air at much lower particles than we could and therefore warn soldiers when they needed to put their masks on? How do you pin a medal on a slug?!


This Memorial Day, when we pause to remember all those who have served and died for our freedoms, let’s remember those with four legs (or no legs, like slugs) that have also served. They didn’t have a choice and often died doing what we bid them to do. They are heroes too and deserve to be honored as such.

Join our Life Saving Team!

Join our Life Saving Team!

What are you doing this summer?  Actually for the next six months?  Looking for a way to put your love of animals to good use?  Have a couple hours free each week?  We need you!  Come join our team of life-saving animal lovers by volunteering at the shelter.  Whatever your skill level we have a job for you.

Love dogs but aren’t very physically strong?  Come read to them!  Having positive experiences in their kennels help make their stay here more pleasant. It also teaches them to relax and present well when the adopting public comes through; who would want to bring home the dog flinging himself at the kennel door and acting out of control?  We’re working on a lot of new kennel enrichment practices to help the dogs stay sane while waiting for their new homes.  Of course they do enjoy their time outside and going for walks too.

Did you know that cats should have two 10-15 minute sessions of interactive play each day?  It helps to relieve stress and boredom and mimics their natural life cycle to some small degree.  We certainly don’t have enough staff to spend that kind of time with each of our feline guests.  Thank goodness for our awesome cat cuddlers.  Sure it’s hard work – but someone has to play with these cats!

Have any computer skills?  We need help with data entry – there’s always paperwork in a business, right?  Assist our volunteer coordinator with tracking volunteers’ hours and scheduling.  Assist our vet tech with our busy foster program – tracking who’s next for follow-up appointments, inputting treatments in the computer and more.

Are you a creative writer?  Help showcase our adoptable animals with fun, upbeat and creative descriptions – something that would make people want to come meet them!  Help with press releases and other publicity for upcoming events.  In fact, we need people to help at these events too!  Are you a people person?  Work the shelter’s adoption desk or assist at outreach events and feel the joy when you help a family find their new BFF.  There’s nothing more satisfying than convincing someone to take the time to get to know a shy cat that would be perfect in their home.  We love match-making – do you?

Don’t forget our bunnies!  They crave daily attention and playtime.  Our monthly Bunny Days, where we set up the rabbits outside and invite the public to come interact with them, are very popular.  Our Bunny Boutique does a brisk business and so does the Bunny Nail Salon!  We could definitely use an extra pair of hands to help out.

As you can see there are a lot of different ways that you could get involved.  The only requirement is that you are at least 18 years- old and can make a regular weekly commitment.  Come find out more at a one-hour orientation Saturday, April 29 at 10 a.m. in the shelter lobby.  We are located at 301 J. Rogers Lane, off Redwood Drive (by the Costco).  No harm in at least learning more…. right?  After all, what else are you doing this summer?

Little Ones are Coming!

Little Ones are Coming!

Do you see strange rustling in your bushes?  Hear funny noises coming from under your porch?  It’s Springtime and with the change in season come kittens (among other young).  About this time, they are getting old enough to venture from the nest and you may soon see little fluff balls.  If we are to tame them down and find them homes, it’s critical that they be caught before they are eight weeks old.  That means as soon as you see them, catch them!

Kittens have a shorter, and earlier, socializing period than dogs.  It starts at two-weeks-old (if you are raising kittens it’s important for them to be handled daily at this early age) and pretty much is over by ten weeks.  If kittens are not socialized by then it becomes increasingly more difficult and less successful.  It’s a shame to sentence these young animals to the rough life of a feral when they could be caught early and tamed down.  The important point is not to wait.  Too many people think, I’ll catch them on the weekend, or I’ll try to get them used to coming for food and then I’ll work on getting them to trust me and then I’ll catch them.  NO!  They need to be caught today!  Immediately!

Although it’s true that for super young kittens, with their eyes still closed, staying with the mom is the best thing for them, as soon as they are old enough to walk around and venture a bit on their own they are old enough to be caught and brought in for taming.  Of course if your tame cat had kittens you wouldn’t want to separate them until the kittens are at least seven weeks old (eight is even better), but that assumes that you are handling, playing and socializing the kittens the whole time.  It’s also not in their best interest to be adopted out singly too young – they learn a lot about bite inhibition and appropriate play by remaining with their littermates until they are at least a couple months old.

Along with catching the babies, you definitely want to catch the mom to get her spayed.  Otherwise you will be repeating this scenario again in another three months (gestation is about 63 days and the kittens start moving around at about 4 weeks of age).  Forgotten Felines runs weekly spay/neuter clinics for trapped ferals in our County – call 576-7999 for an appointment and helpful tips and information about how to trap mom-cats.  They can also give you great advice on how to socialize the young, if you are willing to do it yourself – otherwise they will point you in the direction of the animal shelter that services your area.

We have foster parents who have signed up to help raise these orphan kittens – a very satisfying (and fun) job indeed!  It’s considered the politically correct way to have kittens – all the fun without the lifetime of responsibility!  If you are interested there is more information on our website (rpanimalshelter.org) or at the shelter.  Meantime, don’t just watch these cuties grow up wild out there; all too quickly it will be too late.  Thanks for getting involved and helping them out.  Maybe there is a reason they picked your bush or patio!

Losing an Older Pet

Losing an Older Pet

How do they always know when you are planning to go on vacation? And why do older pets often go downhill right before you leave?

Is it because they know they won’t make it and want you near when they go? Is it because they don’t want you worrying about them while you are away? Are they sensing the tensions in the home and it makes them sicker? Whatever the reason it happened to us just a couple weeks ago.

We had a trip planned to Hawaii for more than a year. Our oldest dog, Poppy, was a 12-year-old Sheltie with multiple health issues. She had Cushing’s (for several years), which had caused high blood pressure and was throwing her liver values off.

Not to mention that she had lost her hearing and was thin as a rail. In addition, she was getting some supplements for joint support and incontinence. A total of nine medications and supplements daily along with prescription foods, our house looked like a pharmacy.

It was clear Poppy was one sick puppy but her energy level was high and she eagerly jumped into the car each morning to go to work with me. She joined us on walks and though she slept more and ate less, she just seemed like an aging dog…getting closer to the end but not teetering on the brink. So we were caught by surprise when she just suddenly started to vomit one day that last week. She vomited all afternoon and when I took her temperature it was 103.9, which is quite high.

So we made a quick trip to the emergency hospital for some anti-nausea medication and antibiotics. The next morning, we went to our regular vet to have a blood panel done (advice: if diagnostics can wait until the next day, i.e., it wouldn’t dramatically change the outcome or treatment plan, it’s best to wait as the emergency center is much more expensive). It showed that her liver values were all over the place but couldn’t explain why.

This is the point at which decisions have to be made and guilt comes into play. How far do you go with testing and to what end? Did I really need to know if she had a tumor in her liver, knowing she wasn’t a surgical candidate? With so many health issues going on I knew this was the end coming and it really wasn’t fair to our pet sitter to leave such a sick animal in her care. Also, selfishly, I knew I wanted to be with Poppy when she transitioned. So instead of spending money on more tests and diagnostics, I hired an animal communicator.

Don’t laugh. I truly believe that being able to make the decision to euthanize a pet is one of the most loving gifts we can give. I personally am not afraid of dying – I’m more afraid of suffering and relief from pain is something that we can offer.

There is something very healing in being able to express your love and to say goodbye and hear back that your pet is ready to go. Now that might sound “convenient” to you but it didn’t feel that way at all. So we said our goodbyes and helped our girl over that rainbow bridge. I know she’ll be there waiting for me.

Cold weather plus cats in heat equals kittens

Cold weather plus cats in heat equals kittens

Baby, it may be cold outside but this is when babies are made. I’m talking about kittens for those of you shocked at the first sentence.

January is typically the start of the feline breeding cycle (in this area), with females coming into heat. How do you know if that’s happening to your sweet kitty? She becomes a yowling, affectionate machine. Pet her on her lower back and she will throw her tail up and sashay around. You might find that she tries to dash out the door, too. You might also notice a new male, or two, hanging around your house and hear them fighting during the night. They are jousting for the rights to breed.

Only one thing to do in a situation like this, and no, throwing the female outside so you can finally get some sleep is not the answer. Spaying the females and neutering the males is not only the right thing to do, it is quick, permanent and free! The nice thing about the kitty arias is that hearing them gives you the opportunity to catch and spay them before they are pregnant and have accidental litters. Even if it’s not your cat singing and fighting outside your window, please don’t ignore it. What they are actually singing is, “Spay me! Spay me!”  Ok, maybe not, but that’s what I hear it as. And it won’t cost you a cent to get involved – just a bit of time.

We offer free cat spays and neuters (yes, please catch the boys, too!) to community cats (the “un-owned” stray that you’ve been kind enough to feed for weeks or months) and for pets of low-income residents of Rohnert Park and Cotati. The saying we live by is “if you feed a stray, then neuter and spay.”

The real problem is when someone (or a group of people) is feeding an outdoor cat but no one claims ownership, someone who cares enough needs to take the initiative to trap the cat so she can be altered. It’s amazing how many kind people will feed a cat and then watch as they go through a heat, mating sessions, two months of pregnancy, and two plus months of nursing kittens and then call to complain that there are too many cats in their area and they want us to magically make them go away. It doesn’t work that way. If you are hearing the yowling, then chances are the kittens will be born on or close to your property – and then it’s a bigger problem you are dealing with.

We really need to stop the proliferation of these feral, or community (free-roaming) cats, which is where the bulk of the kittens come from. We’re willing to cover the costs for getting them spayed and neutered, but the problem is reaching the people caring for these animals because they aren’t our typical audience.

If you work with low-income clients, with the Hispanic community, with seniors, or with anyone that might have an unaltered pet, please help spread the word about our program (there are similar low-cost spay-neuter programs in all other parts of our county; you can have them call us for referrals). We have a flyer available at the shelter (in English and Spanish) that you can post around your neighborhood or at work. Just stop by and pick up a few.

We’re doing what we can to stop the problem by offering free and low-cost spay/neuter surgeries to our community. Won’t you help by spreading the word? Especially if you are tired from being awakened at night to the sounds of the kitty chorus.