Seattle Area Feline Rescue
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GiveBIG 2017 for Homeless Cats

"Nubs" GIveBIG 2017Less than two weeks ’til GiveBIG on May 10… and online gift scheduling opens today! Here at the rescue, we’re crossing our paws for a great event. And we need your help!

GiveBIG 2017 Donate Button

What is GiveBIG?

GiveBIG is a local 24-hour online event hosted by The Seattle Foundation. It’s also the rescue’s second largest event of the year: the kitties count on it to bring them life-saving support!

Why GiveBIG?

GiveBIGYour kindness and generosity go even farther for the kitties on GiveBIG day, with opportunities to grow your gift! The rescue’s Board of Directors and a team of “Cat Challenger” donors has pledged matching funds to DOUBLE your gift and save more lives. Meow-wow! The Seattle Foundation is also offering incentives, including a chance to win $2,500 for the rescue kitties. We have a goal to raise $20,000 to make it possible to save the lives of at-risk felines, and we need your help to make it happen!

When is GiveBIG?

GiveBigLogo_ICON_lrgThis year, GiveBIG will take place from midnight to midnight on Wednesday, May 10th. Please mark your calendars! Or, to get a head start, you can schedule your gift online starting today. Now, more than ever, kitties urgently need your support. Kitten season is beginning, and there are many adult, special needs, and senior kitties who need help, too.

What’s a “Catvocate”?

Catvocate for GIveBIG 2017!Join “Team Feline”! When you help spread the word about this important opportunity for the kitties, you become a “Catvocate”! Post an “Unselfie” on May 10, send your friends an email, change your social media icon, share this post… there are many ways to boost the signal for cats in need! Email us for fun materials, including an unselfie template, social media badges, and more. Show your “Team Feline” pride with us on May 10th!

Thank you for taking action to help homeless felines! From bottle baby kittens to senior cats, they all appreciate you “Meowy” much!

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Household Dangers for Cats

Coffee is a common household danger for catsWhen you take home a new kitty, it’s always a good idea to pet-proof your living space and remove any household dangers for cats. Some hazards are fairly well-known, like anti-freeze and chocolate. Others might surprise you!

Choking/Ingesting Hazards:

String and string-like items (including thread, yarn, dental floss, rubber bands, and Christmas tree tinsel) are tempting to many cats—but they can wreak havoc on the digestive system if swallowed. Legos and other small toys pose another hazard.

Plants:

You may have seen the infographics that get shared each year at Easter time warning about how lilies are dangerous for cats. It’s true! Lilies can cause kidney failure and even death. They’re not the only hazardous plant, though. It’s always best to double check whether cut flowers and houseplants are poisonous before putting them within reach or your feline friends. The ASPCA maintains a helpful database of toxic vs. non-toxic plants.  (Note: even non-toxic plants sometimes cause tummy upset when eaten.)

Cleaning Products:

Most cleaning products are toxic if ingested, so be sure to follow the instructions on the label carefully. A solution of vinegar and water makes a good non-toxic alternative. (But don’t let your kitty ingest vinegar, either. It’s not good for feline tummies!) A diluted bleach solution also works well. *Whatever product you use, follow directions, rinse items, let them dry, and ventilate to remove any fumes before your kitties get access!*

Human Food:

Many human foods are household dangers for cats. Chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol may be treats for people, but they’re no good for kitties’ health! Although it’s a common belief that cats love milk, dairy can actually cause tummy distress. More dangerously, Xylitol (a common sweetener) is highly toxic and can cause liver failure. Xylitol shows up as an ingredient in more foods and household items than you might think (including gum and toothpaste). Be sure to check the ingredients carefully! The list goes on: cooked bones are a choking risk, and it’s best to keep your kitty away from all leftovers, compost, and garbage. For a more detailed list of hazardous foods, check out the Humane Society’s blog.

Medications:

Even over-the-counter human medications like cold medicine and pain relievers can be very dangerous for animals. Make sure to store all your meds in a pet-proof place. Keep veterinary meds out of reach, too, so that your pets can’t get into them and accidentally overdose. (Note: Marijuana and many other controlled substances can also cause poisoning in pets.)

Flea Treatments: 

ALWAYS check with your veterinarian before treating your cat for fleas! Your vet can help you choose a safe product and determine the correct dosage. Pyrethroid-based flea treatments, which are available over-the-counter, can cause accidental poisoning and should be avoided.

Want to learn more about household dangers for cats?

 

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Spa Day for Nimbus: A Senior Kitty Story

Nimbus before her spa day

Nimbus before spa day.

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Getting her lion cut…

Nimbus in her cone

At first, Nimbus didn’t appreciate the grooming…

Nimbus in a towel.

But the after-bath snuggles were great!

Nimbus gets brushed.

The head massage was the best.

Nimbus during her grooming.

And the chin scratches!

Nimbus

After grooming, her skin had more space to heal.

Senior kitty Nimbus in a cone.

The finishing touch: a pretty blue cone to keep her skin safe from scratching!

Nimbus used to live on the streets, trying to take care of herself. But this sweet senior kitty wasn’t suited to life as an alley cat!

When she arrived at SAFe Rescue for help, Nimbus was truly a sorry sight. Her teeth were loose. Her paw and her tummy were wounded. Her long coat was infested by fleas and bugs.

Nimbus had a long road to recovery ahead of her. She got spay surgery, Epsom salt soaks for her wounded toe, and antibiotics for her infected tummy. Dental surgery made her a member of the “Four Tooth Club,” but removing all of her damaged teeth definitely left her feeling more comfortable.

She As a shy girl, Nimbus also started the Jackson Galaxy’s Cat Pawsitive behavior program. At first, she was so timid that she wanted to get as far away from people as possible. Her clicker training reward for not growling was for her handler simply to turn away from her and leave her alone.

Little by little, her sweet personality began to emerge. Now she even prefers pets and attention as her reward!

Even after all that TLC, though,  Nimbus still wasn’t feeling completely comfortable. She needed… a senior kitty spa day! Although the infestation in her coat had been treated, it left her with irritated, itchy skin. Nimbus needed a lion cut to let her skin heal and breathe.

Alissa Rose of Seattle Mobile Grooming kindly volunteered to visit the rescue to help Nimbus. This morning, it was spa time!

The toenail trim, haircut, and bath were not Nimbus’ favorites. But she LOVED the face massage at the end. Although we miss Nimbus’ beautiful fur, we know that now she will be more comfortable and healthy…

And it will grow back even more gorgeous than ever!

Do you know someone who might have a place in their heart for sweet Nimbus? Please share her story and help her find a home!

You can learn more about making Nimbus your new best friend on our adoptions page.

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Why to Confine your New Kitty

Confine your new kitty in a bathroom

New Kitty in her safe space

Watching your feline explore her new place can be a joy—but if you let your New Kitty have the run on of your home too soon, behavior problems may follow. That’s why it’s key to confine New Kitty! Starting out in a small room will help her feel more comfortable. Bonus: confinement encourages good litter box habits, too!

Before you bring New Kitty home: Choose a small room as your new friend’s temporary domain. Bathrooms work especially well! They’re easy to clean and easy to get in and out of. Best of all, they usually don’t have much furniture for New Kitty to hide under or to soil while she gets to know where her box is.

Getting the space ready: Food, water, a bed, and a litter box are key. Make sure there is no laundry on the floor—soft laundry can be a tempting, and you don’t want kitty to go potty anywhere other than the box! Also, remove small irresistible items such as hair ties, dental floss, earrings, and bobby pins. Be sure that any potentially toxic cleaning products are locked away, and close off any small, inaccessible hiding places.

Didn’t get set up before adopting? Not to worry, just leave New Kitty in the carrier while you prepare the space.

Adopting two kitties at once? If they have already lived together (e.g. kittens in the same litter, or adult cats from the same household), they can be confined together. If they haven’t met each other yet, they should be confined separately, at least until after they get a clean bill of health or all clear at their veterinary wellness check.

If you have other pets: Confining the new arrival can help your other furry household members adjust. While New Kitty stays in her safety zone and gets used to the sounds, routines, and smells of your home, your established pets are getting familiar with the smell of the new family member.

Integrating into the household: After getting a wellness check at the vet, New Kitty can come out of the bathroom—as long as you don’t still see any signs of stress of fear. For some felines, this takes about a week. For shy cats, this could be weeks or even months. Some time in confinement is a small price to pay for a lifetime of happiness with your kitty! When New Kitty seems ready to come out, start with slow, supervised visits, then very gradually increase access to more space and new parts of the home.

It’s never too late to start over: If your adult cat hides as soon as leaving confinement, it’s wise to take a step back. Try confinement again: adult cats are more cautious and can’t be rushed.

Establishing a routine: Regular feeding times will help your new furry friend—and any established pets—adjust. Feeding all your pets together at the same time helps them associate each other with good experiences!

With these guidelines, you can help your new friend put her best paw forward. Don’t let New Kitty roam and explore immediately, and your patience can be rewarded with a happy, well-adjusted family member!

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Test Your Ringworm IQ

Alan used to have ringworm. Now he's infection-free and living the good life in a home of his own!

Alan used to have ringworm. Now he’s infection-free and living the good life in a home of his own!

What comes to mind when you hear the word “Ringworm”? Did you think “Eww,” “No way!” or “Worms are gross”? If so, you aren’t the only one! But do you know the real facts? Answer the questions below to test your Ringworm IQ!

TRUE OR FALSE?

____ Ringworm really is a worm.

False. “Ringworm” is a misnomer: it’s not a worm at all! Dermatophytosis is a minor infection (similar to athlete’s foot) caused by the fungus M. Canis. It got its nickname because it often presents as a round, hairless region. Originally, people thought it looked like a worm just because of its shape.

____ Ringworm is life-threatening.

False: This condition is not fatal, or even painful. It’s also self-limiting, meaning that it won’t spread across the cat’s whole body. (It usually presents itself as hairless patches on and around the ears, paws or toes.)

Rescued kitty Jolie used to have ringworm. She's so glad she got a second chance!

Rescued kitty Jolie used to have ringworm. She’s so glad she got a second chance!

____ Cats with ringworm are often euthanized in some shelters.

True. Sadly, many shelters euthanize cats who test positive if they don’t have the resources or the space to keep them long enough. It can take several weeks—if not months—to effectively treat a feline. With time and care, though, these cats could make a full recovery and lead long, happy lives. We are committed to treating this condition: when we take in ringworm cat at Seattle Area Feline Rescue, we are giving safety to an animal who has run out of other options.

____ Humans can catch ringworm from cats.

True. It’s one of the few “zoonotic” diseases that can pass from animals to humans. If a human catches it, it’s an annoying but minor condition which can be treated with an over-the-counter anti-fungal cream.  HOWEVER… when a cat tests positive, we start an extensive treatment process including oral medication and medicated baths. The feline is not placed for adoption until it has finished treatment and tested negative for ringworm.

* * *

Now that you know the facts, you don’t need to think “Ewww” anymore. Instead, just picture a cute little set of whiskers like Alan or Jolie! Infection is temporary; love from a feline companion is forever.

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Cat Pawsitive: Positive Training for Shelter Cats

Jackson Galaxy's Cat Pawsitive ProgramWe are excited to announce that Seattle Area Feline Rescue was selected by The Jackson Galaxy Foundation (JGF) to participate in Cat Pawsitive, an initiative that introduces positive-reinforcement training to shelter cats.

Jackson Galaxy (star of the television show My Cat from Hell on Animal Planet, and Founder of his namesake organization) developed Cat Pawsitive with a team of animal behavior experts. Highlights of the program include:

  • improving cat “adoptability”
  • enriching day-to-day life for cats in shelters
  • building feline social skills, especially for shy or fearful cats
  • promoting the human-cat bond
  • teaching and empowering animal shelter staff and volunteers

Samantha Bell DiGenova, a feline behavior expert hand-picked by the Foundation, will lead the program for Seattle Area Feline Rescue beginning February 2. Throughout the four-month program, shelter staff and volunteers will participate in weekly trainings with DiGenova and will have direct access to the entire training team for consultations about the cats in their care.

“We are thrilled to have the expertise and guidance of the Jackson Galaxy Foundation, as well as the many resources the Cat Pawsitive program provides,” said SAFe Rescue’s Claire Robinson, Cat Pawsitive team leader. “Many of our volunteers are already big fans of the great work done by Jackson Galaxy as well as JGF, and we can’t wait to make a difference in the lives of our kitties with the help of the Cat Pawsitive program!”

“We are excited to be working with Seattle Area Feline Rescue to show the world what can be done to step up the game and improve outcomes for cats in shelters,” says Jackson Galaxy. “Cat Pawsitive is about awareness, enrichment, innovation, and increased adoption placement on a grassroots level. I know that the work done during this program will have a ripple effect, helping so many cats in need and the humans who care for them.”

Cats who are exposed to reward-based training methods gain confidence and experience reduced stress through training sessions; soon they are building connections with staff, volunteers and potential adopters. Cat Pawsitive can help a shy cat learn to feel comfortable coming up to the front of the cage to meet an adopter, a feisty cat learn to play nice, and an outgoing kitty learn to give an endearing “high five” to visitors to seal an adoption deal.

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Litter Box Tips: Help Your Kitty Learn Good Habits

Kitten in the litter boxA cat who doesn’t use the litter box usually gets a big reaction from the humans. But did you know there are proactive steps you can take BEFORE your kitty ever has litter box problems? With a few simple actions, you can help guide your feline friend to use the box faithfully. It’s never too early—or too late—to build gold star litter box habits!

1)      New Adult Cat? Confinement is Key!

When you’re bringing a new cat or kitten into your home, it’s very important to start things off on the right paw. Adult cats are creatures of habit, so change can be hard for them. When your new friend first comes home, you can ease her transition by confining her to a small space (without hiding places you can’t access), such as a bathroom. Fluffykins should stay there until she has established the habit of using the new litter box.

It might seem tempting to let your new friend roam right away, but don’t give in! Large, open spaces are usually frightening for cats at first. An anxious kitty is more likely to avoid the litter boxor hide and get too afraid to come out and find it. In particular, older cats, recently neutered cats, and very shy kitties may need more time than you think. Better to err on the side of caution: some cats do best in a new environment with a month or more of confinement. Slow and steady wins the race to impeccable litter box use!

2)      New Kittens? Confinement is Still Key!

Kittens simply haven’t been around long enough to build long-term box habits yet. Not to mention that finding the box in a big space is hard when you’re little and you really gotta go! Temporary confinement to a bathroom or other small room gives new kittens the best start. Confinement for young kittens, especially when they’re unsupervised, is important for establishing life-long gold star litter box habits and may be necessary for weeks or even months, depending on the kittens and the home situation.  It’s a process not to be rushed: think short term pain (not having your kittens next to you all day long) for long term gain (A+ litter box users).  Once the kittens are out for short supervised visits, keep showing them where their box is and reminding them to try to use it.

3)      Think Location, Location, Location

Spaces that seem perfectly normal to people can be extra scary for kitties. To you, for example, the dryer is a handy time-saving appliance. To Fluffykins, it might seem like a big cube monster, ready to emit scary clunks and beeps at any second. Nobody wants to go potty next to a monster! When deciding where to place litterboxes, try to take a kitty’s-eye-view. Is the box easy to access? Is the location quiet and private? Is it easy to get in and out of? Kitties usually prefer boxes that offer quick escape routes—you never know when that dryer monster might try to ambush you! For this reason, hooded litter boxes and boxes hidden in furniture can be unappealing to certain kitties.

4)      Do Some Litter Box Algebra

Having the right number of litter boxes is as easy as can be! If “C” is the number of cats in your household, then C + 1 = Number of Boxes. In other words, make sure to have a litter box for each kitty, plus one extra box. (Sorry, two boxes right next to each other still count as one!) Cats can be territorial about their litter, so having plenty to go around—in different locations—helps prevent problems.

5)      Become a Regular at Your Vet

While some litter box issues are behavioral, many result from medical problems. Urinary tract infections, crystals, pain from declawing, constipation, arthritis… all of these health problems, and many others, can lead to box avoidance. Make sure to take your kitty in for regular check-ups. Not only will your kitty earn that gold star for good behavior—she’ll be happier and healthier, too!

6)      Clean It Like You Mean It!

Cats are tidy creatures at heart, even if they do have their epic mess-making moments. The feline sense of smell is exceptional, too. A box that looks fine to you might smell terrible to them. If that box isn’t clean and appealing, your kitty might give in to the temptation of a fresh pile of laundry or a nice soft carpet… So scoop the litter each day, and make sure to regularly empty and wash the whole box with a non-ammonia cleaner. If your kitty is particularly picky, Fluffykins might be wishing that you would scoop every time she uses the box. You probably don’t have time to follow Flufflykins around all day with a scooper in handso if you have a nitpicky kitty, consider getting an extra large litter box. (Plastic under-bed storage containers work great for this!) Also, make sure you have enough boxes in different locations. (See “Litter Box Algebra” above.)

If your kitty does have an accident—or if you spill while cleaning—be sure to get rid of the mess right away with an odor-neutralizing cleaner, available at most pet stores. If you can, it’s also a good idea to block off kitty’s access to that spot for a while (especially if that spot is a bed).

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Now Hiring!

oliveWe’re happy to announce that the SAFe Rescue is now accepting applications for a brand new position: Customer Care/Office Associate! This full time team member will play a key role in helping both animals and people:

Assist public and staff with a wide range of needs: adoptions, retail, office, and development tasks. Includes training volunteers when needed. This position works closely with the Development Director, Operations Manager and Veterinary Care Manager. The ideal candidate will be friendly, outgoing with a passion for people and felines, an incredible attention to detail, a positive non-judgmental attitude, and the ability to be flexible and focused in a distracting environment.

The Rescue is also accepting applications for the part time position of Cat Care Lead. You can learn more about both positions on our JOBS page.

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Mary Winchester Goes Home for the Pawlidayz

Mary WinchesterMary used to fend for herself outdoors: it was a hard, dangerous life for this petite young cat! A Good Samaritan trapped her and took her to be spayed. At the clinic, they discovered that she had recently given birth. This was worrisome news – without their mom, her kittens wouldn’t survive long. Fortunately, after some searching, the kittens were found and reunited with their relieved momma!

Mary came to Seattle Area Feline Rescue with all her kittens. She was a devoted, patient mother, and spent time in foster care nurturing them until they grew strong and healthy. Her foster family, fans of the TV show Supernatural, added “Winchester” to her name in honor of one of the characters.

After some TLC in foster care, Mary Winchester and her “Supernatural Litter” (Castiel, Sam, Lilith, and Dean) were ready for adoption. . . just in time to go home for the Pawlidayz! On Black Friday, they all found loving homes in just one day as part of Zappos and Best Friends Animal Society’s “Home for the Pawlidayz” promotion!

Mary Winchester in her new mom's armsThe lady who adopted Mary came to the rescue on Black Friday because one of her two senior kitties had recently crossed the Rainbow Bridge. The surviving kitty had retreated to a single room in the house, too sad to move much, and needed a new friend. Mary clearly thought that should be her! She snuggled in and quickly convinced her new mom to take her home.

Mary’s mom reports that she fits right into her new family. The other kitty in the home seems to be cheered by Mary’s presence, and has even ventured out to bump noses with her. As for Mary, she’s learning the joys of burrowing under covers, sitting on laps, and listening to Seahawks’ games with her people!

Mary Winchester’s days struggling to survive on her own are officially over. She’ll spend the holidays—and the rest of her long, happy life—with a family who loves her!

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BB’s Big Wish

BB, a special needs kittenMeet BB, a determined little kitten with a big holiday wish!

BB was born to a feral momma cat in Eastern Washington. As she grew, it became clear that she was different from her brothers and sisters. Her back legs splayed out at an angle from her body, and she couldn’t use them to walk. BB would not have survived for long in the dangerous outside world as a wild kitty.

Thankfully, BB came to us for a second chance!

BB gets a hugSince she arrived at Seattle Area Feline Rescue, BB has shown what a strong, determined girl she is. She has learned to scoot across the floor of her foster home. She even uses her front paws to do handstands like a tiny gymnast! You can see that BB wants very much to walk and move like the other kitties.

The veterinarian says BB might someday be able to walk on all four paws, but only if she gets a series of physical therapy sessions.

img_23171Thanks to generous support from the community, BB is getting the special care she needs. She still has a long journey ahead of her, though. . .

Will you make a gift to help special kitties like BB? Every donation, big or small, makes such a difference for them! http://www.seattleareafelinerescue.org/give-to-save-lives/

THANK YOU to all of you who are making it possible to give BB the care she needs. Together we can make sure that her dreams can come true—and that she finds a loving home!

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