Taking Special Care to Protect Your Cat
September 1, 2009

Each summer, Comet is fortunate to be able to spend some relaxation time away from her shelter duties, basking in the bright sunshine at her little vacation home by the sea. During these so-called “breaks,” we often run across animals who are in need of help.  We regularly encounter dogs and cats without collars wandering about our neighborhood, as well as in the paths of dangerous traffic on busy streets. In fact, Comet has actually helped coax animals who are too frightened of people to get out of harm’s way. Many of these animals have loving homes but are put in unnecessary danger as they wander without proper identification.

While we were gone from the shelter this summer, Dani, a fabulous adoption counselor and summer camp supervisor for the MSPCA at Nevins Farm, encountered a special cat named Willie. Dani and Willie spent a great deal of time with the many loving camp kids, so we thought this would be a great opportunity to have Dani give everybody an update on Willie, as well as pass along some thoughts on protecting cats.

From Dani:

                          We are happy to announce that One Eyed Willie has found his home! Willie came to the shelter as a stray several months ago. He was neutered, declawed, and had one eye that had been surgically removed. The shelter knew he had an owner, so they ran an ad in the newspaper and faxed his picture to all of the local vets. Despite his unique qualities, the shelter was unable to locate his family. Willie spent the better part of his time at the MSPCA at our Children's Summer Camp, teaching the kids about the importance of having all cats, even indoor ones, micro-chipped and wearing a collar with an ID tag. If Willie had had either of those things, the shelter would have been able to locate his family immediately. Willie also taught the kids about some healthy alternatives to declawing your cat, such as giving them a scratching post or using Softpaws. Without his claws, when he was lost outside, Willie would have been unable to defend himself from a predator if he was in danger! Fortunately for Willie, his family, who had left him in the care of a relative while they were away and were unaware that he was missing, came to the MSPCA and found him. Willie was one of the lucky ones, but most of our stray animal population are never reunited with their families. Make sure this never happens to your cat by giving him a collar and ID tags to wear and having him micro-chipped -- even if you think he will never get outside. Accidents can happen! If you pet does get lost, make flyers with his picture and hang them in your neighborhood, local vets and animal shelters, as well as contacting your animal control officer. Thank you to One Eyed Willie for being such a great cat!

              Thanks, Dani!

             Here are a few things we can all do to keep our cats safe:

1.  Keep your cat indoors! Outdoor cats face many dangers, including cars, predators, rabid wildlife, diseases, and poisons. There are many ways to make your cat comfortable and content indoors by using things like secure screened porches and window seats. Also, you might want to consider adopting a second cat for his companionship.

2.  Don’t declaw your cat!  Declawing is inhumane and very painful. There are inexpensive scratching posts that will ensure that your cat has the ability to express her natural desire to use her paws. You can also have her nails trimmed regularly, as well as use a nail cap, such as Softpaws, as Dani mentioned.

3.        Micro-chip your pets! It is virtually painless, takes about a half-a-second,

and will give your pet the security of finding you even if she gets lost. Micro-chips are inserted under the skin by your veterinarian and coupled with an id tag can be a double-sure way for your pet to find his way back to you!

4.       Vaccinate your cat! Cats need to be vaccinated yearly, just like dogs. An

annual trip to the veterinarian can help protect your cat against diseases and contagious viruses such as feline distemper, leukemia, and AIDS (FIV).