Shelter Cat Adoption Tips for National Adopt A Shelter Cat Month

It’s National Adopt A Cat Month and whether you adopt a shelter cat or find a furry waif on the doorstep, they’re all worthy of love. Right?

shelter cat

Hey, I know that I’m preaching to the choir. But area shelters overflow especially with kittens this time of year—and so do back yards and alleys. June is the purr-fect time to celebrate Adopt-A-Cat Month (sponsored by American Humane Association) and National Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month (sponsored by ASPCA).

PURR-FECT PICKS–WHAT’S YOUR FURRY PLEASURE?

Today there are shelter cats available to suit every taste and circumstance. Boy or girl? Fluffy longhaired or short-and-svelte coat? Does color matter? We’ve been discussing coat color/pattern and purr-sonality here. Do you care what they look like, or is the c’attitude more important? Short fur sheds just as much as the long fluffy kind, but won’t tangle or require as much care on your part. Those longhaired beauties like Persians need combing every single day.

KITTEN OR ADULT?

While kittens can be non-stop fun, they’re also works-in-progress–and you cannot accurately predict adult temperament. Most kittens love to lap-sit, but many outgrow this behavior. Despite that fact, there must be a boatload of kittens being adopted–the past 3 weeks my Complete Kitten Care book has virtually pounced off the shelves!

Age matters. While space concerns force shelters to adopt out kittens as early as possible, a shelter cat will have far fewer behavior problems if he stays with mom-cat and siblings until at least twelve weeks old. If you adopt a kitten younger than this, you should either have a friendly adult cat in the house prepared to teach Junior how to be a proper cat–or you yourself must attempt to give these lessons. Cats learn from watching other cats how to groom themselves, use the litter box, scratch the right object, and inhibit clawing and biting during play. Humans fall short as teachers. You can get some tips in the ComPETability: Cats book for introductions and more.

But if you want a lifelong feline lap-snuggler, choose an adult cat with an established personality so you know what you’re getting. You’ll already know that the cat likes or dislikes dogs, other cats, children, lap-sitting, and playing. Besides, healthy adult cats live into their late teens (or beyond) so adopting a four-year-old lovely feline can mean a decade or longer of furry love!

YoungCat-EliseLauraFeinstein

Cute kitties make more cute kitties when left to their own instincts. Image Copr. Elise Laura Feinstein/Flickr

YOU SEXY CAT! CHOOSING YOUR SHELTER CAT

Boy cats tend to grow bigger than girl cats, but as long as they’re spayed or neutered (you’ll want to do this!), the behaviors tend to be similar. Intact males want to baptize everything with sprays of urine, and intact girl cats bring more furry babies into this world after yowling and pestering owners to death. How many of y’all have adopted kittens that were the results of a WHOOPS litter? Hey, you know what I mean…:) Every good intention in the world can get thwarted by a determined girl-kitty when she picks the locks with her rabies tag and trysts with that yummy-boy-cat-Romeo.

Lovely adult cats often get overlooked, but they’ve already learned these basic lessons and make outstanding pets. Due to the overload of animals, too many shelters have arbitrary age limits for euthanasia. Cats aged five and above may be euthanized automatically, even though they could be expected to provide a decade or more of companionship to a loving human owner. Adopt one of these kitties and you’ll save a life–adopt a bonded pair and you’ll truly be blessed. For help from birth to old age, you can pick up a copy of CAT FACTS: The Pet Parent’s A-to-Z Home Care Encyclopedia.

OLD CATS ROCK!

Old cats tend to be more sedate than kittens, and less inclined to climb curtains, attack toes, or conduct gravity experiments by knocking breakables off high spots. Don’t expect an adult shelter cat to “sell themselves” the way a kitten would. Remember that they’ve likely just lost their home, are scared and sad, and wondering what they did to make a beloved human go away. They need people to take a second look.

Adopting a senior kitty at age 10 or so could mean another decade or more of furry snuggles. Just look at Seren-Kitty? When she arrived as a baby, we had no idea she’d still be ruling the roost 21 years later!

Twenty-one years ago my Siamese wannabe Seren(dipity) showed up on a friend’s back porch–a dumped kitten–and purred her way into my heart. And about four years ago, Karma-Kat came to me in the same way. May you be so lucky as to find the cat of your dreams!

ADOPT ANY TIME

Cat Facts: The Pet Parent's A-to-Z Home Care Encyclopedia

Your kitten-to-senior guide for all-things-cat!

You don’t need to wait for a special adoption month. Wonderful candidates of all shapes, ages, and sizes–even some pedigree kitties!–wait for you at area shelters all year long.

What’s your shelter cat “gotcha-day” story? Did you find the kitty of your dreams as a retired show cat? Feral rescue? Inherit her from an ailing in-law? What’s your best advice for those wanting to adopt during National Adopt A (Shelter) Cat Month?


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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

 

Jesus Christ Superstar: Living The Part

Many of my readers know about my passion for plays and theater and music. So when the opportunity came to be involved in a rock opera, I had to audition for the chance to sing in the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice masterpiece, Jesus Christ Superstar.

L-R: Amanda Pillow, Heidi Scheibmeir and Amy Shojai reunited in the Finley dressing room. Last fall, we acted and sang together as an evil trinity in Little Mermaid–and now, the sinners have reformed!

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR CAST IS FAMILY

Besides, it’s just plain fun to meet new people, and reconnect with friends from previous productions. Working so closely together builds unique ties and relationships that are treasured long after the curtain goes down. Yep, many of us work full time jobs, and then spend long hours late into the night rehearsing, perfecting, and gnashing virtual teeth to make things right.

Why? Because we love it. Theater is my brain candy, and a part of who I am. I got hooked at six years old, and never looked back.

Another dressing room picture with a new theater friend, Cynthia Brandt, brilliantly playing “Queen Herod.” Hey, I told you it’s a novelization!

MARY, MOTHER OF JESUS

I was honored to be offered a role in the Superstar company, and play multiple parts (as do several of my colleagues). We love singing the challenging music–this is a ROCK OPERA, for goodness sakes!–and the emotional content of this novelization of biblical history is joyful, thought provoking, heart-rending, and uplifting by turns.

Being “Mary, mother of Jesus.”

The production boasts more than 50 individuals serving as actors, singers, orchestra members, and technical crew perfecting lights, sound, costumes, choreography and more, all from the North Texas area. Some are veteran performers, and for others, Jesus Christ Superstar is their first production. The audience, though, won’t be able to tell the difference–yes, the entire cast is that good!

Amanda Pillow (Mary Magdalene) with Grant Bower (Jesus), and Amy (Mother Mary) singing from balcony. Note: The role of Magdalene is shared with Teresa Natera, not pictured.

What can you expect? A joyful explosion of color, movement and song, gorgeous set and costumes, creative props, and an energetic outpouring from the cast and crew. We LIVE these parts…and after all, everyone knows how the story ends. The emotion is very real–and we couldn’t do this without each other.

Jesus Christ Superstar is our gift to you, the audience. And I feel blessed to be a part of this, and believe my fellow cast members feel the same.

Historically, audience members hail from the Dallas metroplex into North Texas and southern Oklahoma and beyond to attend Sherman Community Players productions mounted at the history Finley Theater in Sherman, Texas. Although performances are scheduled every Thurs-Sunday throughout June, the 200+-seat house often sells out. Tickets and details are available here–get your reservation asap! 

Heart-to-Heart About Dog Heartworms & Mosquitoes

heartworms and mosquitoes

I hate mosquitos not only because they’re itchy aggravation, but these nasty vampires spread deadly dog heartworms. That can make your dog sick or worse—it could kill her. Dogs are the natural host–but they also can affect cats–and heartworms have been a problem at least since 1922 when they were first discovered. Today heartworms are found all over the world.

The heartworm Dirofilaria immitis belongs to a group of parasites called filarids, and is a type of roundworm. They live in the right heart chambers and pulmonary arteries—the lungs—of infected dogs. As you can imagine, lungs and heart filled with worms can damage and interfere with normal organ function. You won’t be able to tell if your puppy has heartworms. You can’t see them the way you can fleas or ticks. And your dog won’t even act sick until she’s been infected for quite a while.

cute funny dog running on the grass with stick

Hunting dogs that spend lots of time outdoors are at highest risk.

DOG HEARTWORMS ON THE RISE

Despite the availability of effective and easy to use heartworm preventive options, the disease appears to be on the rise. In just two years, from 2013-2015, there was a 166 percent increase in reported positive heartworm cases, according to the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC). Additionally, the American Heartworm Society (AHS) has tracked the geographic spread of heartworm disease to all 50 states and its increased prevalence in several regions of the country.

So what’s a pet parent to do?

dog heartworms

UPDATE ABOUT DOG HEARTWORMS & MOSQUITOES

A groundbreaking study by John McCall, MS, PhD addresses this concern, investigating the effectiveness of stopping heartworm disease at the buggy transmission source. His new research shows that a multi-modal approach (adding mosquito repellents and insecticides alongside standard heartworm preventive protocols), offers even better protection for our dogs.

I first reported on this study back in Fall 2016, and am delighted to share more information as the study has progressed. The study, sponsored by CEVA, explored the efficacy of a new “Double Defense” protocol. John McCall is a professor emeritus in the Department of Infectious Diseases at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. After fighting heartworm the same way for decades, McCall says it’s time for a new approach that includes fighting the mosquito as well as the heartworm.

PREVENTING VS TREATING HEARTWORMS

Preventives that address heartworms are one important part of canine health care. But until recently, preventing the vector (mosquito) hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves, according to Byron Blagburn, MS, PhD, DAVCM, a professor of parasitology,, researcher, and author of the mosquito control guidelines.

Recently, the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) included more information on how to control mosquitoes, adding science-based evidence to these guidelines on mosquito control. New recommendations include choosing heartworm and parasite prevention products that also address the mosquito menace. Several canine products are available, and you should consult with your veterinarian for the best choices for your individual dogs and circumstances. You can also learn more at GoodNewsForPets.

According to the Heartworm Incidence Survey from the American Heartworm Society, The average number of dogs diagnosed per clinic in 2016 rose by 21.7 percent over 2013 numbers (date of the last survey). AHS president and veterinarian Dr. Christopher Rehm says that the distribution of cases hasn’t dramatically changed, 24% of respondents said the average number of positive dogs has increased since 2013.

2017 Heartworm Predictions–Keep Dogs Safe!

LEARN MORE ABOUT DOG HEARTWORMS

Please ask YOUR veterinarian about how you can best protect your dogs from mosquitoes and dog heartworms. Learn more about Dr. McCall’s CEVA-funded study in this short video.

Several years ago, I interviewed Dr. Wallace Graham about prevention, treatment and more in my Pet Peeves radio show. Much of this information is still valid, so find out more about how to keep cats and dogs safe from heartworm disease in PET PEEVES, HEART-TO-HEART ABOUT HEARTWORMS.


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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

A mosquito bite is more than just an ouch! That bite transmits diseases - possibly Zika to people and heartworms to our beloved pets. There are ways to reduce the mosquito population around your home, prevent bites and protect the whole family. And, a new study suggests a "Double Defense" protocol may protect your pet best. Learn more at www.fightheartwormnow.com (PRNewsFoto/Ceva Animal Health)

A mosquito bite is more than just an ouch! That bite transmits diseases – possibly Zika to people and heartworms to our beloved pets. There are ways to reduce the mosquito population around your home, prevent bites and protect the whole family. And, a new study suggests a “Double Defense” protocol may protect your pet best. Learn more at www.fightheartwormnow.com (PRNewsFoto/Ceva Animal Health)

Thriller Thursday: 20 Paperback Mysteries Give-Away!

Ready for summer beach reads? I’m pleased to partner with a dozen other authors to offer this THRILLING give-away of actual for-real PRINT mysteries! Check out the list of books, above. Here’s the details.

ONE winner gets 10 of the paperback books.

TWO winners get 5 each of the paperback books.

What’s not to love? The give-away runs through June 15, so don’t delay.

PLEASE SHARE with anyone who loves reading great books.

ENTER THE GIVE AWAY BY CLICKING HERE!


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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

 

Celebrating Cat Writing Awards that Celebrate Cats! Get Your Gift Book Here

Cat Writers Hosts Awards Banquet

I have attended every Cat Writers Association event since the beginning that celebrates cat writing awards, and almost missed the 23rd Annual Conference and Awards Banquet this past weekend. Part of that was concern about my two aging pets. Magical-Dawg at age 10 and Seren-Kitty now 21 years old are not in ideal health, and I know my colleagues understand the pets must come first.

With some gentle purr-suasion, though, I was convinced to make an appearance. So I flew to Myrtle Beach on Friday for an overnight stay, to attend the awards banquet and some of the Saturday sessions before returning home. Boy, I’m glad that I did! With 240 entries and 42 awards presented, for writers like me, this is the a-CAT-amy awards.

One of the best parts of the annual event is reconnecting with colleagues and friends like PetWorldInsider folks (above), and networking with pet products companies. This year, I had little opportunity to visit the exhibit hall, but gave and received as many hugs and greetings as possible.

Shojai Mentor Award recognizes the CWA member who has helped someone else achieve writing/publishing goals.

Wins, Wins Everywhere!

Muse presented by Conference Co-Chair Sharon Melnyk

The Friday night banquet offers a chance to BLING UP. In addition to being nominated for several awards, I also sponsored and presented the SHOJAI MENTOR AWARD (above), this year given to longtime CWA member Paul Glassner.

Muse Medallion presented by CWA Contest Chair Arden Moore

MUSE MEDALLION WINS!

I was delighted to receive recognition for my Herald Democrat newspaper column, P’ETiQuette. These medallion categories are judged by three professional CWA members, and the highest of their composite score selects the winner. It always means so much to be recognized by peers.

My second Muse Medallion recognized a cat behavior blog contributions I write for PetSafe.com Paw Print Blog. This Bling, Bitches & Blood Blog also was nominated so actually, I got to compete with myself!

The prize didn’t fit in my suitcase so I’m still waiting for it to be shipped.

FEAR FREE PETS AWARD

I’ve talked about the Fear Free Pets initiative before and I believe so much in this program, I’ve become Fear Free Certified, too. The program inspired me to write one of my quick tips books MY CAT HATES MY VET: Foiling Fear Before, During & After Vet Visits–and that booklet last Friday night won the Fear Free Pets Award, mee-wow! The prize comes with a $2000 cash award, plus that whimsical mirror shown above (Peeping Toms, LOL!). I was excited to receive the award from Dr. Elizabeth Bales (left) and CWA President Marci Kladnik (left).

Dr. Ken Labrecht and “Bug” presents the AAFP Cat Friendly Award

AAFP CAT FRIENDLY AWARD

Not only did MY CAT HATES MY VET win the Fear Free Pets award, it also was recognized by the American Association of Feline Practitioners with the Cat Friendly Award of $500 and a certificate. The Cat Friendly Practice initiative seeks to make veterinary practices “feline friendly” to increase cat health visits.

To celebrate these honors, I’ve made the Ebook version FREE for the next few days (until Friday). So please tell everyone to get a copy of the free book here and get rid of the HISSES surrounding vet visits.

The Hartz Every Day Chewable Vitamin Award

Finally, an editorial about caring for aging cats received the Hartz Award of $500 and a gorgeous glass engraved trophy. Since I have a 21-year-old kitty, this is a topic very close to my heart. My friend and colleague, contest chair Arden Moore (below, left) presented the trophy that evening.Next year’s event will soon be announced. If you love cats, it’s a conference and cat writing contest you don’t want to miss!


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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!