What is kitten season?
Kitten season refers to the time of year when many litters of kittens are born. The exact time of year depends on the region and the climate that given year. Most places in the United States experience “kitten season” between April and October. During this time of year, shelters throughout the country are flooded with cats and kittens.
So what causes kitten season?
Everyone knows that rabbits are prolific breeders. Did you know that cats are almost as prolific? A female cat can become pregnant at 5 months and can have several litters in one year. With each litter averaging 4 to 6 kittens per litter, that amounts to 12 to 18 kittens. That's a lot of babies in one year! Unfortunately, all of this breeding is one of the main factors contributing to the overpopulation problem.
How can you help with kitten season?
The best way to help with kitten season is to ensure that your cats are spayed or neutered. This is true even for indoor-only cats. As we all know, cats can be sneaky. The door only has to be open for a moment for your cat to escape and come back pregnant.
According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), tens of millions of unowned cats live outdoors and contribute to breeding cycles. You can help prevent local strays in your neighborhood from contributing to the problem by contacting local trap-neuter-return (TNR) clinics. These groups will usually loan you a trap to catch local strays. After the strays are spayed or neutered, they are returned to your neighborhood where they help stabilize and ultimately reduce the feral cat population.
Adopting a new kitten
If you are thinking about getting another cat, consider adopting from your local shelter during kitten season. During this time of year, the shelter will be at maximum capacity. Adopting during kitten season is a win-win situation for everyone. It frees up much needed space for the shelter and gives you the best selection. You will find cats and kittens of all sizes, shapes, colors and breeds. Encourage your friends and neighbors to adopt from the shelter during kitten season as well.
I must remind everyone to be sure to take your new kitten to your veterinarian as soon as possible (ideally before bringing them home). Your veterinarian will do a complete physical examination and check for any underlying health issues. And if the shelter has not already done so, your veterinarian will do blood tests to make sure your kitten does not have a viral disease like feline leukemia virus (FeLV) or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). They'll also look for external parasites and do fecal testing to ensure your kitten is free of internal parasites. Lastly, your veterinarian will discuss any parasite preventatives and vaccines that your new kitten needs to stay healthy. Remember checkups are the best way to get your new kitten off to a healthy start!
Fostering a new kitten
Not everyone may want to or be able to adopt a cat. Adopting an animal is a big responsibility. Maybe you’ve never had a pet on your own and you’re not sure if you’re ready for that level of commitment? Maybe you already have 6 cats and you don’t want to go overboard. Whatever the reason, fostering a kitten may be the perfect compromise and really helps shelters. Animal shelters often rely on foster parents to take care of young kittens until they are old enough to be adopted. Fosters also care for animals that need more time and attention than the shelter can provide during the peak of kitten season, such as cats with treatable medical problems. Besides helping kittens, fostering can also help you determine if you are prepared to make the commitment to be a pet parent. And finally, you might just find the perfect cat for your household. Two of my current three cats started off as fosters!
Click here to learn more about being a foster pet parent.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
You may have heard the saying “You own a dog, you feed a cat.” It’s true that cats value their independence a bit more than their canine counterparts. But if you’ve ever been around cats before, you already know they actually crave and require quite a bit of love and companionship.Cats make wonderful pets. Because they’re less demanding, they can very easily adjust to various types of lifestyles and living spaces. Every cat is a true individual, though, so it’s important to take time to choose a four-footed friend who’s right for you. A cat’s personality, age, and appearance, as well as thekind of animals you have at home, are all things you should keep in mind when making your selection:
Stroll past a few cat cages at the shelter, you’ll notice that some cats meow for special attention, while some others simply lie back and gaze at you with an air of arrogance. There are as many different personalities of cats as there are cats in the shelter. Which disposition is best for you? You have to decide.
But regardless of individual personality, look for a cat who’s playful, active, alert, and comfortable while being held and stroked. At the shelter, ask an adoption counselor for assistance when you wish to spend more time with individual cats. Also, many cats available for adoption have information that was gathered from their previous owner on their personality and also whether they lived and got along with other animals.
As a general rule, kittens are curious, playful, and full of energy, while adult cats are more relaxed and less mischievous. Kittens also require more time to train and feed. Cats are only kittens for a few months though, so the age of the cat you adopt should really depend on the level of maturity you’re looking for. Young children usually don’t have the maturity to handle kittens responsibly, so a cat who’s at least four months old is probably the best choice for homes that have children under six years old. If you are set on getting a kitten, the spring and summer months are when the adoption center is flooded with kittens – so waiting until the season is upon us is helpful.
Cats can have long, fluffy coats or short dense fur, the choice between the two is chiefly a matter of preference and availability. You’ll see more short-haired at the shelter since they’re the most popular and common cats. One thing to keep in mind is that long-haired cats require more grooming to be mat-free. Felines with short coats also require brushing, though less frequently, and they’ll leave less hair on your favorite recliner. Most cats enjoy a regular brushing and will look forward to this daily ritual with you.
Other than those few considerations, selecting the right feline companion for you is really just a matter of meeting the cats at the shelter yourself.
If you already own a cat or dog, you’re probably wondering how easy it is to add a cat to the family. The good news is that cats can get along with other cats and — despite the common stereotype — most dogs can get along with cats. The bad news is, introducing a new cat to a home with other pets will require some patience on your part.
The best way to handle adding a new cat to the home is to provide for a time of adjustment. You can do this effectively by isolating your new feline in a room of his own for a while — something that’s a good idea for a new cat anyway.
After several days, supervise meetings between the animals for periods of increasing length. Most cats will soon learn to accept each other, and some may quite possibly become the best of buddies. Some dogs simply won’t tolerate the presence of cats, but by carefully introducing them, most problems can be solved. Click here to learn more about introducing resident pets to newcomers.
Regardless of the cat you choose, you’ll want to start being a responsible pet owner right away. The easiest way to do that is to keep your cat indoors with you from the very beginning. If you don’t let your new friend outside, he’ll never miss it, and will have a much better chance of still being around to sit on your lap a few years from now.
The other big staple of responsible cat ownership is having your female cat spayed or your male cat neutered. Spaying or neutering will ensure that your cat never adds to the millions of animals born each year who never find a good home. It’ll also help him or her live a longer, healthier life.
Finally, remember that you’re making a commitment to love and care for your new pet for his or her lifetime — which could mean 10, 15, even 20 years. So choose your new pal carefully and be a responsible pet owner. In no time at all, you’ll know how wonderful sharing your home with a cat can be.
Kitten season is over. But tax season (and tax deductions season) has just begun! Did you know that taxpayers can deduct some expenses related to fostering cats and dogs? In 2012, the United States Tax Court ruled that animal caregivers can deduct foster expenses, but there are a few important things to remember before you ask the IRS to write off all of your kibble and litter bills.
First of all, you have to work with a 501(c)(3) charity to claim a deduction for foster expenses. If you foster a stray that you find without working with a charitable organization, you will definitely rack up karma points, but the IRS won’t let you deduct a penny. So if you want to write off the cost of your fosters, make sure you are taking care of them at the request of a nonprofit organization that has received its tax-exempt determination from the federal government.
Basically, in order to claim a deduction, the expense has to be directly related to caring for foster animals. Examples include:
You can’t deduct expenses that you would have incurred anyway. So, for example, just because you have fosters in your home doesn’t mean you can deduct your rent or part of your mortgage payments.
Keep receipts and other records for your personal pets and foster pets separate. If possible, buy separate food, litter and other supplies for foster pets, so it is clear how much you spent on fosters rather than your own pets.
Record-keeping requirements for tax deductions can be complicated. They are even more complicated when a donation is in the form of unreimbursed expenses, rather than a direct contribution to a charitable organization. It’s a good idea to consult a tax professional for guidance before you start incurring expenses so you can get an idea of what paperwork is required for your deduction. Any expense over $250 requires even more record-keeping, possibly including a timely confirmation of the expense from the nonprofit organization you are working with. Again, you should consult your tax professional for more details about these requirements. You don’t want to miss out on your biggest tax deductions!
Fostering homeless pets is a great way to help animals in need and it’s also a great way to shave a few bucks off your tax bill. It’s something your kittens and your CPA can both love.
Obligatory Weasel-Word Disclaimer: Any accounting, business or tax advice contained in this post is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues, nor a substitute for a formal opinion, nor is it sufficient to avoid tax-related penalties. You should consult a tax professional for advice on your specific circumstances.
Taylor Swift and Jason Derulo may have contributed songs to the Cats soundtrack, but perhaps the producers should have just had this actual cat score the film.
In a video shared by DJ and record label owner Wylie Cable, a cat can be seen waving its paws in the air while a odd noise emanates from a red box. As the cat moves, the sound shifts and changes, evolving from ethereal arias to scratchy white noise. It all completely bewilders the furry little musician who stands on its hind legs to get a better angle on whatever the heck is happening, only to have the sound change again. Naturally it tries to bite the air, but since there‘s nothing there, the effort is fruitless. The confused cat does not seem to realize it’s playing a theremin—and neither does its feline audience watching the performance in awe.
The invisible instrument as it is known was invented in 1919 by a Russian physicist named Lev Termen, according to CBS News, who in the west was known as Leon Theremin. Termen discovered the unusual instrument quite by accident while working on a machine that would measure the density of gases. When he his hand neared the machine, it would squeal, when he moved away, it became a lower tone. As he moved his hands through the air, he started to play melodies, and soon the theremin was born.
The theremin works thanks to two antennas – one controlling pitch, the other controlling volume,
according to Theremin World’s website. As a hand—or paw—nears the antennas, the pitch and volume change, but as the cat demonstrated in the video, no one, human or cat, need to touch the instrument to play it.
The theremin’s eerie, otherworldly sound were the perfect soundtracks to sci-fi films like The Day the Earth Stood Still and It Came From Outer Space, Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound, Captain Beefheart songs, and, naturally, cat videos making their way around the internet.
Start by working to increase humidity in the air during the winter you can do this simply by introducing a humidifier, or even by placing a pan of water by the radiator to increase moisture in the cat’s indoor environment.
Then, address any possible omega-3 fatty acid deficiencies in your cat’s food. Dr. Osborne suggests adding an eighth teaspoon of fish oil, flaxseed oil, or salmon oil mixed into meals once daily.
Beyond that, focus on your cat’s bathing and grooming. Grooming helps prevent mats and tangles, and removes loose hair. “Grooming on a regular basis is the single best way to maintain the overall health of the skin and hair coat,” Dr. Osborne says.
She suggests regular bathing using hypoallergenic shampoos that contain oatmeal or benzoyl peroxide to provide relief. You might also try a vinegar and water rinse, she says. To prepare it, add four tablespoons of white vinegar to one gallon of water. Massage this through the fur, then rinse again with plain water and air dry.
If you still notice dry skin on your cat, try a leave-on moisturizer with aloe vera and alpha keri, Dr. Osborne suggests. And of course, if the problem persists, bring your cat to the vet so she can get examined in person.