Mission Statement
              Guardian Information
Cat Pic Being a responsible cat guardian means more than simply providing your cat with adequate food and water. You need to know how to keep your cat happy in your absence to avoid behavior problems, and how to keep your cat safe when indoors. You also need to be informed about health issues concerning your cat, such as feline diseases, declawing issues, keeping your cats safe from household poisons and poisonous plants, and having your cat spayed/ neutered. We also offer information on training your cat to behave properly.

All Cats Should be Indoor Cats
Owners will swear that their cats will be miserable if they are cooped up in the house all the time. This attitude perpetuates itself if the pet owner makes no effort to provide the cat with a stimulating environment. But with a little attention to what a cat likes and needs, a pet owner can create a home that keeps the cats healthy, safe,and happy. In her April 1990 Cat Fancy article, "Bringing the Outdoors In," Barbara L. Diamond suggests that cat owners "take a few minutes to view the home from the cat's perspective" in order to "shape the healthiest and most rewarding indoor environment possible."
Stimulating Environment | Declawing | Feline Diseases | Household Poisons | Poisonous Foods

Spaying/ Neutering Page | Behavior Training Page

Poisonous Plants | Non-Toxic Plants
The two above are in .pdf format
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How to Care For and Live With a Cat

Cat in condoI love animals of all kinds, and just get sick at heart at some of the abuse and neglect that is seen on the news, or even in ones own neighborhood.

I don't own any cats because I have a large dog that likes to 'play' with them; she usually ends up either hurting them or they her.

However, I feed three cats – one is a stray, and two actually have homes on my block but the owners prefer not to feed them saying 'they can catch mice and birds.' (Disgusting!)

At first I couldn't even approach them, but that changed over time! The end result is that when I sit out on my front porch I have three cats, usually one in my lap and two laying close to the chair I'm in, or winding around my legs.

My front porch looks like something from the 'Beverly Hillbillies'! I have two dog houses set up with blankets for bad weather, an elevated feeding station, cat toys and a cat tree that has toys hanging from it! I have to bring the tree in the house when the weather is bad, but it is worth the effort; they love to play on it, and I love to watch them.

If you are considering getting a cat or a kitten, I highly recommend that you get your pet either from a pet rescue organization like Home At Last or a shelter. I prefer the pet rescue organizations because they place their animals in foster homes.

The foster 'parents' will be able to tell you if the animal is very friendly (or not), doesn't like men or women, gets along well with children (or not), gets along well with other animals (or not), favorite treats, what brand of food is being fed, and anything else that you may want to know.

All animals that you get from HAL or the shelter will be current on shots, dewormed, and will have been spayed or neutered. The price they charge is well worth it. These organizations are non-profit, so they are not in it for the money.

Wherever you get your cat or kitten from, be sure to get it a cat tree. Trees for cats are available in most pet stores and online. Often, if your city or town has a large flea market, you can get trees for cats that have been hand made, and they are usually quite a bit less expensive.

You can also make trees for cats yourself easily and inexpensively. All you need is some scrap lumber, carpet remnants (usually available at flooring stores for cheap), burlap, some sisal rope, a hammer, a few nails and a staple or glue gun.

Cats love their trees; they play and sleep in them, and they have a place to sharpen their nails without getting in trouble! Cat trees also afford your furry little friend the ability to get away from the dog or kids for a little alone time!

Love your pet, feed and water it regularly, give it toys and attention and you will be repaid with a lifetime of love and companionship.

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    Tips for giving your indoor cat a stimulating environment

    If cats have their owner's love and attention and lots to do on the inside, they won't miss the great outdoors, which, after close examination, isn't so great for cats at all.
  • Open screened windows to let some fresh air in. Fresh air and sunshine are great for cats. Just be sure the screen is secure. If window ledges aren't wide enough for the cats to sit on, shelves are available that attach to ledges for cats to perch on and watch the world go by.
  • Plant pots of indoor greens for cats to chew on. Grass, bird seed, alfalfa, or catnip will provide cats with fresh, tasty treats that aren't exposed to chemicals and pesticides.
  • Give cats something to do while everyone is away. Hiding a few treats around the house gives the pet something to look forward to. But cats do catch on to this game quickly, so you have to be sneaky. Open paper bags left out or open closets can give cats new frontiers to explore.
  • Provide a companion pet for cats who would be alone otherwise. A compatible dog or a kitten of the opposite sex will keep a cat company and will also keep him or her more active.
  • Offer the cat toys that are safe and stimulating. "When choosing toys, try to think like a cat," Diamond advises. "Is the toy furry or feathery? Can it be made to hop or fly? Does it move and feel like small prey?" These kinds of toys will provide cats with the most exercise and amusement. Diamond also cautions, "Avoid toys with small or loose parts that can become lodged in your cat's throat or be swallowed." And don't forget a cat's need to scratch and climb. A scratching post at least two feet high is essential -- a floor to ceiling pole with perches is even better.
  • Play games with your cat. Human companionship is a very real need for cats. What better way to provide this and make your cat happy than by playing with him or her? In addition to playing with cat toys, a cat may also enjoy games of chase, peek-a-boo around doors, capturing nontoxic soap bubbles, or chasing light spots created with a flashlight or reflective object.
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Declawing, A Veterinarians's View
by Dr. Christianne Schelling
If you are considering declawing your cat, please read this. It will only take a moment, and it will give you valuable information to help you in your decision.

First, you should know that declawing is pretty much an American thing, it's something people do for their own convenience without realizing what actually happens to their beloved cat. In England declawing is termed "inhumane" and "unnecessary mutilation." I agree. In many European countries it is illegal. I applaud their attitude.

Before you make the decision to declaw your cat, there are some important facts you should know. Declawing is not like a manicure. It is serious surgery. Your cat's claw is not a toenail. It is actually closely adhered to the bone. So closely adhered that to remove the claw, the last bone of your the cat's claw has to be removed. Declawing is actually an amputation of the last joint of your cat's "toes". When you envision that, it becomes clear why declawing is not a humane act. It is a painful surgery, with a painful recovery period. And remember that during the time of recuperation from the surgery your cat would still have to use its feet to walk, jump, and scratch in its litter box regardless of the pain it is experiencing. Wheelchairs and bedpans are not an option for a cat.

No cat lover would doubt that cats--whose senses are much keener than ours--suffer pain. They may, however, hide it better. Not only are they proud, they instinctively know that they are at risk when in a weakened position, and by nature will attempt to hide it. But make no mistake. This is not a surgery to be taken lightly.

Your cat's body is perfectly designed to give it the grace, agility and beauty that is unique to felines. Its claws are an important part of this design. Amputating the important part of their anatomy that contains the claws drastically alters the conformation of their feet. The cat is also deprived of its primary means of defense, leaving it prey to predators if it ever escapes to the outdoors.

I have also had people tell me that their cat's personality changed after being declawed. Although, the medical community does not recognize this as potential side effect.

Okay, so now you realize that declawing is too drastic a solution, but you're still concerned about keeping your household furnishings intact. Is there an acceptable solution? Happily, the answer is yes. A big, joyful, humane YES! Actually there are several. The following website "Cat Scratching Solutions" Provides many solutions as well as and insight into the psychology of why cat's scratch. You can teach your cat to use a scratching post (sisal posts are by far the best). You can trim the front claws. You can also employ aversion methods. One of the best solutions I've found is Soft Paws'.

Soft Paws' are lightweight vinyl nail caps that you glue on the cat's front claws. They're great for households with small children and are extremely useful for people who are away from home all day and can't exercise the watchfulness necessary to train a cat to use a scratching post. Soft Paws' are easy to apply and last about four to six weeks. They come in clear or colors--which are really fun. Now that's a kitty manicure! The colored caps look spiffy on Tabby or Tom and have the added advantage of being more visible when one finally comes off. Then you simply replace it.

You need to remember, though, that the caps and nail trimming should only be used on indoor cats who will not be vulnerable to the dangers of the outdoors.

One final thought on declawing. As an ethical concept it is deeply disturbing. The whole idea that one species should alter the bodies of another simply for convenience is not consistent with the love we feel for our feline pets. On the other hand, I strongly urge you to have your pets spayed or neutered. Not only is it important to curb the overpopulation problem, it also provides many long term health benefits. Visit Declawing.com for more info.

Please visit the Cat Fancier's Association website for information on a current pending bill that may ban cat declawing in California.
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Poisonous Foods List

Onions, onion powder, all chocolate, alcoholic beverages, yeast dough, all coffee products, tea (caffeine), salt, macadamia nuts, hops (used in home beer brewing), tomato leaves and stems (green parts), potato leaves and stems (green parts), rhubarb leaves, avocados, all tobacco products, moldy foods.

Ten Tips for a Poison-safe House
by Jill A. Richardson, DVM

Veterinary Poison Information Specialist
ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center
Copyright 2001 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.
Copyright 2001 Purina Inc. All rights reserved.

1. Be aware of the plants you have in your house and in your yard. The ingestion of a poisonous plant can be fatal. Please read our information on training your cat to not eat your plants.

2. When cleaning your house, never allow your cat access to the area where cleaning agents are used or stored. Cleaning agents have a variety of properties. Some may only cause mild stomach upset, while others could cause severe burns of the tongue, mouth, and stomach.

3. When using rat or mouse baits, and or roach traps, or snail and slug baits, place the products in areas that are inaccessible to your cat. Most baits contain sweet-smelling, inert ingredients, such as jelly, peanut butter, and sugars, which can be very attractive to your pet.

4. Never give your animal any medications unless under the directions of a veterinarian. Many medications that are used safely in humans can be deadly when used inappropriately. One extra-strength acetaminophen tablet (500mg) can kill a 7lb. cat.

5. Keep all prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs out of the reach of your cat, preferably in closed cabinets. Pain-killers, cold medicines, anti-cancer drugs, antidepressants, vitamins, and diet pills are common examples of human medications that could be potentially lethal, even in small dosages.

6. Never leave chocolates unattended. Approximately one half ounce or less of baking chocolate per pound of body weight can cause problems. Even small amounts can cause pancreatic problems.

7. Many common household items have been shown to be lethal in certain species. Miscellaneous items that are highly toxic even in low quantities include pennies (high concentration of zinc), mothballs (contains naphthalen or paradichlorobenzene - one or two balls can be life-threatening in most species), potpourri oils, fabric softener sheets, automatic dish detergents (contain cationic detergents which could cause corrosive lesions), homemade play dough (contains high quantity of salt), winter heat source agents like hand or foot warmers (contain high levels of iron), cigarettes, coffee grounds, and alcoholic drinks.

8. All automotive products, such as oil, gasoline, and antifreeze, should be properly stored. As little as one teaspoon of antifreeze (ethylene glycol) can be deadly in a 7lb. cat.

9. Before buying or using flea products on your pet or in your household, contact your veterinarian to discuss what types of flea products are recommended for your pet. Read all information before using a product on your animals or in your home. Always follow label instructions. When a product is labeled "for use in dogs only" this means that the product should never be applied to cats. Also, when using a fogger or a house spray, make sure to remove all pets from the area for the time period specified on the container. If you are uncertain about the usage of any product, contact the manufacturer or your veterinarian to clarify the directions before use of the product.

10. When treating your lawn or garden with fertilizers, herbicides, or insecticides, always keep our animals away form the area until the area dries completely. Discuss usage of products with the manufacturer of the products to be used. Always store such products in an area that will ensure no possible pet exposure.

Feline Infectious Diseases:

FeLV and FIV | FIP | URI | Parasites

FelV and FIV
Kittens are susceptible to respiratory diseases such as feline herpes virus and calicivirus. Panleukopenia (feline distemper) and feline leukemia (FeLV) may be contracted in utero. Panleukopenia, if contracted before birth, can result in cerebellar hypoplasia causing balance and walking problems in a kitten starting at two to three weeks of age. In unvaccinated populations, feline distemper is a very deadly disease. There is no evidence to suggest that feral cats are any more likely to be infected with FeLV or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) than domesticated cats.

FIP - Feline Infectious Peritonitis
This virus belongs to the Coronaviridae family and is a complex disease that affects cats, including exotic species such as lions, cougars, and cheetahs. The presence of antibodies does not prove that a cat has FIP. Only a biopsy or necropsy (autopsy) can confirm the diagnosis. Many cats may have been exposed to the coronavirus and will therefore develop antibodies. FIP is responsible for a small percentage of kitten mortality. Early symptoms such as loss of appetite, weight loss, and mild upper respiratory infection are similar to those for other diseases. Fever, which may fluctuate, may be a sign of FIP. Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine reports that most FIP cases come from crowded shelters or catteries.
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URI - Upper Respiratory Infection
Perhaps the biggest health problem for kittens in colonies and for abandoned neonatal kittens is upper respiratory infections. Many other diseases, such as FIV and FeLV, can begin with URI. Several respiratory diseases also cause sneezing, coughing, and nasal discharge, making URIs difficult to diagnose and treat. The most probable causes are rhinotracheitis and calicivirus. Often the disease becomes chronic and sometimes cannot be completely cured. The cat may sneeze or have runny eyes for most of his life. Providing a warm environment, cleaning the eyes and nose areas, and using a vaporizer can treat a mild case. Antibiotics will not help URI, but are sometimes used to combat secondary infections. Conjunctivitis of the eyes requires constant cleaning with moist, warm cotton balls and application of Terramycin or Chlorasone, a few times a day directly in the eyes.
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Internal Parasites
The most common internal parasites are roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, Giardia, and Coccidia. Parasites can cause loss of appetite, diarrhea, and anemia. A veterinarian should examine a stool sample to determine what medications to administer.

External Parasites
Ear mites and fleas on kittens must be treated. Contact your veterinarian about the best and safest methods. Remember that a kitten can die from anemia caused by fleas. Fleas can also cause tapeworms, which should be treated.
Keep food areas clean, especially during the hot, humid months. If you have a problem with flies, you may want to feed dry food only and remove all food dishes after feeding.
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