Even though I am not a charity, but as long as you are working in the animal industry, you will always end up being involved with animal rescue. Simply because your website is out there, people in desperation will contact whatever that comes up on Google search. I guess I am doing my SEO properly so I often end up receiving calls from people who needs help with cat rescue mission.
Also, after being in this business for over a decade, I often got calls from various cat charities who might be in need of help. I always try my best to help as much as I can.
But over the years, I realise one problem. Sure, we can go out and help one cat, two cat, three cats, or even a colony of cats. But why are those cats there in the first place? Why are cats being abandoned?
When I first turned 30, my mission was to start a cat business and work for myself. I have just turned 40 this year. (FYI: my original plan was to go to Paris with a good friend to celebrate for a weekend, but then the pandemic hits….so here I am. I will celebrate it when the pandemic is over)
In my 40s, I want to get into education, so to raise the awareness of the public on cat welfare. I strongly believe that with education and public campaign, there should be less and less cats needing rescue in the long run. And that’s going to be my mission for the next decade.
As one of the first steps of me starting this journey, I have created this infographic about TNR (Trap-and-Release or Trap-and-Return). Please feel free to share this far and wide. The more people learning about the best practice in cat welfare, the better chance for cats to have a better life everywhere. If you want to print this out, click on the download button below to download a PDF file.
Did you know vets and behaviourists around the world are bracing ourselves for the wave of post-pandemic separation anxiety cases coming to hit us in the next few months?
Reason is simple, many of us have been at home with our cats for months at this stage! In Ireland and around the world, the lockdown restrictions are slowly being lifted, and many people are returning to work.
Although we know that cats are reasonably independent animals, the sudden drastic changes this year (both directions!) can still be a dramatic experience for them.
Government regulation varies, depending on where you are, if where you are is still pretty “restricted” with you spending most of the time inside, you might want to read the previous “during the pandemic” post.
If where you are is “opening up”, then this post now is what you need.
As a cat behaviorist and cat parent myself, I know how important it is for cat owners to make their feline family members happy! And I want to help you and your cat cope with 3 useful tips for post-pandemic feline separation anxiety:
1. I’m sure your cat received tons of attention and extra love from you the past few months! And now that you’re going back to work, they may be expecting the same amount of attention. It’s important that you establish a routine for your cat so they when to expect attention from you. Studies shown that having a routine is helpful for all forms of anxiety – both humans and cats! You don’t need to make it super complicated. Try to incorporate the cat’s routine with your routine. For example, play with them a couple of minutes before and after work everyday. The key is – be consistent.
2. Your cats have also got used to the noise around the house and having people around. Another tip is to have a timer on your TV or radio, so it can be set up to turn on and off at certain times in the day when you’re not at home. I have clients who use voice recording of their own voice. You might want to explore that option if you can use voice recording to incorporate with your smart home technology so that your voice will come up a few times a day.
3. Try to use a cat camera! Camera is a bit of a misnomer at this point as pet “cameras” these days can serve many functions. Some of them allow you to play with laser pointer games your cat (always stop your laser point on a toy so that your cat can successfully “catch” their prey in order to prevent frustration) There are also cameras where you can drop your cat treats using an App on your phone. This will be a great interactive way to see what they’re up to, talk with your cats during the day so they can hear your voice. Check out this one and this one.
4. Think about hiring a cat sitter for a few weeks to do mid-day drop in. Not only you are giving your local cat sitter some much needed work (they haven’t worked for several months at this stage!) it will also help your cat slowly “wane” off human attention.
5. Some workplaces are required to do that due to social distancing rule and that they can’t have full staff back in the premises yet. If possible, explore the option to work from home part of your week.
6. Keep your cat busy by doing “hunting games” with them. Use commercial food puzzles like this or this or DIY options.
7. Spending quality time with your cat when you can. Catnip, treats, playtime can do always do a lot of good.
8. If you notice significant anxiety, think about Feliway.
9. If you are in need of professional assistance, contact a behaviourist. I now offer virtual consultation globally to anyone who is in need of help. I offer 10 minutes FREE assessment before you decide if you want to book for a full hour consultation.
More resources: I explained more about post-pandemic anxiety and gave some extra tips on my Youtube channel. You can check the video here.
A lot of vets are implementing COVID-19 pandemic policies. These changes are meant to protect you, your pet, and the entire veterinary staff. For example, some policies that are seen in many vet practices are: No human inside the clinic, drop off and pick up outside the door, no cash payment, etc.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE follow these instructions. This is to protect your beloved vet clinic staff. You don’t want them to be sick. If they are sick, they can no longer take care of your animals. So PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE call them ahead of time and follow their instruction to the T. I can’t emphasize this enough.
Animals and COVID-19
Even though there is no evidence that cats and dogs can catch COVID-19, certain precaution is necessary:
Include your pet in social distancing. Do not allow them around anyone when they are outside. Someone who is a silent carrier could touch your pet and you will be at risk if you touch your pet afterwards.
Decide on an Emergency Pet Guardian. This is someone who will take care of your pet if you are not able to take care of them. Please download this FREE document, give it a serious thought, speak to a suitable person and follow the included checklist accordingly.
If you become sick, have the person listed above start taking over your pet as soon as possible and have them give your pet a bath. Cats and dogs can’t catch COVID-19, but their fur could be carrying droplets, the same way your hands can be carrying droplets.
Keep a 4 week supply of food and medications on hand for your pet.
If your pet requires home-cooked meals, consider finding a commercially available alternative or freezing meals ahead of time.
If you do not have anyone to take care of your pet, please let the doctors/nurses/government know that you have a pet. Consider carrying a card like this.
Make sure your pet is up to date on vaccines, this has nothing to do with COVID-19, this is to keep them healthy if they have to be boarded somewhere.
Cat specific tips:
Cats love their routines, and obviously there is a drastic change in our routines right now. If you are working from home and the kids are off school, cats could be stressed by the extra noise and extra movement at home. Please make sure there are places for cats to hide if they want to be away from it all (don’t we all sometimes at this stage?) High places, extra cardboard boxes for hiding. If you have a spare room, consider making it a “cat room” so that the cats can go in there if they need some quiet time alone.
Working from home with a cat has its challenges, it takes coworking and hot-desking to another level. You might need to consider a decoy keyboard…
On another note, it is important for us to stay healthy so that we can take care of our furry friends. You need to help yourself before you can help others. Thankfully, our furry friends are giving us strength by being always there for us. However, if you feel you need to speak with someone, please check out the list of phone numbers of this link. We are all in this together.
I do a safety post for Halloween every year, I wish I don’t have to do this warning post anymore but unfortunately I still have to.
As a result, here is a confession – I most absolutely HATE Halloween.
Every year, so many cats (especially black cats) falls victims of the ‘holiday fun’. Cats being chased, tails being burnt. Or even just the general noisiness scare them to no end.
I hope one day I won’t need to do this post anymore. Until that day arrives, let’s work on keeping our feline friends as safe and comfortable as possible.
Before I talk further, first and foremost…
Please remember to keep your beloved cats indoors this Halloween.
They might not be happy and start whining at the door, but between them being whiny and them being tortured by some people. You know which one to choose.
Now that they are inside, let’s talk about the danger around the house. Oh yes, there are dangerous are the house…
Pet Halloween costumes are becoming more common, but before you play dress up with them, make sure the costume doesn’t impair their movement, hearing, sight, or ability to breathe, eat, drink, or go to the loo. Also make sure there won’t be small bits that they might be tempted to chew and choke themselves. Better yet? Most of them don’t really like costumes, (dogs generally do like them, however, but DO NOT compare them to dogs, pleeeeease…) Substitute elaborate cat costumes for a simple, festive bandanna – most cats can live with that!
2. Trick or treaters
The constantly ringing doorbell and knocking on the door can make cats very nervous and more prone to running away. Set up a room with food and water bowl and a lovely loo for the cats, far away from the main door. They would rather snooze in front of a fire than dealing with ghosts and goblins, trust me. You might also want to make sure your cat has ID tags in case he or she accidentally freak out and run out of the door (if your cats are not microchipped, what are you waiting for?)
3. Chocolate and sweets
Keep the candy dish, bulging trick-or-treat bags, and purses containing sweets way out of paws’ reach in case they accidentally chew on them out of curiosity.
Chocolate is extremely toxic to cats. Signs of a chocolate poisoning: vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, increased thirst and urination, heart rhythm abnormalities, and even seizures.
Xylitol is much lesser-known, but potentially fatal, toxin. It’s a sweetener used in sweets and cakes. Thank gawd it’s much less common in Europe. In cats, it can prompt a sudden release of insulin, resulting in low blood sugar, a condition known as hypoglycemia. Signs that your cat may have swallowed a product containing xylitol include a sudden lack of coordination, vomiting, lethargy and, eventually, seizures and possibly coma. Ultimately a cat that eats xylitol may end up with liver failure, resulting in death.
4. Hey! Watch where you are tossing those candy wrappers!
Those shiny and crinkly things are huge appeal to cats! If they chew them while playing and eat them by accident, it is potentially dangerous. It can make them sick and if you have a cat prone to chewing it could block their guts if they swallow a substantial amount of them.
5. Hallowmeow decoration
Nothing says “Happy Halloween” like an illuminated jack-o’-lantern. But I don’t think I need to tell you leaving a candle on without supervision while you have cats (or children for that matter) is asking for a disaster. Opt for LED candles for safer ambience. Another tips is this – if you don’t want your cats to ruin your decoration, you might want to keep them up high, as there is no way they are NOT destroying them. Full stop.
6. Feliway and Calm-eze
The buzz around Halloween could be a really stressful time for your cat(s), even if they are indoor cats, the firecrackers usually start going off a few days before Halloween. If you have a cat who are nervous, you might want to look into some additional help. Feliway and Calm-eze are particular useful around this time. You might want to start plugging Feliway in TODAY and start on Calm-eze.
If you are in Dublin, check out my favourite pet shop in city centre – Shauna Pet Shop. They have the full collection of Feliway products and Calm-eze products. Support local businesses, shop in Dublin Town.
Every year, hundreds of cats are being left behind when people relocate to another country. The Travelling Cat Project is a collective effort to demystify international cat travel.
Hopefully, by sharing our stories, it will encourage people to relocate with their cat(s).
We believe if you manage to move your personal belongings to a new country, you SHOULD BE able to move your cat(s) with you.
For a full of list of information and stories, please click here.
28, February 2014
Rafale and Dante
1. Did you use an agent?
2. What kind of work did you have to do with vet before your cat is clear for travelling?
Before we went to the vet, we had a call and explained our situation. On that call we also booked all appointments we needed for our kitties to avoid surprises.
So… now the kitties:
Rafale: He was up to date with shots and he was already micro chipped. The only thing I needed to do for Rafale was to give him a Rabies Shot, a health check, to see if he is fit for flying. He also got a Pet Passport which was required for Germany.
Dante: He was more of a challenge, since we lost his papers during our move from Dublin to Malahide so we had to start all over again. So he got all his shots, Rabies, his health check, Got micro chipped and all of this within 2 months, and of Course, also the Pet Passport
3. Is there other paperwork you need to do?
Not really, we did a lot of investigation ourselves on the internet. Germany is not difficult as long as your pets have had their shots, are micro chipped, have their passport
4. How did you travel to your destination?
We travelled by Plane to Frankfurt. We flew Lufthansa since they allow Pets as hand luggage
5. How do you book your cat? Any specific requirement?
I booked my cats by calling the Lufthansa service center in Dublin. During the call I booked my flight for 2 persons and 2 cats. I could pay the tickets for me and my wife via my credit card. I was told that when arriving at the airport I had to go to the check-in counter to check in, and I also had to pay the fair of 80 Euro per cat as extra hand luggage. The only requirement Lufthansa had is that the Cats should be vaccinated, and should have a passport, of course the carrier should have the dimensions as stated on their website.
6. How did you prepare your cat box?
I purchased two Trixie Cat carriers for the flight since they had the dimensions stated by Lufthansa. When they arrived I Left both carriers in their room where they could investigate it, sleep in it, get used to it. I did put some treats in it to make it more attractive for them. I also used these carriers to bring them to the vet. These carriers are not big, for Dante is was OK, but the Huge Bengal … yeah.. poor baby. But they both got used to it, so it was not a problem to get them in on the day of travel.
7. What is the logistics on travel day?
A Lot, the Day before I got some tablets from the vet to sedate them a little (The vet said to give them a half only, if not sufficient, administer the other half). I was really afraid that Rafale, the Bengal who is verrrrry vocal, would scream during our flight. And we really wanted to avoid those “cat haters” during departure and flight. Before we left to the airport, we administered both of them half a tablet let’s say, 30 minutes before we got into the taxi. I checked them regularly if they were OK.
I also got some baby wipes just to be prepared if something might happen during the flight.
Since we booked the 1st flight from Dublin to Frankfurt on that day, we were already at the airport really early (3 hours in advance) to avoid stress with the kitties. We really wanted to avoid long waiting times, queues just to keep the stress as low as possible during check in etc. Check in went well.
And then….. Security check, I still cannot believe it when that guy said “ we need to scan the carrier, get the cat out”. This cannot be true, really…. ? Luckily we were travelling with two people, so what we did was that I got first through the scanner, got back. In the meantime my wife opened the carrier, I got the cat out of the carrier, my wife handed over the carrier to get scanned, in the meantime I walked slowly back through the scanner with a cat on my arm. Ok, the guys at security were cooperative (was it luck??) but they opened the carrier for me so I could put back the cat in his carrier. And back to do the same drill for the other cat.
Before we boarded we noticed that half a tablet was not sufficient enough so we gave them the other half. You could really see that both of them were fighting against the sedation.
We tried to be the first ones to board the airplane where we could put them on the floor under the seats in front of us and we were quite lucky 🙂
8. Was it easy? Was it difficult?
It was easy, but only because of a few things;
• We were prepared
• We were on time
• We were in control
• The Kitties were lightly sedated, which kept the stress level in overall low
(Alice’s reminder to you: Please check with your vet regarding to sedation. Every cat is different and it might not be suitable for your cat.)
9. How is your cat behave during the journey?
As they were lightly sedated, they behaved perfectly, no stress, no sound, no “accidents” it was just perfect.
When we arrived in Frankfurt, we decided to disembark when all other passengers had left, again, to keep the stress down for all.
10. Any further inspection or procedure on arrival before you can take your cat home with you?
None, when we arrived, we got our suitcases, and walked out 🙂
11. How did your cat react to the journey?
In general, they reacted very well to the journey. But in this case we were also prepared. Since we moved to Germany to a new house AND close to our daughters place she was able to prepare our house for the kitties. When we arrived in our new home, the litter box was prepared with the litter they know, their food was there, there was a water bowl and in our suitcases we carried their cat beds which we unpacked on arrival. What I also did is that I rushed to the local pet store to buy them some toys and small pillows with Baldrian in it (yes, the smelly feet stuff, but they go crazy on it). Since our furniture was on its way, the house was empty, so they were able to explore all rooms in the house on their own pace.
We had NO Problems at all, two days later they were running, playing and doing all that stuff that 2 cats can do when they have fun. We had no pee or poo issues. All that because we gave them their space and time, and were not stressed at all (they got extra TLC though)
12. How much did it cost in total?
• Vet: about 400 Euro
• Flight Carriers: 60 Euro
• Flight: 160 Euro
• Prepare new home: 150 Euro
• Seeing them play and have fun in your new place: Priceless !
13. Any other information or tips you think other cat people should know if they want to do the same journey?
• Be prepared. There is a lot on the internet but….
Ask the company you are flying with if they have regulations, really, ask !
Ask your vet when in doubt when it comes to shots, regulations in the country of destination etc. Make also sure that all shots are done in time and on time. You cannot vaccinate a cat today and leave the day after.
• If you are Emigrating, try to find someone who can prepare your new home for your kitties, this will really help the transition
• Get the same stuff in your new home so they recognize it
• Make appointments early, when you are too late / are not compliant with regulations, there is no flight !!!!
• Make your bookings / reservations on time.
• Stay cool, keep relaxed. It will also help your kitties 🙂
Thank you RF for sharing your story with us. I am sure other cat people will the information useful!
Have you travelled with your cat internationally? If you have, talk to me! Share your story with us! It will help other cat people and their cats!