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Thinking of rehoming your pet because.....?

Before you consider re-homing your cat, please take some time to read through these websites. You may not have to re-home your beloved cat after all.

Another great source of useful tips is Jackson Galaxy's Cat Mojo videos. Take this video about cat litter box behavior as an example.

We sincerely urge you to think twice and work hard to find ways of keeping your cat. Rehoming a pet is stressful to both the owner and the pet, and the process can be very long and challenging given the particular situation. If you really run out of options, please consider rehoming your cat with our help.

A Guide to Find Pet Friendly Housing

With the housing cost continuing to rise, Portlanders are finding it harder and harder to land themselves in a perfect rental home, especially one that welcomes their furry babies as well. Still, with patience and planning ahead, it isn't impossible. This guide offers some good advice and we hope you find it useful. PadMapper has over half a million active pet-friendly apartments for rent across the U.S. and Canada. Here are their specific listings in Hillsboro, Portland, and Vancouver:

Cat Food Recall Information (real-time update)

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Bringing Home a New Cat or Kitten

Bringing home a new cat or kitten is always exciting. You cannot wait to introduce the new addition to your family and friends; and you are already looking forward to years of happy companionship. The way you introduce your new cat to your household can make a big difference in how well it makes the adjustment.

Check out this great article on tips for Cat-Proofing your home and making the new kitty's transition as smooth as possible!

Also learn about poisonous plants that need to keep away from your kitties! Cats are curious creatures but sometimes that curiosity can be dangerous so be aware!

Already have a residence cat? Cats are notoriously territorial, but when introduced properly, two cats (even adult cats) can be friends and keep each other company. Learn the tricks from Jackson Galaxy: click here.

Owning a pet means many years of commitment. From basics to logistics, the costs can add up quickly. Check out this guide that not only identifies common expenses, but also provides helpful cost management strategies including a Pet Cost Calculator to help estimate pet ownership costs. The hope is to help you make smarter, well informed decisions so every pet can receive the love and care it deserves.

Introducing Your Cat to the Outdoors

If you are introducing a newly adopted adult cat to the outdoors, WAIT!

Do not let them outdoors immediately. Give the new cat at least 2 months inside first. Allow them time to adjust and get used to their new home. Slowly introduce them to the outdoors. Just don’t open the door and let them out.

Cats do not have to go outside ever and will be just as happy. It’s usually the humans that want them to be outdoors. An outdoor cat can become an indoor only cat and be content for the rest of its very long and healthy life. Reconsider an indoor cat. For one thing, they live longer and stay healthy. They won’t get hit by cars. Your vet bills will be less. Birds will thank you and coyotes won’t. Check out this wonderful article about how to keep your indoor cat happy!

If you want to keep your cat an indoor only cat, that is GREAT! However, make sure your cat or kitten knows his/her outdoor home space by using the same protocol below just in case they accidentally get out.

There are some different circumstances with cats: if they were barn cats or all the time outdoor/sometimes indoor cats. However follow the same protocol below to give your new family member a better chance of finding his/her way home or staying near home.

Before they go outside:

  • Get them vaccinated for RABIES and FeLV. This is a must in order to keep your cat healthy. Talk to your vet.
  • Introduce them outside by using a harness or leash for at least 2-3 weeks. Allow them time to explore and become familiar with their home outside. Yes, I said use a harness or a leash. Some cats will resist but be convincing and patient with them.
  • If you want your cat to remember his/her home with his/her scent, here is a clever trick: dip their paws in liquid oil and have them walk around outside on a leash for the two weeks. You will see paw prints which will fade after awhile, but their scent will remain. This will give your cat a home tracing device invisible to humans. It can work.

For Kittens: PLEASE WAIT until your kitten is at least 10 months to 1 year old before having him/her explore the outdoors. Follow the same protocol for adult cats when introducing them to the outdoors.

Shy Cat Socialization

First, thank you for adopting the poor kitty who's been hiding in the litter box or under whatever cover she can find during your first meet. Now that she’s safe and in your house, with a caring, responsible human companion, how do you get her out from under the bed so she can begin her new life?

It is not uncommon we come across such shy cats and kittens, take them into foster care, and they gradually warm up to the foster home and parents, often with the help of more outgoing foster mates. However, moving from a familiar foster home to a strange environment can be traumatizing. The most fundamental idea to keep in mind is that socializing your shy cat takes a great deal of patience. Cats don’t always understand that we are trying to help them, so take it one step at a time.

All kittens and cats have a first requirement: to feel safe. Thus it will be best to confine such kittens to a room where you can sit with them each day while they adapt to their new surroundings. They need to have a kitty cave to sleep in and retreat to if frightened. Here are the steps used to gain their trust and socialize these wonderful kittens, just in case they need a little refresher:

  • keep them in a confined space, like an unused bedroom
  • enter with food & keep the bowls near you so that they must approach on their own
  • remain in their presence several times each day
  • speak softly to them and let them sniff your unmoving hands
  • if necessary, place drops of "Rescue Remedy" in their water and wet food
  • use toys to gently play with them
  • hand feed them treats like freeze dried chicken
  • offer your hand to let them rub the sides of their face and ears
  • gradually reach out to touch them on the sides of their face and under the chin
  • do not raise your hand over their head until they trust you
  • never grab them by the scruff
  • place your hand under their chest and lift gently, raising a little higher each day
  • lift the kitten with one hand under the chest and one hand supporting the hind quarters
  • hold the kitten to your chest for about 5 minutes while stroking at the speed their mother licked them
  • lift and place the kitten on your legs, lap or chest
  • encourage the kitten to climb onto your lap on their own; feel free to use bribes
  • lots of cuddling, patience and loving kindness

Finally, please keep the food and water for the kittens as far away from their litter box as possible. Cats are fastidious creatures and they prefer clean, cool water. Drinking lots of fresh water is very important for supporting their health.

Allergies to Pets

Being a pet guardian is never easy. While pets bring us joy and companionship on a daily basis, they also require training, veterinary care, time, love, attention, and even tolerance. Tolerance is especially necessary when a pet guardian is allergic to his or her companion animal.

Studies show that approximately 15 percent of the population is allergic to dogs or cats. An estimated one-third of Americans who are allergic to cats (about two million people) live with at least one cat in their household anyway. In a study of 341 adults who were allergic to cats or dogs and had been advised by their physicians to give up their pets, only one out of five did.

What's more, 122 of them obtained another pet after a previous one had died. It's clear the benefits of pet companionship outweigh the drawbacks of pet allergies for many people. Living comfortably with a companion animal despite being allergic to him requires a good understanding of the allergic condition and an adherence to a few rules.

All cats and dogs are allergenic (allergy-causing) to people who are allergic to animals. Cats tend to be more allergenic than dogs for allergic people, although some people are more sensitive to dogs than cats. Contrary to popular belief, there are no "non-allergenic" breeds of dogs or cats. Even hairless breeds may be highly allergenic.

Dogs with soft, constantly-growing hair—the Poodle or the Bichon Frise, for example—may be less irritating to some individuals, although this may be because they are bathed and groomed more frequently. One dog or cat of a particular breed may be more irritating to an individual allergy sufferer than another animal of that same breed.

The source of irritation to pet-allergic humans?

Glands in the animal's skin secrete tiny allergy-triggering proteins, called allergens, that linger in the animal's fur but also float easily in the air. Allergens are present in the animal's saliva and urine, too, and may become airborne when saliva dries on the fur. The severity of reaction to these allergens varies from one person to the next, ranging from mild sniffling and sneezing to life-threatening asthma, and can be complicated by simultaneous allergies to other irritants in the environment.

If your or a family member's allergies are simply miserable, but not life-threatening, take these steps to reduce the symptoms:

  • Create an allergy free zone in the home—preferably the bedroom—and strictly prohibit the pet's access to it. Use a high-efficiency HEPA air cleaner (available at almost any home and garden store or discount department store) in the bedroom. Consider using impermeable covers for the mattress and pillows because allergen particles brought into the room on clothes and other objects can accumulate in them.
  • Use HEPA air cleaners throughout the rest of the home, and avoid dust-and-dander-catching furnishings such as cloth curtains and blinds and carpeted floors. Clean frequently and thoroughly to remove dust and dander, washing articles such as couch covers and pillows, curtains, and pet beds. Use a "microfilter" bag in the vacuum cleaner to effectively catch all the allergens.
  • Bathing your pet on a weekly basis can reduce the level of allergens on fur by as much as 84 percent. Although products are available that claim to reduce pet allergens when sprayed on the animal's fur, studies show they are less effective than a weekly bath. Even cats can become accustomed to being bathed; check with your veterinarian's staff or a good book on pet care for directions about how to do this properly, and use whatever shampoo your veterinarian recommends.
  • Don't be quick to blame the family pet for allergies. Ask your allergist to specifically test for allergies to pet dander, rather than making an assumption. And understand that allergies are cumulative. Many allergy sufferers are sensitive to more than one allergen. If you're allergic to dust, insecticides, pollen, cigarette smoke, and cat dander, you'll need to reduce the overall allergen level in your environment by concentrating on all of the causes, not just the pet allergy. For example, you may need to step up measures to remove cat dander from your home and carefully avoid cigarette smoke during spring, when it is difficult to avoid exposure to pollen.
  • Immunotherapy (allergy shots) can improve symptoms but cannot eliminate them entirely. They work by gradually desensitizing a person's immune system to the pet allergens. Allergy-causing proteins are injected under the person's skin, triggering the body to produce antibodies (protective proteins) which block the pet allergen from causing a reaction. Patients are usually given one dose per week for a few weeks to months (depending on the severity of the allergy) and then can often manage with one injection per month.
  • Additional treatments for allergies to pets are symptomatic, including steroidal and antihistamine nose sprays and antihistamine pills. For asthma, there are multiple medications, sprays, and inhalers available. It is important to find an allergist who understands your commitment to living with your pet. A combination of approaches—medical control of symptoms, good housecleaning methods, and immunotherapy—is most likely to succeed in allowing an allergic person to live with pets.

Of course, if you do not currently have a pet and are considering one, and know you are pet-allergic, be sure to consider carefully whether you can live with the allergy before you bring a new pet home. Except in the case of children, who sometimes outgrow allergies, few allergy sufferers become accustomed to pets to whom they are allergic. Too many allergic people obtain pets without thinking through the difficulties of living with them. And too often, they end up giving up their pets, a decision that is difficult for the guardian and can be life-threatening for the pet.

Reprinted with permission. Copyright Humane Society of the United States. All rights reserved.

Kitten and Adult Vaccinations

KITTEN: Kittens should receive the first FVRCP vaccine (also called feline distemper, feline respiratory vaccine or 3 in 1 vaccine) at 6-8 weeks old. Booster vaccines should be given every 3-4 weeks until the kitten is 14-16 weeks old. The last vaccine is good for one year. The total number of booster vaccines may vary depending on how old the kitten is when it receives the first shot, but the kitten does need a minimum of two vaccines with the last vaccine at 16 weeks or older. Rabies vaccine may be given to kittens 12 weeks (3 months) of age or older. Kittens and cats that go outside should be vaccinated for Feline Leukemia (FeLV) at 9 weeks of age or older and a follow up booster given in 3-4 weeks, then one year later. They should first have a blood test before vaccinating to be sure they do not already carry the virus.


In general, you may find the first FVRCP vaccine is given at 6 to 8 weeks of life (definitely at 6 weeks if the kitten is not with its mother), and repeated every two to four weeks until the cat is 16 weeks old. After that, the FVRCP shot may generally be given annually, but occasionally there are reasons to deviate from this schedule.

The standard annual vaccine is the three-in-one FVRCP, which stands for feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR), calicivirus, and panleukopenia virus. The first two types of virus cause upper respiratory illness. Panleukopenia is a life-threatening disease in which cats suffer severe diarrhea as well as depletion of bone marrow and white blood cells.

Most cats should get the rabies vaccine every year or every third year. The only exception is a cat who lives exclusively indoors and couldn't possibly get out. In some states, even indoor-only cats are required by law to be inoculated since a cat can always slip out the door, and a single exposure to an animal carrying the rabies virus would be enough. What's more, if your cat bites someone and a report is made to public health authorities, you might have to surrender your cat to have his brain tested for rabies unless you can prove he was vaccinated.

In addition, proof of an up-to-date rabies vaccination may be needed for travel.

The rabies vaccine is safe and effective. It's an extensively tested preventive measure for a terrible disease that's fatal to cats and humans.

When and where your cat gets a vaccine will depend on what your veterinarian advises based on his or her experience as well as on the recommendations of groups such as the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Feline Practitioners.

ADULT: If the cat is already an adult when the vaccination program begins, standard practice is to give two vaccines one month apart and then re-vaccinate annually. Most vaccines are given either under the skin or in the muscle. A few are delivered in the nose.

Protocols for rabies vaccines are thoroughly spelled out in regulations set by a state's veterinary medical or public health board. Specifications include which brand to give at what age and what site (for example, in the muscle). Generally you start when the cat is 16 weeks or 6 months old, repeat in one year, and then move to a schedule of once a year or once every three years, depending on state law.

Stray Cat Strut

If you have one stray cat hanging around, chances are you will get more. Take responsibility and step up. Unfortunately there are people out there who do not take responsibility for their own pets and it becomes everyone else’s. Hopefully the following advice can help us all.

The stray cat outside may very well belong to someone and it could be lost. If it is friendly, then chances are it does belong to someone. No tag or collar? Stray cat looks pregnant? If you think it may be pregnant, then chances are it is. Capture the cat or kitten and bring it into a vet or shelter. Ask them to scan for a microchip. Vets rarely charge for this. At the same time the vet or tech has a chance to quickly check out the cat and can give you some health advice. They can tell you the sex and approx. age as well. Many times they are willing to help if you step up and ask for it.

If the cat or kitten has a microchip, then you have found their owner. It’s that simple. If the kitten or cat does not have a microchip then the situation is different and other steps need to take place.

You have found Baby kittens and hopefully the momma cat: PLAN ahead before attempting to capture. Make sure you have a setup and a plan. In this situation, capture the momma cat first. Bring her inside and give her a quiet room with privacy. She may very well try to get out, maybe jump out a window, so take precautions and prepare. Once you have momma cat you can get the babies. Reunite them asap. Feed momma cat wet food. She may not be too friendly at first so have her food, bedding, litter box preset for her in the room. Once you reunite them, the babies will go right to momma and vice versa.

You found baby kittens and no momma: Do not take the baby kittens away from their momma ever. They need their momma. Watch carefully for a momma cat. If you know for sure there is no momma cat then capture the babies and bring them inside. One way to make sure there is no momma, capture the babies in a cage and have the cage outside. Momma cat will hear her babies and come get them. At that point you can capture momma by using a live trap. There is no perfect way to do this because all animals react differently to stressful situations. You need to remain calm and patient. Do not start this capturing at night unless you have time to finish it up at midnight as it may take that long.

If you capture a female cat and you notice she has nipples that are slightly enlarged, then she has babies somewhere. Look for the babies and if you do not find them, let the momma go and she will show you where they are. You just have to hide and watch her. Set food out for her. Wet food is the best.

What to do after you have captured momma cat and kittens or just kittens? Make sure they are safe and warm. Give them food. DO NOT give kittens MILK. It makes them sick. Feed a dry food and a wet food. Give wet food especially to the kittens as they may be dehydrated. Dehydration will kill a kitten very quickly. Call a shelter or rescue group and ask them what to feed them. They will always give you good advice.

That adult cat in your hood: Chances are the adult cat, even the older kitten in your hood has not been fixed and will soon either become pregnant or get another pregnant. It is never good just to think the problem will go away, because it won’t. It will become your problem especially if you begin to feed a stray cat and do nothing more to save it. Feeding is a good thing, but stepping up and dealing with the situation saves the cats. It also saves you from collecting and becoming a hoarder. Follow the above advice about capturing them.

You can’t keep the stray or you need help with babies and momma? If you cannot keep the stray, call your animal control and several rescue groups. Some may be able to help by taking them in as fosters. Not all can take them in as there is overcrowding, especially during kitten season. Of course they can also help with advice and that is always free. Preventing overcrowded shelters begins with you taking the right steps. It becomes everyone’s problem when others do not spay and neuter their pets. Unfortunately that is a reality we see every day.

Spay and Neuter: There are several low cost spay and neuter clinics. Some as low as $10. Do research and yes it takes effort. Check out these sites for more information of the clinics.

These websites can lead you to the low cost spay and neuter clinics in Oregon.

LIVE TRAP: Ask your veterinarian, feed lot, shelters, rescue groups for a live trap you can borrow. Many times they are willing to help in this way. Just return the traps. Tell them you will put down a deposit. You can always purchase your own and share it with your neighbors.

Are you feeding all those stray cats? Well they do multiply and before you know it you have many cats on your property. Most of the cats go untreated for medical issues and they suffer greatly. You are not doing them any favor by just feeding them.

If you are just feeding them, it would be far cheaper to bring them into the low cost clinic and have them fixed! Think about it and do the math. $10.00 for a spay/neuter vs. months (years) of feeding 15 strays. If you are feeding stray cats, by law those cats are legally considered yours. If you really want to help them, then take the steps. It is not always simple and fun, but it is rewarding knowing you helped save a life.

Watching cute kittens: Are you watching and feeding the cute little stray kittens because you think they are cute or you are in love with them? If you wait too long to call for help and these cute kittens become 4 months old and are fearful of people, you have done them a great dis-service. Please note: The sooner you ask for help and do something to help them, the better chance these kittens have in being placed in foster homes and shelters. Please do not become a hoarder. It’s not pretty nor is it healthy for any animal.

Keep your cat safe during Christmas

There are dangers for your pets during the Holidays, and even after the Holidays.

Please be careful so your pet is safe. These dangers are:

  • Tinsel while not toxic, is very attractive to pets, particularly cats. The shiny, dangling decoration reflects light and can move in the slightest draft — appearing to come alive to watchful critters.
  • Lights Twinkling, shiny and dangling holiday lights — such as the icicle, curtain, rope and candle varietal — may be another source of danger to your curious pets.
  • Ribbon & Bows. Ingested ribbon can cause a choking hazard and ultimately twist throughout the intestines, leading to emergency surgery.
  • Christmas tree pine needles can produce oral irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, trembling and posterior weakness.
  • Holly, commonly found during the Christmas season, can cause intense vomiting, diarrhea and depression. Sad Kitty!
  • Mistletoe, another Christmas plant, can cause significant vomiting and diarrhea, difficulty breathing, collapse, erratic behavior, hallucinations and death when ingested.
  • Poinsettias can cause irritation to the mouth and stomach and sometimes vomiting.
  • Electric Cords, got a pet that likes to chew? Electrical shock may occur when a pet chomps down on an electrical cord. OUCH to Kitty!