Monday, March 30, 2009

Penny Pinching: Keeping Your Cats Happy On A Budget

By Jamey Walker
So, in this economy we’re all trying a save a buck or two right? I know I’m cutting corners wherever I can so I thought I would throw out some ways to keep our feline companions happy, while maintaining a thrifty budget.


Homemade cat toys are all the rage. There are so many options, I couldn’t possibly name them all and if I tried... I’d probably bore you to death. But some highlights are:

Crumpled up paper, corks or plastic rings (from a milk container) are old School and still on the menu.

Paper bags. Often used in conjunction with the crumpled paper. Toss the wad of paper inside the bag and enjoy the show!


Cardboard boxes: Even just the plain old box will be interesting to your cat. Cut some holes in the sides and attach other boxes and you can create a multi-level cat play house. Attach some dangling rope with a wine cork tied to it and your cat will be in heaven.

The old sock-stuffed-with-catnip (or stuffing) toy. One sock can be cut to create two or three of these little toys. Add a string and a wooden dowel and you have a cheap fishing pole toy!

Ping pong balls: Cheap and amazingly entertaining for your cat to bat around the house.

The newspaper gauntlet: Spread the big Sunday paper all over your floor and throw a toy underneath and watch your cat go crazy!


And... if you’re the handy type, another way to save some $$$ is to make your own cat furniture. There are lots of websites with really creative ways to build these for a fraction of the cost. Here are a few for you to look at:

To make your own cat tree, check out these two websites:

To make your own cat scratching post, check out this website :

Keeping your cat (and your wallet) happy comes down to your own creativity and if you need inspiration, YouTube is a great place to have a look at what some other people have done. One of my favorite homemade cat scratching post/jungle gyms was made from a “construction horse” .

Friday, March 27, 2009

CATalyst Council Names Top Ten Cat-Friendly Cities

By Daniel Quagliozzi

This week, The San Francisco SPCA celebrated the naming of the City of San Francisco as one of the Top 10 Cat-Friendly Cities in the nation by the recently formed CATalyst Council. In an age when the popularity of cats is increasing due to their adaptability to "apartment style" city living and the growing acceptance of kind hearted landlords that don't mind adding a four legged tenant or two to their buildings, cats are a huge part of both pop culture, social networking and the everyday lives of us humans. The cats are taking over!!! It's been their master plan for thousands of years. Obey their wishes and everything will be just fine.


Cats have overtaken dogs as the number one owned companion animal in the United States – 88.3 million, compared 74.8 million dogs. Nevertheless, cats are more likely to be neglected or abandoned, more likely to end up in shelters, and less likely to receive veterinary care than dogs.


“There is a higher number of cats than dogs surrendered to shelters nationwide, and increasingly so in these economic times of financial strain and home foreclosures,” said Jan McHugh-Smith, President or The San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SF/SPCA), CATalyst Council Board Member and Secretary of the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators (SAWA).

The CATalyst Council, a coalition of the veterinary community, academia, non-profits, industry and animal welfare organizations, hopes to call attention to level of care cats receive in these 10 cities, and to set the bar for other cities to follow in the annual ranking. The overall goal is to improve the health of felines nationwide. The cities named, as well as San Francisco, include Tampa, Phoenix, Portland, Denver and Boston. The list was compiled after reviewing the top 25 metropolitan areas for such data as cat ownership per capita, level of veterinary care, microchipping and cat-friendly local ordinances.

“The SF/SPCA is uniquely positioned to address the needs of cats in our community,” McHugh-Smith said. “Cats comprise almost 75 percent of our adoptions. In addition, with the opening this year of our new Leanne B. Roberts Animal Care Center we have an expanded capacity to provide medical, spay/neuter, feral cat assistance, foster, and rehabilitation services for felines. Our non-profit Hospital and Spay/Neuter Clinic provide free, low-cost or subsidized support for cats. And in these difficult economic times, The SF/SPCA is responding to increased need in our community for services for cats and dogs.”


As lovers, guardians, fans, fanciers and in some cases staff (lets face it, they make us work for them) to the cats across this country, it's extremely reassuring to know there is a council willing to give them the spotlight they so richly deserve. The SFSPCA Cat Behavior Program is proud to be a small part in the big picture, contributing to San Francisco's success as a cat-friendly city. Now, if we could just get the people on the Muni buses to be in a better mood..... Maybe they need a cat in their life?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I Think A Kitten Just Fell On My Head

By Jamey Walker
That’s right it’s almost kitten season and before you can say “I want one!” they’ll be practically raining down on you. Yes, kittens have a season. Like baseball and spring break, these little scrappers usually make their debut in San Francisco starting in April or May. I use the word “usually” because the emergence of these little guys is actually dependant on the weather.


Here’s how it works: The weather turns nice and mild, which is great for the baby kittens survival outside. This cozy environment then stimulates a female cats’ heat cycle. The big un-neutered tom cats then come calling on them for a hot date. About nine weeks later a litter is born, usually four to six of them at a pop. If that same female cat is not spayed, she can go into heat again and have more babies! Whoa, has anyone thought about their college fund?


As you can see these cute, cuddly puff balls can add up quickly. And while I have to admit being in a room full of twenty kittens all climbing up my pant legs is irresistible, the hard truth is that it becomes a real challenge for communities to care for all these little guys.

The SF SPCA takes on a large number of these kitties every year. Some of them are social and healthy when they arrive, others may be sick, injured or fearful of us humans. The latter bunch can be the trickier ones to care for but each year we do our very best to help them get nurturing homes too.


So what can you do to help your kitten Karma?

Like Bob Barker says “have your pets spayed and neutered!” We have a low and no-cost spay and neuter program for qualifying individuals, check it out: (415) 554-3030 or
Help get the feral cats “fixed” in your community. We have a wonderful Feral Fix program:

Foster an underage kitten. We have a foster program that is always looking for people who have time and a caring heart to give those little guys during kitten season:

Volunteer! This is one of the very best ways to make a difference, with so many opportunities, even ones that don’t require direct animal contact in case you’re a bit allergic:

One last word
Kittens are great, we all know this. There are calendars and stuffed animals and fuzzy kitten slippers to remind us. However when you go to your shelter looking for a kitten this summer try to keep in mind all the adult cats that need homes too. They are just as sweet and loveable and are often over looked when the little ones are around. When you adopt and adult cat, a kitten can then take it’s place, so don’t worry you’re still making a dent in the big picture.

And for some adult cat inspiration, check out this YouTube video of cats on a treadmill!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hungry for Love

By Daniel Quagliozzi

Leaving a home that feels safe and secure for a new adjustment in an animal shelter can be very stressful for some cats. Sometimes the choices made by human guardians struggling with hard situations or compromised living conditions, results in the surrender of a cat that had no idea a huge change was coming.

A common misconception about cat's is that they are quickly adaptable to change. With familiar territory being the most important thing to a cats comfort level, fear, insecurity and the inability to transition to a new environment can take it's toll on a cat's appetite. When a cat feels unsure abouts it's surroundings, it can also be hesitant to do what comes natural like eating or using the litterbox. It's the comforts of home, including the love of a human being that can sometimes perk up a cats emotions and lower stress enough to make food seem yummy again.

It might be hard to relate to the way a cat feels. Often, when we are stressed out we over eat and binge on junk food. When was the last time someone had to keep you company while you ate a pint of Ben & Jerry's? Cats react differently. They actually need human contact to get them back on the road to Wellville.

The SFSPCA started the Affection Eaters Program for this very purpose! Trained volunteers and staff will sit with cats on their scheduled feedings to provide the love they so desperately need to eat. This can take days or even weeks for some cats to finally feel well enough to eat without assistance. All it takes is a steady hand for petting, a warm heart and a dish of the cats favorite food. It's as simple as that. The SFSPCA Affection Eater Program has improved the quality of life of many cats that otherwise would have starved themselves sick. Thanks to the time and effort of our Shelter Care staff, volunteers and animal care attendants, the Affection Eaters move on to loving homes without going hungry for love.


The "Target Board" is a list of cats that need company when they eat or just need special attention. Volunteers check this board for cats that stand out for all kinds of reasons, such as fear, undersocialization, playful aggression and petting induced overstimulation.

We are always looking for volunteers that have skills with cat's of all types as well as those who want to gain the knowledge through their volunteer experience at the SFSPCA.

If you are interested in volunteering to help out with our Affection Eaters Program , it's just a click away!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

When it comes to cats and the people that adore them, it's all a matter of what strikes the fancy. Some people like calicos, while others prefer black cats, torties or tabbies. Then there are those who like a kitty with a little meat on their bones or the ones that are sleek, skinny and statuesque. Some folks like high energy, others want a lap cat. The combinations of cat characteristics are positively endless!

With all of these varieties and so many unique situations that bring cats into homeless shelters all over the country, there are bound to be some that don't stand out as common varieties...of course that depends on who is looking at them. Beauty can be interpreted so many ways!

This week, The SFSPCA Cat Behavior Program would like to spotlight two gorgeously unique cats that need a special someone to take them home.


Isn’t this a great picture? Behind the scrunched up ears and tomcat exterior is a sweet and gentle cat that’s a bit under the radar here. He’s available for adoption, but because he’s a little shy and contemplative (loves to stare out the window, apparently deep in cat thoughts) he doesn’t attract that much attention. While he’s not the exactly the “life of the party”, he has a quiet, almost soulful side, that begs for appreciation. I know you’re out there. Come and adopt him and make him a part of your life!


Quentin is extremely lovable and affectionate, yet very dignified. He came to the SFSPCA as a surrender from a kind woman who found him on the streets. Quentin was suffering from horrible matts, a wound to his back and a badly infected left eye when he arrived. The SFSPCA Shelter Medicine staff shaved him down, treated his wound and immediately removed the bad eye that was making him very uncomfortable. Now, Quentin is a lot happier and purrs and eats immediately when you come to visit. He is going to need a home with a patient and loving person willing to cater to his sensitivity.

Here's a volunteer's perspective on Quentins' story:

Listen to the purr, the sound of a cat smiling.
Quentin stands to greet visitors. He cowers his head just a bit. It’s almost as if he’s trying to hide his face, which is off kilter and bears a diagonal scar where his left eye used to be. His skinny body is shaved, with hair remaining only on his head, his feet and the tip of his tail.
The room is filled with the sound of his purr. Quentin is smiling.
His name is taken from San Quentin Prison, the patch of cruel earth where he was found and brought to the SPCA by a warm-hearted woman.
Once here he was cleaned up. His badly matted fur shaved, a process so painful he had to be sedated. His left eye, suffering from a ruptured cornea and severe infection, had to be removed.
And still, just days later, he stands for visitors and smiles.
We don’t know the circumstances that took him to the prison. Was he a runaway? Was he lost? Was he taken there and abandoned? No matter what injustices he suffered at the hand of people — through cruelty or benign neglect — he stands before visitors and smiles.
He will be beautiful again. The sores on his skin are healing. His long grey fur will grow back. His scarred face will eventually take on a rakish charm. He will become less skittish. His body will fill out and perhaps he’ll learn to slow down and enjoy his meals, trusting that food will be regular and plentiful.
Surely you can see that when he stands before you and smiles.

If you are interested in adopting either of these two beautiful cats, please stop by Maddies Adoption Center at 250 Florida St. The center is open from 11 am to 6 pm. Seven days a week. or call, 415 522-3500 for more information about our adoption requirements, fees and hold policies.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Catty's Day at the SFSPCA!!!


Mama Mia
I’m so shy that you may wonder how I became a teenage mother. Was it my glossy silver-blue coat that wowed the boys? Perhaps it was the way my luxurious tail whipped around my petite, lithe frame? Or maybe it was my piercing green eyes? Nah. My real charm lies in the way I grace you with my loud purr and make muffins in the air when you treat me just right. By right, I mean approaching me slowly and quietly, giving me cheek pets and chin rubs and then play with me! But I won’t give it up for just anybody; I’m looking for someone who can be quiet like me and will have the patience to let me settle into our new home in my own time.


Hi there. As you can see from my shiny black fur and bright green eyes, I’m descendended from the Black Irish. When you come in and meet me, I won’t be able to help myself from squeeking hello as I dance a jig around you. When you take me home, we’ll be friends ‘til the end, sharing snuggles, play time and even meals… I’ll share mine if you share yours! If you’re a cat-savvy character, who is down with the fact that I don’t want my belly rubbed, we should really talk over a pint this St. Paddy’s Day. Oh, and I’d like to be your only kitty, since I tested positive for FIV.


Gus and Sugarfoot
Are you looking for a striking pair to join your family? Well, look no further. My name is Sugarfoot and I bear an uncanny resemblance to the red-haired Irish beauty Maureen O’Hara. My beau Gus is a deadringer -- in looks and personality -- to the brooding Colin Farrell. It may be a May-December romance, but our love is true. Come see for yourself. I’ll great you at the door, while Gus watches us from his perch on the cat tree. We’ll both purr for you though… and reward you by rubbing our cheeks on your hands. Take us home and we’ll bring you the luck of the Irish!


Louie and Lidia

Come join us at the hearth as we pen a line or two of verse. We have the souls of Irish poets and think we see that same twinkle in your eyes. Whether it’s rainy nights recalling the misty moors or bright sunlight days caressing the reddish tresses of the Colleens, we’ll be there for you – quietly awaiting the muse. We love each other deeply. But true Irish love knows no limits. We have plenty left for you.



What’s all the fuss today? I’m not buying into it. Check out my coat. It’s orange. And so am I. The pride of Belfast. Boomer? That was a name given me by the oppressors. You can call me Bono, son of the chieftains. Change the world? Yes we can. Sing a song? Yes we can do that too. Live and long and happy life together? Sure and beggorah.

Come to the SFSPCA this St. Patricks Day and celebrate by taking home the love of your life!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Is Clipping Claws Getting You Nailed?

By Daniel Quagliozzi
clawing couch

You've tried it over and over again but still...your cat will not let you get near those claws! It becomes a game of hide and seek, real quick. What are you supposed to do, let your cat scratch up your brand new Ikea couch? Alas, there are many solutions to your situation that may surprise you.
Trying to trim a cats claws can be very stressful, both to you and your cat. We've all been there, breaking a sweat while attempting to trim nails without hurting the cat, but the squirming and protesting is just too much.


On a long term and routine basis, it's very helpful to give your cat a toe massage just to desensitize the feeling of the clipping. This could take a very long time, but it's well worth the lack of hassle in the end.

Providing alternatives to your furniture is key. If a cat has choices, it's more likely to scratch on materials that are appealing and allowed to stay "trashed" as a result. Cats need to see and smell their territory and the first way they do this is by scratching.


Different felines prefer different scratching surfaces. If you're not sure what your cat prefers, offer your cat a choice such as carpeting, wood, a rope-wrapped board (sisal) or corrugated cardboard (these last two can be found at pet supply stores). Once your cat has clearly “voted” with its feet, supply that kind of material. Simultaneously, make the furniture or other inappropriate scratching surfaces unattractive. Cats hate sticky stuff, so apply double-sided tape (from any hardware or office supply store) to old favorite scratching surfaces. There is also a product made for this purpose called Sticky Paws


If you want to try doing nail trim yourself, the first thing you can try is using a partner to restrain the cat while you trim. A second person can "scruff" the cat by holding the loose skin behind the cats head and also firmly holding the back legs. This will leave the cat pinned on its side and unable to squirm. Then, the trimmer goes for the gold by gently depressing the paw pads and trimming the claws just before the "quick". That's the pink part of the claw that will often bleed if cut too close. Most cats will submit and let this happen, others will still struggle and fight....Thats where the SFSPCA Cat Behavior Program comes in!

If you have one of those very special cats that protests to the extreme and scratches or bites as a result... or a well behaved cat that needs a monthly trim, you can let us be the "bad guy". The SFSPCA has a Cat Claw Clipping Clinic that happens twice a month. If you can get your cat in a carrier (see our blog on carrier training) then we can try our best to get those claws trimmed for you.

Clinics are the first Sunday of each month from 10:00 - 11:00 a.m., and on the third Wednesday of each month from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Clinics are conducted at The SF/SPCA Spay Neuter Clinic located in the Leanne B. Roberts Animal Care Center, 201 Alabama St.

No appointment is necessary, but you must confine cats in carriers.

The cost is $10.00 for the front claws and $15.00 for all four feet.

Give the Cat Behavior Program a call at 415 522-3525: if you have any questions about our clinic or cat clipping in general.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Cats and Carriers: How to Avoid the Wrestling Match

By Jamey Walker

“Here kitty, kitty it’s time for a check-up, now lets get into your carrier”….yeah right! We all know getting a cat to go into their carrier can sometimes look like a slap-stick comedy on the part of us humans, often falling over ourselves despite our efforts to do this gracefully. Mr. Fluffy, on the other hand, is under the bed before you can even think about dusting off his carrier. How did he know?! Well, the cat always knows of course. It's part of their charm, subtle wit and perfect timing.


So what to do? Well, first give your cat a round of applause and laugh it off. They really are amazing and intelligent creatures! Second, start thinking about how you can minimize the stress when it comes to their carrier. You can do this simply by reintroducing the carrier in a positive way.

Instead of putting the carrier away after every use, keep it out in a special place. Set it up as a snugly bed or retreat. Leave the door open and start giving them treats near the carrier. If they seem stressed to even go near the dreaded thing, start by giving them treats as close as they can get to it and still feel comfortable. Once they feel more relaxed, start putting treats inside the carrier for them to find. If you see them go inside to get the treats, give them additional treats when they come out. Never close them in. Instead, let them explore the carrier under their full control. Pretty soon, they will be happily going in and out of the carrier on their own.


Some final tips: Work on this with your cat for a few minutes every day so the positive association becomes super-duper strong. Pick a time to work on this before your cat has had a meal so kitty's good and hungry. Never rush the training. Your cat is just nervous about the carrier. The more time your cat has to feel safe, the easier time you will have in the long run.. Happy training everyone!


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Socks "The First Feline"

By Daniel Quagliozzi

With presidential pets & hypoallergenic dogs being all the rage in the news these days, we thought we would pay our respects to Socks the cat, former presidential pal of the Clinton family. It's not that often that a cat makes it's way into the White House, at least in a time in our history where companion animals have reached a new level of appreciation and "on the go" dogs steal the spotlight from our home bound cats. Sure there were other presidents who had cats, but no one is quite as memorable as Socks.

Socks was adopted by the Clintons in 1991 after he jumped into the arms of Chelsea Clinton while she was leaving the house of her piano teacher in Little Rock, Arkansas. He was playing with his sibling, Midnight at the time. Midnight was later adopted by someone else. I guess he missed his chance to be a politician.

He traveled to many homes with the Clintons, including the governers mansion and the White House, all the while adapting to his new digs and sudden stardom with exhuberance. In fact, he was such a hit that children would write him letters that the White House staff answered with postcards, stamped with a paw print. Socks made public appearances and even rode a parade float in the Little Rock Christmas parade. The press loved Socks!

After the presidency and due to their busy work schedule, the Clintons allowed their secretary to take over as Sock's guardian, a role fullfilled until 2008 when he passed away from an ongoing battle with cancer.

Socks lived a wonderful life and brightened the days of many people around the world. the impact of just one animal on the masses is truly amazing. Thank you Socks for giving cats an ambassador they could be proud of!
Below is a video that documents the many magical moments of Socks the cat. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Can't We All Just Get Along?


When we heard the news that Victoria Stilwell, star of "It's Me or the Dog" was coming to The SFSPCA, The cat behavior team was excited, scared and ready to admit that they were star struck fans who couldn't wait to meet her. We prepared by calling each other and making sure our outfits were coordinated. Just kidding.

Word was spreading fast that Victoria was taking a tour of our new Leanne B. Roberts Animal Care Center, so we acted instinctual and ran after her. After climbing three flights of stairs and speed walking half way across the building, we finally came face to face with her. Completely out of breath, red faced and feeling awkward, we introduced ourselves, made some small talk and asked for the picture you see above. Notice how she cozied right up to Jamey and left Daniel standing alone? Daniel sure does.

Why would two cat behavior guys be stalking a dog trainer like this? Maybe we were hoping she would give us our big break on TV? Perhaps we admired her skills of obedience training? I think we just wanted her to tell us to "go sit on our matts!" We would have done anything she asked, quite frankly.

Cat behavior and dog behavior do have some parallels and quite frankly it was an honor to meet someone who is educating the masses and doing it brilliantly. Rock on Victoria! You make the world a better place for pets!

Monday, March 9, 2009

My Alarm Clock is Hungry

By Daniel Quagliozzi

A common behavior problem that plagues our clients is best described as "the early morning wake up call". Picture this scenario:

You're sound asleep and pushing some serious Z's. Suddenly, your chest gets heavier by about seven pounds (if you're lucky). You feel like someone or something is watching you.
"Nah, its just a dream. I'll just turnover and go back to sleep". Then, the weight moves to your back. A faint purr, followed by a low toned mew is heard right next to your ear. And happens. You get tapped on the face by a paw...again and again and again as the low mew becomes a demanding MEOW! What the *#!%!?!?!
You open your eyes and notice that within inches of your face is your beloved best friend staring at you. It's feeding time and you have no other option then to get up, get yourself together and crack open a can of cat food. You my friend, have been trained by the cutest alarm clock ever invented!
Please pardon my puffy morning face! Oh, like you look like a beauty queen when you wake up?

As cute as this may sound to those of you who have well behaved cats that sleep in, it can be a total nightmare for those us humans who want to get a few extra hours of sleep in the morning. So, what do you do about it? Buy earplugs? Wrap yourself in a cocoon of blankets and pillows?

The first rule of the "early morning wake up call" is out-stubborning your cat. You absolutely have to ignore the cries for attention. Easier said then done? Not really. Its a matter of changing your cats routine around so that there is no reward to the behavior. Don't feed your cat when you wake up! Switch the feeding time to the afternoon when you get home from work. Just getting out of bed at all is a reward to your cats cries for food. Your cat will try to up the ante each day to get you closer and closer to their goal. Sometimes even negative attention such as yelling can reinforce the behavior.

Be as active with your cat during the day as humanly possible. Your cat should be tired out before you go to bed. This means more than a few minutes of interactive play. Try to have 2+ interactive play-sessions a day. Give you cat a play session in the evening - try to squeeze in at least 10-15 minutes each time with the help a toy that keep your cat's interest. The same old toy on the floor each night is totally boring. Switch things up a bit!

Of course, you could lock the cat out of the room as well, but you are likely to have similar disturbances outside of the door. Try something aversive outside of the room, like sticky tape or an upside down carpet runner (with the nubby side up). You could also try a piece of cardboard on the floor with the sticky tape on it - which they will likely not want to sit on while they try to scratch at the door. Once again, DO NOT ANSWER THE CRIES FOR ATTENTION! If you follow these simple guidelines, a good night's rest may be in your future.

The Cat Behavior Program wishes to thank Matilda the cat for demonstrating her ability to get Daniel to work on time every day.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Office Space or Hospice Place?

By Daniel Quagliozzi

When cats enter the shelter with life threatening illnesses, it can sometimes be a very long road until they are ready for adoption. In some of the more serious cases, these cats will need to be hospiced in homes for months at a time until they reach a level of rehabilitation or pass away with dignity. It's a tremendous service that's very generous and never taken for granted. But, what do you do when you run out of homes to hospice cats and you have lives to save?

The SFSPCA found the answer to this question in it's own shelter. We opened our office doors to "Offspice" some of the shelters neediest cats & dogs. Why not let them live with us while we work? We can give them their medications, keep track of their weight and appetite and most of all , give them love to help them feel better. Were there any objections to this idea? No way!

Since the summer of 2008, The Cat Behavior office has been a safe haven for cats with various debilitating illnesses and behavior concerns as well as a destination for the volunteers and staff who love them. We thought, why not!?! We have the space and essentially our office is just like a cat condo. Lets get some cats in here! Cat trees and litter boxes were soon added to the office as well as cages for some of the shy kittens.


There was " Dab " an undersocialized kitten that bit Daniel the first day he was here but turned into an angel after weeks of socialization and TLC from the volunteers & behavior staff.
Lets not forget, Gilroy , a staff favorite who lived out his last golden year, walking on a harness all around the shelter, dressing in his Santa costume , going on various radio and tv shows and even made a debut at Holiday Windows, while being treated for intestinal cancer. He touched so many but left us early this year after losing his battle with the disease.


Then, there was our orange tabby, Yo , a cat with liver cancer, who stayed briefly in the office until he built up an appetite and gained enough weight to move on to a foster home. To this day he is still living there. His foster parent may never bring him back.


Oh.. and Maya, a brown tabby senior cat who lounged in the office while being treated for arthritis. We had special stairs for her to get up to her favorite spot on the cat tree. Maya is currently available for adoption!

The Offspice trend does not stop at the behavior office. Other departments have also volunteered to take in our special needs cats as well. In fact, Moses aka "The Senator", a long haired black cat, being treated for hyperthyroidism, arthritis, high blood pressure and various lumps that give him character, is currently running the show in the office of our Client Care Manager.

Suzanne Hollis says that one night while she was home, the Senator stepped on the redial button of the phone on her desk and dialed her! She could hear him breathing on the speaker phone. What a character! Along with his huge medical record comes a feisty "cattitude" that comes out when the Senator is being examined. Can you blame him though? "It's a small sacrifice to share my desk with such a handsome politician of love", said Suzanne.

We'll be posting the progress and availability of any special needs cats that apply to be roommates in the Cat Behavior Office. Maybe YOU want to open your home to a cat that needs help too? If you are interested in Fostering or Fospicing a cat or kitten, contact Alison Lane in our Foster Care Program. She can be reached by email : or by calling 415 522-3542

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Little Things Mean a Lot

By Daniel Quagliozzi

One of the hardest things about being a shelter cat is all of the changes they go through in such a small period of time. Cats are very sensitive to changes to their territory, even subtle ones. Imagine you were forced to move five times in four days. You wouldn't know whether you were coming or going and would probably have a hard time tracking down your belongings. Talk about a stressful day!

Cats are lucky. They don't have anything to carry but themselves and even that is terrifying to some. Cats that enter animal shelters are often kept in cages with no place to hide, sitting right next to their food and litter box. Would YOU like to eat and sleep next to your toilet? I didn't think so! Being able to feel safe and secure is probably the most essential quality a cat looks for. But how do you make a cat feel safe when it's it has to be moved from place to place? It's simpler than you may think.

I present to you the "Hide, Perch & Go" cat carrier. The SF/SPCA is proud to be using this new addition to our kennel enrichment. Cats now have a place to hide and feel safe or perch above the floor for a change of scenery...whatever strikes their fancy! The best thing about the Hide, Perch & Go is that it travels everywhere with its cat, reducing sickness. It goes to Spay/Neuter with them. Then, it goes back in their kennel or series of kennels depending on the situation. A shy cat has familiar smelling territory, no matter where it's being housed. When the cat is ready to go home for adoption, the Hide & Perch converts to a carrier that can be used for transport . Now, the cat can start all over again in a forever home with a place to hide that feels and smells safe! Our undersocialized Kittens are going to especially benefit from these boxes.
A simple cardboard box can really make a difference to a cat, that's for sure. The SF/SPCA is very lucky to have an animal shelter that truly gives it's homeless pets dignity and a place that feels like home. Sometimes, even the fanciest kennel can be a scary place for a fearful cat. We're very thankful to have these new boxes to make our shelter cats get to their happy homes faster & healthier.
The SF/SPCA would like to thank the Petco Foundation and for their sponsorship and donation of the Perch, Hide & Go boxes. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!