It happens with every generation – our fashions and fads come back as “retro” whether we want them to or not. The Humane Society of the United States recently promoted a video it produced in the 1980s and, while the fashions are thankfully out of date, the message is evergreen.
Highlighted in the video are the following tenets of responsible cat (and pet) parenthood:
- Spaying and neutering our cats and kittens keeps them healthy and helps bring the population of unwanted companion animals down. According to HSUS spokesperson Kristen Eastman, “In the U.S. as a whole, there are an estimated 6-8 million homeless animals entering animal shelters every year. About half of these animals are adopted, and tragically, the other half are euthanized. These are healthy, sweet pets who would have made great companions. Spay/neuter is the only permanent, 100-percent effective method of birth control for dogs and cats.” You may qualify for reduced-cost spay or neuter services through Spring Farm CARE’s Happy Hearth Program. Paris Hill Cat Hospital and New Hartford Animal Hospital also offer lower-cost sterilization for cats.
- “Kind of” hot can get too hot, too fast. In a parked car, the temperature can rise at an amazing speed, and leaving an animal in a parked car for even a brief time can result in its death. As we reach heat indexes in the triple digits in Central New York, we must be especially mindful of the heat’s impact on our feline friends. Dogs are more frequently left in cars, but it has also happened to cats. Eastman recommends contacting the authorities if you happen upon an animal left in a parked car. Additionally, be sure that your pets at home have access to shade and water indoors and outdoors. “Limit exercise on hot days. Signs of heatstroke are: heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, restlessness, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, and unconsciousness. If this happens, move the animal into the shade or an air-conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towels to her head, neck, and chest or run cool (not cold) water over her. Let her drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes. Take her directly to a veterinarian,” Eastman continued.
- Identification can save lives. “Lots of pets escape yards and wander off in summertime. For their health and safety and your peace of mind, all cats should be kept indoors. An ID tag is your cat’s ticket home. If you’re lucky, a neighbor will find him and return him to you right away. But your pet could be picked up by a stranger or an animal control officer and taken to a shelter. Without an ID tag, he could be mistaken for a homeless stray,” advises Eastman. Cats are microchipped and tagged less frequently than dogs, and without some kind of identification, reunions can be difficult to reach. Collars and tags are available for purchase at area retailers PetSmart and Pet Supplies Plus and most veterinarians offer microchipping (Home Again is one of the most popular brands).
Following these simple steps can make you a totally awesome pet parent – no matter what decade was your favorite!