Information for Cat Owners & Rescuers
ARF holds Cat and Dog Health Days where we offer the yearly required vaccinations at a discount – around $20 an animal. Contact us to determine when the next Health Day will be held. Take your cat to the veterinary if your cat is sick or injured – Here we have a list of local Vets.
Spaying/Neutering - Prevents reproduction. Females should be spayed (ovaries and uterus removed) and males neutered (testicles removed) by six months of age. Spaying females before maturity significantly reduces the risk of cancer and having unwanted litters. Neutering males prevents diseases, and reduces aggression. Contact ARF for help, this is most important to reducing the number of unwanted animals!
Feeding - An adult cat should be fed one large meal or two smaller meals each day. Kittens 6 to 12 weeks old need to be fed four times a day, and kittens 12 to 24 weeks old need to be fed three times a day. Do not give a cat food that is even slightly spoiled and dispose of uneaten food once the cat walks away. Consult a vet if your cat has refused food for 24 hours.
Housing - Cats should have a warm, dry place of their own in the house. Line the bed with a towel or blanket. Be sure to wash the bedding often. It’s safer to keep your cat indoors. Outdoor cats run a higher risk of being poisoned, hit by cars and hurt in fights. They are also more likely to pick up diseases and parasites.
Identification - Submit your animal to ARF’s Pet Registration Service in case your animal is Lost|Found
Claws - All cats need to scratch to loosen old nail sheathes and allow new nails to grow. Cutting your cat’s nails every 10 to 14 days will keep them relatively blunt and make them less likely to scratch people and furniture. Provide your cat with a sturdy scratching post covered with rough material such as sisal or tree bark to prevent further destruction. Declawing an animal will leave them defenseless!
Diseases in Cats (from one of our Volunteers) - FeLV and FIV should be tested for in Cats. If a Cat has either and no foster home where she can be kept separate until adopted into an only-cat family, she should be euthanized, especially if it’s FeLV. Don’t put her back on the street with FeLV. Very contagious stuff, although some cats can live with it for a few months or a few years under ideal situations. Most don’t last too long because their immune systems don’t work well, their blood cells and bone marrow don’t work. It’s a painful way to die, if cancer or an infection or starvation doesn’t kill them first. They have very little resistance to anything they come in contact with on the street. Personally, I think it’s better to euthanize them before they get really sick either from a complication, or the leukemia itself.
FIV has two stages and some cats take years to develop to the 2nd ‘bad’ stage, but they’re still contagious, so need to be separated from other cats when fostered and when they’re adopted out. They need frequent vet visits to be monitored, they can develop many illnesses, and may be an expensive choice for a companion animal, but I know a couple of people who’ve had their cats diagnosed with it after having them for a few years and they’ve lived long, relatively healthy lives until they got older. Almost the same as it is for healthy cats who need geriatric care. It can be expensive though. Any of this is expensive but a cat with FIV in the first stage can live a normal life inside, as an only-cat if ‘quarantined’ away from other cats so they don’t get infections or other illnesses that stress their bodies too much.
Helping Newborn Kittens Without a Mama (from one of our Volunteers) – Goat milk mixed with Pedialite. I say this because the goat milk in Econo is in a can in the baby food aisle, and it’s concentrated, so it needs to be diluted 50%. Also can dilute with clean water. The opened can of goat’s milk (and prepared 50/50 mix) has to be kept in the fridge, but still goes bad fairly quickly. Must warm the milk slightly to get them to drink it. A newborn kitten will probably drink 2-4 CCs every 3 hours. A syringe without the needle is the best way to give milk. (Can get a 10 CC syringe at the pharmacies). Push the plunger slowly. Wash after use. Realize that the seal on the syringe will erode quickly, so buy a couple. It is MOST IMPORTANT to also take a warm, wet wash cloth (rough materials) and wipe the kitten’s butt and crotch to make it pee and poop. If the kitten is newborn, it WILL NOT pee and poop without being stimulated by it’s mother’s lick. For the first few days, try and try again EACH TIME you feed the kitten to see if it will go. After the first week (or if it’s going on its own) it is no longer needed. The kitten will not be accustomed to drinking from the syringe plunger (WITHOUT needle), but position it in the kitten’s mouth and push slowly. After many tries it will become accustomed. Some kittens even become very adept at sucking. Those kittens are doing very well. I don’t use bottles (with nipples) because the kitten can bite off the tip and swallow it. On the other hand, if the kitten is doing a great job sucking, it may do okay with a bottle and nipple. A kitten-appropriate size bottle with nipple is available from the Vet in Aguada. Kittens open their eyes at 10 days. This will help estimate age. At 3 weeks they can eat solid food. I would soak the solid food the first few times in goat’s milk (since that is what they are used to eating), or water, so they don’t choke on it. Or buy a couple cans of soft food at that age, as a transition.