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«The Last Chance Sanctuary 5192 Outlook Drive Melbourne, FL 32940 Phone: 321 255-2247 or Email: BBTLCS Table of Contents Animal proofing ...»

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Basics for Pet Parents

The Last Chance Sanctuary

5192 Outlook Drive

Melbourne, FL 32940

Phone: 321 255-2247 or Email: BBTLCS@Yahoo.com

Table of Contents

Animal proofing your home or pet room
















Page 1 of 22 Animalproofing your home or pet room It is important to ensure your home or pet room is safe for the animals. Here are some things to consider before bringing a pet animal into your home.

Ensure all medications and cleaners are out of reach of jumping, climbing kitties • Keep trashcans covered or inside a latched cabinet • Place dangling wires and mini-blind or drapery cords out of reach or wrap with protective covering, such • as vacuum hose or PVC pipe Remove houseplants (see list below for types and symptoms) • Cover electrical outlets so little kitten paws and claws can’t get caught in them • Count heads when opening and closing closets to ensure no one is shut inside.

• It is possible the animal(s) may cause damage to your home. Minimize this by using common sense when establishing your pet room and ensuring dogs and cats cannot be climbing on screens or other inappropriate items. TLCS cannot be held responsible for damages incurred by the pet animal.

Houseplants Many house and garden plants are poisonous. The table that follows lists a variety of plants that are toxic and the symptoms that each plant can cause.

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Toys Never play with a cat or kitten with your hands or feet as this teaches them that biting and scratching people is OK.

Sometimes it’s not about the actual toys, but rather the configuration of the play area. A good and inexpensive way to build a play station is by using plastic milk crates. Place them in a pyramid shape, with the top (open part) facing into the room. Secure them together. Then hang toys from them or put blankets and towels inside for sleeping. Cats and kittens alike love this!

Cats have an uncanny knack of making toys from many objects we wouldn’t think of as toys. Not all of these are safe for the kitties; some are just plain dangerous. These are unsafe objects because they can be


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Toy Comments Soft toys - Soft toys must be machine washable and be able to withstand bleach to be appropriate for use with pet kitties. Avoid stuffed toys with fillings of nutshells or polystyrene beads. These can be dangerous if they cat bites them open.

Round plastic shower curtain rings - These are fun as a single ring to bat around, hide, or carry. Also fun when linked together and hung in an enticing spot.

Balls - Provide plastic rolling ones with or without bells inside, ping pong balls, or plastic practice golf balls, especially the ones with holes in them.

Paper bags - Be sure to remove any handles. Never allow a pet animal to play with plastic bags.

Sisal-wrapped toys - These are attractive to those cats who ignore soft toys.

Empty cardboard rolls - You can get these from the toilet paper or paper towels. They are especially enticing if you unwind the cardboard a little!

Wand toys You can make you own with a dowel rod from any home improvement or craft store. Put bird feathers (you’ve collected in the yard) on the end, or a plastic practice golf ball, or just a knot.

Track toys Track toys are great! Some come with cardboard scratching in the middle, others are covered.

Food and diet It is imperative that all animals have fresh food and water daily. Equally important to note is the higher quality of food you choose to feed, the fewer stools you will clean up and the better health the animal will enjoy. Low quality foods include indigestibles and low quality nutrients, which do not absorb into the animal’s body, and therefore are eliminated. High quality does not necessarily mean expensive; you have to read the label to know if you’re buying high quality.

Some keys to getting high quality food are:

Whole meat or single-source meat meal (chicken meal rather than poultry meal) •

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No propylene glycol – this is added to keep foods chewy • No artificial preservatives (BHA, BHT, or ethoxyquin) • There are a variety of articles about foods, ingredients, and how to read a label. You are urged to consult the resources listed at the end of this manual to learn more.

Changing foods To prevent diarrhea, if you switch food brands, do so gradually. A mix of 1/3 new with 2/3 previous for 2 days and then opposite for 2 days will help the animal to adjust.

Cat food Cats are carnivores and must have meat to survive. If allowed to eat on their own, cats will eat 10-18 meals evenly distributed throughout a 24 hour period. When diet is not artificially altered, cats select food according to its aroma, consistency, texture, and taste. They will also use previous experience to determine foods they like.

Cats have a remarkable sensitivity to the taste of water, making it even more important to ensure they have good, palatable water.

CAT CAREGrooming

The function of cat grooming is to reduce anxiety and conflict; this is also the reason why cats enjoy being petted. If you are petting kittens, they may not necessarily need grooming, but it is important to get them started on understanding the process and accustomed to the procedures, because in a few months, they will need it. An established routine will add to the health of the animal and will give you one more opportunity for interaction. To ensure a positive experience, keep grooming sessions short at first and provide a reward for positive behavior.

Cat nail trimming

It can be easy to keep nails trimmed and, thus reduce the desire for adopters to want to declaw the kitty. You can be part of this solution by getting the kitty used to having his/her paws handled and squeezed. Each time you play with or pet the kitty, touch or hold their paws; choosing which will depend on their level of tolerance.

You can use the same nail clippers that humans use or you can use ones designed especially for animals; the preference is yours. It may be easier for you do to this with the help of another person. Always do this in a

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Kitten nail trimming Kitten nails need to be trimmed as soon as 3 weeks; this keeps them from scratching mama as they nurse or each other (or you) when they play. It also adds one more element of socialization to the kitten’s world. The more used to being handled and being with humans, the more well-adjusted and emotionally calm they will be.


The more you know about a kitty and the better the kitty looks, the better his/her chances are of finding a good, quality new home. Regular brushing not only improves the kitty’s appearance, it helps stimulate healthy skin. It also has the added advantage of knowing one more valuable trait about this kitty as some like brushing and combing, others hate it Flea combs are a must in your repertoire of grooming supplies, and they’re not just for fleas! It helps to get the undergrowth from kitty, and because they are made of plastic, they seldom irritate the skin.

Bathing It’s possible you’ll need and/or want to bathe your pet animal. We recommend using a skin conditioning shampoo, but whichever you choose, be sure the shampoo you purchase is designed specifically for cats or kittens.

Pregnancy and newborns Pregnancy in cats can be as short as 57 days or as long as 70 days with the developing kittens growing an average of 1/8 inch (3mm) per day. Cats do not typically have physical problems giving birth as dogs do. The most common cause of death in kittens is chilling. Be very certain to keep babies warm without direct use of a heating pad. Cleanliness is important with newborns. Always wash your hands before handling them or anything in their environment. Harsh chemicals should be avoided because they may irritate and compromise

Litter box training

Placement is important. Do not place is next to their bed or their food and water; place the box in a quiet location. Adult pet cats with no un-weaned kittens need to be confined for their first days with you. A condo with shelves provides a perfect environment for this. This also provides an opportunity to train or re-train for litter box issues. For kittens less than 6 months use unscented, clay litter. It is also good to have a kitten litter box; these are smaller and have shorter sides than cat litter boxes, allowing the kittens easy access in and out of the box. Since kittens tend to eat the litter, using the scoopable can lead to stomach ailments and expensive surgery when the litter clumps inside them. After each feeding, put the kittens in a litter box. Gently take their

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Not using the litter box First and foremost, don’t chastise the cat or rub his/her nose in it. If you catch the cat in the act, thump on the wall to startle him or her. Then, quietly put the kitty in their litter box and clean up the mess. If you are using the same litter box for other pet cats, you must clean it with an enzyme cleaner. A cat has a much keener sense of smell than you or I. Scooping the box every day is essential. Do not use a cat pan liner and do not use scented litter.


Upper respiratory infections (URI's) These are very similar to human colds. The cat is often congested and cannot smell its food. Tempting your pet cat with smelly canned cat food, Hills A/D food (purchased at a veterinarian’s office), baby food (no onions in ingredients, please), chicken broth, or even tuna in water (last resort as too much can cause diarrhea) will often get them eating again. You may have to coax them to eat by using your fingers, and even smearing it on their lips or nose. If your pet cat has not eaten for more than two days, force-feeding with a syringe may be necessary. If you don’t know how to do this, we can describe this or show you how. Nutracal is a calorie and nutrient-packed supplement that even sick cats will often accept when not otherwise eating. This can be picked up at the rescue. Steam from a vaporizer or hot shower often helps clear the nasal passages. Keep the nose and eyes clear of discharge with warm, damp cotton balls. A cat that doesn’t feel well appreciates some extra petting and quiet time in your lap. If you can coax your pet cat to eat, and its drinking water, the infection will usually run its course, and no additional treatment is necessary.

Dehydration is a serious concern.

Watch carefully to see if your pet cat is drinking water. You may have to carefully watch the level of the water bowl, and keep track of litter box activity. You can check for dehydration by pulling the skin up just a little lower than the back of the neck. It should be taut and snap back down. If it stands up or takes some time to go back down, the cat may be dehydrated. A lethargic cat is often dehydrated. If your cat is dehydrated, subcutaneous fluids may be necessary. This is a good skill to learn and you can be buddied up with an experienced pet parent who can teach you. There are several pet parents experienced with this and willing to make home visits to hydrate your cat. This may help a cat feel better sooner and will save money by not having to go to a vet.

Please contact us right away if you think your cat is dehydrated. We may arrange a home visit, direct you to the rescue for fluids, or as a last resort, to one of the local veterinarians that bill the rescue directly. If your pet cat is extremely lethargic, it may be dehydrated, have a fever (over 103 degrees F, rectally, constitutes a fever), and/or a bacterial infection, and we would probably direct you to veterinary care. If nasal discharge is

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Other things to watch for that may require additional care or a vet visit:

• Loose stool or diarrhea - usually caused by parasites that may or may not be visible in feces. Depending upon the parasite, this can be treated with wormer picked up at the rescue or a vet visit.

• Continual vomiting or occasional vomiting that lasts more than a day or two.

• Extreme lethargy for more than 2-3 days.

• Eyes that are red and inflamed or have an extreme amount of discharge and swelling, vs. small amounts of discharge, usually in both eyes that is common with a URI. This can often be treated with eye ointment picked up at the rescue, but may need a vet visit if the infection doesn’t respond within a couple of days.

• Any crumbly wax-like substance in the ears (possible ear mites). Ear mite medicine can be picked up at the rescue.

• Fleas or flea dirt (black pepper-like substance in the fur). Advantage is usually applied if fleas are noticed at the rescue. If you see flea dirt, we will find out if Advantage was already applied. One application lasts 30 days.

If it hasn’t or if you find live fleas, please bring your pet cat to the rescue for Advantage to be applied.

Handling an injured animal Injuries and illness are traumatic experiences for both peters and animals. Always remember that even the gentlest animal, when injured, will bite. Take precautions to prevent this. Use the procedures that follow.

Cat restraint Use this type of restraint for cats.

1. Place a blanket over the animal.

2. Approach the animal from behind and place your hands over the shoulder and under the neck.

3. When you pick up the animal, support the body between your arms.

Transporting injured animals For severely injured animals, a stretcher is preferred. A stretcher can be improvised out of any rigid material, even heavy cardboard. If rigid material is not available a stretcher-sling can be made with a blanket or sheet. If injuries are not severe cats may be wrapped in a blanket. If the cat is afraid, cover his/her eyes.

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