Cats on walks with harness and leash… a good idea?

Lately you may have seen all over social media photos and videos of cats being taken on walks with a harness and leash. Or maybe you bumped into the book “Adventure Cats, Living Nine Lives to the Fullest” which we reviewed on 6/19/17 (see the review here at the Cat Faeries Blog).

Before we go any further we must state loud and clear that this is not for every cat, and in fact probably only a small minority of cats will like this or have the right personality for it. If after 2 months of indoor practice with your patient big heart, along with a proper harness and leash, and you see that your cat isn’t taking to it, then give up trying.

Here is a training video that our dear friend and Feline Editor at Large, Newton found for us: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qSMk8tJB20

WARNING – Robert Dollwet, the Australian cat trainer who produced this video learned the hard way that cats belong indoors unless protected by carriers or proper leashes (very sad – of course the servant had to fetch a box of Kleenex – couldn’t even stand to see the dedication to his poor cat at the start of the video)

While it’s a good video with some very good instruction there are a few things that we feel are missing and we’d like to share that with you before you enjoy the video.

  • When you put a harness on 99.9% of all cats they will promptly lay down and play dead! They don’t understand this new “thing” on their body. Take the advice from the video and start with a collar, then lead up to a harness. And remember those food treats! Be patient!
  • A 6-foot leash is mandatory – do not get a longer one or a FlexiLead – you must be in control at all times and keep the cat close to you.
  • The video implies that a cat can be used to the harness and leash in a few days – we could not disagree more. In our opinion it should take a minimum of 2 months of acclimating the cat to wearing the harness, and walks about the house indoors before even consider going outside.
  • Your first venture outside should be in your own backyard and for just a few minutes. You need to build up your cat’s interest and comfort in being out of the house.
  • Have a cat carrier with you in case a dog crosses your path or something causes the cat to freak out. You don’t want to end up scratched or have a traumatized (or worse) cat. Keep your wallet and house keys in the carrier and think of it as a purse!
  • Notice that the cat in this video is very young and more adapt to a harness and its adventures. This is likely to be very difficult for many older cats.
  • Remember, personality is everything. Not every cat wants to traverse the great outdoors, just like some people, many cats prefer the gracious and safe indoors!

The harness we recommend is a step-in product from Cetacea located in Foster City, California where they also manufacture them. Many harnesses are not engineered correctly for a cat, who can easily “back out of it” and disaster could happen. We know this product extremely well, and completely endorse it as we once sold them when we first started Cat Faeries in the early 1990’s.

Most cats will take a small-dog-size S but to ensure the correct fit you should measure your cat first and read the sizing guidelines. But if you need assistance don’t hesitate to call Cetacea’s owner, Victor Nayyar. He will make sure that you get the right fit for a custom order. Interestingly, Martha Stewart’s cats wear Cetacea’s harnesses and of course, Martha being Martha, they are in a custom color!

Visit: http://www.cetaceacorp.com/s-step-in-pet-dog-harness.html

Call: 800-223-2833 and speak to Victor
 
 
 
 

Where to Donate Money for the Victims of the Sonoma/Napa Wildfires

We’ve gotten emails from many of our readers and customers asking us where to donate money for the victims (furry and otherwise) of the Sonoma/Napa wild fires. Since this is our ‘hood and we know most of these organizations personally you can feel assured that your money will go where you intend it to go. This cannot be said of the American Red Cross – sadly, stories of squandering money have been circulating for many years.

For cats and dogs, and other small animals:
Sonoma Humane Society
5345 Highway 12
Santa Rosa, CA 95407

You can watch videos and see photos on their Facebook page. Many animals are already re-united with their families. They gave shelter to a personal friend’s two dogs when he and his family had to evacuate (they are all back home now)
https://www.facebook.com/SonomaHumane/

For wildlife rescue and rehabilitation:
WildCare
76 Albert Park Lane
San Rafael, CA 94901

Their Facebook page isn’t being updated very often due to the high demand to help wild birds and animals. Our own bunny vet, Dr. Deborah Scheenstra is one of WildCare’s volunteer veterinarians and Auntie Cat Faerie’s chiropractor is on their Squirrel Team.
https://www.facebook.com/WildCareBayArea/

To help farms and farmers who have lost everything or who’s land is being fouled by the toxins and ash falling from the sky:
CAFF (Community Alliance with Family Farmers)
PO Box 363
Davis, CA 956616
http://www.caff.org/north-bay-fires/

Of special interest – the USDA offers assistance to farms who have been affected by disaster anywhere in the US.
https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/disaster-assistance-program/index

 
 
 
 

The Heartbreaking Napa and Sonoma Fires

As you know we are in San Francisco, just a wine bottle’s throw away from the fires. As our skies are full of smoky air we are following this horror closely. In particular we are tracking how it’s effecting animals – and donating. If you’d like to follow the Sonoma Humane Society’s effects to rescue and reunite. Here’s their Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/SonomaHumane/

Sonoma and Napa counties are very dear to us in so many ways. We have many friends and business partners there, and friends of friends, so many memories, and so much more. The scenery and the people are like no place else. So many memories and beautiful experiences.

We are so painfully aware of all every tragic event this year and how each of these crises are affecting all of us, including the animals that have been harmed directly or indirectly. Remember, every single action, every single thought has either a positive effect or a negative one. Love. Remember to love. It’s a choice and you can easily make it even on those rough days when it’s so easy to go down the negative road. Don’t do it. Take the high road, persist and be kind. And help others and animals in any way that you can.

 

FOUND CAT 10/9/17: Stray Neutered Male Tabby with white chest. No collar. This sweet cat was found under a car in the Sutter Santa Rosa Hospital lot. He is currently safe at Sonoma Humane Society 707-542-0882. Please spread the word. #LOSTPETSsonomacountyfire2017
 
 
 
 

How Hemingway’s six-toed cats in Key West survived Irma unscathed

When Hurricane Irma did a direct hit on the Florida keys last weekend, it could have been very dangerous for the colony of 54 cats that live at the Hemingway House and Museum in Key West. Many of the cats have six toes and are reportedly descendants of Snowball, a six-toed white cat given to Hemingway by a ship’s captain in the 1930’s.

But as you know, cats are very smart. The Hemingway cats knew when it was time to take shelter in the museum, along with 10 people. All the cats and people made it through Irma unhurt.

You can find out more and see more pictures in the article at the Washington Post website – Hemingway’s six-toed cats survive Irma, still have nine lives

 

 

 
 
 
 

How To Help Animal Victims of Hurricane Harvey and How to Prepare for Emergencies

Our resident feline expert – Issac Newton – writes on how to help cats and other animals affected by Hurricane Harvey, as well as preparing your own household for emergencies.


Newton’s Purrspective – Hurricane Harvey and Beyond

You have probably heard of the courageous people risking their own lives to save abandoned animals following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in Texas. http://www.lovemeow.com/cats-rescued-houston-residents-stay-behind-to-help-save-stranded-animals-from-flood-waters-2478964880.html?from=homer

You may also be wondering what you can do to help. But aren’t sure who to trust with your efforts or hard-earned money.




Isaac Newton

Most of us are not in a position to physically help with rescue efforts, so you might be considering sending money to a relief organization. Many groups are doing wonderful work, but sadly, not all can be trusted in this electronic world. Since 9/11 there have been many stories, for example, about The American Red Cross not distributing money as they promised.

How can you tell if your potential recipient will spend the money to help hurricane victims? How can you tell if an unfamiliar group is a legitimate charity? The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance http://www.give.org/for-donors/about-specific-giving-guidance/disaster-relief-donations/ is an excellent place to start.

Rescue organizations across the country are partnering up to help the overcrowded Texas shelters by transporting displaced animals to other states. If you live in a state near Texas your local shelter may be accepting some of these cats, dogs and other animals like bunnies. If you know a shelter that is taking in evacuated pets you can donate food, bedding, cat litter, dishes etc.

In general, cats are very “location oriented” and have a much more difficult time with losing their homes than “people oriented” dogs. Perhaps you have experience in foster care. Fostering a displaced animal can not only supply an immediate need, it can also free up room at shelters.

In fact, if you have been considering adopting a cat, now is a great time to do it. (Of course, attempts will be made to reunite families, but there are many adoptable cats in shelters waiting for forever homes.)

Hurricane season is not over and disasters are possible wherever you live. The Red Cross explains how to prepare yourself for such emergency situations. http://www.redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/be-red-cross-ready/get-a-kit However, animals are not considered and may not be allowed in shelters designated for people only.

Redrover has been helping animals in crisis situations for 30 years. Their website provides a comprehensive list of supplies needed for cats. https://redrover.org/disaster-supplies-cats

Cat Faeries flower essences may also help Kitty through a stressful situation. I recommend Moves and Changes, and Calm and Serene. Convivial House Cat can be used in tandem for added calming and the ability to cope with stress.

Having a plan and supplies gathered is as important as having a list of emergency numbers by your phone. You might get a few backpacks and fill them with first aid materials, cash in small bills, food and water for all of the species in your home and keep them near the front door or the garage door in the event that you need to make a quick exit. It’s always a good idea to have carriers in good shape, clean and that contain a carrier pad – Cat Faeries waterproof washable pads are excellent choice. And, of course, the time to make your plan is now – long before you are told to evacuate.

Another wise precaution is posting a sign saying there are animals inside your house to alert first responders. https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack Wallet cards and keyring tags saying “my pet is home alone” are widely available and could save lives if you are sick or injured and unable to return home.

While this story centered on Hurricane Harvey, at the time of this writing Hurricane Irma was threatening to strike. We also cannot forget about the horrible fires in The Pacific Northwest, throughout California including Los Angeles and Yosemite National Park, Montana, Oregon and the people and animals who will be displaced, or worse.

Help others whenever you can, and above all, be safe! And be sure to hug and kiss your cat and loved ones!



Photo courtesy of the Southeast Volusia Humane Society
 
 
 
 

Cats and the Solar Eclipse

Here’s an article about cats and the upcoming solar eclipse from our resident feline expert (who is a feline) – Issac Newton.


Newton’s Purrspective – The Great American Solar Eclipse

In ancient times a solar eclipse was a frightening event often attributed to powerful animals. Ancient Chinese believed a dragon was swallowing the Sun. Medieval Vikings blamed wolves wandering in the sky for the loss of light. Potential consequences of an eclipse were always tragic: plague, blindness, and political upheaval, to name but a few. Change in the established order has always been feared. https://qz.com/1015987/solar-eclipse-myths-persist-despite-scientific-evidence-disproving-them/

On August 21st the United States will experience its first coast to coast total solar eclipse since 1918. Naturally, this rare event has generated a lot of excitement, though not of the ancient variety. People plan to travel to areas where the eclipse will be most spectacular (the path of totality, where the sun will be totally blocked by the moon) and are purchasing special glasses to protect their eyes while observing.




Isaac Newton

But what about animals? Should cats be wearing protective goggles? Will the eclipse alter their behavior? Will they be frightened? All of these are valid concerns so let’s look at what is going to happen on the 21st.

The total eclipse will be visible in a narrow band across the US. (Adjacent areas will witness a partial eclipse which can still be dramatic.) https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/solar/2017-august-21 It will last less than 3 minutes, but the skies will darken for approximately 90 minutes. Wildlife may be confused by the “short day”. For example, birds could start roosting, a natural behavior at dusk or when a storm is approaching.

The total eclipse will first be visible in Oregon near 10:15 am local time. It will end in South Carolina around 2:50 pm local time.

Despite centuries of living with humans cats have not lost the sleep patterns that are essential to survival. They sleep many hours to conserve energy and are most active at dawn and dusk when their natural prey is foraging for food. They also sleep lightly and wake up frequently (the origin of the term “cat nap”).

The middle of the day is prime naptime for cats. They may miss those rays of sun on the floor but it’s not likely to be cause for alarm. The biggest potential stressor is for outdoor cats disturbed by crowds of people and their dogs jostling for the best viewpoint.

Cats do pick up on the moods of their people. So if there is a lot of excitement and activity at your house during the eclipse Kitty might choose to hide. Cat Faeries mood music and flower essences can be helpful, not just during the eclipse, but in any stressful situation.

NOTE: Protective glasses for cats are not needed. Cats love to sleep in the sunlight, but they have no incentive to look directly at the Sun. In fact, when outside cats are focused on the environment around and below them — they rarely look up. Cats may be known for their curiosity, but I know I won’t be wondering where the Sun went. I’ll be napping!