Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Feeding a feral cat colony

When I learned about my friend moving a few hours away, I was sad. When she approached me about taking care of her feral colony, I felt honored. Now, I am now a proud caretaker of six feral cats.

Ferals are cats that are free roaming and do not want to live with humans. I have such a respect for these resourceful felines who form bonds with other cats in their situation, establish a hierarchy, and adapt to their ever changing environment. Caretakers are the people that help their community cats, or ferals, by humanely trapping the cats in the colony, bringing them to a veterinarian to neuter or spay and vaccinate the cats, and then return the cats to the colony to live their natural lives. This practice is called TNR, Trap-Neuter-Return, and sometimes TNRM, with the “M” standing for “maintain.”

I look at this opportunity, my own colony, as a great way to help these cats in our community. I hope to be a great guardian-- putting out food and water, shelter for the weather extremes, humanely catching any sick or injured cats for veterinary care when necessary, and fixing any newcomers that happen to absorb into the colony.

Last weekend I brought my morning coffee, my binoculars, and my camera to catch sight of my new charges. One was eager enough to chow on the wet food that he even welcomed my touch. What an extraordinary gift! The others waited warily in the bushes until I sat a safe distance of ten feet away, then they cautiously approached the food all the while keeping a watchful eye on what I was up to. I felt like I was on a safari of sorts, but the kind of shots I took was from a camera and taking in my subjects through my binoculars.

It was a great way to spend a Saturday morning, and I look forward to many more such mornings as I learn more about my feral colony!

Autumn Wagner
Adoption Program Director

Monday, August 16, 2010

Name our kittens and win a prize!

These five adorable little girls have just come into the No More Homeless Pets in Utah adoption program, along with their lovely mom, Jessica. Now they’re moving onto the next chapter in their lives: finding their forever homes. But how in the world can they do that without names?

They are all as cute as they can be, and each one has a unique personality and needs a special name that suits her. We need to name them before they go to the vet to be spayed in September. That’s a big task, so we decided to ask you to help us by holding a contest to find the best five names for these little ones.

Now’s the time to use your creativity! When these kittens get old enough to go to adoptions, a cute and appropriate name will help catch a potential adopter’s interest and give each little one a chance to find that perfect home. So get creative and send us your best five names, and we'll reward with a prize! (See the Contest Rules below for instructions.)


One prize will be awarded to the person who submits the winning 5 names. That prize consists of a gift basket full of treats for your kitties, including a gift certificate to the Dog’s Meow pet food store AND a $50 Dining Certificate to La Caille for you!


Because the kittens don't have names yet, we can only identify them by numbers. You can find photos of the individual kittens on our Facebook page.

Kitten #1 is a black and white tuxedo with white paws and white whiskers. She has a front foot deformity but she’s always one of the first ones to climb out of the cage and take off. She's a big lover and likes to be picked up and snuggled. She's the first one to win everyone’s heart!

Kitten #2 is a black and white tuxedo with a white chin, toes, whiskers and eyebrows. She is the shyest and tends to hang out in the cage more than the others do. She also has the roundest tummy – probably because she’s the first one to get to mom! She loves to play with her sisters and comes out of the cage to chase them around. She likes to be petted and will probably be a real lap cat.

Kitten #3 is a mackerel tabby with white tummy, legs and face. She is definitely the hungriest and follows her poor mom everywhere looking for a free meal. She’s very sweet and has been the first one to be playful. She is also the fastest one, and loves to run!

Kitten #4 is a ticked tabby with bowed legs. She is the most active. She’s also the loudest! She zooms around, squeaking the whole time, exploring the whole room. But she’s extra cuddly and is the most curious about people. She’s a little lover!

Kitten #5 is a ticked tabby with normal front legs and the cutest spotted tummy of them all. She is the smallest, but despite that, she’s usually the one who picks the fights! She’s really curious about people and will climb into the nearest lap. But then she'll suddenly she realizes where she is and off she goes.

Now that you've been introduced, it's time for you to give these kittens the best names you can think of!

1. Each entry must contain a name for each of the five kittens and must identify which name goes with which kitten.
2. Each name must be an acceptable name for a human female.
3. Names that are currently being used for our adoptable cats are not eligible. You can find a list of those names on our website by going to our Adoptable Pets list.
4. Only email entries will be accepted. Send your entries to: Cassandra@utahpets.org. Include “Kitten Naming Contest” in the subject of your email. Please include your full name and contact information.
5. All entries must be submitted by midnight on September 1, 2010.
6. The winner will be notified by email on September 6, 2010. The prizes can be picked up at our office, 8029 S. 700 East, during regular working hours after that date.
7. You may submit as many entries as you want. Each set of 5 names will be treated as one entry.
8. No More Homeless Pets in Utah reserves the right to use any name submitted for adoptable animals in the future.
9. Employees of No More Homeless Pets in Utah are not eligible.

Our FIV friends deserve a home, too!

Last month I found myself taking in another poor kitty who had been tossed aside and abandoned by society. Lucky, a severely matted cream and tan long haired kitty with large sad eyes, had started coming around my home.

He was nearly starved to death when we came across him, and had a terribly swollen and infected paw with a huge gash in it. Finally, after several attempts to get close to him, he gave in and let us pick him up. After a bath and several extensive grooming sessions, a soft adorable cat had appeared.

Shortly after, I had his paw doctored up and got with getting neutered, vaccinated, micro chipped, and tested for diseases. He did test positive for FIV, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus , which wasn't a surprise since FIV is mainly transmitted between cats sexually, or through deep bites. Lucky had a lot of open wounds and also wasn't fixed, so I had suspected that he might be infected.

Since my goal for Lucky was to find him a loving home of his own, I knew that testing positive might be an obstacle. People might be a little scared off, as at one point I was. Years ago, when we lived downtown, my husband and I took in a small ragged little tabby who was desperately in need of a home. Although at the time we were not technically allowed to have another pet, I could not resist any longer and had to take him in. He jumped into my arms, and we were best friends from then on! He was so small we just naturally started calling him Tiny. I wanted to get him checked before mixing him into our other cats, so I took him to the closest animal clinic.

They tested him for FIV, and his test was positive. I knew nothing about the virus, and at first the diagnosis sounded a little scary. The vet there made it sound like Tiny was going to have an awful existence and the humane thing to do would be to euthanize him there on the spot. That seemed rash, so I wanted to get a second opinion. Soon after, I took Tiny to another animal clinic. They had confirmed that he was infected, but our new vet was hopeful and put my concerns to rest. She explained things to me.

People cannot get it, and as far as my other cats that were at home they would be fine as long as they were all fixed, since that lowers a cat’s desire to fight. If for some reason there was any fighting going on, there would be a slim chance of someone else getting it. But it would be hard, as there would have to be a deep wound involved, and a lot of blood shared. My new vet said that she had feline patients who were healthy and living with FIV for years. The FIV negative cats were never infected and everyone seemed to get along. With relief, we took him in. We were so glad we did!

Although at first glance he was not the most attractive cat, he was abnormally huggy and it didn't take long for him to charm anyone who came over for a visit. Soon our friends and family quickly became fans of our sweet little alley cat! He became a special favorite with my nieces. They would even dress him up and he would sit there and happily participate. We knew his immune system was more delicate, so we always kept a close eye on him, although he really didn't need any special treatment. He live with us, a healthy and happy cat, for over 8 years.

But then one day during the Spring Super Adoption of 2008, he suddenly started to get weak and hid under the bathroom sink. I took him into my vet to get examined, but his health was sadly deteriorating quickly. He peacefully died early that next morning.

Although that weekend, I had helped hundreds of other animals find homes, my heart was broken and I could only think about him. I was so glad we had given him a chance and that he had 8 full years to live his short but meaningful life. Ever since then, every time I see that corner of the patio where he liked to sun bathe, a little part of me imagines him there, and I miss him. He loved sitting under the potted plants that we put out every summer.

I am so glad our vet told us to give our Tiny a chance and a loving home. He brought do much joy to our lives and I can't imagine not giving him a chance.

If you’re considering adopting a cat, I encourage you to not overlook the wonderful FIV kitties that are available. We have some especially wonderful cats up for adoption in our program, such as Frankie, who are just waiting to give you lots of love—just like Tiny gave to us!

Maranda Hawkes
Volunteer Coordinator

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Meet Jeanie, the tiniest kitten at NMHPU!

Jeanie is one of the newest additions to our adoptions program--and the youngest kitten in our program. She's not yet for adoption because she's only one week old, but she's already seeking her forever home.

We found Jeanie at a feral colony when she was only one day old. Her mom and her
littermates were nowhere to be found, and this tiny kitten--barely bigger than a mouse!--was crying out for help. Her eyes and ears were still shut tight when we picked her up, and she was clearly hungry. We quickly got Jeanie to a foster home experienced with newborn kittens, and she'll be staying there until she is old enough to be adopted.

As you can see from her photos, she's one of the cutest kittens you'll find, with an adorable skunk-like stripe down her face.

So you can follow Jeanie's progress, we'll be posting her photos and updates in future blog entries--and also have a Jeanie photo album on our Facebook page!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Meet Hopeful Hope!

Hope got her name because any cat that goes into the shelter in the condition that she did and lives to tell the tale gives hope to all animals.

Hope was originally picked up in 2007 by an animal control officer after she was hit by a car. The officer took her back to the shelter, where staff found that Hope’s accident left her with a broken pelvis. But she didn't let that stop her! She was a determined little gal even then, and that day, she dragged her back legs behind her to make it to the litter box in her cage.

We fell in love with this special cat, and we were determined that she could have a new chance at life. With a strong will to survive, some medical care to help her heal, and lots of love, Hope recovered nicely and was ready for a new home. A new family adopted her, but, sadly, it was not to be her permanent family. Only 10 months later, she was dropped off at a shelter -- where her adopters were seeking euthanasia simply because she needed dental services. Luckily, the shelter scanned Hope for a microchip before euthanasia, and they found that she had a No More Homeless Pets in Utah microchip. Here at No More Homeless Pets in Utah, we make a lifetime commitment to all of our animals. So at that time, Hope safely made her way back to us and received a check-up and dental care before moving into her foster home.

Despite the rough life that Hope has had so far, she is a very loving and affectionate gal. She's the sweetest, most gentle lap cat you’ve ever met, and loves other cats and even dogs. She’s a real cuddler and loves to sleep in bed with her people. She’ll snuggle up next to you with a paw always stretched out to touch you while she sleeps. Hope has been patiently waiting for 3 years for a forever home where she will be taken care of and loved for the rest of her life. If you want a feline companion who will return your love for the rest of her life, Hope is your girl!

Amber Randall
Adoption Coordinator

Friday, August 6, 2010

Meet Kalinda Solbes, Interim Executive Director!

I've always known that I wanted to work with animals, and I have been in my dream job for the last 7 years. That's how long it has been my privilege to work for No More Homeless Pets in Utah, working towards our mission of ending the euthanasia of dogs and cats in Utah and to promote humane alternatives for feral cats.

I love spay and neuter, and I believe it's one of the most important keys to reaching our mission. I started out as a veterinary technician on the Big Fix, a challenging job where I worked in a cramped space helping to fix 30 to 80 animals each day. Before I worked there, I never realized what a need there was for low cost spay and neuter services. At the Big Fix, people get in line all year round, rain or shine, and many people admit that if we wouldn't have come to their town, they wouldn't have gotten their pet fixed.

After having a baby, my first non-hairy child, I was fortunate enough to become the office manager at NMHPU, then for the last 5 years, I have been the spay and neuter director. As the spay and neuter director, my greatest accomplishment has been to get the Utah County Spay and Neuter Clinic up and running.

Now I am excited to step into the role of interim executive director and expand my knowledge to all of the programs we are pursuing to fulfill our mission. I would be afraid of this change - except that I know what a great group of staff and volunteers I will be working with. Because of what all you do to support our mission, I know that we will reach our goals.

Thank you for this opportunity to be a part reaching our goal of No More Homeless Pets.