Michigan Shelter Survey Report for 2011

I’ll warn you now, this may not be the most cheerful blog post, but we need to talk about it.



Every year millions (yes, millions) of cats and dogs are euthanized because shelters lack the space and the funding for food and medical treatments to keep every animal in need that comes to their doors. When I was in school, I saw the reality of putting perfectly healthy, perfectly lovely dogs and cats to sleep because there was nowhere to house them. I watched them die right before my eyes. A dog who was wagging his tail and smiling at everyone one moment was dead the next. The cat who was meowing and purring and being friendly ended up laying dead and lifeless before me.

It’s horrible, but, with the way things are structured right now, it’s necessary. Animals can’t be packed like sardines in kennels for health and well being reasons, so some of them have to be euthanized. Animals with treatable medical conditions can’t be kept in shelters because there just isn’t money to treat them, so they are euthanized.

In 2011 in the state of Michigan, 30,680 dogs (6,136  of them puppies) and 54,334 cats (22,401 of them kittens) were euthanized.

These numbers emphasize how very important it is to spay (females) or neuter (males) your cats and dogs. It is also a good reason not to buy from a breeder when there are millions of animals who die homeless every year. That’s kind of a tangent, though, so we’ll stick to spaying and neutering in this post while acknowledging that there are other factors that affect over population in shelters across the country.


So, how big a deal is it really? I’ve told you numbers for my home state, but let me show you some graphics to help illustrate my point.



It’s not hard to see how pet over population became such a problem.

Now, I understand that spaying and neutering can be expensive. I get calls at work all the time from people asking for quotes on spay/neuter. There are more and more reduced cost spay/neuter places than ever before, though. In my area there’s the Spay Neuter Express and C-Snip. If you’re not sure where any are in your area, don’t hesitate to call your veterinarian. Sure, they want you to come to them, but if it’s a case of getting your pet fixed or not, they’d rather you get the surgery done. You can also ask your local Humane Society or county shelter.

On behalf of the millions of animals who die pointlessly each year, please do your part. Spay or neuter your cat or dog.


Litter Tracks

I don’t know about you, but I am constantly discovering little pieces of cat litter throughout my house. Sure, we vacuum on a regular basis, but the little bits of litter always return. So, what to do to cut down on the litter found outside the litter box?

Put a mat outside the box.

We’ve done this already and while it does catch a lot of the litter, we still have some litter that gets tracked around.






Get a box with a built in track pad.

With these, you have to make sure to clean out the track or litter will eventually spill out.



Use a heavier/bulkier litter.

If the pieces of litter are bigger, they’re less likely to get stuck between your cat’s toes.

Trim the hair between their toes.

Carefully trim the hair between their toes and this can help cut down on the amount of litter that gets stuck. Only trim it so it’s even with their pads.

Train them to use the toilet.

What about you? Have you come up with any ways to cut down on the amount of litter tracked through the house?

Published in: on July 16, 2012 at 4:13 pm  Comments (2)  
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Taking Your Cat To the Vet

Almost everyone I know who owns a cat (myself included!) dreads taking them to the vet. Let’s face it, they just don’t usually travel as well as dogs. Things don’t have to be traumatic, though. Here are a few tips that might make taking your cat to the vet less stressful for everyone!

Start Young

Kittens (just like human babies) adjust better to new and novel experiences than adult cats (just like adult humans!). Start getting them accustomed to the carrier as soon as you can. This isn’t to say that older cats can’t adjust, too, it might just take a bit more time and patience for them.




Keep the Carrier Out

If your cat only sees the carrier when it’s time to go to the vet, of course they’re going to hightail it when you bring it out! Keep it out, instead, open and somewhere they can interact with it if they choose. My cats play in and on their carrier. Sam even sleeps in it sometimes!

Be patient, though. Some cats can take weeks before they’re comfortable with the carrier being out. Eventually, the goal is to have them exploring the carrier on their own. Don’t try to force them!

Make the Carrier Cushy

Make the carrier as nice a place to be as possible. Put some of your cat’s favorite bedding or toys in there and maybe a treat or two. If your cat likes catnip, try sprinkling a little inside. Keep the goodies in the carrier fresh by replenishing or changing it out every few days.

Give Food Inside the Carrier

Try putting your cat’s food dish in the carrier and see if he will eat in there. If he won’t, put the dish a few feet away from the carrier and slowly move it inch by inch closer each day as long as he keeps eating. If he stops eating, move the dish back a little until he eats and then slowly start the progression again.

Some cats might not go in the carrier with you around for fear of being shut in, so try leaving or moving across the room and see if that helps.

Teach Your Cat

Once we’ve reached the comfortable with and eating in the carrier stage, try teaching your cat to go in. You can use a command as simple as the word ‘in.’

Start by calling your cat over to the carrier for a treat. Chuck it into the carrier and when he goes in, say ‘in’ or whatever command you’ve chosen. While he’s in there, make sure to praise him and tell him what a good cat he is. When he comes out, chuck another treat in there and repeat the process.

Once you’ve got that down like pros, try saying your command first before treating. He should go into the carrier. When he does, make sure to give him a treat while he’s still in the carrier. He’ll start to figure out that the carrier is fun!

Close the Door

With a firm grasp of the carrier command, have your cat go into the carrier, but this time, shut and latch the door before slipping in the treat. Once he’s eaten it, open the door and let him out. Repeat this. Over time, increase the amount of time the door is closed. As long as he’s relaxed inside the carrier, give him a treat. If he freaks out or tries to get out, don’t give him a treat, let him out, and try again with less time for the door being closed.

Pick Up the Carrier

Once we’ve mastered hanging out in the carrier with the door closed, it’s time to pick up the carrier. Don’t do anything else. With the door latched and your cat inside, pick up the carrier and then immediately set it back down and let your cat out.

Walk With the Carrier

After we’ve remained calm with the carrier in the air, try walking a few steps with it. Then set it down. As long as the cat remains calm, reward him with a treat before letting him out.

Go Outside

Now that we’re comfortable with the carrier being in the air and moving, it’s time to go outside. Don’t go far. Try just stepping out of your front door and then going back inside. Always make sure the cat is calm during the training steps. Gradually increase your distance as long as the cat is relaxed.

Eventually, walk around the block or up and down the street with your cat in the carrier. For this, make sure you’re carrying the carrier firmly and safely and that the door is properly latched shut.

The Car

As long as all of the other training steps have been mastered, we can now progress to the car. At first, just put the carrier in the car. If your cat is relaxed, give him a treat in the carrier and then take the carrier out when he’s finished eating. Slowly increase the time period in the car to a few minutes.

Now start the car and shut it off. Again, gradually increase the time that the car is running.

Back up and pull forward. Shut the car off. Always keeping things gradual and within your cat’s comfort zone as you gradually increase your drive time.

Your cat may never be totally happy in the carrier or driving in the car, but if we can keep the experience from being traumatic, not only is it better for your cat, but it’s better for you and the veterinary staff that will have to examine your cat! I would also like to add that a carrier is indeed a necessity for taking your cat to the vet. Not only does it ensure safety for your cat during the drive, but it also ensures safety from the car to the front door of the clinic. A lot of clinics are on very busy roads and a panicked cat isn’t thinking straight when they leap from your arms and race away from you.


Stay safe and enjoy life’s journey!

Charity Dine with the ASPCA

From July 11th to July 16th, the ASPCA and restaurant.com have a cool promotion going. You can buy a $200 restaurant.com gift card for $30. 10% of the proceeds go to the ASPCA. That’s a nice date night! These would make great gifts, too!

Published in: on July 9, 2012 at 11:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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