Category Archives: cats

Alley Cat Allies Celebrates World Veterinary Day

This Saturday, April 25, Alley Cat Allies observes World Veterinary Day by recognizing veterinarians and their crucial role in protecting cats. Veterinarians not only serve their communities by providing care and treatment for cats, they are also vital sources of information about cats and cat health.

This year’s World Veterinary Day theme is “Vector-Borne Diseases with a Zoonotic Potential,” which is a subject veterinarians are often asked about regarding outdoor cats. As experts, veterinarians are uniquely positioned to answer questions from the public and dispel common myths about zoonoses—myths and undue fear that can cost cats their lives. Veterinarians can use their knowledge and experience to help people understand that outdoor cats are healthy members of the community.


For example, the enormous success of rabies vaccination and prevention in the United States is illustrative of the impact of veterinarians and their support for effective, humane programs like Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) for community cats, which are often the largest providers of rabies vaccinations in communities. The fact is there has not been a single cat to human rabies transmission in the United States in 40 years, and this impressive record is due in large part to veterinary practice and education, as well as the growth of TNR programs nationally.

In a Trap Neuter Return (TNR) program, community cats—also called feral cats—are humanely trapped, brought to a veterinarian to be neutered, vaccinated, and eartipped (the universal sign of a neutered and vaccinated cat). Unsocialized cats are returned to their outdoor home, while socialized cats and kittens are adopted. Trap-Neuter-Return works—it is the mainstream approach to community cats and is supported by veterinarians across the country.

“The importance of cooperation between veterinarians and community cat groups cannot be understated,” says Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies. “Together, they create a powerful coalition that saves cats’ lives and mobilizes the community with knowledge and resources.”

Alley Cat Allies supports veterinarians by providing them with the information they need to respond to and educate community members on cat health and dispelling common misconceptions and myths about community cats. Alley Cat Allies also sponsors trainings throughout the country to provide hands-on experience for veterinarians in high-volume spay and neuter procedures, as well as teaching veterinarians how to respond to the unique needs of community cats.

Resources for veterinarians can be found on Alley Cat Allies’ website at In addition, veterinarians are encouraged to sign an online pledge to show their support for TNR.

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Set Your DVRs! Feline Wellness in the spotlight tomorrow.

Move over Good Morning America–change up your morning news routine this Monday and support feline wellness’ moment in the spotlight! Tune in to The Discovery Channel Monday, April 20, 2015 at 7:30 a.m. EST / PST, 6:30am CST and check out The American Association of Feline Practitioners’ (AAFP) feline wellness-focused segment on the TV series Innovations with Ed Begley Jr. Not an early bird? No problem. Set your DVR in advance or visit: Monday morning to watch the full segment.

AAFP Feline Wellness

The AAFP is using this as an opportunity to educate cat owners on the importance of routine check-ups and hoping you’ll join us in spreading the word. Eighty-three percent of cats are taken to the vet in the first year of ownership, yet over half of them don’t return!

JOIN THE FUN! #AAFPonTV Social Media Photo Hunt Contest: We’re asking fans to keep their eyes peeled while watching our segment, launching April 20th in this photo hunt contest. We’ll choose a fan (who answers the question correctly) at random to win a $25 gift card and a bag of feline goodies.

Make your vet visit easier for you, and your cat. Here’s a great cat friendly practice to try with your cat:

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Pet Travel Tips

Pet Travel TipsTraveling with your pet can be fun for everyone with a little planning. It’s important to understand the rules before you go so your trip can be as smooth as possible.

I love this little antidote about a man who wanted to travel with his dog (author unknown).

A man wrote a letter to a hotel: “I would very much like to bring my dog with me. He is well-groomed and very well behaved. Would you be willing to permit me to keep him in my room with me?”

An immediate reply came from the hotel owner, who said, “I’ve been operating this hotel for many years. In all that time, I’ve never had a dog steal towels, linens, silverware or pictures off the walls. I’ve never had to evict a dog in the middle of the night for being drunk and disorderly. We’ve never had a dog that smoked in bed and set fire to the blankets. We’ve never had a dog who played the TV too loud or had a fight with his traveling companion. So, if your dog can vouch for you, you’re welcome, too!”

Here are a few tips to make your travels with pets a bit easier.

Call Ahead

The hotel website might say it allows pets, but be sure to call ahead anyway. Sometimes a policy change takes place but a website update doesn’t. The last thing you want is to show up only to be told that a particular hotel doesn’t follow the chain policy for pets.

Weight Limits

Many hotels have weight limits and even pet type restrictions. This policy seems to be in place to discourage very large dogs, as most weight limits seem to hover around 25 pounds. It’s unlikely they will actually ask to weigh your dog at check in, but if you know your pooch goes over the limit be sure to get permission in place before hand.

It can help to speak directly to a manger, especially if you explain that your dog is well behaved and won’t be left alone in the hotel room.


No one would enjoy a vacation if they heard a dog barking at all hours. Goodness, even people can be loud and annoying with their behaviors in hotels, so being considerate is rule number one.

If you know your dog is prone to bark, especially when left alone, make sure you don’t leave them alone in the room. Even well trained dogs can bark in new environments, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Do your best to minimize barking though, even if a hotel is pet friendly they can still ask guests to leave for any reason.


There are usually extra fees involved in having your pet stay at a hotel. Make sure you ask if the fee is one time (at the end of the stay), or if it is an added nightly fee. This fee will vary depending on the hotel.

You may also be asked for a deposit. The deposit is there to protect the hotel from damage that a pet may cause to the room. The deposit is given back to you at checkout if all is well.

Be courteous.

Nothing is worse for other pet owners than those who want to ruin it for everyone. Be courteous and clean up after your pet. Follow the rules of the hotel. Help pet travelers gain a reputation for being guests hotels want to have.

Have fun, and safe travels!

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Alley Cat Allies’ lifesaving spring kitten protection tips

Kitten care tips
Photo courtesy of Alley Cat Allies

Now that kitten season is in full swing, we want to make sure that those who care for kittens have the information and resources they need to help those kittens grow up to be healthy cats. Alley Cat Allies’ wrote the following tips to help those who help kittens.


BETHESDA, MD – Spring marks the beginning of kitten season, when babies are born to community cats who have not yet been trapped, neutered, and returned. Taking home a kitten found outdoors is not necessarily a good idea. Alley Cat Allies offers the following springtime kitten-protection tips:

1. Leave kittens with mom. Like all babies, kittens are best left with their mothers who instinctively know how to help their offspring grow up to be strong and healthy cats. Neonatal kittens, 4 weeks old or younger, need constant care and still depend on mom for 100 percent of their food. Kittens 5 to 8 weeks old can begin to eat wet food but are still being weaned. If you know the mother is present, it is best to leave kittens with her. To determine whether the mother is caring for the kittens, wait and observe for two-to- four hours to see if the mother returns. She could just be out looking for food. If she doesn’t return, the kittens could be abandoned. A young kitten living outdoors who does not have a mother present should be taken in and fostered. To determine the age of a kitten, use Alley Cat Allies’ Kitten Progression Chart at

2. Don’t bring neonatal kittens to an animal shelter. Most shelters are not equipped or trained to provide the necessary round-the-clock care for neonatal kittens. If a kitten can’t eat on his own, he will likely be killed at the shelter. Realistically, it’s never a good idea to take a cat to a shelter, no matter the age or level of socialization. More than 70 percent of cats who enter shelters are killed. That number rises to virtually 100 percent for feral cats. Killing is never the answer—it is inhumane and it fails to stabilize or reduce outdoor cat populations.

3. Volunteer as a kitten foster parent for a local rescue group. There are kitten foster parent programs associated with rescue groups across the country. Though it is an investment of time and requires training, volunteering to foster young kittens is lifesaving and rewarding.

4. Support and practice Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). TNR is the only effective and humane way of decreasing feral cat populations. In a TNR program, community cats are humanely trapped and brought to a veterinarian to be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and eartipped (the universal symbol that a cat has been neutered and vaccinated) before being returned to their outdoor homes. Learn more about TNR at

Spaying and neutering community cats prevents new litters, drastically reducing the impact of kitten season. Cats as young as 4 months can have litters, so it is important to spay and neuter kittens as soon as they are ready. A good rule of thumb is the 2 Pound Spay/Neuter Rule—kittens can be safely spayed or neutered at 2 months of age or as soon as they weigh 2 pounds. Learn more about pediatric spay and neuter at

5. Advocate for policies and programs that protect cats. Contact your shelter and local officials and tell them you support lifesaving policies for cats, including spay/neuter funding and spay/neuter before adoption. Write letters and call in support of community outreach and education programs that spread awareness about community cats and TNR– you can make a big difference.

Check out for a comprehensive guide to caring for kittens.

About Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Allies is the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. Founded in 1990 and celebrating 25 years of saving cats, today Alley Cat Allies has over half a million supporters and helps tens of thousands of individuals, communities, and organizations save and improve the lives of millions of cats and kittens nationwide. Its website is

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