Karel Minor, CEO of Humane Pennsylvania 

We are finally knocking it down.

Humane Pennsylvania is very excited to have announced the beginning of the next step in our Healthy Pets Initiative in Berks County: the demolition and rebuilding of our animal shelter in Reading, PA.  This project isn’t merely about building a prettier shelter, although it will definitely be a prettier shelter.  The new facility will be a groundbreaking new approach to how animal welfare services are delivered, one which will serve as a model for the nation.

Having moved our community up to, and often over, the edge of the “magic” no kill 90% save rates for healthy and treatable animals, we have been developing innovative ways to help more of the most health and behaviorally challenged animals currently entering our shelters.  We have also been focusing on providing resources to keep animals from entering our shelters in the first place.  Out of this work, Humane Pennsylvania’s Healthy Pets Initiative was born, and America’s first Healthy Pets Community is just around the corner.

The Healthy Pets Initiative took a constellation of lifesaving services that are proven to make a positive difference in animals’ lives and to decrease shelter intake and euthanasia, and reconfigured them strategically to have a multiplying impact.  Ultra-low and no cost vaccinations and sterilizations, free microchip identification, community cat services, and pet food supports (all offered via Humane Pennsylvania’s veterinary hospitals and staff) target the core foundations of pet relinquishment.  Combined with our existing services offered through our nationally accredited Humane Veterinary Hospitals in Reading and Lancaster, which offer market rates for those who can afford them and sliding scale rates and payment plan supports for those in economic distress, we’ve made a significant impact.

But there is still a portion of the population of pet caretakers that need more support than these hospitals can provide.  Our new animal shelter will provide that additional support by combining sheltering operations with ultra-high efficiency and volume veterinary services.  This can provide services economically for our charitable organization and close the “sick care gap” that exists for the most economically challenged in our community.

Put simply, if you have money, you can turn to any vet.  If you have some money, our hospitals have been here to help.  But if you have no money or face a major and expensive health crisis with your pet that is beyond your economic means, you may have faced giving up or even euthanizing your pet just because you didn’t have any other option.   Our new community animal shelter and veterinary clinic will provide caretakers with options they previously did not have.  In fact, the new facility will place veterinary professionals and social work oriented staff at the front line of animal intake to offer the supports which might keep that pet at home where it belongs.

Once we have this entire continuum of care provided for the City of Reading and adjacent municipalities, we will have accomplished something no other community in the nation has.  We will have created a universal Healthy Pets Community where all animals and their people have meaningful, actually affordable health and wellness supports.

The downside of this big hairy, audacious plan is that it requires closing our sheltering operations for six months or more in Reading.  We will be maintaining our Humane Veterinary Hospital operations, keeping our Healthy Pets Initiative services and clinics operating, still operating our Lancaster adoption center, and all our Berks based staff are remaining with us and will be helping in the interim in different roles.  We will be working with local and regional partners to ensure the animals we are unable to take in for the construction period have safe harbor, and we are continuing to accept animals in our Lancaster shelter.  Unfortunately we can’t rebuild and remain open at the same time, so we are going to work as quickly as possible.

We also made sure that we notified our local municipal and animal shelter partners for this disruption as far back as the fall of 2017 and will continue to work with them to help animals until our new facility is open.

The entire construction project is going to cost about $2 million dollars and we are extremely pleased that we currently have over $1 million dollars in hand or pledged and have several other major donors we are working with right now to close most of the remaining gap.  We cannot thank the Giorgi Family Foundation enough, who provided a $3.1 million grant in support of this project and the Healthy Pets Initiative services for kick starting this fundamental change in the way we will approach animal welfare in our communities.  We hope that their generosity continues to inspire other donors to come forward and partner in this campaign.

I hope you’ll consider supporting us, too.  Please reach out to me at kminor@humanepa.org for more information about how you can be a part of this effort, as well as naming opportunities big and small that are available.

We can’t wait to complete this project and begin marshaling our new forces to better combat the underlying causes of animal suffering in our community, and then roll-out this new approach into the other communities we serve.  We don’t know exactly what America’s first Healthy Pets Community will looks like, because it’s never been done before.  But we are about to find out.

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By: Dr. Heather Lineaweaver

The ongoing goal of veterinary medicine is to provide the highest standard of care to our companion animals. One way we’re doing that is updating vaccination protocols. In the past, vaccines for viral diseases were given yearly.  Studies have shown, however, that vaccines against most viral diseases last at least three years. Three-year rabies vaccines have been around for decades, but now there is more availability of the core vaccines (DHPP for dogs and FVRCP for cats) labeled for three year protection. Over-vaccination is a concern for veterinarians and clients alike, and increasing the period between vaccines helps alleviate these concerns. The only downside is that three-year vaccinations can lead to the mistaken impression that our pets only need physical exams every three years as well.

Yearly veterinary visits are essential for several reasons. Most importantly, pets age an equivalent of five to seven years in one human year, and many changes can occur in that time. Regular physicals allow your veterinarian to identify abnormalities and address them as early as possible. Early detection and intervention increases the likelihood of successful treatment. Heart disease, dental disease, weight changes, lumps, behavioral problems, and skin and ear issues are just a few of the things that your veterinarian will look for.  When your pet becomes a senior (7-10 years, depending on breed and species), screening blood work will be recommended to check internal organ function and test for diseases that may not be apparent on exam. Again, early intervention leads to better treatment.

In addition to detecting disease processes early, yearly visits are important for preventive health care. Several vaccines are only protective for one year. They are considered lifestyle vaccines and depend on how much time your pet spends in different environments. These include Lyme, leptospirosis, canine influenza, bordetella, and feline leukemia vaccines. For dogs and cats, regular screening for intestinal parasites is also important. In addition, a yearly 4DX test is recommended for dogs. The 4DX checks for heartworm infection and exposure to three tick-borne infections – Lyme, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasma. Lastly, appropriate flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives can be reviewed and discussed during the visit.

The ready availability of three-year vaccines has improved the quality of care we are able to provide to our patients. Even with advancements in medicine; however, the yearly exam is still of utmost importance in keeping our four-legged friends happy and healthy. We look forward to seeing you and your pet at their next checkup!

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What Is Beyond No Kill?

July 29th, 2019 | Posted by Karel Minor in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

by Karel Minor, President & CEO, Humane Pennsylvania

What do we do when “No Kill” is not the aspiration but the standard? In 2008 Humane Pennsylvania killed its last animal simply because it ran out of space. For the past five years we have exceeded 90% live outcomes, the accepted, arbitrary benchmark for achieving “No Kill” status, for all healthy and treatable animals. We now take in fewer animals each year than we used to kill each year.

We’ve reached the point where our intake numbers, like shelters in large swaths of the US, are declining and our euthanasia counts are at historic lows. Being the only organization in the region with accredited animal hospitals attached to each of its shelters often means we are the first choice for the least savable. We are OK with that, that is why we got into veterinary medicine, and we make a difference for even these tough to help animals.

But what does this success mean for the relevance of our organization when we routinely have empty adoption centers? Without much fanfare we, and our local partner and peer rescue organizations, have turned our many communities into essentially No Kill zones. While some shelters and cities are declaring their intentions to reach No Kill, the actual numbers, especially in Berks County, show that we are already there. Is every animal saved? No. But by the agreed upon yardsticks of the past, we’ve walked through the golden “No Kill” door. Where do we go from here?

Fortunately, Humane Pennsylvania has always kept an eye beyond the horizon and we know what lies Beyond No Kill. Humane Pennsylvania will create America’s first Universal Pet Healthcare Community. In the City of Reading, we will accomplish this in two years.

Merely not being dead is not the standard by which any of us, or our pets, should live. We should expect to be healthy, or at least have meaningful access to high quality healthcare. Humane Pennsylvania can’t do much to make that a reality for people, but we can commit to providing it to our community’s pets.

What does meaningful access to pet healthcare mean and what will a Universal Pet Healthcare Community look like?

Meaningful access means all people, regardless of income, geography, and capability, have the ability to access and afford basic health and wellness needs for their pets. Those without geographic access, those with limited or no financial resources, and those who simply don’t know how to access services.

  • Where there are veterinary hospital “deserts”, we will bring services and access.
  • Where there are barriers to affordability, we will break those barriers down.
  • Where there is a lack of knowledge, understanding of how these services can help pets and families, or language barriers, we will educate and communicate- respectfully, and without judgment and condescension.

Living next door to a veterinarian you can’t afford is not meaningful access. Living ten miles from a vet you can afford when you don’t have a car is not meaningful access. Not being able to understand the language of your pet healthcare provider is not meaningful access. We will tear down those barriers.

We have identified several steps that will lead to the creation of the first Universal Pet Healthcare Community in the City of Reading. First and foremost is providing veterinary services that are close to people and pets in need, open hours that work for working family schedules, and offer care that is suitable for their needs and not driven by profit motive. We have focused on Reading because of the need as one of America’s poorest cities and a high population density, and it’s what our funding allows at this time thanks to the Giorgi Family Foundation Grant which kick started this initiative. If it works, we will seek more funding and we will expand to the City of Lancaster, the suburbs, and beyond.

Humane Pennsylvania has identified several key services which we feel are central to community pet health:

  • Every pet should have access to free microchip identification. Universal, free microchip identification is offered to all hospital clients, our adopters, or anyone who walks in and asks for it. The largest easily preventable cause of pet death in the US is being an unidentified stray in an animal shelter. It’s hard to be healthy if you’re dead, and a properly registered microchip can reduce the chances of dying as a stray in a shelter to nearly zero.
  • Every pet should receive all appropriate preventative vaccinations. Preventable disease is not something our pets should face when a simple and inexpensive vaccination can prevent it. We will make this basic healthcare intervention available to all, affordably.
  • Every animal should have access to appropriate reproductive healthcare options. Sterilization services will be made available to all pets, both in home and neighborhood pets like free roaming cats. We know not everyone will or wants to sterilize their pets, but we want to make sure financial considerations are never a barrier in our Universal Pet Healthcare Community.
  • Every pet should be free from hunger. A hungry pet is more likely to be unhealthy or poorly behaved. Through a massive expansion of Humane Pennsylvania’s Spike’s Pet Pantry program, we will partner with humane food pantries to ensure that no pet goes hungry.

Even microchipped, vaccinated, and sterilized pets need ongoing vet care so we are also committing to ensuring that all pet owners have the ability receive high quality sick care vet services through empirical/incremental care delivery that suits the needs of the pet and the caretaker. We will continue to offer and expand upon our unique sliding scale, subsidized, and payment plan offerings to ensure that animal care decisions are driven by empathy and love, not merely the cost.

Humane Pennsylvania is also working to ensure that in the event of disaster our community pets are safe and sound and don’t face death in shelters simply because of being temporarily displaced. By creating the region’s first 500-1,000 pet mobile mega-sheltering capability, supported by our animal hospitals and animals shelters and working in partnership with sheltering peers, local and State government, PEMA and PASART, we will be ready if the worst ever strikes our region.

What will this mean for our community?

Besides just having the healthiest and happiest pets anywhere, we think that taking these actions will result in a 50% decrease in animal shelter intake from our target Universal Pet Healthcare Community. It took us the last 15 years to achieve a 50% reduction in intake in Berks and Lancaster Counties. Our goal is to achieve the next 50% animal intake reduction in just two years.

This is what Beyond No Kill means. Not merely avoiding death but offering a healthy and meaningful life.

We are accomplishing this thanks to a historically large $3.1 million dollar grant, with hundreds of thousands of additional dollars from thousands of donors small and large in support of this effort, with hundreds of incredible volunteers, and with amazing staff.

Will we succeed? We don’t know. No one has ever done this before. No one has ever attempted this before. It appears that no one has ever even talked about attempting this before. We think we can do it. A few decades ago the San Francisco SPCA simply decided it was going to attempt the impossible, and became the first No Kill city which now has the lowest per capita shelter intake and euthanasia rates in the nation. We have decided that the City of Reading will be the first in the nation to move beyond No Kill and become No Suffering. We will create America’s first Universal Pet Healthcare Community.

If we can do this in Reading, one America’s poorest cities, we can do it anywhere. And we hope you will help.

If you want to be a part of this groundbreaking effort, join us. Email me personally at kminor@humanepa.org to learn more or get involved. Or go to HumanePA.org to volunteer or donate.

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by Dr. Alicia Simoneau, Chief Veterinary Officer, Humane Pennsylvania

Humane Veterinary Hospitals are committed to handling your family pet in the most compassionate way. Does your pet have anxiety over making a trip to the vet? Most do.

You may observe behaviors in dogs such as not taking the normal treats that they love at home in the hospital setting as well as panting, pacing, worried eyes or hiding behind you or under a chair in the exam room. These are all signs that we recognize as an anxious dog. A cat can read your mind as soon as you think about finding their carrier. In anxious cats we may see hiding, vocalization and dilated pupils. We are here to help.

In an effort to make low stress handling a part of Humane Veterinary Hospital’s culture we have regular meetings to advance our understanding of small animal body language and how to make our patients feel less worried.

  • We are offering a bandanna for dogs or a towel over a cat carrier that has each species calming pheromone. Smell is a powerful sense in animals!
  • We are using high value treat rewards for dogs and cats.
  • We allow cats that prefer to hide the ability to do so.
  • We are being trained in using only necessary not excessive restraint.

We are making a great effort to do most of our treatments and sample collections in the exam rooms. This allows you to see what your pet is experiencing and if it’s not going well we can move on to an alternate plan.

Our technicians are being trained in identifying and addressing common behavior concerns. If it is in the best interest for your pet Humane Veterinary Hospital Doctors have several medications that they may prescribe to ease anxieties at future visits.

Watch our efforts translate to less fear for your companion and a better experience at a vet hospital for you. Contact us to learn more.

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by Tawny Kissinger, Lifesaving Programs Coordinator, Humane Pennsylvania

When you think of a super hero, you may think of a cape, tights, and the ability to scale large buildings in a single bound. When we think of a super hero, we too image great feats – like possessing superhuman abilities, such as opening their hearts as wide as they can possibly go to let the love of a pet in need in, or the dedication to protecting the most vulnerable members of our society, such as caring for orphaned kittens.

Fosters are the super heroes of the animal welfare world. They nurture a foster animal until that pet can be placed in a permanent home with a family who will love them unconditionally, and hey, no cape required.

Want to be a super hero? Here’s five reasons why fostering a shelter pet will miraculously make you a super hero.

  1. You’re Saving Lives

    Fostering a shelter animal will save that foster pet’s life and the life of another animal in need by freeing up space in our adoption centers.

    In 2018, approx. 500 animals entered our foster program. These pets were cared for by committed community members like yourself. Because so many animals were fostered, our organization had the capacity to save approx. 1,000 additional animals.

  2. Fostering Makes Everyone Happy

    Image being very comfortable in your environment and then suddenly being in very unfamiliar surroundings, feeling unsure and possibly scared. This unfortunately, is how many shelter animals feel when they arrive.

    However, this is where our super hero fosters swoop in to save the day. Fosters open both their homes and hearts to animals in need of a little extra TLC. This added attention is proven to reduce stress and increase feelings of acceptance and belonging for both the foster pet and their care taker.

  3. Like Mister Fantastic, Fostering Is Flexible

    Our foster program provides fostering opportunities for all shapes, sizes, and types of animals. From kittens to critters, to senior silver-paw dogs, there are many ways to become a super hero foster. Our adoption centers are open 7-days a week with 24/7 foster staff support to accommodate all different types of schedules and lifestyles.

  4. You’re Teaching A Foster Pet They’re Loved

    Through fostering, a pet receives human companionship that helps improve socialization skills, reinforces positive behaviors, and shows a homeless pet how to acclimate to a home environment. This type of interaction increases the pet’s adoptability and likelihood of being placed in a forever home.

  5. Getting Started Is Easy

    Monthly foster program orientations are held at both adoption centers in Lancaster County and Berks County. During these educational sessions, potential fosters learn about different foster opportunities that are available, the types of animals that may be seeking foster care, and the high level of quality resources and supports they will receive as a foster.

    All fostering supplies, such as food, pet beds, litter, leash, creates, toys, veterinary care, and etc. are provided by Humane Pennsylvania.

With great power, comes great responsibility. As a foster super hero you are giving a pet in need a second chance to thrive. Your care and compassion truly saves their lives and makes you an unstoppable advocate for the animals.

To learn more about upcoming foster orientations, the program, or the overall foster process, visit HumanePA.org, or contact Tawny Kissinger, Lifesaving Programs Coordinator via email at TKissinger@humanepa.org.

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Join Us At The Ballpark

July 8th, 2019 | Posted by Karel Minor in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

by Lauren Henderson, Director of Events & Corporate Relations, Humane Pennsylvania

In 1977, the Humane Society of Berks County, hosted its very first Walk for the Animals. Here we are 42 years later as Humane Pennsylvania walking for the animals and better serving our community.

From a walk to a full-day experience, the Walk for the Animals event has transformed into a premier family-friendly community event. The Walk for the Animals & Walktoberfest is the oldest and largest animal welfare event in the region that attracts thousands of participants annually and is supported by animal lovers and their friends across the nation.

For over 40 years, Walkers have been helping raise funds and awareness to improve the lives of animals and the people who love them.

This year’s 42nd Annual Performance Toyota Walk for the Animals & Walktoberfest will be hosted at Reading’s iconic FirstEnergy Stadium, home of the Reading Fightin Phils.

The stadium’s atmosphere and energy offers attendees and their dogs an ideal open and airy space to enjoy all of the day’s festivities including; a mile long walk, goods from local vendors and artisans, a VIP beer and wine garden, ball park concessions, live music, kids activities, and more.

During the planning of this year’s Walk for the Animals & Walktoberfest, Karen Linder, Charitable Giving Coordinator, of presenting sponsor Performance Toyota, shared…

“Performance Toyota is excited to partner again with Humane Pennsylvania on their Walk for the Animals. Their cutting edge approach to animal welfare in Berks and Lancaster counties has a huge positive impact on the lives of animals and the caregivers who love them. We are proud to support Humane Pennsylvania’s courageous and compassionate dedication to providing lifesaving services to the animals in their care.”

This community-wide family-friendly event is free, and open to the public!

In conjunction with the Walk and Walktoberfest, community pet owners seeking high-quality veterinary care for their pets are encouraged to attend the Healthy Pets: Free Vaccine & Microchip Clinic. The clinic will provide free vaccine and microchip services to all community pet owners from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM. The clinic is located on stadium grounds and preregistration is required. Visit HumanePA.org to learn more and register for services.

Join us on Saturday, September 21, 2019 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, PA for a fun-filled day, all as you show your support for the homeless, neglected, and abused animals in our care.

Learn more, become a sponsor, and register to walk by visiting HumanePA.org or contacting Lauren Henderson, Director of Events & Corporate Relations at lhenderson@humanepa.org or via phone at (610) 750-6100, ext. 211.

We’ll see you at the ball park!

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by Lindsay High, Director of Marketing, Humane Pennsylvania

Each year many of us celebrate Independence Day with friends and family; enjoying barbeques and lively firework shows. However, these traditions can frighten and at times be dangerous to your pets. Follow these useful tips to keep your pets safe during the festive summer holiday.

NEVER Use Fireworks around Pets

  • Lit fireworks can be extremely dangerous to pets. Sparks from the fireworks can cause severe burns and/or trauma to face, paws, and skin.
    o Never use fireworks around your pets as many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.

Leave Pets at Home

  • While most humans enjoy summer parties, most pets do not. Loud noises, crowded areas, and unfamiliar settings, can frighten pets and cause them to become stressed and disoriented.
    o For your pet’s safety, refrain from taking them to Fourth of July festivities, instead leave them at home, away from direct noises, in their own environment in which they feel safe.

Keep ID Current

  • Loud noises from fireworks and other festivities may scare your pet and cause them to escape from your yard or home, if they are not safely enclosed. Be sure your pet is always wearing a collar with an ID tag that includes; your name, current phone number and any other relevant contact information.
    o July 1 is National ID Your Pet Day, which serves as an annual check-in to make sure your pets’ identification tags and microchip information is up to date. Have your pet microchipped to increase the likelihood that they will be returned to you safely if a separation were to occur.
    o Visit HumanePA.org to learn more about our Healthy Pets Initiative, which provides microchip services to keep pets safe and happy in their homes.

Avoid These Poison Hazards

Create Barbeque Boundaries

  • Barbeques are a lot of fun, full of delicious foods and drinks…for humans. However, some of these items can be deadly to your pets. Be sure your pets can not get in to any alcoholic beverages. Also keep in mind that many human foods are not meant for pets, pet treats are always better to give your pets than human food, as human foods can cause severe digestive issues for pets.
    o Be sure to avoid avocado, raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and products with the sweetener xylitol.

No Glow Jewelry for Pets

While it might look cute to put glow jewelry or glow sticks on your pets, the plastic and chemicals inside the tube are hazardous to pets if ingested.
o If your pet chews and/or swallows the plastic attachments or chemicals, they can be at risk for excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation, as well as intestinal blockage from swallowing large pieces of the plastic.

Safely Store Matches and Lighter Fluid

  • Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which, if ingested, can be hazardous to pets. Lighter fluid, meanwhile, can be irritating to your pet’s skin, and, if swallowed, can cause gastrointestinal irritation, and other issues.
    o Be sure to store all matches and lighter fluid in a safe place where pets cannot access the items by jumping or climbing.

If your pet ingest a poisonous substance, like the ones listed above, contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) immediately. Do not induce vomiting or give anything orally to your pet unless specifically directed to do so by your veterinarian.

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by Dr. Misha Neumann, Humane Veterinary Hospitals Lancaster

There are a lot of buzzwords when it comes to pet food and it can be confusing to anyone wanting to feed their pet the best diet. Here are a few words and phrases commonly seen on food labels and what they actually mean.

Holistic

We think that holistic means all natural, organic, grain free. There is actually no legal definition for this word under the pet food laws. This means that anyone can claim their food is holistic.

Natural

We think of this as being free of chemicals, free range livestock, antibiotic free meat sources, and ingredients found in the environment. When “natural” is written on a pet food label, it actually means that the ingredients have not been chemically made. Natural does NOT mean that the food is organic.

Organic

Words that come to mind with this word include pesticide free, locally sourced, all natural, antibiotic free, etc. In order for a food to be certified organic, as in carrying the USDA’s organic seal, 95% of the food content must be organic by weight. This means that the product must be grown using animal or vegetable fertilizers (bone meal, manure, compost).

Dinner, Platter, Entrée, Formula

When you see these words on the bag or can, it means that only 25% of the main ingredient (chicken dinner, beef entrée, seafood platter) is included.

With

If a label says it is made with an ingredient, it means that only 3% of that ingredient needs to be included in the recipe.

Flavor

This incredibly vague term just means that a flavor must be recognized by the pet.

By Products

Most people think that by products are inedible parts of the animal (beaks, feet, feathers, etc.). By products may actually be the best ingredients to feed pets! They are parts of the animals that are typically thrown away when making human food, but include organ meats like liver, fats, and vegetable oils. Feeding by products is actually an environmentally friendly way to provide pets with good nutrition.

This food is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the Association Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) means that the food has no documented effects on animals. The food was not actually tested for digestibility.

The pet food aisle is a confusing place to navigate, and I hope this article helps bust the myths of common words on pet food labels. In general, make sure that the food does have the AAFCO label on it because it has undergone some regulation. You really want it to say that the food underwent a feeding trial because it means that an animal has actually eaten it and the effects of the food were studied.

To learn more about pet nutrition, please contact us and we’d be happy to provide more insights.

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by Leann Quire, Director of Shelter Operations, Humane Pennsylvania

June is Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat month!

Not only is June a great time to celebrate cat adoptions because, well, cats are amazing, but also because kitten season has officially commenced. Kitten season means shelters are overflowing with cats and kittens who need help.

Let’s discuss why cats are simply purrfect creatures, and end with some ways you can support your local shelter during this busy feline time.

What is not to love about cats?

Most people see a kitten and will melt on the spot. Adult cats will charm you with their unique personalities, whether they are goofy and loving or confident and independent. But, if you aren’t someone who is automatically impressed by the feline species and you need further convincing as to why cats are so wonderful, here are some reasons cats can make your life immensely better.

  • A huge advantage to having a cat is that you don’t need to go outside when it is hot, cold, raining, or snowing just so they can relieve themselves.
  • They can use the litterbox on their own and generally require little to no training to use the litterbox. No soggy slippers trying to do a late night bathroom break in a thunderstorm for these creatures.
  • They don’t need fancy toys to be happy and are very resourceful. Order a super cool treat feeder online and put the toy and box it came in on the floor and see which one your cat is more interested in. Most cats enjoy a good box to climb into for playtime or a snooze. That pen you dropped (or they knocked off the table) will become their new favorite toy to bat around, which means it will end up under the couch with the rest of the fun “toys” your cat discovered. This doesn’t mean your cat won’t love those silly mice filled with cat nip, but you will enjoy seeing the things you didn’t intend for them to play with become their new obsessions. You can provide you cat lots of fun for relatively low-cost. Three words, ping pong balls.
  • Your health can improve. When people envision therapy animals they generally think of dogs first, but cats can also be fantastic healers and increase mental and physical benefits. From lowering blood pressure to relieving the feelings of loneliness or depression, cats can make you feel better!
  • Many cats are natural hunters, even if they never set foot outside. Rodent or bug problem? Your feline may be able to help with that whether they catch them for you or simply let you know you have a pest problem and might need to contact a professional pest control company. While a natural hunter can be great to keep the pests at bay, remember that all cats are individuals and I know many cats who would prefer their midday catnap to a game of catch the mouse.
  • We all know laughter is one of the great joys in life. Cats absolutely bring more laughter into your home. From smelling your face (cats are curious little things), fitting in the smallest of spaces (I will never understand how my cat fits in my shoes), to making odd chirping noises, cats are weird and wonderful all at the same time. They provide regular amusement that brightens our day.

Maybe you absolutely can’t adopt right now because of medical reasons, landlord policies, or roommates. There are other things you can do to support Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month.

You can donate so that your local shelter can continue to buy the resources needed to care for cats during their stay in the shelter. Fostering is a lifesaving effort and is a great way to help socialize young kittens to become more adoptable when they return to the shelter. We are always looking for fosters, so if you are interested please contact our Lifesaving Programs Coordinator, Tawny Kissinger.

Donate supplies or your time. This time of year we are always in need of cat litter, wet cat food, and kitten formula. You can find a full version of our wish list items here on our website.

There are so many ways you can help. If you are already the wonderful adopter of a cat from a shelter, thank you! This month is to celebrate you and what you did to save a cat from the shelter and give him or her the home they deserve.

Basically, cats are fascinating creatures who believe they are tiny, wild, lions that rule the home. They make you laugh and make you feel like you have a purpose in caring for another life (you will never feel more popular than when you shake a cat treat bag).

They come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities. So, visit us today and find out for yourself why the Ancient Egyptians worshipped cats.

*Also, it only seemed fitting to dedicate this to one of the most famous felines who passed away last month. RIP Grumpy Cat. This one goes out to you.

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by Lindsay High, Director of Marketing, Humane Pennsylvania

As sweltering summer temps continue, your pets face increased risks and potential health related issues associated with managing the heat. Keep your pets cool and safe during the summer months with these useful tips.

Pet Check

  • During the summer, many pets…and people spend more time outdoors. Schedule a check-up appointment with your vet prior to the dog days of summer to ensure your pets have a comprehensive protection plan to help safeguard against increased risks of exposure to fleas, ticks, and heartworm. Our caring veterinarians would be happy to help get your pet summer ready! Visit hvhospitals.org to learn more about our veterinary services.o These are year-round issues but in the summer months, with much more outdoor time, it’s especially important to monitor them. When temperatures rise above 90 degrees, pets can become more susceptible to heat related risks, such as overheating. When pets are outdoors, be sure to provide adequate shade and fresh water. During sweltering days, its best to limit the time your pets spend outdoors, including reducing the duration of daily walks.

DO NOT Leave Your Pets in the Car

  • On warm summer days, it only takes a few minutes for the inside of a vehicle to reach dangerously high temperatures. The result of which could lead to a fatal heatstroke for your pet. Never, ever leave your pets in the vehicle on a warm summer day, it’s the law.o This new law raises awareness of the dangers of leaving pets in parked cars and empowers law enforcement to make decisions on behalf of an animal’s welfare by:
    Allowing a police office, humane officer, animal control officer or other public safety professionals to remove a dog or cat from an unattended motor vehicle if they believe the dog or cat is in imminent danger or harm after a reasonable search for the operator of the vehicle.
    Protecting a police officer, humane officer, or public safety professional who removes a dog or cat from an unattended vehicle from liability for any damages.
    Requiring that an officer who removes a dog or cat from an unattended vehicle must leave a conspicuous note for the owner stating the officer’s information and the information for where to pick up the pet.
    Updating the definition of neglect, prohibiting the confinement of a dog or cat in an unattended motor vehicle in a manner that would endanger the health and well-being of the animal.
    PA House Bill 1216, the Motor Vehicle Extreme Heat Protection Act, Hot Car Law

Hydration is Key

  • When it’s hot and sticky outside, pets are more susceptible to becoming dehydrated. Be sure to give them plenty of clean, fresh water.o Also, when your pets are outdoors, make sure they have a shady spot to seek refuge from sun’s glaring rays. This will help them stay cool and comfortable all summer long.

Keep an Eye on their Paws

  • As the summer sun beats down, common surfaces such asphalt or metal can become extremely hot. Be mindful of these surfaces and keep your pets off them during peak day time hours of 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM.o Exposure to these hot surfaces, including hot asphalt and truck beds, can burn your pet’s paws. Exposure may also increase their body temperature, which could lead to overheating. For added protection, shorten walks to prevent overheating and plan them for off-peak times of the day, such as early morning or evenings when asphalt is cooler.

Barbeque Boundaries

  • Barbeques are a lot of fun, full of delicious foods and drinks…for humans. However, some of these items can be deadly to your pets. Be sure your pets can not get in to any alcoholic beverages and human snacks are not pet treats. They can cause severe digestive issues for pets.o Be sure to avoid avocado, raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and products with the sweetener xylitol.
    o If your pet ingest a poisonous substance, contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) immediately. Do not induce vomiting or give anything orally to your pet unless specifically directed to do so by your veterinarian.

Window Safety

  • Cats love windowsills, it’s an ideal place to perch and observe their surroundings. Keep your cats safe by making sure that window screens are securely placed in each window in our home.o When your windows are open, the screen will help keep cats’ safe inside and ensure they don’t fall out of the window.
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