Critter Chronicles Newsletter - September 2006

    cover - September 2006

    September 2006 Volume 2, Issue 1

    Inside this issue:

    Correcting Bad Litter Box Manners

    rabbit and cat photo

    Is your cat thinking 'outside the box'? Did you know that at least 10 percent of all cats develop some sort of an elimination problem? Some cats stop using the box altogether, while some only use them for urination, and some cats go both in and out of the box. Most litter box problems stem from a change in the cat's preferred litter or location of the box, or when the cat develops an aversion to the box or the area around it. As troubling as this may sound, there is hope for correcting the problem! A majority of cats prefer: a large litter box that is easy to enter, has a low to moderate level of litter, is uncovered, has the type of litter on which they were trained or clumping litter, and is located in a quiet but not "cornered" location. Above all, cats want a CLEAN box.

    What You Can Do:First, it is imperative to evaluate and rule out a medical cause for the problem. Have your cat checked thoroughly by your veterinarian. After having it checked for any medical conditions, give your cat a choice of litter types. Cats generally prefer unscented clumping litter with a medium to fine texture. Be sure to scoop at least once a day. Once dog photo a week, clean the entire box with warm water (no soap) and replace with fresh litter. If it appears that the cat is soiling around just a few spots in the home, place litter boxes in those areas. If it is not possible put a box in one of these spots, then place the cat's food bowl, water, or bed in the other areas to discourage elimination.

    What Not To Do: Do not punish your cat by rubbing its nose in its elimination. Scolding and dragging your cat to its litter box will only cause it to become frightened. When cleaning up after an accident, do not use an ammonia-based formula. Urine contains ammonia and this may attract the cat back to the same spot to eliminate again.

    Paying special attention to your cat's 'pick of the litter' will help give a better understanding of their individual needs. Take the appropriate steps towards finding the best possible solution for you and your cat. Elimination problems, no matter when they develop, can be corrected with a little time and patience.

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    Bunny Bonding in 3 Easy Steps...

    Sometimes all is not peaceful in the rabbit world: arguments and feisty behavior can erupt over what seems like nothing. This is especially true when introducing new rabbits to each other. The best pairing is a neutered male and spayed female, although same sex pairings can be successful too-it just might take longer for them to accept each other. Sometimes, rabbits that we would like to be friends are incompatible, a fact that we simply have to accept!

    bonded rabbits photo Rabbits are more likely to form the strongest bonds among each other. After all, they speak the same "language." Rabbits that are bonded can also teach one another to be more tolerant and social when it comes to interacting with their owners. © Laura Brunello

    1. Introductions need to be done carefully if fighting is to be avoided. Rabbits can be kept in cages side-by-side, so they can see and smell each other. After a few days they will become used to each other's smell.
    2. A series of supervised introductions can take place once they have come to recognize one another. These are best done in neutral territory- a place where neither rabbit usually goes: an X pen, large cardboard box, or medium sized dog crate all work great. Provide some hiding places and several small piles of hay and treats, such as apples or carrots.
    3. Expect to see some chasing and mounting behavior, and even some pulling of each other's fur. Anything more than this is a signal that fighting may occur. If fighting is on the agenda, be sure to separate the rabbits immediately and try again later. Early sessions may only last a couple of minutes, but, as they get used to each other (even if this means they simply ignore each other) the bonding sessions can be extended. Remember, do not rush the bonding experience, try to let natural progression take its course!

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    Welcoming Home Your Newly Adopted Pet

    Adopting an animal is a serious commitment and as welcome as you try to make your new pet feel in his new surroundings, do not be surprised if he takes a while to adjust. In order to get off on the right foot with your new companion, be realistic and flexible about the expectations you have for him, keeping in mind that no animal, regardless of where it comes from will be problem-free.

    One of your first responsibilities is to pet-proof your home and yard. Put harmful things out of reach so your pet does not develop destructive habits or ingest something poisonous. Scan you home and yard for such things as dangling electrical cords, open windows, poisonous plants, pesticides, medicines, and other chemically based household goods.

    You can help ease the initial transition for your new pet by immediately establishing a regular routine and providing a space for your pet to call its own. Give your dog or cat an indoor living space that is quiet, cozy, and comforting. For dogs, consider using a crate or kennel and for cats your first move should be to introduce a litter box and to set-up a special place where your cat can rest.

    To avoid overwhelming your pet in its new environment, introduce it to the household one step at a time. There will be a period of adjustment as you get used to one another and as your pet acclimates to its new surroundings. If your new arrival is a kitten or puppy, prepare to invest significantly more time parenting. Younger animals need more frequent feeding, training, elimination breaks, supervision, and socialization.

    Raising a companion animal requires an investment of money as well as time. You must be able to afford such pet-related expenses as ID tags & licensing, food, veterinary care, toys, grooming tools, bedding, treats, etc. By some estimates, annual maintenance can become quite expensive and one should always be prepared for the unforeseen expenses that arise from emergency veterinary care.

    Do not wait to seek help or ask questions if a problem arises. It is better to find help sooner rather than later. Ask questions and look to professionals, friends, and family (veterinarians, dog trainer, friends that own animals, animal behaviorists, etc) at the time of adoption and once you have brought your new pet home.. Bringing home a new pet is very exciting so do not forget to have fun! Pets bring joy, laughter and playfulness into our lives. Taking the time to foster play enriches the life of your pet and increases the lifetime bond you will share.

    Homecoming Necessities

    Here's a list of pet care items to have on hand when you bring home your newly adopted dog or cat. These are just the basics. Depending on your budget and ambition, you can be more creative.

    For Dogs: Food and water bowls. They should be proportionate in size to your dog. Quality dog food. Ask your vet about the best food for your pet. A sturdy nylon or leather leash & a buckle collar with License/ID information. Bedding Chew toys Healthy treats Brush Shampoo Flea control (ask your vet) Dental care products

    For Cats: Food and water bowls Quality cat food. Ask your vet about the best food for your cat Litter pan and cat litter Litter scoop Cat toys Breakaway collar and ID tag Brush Flea control (ask your vet) Scratch post

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    Animal Poison Control: Being prepared is the key!

    Prevention is always the key to keeping our furry friends out of trouble. There are occasions, however, when it seems virtually impossible to keep pets out of the trash or away from substances that could be dangerous. It's a good thing you can always be prepared for an emergency by knowing what to do and who to call should your pet become poisoned.

    Just as in any emergency, the first step is to remember not to panic. Rapid response is important, but panicking can interfere with the process of helping your pet get the treatment it needs. Take 30 to 60 seconds to safely collect and have at hand any material involved. This can be of great benefit to your veterinarian and/or Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), as they determine what poison or poisons are involved. In the event that you need to take your pet to a local veterinarian, be sure to take the product's container with you.

    If you witness your pet consuming material that you suspect might be toxic, do not hesitate to seek emergency assistance, even if you do not notice any adverse affects. Sometimes, even if poisoned, an animal may appear normal for several hours or for days after the incident. Call the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. There is a $55 consultation fee for this service, but it is worth it when you consider how priceless your companion is. When you call the APCC have the product container / packaging available for reference and be ready to describe the following information:

    • The species, breed, age, sex, weight and number of animals involved
    • The animal's symptoms
    • Information regarding the exposure, including the agent (if known), the amount of the agent involved and the time elapsed since the time of exposure

    Remember, always be prepared and stay calm! Keep the telephone number of your veterinarian, emergency animal clinic, and the ASPCA APCC in a prominent location. Help in an emergency is always just a phone call away!

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    drift adopt-a-pet photo Name: Drift
    Sex: Neutered, Male
    Age: 4 years
    Breed: Domestic Long Hair
    Casanova adopt-a-pet photo Name: Casanova
    Sex: Neutered male
    Age: 3 years
    Breed: DSH
    Sadie adopt-a-pet photo Name: Sadie
    Sex: Spayed, Female
    Age: 3 years
    Breed: German Shepherd
    Mimi adopt-a-pet photo Name: Mimi
    Sex: Spayed, Female
    Age: 4 years
    Breed: Chihuahua SH
    Jellybean adopt-a-pet photo Name: Jellybean
    Sex: Female
    Age: 1 year
    Breed: SH rabbit
    Bushido adopt-a-pet photo Name: Bushido
    Sex: male
    Age: 1 year
    Breed: SH rabbit

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    Golden Retriever Club of Greater LA = Heart of GOLD!

    The Golden Retriever Club of Greater LA (GRCGLA) is a non-profit, Golden Retriever rescue that has been making great strides and going long distances to help save and rehabilitate Goldens found in shelters throughout Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura counties. The organization has been working for the benefit of Golden Retrievers and Golden mixes for over 25 years. Since the GRCGLA established a partnership with OC Animal Care (OCAC) in 2000, they have rescued over 200 dogs. GRCGLA currently has 46 dogs that are available for adoption and are in need of loving homes.

    Star before treatment photo

    Star before receiving treatment

    GRCGLA's passion is evident in the number of dogs they have adopted from OCAC and have been able to place into lifelong homes. One of the original founding members of GRCGLA's rescue efforts, Carole Cappellino, has been working with OCAC to help save lives for over 7 years. Carole has a fond appreciation for the partnership she has developed with OCAC, "The Orange County Animal Shelter is very organized in its practices and has a wonderful facility that is staffed with some of the most dedicated individuals I have ever met. Working together with OCAC is always wonderful and Tammy Osborn and Ronnie Yost are such a pleasure to work with."

    Star after treatment photo

    Star fully recovered

    Out of all the dogs that Carole has come into contact with at the Care Center, two stand out the most. Star, a female, Golden Retriever came in to OCAC in 2004 with a severe skin infection. It was not evident how bad her condition was until Star was shaved down by OCAC staff. As seen in the above photo, Star's skin was very raw and she had open sores covering her entire body. Carole decided to take her on and spent over a month giving her medicated baths, frequent veterinary visits, and a lot of socialization. What was once a sick and depressed dog became a very bright and happy-go-lucky girl! Star was adopted after her treatment and foster care and is now living the life of a queen.

    Elvis photo

    Honorary Golden Retriever
    member, Elvis

    Carole's second favorite success story involved a dog named Elvis, "Elvis had been with OCAC for a couple months waiting to find a new family. He was a young guy, full of fun and very well mannered for such a big boy. Every time I would go in there to see a dog, he would be waiting in his kennel with a ball in his mouth." After seeing him at the shelter for such a long period of time, Carole came and adopted Elvis and made him an honorary Golden Retriever Rescue mascot. He now has his own home where he is deeply loved.

    GRCGLA continues to work with OCAC and together their partnership will make a difference in saving the lives of many more animals. To learn more about Golden Retriever Club of Greater LA Rescue, visit their web-site:

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    Mobile Adoption & Shelter Events for September-November

    mobile adoption van photoOC Animal Care is always looking for ways to promote adoptable animals and bring them into the public eye. One way that we do this is through our participation in local community events. Each week we prepare animals at our shelter to go out into the public and potentially find a new home. Mobile adoptions are a great way to promote animals, provide information to the public, and inform our local communities of the services we provide. Here is a list of the upcoming mobile events that OCAC will be participating in:

    • Low Cost Vaccine Clinic occurs at the Animal Care Center the 1st Tuesday of each month (except when it lands on a holiday) from 7:00-.8:30 p.m. (September 5th, October 3rd, and November 7th).
    • Saturday, September 30th, 2006: Brea Wellness Festival at the Brea Community Center (695 East Madison Way, Brea) from 10:00 a.m.- 2:00 .p.m.
    • Saturday, October 14th, 2006: Dog-toberfest Adoption Event at the Animal Care Center (561 The City Drive, Orange)10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
    • Saturday, October 14th, 2006: La Habra Police Department Open House (201 East La Habra Blvd., La Habra) from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

    Al Garcia photoOCAC is always looking to participate in new events. If you have an upcoming community event that you would like us to be a part of, please send your information to Rachel Gorman, Public Education Officer, 561 The City Drive South, Orange, CA 92868, or call her at (714) 935-6301.

    The mobile adoption van can transport up to 9 animals, is temperature controlled, and provides a safe ride for all.

    Chief of Shelter Services, Al Garcia, will be retiring in November after giving 34 years of outstanding service to OCAC. We thank him for his dedication to our public and the animals under our care. Everyone at the Animal Care Center Center wishes him a happy retirement!

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    Celebrating Success

    Orange County OC Animal Care takes great pride in promoting the successes we have in adopting our animals to lifelong homes. We often receive updates from visitors that tell us heart warming stories of how they were either reunited with their lost pet, or had found the perfect companion to take home. Here is a story regarding a cat named Kasumi, who had found a special place to call home.

    Dear Animal Care Center,

    A year and a half ago, my family decided that adopting a cat would be perfect for us. We came down to the Animal Care Center and played with many different kittens and decided on a three-month-old gray tabby. She was, for lack of better words, the "underdog"-slightly underweight and sad. Her large ears only accented her bat-like head, and her broken tailKasumi photo didn't help her either. She was far from the typical "cute kitten" that you so often find at your facility, but there was something about her that made us see through her physical flaws. The staff at the center assured us that she could be a great pet with plenty of time and TLC. We brought her home and named her Kasumi, which means Mist.

    I thought you would like to hear how much we enjoy her! The first day we brought her home, she couldn't stop purring. She purred while she dozed off and even while she ate. Kasumi snuggled close to us at night and slept right by our side. We have traded in our alarm clocks now that Sumi wakes us up promptly every morning.

    She greets us at the door when we come home from work or school, always with a silly "Mrranch!" She loves to talk and talk and talk, answer our questions, and give us Eskimo kisses. This injured, underweight shabby looking Tabby turned out to be one of the BEST things in our lives. Kasumi is very healthy, pretty and sleek and loves her home.

    We would like to thank everyone at the Care Center for all the work they do! Your staff are very sincere and take pride in their work. Thank you for taking care of her while she was at the shelter, we are so happy and fortunate to have her.


    The Ainslies

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