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Picas in cats – what is it? And how can you help?

Most cats love eating things like milk, tuna fish and more. But some cats enjoy eating things that aren’t food, like fabric and plastic bags.

Simply put, pica is when non-food is consumed. The item of choice can vary, so be sure to consult your veterinarian if you suspect your kitty may have pica. A kitty briefly chewing something (without ingesting it) is not normally a cause for concern. However, if your cat is ingesting these items, it is time for a trip to the vet.

What causes pica in cats? Here are 6 reasons pica may develop:

1. Deficiencies in diet

A cat consuming nonfood items may be a subtle hint that kitty is lacking nutrients in his or her diet. For example, if kitty is anemic, she may consume litter. And cats who lack fat or fiber in their diet may try to eat nonfood to accommodate for those deficiencies.

2. Genetics

Some cats are simply genetically predisposed to have pica. Certain breeds, like Orientals, tend to suck on wool, which then can develop into full-blown pica.

3. Other medical problems

Does kitty get enough play time?

A variety of medical problems can spark pica tendencies, from feline leukemia and FIV to diabetes and brain tumors. Again, when in doubt, take kitty to the vet!

4. Environmental reasons

Did you move recently? Do you not play with kitty enough? Certain environmental factors could be contributing to your cat’s pica tendencies.

5. Behavioral disorder

Pica may develop because kitty is stressed or anxious.

6. Being weaned too early as a kitten

And here are 5 ways to help fix the issue!

1. Remove items

Sometimes simply removing or hiding the problematic item is enough to help kitty move on from that tendency.

2. Give kitty more attention

Sometimes kitty may just need more attention!

As we mentioned above, sometimes pica develops out of boredom. Be sure to play with your cat and give him or her lots of love. He or she may just be wanting more attention!

3. Make items unappealing

If you can’t remove the problematic item, sometimes making it less appealing can work. Anything from citrus juice to hot sauce can be applied to make the object go from “mmm” to “eww,” according to kitty standards.

4. Adjust kitty’s diet

Picas in cats may be a sign that kitty is lacking nutrients in their diet. Visit your vet to determine what your cat may be lacking, and how to supplement for the deficiency.

5. And last but not least, talk to your vet or an animal behaviorist

We can’t say it enough … when in doubt, contact a professional!

Have more questions about pica in cats? Leave us a comment below or contact us today!

The post Pica in Cats: What to Know & How to Help appeared first on Karma Cat Zen Dog Rescue Society.

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Saffron is ready to live the good life with you! This sweet girl was rescued from a managed feral colony – someone abandoned her there but she was luckily rescued by the colony manager, and is definitely not feral!

Saffron enjoys dining on wet meats while you give her lots of attention. She will then settle in on your lap for a nice nap. With her shiny, soft black fur, big yellow-amber eyes, and perky ears, Saffron is completely adorable. Saffron has had some dental work done to remove her painful teeth – she’s so happy to have a mostly toothless grin as it means she can eat her beloved wet meats pain-free! Stunning Saffron is FeLV/FIV negative, up to date with vaccinations, microchipped, and spayed. Her birthday is estimated to be around 3/20/15.

The post Saffron appeared first on Karma Cat Zen Dog Rescue Society.

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You’ve probably heard of FIV, and if you’re like most people, you’re not quite sure what it is.

Is it contagious? Does it require any extra veterinary care? We have answers to all those questions and more!

First, here are some FIV facts you should know:
  • First and foremost, it stands for “feline immunodeficiency virus” … and it is very common!
  • If left untreated, it weakens cats’ immune systems and makes them vulnerable to obtaining second infections.
  • An FIV-infected cat may take years to show symptoms.
  • Symptoms include: enlarged lymph nodes, fever, anemia, weight loss, poor appetite, diarrhea, inflammation of the eye/gums/mouth, skin redness/hair loss, sneezing, eye/nose discharge, behavior change and more.
  • The virus is primarily transferred to other cats through bite wounds. It can also be passed from mother to kitten.
  • Indoor cats are least likely to contract FIV – more aggressive, outdoor male cats are most susceptible to it.
And here are some myths we want to bust:
  • FIV is not the same thing as FeLV (feline leukemia virus). And it’s not “cat AIDS.”
  • The virus by itself is not life threatening!
  • Humans cannot contract FIV.
  • The virus is NOT commonly spread through shared food bowls and litter boxes, grooming, and other common types of contact. You do not need to keep FIV-positive kitties away from other kitties!
  • If you keep your kitty in a safe, happy and healthy environment, there is no additional veterinary work needed outside of regular check ups! Many times, FIV-positive cats do not even show symptoms.

*If you suspect your cat has contracted FIV, please visit your vet ASAP.*

Our friendly FIV-positive kitties!

Now that you’ve learned what FIV is (and more importantly, what it ISN’T) you may be starting to realize adopting an FIV-positive cat is not a scary thing. In fact, kitties with the virus that are kept happy and healthy live long, comfortable lives and do not require extra work on your part. Cats that happen to have this condition deserve a loving forever home just as much as the next cat.

If you’re interested in giving an FIV-positive furbaby a chance, you’re in the right place! At Karma Cat + Zen Dog Rescue Society, our mission is to provide a safe, peaceful haven for ALL KINDS of cats!

Meet some of our cuties below:

Carl

Cutie pie Carl was rescued from a life on the streets, and he is so grateful! This adorable boy has beautiful brown tabby fur with a white bib and “boots,” big black-rimmed green eyes, and a cute pink and bro wn nose. Sweet and friendly, Carl is ready to cuddle up with his people in his forever home. Carl enjoys having his soft fur stroked, rolling over on his back to flirt, and long naps by a sunny window.  Captivating Carl is FeLV-negative, up to date with vaccinations, microchipped, and neutered. His birthday is estimated to be around 2/21/2012.

Axel

Axel gets happier by the day. His health is better than it probably has been in a long time, he’s learning how to play, and he loves kittens! He would love a forever home with other friendly cats, but no dogs or children please! Also, he would love his forever owner to understand he LOVES food! And by loves food we mean… he may or may not have figured out how to open kitchen cabinets. Axel is a part of another local foster-based rescue, Holisticat. If you think you might be the family Axel is looking for, please submit an adoption application on Holisticat’s website.

Cheeks

Cheeks was found outside a Holisticat volunteer’s home with her colony of outside cats. He was either dumped or wandered away from his home! No one came looking for Cheeks and he had no microchip. Cheeks is on the hunt for a forever home where he is the one and only kitty/pet. He recently was neutered, dewormed, vaccinated for age AND had a dental. Cheeks is a part of another local foster-based rescue, Holisticat. If you think you might be the family Cheeks is looking for, please submit an adoption application on Holisticat’s website.

And a success story … lucky Leo!

And now we have a tale that FIV kitties CAN and DO find their forever homes! Lovable Leo was recently adopted by someone with a huge heart who could see past his FIV-positive stigma and was willing to give him a beautiful second chance. A sweet and adorable boy, Leo is very playful and enjoys all kinds of toys. He also loves to be pet and brushed, and adores napping in sunbeams and even watching movies. Happy life, sweet boy!

Contact us today to learn more about adopting our featured kitties!

The post FIV Facts & Myths: What It Really Is & What You Need to Know appeared first on Karma Cat Zen Dog Rescue Society.

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 We have a fun way for you to be involved with our new adoption center! You can sponsor a Kitty Kasa Duro cube and we’ll personalize it with your name! These cubes were designed for animal rescues to be durable, easy to clean, and cozy for the cats. And even better, they are made in “our” colors! Check out the video below to see these awesome kasas … they even have a special “heavy metal” version

Sponsor a Kitty Kasa - YouTube

Get in on the action below! Sponsor amounts reflect the discount that we will get from Kitty Kasas because they are awesome and love rescue groups! (The “buy now” button is actually a donation button where you choose an option and the money goes directly to us. We’ll then place one (hopefully large) order with Kitty Kasas).
Sponsor Options
Kitty Kasa $65.00 USDHeavy Metal Kitty Kasa $85.00 USDDonation Only $30.00 USDdonation Only $15.00 USD



Kasas not your thing? You can help us in many other ways! There are plenty of other items we need on our Amazon Wishlist: Have a question? Contact us today!

The post Sponsor a Kitty Kasa appeared first on Karma Cat Zen Dog Rescue Society.

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We are beyond excited to announce we will be opening a new cat adoption center in Milltown this summer, pending all local approvals and permits!

Where will the new adoption center be located?
 
When will it open?
 
Will we keep our PetSmart location?
 
We know you have questions, and we are here to answer!

Check out these fast facts about our upcoming facility:
  • The official name of the new adoption center will be the Karma Cat + Zen Dog Rescue Society Adoption Center.
  • It will be located at 39 South Main Street in Milltown … and will be our first standalone facility!
  • Our North Brunswick PetSmart location will still operate on a normal schedule when the new center is opened.
  • The new adoption center is “small but mighty.” Its 950 square feet will focus on helping rescue even more cats from municipal shelters. With the ability to accommodate up to 25 cats at a time – each getting their own spacious, multiple-level “kitty apartment” – the tranquil center will encourage shy and older cats to thrive and find forever homes.
  • We estimate the new center will help save double the cats. To facilitate saving even more lives, many new volunteer positions will be offered, including cleaning, socializing and adoption counseling opportunities.
  • We also plan to host public training sessions!
Grand Opening details will be announced soon.

In the meantime, check out this video of lovely Anisette, who is currently “in charge” of the adoption center renovations:

Anisette Announcement Pending - YouTube

The post Coming Soon: Our BRAND NEW Adoption Center! appeared first on Karma Cat Zen Dog Rescue Society.

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It’s officially spring, and that means kitten season is here… and so is the season to kitten-proof!

We all know that many household items pose serious risk to small children, but you might not realize that some seemingly normal items can become dangerous to your feline friends, too. For example, it was found that one of our very own foster cats had ingested some no-no items in a previous home, including things like hair ties, plastic, fake nails and more. Don’t worry, the kitty had surgery and is all better now, but since it is such a relevant issue, here are 5 tips to keep your cats and kittens safe:

Tip 1: Remove These

Here are some common items to remove from your kitty’s reach:

Photo by Iker Urteaga on Unsplash

  • Twist ties
  • Strings
  • Loose nails/screws
  • Hair ties
  • Ribbons
  • Plastic bags
  • Sewing supplies
  • Small toys/game pieces
  • Erasers
  • And more! (Watch for any small choking hazards)

Photo by flickr.com

Tip 2: Check Your Plants

Many plants are toxic to cats. Before bringing kitty home, research every plant in your house and make sure they are all safe and non-toxic to cats (and dogs too, if applicable). Be sure to check out our blog post to read more about which plants are safe and which are not.

Tip 3: Close The Lid

The toilet lid, that is! Keeping your toilet lid closed ensures kitty won’t fall in and possibly drown. Another good idea is to make sure your washer/dryer and garbage can lids are always closed.

Tip 4: Cool It

Photo by Ember + Ivory on Unsplash

To ensure your cat’s safety, make sure kitty doesn’t get too close to sources of heat like ovens, stoves, electric heaters and so on. If your cat gets too close to these, reinforce that these areas aren’t cat-safe by firmly saying “no” and removing kitty from the area.

Tip 5: Lock Your Screens

Lock all of your window screens so that if kitty is napping near the window, no accidents, like falling out, will happen. If you have windowpanes that are wide enough for your cat to sleep on, it might also be worth purchasing cat-proof window screens. And as always, keep an eye on your kitty when they’re near open windows… whether you have cat-proof screens or not!

Have a question or suggestion about how to kitten-proof your home? Let us know in the comments below or contact us today!

The post 5 Tips to Kitten-Proof Your Home appeared first on Karma Cat Zen Dog Rescue Society.

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When it comes to your cat’s health, you probably already have several topics in mind: feeding a healthy diet, keeping up to date with vaccines and more. But one aspect of cat wellness that can be overlooked – and is very important – is cat dental health. Left untreated, dental problems can cause pain and other diseases – no one wants that!

Since February is National Pet Dental Health Month, today we have for you five tips to keep your cat’s mouth healthy, as well as a few stories from our very own rescue cats showcasing the different ways dental issues can show themselves, and what to do about them. Read on!

5 Tips for Keeping Your Cat’s Mouth Healthy

1. Monitor Your Kitty’s Breath

Let’s be real, cat breath is never exactly minty fresh. However, if you notice your cat’s breath is downright foul, it is time to take kitty to the vet to get checked out. Excessively stinky breath usually is caused by gum disease and/or tooth decay, but a trusted vet will be able to tell you exactly what is going on.

2. Get Checkups

It’s important to take your cat to the vet every year for a checkup. As a part of a routine exam, the vet will evaluate your cat’s mouth. Doing this will help make sure any dental issues are caught before they can become worse.

3. Clean Up

That’s right, it’s a good idea to brush your cat’s teeth. You can purchase cat-friendly toothbrushes and toothpaste at your local pet store (do NOT use human toothpaste), and for full instructions on how to clean your kitty’s teeth, click here.

4. Stimulate Gums

Often times, tooth decay begins with irritated gums. To keep your cat’s gums healthy, it’s a good idea to regularly give them a little massage. Doing so will strengthen the gums, which will help prevent gum problems and help kitty heal faster. Also, your cat’s gums should be pink, not red and irritated.

5. Provide a Proper Diet

A varied diet is key! Ideally cats should have a mixture of wet and dry food daily, and it’s also a good idea to mix up proteins (they can eat fish, beef, rabbit and more). Treats are a good “sometimes” food for your cat, and can be used in conjunction with training kitty to have his teeth brushed/gums massaged.

Karma Cat Dental Tales

As you can probably tell by now, cat dental health is no joke. It’s super important to stay mindful of your kitty’s mouth and how to keep it clean. Here are some examples of dental situations from our very own rescue cats:

Cindy

Sweet Cindy was at first misinterpreted as always being scared and on guard. She would swat and scratch at everyone!

However, after a vet check,  it was discovered that she needed a dental exam.

After her exam, the difference was amazing. She had a much sweeter personality, and with that came a successful adoption!

Brooke

Prior to Miss Brooke’s dental appointment, whenever volunteers went to touch the right side of her head, claws would come out swinging, which was strange considering she didn’t mind if you touched the left side of her sweet little noggin.

Fast forward and after her dental procedure of eight extractions (performed by Dr. Slade of Edgebrook Animal Hospital), volunteers could approach both sides of Brooke’s head and pet her! She even nuzzles her head into your hand from both sides of her face now. Our volunteers were overcome with joy seeing how much Brooke changed in such a short time – all thanks to proper dental health.

Samantha, Scout, Jack and Jill

Samantha and Scout

Volunteers began noticing really bad breathe with all of these adorable siblings during Karma Cat’s adoption hours. Soon after, they were brought to Edgebrook Animal Hospital, where it was discovered that their gum lines were inflamed, and they were experiencing a bacterial infection. What was the recommended course of action? To treat them all with antibiotics.

Jack and Jill

Within two weeks, Scout and Samantha saw great improvements, and their gums are healthy and all clear now!

Jack and Jill started taking their antibiotics when they changed foster homes, and now they’re all finished with their treatments and healthy as can be!

All in all, the most important thing you can do for your cat’s dental health is pay attention. If you notice anything abnormal, take kitty to the vet immediately to be checked out. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and it’s so important to catch any issues before they worsen!

Have questions regarding your cat’s dental health? Looking for some more toothy tips, or perhaps a cat to call your own (and a cat whose teeth you want to brush?!) Contact us today or leave a comment below!

The post Cat Dental Health: Why It’s Important and How to Keep Kitty Healthy appeared first on Karma Cat Zen Dog Rescue Society.

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Check out our new t-shirt, tank & sweatshirt from Animal Hearted!

Use our link www.animalhearted.com/products/support-karma-cat-zen-dog-rescue-society and code (KarmaCatZenDog) and we get 25%! There are several styles to choose from for our design choice.

The post New T-Shirt “Peace Love Adopt” appeared first on Karma Cat Zen Dog Rescue Society.

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Picture this …

In front of you is a big pile of jigsaw puzzle pieces, but you have no pretty picture on a box to give you a clue on how to put it together. As you are trying to sort through the pieces, your family says, “Hurry and put it together!”

This is how I see the world of animal welfare and rescue. You know there is a big problem – a big pile of puzzle pieces. But you don’t really know exactly how big or what the solution is going to look like, and meanwhile the community is hoping you will solve the problem quickly.

This month, we at Karma Cat + Zen Dog Rescue put together another corner section of that big puzzle.

We are very happy with the rescue and adoption corners of our puzzle; in just under eight years we’ve saved almost 1,100 homeless animals. But we’ve struggled with putting together the pieces for a segment of animal welfare we all believe is critical to controlling the population of homeless cats: TNR, or the Trap, Neuter and Return of feral and community cats. We tried doing the trapping ourselves, but with a small rescue, finding volunteers with the time to sit and wait out feral cats was difficult. We just weren’t getting a very good return on the time invested.

Then, one day, during a random conversation having nothing to do with TNR, inspiration struck.

I was talking with one of our volunteers who does double duty with us (KCZD) and North Brunswick Humane Association (NBHA). While talking about how blessed KCZD has been this year with receiving grant funds, both solicited and unsolicited, my fellow volunteer mentioned NBHA’s 50 Feral Fix program and how it would be great to get grant funding for it. Being the grant czar for KCZD, I told her it would be easy enough to write about their program and submit for several grant opportunities. That’s when the inspiration struck …

Since we haven’t been successful trapping, why don’t we sponsor those who are!

I sat down with the Boss Lady and explained my idea (gratefully borrowed from NBHA), and she said let’s do it and add microchipping to the deal. That is how the Snip & Chip event was born. We partnered with NBHA and People for Animals (PFA) to sponsor the fixing and ‘chipping of 60 feral cats in our community.

This was truly a collaboration by local animal welfare groups. People for Animals, a non-profit spay/neuter clinic in Robbinsville, arranged for two doctors and several staff members to come in on a Monday when they are normally closed. NBHA reached out to their contacts in the feral cat caretaker community to advertise the event, and KCZD provided the volunteers and paid the bills. We quickly “sold out” every one of the 60 spots reserved for the day. So many caretakers were interested in the chance to get their community cats fixed, vaccinated, ear-tipped and microchipped.

Are you wondering why we would bother microchipping a feral cat? So did I, so I asked the Boss.

Feral cats by nature can’t be adopted, and hence, rarely make it out of a shelter alive when brought in by Animal Control. But they not only survive, they thrive in a colony that is being cared for by members of the community. If a microchipped feral cat is brought to a shelter, the colony caretaker can be contacted to come in, pick up their cat and return it to the colony. This saves not only the cat’s life, but also municipal shelter time and money.

So we were all set! PFA had their doctors and staff ready, NBHA coordinated and organized the trapper information and reservations, and KCZD had the volunteers ready and the checkbook out. Then the first snowfall of the year came …

On Monday, December 11, animal welfare workers and volunteers got up early and arrived at People For Animals with eager anticipation and bearing coffee, donuts, donated linens, newspapers and feral cats. Because of the snowfall and individual extenuating circumstances, only 38 of our 60 reservations were able to check in. Traps, covered to make the scaredy cats a little calmer, lined the hallways and back room at PFA. It was time to begin!

This was my first experience with feral cats and the TNR process. I looked on with rapt attention at the process of fixing a feral cat. The vet tech first gives the cat a quick injection to sedate it. The cat is then removed from the trap, weighed, and placed on a prep table. Then it’s given vaccinations, microchipped, and shaved in preparation for surgery. Once it’s their turn, the cat is given further anesthesia, and with little pomp and circumstance, sterilized by removing the reproductive organs while the left ear is altered by removing the top quarter inch, letting anyone who encounters it know that it has been fixed. Once the doctor is finished, another tech brings the cat into the recovery area where the ear is cauterized, and then the cat is returned to their trap which has been lined with fresh paper.  Everything was done remarkably quick, but very professionally and with care.

All of the PFA staff were patient with me as I wandered around taking pictures and asking questions. It was while talking to one of the vets as he worked on pretty tabby female that I realized we’d found our niche. He told me this was his part of the puzzle—coming in on his day off to fix these feral cats. The elusive corner piece of the puzzle finally fell into place for KCZD.

Our TNR calling was not to trap, but to sponsor the trappers.

And it was an amazing success! Everyone there that day was excited to have participated in our newest event. We at KCZD are so thrilled at the response that we have decided to make this a quarterly event, and PFA has already agreed to help out each time! We will be soliciting grant funds to help pay for the (hopefully) 240 surgeries, vaccinations, microchips and ear tips. Additionally, prior to each event we will run donation drives for towels, food, and newspapers to be given to both PFA and the trappers. We are already planning our next event, even as the Boss Lady continues to update the microchip information for each cat. Stay tuned to our website and social media for updates on the next Snip & Chip.

Break it down! Snip & Chip by the numbers:
  • 1 Day
  • 3 Animal welfare organizations
  • 6 PFA staff members
  • 4 Animal rescue volunteers
  • 12 trappers/caretakers
  • 37 cats fixed, vaccinated & ‘chipped
  • 20 males
  • 17 females
Estimating that each feral pregnancy results in three kittens surviving to adulthood, we prevented at least 51 cats from being born—that’s just under half of the number of cats & kittens KCZD takes in each year.

Total cost to KCZD: $2,903.92 (not counting the $115 for coffee, donuts & lunch for staff and volunteers) That’s $78 per cat, and it’s worth every penny.

So, now we have three of the four corners of our puzzle filled out: we have animal rescue and adoption in the top left, the top right corner is our strong base of volunteers and supporters, and the bottom left is coming together for TNR with the Snip & Chip. Now all we need is the bottom right corner: a place we can call our own adoption center.

Wait, is that a corner piece I see over there …

~Rebecca, Development Director

The post Snip & Chip Inaugural Event appeared first on Karma Cat Zen Dog Rescue Society.

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UPDATE: Kelly-O has found her perfect forever home!

Cutie pie Kelly-O is a sweet, gorgeous girl. With her beautiful, dilute tortie colors, big pale green eyes, and adorable grey nose, she’s a real stunner. A chatty little girl, Kelly-O will charm you with chirps, and tell you all about her day! Rescued from a home with too many cats, she’s ready for her own home where she’ll get the love and attention she craves. Kelly adjusts to having other cats around, is good with kids, but we aren’t quite sure she would enjoy life with a dog! Kelly-O is FeLV/FIV negative, up to date with vaccinations, microchipped, and spayed. Her birthday is estimated to be around 5/21/16.

Apply to adopt him (or any of our awesome animals) here: http://karmacatzendog.org/adoption/cat-adoption-application/

The post Kelly-O-so-cute! appeared first on Karma Cat Zen Dog Rescue Society.

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