9 Lives From Helmetta

On 11/13/14 at approximately 9am, the NJSPCA raided the Helmetta Regional Animal Shelter after months of reports from volunteers and employees. Suspected abuse to many of the animals inside this new, large facility that served 21 towns.

Helmetta Regional Animal Shelter

On 11/13/14 at approximately 10pm, one veterinarian and a few vet techs were allowed into the shelter to clean and feed the animals. From their reports, it appeared that food and even water had not been given to the animals for some time. Cats were FRANTIC for food. On top of that, there was no food to be found in the shelter. An emergency plea was sent out to local rescue groups and animal advocates to please bring food to the shelter. At 3am, the vet and techs were ushered out of the facility – but not before every animal was fed and their cage cleaned.

Cat at Helmetta Shelter

The NJSPCA along with the Dept. of Health took over on the morning of 11/15/14 and they have made sure the animals were cared for during this political and emotional battle for the shelter.

On 11/23/14 we were approved to pull animals from the shelter and our appointment was set for the morning of 11/14/14. We had no idea what we really would see but we assembled our carriers and we were there ready to save.

We were supposed to take 7 cats but our director “accidentally” picked 9 … no turning back now! Good thing we know better and had extra carriers in the cars.

Meet the 9 Lives From Helmetta!
Dot, Bette, Owen, Katniss, Primrose, Peeta, Gale, Finnick and Cinna!

9Lives_KCZDEveryone is doing well in their foster homes – already FeLV/FIV tested and vaccinated.

Owen is an amazingly lovable cat, chirping and purring for his foster mom. Fortunately for Owen, he was rescued by Karma Cat Zen Dog from the Helmetta Regional Animal Shelter in Helmetta, NJ where he had been since July. He spent those five months with no medical care or even an examination until the NJSPCA took control of the shelter.

As you can see from the video, we knew something was wrong with Owen. Our veterinarian determined he has Grade IV luxating patellas (his kneecaps are on backwards!) which makes life very difficult for poor Owen.

The good news??? It’s easily fixable! With your help, that is….every dollar counts and Owen will be an even happier guy when his mobility is improved and he can find his forever home!

Please donate – every $1 helps! https://www.youcaring.com/knees4owen

Best Gifts for Animal Lovers 2014

In 2013, we created our list of gifts for animals lovers. By popular demand, here’s our list for 2014!

Google “gifts for pets” and you get about 14 million hits. “Gifts for pet lovers” returns about 3 million hits. A little better, but still a daunting search when you’re looking for the perfect gift for that special pet or animal lover in your life. To make it a little easier, we’ve scoured our favorite magazines, websites, and stores to help you pick out the perfect present. There’s a little bit of everything on this list – and a lot more items on our Pinterest boards HERE and HERE!

Don’t forget to shop via AmazonSmile, iGive or GoodShop and choose Karma Cat + Zen Dog as your charity of choice!

1. For the Canine Tech Lover: iFetch

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iFetch throws a ball a variable distance when it is placed in the funnel by the dog or person. Pick up this gadget HERE.

2. For the Canine Tech Lover: PetSafe Auto Trainer

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The AutoTrainer teaches your dog not to bark by rewarding quiet time. The collar detects when your dog is barking using patented dual-detection technology, so only your dog’s barks are recorded by the collar. When your dog isn’t barking, he gets rewarded with treats or kibble from the food dispenser. Purchase HERE.

3. Interactive Play for the Felines

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Most felines prefer low tech toys such as the Kong Glide N Seek which uses magnets to entice the kitties – get yours HERE.

4. Cat-Nap Time

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A new take on the feline favorite cardboard box is the Cat Above Snooze Pal hammock – get this adorableness HERE.

5. Pet Food, Treats, and Supplies via Chewy.com
Chewy.comBrands
Deliver pet necessities straight to a friend’s door! Pssst – if it’s your first order, they’ll donate $20 to us. :) Visit HERE.

6. Reading List: Underwater Puppies

underwater

7. Reading List: I Could Pee on This

 peeonthis

8. Reading List: Cat Vs Human

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9. Let’s Get Catty in the Kitchen

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Oh, the cuteness of these cat measuring cups! Purchase HERE.

10. Tea for One in Super Cat Style

BlackCatTea

Black cat tea for one, please! Order HERE.

11. It’s Not a Party Without This Cat-Shaped Cheese Board

cheeseboard

Complete with fish shaped spreader! Purchase HERE.

12. Speaking of Kitchens: Let’s Eat!

slobowl

For those pups who gobble their kibble, there’s the Slo Bowl

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For the discerning feline, there’s this gorgeous yellow cat bowl by Always Mod

 

 

 

 

 

 

13. Da Bird Cat Toy – repeat from the 2013 list, but SO WORTHY!
DaBird
Da Bird is a high quality, durable, interactive toy that cats just LOVE. If you have not witnessed first hand a cat’s reaction to Da Bird, then you have no idea what you are in for! A single bob of Da Bird is completely irresistible to cats. Set on a swivel, its feathers look, sound, and feel like real bird wings. Its the most fun you’ll have with your feline friends! Check out the item HERE.

14. “I Am Complete” Swarovski Crystal Paw Ring

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Check out the rings HERE.

15. KCZD Swag – You know you want some (more)!!
karma_cat_zen_dog_christmas_stockingkarma_cat_zen_dog_mugkarma_cat_zen_dog_dog_tshirt
From clothing to home goods to tech accessories, CafePress offers a wide-range of products personalized with the logo of yours truly! Give your friends, family, or fellow volunteers, a gift that shows your (or their) dedication towards Karma Cat + Zen Dog. :) Purchase HERE.

16. Got a “Bad” Dog? Lumps of Coal!

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Dogs only since we know there is no such thing as a bad cat! Giggle. Purchase HERE.

17. Carry Cat Cuteness With You at all Times

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iPhone and iTouch cases – order one HERE.

18. Stuffed Animal Replica

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Send a picture of your dog and this company will make you a stuffed one … and a portion of the sales are donated to help shelter animals. Get your stuffed animal HERE.

19. JustGive.org Donation
just-give
If purchasing gifts isn’t your thing, you can always donate to a cause in the name of the receiver to give a gift that keeps giving. FYI: Karma Cat + Zen Dog is listed on JustGive.org HERE. :)

20. Adopt an Animal!

CoverPhoto_Holidays2014The winter holidays are a popular time for people to buy dogs and cats at pet stores; supporting puppy mills, unethical stores, and inhumane practices, while leaving many other adorable, nursed back to health pets without owners. If you are planning to add a new furry friend to the family, please adopt, don’t shop. We have animals of all sizes and ages looking for a second chance at a forever home.

Visit PetFinder and Adopt-a-Pet, for more information on adoptables. We also post foster updates, fun pictures, and more on our Facebook and Twitter pages. We invite you to drop by during Adoption Hours, every Saturday and Sunday 11am-3:30pm at the North Brunswick PetSmart, to meet a potential new family member.

Happy Shopping!

National Cat Day 2014

Adopt a cat … or a few! Today we celebrate ALL cats and all our cat-loving friends. Here are some cute cat pictures because, well, cats! :)

Vince Neil

Vince Neil looking adorably pensive

Tommy Lee

Tommy Lee trying to figure out where Theodore is hiding!

Theodore

Theodore is quite the dapper flirt!

Phil

PhilR – just chillin’

LynnNR

LynnNR knows she is royalty and well deserving of this royal purple blankie!

JackieR

Excuse me, is this how a tie is supposed to look? ~JackieR

Skelter

Skelter knows that black cats rule!

Helter

Helter wearing her fairy wings at the Rabbits Den Tattoo event!

Simon

I’ll share my toy, if you share your dinner. ~Simon

With so many adorable kitties available for adoption, you can’t go wrong! Contact us to make an appointment or visit us during regular adoption hours at the North Brunswick PetSmart every Sat. & Sun. (11am – 330pm). You can even apply to adopt online!

Can’t adopt? Volunteer or Donate!

CatQuarters

Calio Quinn likes to preside over the activities at CatQuarters:

QuinnWe call it the CatQuarters as the space will serve as an office … and will be cats helping with all our tasks! We have lots of space for storage, cats, a computer … and 12 ft ceilings … our new space is pretty darn awesome.

If you’ve thought about volunteering, NOW is the perfect time to join us. Apply here: http://karmacatzendog.org/volunteer/

You can also help with a sponsorship and/or a contribution to “stock our shelves”. Best place to donate: http://karmacatzendog.org/support/donate/

CatQuarters

Mice Bucket Challenge Recap

Cats + the Internet = Endless Hours of Entertainment

Here’s a recap of our #MiceBucketChallenge

Did you miss the challenge? You can still donate! Help a kitten – we have 20 that will be spayed/neutered in the next few weeks!

http://karmacatzendog.org/support/donate/

It all started with the very adoptable Molly at our North Brunswick, NJ PetSmart Adoption Center:


Chrissy & Janet – adoptable kittens:
Karma Cat Alumni: Spitfire

Cutie-pie Arnold (adoptable kitten!):

Karma Cat Alumna: Kandy!

Adoptable Kittens: Simon & Theodore

Adoptable Kitten: Saucy

The original Karma Cat: Karma!

Adoptable Grace sorta accepts the #MiceBucketChallenge – with a little help from her doggie friend Tino (who donated $10!!)

Volunteer Rebecca’s Lona:

Adoptable Cheese Puff: “Um, human, what are you doing??”

Soon to be Adoptable Tessa:

Karma Cat Alumni Winnie & Captain Jack:

Karma Cat Alumna: Keiki

Courtney’s Ordeal

Meet Courtney.

Courtney

When found, she was homeless and pregnant. VERY pregnant. Within 5 days of being placed in a foster home, she gave birth to four kittens. Courtney is estimated to only be 10 months old: A BABY HAVING BABIES!

But then she got ill and was rushed to the veterinarian with her kittens. The diagnosis: mastitis in one of her mammary glands. The treatment: antibiotic injection and monitoring.

The next day, she stopped feeding her kittens and an open wound was noticed on her stomach. Back to the veterinarian. The diagnosis: “infection of unknown bacteria”. The treatment: no more feeding her babies, two more antibiotics and twice daily cleaning & bandage removal.

(slightly graphic/gross images below) …

Courtney's Wound Day 1

Courtney’s Wound: Day 1

Courtney: wrapped up after treatment

Courtney: wrapped up after treatment

One week later: Courtney is healing remarkably well. A trip to the veterinarian was made to make sure we weren’t missing anything. While wound debridement and suturing could be done, the veterinarian was very pleased with her progress and suggested we just stay the course.

Courtney Wound: Day 7

Courtney Wound: Day 7

Progress:

Courtney Wound: Day 10

Courtney Wound: Day 10

Doing well in her foster home while she waits to be spayed.

But here’s the sad part about this story: ALL of this could have been avoided if she was spayed BEFORE she was 5 months old.

  • No kittens to worry about
  • No infection to treat
  • No delay in finding a forever home for this sweet cat
  • No extraordinary veterinary bills to pay

A few facts about spaying/neutering your pets:

  1. A female cat or dog will live a longer, healthier life.
    Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and mammary cancer.
  2. Neutering provides health benefits for a male cat or dog, too!
    Prevent “oops” litters and neutering a male cat or dog can prevent testicular cancer, if done before six months of age.
  3. No more heat cycles.
    Female cats usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks during breeding season. In an effort to advertise for mates, they’ll yowl and urinate more frequently – sometimes all over the house! Female dogs can go into heat two to four times a year – advertising for mates and producing a bloody discharge.
  4. A male dog won’t want to roam away from home.
    An unneutered dog will go to great lengths to to find a mate – including digging under or climbing a fence. And forget about an unneutered cat: he’s outta here and will fight other suitors to get to a female cat.
  5. A neutered male will be much better behaved.
    In others words: NO MORE SPRAYING URINE and a male cat’s urine won’t have that awful, awful, awful smell.
  6. Spaying or neutering will not make your pet fat.
    This is a fallacy. What makes your pet fat? Lack of exercise and too much food.
  7. It IS cost-effective.
    Compare the spay/neuter surgery cost with: caring for litters and litters of offspring, treating injuries from fighting animals, and the potential cost of treating uterine and testicular problems. There are lots of low-cost spay/neuter clinics … for those of you near us, here’s a list: http://karmacatzendog.org/resources/
  8. Spaying and neutering your pet is good for the community.
    Trust us, your neighbors don’t want your unfixed animals in their yards nor do they want to hear the mating cries coming from your house/yard. Go the extra step and spay/neuter the community (homeless/feral) cats!
  9. Your pet doesn’t need to have a litter for your children to learn about the miracle of birth.
    Hello!! You can find all kinds of educational material on the internet to teach your children about the miracle of birth.
  10. Spaying and neutering helps reduce the killing.
    3 to 4 million animals are killed in US shelters every single year. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

PS. Courtney’s kittens are doing very well in their foster home. Their bottle feeder reports that at least one is using a litter box already AND they are starting to show interest in wet food. Lily, Haley, Cameron & Manny will be ready for adoption in several weeks.

UPDATE 7/31/14: Courtney has been adopted!!

Living with Herpes

Wait, what? Yup, you read that title correctly: LIVING WITH HERPES. Feline Herpes, that is.

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Sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose, + congestion … kitty got a cold? Maybe, but if the symptoms are persistent and/or reoccurring – it could be feline herpes, also known as feline viral rhinopneumonitis (FVR), rhinotracheitis virus and/or feline herpesvirus type 1 (FHV-1). Feline herpes is one of the most common causes of upper respiratory infections in cats. And MANY (most???) cats are exposed to this virus at some point in their lives.

 The laundry list of symptoms:

  • Sneezing “attacks”
  • Discharge from the nose and eyes
  • Congestion
  • Squinting
  • Conjunctivitis or pink eye (inflammation of the eyelid)
  • Lesions in and around the eyes
  • Eye ulcers
  • Appetite loss
  • Fever
  • Depression
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy

The worse part? Kitties weakened by the virus may also develop secondary infections.

The herpes virus grows in nose, eyes, sinus, throat, mouth, and tonsils of a cat. This can cause inflammation and fever. Infections in the nasal discharge affect the sense of smell, causing the appetite to fade. Loss of appetite is scary in all cats, it is especially concerning in kittens where anorexia and dehydration can be life-threatening.

How do cats contract herpes?

The most common way for the virus to spread is through contact with discharge from an infected cat’s eyes, mouth or nose. Common activities like sharing litter boxes, food and water dishes with an infected cat can lead to the spread of the virus. An infected pregnant cat might pass the virus on to kittens in utero. Because the virus is highly contagious, it is common in catteries, shelters and multi-cat households.

Some cats who become infected with feline herpes are latent carriers. Even though they will never display symptoms, they can still pass the virus on to other cats. Stress can cause these carriers to “shed” the virus, exhibiting mild symptoms, which clear up on their own after a few days.

So, what does this mean for you?

Aside from giving your herpes kitty some extra attention, good food and the occasional course of anti-biotics … you will:

  • use lots of tissues to wipe up her boogers,
  • clean your windows way more than a “normal” person will,
  • not get freaked out when your cat sneezes a big one on your book, hand, shirt or face,
  • you will buy L-lysine in bulk, and
  • probably give her a cute nick-name like “sniffer cat” ;)

And now for some of the more technical/medical questions

Which cats are more susceptible to the herpes virus?

Cats of all sizes, ages, and breeds are susceptible to feline herpes. However, cats in crowded or stressful conditions or with weak immune systems often develop more severe symptoms, as can kittens, Persians, and other flat-face breeds.

Can humans, dogs, or other animals contract herpes from a cat?

No. Humans, dogs, and other animals are not at risk for catching feline herpes.  Likewise, cats cannot catch the strains of herpes that humans carry.

How is feline herpes diagnosed?

Diagnosis can be challenging, and is often based on a combination of symptoms, health history and lab tests. If symptoms of feline herpes are noticed/suspected, a veterinarian should be consulted. The same symptoms may point to calcivirus, which causes upper respiratory disease as well.

The veterinarian cant take a blood sample for testing with a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. However, the test can be negative even if the cat is infected, so further testing may be needed.

My cat has the feline herpes – what can I do?

Once infected, the majority of cats do not get rid of the virus. However, symptoms can be treated. Veterinarians may prescribe oral antibiotics or antiviral medications to help ease symptoms, and drops or creams may be used for conjunctivitis or other eye irritations. With medication, good nutrition, supplements, and tender loving care, most cats can make a successful recovery.

Conjunctivitis and corneal ulcers are treated with topical antibiotics for secondary bacterial infection. L-lysine has been recommended anecdotally to suppress viral replication.A more recent study supports the use of L-lysine for treatment of ocular signs of FHV-1 infection.

Any cat developing an upper respiratory infection should be under veterinary supervision. A brief exam by a veterinarian will help to determine if your cat requires medication, has a fever,or is dehydrated. If a cat is just sneezing, but is otherwise acting normally, no treatment will likely be needed. However, if a cat begins to show nasal discharge, loss or appetite or other symptoms, there is evidence of a secondary bacterial infection and cause for starting antibiotics.

Please do not administer any medication to your cat unless you’ve discussed it with your veterinarian.

How can I reduce flare-ups?

Reduce stress! The virus reactivates with stress so a low-stress environment is helpful in reducing flare-ups. Your cat can be put under stress by any sudden change in his (or your) daily routine, by a sudden change in environment (new house, new roommate, new kids!) or even loud noises.

How Can I Help My Infected Cat Feel Better?

  • Frequently clean his eyes (discharge may dry, creating a hard, uncomfortable crust).
  • A humidifier in the cat’s environment or time in a steamy bathroom can help the congestion.
  • Create a calm, restful home for your cat.
  • Make sure your cat is regularly eating and drinking water. Some cats may require supportive feeding.

Getting rid of the Virus:

Most household disinfectants will inactivate FHV-1. The virus can survive up to 18 hours in a damp environment, but less in a dry environment and only shortly as an aerosol.

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The Princess and the Kitten

When we rescued “Jessica Rabbit” we had no idea she would be the co-star of a book! Diagnosed with Spina Bifida, it took a very special family to be the perfect match for our little bunny-hopper.

Check out Soot’s journey through the eyes of her adopter and her very special little Princess:

The Pricess and the Kittenhttp://katiemccomis.weebly.com/1/post/2014/03/the-princess-and-the-kitten.html

Jessica Rabbit