Every donation matters!! YOU matter!!!
We 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/
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!
It all started with the very adoptable Molly at our North Brunswick, NJ PetSmart Adoption Center:
Cutie-pie Arnold (adoptable kitten!):
— KarmaCat ZenDog (@KarmaCatZenDog) August 30, 2014
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
Some people think that working with an animal rescue means being covered in adorable kittens & puppies all day long. In reality, it isn’t always catnip and puppy breath. There is a lot of work that goes into maintaining Karma Cat + Zen Dog and our high standards of care and compassion. There is also a lot of money required.
In 2013, we spent $4,623 per month, that’s $152 per day, feeding and caring for our rescued animals. We start with good food for all ages; we believe that quality food leads to healthy lives. From our many bottle babies who need formula and baby cat wet food, to our several seniors who need filler-free quality kibble, everyone is given a chance to dine on healthy chow. All animals are spayed/neutered prior to adoption and vaccinated appropriately for their age. All cats are tested for FeLV/FIV.
We don’t shy away from rescuing a kitty because of possible long term health problems. Our covergirl, Kandy-pants, is FeLV/FIV positive. We took care of her until a wonderful adopter opened their home to her. Nicholas, Alvaro, Nicole, Natalie & Pedro all came to us as very sick kittens who probably would have been euthanized, but our wonderful volunteers worked with our vets to take care of them. All five are now in their own forever homes, happy and healthy. We currently have three cats, five kittens and one dog who need special care and the funding that goes with that care.
In order to support our efforts to save as many homeless animals as we can, we raise money in a variety of ways. We have at least one big event each year: our spring party, Paws for Celebration is our most successful fundraiser. We also have several ongoing fundraisers. Pura Vida donates $1 for every “Original” Karma Cat bracelet purchased and $2 for every “Platinum” Karma Cat bracelet, and Amazon Smile and iGive.com donate a percentage of your online shopping bills, and our latest endeavor is the walking app Walk for a Dog where we receive about a quarter for every mile logged while out on a walk. These are small fundraisers, but for us, every penny counts and we are thankful for each and every one donated by our fabulous supporters.
Now, you may be wondering what all this money talk has to do with a volunteer spotlight. Well, the woman responsible for our fundraising efforts is Linda Tamburro, and she puts every ounce of her heart into raising money for our rescued animals. Here is a peak behind the money at Linda Tamburro, Development Director.
(I) How and when did you start working with KCZD?
I responded to an ad for a Fundraising Coordinator on volunteermatch.com. I wanted to be involved with animal rescue but I didn’t think that I had the stomach to see them in distress, so I chose fundraising. Once I met Christie I knew that I wanted to do more so I also became a volunteer to help with the Kitties at PetSmart
(I) What is your favorite part of working for KCZD?
Too many to mention. The people definitely. The kitties definitely and how I feel when a kitty is adopted and goes home. It is a feeling that is very, very hard to top.
(I) Do you have a favorite KCZD story?
Jessica Rabbit (now Soot). Sweet little thing has Spina Bifida was adopted by a family in BOSTON who has a daughter with Spina Bifida. They learned about Soot on Facebook thanks to another group’s post. They started a Facebook page to raise awareness and even wrote a book! Special needs kitties are difficult to adopt. Black kitties are difficult to adopt. This kitty was a black, special needs kitty that someone came all the way from Boston to bring home. It just makes me cry with joy whenever I think about it.
(I) What is one thing few if any other volunteers know about you?
I was very afraid of cats when I was in elementary school. A cat scratched me (I tried to pick it up when she didn’t want to be) and it resulted in a trip to the hospital for a tetanus shot. Eventually I got over it.
(I) Do you have a favorite famous cat? (animated, internet, book character, etc)
(I) What are your duties with KCZD?
Kitty care at PetSmart which involves cleaning out their cages, the litter, replacing food and water and of course lots of play and snuggle time. I love it if they can all come out to play together
I also try to raise money through events such as Give Back Night’s at restaurants, flea markets and fairs, Casino Night, Paws for Celebration and other methods. It is hard but very rewarding. I am also one of the newest Board Members
(I) Do you have a favorite cat breed or color?
GINGERS. Love ‘em. Can’t get enough of them.
(I) What is your day job?
I work as a consultant for a financial services company that provides retirement plans for mainly nonprofit organizations. I straddle the line of IT and Business. My role is to determine system changes, document them and work with the business team, development team and quality assurance team to ensure that the changes work as designed and are rolled out on time and within budget.
(I) What do you consider to be your guilty pleasure?
Cake. All kinds. I love it.
(I) Do you have any pets of your own?
Three cats adopted together – not litter mates. All were approximately 6 months old when I took them home.
Roo – Brown tabby. She was named Miracle because she was born the day that her mother was going to be spayed. Her mother was so malnourished that they didn’t know that she was even pregnant. Roo was her only baby. She is very small but very feisty with the two boys. She likes to get up on her hind legs to play, like a kangaroo, so I named her Roo.
Jack – Ginger. Do you really want me to tell the Jack-ass story?? He was adopted as “Powder” when he was 6 months old. Within a few minutes of being in my house, he ran all the way to the back of the laundry room where got himself lodged behind a pipe. I had to climb over the washing machine to get him. He was thus dubbed “Jackass”. Jack for short Jack is absolutely my favorite because he is the most trouble and loudest of the clan.
Misha – Grey tabby. Thin and sleek – sweet as can be. He was the most timid and took the longest to get comfortable. Now he rubs up against everyone and LOVES attention!
(I) If you could meet a famous animal activist who would you meet and what would you talk about?
Jackson Galaxy – cat behavior and understanding what it means when they do…
(I) If you could teach your cat a trick, what would you want him/her to learn?
Using the toilet rather than the litter box!
(I) If you plan any kind of fundraiser (with no limitations) what would you want to plan for KCZD?
Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi concert
(I) Would you want to be able to talk to your cats? What would you want to ask or talk about?
Definitely. I think they would explain life to ME rather than me talking to them. I think that I would be in the listening end of the conversations!
Well, said Linda – well said.
We hope you enjoyed the second installment in our series introducing our volunteers to you. If you have any other specific questions you’d like answered, or if you have a specific volunteer you would like to see highlighted, please let us know! You can contact me at Rebecca@karmacatzendog.org
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) …
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.
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:
- A female cat or dog will live a longer, healthier life.
Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and mammary cancer.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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/
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!!
Karma Cat + Zen Dog Rescue Society started four years ago when our Executive Director, Christie Arlotta, helped a neighbor Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) 19 feral cats in their backyards. She and her sister attended a workshop at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah titled “How to Start & Run Your Own Animal Sanctuary.” Click the image to read Michelle’s blog about the trip.
Soon after the trip, Karma Cat + Zen Dog Rescue Society (often referred to by volunteers and friends as KCZD or just Karma Cat) was created.
We are an eclectic bunch of volunteers. We have fosters, socializers, adoption counselors, adoption center cleaners, and TNR volunteers. We have many volunteers who wear more than one hat and fill more than one of these roles.
- Some of us have full time day jobs; Others are students or are retired
- Some of us have lots of tattoos; Others don’t (but might get one at our next Tattoo Fundraiser!)
- Cat people
- Dog people
While our differences make us unique, the one thing every volunteer has in common is passion. We are all passionate about saving animals and making their lives as happy and healthy as possible. Since we are such a diverse group it is not unusual for us to not know all the other volunteers, especially those who don’t fill the same roll as us; the cleaners don’t always know the fosters, etc. We may not have met every one of our fellow volunteers, but we know we have at least one thing in common: KCZD.
Over the next few months we are going to interview and profile some of our volunteers. Some of the questions will be the same, others may vary to shine a light on each person’s individuality. Let’s get to know the heart of Karma Cat, those folks who are dedicated to making the lives of animals better one day, one animal, and one Forever Home at a time.
I hope you enjoy the series of interviews! ~Rebecca, Volunteer Co-Director
The Little Girl Who Meowed
We will begin our profile series with our one and only, incredibly dedicated Executive Director, Christie Arlotta. Christie is an environmental engineer by day and self-proclaimed cat wrangler the rest of the time.
Interviewer (I): When and how did you come to start working with KCZD?
Christie Arlotta (CA): At the end of 2009, I discovered my neighbor was feeding 19 ferals in his backyard … which was connected to our backyard. After helping him get them all fixed – and taking the resulting kittens (18!) for adoption – Karma Cat + Zen Dog was officially formed. A rescue organization was something that my sister Michelle and I talked about for years … something we would do “someday”. We even attended a “How to Start Your Own Animal Sanctuary” week-long course at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah.
[The story and pictures are in our first blog entry: http://karmacatzendog.org/2010/12/2010-the-year-it-all-began/ ]
(I): What is your favorite part of working for KCZD?
(CA): The amazing people I have met. Seriously. All of our volunteers are so talented and devoted – it’s awe-inspiring. Their generosity is endless.
(I): Do you have a favorite Karma Cat story?
(CA): Kandy. A story about never giving up and how every animal deserves to live. Her 1st blog entry is here: Kandy’s Fight
And her adoption blog entry is here: KandyCat
(I): Any limitations (such as funding) aside, what would be your dream for KCZD?
(CA): Our own facility on our own land … a “cat house” with all the rooms dedicated to the kitties (with very few cages) … and a “dog house” with all the rooms rigged out for the doggies – complete with access to outdoor runs, a playground and an agility course. Anyone have an extra million bucks they need to off-load?
(I): Do you have any animals of your own at home that aren’t fosters?
(CA): You betcha!
- MacDougal – border collie/pit/Rottweiler/mix mutt – approximately 16 years old. Rescued by my husband many years ago.
- Beau – brown tabby boy – approximately 17 years old. A bottle baby that my husband rescued.
- Karma – calico – approximately 5 years old. The first Karma Cat!!
- Emmett – orange tabby – approximately 4 years old. Another Karma Cat.
- Spitfire – grey tabby – approximately 3 years old. My baby cat … I just couldn’t give him up after nursing him through a major leg surgery.
- Keiki – black & white – approximately 2 years old. John’s baby cat … and MacDougal’s little friend.
(I): Do you have a favorite famous cat? (animated, internet, book character, etc.)
(CA): This was harder to answer than I thought it would be! I’ll have to go with Hello Kitty! I still have the adorable purse I purchased while on a trip to Hawai’i many years ago.
(I): So, you’re an engineer. Engineers are typically more of the left-brained, logical type. Would you describe yourself as strictly logical or do you have a secret artsy side?
(CA): Logical. I like things in straight lines and orderly … though you would never know that looking at my messy, messy desk.
(I): If you could have any superpower without any adverse side effects, what would you want?
(CA): Super speed (I might actually complete my to-do list one day!) or Animal Empathic Communication (what the heck IS my cat thinking???)
(I): What do you consider to be your guilty pleasure?
(CA): A long list of TV shows! Supernatural, Vampire Diaries, The 100, Reign, Bones, Castle, Dallas, going back to the old school Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel series. I get enough “real life” all day. Oh, and Matthew McConaughey … I’m a happily married woman but that Matt is my boyfriend!
(I): How did you pick our KCZD color scheme?
(CA): Ah, I actually didn’t … a graphic design studio donated their time and expertise to create our logo. The design team provided these notes with their first draft:
“Spiral pattern comprising animals used to convey a zen (structured) and karmic (flow of energy) tone and the suggested color usage plays upon cool, tranquil colors which are of equal weights to suggest balance.”
(I): Do you have a favorite breed or color of cat? What about dogs?
(CA): Cats: black lips on a non-black cat are my favorite. Dogs: not necessarily a breed, just a size … I like the medium-build doggies
(I): What is one thing about you that few, if any, of the other volunteers know about you?
(CA): When I was a little girl, I used to pretend I was a cat.To the extent that my only form of communication during these times (supposedly) was meowing at my mother.
Such fun insights into our Executive Director! It seems it was meant to be that Christie would start an animal rescue organization!
We hope you enjoyed the first in our series introducing our volunteers to you. If you have any other specific questions you’d like answered, or if you have a specific volunteer you would like to see highlighted, please let us know! You can contact me at Rebecca@karmacatzendog.org
Wait, what? Yup, you read that title correctly: LIVING WITH HERPES. Feline Herpes, that is.
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
- Conjunctivitis or pink eye (inflammation of the eyelid)
- Lesions in and around the eyes
- Eye ulcers
- Appetite loss
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.
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:
This fall we were overwhelmed with the abandonment of 10 kittens at two separate adoption days. As a rescue group, with limited foster space, these events can be very hard to manage. Add malnourished, flea-ridden and then ringworm and it’s more like a disaster. In September, the seven-pack of Gallagher, Mischa, Brody, Natalie, Pedro, Nicole and Alvaro were abandoned in a cloth laundry bin. In November, Aja, Kasey, and Trixie were abandoned in the vestibule of our adoption center’s retail store.
Gallagher, Mischa, Brody, Aja, Kasey, and Trixie were vetted and quickly nursed back to health. They are all doing well in their wonderful forever homes.
Natalie, Pedro, Nicole, and Alvaro spent months in an amazing foster home – recovering from anemia, upper respiratory, eye infections and ringworm. Just before Christmas, Natalie & Pedro were adopted together!
That leaves us with our special pair: Nicole & Alvaro. Early on, a veterinarian told us that Nicole would very likely lose an eye … and none of us disagreed (it was REALLY awful looking). Alvaro crashed on us three separate times but syringe feeding, a heating pad and committed fosters saved him. It really was touch-and-go several times with these kittens.
But, finally after 4.5 months of crazy medical and foster care, they are ready for adoption!
And in raising Nicole & Alvaro, we have raised hope for many homeless cats and kittens. So much is possible with a little extra care, comfort and of course your generous donations. What we do is literally not possible without your help!
Thank you for supporting us so that we can save these precious animals!
Chili’s loves us!
Eat and drink all day (11am – 11pm) on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at Chili’s in North Brunswick, and 10% of the sales will be donated back to us! All you have to do is print and bring this flyer with you.