Home for the Holidays – Shelter Building Event

With help from the brothers of Alpha Phi Omega, we are constructing feral cat houses for managed colonies! Visit us at the North Brunswick PetSmart on Saturday, October 17, 2015 from 12pm until 4pm.

Email info@karmacatzendog.org to sign up to receive a finished feral cat house. We are getting a lot of requests – houses will be distributed equitably. Caregivers will be emailed before the event with an update on the status of their request. Finished houses must be picked up on October 17, 2015 at the end of the event.

Got cats that need to be trapped-neutered-returned? There’s a clinic for that! Email us for details :)

Be a shelter sponsor! Donate here:



Invisible Fence

This post is sponsored by Dog Fence DIY

Is an Invisible Dog Fence Right for Your Dog?

A popular alternative to a traditional, standard fence is an invisible dog fence. There are many advantages to an invisible dog fence, such as preserving an unobstructed landscape, containment in oddly shaped areas, and saving money. However, they are not for every dog or situation. Here are some simple questions you can ask yourself to help you determine whether or not an invisible fence is an option you should pursue for your dog.


Does Your Dog Have a Strong Prey Drive?

Dogs with strong prey drives are prone to be escape artists. When they see or hear a small animal on the other side of the fence, they may do whatever it takes to get to it, including going under, over, or through a traditional fence. If your dog has a strong prey drive, an invisible dog fence is a reliable way to ensure they don’t leave your yard. The warning tones and corrective shocks of the e-collar prevent them from crossing the perimeter boundary, no matter what.

Does Your Dog Love to Dig?


Digging dogs are also prone to escape traditional fences, because they can dig right underneath. Dogs who love to dig can also wreak havoc in gardens and flower beds, much to the chagrin of their gardening owners. An electronic dog fence is a versatile way to deal with a digging dog, because it can secure the perimeter of the yard and be used to block access to gardens within the yard. The dog fence wire cannot be dug underneath, because your dog will be warned and corrected before they even get close enough to try.

Is Your Dog Aggressive with Strangers?

If your dog is aggressive with strangers, then extra precaution is needed when it comes to containing your dog. For aggressive dogs, an electric dog fence alone is not a good solution. The main concern with using only an invisible fence with an aggressive dog is that strangers, children, or other animals are still able to accidentally cross into your yard. Aggressive dogs may feel threatened and attack anyone who enters their turf. Also, you do not want to risk the liability that would come with your aggressive dog escaping and roaming wild in the neighborhood. For the most aggressive dogs, the best solution is actually to pair an electronic dog fence with a traditional fence, for two layers of security.

Is Your Dog Sick or Younger than Six-months-old?

Sick dogs should not be trained on an electric dog fence. If your dog has a chronic illness, they may be too infirm or weak to handle the corrections of the e-collar. If your dog is younger than six-months-old, they also should not be trained on an invisible dog fence. Once your dog has overcome their illness, or once your dog becomes at least six-months-old, they can be trained to use an electronic dog fence without risk of complications from the e-collar.

Can You Commit to Training Your Dog?

Training is the most important part of using a wired or wireless dog fence. With proper training, your dog will thereafter observe their boundaries, so they won’t experience any warning tones or corrections with regular use. You must carefully follow the training instructions that come with your dog fence. It usually takes about 15-30 minutes twice per day for up to two weeks before training is complete. If you cannot make the commitment to consistent training, then you should not bother with purchasing or installing a DIY electric dog fence. Even the best invisible dog fence will not work without proper training.

The vast majority of dogs will do quite well with an invisible dog fence. Oftentimes, once dogs have learned how it works and their boundaries, they will remain in the yard even if the invisible fence is turned off. Of course, the safest way to use the fence is with it turned on. There are wired and wireless options, and invisible fence reviews will help you decide exactly which electronic dog fence you should purchase for your individual dog and yard.

For more information about dog fences please visit our educational partner www.dogfencediy.com. We encourage you to share your experiences with a variety of dog containment systems in the comments section.

Paws for Celebration Notes

Paws for Celebration Cake
When we started Karma Cat and Zen Dog, we created a mission and a plan and we set some procedures in place. We did our homework and moved slowly. We gathered some amazing people along the way to help us.
All of that is pretty standard … it’s what is supposed to happen so that the organization can grow and do the right things. I’m proud of that – I’m proud of what this organization has accomplished and who we have become. To be honest, it is what I planned and hoped for …
But perhaps what I didn’t plan for was that the people in this organization would become ohana.
Though I was born in NY and have lived in NJ for many years, some of you know that I have a profound love for Hawai’i. And what I have experienced of the Hawaiian culture, ‘ohana is an idea – something that the people live by.
The word ?ohana means family in the Hawaiian language, but a much wider sense of family, it includes not only one’s relatives, but also one’s friends, neighbors and coworkers. The idea is also that family and friends are bound and everyone must work together and not forget each other.
Our ‘ohana extends to our volunteers – each and every one of the 55 people that run this organization. From our 6 board members, to our 21 directors and coordinators, our 8 junior volunteers that range in age from 4 to 18. The 37 PetSmart and 25 CatQuarters volunteers … and the 39 people that hold multiple roles.
We include our veterinarians and vet techs in our ‘ohana – spread across several towns, but never out of reach for us when we need their help. I think they are used to us texting and emailing at all hours of the day at this point.
The foster ‘ohana is strong – at one point this year they hosted 59 animals in only 10 homes. We are usually averaging 35 to 40 animals at a time. Every foster has their niche: the seniors, the bottle babies, the ill, the non-social, the “I don’t like any other animal”.
Our donor and supporter base totals over 1000 and spans the Americas. A supporter from California sends periodic donations when any of her or her friends’ animals needs a little “good karma” and a Canadian supporter sends a money order every year that confuses the bank.
Our sponsors tonight are definitely ‘ohana. Top Cat sponsors BPL Carbon-free Solutions and the St. Francis Animal Clinic. Fat Cat sponsors: Edgebrook Animal Hospital, Karen Wilkinson of ReMax Platinum, Keiki Farm and the Raritan Group. Cool Cat sponsors: Muffin & Morris, Sandy & Thurman and Mshisha & Kita – all Karma Cat Alumni, and the Rabbits Den Tattoo and Piercing Parlor. Our Wine Glass sponsor tonight is J.B. and the gift bags were sponsored by Michelle Arlotta Photogrpahy, Katie’s Pet Depot and One Steep at a Thyme. Music tonight is sponsored by Jan Lilburn and provided by The Echos.
KCZD Mandala
Over the past 5 years, we have created a family of adopters – one could say this is the heart of our ‘ohana since without you, we’d be stalled in our mission. 670 animals have found their forever people in 496 homes (we have quite a few “repeat” and “twofer” adopters).
Ohana means family and we stick together through the ups and downs …
We opened a new adoption center “CatQuarters”
  • battled ringworm and urinary tract issues
  • rescued the 9 Lives from Helmetta – a shelter rescue that will never be forgotten
  • dealt with epic kitten diarrhea
  • received another Sidewalk Angels Foundation grant
  • nursed horrific wounds
  • rescued the 4th and 5th Zen Dogs
On this roller coaster of a year, we sadly lost a few animals to illness … some while they were still in our foster home network, some after they had been adopted.
  • Aubrey
  • Jack
  • Alvin
  • Freddie Boom Boom
  • Buster
  • Floki
  • Jenny
We know that each of those cats was loved and respected – may they rest in peace and may their fosters and adopters know that we all did everything we could for them. Swinging back to the upside … Some amazing adoptions and rescues have taken place in the past 12 months …   
  • Shortly after last year’s Paws for Celebration we rejoiced in our 600th adoption –
  • Calvin Klein
  • Courtney required constant care after she presented with a large open wound on her stomach. She recovered and was adopted by a past adopter.
  • Following in her footsteps, Greyson is currently being treated for a massive skin wound.
  • We were not shy or short on theme names this year …
    • Welcome Back Kotter
    • Modern Family
    • The Baseball Greats
    • Thunder Cats
    • Motley Crue
    • We even managed to pull names from American Horror Story, The Beatles and The Flintstones – we are nothing if not eclectic
    • Hunger Games
    • Mary Tyler Moore
    • Facts of Life
    • Game of Thrones (again)
    • Sound of Music
    • And my personal favorites for themes, Orphan Black and Hawai’i Five-0
  • Four dogs found their forever homes because of our fosters … this quadruples our total dog adoption number!
  • Our sassy cats, One-Eyed Winnie, Robin and Saucy found their perfect humans this year
  • The Greeks – seniors abandoned at a local vet hospital all found homes 
  • Cheese Puff, Quinn, Pia and Mabel were returned from their first adopters for various reasons but all have found new forever homes.
  • Countless kittens and cats pulled from the Newark shelter and the 21 cats and kittens taken from a New Brunswick home – almost all of which now have forever homes
  • Owen had two knee surgeries to correct Grade V luxating patellas after being rescued from the Helmetta shelter. We are excited to announce that he has found his forever home with the staff at the Edgebrook Animal Hospital where he will stay ‘ohana forever. You can visit him at the front desk. Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind — or forgotten.

OwenThank you all for being here tonight! Your support means everything to the animals that we rescue.

Name the Kittens

Name the kittens! We rescued these 5 cutie-pies from Newark AHS on 3/4/15 and they needed names so we had a little contest. Donors were entered into a hat and 2 winners were chosen: Kathryn P and Jan L!

Purrs and Paws Kitten Shower

Pitter Patter, Kittens Matter! Join us at the North Brunswick Road Runner Store (Shoppes at North Brunswick, 501 Rt. 1) for a Kitten Shower!

Saturday – March 21, 2015 – 9am – 1pm


It’s kitten season and we would love to stock our shelves so we can lovingly care and feed the wee ones that will come our way. Here’s a list of our most needed items:

  • KMR liquid and powder formula
  • World’s Best or Exquisicat Corn Litter
  • Fleece Blankets, Baby Blankets, Pillowcases
  • Kitten Nursing Bottles & Replacement Nipples
  • Dawn Dish Detergent
  • Royal Canin Baby Cat Dry and Wet Food
  • Simply Nourish Dry Kitten Food
  • Paper Towels, Clorox Wipes

We will have adoptable kitties at the store, refreshments (custom cupcakes by Rockn’ Sweets!) and some prizes!

Donations can be dropped off at Road Runner Store (North Brunswick) or the North Brunswick PetSmart.

Carolyn’s Duff’s Fund Raiser

True story: Metal-heads love their rescued animals!
Volunteer Carolyn is hosting a fund raiser at the World Famous Duff’s Brooklyn bar on Friday the 13th (of March).
Beers; shots; silent auction with original artwork, music merch & other baskets of goodies; cosplay Cat Woman KCZD pint glasses and limited edition t-shirts by Forest of Gotham!
Limited Edition t-shirt

Stay up to date on the event FaceBook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/356064597912917

Skylark Fine Diner & Lounge Community Day

UPDATE: The event was a huge success and over $300 was raised! Skylark will have the official total for us soon. Thank you to everyone who enjoyed some yummy eats & drinks for us!

Join us ALL DAY for a fund raiser at the Skylark Fine Diner & Lounge in Edison, NJ on Thursday, February 26, 2015. Dine and/or drink from 11am – 9pm + present the voucher below = 20% donation by the Skylark Diner (based on pre-tax and pre-tip total).

You eat, they donate!

Skylark Diner - Community Event Voucher Karma Cat

Want to share with family, friends and coworkers? We hope you do – the more the merrier!!

Skylark Diner - Community Event Voucher Karma Cat_fullpagelowres

The Year in Review: 2014

The end of 2014 marks the end of 5 calendar years for Karma Cat + Zen Dog! My, how time flies. Sometimes we feel that we haven’t done enough, other times we wonder where we found the time, money and volunteers to pull off mini miracles.

Like any year, 2014 had its ups and downs. We suffered through a very tough case of FIP with Rudy. And we heard from several of our past adopters that their Karma Cat Alumni was taken too soon by this awful disease. Having friends throughout many rescue groups, the loss to FIP was not felt only by us – it was a really tough year.

We rescued 3 dogs this year! Seems like a small number but all three dogs needed a bit of special care either medically or behaviorally. It’s wonderful that all are in amazing homes already.

We learned more than we ever wanted to know about massive mammary gland infections during Courtney’s Ordeal.

We rescued many litters of kittens; some in better condition than others. Our last round of “Newark Kittens” are still fighting some medical issues (eye issues and intestinal troubles) but we know that PhilR, Thurman and SandyKit are in the best hands possible in their foster homes.



We opened our own space to adoptable cats, dubbed “CatQuarters“! It’s still a work in progress but we are moving our office functions there and we already have office helper cats!

This fall, we rescued the “9 Lives from Helmetta” after the Helmetta Regional Animal Shelter was raided and quarantined. The fate of the shelter is still unknown. Several of the kittens we rescued came with ringworm (fungus) but they will be available for adoption soon.


Owen has one new knee and he will get his second knee this January. He’s being a good boy for recovery so we rewarded him with his own FaceBook page: Knees 4 Owen.

Santa asked for our help with a special Christmas Day adoption delivery: Operation Santa’s Helper.

And at the 11th hour, we TNR’ed 9 cats and rescued 3 kittens from a local feral cat colony! Only one more cat to “get” there and it’s a complete success! Read more about TNR from our volunteer, Erin on the blog: TNR, You Can Do It!

We adopted out 111 cats and 3 dogs in 2014!

2014 adoptions

We continue to care for 28 cats and kittens.

2015 animals

And in case those cute little word diagrams don’t satisfy your need for adorable animal pictures, here’s a slideshow of everyone adopted and still available for adoption as of 12/31/14!

Since inception, we have found homes for 610 animals! Everything we do is for them – and everything you do for us is for them! Thank you so much for ALL your support this year. We look forward to a wonderful 2015 as well as another 5 amazing years.

Making Spirits Bright

TNR: You Can Do It!

How to accomplish your own TNR project!

Trap-Neuter-Return, commonly referred to as “TNR,” is the only humane and effective method at controlling feral cat population growth. If you see a colony of cats that you wish to help, it is important that not only food and shelter are provided but also that the population is controlled. Neighborhood Cats has a great description on the many benefits of TNR: http://www.neighborhoodcats.org/how_to_what_is_tnr

Step 1: Scope out your area & count your cats. This may take a few visits to the area where the cats are living. Be sure to get a visual on if they are already ear tipped. This would indicate they have already been TNR’d


Step 2: Determine if the cats are being cared for. If you see food and shelters, most likely there is a kind person who is doing their best to assist the colony.

Step 3: Make friends with the caretakers & feeders. You may want to leave a note with an email address if you do not see them feeding the cats. Offer your assistance with trapping and fixing the cats. Set aside or fund raise the money you will need for the surgeries and vaccinations.

Step 4: Plan for the date you will be trapping, make your low-cost spay/neuter clinic appointment(s), set up your pre/post trapping staging area (basements or garages are best) and request the cats are not fed the day before to ensure they are hungry enough to enter the traps.

Step 5: Get there early! Have: 1. One trap for each cat.  2. A cover for each trap. 3. Plenty of newspaper to line the bottom of the traps. ( line it the short way so you don’t have to pull as much out from under the cat when cleaning) 4. Stinky hot chicken or similar food that will encourage the cats to enter the traps. ( Heat the cans right on your car vent ) 5. Plastic and paper lining to protect your vehicle seats. 6. Have a book and some coffee, because it is a waiting game :)

IMGP0518Step 6: Set up the traps. This can be done in an area the cats are normally fed. You will want to partially cover each trap, so the cats still able to see out, but you can quickly cover the trap once the cat has set it off. Leave a small trail of food to entice the cat, but the majority of the food should be past the trap release so the cat goes all the way in and engages the door to shut. You want to be close by to hear the trap go off because the cat will most likely panic, they should calm down once the trap is covered. Move the trapped cat away from the remaining traps and in to your vehicle that will be used for transportation.


Step 7: Transport the cats to your local low cost spay and neuter location. Ideally the cats are recovered in a basement or garage before and after the surgery. This will allow you time to trap the cats prior to your appointment (drop off is usually in the morning and the cat should not eat past midnight the night before if an adult). This will also allow for the cats to recover without hindering the healing process in the first couple days. If you don’t have the capability of recovering the cats, some clinics will allow the cats to stay for an additional fee.


Step 8: Release the cats back at the location they were trapped in. Ensure they continue to receive regular food/ water, and that they have sufficient shelter to protect from predators and weather.

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 4.20.23 PM

Learn more about you local shelter & Legislation 

It is also worth noting that unfortunately many townships and states do not support TNR. This is due to lack of education, and misguided information on community cats and the many benefits of Trap-Neuter-Return. Your town may be enforcing trap and euthanize, and feeding bans. You can become a voice of change by speaking out about the benefits of TNR, being part of the No Kill movement.

Check out your local TNR workshops and networking opportunities !

Our Holiday TNR story : 

We decided to do our own TNR project last week after rescuing the adorable T Hanks the day before Thanksgiving. We found out he was part of a colony that included his two litter mates and wanted to help them out too. Nine adult cats were TNR’ed and his two siblings were captured for socialization! Thank you to all that have donated lately – YOU make projects like this possible!


IMGP0546 IMGP0590

We will continue wonderful projects like this in the 2015 year with the help from your donations, and our wonderful volunteers!