Operation: Santa’s Helper!

We all know that Santa is amazing and his elves are rock stars. But, occasionally, even Santa and the elves need a little assistance. We were thrilled to be asked to help with a very special Christmas morning delivery on behalf of Mr. Claus!

A special little girl asked for a kitten this year. And not just any kitten – it was a kitten that we had rescued!


But Santa knew that it would be cruel to leave this kitten in a carrier under the tree all night. So, he asked for our help and deputized one of our volunteers as an honorary elf.

Freyja was prepped and ready to travel on Christmas morning. She was whisked away to her new home* in a brand new carrier.

For her safety, our honorary elf kept a close watch on the reveal and even captured some video footage.

You see, there really IS a Santa Claus and he definitely supports animal rescues and shelters! Adopt, don’t shop – local groups (and their honorary elves) are happy to work with you.

*Santa also made sure that the family met his standards for an adopting family.

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


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


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


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


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
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


7. Reading List: I Could Pee on This


8. Reading List: Cat Vs Human


9. Let’s Get Catty in the Kitchen


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

10. Tea for One in Super Cat Style


Black cat tea for one, please! Order HERE.

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


Complete with fish shaped spreader! Purchase HERE.

12. Speaking of Kitchens: Let’s Eat!


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


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!
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


Check out the rings HERE.

15. KCZD Swag – You know you want some (more)!!
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!

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


iPhone and iTouch cases – order one HERE.

18. Stuffed Animal Replica


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
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 is quite the dapper flirt!


PhilR – just chillin’


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


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


Skelter knows that black cats rule!


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


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!


Calico 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/


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!


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

A Penny for Your Thoughts, Linda

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.

Pura Vida Stack

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 love Soot! I think my favorite is Justin, Fire Survivor. He is so awesome and adorable and sweet considering the horrific way he was treated. I love his story!

(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 :)

Claudine (adopter), Linda T and Rebecca S

Claudine (adopter), Linda T and Rebecca S

(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.

Linda Cats

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

~Rebecca :)

Courtney’s Ordeal

Meet 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


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!!