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

KittenShower2015

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.

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.

PhilR

PhilR

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.

9Lives_KCZD

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

Location

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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

CatQuarters

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/

CatQuarters

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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Raising Hope

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!

Natalie & Pedro

Natalie & Pedro

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.

Nicole & Alvaro 9/17

Nicole & Alvaro – September 2013

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!

Nicole & Alvaro

Nicole & Alvaro – February 2014

 

Up, Down, Up, Down, UP!

I live in a land of lists. Adopted animals, adoptable animals, TNR locations & requests, animals that need to be spayed/neutered, things to do, people to call/email, donations, expenses, pros, cons, ups and downs …

When looking back on any time period, I tend to categorize events so that I can try to make sense of the history. 2013 was a roller coaster and the big events are highlighted here (click the image to enlarge):

2013 eventsThis year started out with extreme sadness for our group, when Gilda suddenly passed away. I think her absence is still felt during adoption hours at PetSmart. But, we had to push on – little Nicholas was rescued during a TNR project and we were able to save his life with a $3,000 urinary tract surgery. Then we had our first “triple adoption” of the year: Ginger, Herald and Sally!

Paws for Celebration

Kandy was the poster cat for PfC 2013

One of the big highlights of the year was when Kandy (FeLV/FIV positive) was adopted (March)! Grace was tested for allergies – with rice determined as the biggest culprit. Paws for Celebration was held in April and garnered rave reviews – the 2014 event will be held on Friday, May 16 featuring music by 45 Riots. Another $3,000 surgery was needed in May – this time for Tommy Lee. And in June, we struggled to get the “hoarder cats” healthy and friendly so they could be up for adoption – Oz & Xander (bonded brothers) and Faith are still waiting for their forever homes.

But, back to the “ups”: the Sidewalk Angels Foundation surprised us with a $10,000 grant in July and the North Brunswick Humane Association gave us a $1,000 spay/neuter grant in August. Dean + Farrington had the majority of their teeth removed in August. Quickly following that news was the awesome adoptions of long-time resident, Jill, and our very first Zen Dog, Zen! Later in September, we got slammed with seven very ill kittens that were abandoned in front of our PetSmart in a laundry basket (with three more abandoned several weeks later). Six of the ten have found forever homes. Winnie had an eye removed due to a massive infection when she was a baby-kitten.

In October, super senior Farrington was adopted – he was one of Gilda’s fosters! Casino Night was a big success and the Rabbits Den Tattoo Parlor honored us during their annual Halloween tattoo event! We gave up our Edgebrook adoption space due to too many schedule conflicts – but we hope to add a new adoption space in 2014! And, recently, Jessica Rabbit was diagnosed with Spina Bifida and Robin was diagnosed with mega-colon.

Bubba-C

Bubba-C

Up, down, up, down, UP:

However, we end 2013 on a very high note: Bubba-C was adopted! Our sweet boy had seen three other homes before this one but we are very confident that THIS is the perfect place for him!

 

 

 

121 cats/kittens and 1 dog were adopted out in 2013!

Adopted 2013

We have 32 cats/kittens available for adoption:

Available Cats

So many struggles (“downs”) are thrown at us each year, but we always keep our eyes on the victories (“ups”) so we don’t get discouraged and lose sight of the ultimate goal: making as much of a difference as possible in the lives of homeless and abandoned animals.

We are looking forward to many more “ups” in 2014 – please join us! Our work is made possible by all our volunteers, donors and adopters!!

  1. Adopt or Foster
  2. Volunteer
  3. Donate
  4. Like, comment, and share our adoption posts on Facebook.
  5. Retweet and favorite our Tweets on Twitter.
  6. Subscribe to our email updates.
  7. Read and share our blog posts.

Happy New Year,

Christie and Everyone at Karma Cat + Zen Dog Rescue Society!