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How One Mom-To-Be Eased Her Cat Into Sharing Life With A Newborn

Miguel was 14 years old when his owner became pregnant.

Miguel was 14 years old when his owner became pregnant.

Last week we shared a story about two cats named Ragmuffin and Nina that were returned to Heaven Can Wait when their family became new parents.  Myths and adjustment to change can create a stressful atmosphere for new parents.  Heaven Can Wait volunteer writer, Colette Hays, shares  her personal story about how she eased her beloved cat into sharing life with a newborn.

By Colette Hayes

When my longtime cat, Miguel was 14 years old, I became pregnant with my first child.  Miguel and I had a very close relationship; I had raised him from a 4 week old kitten, bottle feeding him, carrying him with me wherever I went. Miguel currently threw his 20 pounds of black fur against my chest every night and slept purring with his face inches from mine. He followed me everywhere and would only consider my lap comfortable enough to sit on. During conversations with several close friends and family members about my pregnancy, I was told stories about behavior changes in their cats. I was told that I had to be careful because Miguel could smother the baby, scratch or hurt the baby and I could get Toxoplasmosis. Hearing this I began to look at my beloved cat differently and wondered just how a new baby would change things.

I learned through research that cats smothering babies was a myth and common sense and some simple precautions were needed to allow a baby and cat to live together peacefully. Toxoplasmosis, a parasite infection, passed through the feces of cats is a real concern, but one that my obstetrician helped me deal with. My obstetrician explained that if I had been around cats for a number of years, I had more than likely already been exposed to this infection. Using plastic gloves while I scooped the litter box and hand washing frequently would help limit the possibility of catching Toxoplasmosis. Getting a family member to scoop for 9 months was also another precaution and one that got me a 9 month break from litter box duty!

Setting up the baby’s room, I allowed Miguel to sniff and investigate everything. He enjoyed jumping in and sleeping in the empty drawers of the new dresser, but took interest in nothing else. He never once attempted to jump in the crib, although purchasing a crib net would have eliminated this option for him if he had showed an interest.

Miguel’s behavior did begin changing when I was around 6 months pregnant. I began noticing a urine smell each time I went up or down the stairs.  I attributed the smell to the litter box which was nearby. Thinking I was not sufficiently cleaning the box, I began scooping up to twice daily. Still the smell of urine was strong. One day I started investigating and found a corner of the stair landing saturated in pee. I ripped up the corner of the rug to discover the pad and concrete floor below were soaked in urine. Miguel was already diabetic so I figured a quick vet checkup would be the first place to start.  The vet gave him an exam, ran a few tests and everything was fine. Indicating my stomach, the vet said, “First baby?” I nodded. “Cats can have strong feelings about changes in the household.” Knowing Miguel and his haughty temperament, I figured he was having super strong feelings ending in urination. The vet explained that cats can be jealous of the new baby and are sensitive to the changes that were happening in my body.

The vet gave me several suggestions to get Miguel using his litter box again. These included cleaning the carpet thoroughly, making sure there was adequate litter boxes and they were clean.  Other suggestions included setting Miguel’s food dish near the spot he had chosen for his bathroom. Cats usually won’t eat where they pee. Miguel proved me wrong in that regard. I watched as he casually peed and then sauntering over to eat. I placed his litter box directly over the pee spot, but he took to peeing in the other corner. I put a second litter box in that corner and he peed in the third corner.  I now had two litter boxes and a food dish placed on my landing and he was still peeing on the carpet. Finally a trip to the local home store, gave me the idea of a plastic runner. I laid the plastic runner over the landing on the stairs. The next morning I woke to find urine and feces on the runner. I was about 7 months pregnant, overwhelmed with the upcoming birth and wondering how I was going to deal with a new baby and a cat that refused to use the litter box. I considered Miguel family and knew that I could not surrender him. I mean let’s be real who is going to adopt a 14 year old, diabetic cat who refuses to use the litter box? I was angry, but I also knew that Miguel was also feeling the changes in the household and my anger directed towards him would make the situation words. After a good cry, I cleaned up the plastic runner on the stairs and landing and made peace with the fact that every morning I was going to have to clean up poop or pee or both.

Patience and understanding brought baby Joseph and Miguel, the cat, together.

Patience and understanding brought baby Joseph and Miguel, the cat, together.

A month later, I brought my son, Joseph home from the hospital. I tried coaxing Miguel to sniff Joseph, but he refused to even pretend to be interested, instead he glared at me from his favorite bathroom spot, the landing.  For about 4 weeks, Miguel would leave the room when I entered and would sleep in the bathtub. I tried to pay extra attention to him and find time to spend with just him alone, but he made a point of leaving the room whenever I came to find him or hiding under the bed.  I did notice that his bathroom use on the runner was lessening, instead of daily it was three of four times a week. Finally when Joseph was about a month old, Miguel jumped on my lap and began investigating Joseph. He sniffed him, watched him and then carefully sat down next to him. Within minutes Miguel was purring softly and Joseph was sound asleep.

Over the next several months, almost as suddenly as he had stopped he started using his litter box again. Miguel also began taking an interest in me again, sitting on my lap and follow me from room to room. By the time Joseph was a year old; Miguel would lie next to Joseph and allow himself to be hugged and slobbered on.  Miguel eventually learned to tolerate Joseph and Joseph learned to be gentle with Miguel.

With time, patience and a sense of humor it is possible for a cat to adjust to the changes of pregnancy and a new baby. Cat and baby can learn to live together and if not like each other at least tolerate each other. While dealing with unwanted behavior changes in a beloved pet can be frustrating and difficult, realize that your cat is expressing their feelings about the changes in their lives and while we may not like how they express themselves, realize they need your love and patience during this transition.

Heaven Can Wait cat adoptions are held Thursday – Sunday in Petsmart at 7050 Arroyo Crossing Pkwy (off I-215 and S. Rainbow.)  Check out all the cats waiting for new homes at: www.hcws.org


Ragmuffin And Nina’s “Happy Ever After” Adoption

Ragmuffin and Nina were returned to HCWS after their family had a new baby.

Ragmuffin and Nina were returned to HCWS after their family had a new baby.

Ragmuffin and Nina are not biological sisters, but after living together most of their lives, they act like it.  The pair was returned to Heaven Can Wait in 2012 after their owners welcomed a new baby to the family.  Sadly, thousands of cats are surrendered each year because of myths surrounding newborns and felines or because the animal’s early response to a baby in a household isn’t positive.

The ASPCA offers lots of tips to help expectant parents prepare their cat for a new baby and protect against potential health hazards before an infant is born.

One of the main reasons female cat owners surrender their pets, is the fear of contracting Toxoplasmosis while they are pregnant.  It can cause birth defects.  Cats can get the disease from eating small outdoor animals that are contagious.  The disease is typically passed along to a human while cleaning a litter box.

The ASPCA recommends several common sense measures to protect against Toxoplasmosis:  pregnant women wear gloves while scooping litter, give the job to another family member and keep their cat indoors.

The ASPCA’s next suggestion is to prepare a cat for the upcoming change in the household.  Cats need time and patience to accept any change. The group recommends that furniture for the nursery be set up several months in advance to allow a cat time to investigate and realize there is nothing scary about a crib or changing table.  (Of course, you will want to clean the furniture before the baby uses it.)

Finally when the newborn comes home, the family cat should be introduced to the baby in a peaceful room.  These introductions may have to been repeated several times.  Then use common sense when the baby and cat are in the same room.

Nina relied on her big sister Ragmuffin for security and friendship.

Nina relied on her big sister Ragmuffin for security and friendship.

When Ragmuffin and Nina came back to Heaven Can Wait they were 9 years-old and 7 years-old, respectively.   Elaine, the Cat Coordinator worried about finding them a new home because of their age and because she wanted them to be adopted together.

Luck played a role when Christine and Colin walked into the HCWS Adoption Center.  The couple had come to see another cat, but Ragmuffin had other plans.

“This big fluffy cat came up to my boyfriend and started following him around,” said Christine.  “Then Nina started following him too.”

As an avid cat lover, Christine was looking to adopt an older cat and Ragmuffin and Nina fit the order perfectly.

“I’ve had cats my whole life and I knew I wanted an older cat because everyone else adopts the kittens,” said Christine.  “I had recently lost my 16 year-old cat to cancer and my house felt so empty.  I know we will have lots of years ahead of us with Muffin and Nina, even at 9 and 7 years-old.”

Christine shared that Ragmuffin felt at ease the minute she walked into the house.  It took about a week for Nina to adjust, but now she loves to cuddle.  Nina also loves to play with her new laser light game.

Recently Ragmuffin went back to Heaven Can Wait for a “Lion Cut” shave to get rid of some stubborn matted fur.  Christine said poor Muffin found the experience to be embarrassing, but she is glad Heaven Can Wait could help out.

Best buddies Ragmuffin and Nina are very lucky cats.  They get to spend the rest of their lives together and enjoy the companionship of guardians who will cherish them forever.

Ragmuffin hanging out in her new home.

Ragmuffin hanging out in her new home.

MEET YOUR NEW FURRY FELINE FOUR-LEGGED FRIEND AT HEAVEN CAN WAIT ADOPTIONS EVERY THURSDAY – SUNDAY.  Adoptions are held inside Petsmart at 7050 Arroyo Crossing Pkwy (off I-215 and S. Rainbow.)  Check out the cats waiting for new homes at: ADOPTIONS

Best buddies will now get to spend the rest of their lives together.

Best buddies will now get to spend the rest of their lives together.

HCWS Spay And Neuter Clinic Priced To Meet Every Budget


Heaven Can Wait Animal Society low-cost clinic leaves NO EXCUSES  to not have your cat or dog spayed or neutered.  Call TODAY (702) 655-4800 for an appointment. 

(Special applies to eligible residents in Zip Codes: 89156 and 89110.)

  • Owned Cats – $10
  • Chihuahua or Pit Bull Dogs -$40
  • Unowned Cats -FREE

Let’s make 2013 the year when ALL Clark County pets are fixed and ZERO unwanted kittens and puppies are born.  Please join us this Spring during the time when new life is born and support our efforts to end pet overpopulation and euthanasia in Southern Nevada.  Look for our mailer or make your Donation NOW.

“Go Green” with Heaven Can Wait’s Warehouse Sale

Heaven Can Wait's giant warehouse sales were the inspiration of two volunteers who wanted to help out.

Heaven Can Wait’s giant warehouse sales were the inspiration of two volunteers who wanted to help out.

By Karen Rock

In this day and age when recycling really matters why not consider decorating your house or office with some of the beautiful and practical items that you’ll find nowhere else but at the Heaven Can Wait Warehouse Sale!

Besides the obvious reasons for shopping at garage, yard and warehouse sales, such as saving money, re-purposing used items, going “retro”, or finding that one special treasure, now your purchases can help change the lives of many…dogs, cats and people alike. And here’s how…

Heaven Can Wait’s Spay and Neuter Clinic is always in need of funds to enable us to continue the work of stopping pet overpopulation. So 4 years ago a concerned HCWS volunteer couple, Richard and Kathy McCarty, also the proud “Mom and Dad” of three rescue dogs, began the Warehouse Sale out of their own home to raise money to purchase rolling racks for the feral cat clinic. It was such a huge success that there was demand for additional sales. The Warehouse Sale ultimately grew so big they are now run out of a public location.

The sales grew from  being held at a private home to a big warehouse.

The sales grew from being held at a private home to a big warehouse.

 Not only do Rich and Kathy continue to operate the sale jointly, but they are accompanied by additional Heaven Can Wait volunteers without whom they couldn’t make this program happen. They are extremely grateful to all the volunteers for their devotion and welcome anyone who wishes to help the cause. ALL proceeds go to support the Heaven Can Wait Spay and Neuter Clinic. The sale has grown so rapidly that proceeds now amount to approximately $10,000 per month.

Another important part of this program is the company, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK, who also volunteer their services by picking up large donated items and delivering them directly to the sale’s location. And yes, it’s FREE of charge!

Most donated items come from the general public and can be brought directly to the warehouse during sale days/times, or arranged to be picked up.   In addition, T and L Estate Sellers, LLC routinely makes generous donations to the sale.  Heaven Can Wait appreciates their ongoing support to the program.

The monthly sales are run by volunteers.  Proceeds help the HCWS Spay and Neuter Clinic.

The monthly sales are run by volunteers. Proceeds help the HCWS Spay and Neuter Clinic.

One more thing…Rich and Kathy could use help with the following as this program continues to grow:

  •  Volunteers are needed to help price, sell, and pick up items.
  •  Additional storage space would be greatly appreciated. Can anybody possibly spare some space?
  •  An individual or a team of people are needed to operate the sale from June – September.
Our warehouse sales have lots of furniture to offer.

Our warehouse sales have lots of furniture to offer.

 So now that you know this inspiring story, and with all of those good reasons to donate to and/or  purchase from Heaven Can Wait’s Warehouse Sale, what do you say we all “GO GREEN” and in doing so contribute to a great cause!

 Info you’ll need…

  • Warehouse Sale location:  6360 Annie Oakley Drive (between Sunset and Russell) Las Vegas, NV   89120  – Follow signs to back parking lot
  • Special Upcoming 4 Day Sale:  Thursday, April 4th – Sunday, April 7th, 9:00am – 2:00pm
  •  Regular Sale Days/Hours:  Every Friday and Saturday, 9:00am – 2:00pm  
  •  Cash Sales Please

 You can reach Rich and Kathy directly at  garagesales@hcws.org or 702-815-6107 if you wish to volunteer, donate, or have additional questions.

 Thank you, Rich, Kathy, Heaven Can Wait volunteers, and TWO MEN AND A TRUCK for your generosity and heartfelt devotion to this wonderful program!

There are tons of clothes to choose from too.

There are tons of clothes to choose from too.


Come shop with us.  You can even bring along your pet!

Come shop with us. You can even bring along your pet!

 Can’t make it to a Warehouse Sale?  You can still stop pet overpopulation by supporting Heaven Can Wait Animal Society.  Click Here for details on how to give.

Meet The Boys From Heaven Can Wait

T-Bone is one of the cutest cats you may ever meet.

T-Bone is one of the cutest cats you may ever meet.

Here are some of the adorable boys waiting to find their forever homes at the Heaven Can Wait Adoption Center.  You can meet them every Thursday – Sunday inside PetSmart at 7050 Arroyo Crossing Parkway (Rainbow and I-215exit).  Or email us for details at: cats@hcws.org.

T-Bone (pictured above) was rescued from a travel trailer where he was living with 70 other cats.  This big boy is extremely affectionate and loves to be around other felines.  Our cat coordinate calls him, “One of the cutest cats you may ever meet.”

Max is a senior citizen who is young at heart.

Max is a senior citizen who is young at heart.

Max is a beautiful senior citizen who is young at heart.  He is also a special needs kitty with diabetes.  Max needs a home that can help him with daily insulin shots and a special diet.  In return this big boy will fill his family’s home with lots of love and kisses.

Tiger is full of personality.

Tiger is full of personality.

If you are looking for a cat with a BIG personality, Tiger is your kind of guy.  This cat will love to chase around your house playing with toys and when he is done, he will curl up in your lap being as sweet as can be.

Jess is a little timid until he gets to know people.

Jess is a little timid until he gets to know people.

Some cats, like Jess are shy and take time to warm up to new people.   Our coordinator says offering Jess a treat or brushing his hair helps ease his timid nature, but this cat will probably need a guardian who is very patient.

Check out All of the wonderful cats and dogs at Heaven Can Wait by Clicking Here.   Not Ready To Adopt?  You can Sponsor a Cat or Dog by Clicking Here.

Heaven Can Wait Thanks Chef Heinz Lauer

Chef Heinz Lauer shares a moment with impressionist Terry Fator at the HCWS Holiday Luncheon.

Chef Heinz Lauer shares a moment with impressionist Terry Fator at the HCWS Holiday Luncheon.

A private dinner prepared by Chef Heinz Lauer has become one of the favorite auction items at the annual Heaven Can Wait Holiday Luncheon.  The private parties for 10 have also brought in generous donations to help homeless animals.

Chef Lauer, who owns Culinaria Cuisine, has been in the hospitality business since he was 14-years-old where he began as a culinary apprentice at the exclusive Brenner’s Park Hotel located in Baden-Baden in Germany’s Black Forest.  His career has taken him to hotels, restaurants and cruise lines throughout Germany, the Caribbean and the United States.

With a Master of Science in Hotel/Restaurant Management, Chef Lauer took on the position of Executive Sous Chef and Chef Instructor at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and later Executive Chef at Le Cordon Bleu-College of Culinary Arts.

Odyssey came into the chef's life in a most unusual way.

Odyssey came into the chef’s life in a most unusual way.

In addition to all of his accomplishments, the chef and his wife are “huge” animal lovers.  They found out about Heaven Can Wait after Mrs. Lauer rescued a 4-month-old pit bull puppy that had been abandoned in a parking lot.

She called the chef and said, “I’ve had a really bad day and I just want you to know that I’m bringing home a dog.”

Chef Lauer admitted he was apprehensive about having a pit bull come to his house, especially with three cats already in the family.

“When they pulled into the driveway, the puppy jumped out of the car, ran up to me and rolled onto her back so I could rub her belly,” said Chef Lauer.  “She’s been part of our family, ever since.”

They named the puppy Odyssey and today she is a Certified Therapy Dog who visits Assisted Living facilities in Summerlin on a regular basis.

Odyssey became a Certified Therapy Dog.

Odyssey became a Certified Therapy Dog.

Odyssey and the Lauer’s were introduced to Heaven Can Wait as part of the “It’s The Pits” program that spays and neuters pit bull dogs and pit bull mixes.

In addition Chef Lauer adopted a cat named Minkie from Heaven Can Wait.  “He’s the most loving cat you can imagine,” said the chef.

Odyssey and Minkie.

Odyssey and Minkie.

As a way to give back to the community and Heaven Can Wait, Chef Lauer began offering private dinner parties as an auction item, three years ago.  The lucky bidder wins a custom dinner prepared and served in their home for 10 people.  The private party has become so popular, Chef Lauer now allows more than one person to win the prize.  “The parties are great fun,” said the chef.

Recently Chef Lauer began a new venture using his culinary skills after Odyssey developed food allergies. He developed a line of human grade, raw dog food that doesn’t have any fillers, preservatives or chemicals.  Rawlistic Gourmet Grub is personally prepared by Chef Lauer in conjunction with a holistic animal wellness consultant and delivered directly to your door.

Heaven Can Wait wishes the chef much success on his latest venture and thanks him for helping the cats and dogs in our care with the annual auction of his culinary skills.

Heaven Can Wait Animal Society says thank you for all you do to Chef Heinz Lauer.

Heaven Can Wait Animal Society says thank you for all you do to Chef Heinz Lauer.

Click Here to learn more about: Rawlistic Gourmet Grub 

Learn more about Heaven Can Wait Animal Society – Click Here    Your Donations are always appreciated.

April Warehouse Sale

Yard%20sale%20for%20April%202013Send your Spring Cleaning items to Heaven Can Wait Animal Society.  Proceeds from our monthly Warehouse/Garage Sales benefit the homeless animals in our care.

Looking New Four-Legged Buddy?  Heaven Can Wait adoptions are held each weekend.  Dogs are adopted every Saturday at Bone Appetit on W. Tropicana and Ft. Apache – Cats are adopted Thursday thru Sunday inside Petsmart at 7050 Arroyo Crossing Pkwy. ( I-215 and S. Rainbow exit)  Check out all the pets waiting for new homes: www.hcws.org