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April Is Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals Month

Be part of the solution and stop animal cruelty.

Be part of the solution and stop animal cruelty.

by Lucy Bobeck

April is National Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month.  The event was started by the ASPCA to call attention to the countless animals that are abused, neglected and abandoned each year and how individuals can fight against it.

Around 7 million animals enter shelters each year.  Approximately 4 million are euthanized.  Sadly only 40 percent of dogs are adopted, and cats have a 30 percent adoption rate.  Half of the animals entering shelters are owner surrenders.

Why are so many animals let down by the people who are supposed to take care of them? Society, too often, does not value animals and sees them as disposable.  Or owners do not take the time to train pets to obey even simple commands. (Behavior problems rank high on the reasons dogs and cats are surrendered.)

How can we change an uncaring world into one that values our beautiful, loyal animals?  The ASPCA thinks each person can make a personal difference and suggests these tips for recognizing and reporting animal abuse:

  • Know who to call in your community to report abuse.
  • Get to know the animals in your neighborhood.
  • Call authorities when you see something amiss.
  • Fight for the passage of anti-cruelty laws.
  • Talk to kids about how to treat animals with kindness and respect.
  • Support your local shelter or rescue group.

Heaven Can Wait helps every day by seeing that the dogs we rescue are ready to be adopted into new homes through our Pups on Parole training program. Our Angels for Animals humane education programs provides school children with direct, grade level information on caring for, and respecting animals.  And our Youth Group gets kids involved in helping homeless animals in the community.

What’s the best way to solve the problem?  Prevent it in the first place by eliminating pet overpopulation through spay and neuter. Heaven Can Wait’s targeted spay and neuter programs are instrumental in preventing unwanted litters of puppies or kittens from being born and ultimately being surrendered to shelters.

Let’s work toward every home being a loving home.

Get involved in stopping animal cruelty in Las Vegas by completing the HCWS volunteer application.

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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

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.

World Spay Day

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By Colette Hayes

According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are 6 to 8 million homeless animals in the U.S. These include puppies, dogs, cats and kittens. Each year these animals enter shelters where around half are adopted and the other half are euthanized. The large number of homeless animals is not just a problem in this country; it’s felt across the globe as well. February 26 was World Spay Day, a day dedicated to supporting efforts in our community and around the world to reduce the large pet overpopulation. This day serves to educate people about the importance of spaying and neutering their pets.

While adopting a pet is a wonderful way to help a homeless animal, there are simply not enough homes for all the animals. Another way to help is to spay and neuter your pet.  Not only does spaying or neutering help reduce the pet population, it also has health benefits for your furry friend.  Petmd.com says that neutering your dog will reduce the likelihood that he will spray or mark his territory.  Behavior problems, such as aggression and wandering off to seek a mate, may be reduced or eliminated. Spaying a female will eliminate the heat cycle which may attract unwanted male animal attention to your home. Behaviors associated with the heat cycle in cats, such as nervous behavior and excessive meowing are eliminated. In female dogs this heat cycle may include restless behavior, bleeding or frequent urination, with spaying these behaviors are no longer a problem.

Long term benefits of spaying or neutering can include reducing the possibility of prostate cancer, ovarian cancer and completely eliminating testicular cancer.  Overall your beloved pet can live a happier, healthier life when spayed or neutered and you can avoid potential medical problems and the cost associated with those medical problems.

In honor of Spay Day, Heaven Can Wait in conjunction with the Las Vegas Valley Humane Society and Community Cat Coalition of Clark County will hold a special feral cat clinic on March 9.  The program is being sponsored by Alley Cat Allies, the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. Heaven Can Wait is hoping to spay and neuter up to 200 feral cats on this day.

Flashpoint is one of the more than 80,000 pets spayed and neutered by Heaven Can Wait.  All this loveable cat needs now is a family to love him forever.

Flashpoint is one of the more than 80,000 pets spayed and neutered by Heaven Can Wait. All this loveable cat needs now is a family to love him forever.

Once the cats have been spayed or neutered they will be tagged and returned to their colony where they were trapped.  In addition to the feral cat clinic on March 9, Heaven Can Wait holds a monthly feral cat clinic to spay and neuter cats in targeted zones around the valley. Heaven Can Wait also offers a low–cost spay and neuter program open to anyone.  By spaying and neutering your dog or cat, you are helping to reduce the pet overpopulation problem and giving our furry friends a chance for a healthy and long life.

Eliminating the senseless euthanasia of healthy animals in Las Vegas area shelters is the number one goal of Heaven Can Wait Animal Society.  To date we have sterilized more than 80,000 cats and dogs.  The majority of the spays and neuters are funded through public donations.  HCWS is pleased to report the latest statistics show our efforts are paying off and saving lives.  The past two years Las Vegas shelters have seen a significant decline in the number of homeless pets euthanized.  We will not give up the fight until NO healthy, adoptable cat or dog loses its life because of overpopulation.

Thanking Our ‘Santa Kitty Angel’

Sue the Christmas angel and Santa.

Sue the Christmas angel and Santa.

The felines of Heaven Can Wait Animal Society have their very own “Santa Kitty Angel.”

It began Christmas 2011, when an “Angel” named Sue wanted to do something for one of our special needs kitties in foster care.  Max, pictured above, is a senior diabetic cat that needs insulin twice a day and a special diet.

Sue pulled Max’s card from our annual Christmas Wish Tree and the names of several other felines.  She made sure each cat, including Max, had all of their holiday wishes came true with lots of presents for each of them.

Sue endured a great loss this past December when she lost Fussy, her 22-year-old beautiful Torti/Calico mix cat.  Despite missing her every day, Sue put forth great effort to ensure the happiness of the felines in Heaven Can Wait’s care.  She showered the cats with the many wonderful gifts pictured below.  Sue was their personal “Santa Kitty Angel.”

Sue is an amazing Heaven Can Wait angel and we would like to express our deep gratitude for her generosity.  A huge Thank You to someone with such a Big Heart!

Gifts donated for Heaven Can Wait cats.

Gifts donated for Heaven Can Wait cats.

Heaven Can Wait Animal Society rescues hundreds of homeless cats each year.   Each stays with our organization until they are able to be adopted into permanent homes.  Supplies  such as kitty litter and food for their care and toys for their enjoyment are always appreciated.  For more information email us at: cats@hcws.org.  Cat adoptions are held Thursday afternoon through Sunday at Petsmart in the Arroyo Crossing Center (7050 Arroyo Crossing Pkwy) off I-215 and S. Rainbow.  You can see many of the cats waiting for new homes at http://www.hcws.org.

HCWS Girls Give Thanks This Holiday Season

Harmony is thankful for being in a safe shelter with Heaven Can Wait this holiday season. She would love to sit under a Christmas tree and snuggle with her new family.

Happy Thanksgiving from Heaven Can Wait Animal Society.  As you reflect on all you are thankful for this holiday season, we wanted to introduce you to some awesome cats waiting to find new families.  These HCWS girls share what they are grateful for at this time of Thanksgiving.

Lea is a beautiful girl who is thankful to have a full bowl of food and clean water to drink. Lea is a shy young cat who would love to find a patient, caring family.

Meet all of the HCWS cats ready for adoption each Thursday afternoon through Sunday inside Petsmart in the Arroyo Crossing Center – 7050 Arroyo Crossing Pkwy ( I-215 and S. Rainbow exit).  Or check out the felines at: www.hcws.org.

Maggie is a 7-year- cat who is grateful this holiday season to have cat buddies to curl up with, instead of being all alone.

Clarissa is grateful to snuggle in a warm bed at this time of Thanksgiving, but she would prefer cuddling up with her new human.

You can give support to All of the cats and dogs rescued by Heaven Can Wait by attending our Annual Holiday Luncheon.  For details and registration – Click Here.

Playful Cats Are Ready For New Homes

Emo was rescued by Heaven Can Wait along with her brother Heaven. Both are ready to find their forever homes.

Heaven Can Wait has cats of all ages, sizes and breeds available for adoption.  You can meet them in person at our Adoption Center inside Petsmart at 7050 S. Arroyo Crossing Parkway every Thursday afternoon through Sunday or take a look on our website: http://www.hcws.org/adoptions/cat-adoptions.

Here are a couple for you to meet now:

Ace is not only handsome, he’s a real cuddler.

Ace is an 18-month-old male kitty who is playful and full of fun.   This boy also loves to snuggle and will climb into your lap and purr all evening long.  Ace is searching for a family that will love him forever.

Heaven and his sister Emo are kittens who love to play.

Heaven is a very sweet seven-month-old kitten who was rescued with his sister Emo, pictured above.  The two kittens love to play with their toys and love each other very much.