Friday, September 25, 2009

Meet Your Match

Short haired tabby catAs you may already know, for the past year, I've volunteered at my local Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) shelter. It's been a wonderful experience, and I was very fortunate to be chosen to attend a two-day Meet Your Match Feline-ality training seminar.

This ASPCA program matches adopters' preferences to the cat(s) who best fits the bill by assessing how cats will behave in a new environment. Shelters that have implemented the program experience almost 50% less returns and just as high an increase in adoptions. Go here to meet the nine different "Feline-alities" (or categories).

Although the initial implementation of the program may be huge, I'm looking forward to assessing the cats, in hopes that they will be adopted into loving homes more quickly.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Litter Box Woes

Black cat big eyesA few months ago, my cat, Meeko, decided the carpeted rec room made a far better litter box than her own. At first, I was in denial: "We must have a leak in our basement," I told my husband. Then, "It's the humidity. We need a dehumidifier." But the unused litter box and the overwhelming smell soon disproved my theories.

I used an enzymatic cleaner to get rid of the odor, and had the carpet professionally cleaned. Luckily, there's a door to the room, and after posting a 2 X 2 foot sign advising everyone to keep the door closed, we usually remember to do so. After checking the Internet for inspiration, here are some of the other steps I've taken:

Removed the lid from her litter box -- it seemed to be freaking her out.
Moved the box
Stopped using the scented litter I sometimes purchased by mistake
Used "Kitty Litter Attractant" to lure her back
Closed every other freaking door in the house (just in case)

And I took her to the vet. There's nothing physically wrong with the cat, but the vet thought she might anxious, so has put her on anti-anxiety medication (although, after all this, I'm the one who really needs the drugs). My heart dropped at the thought of having to administer pills to Meeko, so I was delighted to discover the meds came in the form of a transdermal gel that I apply to the inside of her ear. I'm not sure if it's working as she just had her first dose last night.

This problem has consumed me. What if I can't change this new, unacceptable behaviour? And why the heck did she suddenly stop using her kitty litter box? I've always kept it clean -- to the point where the used litter makes my green bin too heavy for the the garbage men to lift. My husband thought Meeko might be lonely because I spent 4 or 5 days a week at the animal shelter. Perhaps Meeko smelled the other cats, despite the fact that I shower and change as soon as I get home. Who knows? Cats can be so sensitive to any change.

Now, I must go and make sure the last person to use the rec room remembered to close the door. And I may as well check the litter box while I'm down there, keeping my fingers crossed that she's using it and not some other, unprotected spot.