By: Savannah Rigley | April 17, 2019
Spring has arrived in St. Louis, which brings flowers, beautiful weather, and kittens….lots and lots of kittens. The APA takes in close to 1,000 kittens every year. If you happen to find a litter of kittens outside, what can you do?
1. Watch the kittens from a distance to see if their mom is coming back. If you see mom, or they are content, she’s caring for them.
2. If their current location is unsafe, move them to a nearby safe spot where mom can find them when she returns.
3. You can provide food, water, and shelter to help them. If mom is friendly, and you have a spot indoors (separate from your pets), you can move the family inside and provide temporary care. If you can socialize the kittens at little each day, that helps them find adoptive homes.
4. If at any point the kittens appear sick, contact the APA or your local animal welfare organization for guidance.
5. Once the kittens are eating on their own (6-7 weeks of age) it is time to get them spayed/neutered and into adoptive homes. Take mom too if she’s friendly. Contact the APA or your local animal welfare organization for assistance.
6. If mom is feral then TNR (trap, neuter, return) is her best option. Be sure to TNR any cats in the area to prevent future litters.
7. If mom is feral, you can trap and keep her and her kittens together in a cage. You can also try to find rescue who will keep until weaned then adopt out kittens and then mom can be fixed and returned (but it is hard to find people who will foster feral moms). Our friends at St. Louis Feral Cat Outreach (STLFCO) recommend pulling kittens from feral moms at 6 weeks, although sometimes 4 weeks is better, it depends on mom’s temperament and the kitten’s development. If kittens reach 8 weeks and are afraid of people, then fix and return them along with adults.
8. If you are providing food and shelter, keep food away from the shelter (if left outside) so that predators aren’t unnecessarily attracted to kits. If you choose to bring a community cat and her babies inside, confine them to a single room or crate (for ease of socialization) and away from your household pets.
By: Savannah Rigley | April 12, 2019
Moe was surrendered to the APA on April 27, 2018, after badly breaking his left hind leg. His owner said he jumped from a two-story balcony and that he couldn’t afford the vet care Moe (then Mocha) would need to repair the leg. By the time Moe was surrendered to the APA, his leg could not be repaired and had to be amputated.
Megan saw the request to foster Moe and volunteered to help him out. Little did she know that she would end up being his forever family! Megan picked up Moe from Hillside Animal Hospital after his amputation surgery the next day. It was clear he had been through a lot—he was unsure and learning how to navigate the world on three legs. However, through all of this, he was resilient and happy. He immediately bonded with Megan’s other dogs, and she took him to work with her every day while he recovered. His positive attitude was contagious, and her colleagues quickly adopted him as their unofficial office therapy dog.
As soon as Moe healed and was ready for his forever home, Megan completed the adoption paperwork, and Moe became a permanent part of her family. Since then, Moe has gotten stronger and has shown just how resilient he is. They took a road trip to Badlands National Park and Black Hills Forest this summer and even summited the highest point in South Dakota which required an almost eight-mile ascent. Moe motivated everyone he passed on the trail and loved the experience. This year, Megan and Moe will be completing the 52 Hike Challenge, which means they will be hiking every weekend in 2019.
Because of all that Moe has been through, Megan believes he serves as a motivation for everyone he meets, which is why Moe is now training to become a volunteer therapy dog for the St. Louis community. Once Moe passes his final class, Megan hopes he will be able to volunteer with children who have orthopedic conditions or with people who are recovering from injuries and undergoing physical therapy.
Megan will always be grateful for the APA and the Hope Fund which allowed Moe the second chance he deserved. He’s a special dog, and she’s so happy she found him.
By: Savannah Rigley | March 27, 2019
We are pleased to announce that the Petco Foundation has chosen to award a grant to the Animal Protective Association of Missouri.
The grant will support our Pet Partners program, a door to door community outreach program designed to keep people and their pets together and reduce the number of pets entering local animal shelters. The services provided through this program include free spay and neuter surgeries, vaccines and microchipping and supplies such as leashes, collars, doghouses, and flea preventative if needed.
Pet Partners serves the entire 63136 zip code, which includes the underserved neighborhoods of Castle Point, Bellefontaine Neighbors, Ferguson, Jennings, and Dellwood, where resources for pet owners are limited. It isn’t easy for pet owners when vet care, pet supply stores, grooming, and training isn’t accessible due to limited financial resources, lack of transportation or issues like not having more than one veterinary clinic located within a reasonable driving distance. We know that socioeconomic status doesn’t define how much you love your pet and likewise, income level doesn’t determine whether or not you deserve the companionship that pets provide, which is why we created out Pet Partners program to provide the resources these communities need.
Thank you, Petco Foundation, for your support!
By: Savannah Rigley | March 14, 2019
It’s time to focus on you: this month is all about healing and wellness. On the first of the month don’t forget to take your heartworm preventative. Behind on your doses? Come to the APA’s low cost clinic and get that overdue heartworm test – your ticker will thank you, Aries pup! This will be a great month for you because you’re a good pup and you are so loved!
You’re a friendly pup – and this is your season to shine, Taurus! Turn up your charm at the doggie park and make new friends – or focus on the old. Don’t forget your pet parent – make this a month to really focus on what’s important: belly rubs & snuggles. This will be a great month for you because you’re a good pup and you are so loved!
The full moon on Tuesday means you’re feeling really in-tune with your emotions, Gemini. How are you feeling? Get away from the distractions of the city and take your human for a walk far away from civilization to get some clarity. This is your month to broaden your horizons. This will be a great month for you because you’re a good pup and you are so loved!
Your work ethic is second to none, Cancer. You’ve been hard at work barking at the mail carrier and neighborhood squirrels. You want that extra treat? You go for it, you deserve it. While you’re at it, your human deserves one too. Might we suggest the APA Uncaged Ale? This will be a great month for you because you’re a good pup and you are so loved!
Love and romance is in the air for Leo. Better make sure that you’re spayed or neutered – you’re a busy pup with no time for unwanted litters! If your human needs more information about spaying and neutering, have them contact the APA and get information about our free services. This will be a great month for you because you’re a good pup and you are so loved!
Normally, Virgo, we’d advise that the stars say to look out for #1 this month – but of course you’re a dog, so your #1 is your human. Keep doing you, pup. This will be a great month for you because you’re a good pup and you are so loved!
Marie Kondo has you thinking about ways to get organized. Are you forgetting about any beloved toys at the bottom of your toy box? Do they spark joy? If not, maybe time to donate gently used toys to your local animal shelter (we can recommend one). Then, treat yourself to a nice walk in the park with your favorite human. This will be a great month for you because you’re a good pup and you are so loved!
Make time for play this month, Scorpio. It’s mud season again so take advantage of those puddles and roll around in the growing sunshine. Be careful though and wipe your paws before you go inside. Your human will thank you. This will be a great month for you because you’re a good pup and you are so loved!
This month you will discover something that was lost. Was it a bone in your backyard? Or maybe your sense of fun? Just kidding – you’re a dog, and you’re by definition the MOST fun. You’re the best, don’t forget it, Sagittarius pup! This will be a great month for you because you’re a good pup and you are so loved!
This month is all about self-care for you. Are you current on your vaccines? The APA offers a low cost wellness clinic if not. Check that rabies certificate and make sure! Then, reward yourself with some carrots or apple. After all, you are what you eat – and you’re the apple of your human’s eye. This will be a great month for you because you’re a good pup and you are so loved!
This month is all about forgiveness for you. Did you tear into the garbage? Rip up an expensive dog bed? It’s water under the bridge, Aquarius. This will be a great month for you because you’re a good pup and you are so loved!
Happy birthday, Pisces pup! Enjoy your favorite treats and your favorite people – you’ve earned it with all the good you’ve done on this trip around the sun. This will be a great year for you because you’re a good pup and you are so loved!
By: Savannah Rigley | March 1, 2019
Photos courtesy of our friends at St Louis Feral Cat Outreach – www.facebook.com/STLFCO
So a feral cat has decided to adopt you! Congratulations and welcome to the community.
And yes – it is a community! All around you, likely in dead of night, there are community cats afoot. They have caretakers who love them and will live their whole happy lives in their outdoor homes.
Now, just because these are undomesticated cats doesn’t mean we can’t give them a little help from time to time.
STEPS TO KEEPING YOUR NEW COMMUNITY CAT HAPPY & HEALTHY
First things first, of course, we’ll need to get your kitty fixed, vaccinated, and ear-tipped. The only way to do this (provided kitty won’t let you pick her up) is to trap her. STLFCO or other orgs can lend you a trap.
Kitty will also get a short exam before surgery – now is a good time to check for anything that might require a more serious follow up.
*Pictured: an ear tip on a community cat.
FOOD & WATER
Next, kitty is going to need food and water. In the winter, we recommend heated bowls for water, if possible. If not, make sure to change the water regularly.
All across St Louis colony caretakers feed thousands of cats – the largest colonies our friends at St Louis Feral Cat Outreach report can number in 40+ cats.
Luckily if you follow step #1 (TNR), you won’t have to worry about your new furry friend becoming 40 furry friends. This is probably the best part of being a colony caretaker – your kitty will bond to you, in his or her own way, at feeding time.
Feral exists on a spectrum. Some colony caretakers report that their kitties will allow petting, or outdoor snuggling, or even a very special person to pick them up. Feral cats who run from strangers (and are terribly unsuited to an indoor life) nonetheless form special connections with their caretakers.
Finally, your kitty will need shelter. The shelter we recommend are made from upcycled Styrofoam coolers wrapped and sealed in plastic.
Make sure your Styrofoam shelter isn’t too small – and then wrap in the big contractor garbage bags. Seal with gorilla tape!
ONLY use straw – NOT HAY or blankets – in your shelter! Straw is hollow and will dry after rain or snow.
Make sure to seal up any place where moisture can get inside the plastic outer shell
Here are some examples of other shelter builds: https://www.neighborhoodcats.org/how-to-tnr/colony-care/feral-cat-winter-shelter
Most of all: enjoy your new kitty! Thank you for taking the time and compassion for the most vulnerable cats in your community. Although they may never offer you snuggles, we guarantee they thank you. If nothing else, WE thank you!