Whether your cat helps you run your daily errands, or joins you on longer journeys at holiday time, making sure they’re happy travelers is crucial. Here are some handy tips to help make journeys run smoothly for the both of you!

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1.  Always use a pet travel carrier

It should be large enough for your cat to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably in. We recommend hard sided or sturdy fabric carriers for adequate support and protection. Also be sure that the carrier has proper ventilation. It should be fixed securely in your car so any movement whilst driving is kept to a minimum; in the back seat, away from airbags. 

2.  Associate carrier and car with all things good

Cats are very sensitive to their environment and territory is important. Take time to familiarize your cat with the carrier, starting with using it in your house.  Place his bedding, some of his favorite cat toys (see opposite), or maybe some catnip or kibble in the carrier. Keep the door open and let your cat go in and out as he pleases until he seems comfortable with it.

Your car will become part of your cat’s territory too. For familiarity and comfort, place a towel or blanket that has his scent on it inside the car. Safely put him in the car with you and close the doors. Give him a few minutes to explore, rub around and spread scent. Commit to doing this every day at least a week before your trip, increasing the time he spends in the car. Then move on to feeding or playing with him in the car, whatever motivates him more!

Once you’ve mastered the carrier and the car, it’s time to combine the two! Secure the carrier and turn on your engine to let your cat get used to the sounds and vibration. Do this several times a day until your cat seems comfortable with it, and remember to reward him as soon as you take him out of his carrier.

3.  Start moving

Now you’re ready to move! Ideally, start by backing up and down your driveway or going around the block a few times. Then take your cat into the house for rewards and play time. Gradually extend the length and duration of your journeys, with rewards after each to positively reinforce the experience for him.

4. Rest breaks 

If you’re traveling long distances at a time, you’ll need to consider stopping for potty breaks. When stopped and the car windows and doors are closed, let your cat out of the carrier and provide him with a litter box in the car. Some cat parents have harness trained their cats so they can walk them at rest areas to use up some energy and stretch their legs. If this isn’t for you, we recommend keeping your drive to 8 hours at the most for maximum comfort.

5. Stay calm

Perhaps the most important tip of all! Your cat is very sensitive to your energy, so throughout the entire travel-training process, it’s important for you to be patient with him and remain calm. We know – easy to say, not always so easy to do – but if you’re stressed and frustrated, your cat will be too!

Share your traveling tales with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Help your cat adjust to other life challenges.

Got a Cat Behavior Question? Ask us!

 

You could blame Garfield for starting it all, but you’d be missing a few details. Society as we know it got its first introduction to the personality of cats through Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. The Cheshire Cat of Alice’s dark fairytale was a know-it-all troublemaker who could disappear like a mist but always leave his smirk behind.

We have been fascinated by cats ever since.

Composite-for-FB-and-TwitterMany names have made it into our pop culture, among them; Felix The Cat, Abraham Lincoln’s First Cat Tabby, Sylvester and his longtime foe Tweety-bird, Morris - a shelter rescue who went on to represent the cat food brand 9Lives throughout the 70’s - and finally, Garfield.

Perhaps the most famous of animated cats for an entire generation of cat lovers, Garfield’s persnickety observations and cool reserve earned his creator - Jim Davis - a healthy retirement plan and spawned every cartoon cat that came after him. Bloom County’s Bill the Cat was every political activist’s dream feline with his pre-Jackass style willingness to try just about anything. Today, The Oatmeal’s irreverent online comics make you think twice about that long stare your beloved cat is bestowing on you.

To cat devotees the wonders of their beloved companions is no surprise. It’s why our resource pages about Keeping Your Cat Happy Indoors and Outdoor Enclosures for Cats are so popular with our readers. Understanding cat behavior is precisely what inspired all of these famous cats to become the pop icons that they are.

Tipping the interest in cats over the edge was the recent news of the Hero Cat, a California cat who saw its human companion in trouble and sprung to action. This behavior in cats caught many people off guard but is no surprise to cat behavior specialists.

Hear Jackson Galaxy, host of Animal Planet’s MY CAT FROM HELL talk about the Hero Cat

If you’re a feline fanatic and you’ve got some cats in your care, remember that the best way to protect your loved one is to spay or neuter. Why Spay & Neuter?

Curious about being a cat guardian? Visit PAWS’ adoptable pets page to find out how you can meet the perfect fit for you.

 

Ever find yourself feeling bored? Chances are your feline companion might be feeling the same way! Cats are natural born hunters and enjoy stalking, pouncing, climbing and being active. And just like humans, they benefit from a challenge! Here at PAWS, we create an interesting and stimulating environment for the animals by giving them plenty of opportunities to "hunt" through interactive playtime with our volunteers and staff.

Keeping Your Cats Active and HealthyTaking time to play with your cat can help build their confidence, improve behavior problems, and strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Playtime encourages your cat to stay active, and helps them maintain a healthy weight. Here are a couple of things we do at PAWS that you can do at home with your own furry friend.

Make interactive playtime part of your daily routine. While it’s great to have toys available for your cat while you’re gone during the day, it’s also important to take time on a daily basis to play with them. Cats are often most active in the morning and evening, so the beginning and end of the day are great times for play sessions. Feather fishing pole toys are a favorite with PAWS cats, and are a great way to simulate hunting. However, it’s important that these toys are never left unattended as they can be choking hazards.

Rotate your cat's toys. In the same way that people often enjoy new things, cats enjoy the novelty of new toys. Try rotating your cat’s toys to make play time more enticing. You can add variety by including different shapes, textures and sounds, such as stuffed mice, balls with bells, fabric balls that crinkle, etc. You can also include catnip toys to make play time even more appealing.

Introduce Puzzle Feeders. Puzzle feeders are toys with strategically placed holes that release food when moved. These are great toys for kitties because they encourage cats to play by offering food as a reward. You can fill the feeder with a couple of treats or pieces of food to provide your cat with a challenging and rewarding activity while you’re away. As long as you’re able to ensure that your cat gets proper nutrition, you can even use puzzle feeders to deliver their daily serving of dry food. Many felines enjoy the challenge of working for their food, and it can also help prevent pet obesity.

For more information about companion animal enrichment, visit our Resources page. Or, if you would like to donate to the animals at PAWS, check out our Wish List!

 

 

There's no better time to give a gift to the animals at PAWS than during The Seattle Foundation's fourth annual GiveBIG event on Tuesday, May 6! Why? Because your gift will go even further!

GiveBig to PAWS on May 6!GiveBIG, a one-day, online giving event, is a great way for people to give generously to the non-profit organizations that make our region a better place to live.

Make your gift for the animals stretch even further by donating online on Tuesday, May 6!

Here’s how it works:

  1. On Tuesday, May 6, visit PAWS’ page on The Seattle Foundation’s website
  2. Click on Donate Now, and then click Make a credit card donation

Every donation made to the non-profit organizations profiled on The Seattle Foundation’s website between midnight and midnight (Pacific Time) will receive a pro-rated portion of a pool of matching funds (or “stretch pool”). The amount of the “stretch” will depend on the size of the stretch pool and how much is raised in total donations on GiveBIG day.

Gifts made to PAWS through GiveBIG are fully tax-deductible. Please note, only gifts made on The Seattle Foundation’s website on May 6 are eligible for GiveBIG matching funds.

If you have any questions about GiveBIG, please do not hesitate to e-mail donations@paws.org or call 425.412.4024. Current Fundholders at The Seattle Foundation are encouraged to participate in GiveBIG, yet only donations made on the The Seattle Foundation's website on May 6, 2014 will be eligible for the stretch pool.

GiveBIG to the animals on Tuesday, May 6!

 

 

Flowers are blooming, the days are getting longer and a warm breeze has replaced the winter chill. And for many of us, that means one thing—spring cleaning is around the corner! But before you bring out the heavy-duty dirt removers and weed killers, make sure you’re not putting your family pet in danger.

Spring Cleaning Caution - Toxic Pet PoisonsThousands of pet parents called the ASPCA’s 24-hour poison control hotline last year. Read on to find out what products could harm your furry friends, and some tips for keeping Fido and Fluffy safe during your spring cleaning!

Keep Pets Away While Cleaning
While you’re cleaning, keep your pets safely in another area of the house until the room is well ventilated and all cleaning products have dried. Also be sure to place used rags and other cleaning tools out of reach.

Go Green!
Household cleaning products are generally safe in small doses, but strong acidic or alkaline cleaners can cause corrosive injury or chemical burns. These include rust removers, toilet bowel cleaners, lye, drain cleaners and calcium/lime removers.

Try using more natural, “green” cleaning products to further reduce risk of your pet ingesting a poisonous product.

Avoid Insecticides
Insecticides are used in the yard, home and on our animals, and nearly 16% of all calls to the ASPCA’s poison hotline in 2013 were related to insecticides. Remember to always read the label before using any insecticide on your pet, in your home or in your yard!

Care For Your Garden—Carefully
Fertilizers, which can be made of poultry manure and bone meal, are very attractive to pets, but not good for them to eat! The ASPCA received more than 5,000 calls in 2013 about pet illness and injury relating to lawn and garden items. Always store poisonous products in out-of-the-way places and follow label instructions carefully.

If you suspect your pet may have come in contact with or ingested a potentially poisonous substance, contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. 

Find more pet safety resources at paws.org

 

 

In just a few short days, hundreds of Seattle's most compassionate community leaders will gather for a fun evening of sipping cocktails, fine dining, and raising funds to help save animals' lives. The annual PAWS Wild Night Gala is almost here!

On Saturday, April 5, 2014, guests will be welcomed to the Fremont Studios in Seattle by PAWS' own canine ambassadors before enjoying an elegant cocktail hour, exciting live and silent auctions with incredible packages and items to bid on, a Kitten Kissin' Booth and a gourmet animal-friendly dinner catered by Wild Ginger!

PAWS Wild Night 2014This evening of fun is all about the animals, but it wouldn't be possible without the support of our generous sponsors! It's with great appreciation that we thank and acknowledge our PAWS Wild Night 2014 Sponsors:

Defender Sponsor: Lake Union Veterinary Clinic

Protector Sponsors: Radarworks, WBL Services

Guardian Sponsors:  Advisory Services and Investments LLC, Bone-A-Fide Dog Ranch, Clark Nuber P.S., Pacific Continental Bank, Schlemlein Goetz Fick & Scruggs, P.L.L.C.

Your generous support allows us to continue working to save animals' lives, and ensure a better tomorrow for the animals in our community. 

Thank you for supporting PAWS Wild Night 2014!

 

 

The little Northern Saw-whet Owl sitting on the perch box eyed me suspiciously. And he did so with good reason—I am a predator in his eyes, afterall. But due to recent events, the owl had additional cause to be suspicious of anything in his immediate surroundings.

Northern Saw-whet Owl

On March 11, the unsuspecting owl was flying through the Arboretum near the University of Washington toward a branch, a bush, or some other destination, on what appeared to be a clear flight path. However, the path was anything but clear, and the owl was struck from the sky by an invisible object.

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Like thousands of birds do every year, the saw-whet owl had flown headlong into a window. When the light hits at just the right angle, a window behaves like a mirror, reflecting the nearby vegetation, sky or landscape. There are very few perfectly reflective vertical surfaces in nature, so birds who are looking at these window reflections have no reason to believe that what they're seeing is not real. Only the traumatic impact of the sudden collision breaks the illusion. If the bird is lucky, the illusion is the only thing that gets broken.

Northern Saw-whet Owl

In the case of this saw-whet owl, the collision resulted in head trauma and bruising, but no apparent broken bones. For the past two weeks he has been steadily recuperating from his injuries at the PAWS Wildlife Center. He was recently moved into an outdoor flight enclosure and is on track to make a full recovery.

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Not all birds who strike windows are as lucky as this owl. If you would like to learn more about preventing window strikes on your property, visit the Common Problems With Wildlife page on the PAWS website.

 Having a wildlife problem? PAWS can help

 

 

It’s that time of year again. Days are getting longer, plants are getting greener, and birds are getting louder. Some of this noise is welcome—who doesn’t like the dawn chorus of singing birds heralding the arrival of spring? But this performance is not limited to just the beautiful singers. They have a full percussion section backing them up, and as far as the percussionists are concerned, the louder they can play, the better.

The percussionists, of course, are woodpeckers. But despite their name, they will peck on pretty much anything that makes noise. The reverberations are intended to attract the attention of potential mates and intimidate potential rivals. The activity is called “drumming,” but when it is done on a metal surface, “hammering” may be a more accurate description. When a woodpecker drums on a chimney or vent cover, the sound resembles a jackhammer.

For several years in a row, a Red-breasted Sapsucker (a very small woodpecker species) on the PAWS campus has been using a metal streetlight cover as his sounding board. If you are standing under the pole when he is putting on his performance, the sound can be downright tooth-rattling.

Red-breasted sapsucker

The most common woodpeckers in Western Washington are the large Northern Flickers. On a recent morning walk, I heard two individuals of this species having a decibel duel. The birds were about two blocks apart, and each was perched on a metal chimney attached to a home. It was very early, but I doubt that anyone in the entire neighborhood was still asleep after the competition began.

Northern Flicker

Woodpeckers can be challenging neighbors at this time of year, but there are many ways to humanely address any conflicts that arise with these beautiful and interesting birds. If you find yourself being rattled awake by an enthusiastic drummer, I encourage you to visit the Woodpecker page on the PAWS website. It contains a wealth of information about woodpecker behavior, as well as information on common conflicts and their solutions.

Having a wildlife problem? PAWS can help

 

 

Question: When is the best time of year to trim or cut down trees in my yard?

Preserve wildlife habitats in your backyardThe Puget Sound region is home to a wide array of wildlife species, many of whom make their homes in the forests, and single trees in the region. Trees and forests provide critical habitat, cover and nesting sites to these many wild species, from cavity nesting owls, woodpeckers, and native squirrels, to bat dens in tree hollows and a multitude of birds whose amazing nests grace thick limbs and tiny branches alike.

February through September are the most active nesting months for Washington wildlife, when trees will be teaming with life. Please be aware that pruning or cutting down trees during these months can and does displace, harm or even kill a variety of wildlife species.

PAWS Wildlife Center receives hundreds of baby wild animals each year, many of which are displaced when their nest tree is cut down or their nest site is destroyed.

Before cutting down any tree, whether alive or dead, please consider the following information to prevent unnecessary loss of habitat. 

  • Plan tree-cutting projects between November and January, well after nesting season is over.
  • Inspect the tree for active nests before beginning any work.
  • Consider cutting just the bare minimum of branches, leaving the nest section alone.
  • Standing dead trees (snags) are great wildlife habitats, often housing several different species.  Please consider leaving them standing. If the tree does not present a hazard, the best course of action may be to leave it alone, as all trees provide some form of habitat for wild creatures.
  • Many wildlife species are federally protected and the law prohibits destroying and/or disturbing their nests.
  • If a nest-bearing tree absolutely must be cut down, first call the PAWS Wildlife Center at 425.412.4040 to find out what steps to take.

Having a wildlife problem? PAWS can help

 

 

Here at PAWS, we like to celebrate victories for the animals, be they big or small. So we're ready to put on our party shoes and pop the bubbly, because this year's World Spay Day 2014 event was a record-breaking success!

Happy Spay Day clients leaving PAWSDuring the month of February, as part of the international World Spay Day campaign, PAWS and other local shelter partners performed an incredible 1,333 low-cost spay and neuter surgeries here in Washington State—breaking last year's amazing record by 310 surgeries!

With 46 clinics and 14 shelter partners participating in World Spay Day last month, pet owners all across the region were able to take advantage of these affordable surgery options for their companion animals.

In total, 892 cats, 425 dogs and 16 rabbits were altered during the month-long event!

This year’s collaborative efforts also helped reach animals in communities with restricted access to low-cost spay/neuter surgery. This was especially true in rural counties, where 100 percent of the World Spay Day surgeries were completed by private clinics. 

"After 19 years of spearheading World Spay Day efforts in the Puget Sound, we're proud to see the continued growth and success of this event each year," says Kay Joubert, Director of Companion Animal Services at PAWS.

"We're excited to collaborate with the veterinary community and our animal welfare colleagues for World Spay Day 2015 next year!" 

Missed Spay Day 2014? Please refer to a list of clinics that offer low-cost spay/neuter surgeries year-round. Please spay and neuter your pets, and encourage friends and family to do the same for their animals!

Thank you for participating in Spay Day 2014!