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One of the 77 cats taken from a hoarder in Toccoa, GA

One of the 77 cats taken from a hoarder in Toccoa, GA

One of our local shelters recently busted a cat hoarding situation.  77 Cats were taken from the home, overwhelming the small Toccoa, GA shelter.

Some of the cats were so sick they had to be humanely euthanized.  Some were transferred to no-kill shelters and rescues.  Now they are looking for foster homes and adoptors to take the remaining 35 still at the shelter.

Please see the video below.  If you can help, contact them on their Facebook page: Toccoa-Stephens County Humane Shelter.  Below is a link to a video made by their Friends of the Shelter group.

http://web.photodex.com/view/g2m7abm4/?watch-g2m7abm4

Well it’s here, flea season that is, and for those of us with pets who live in more humid climates, it can become an overwhelming problem – especially if the flea control product you’re using isn’t working.

I’ve had a number of comments on a post about Frontline not working that I blogged about a couple of years ago.  Many of us have used Frontline quite successfully from year to year only to find the next year it doesn’t control the fleas at all. 

Frontline, and its low-cost counterpart, Pet Armor, contain Fipronil as the main ingredient to control fleas. Apparently, what happens is the fleas develop a resistance to the drug over time and they don’t die.

If that has happened to you, I recommend going with Advantage or Advantage Plus – NOT AdvanTIX if you have a cat – that product is ONLY for dogs…and from what I’ve read about it, it can be toxic to some dogs so ..

Anyway, I’ve had no problems with Advantage. It seems to work consistently year after year and is better tolerated by my cats and my dog than Frontline. 

For those with multi-pet households, monthly flea control can get expensive. Many vets will sell single doses of flea control drops. Also, Advantage and Frontline can be dosed out.  Talk to your vet about buying a pack of Advantage (or Frontline) for large dogs and then ask them to help you figure out the dosage for your cats.  The only difference between the large and small vials of Advantage and Frontline  is the amount of flea control product in them. 

Since I have 12 cats, I buy the three-pack of Advantage for extra-large dogs and dose it out.  Dosing requires a syringe however so make sure you get instructions from your vet and don’t deviate from them.  One three-pack of extra-large dog Advantage lasts two months for me.

If Merck and whoever makes Advantage were smart, they’d sell one large vial with dosing instructions for multi-pet households.

Now, if you can’t afford the high price of Advantage or Frontline, Adams Flea and Tick Spray is a good alternative. It contains the all- natural ingredient, Pyrethrins, which comes from the chrysanthemum flower and is very effective.

There are now also internal flea control products available through your vet, but most I think are for dogs. I’m never going to use them on my cats if any are for cats simply because, well, have you EVER tried to pill a cat??? Never gonna happen.

Finally, a word about flea infestation in your house.  Many of us have hardwood, laminate, or vinyl plank flooring and think we won’t have a flea infestations. Wrong. Fleas will get into everything: area rugs, furniture, drapes, bedding, clothing. Anywhere they can nest and lay eggs. They will EVEN get in between the wood, laminate, and vinyl planks in your floor and lay eggs there!

For carpets and area rugs, I recommend using powdered boric acid.  Work it into the rug or carpet with a brush or broom. It will cause any flea eggs to shrivel up before they hatch, breaking the flea cycle.  For drapes and furniture, use a good quality flea spray for furniture.  Adams makes a line of good products for that, as well.

If you vaccuum, put a flea collar IN your vaccuum cup or bag.  It will kill any fleas that get sucked up and will also kill fleas that hatch from any flea eggs that get sucked up.  Flea collars are ineffective for controlling fleas on pets because they only kill the fleas around the neck area and not on the rest of the pet. Plus, they can cause irritation around your pet’s neck. 

FLEA PRODUCTS I RECOMMEND YOU STAY AWAY FROM:

Bio-spot: There have been numerous reports of cats and dogs having neurological problems and seizures, even death from this product. Google it and read for yourself.

-Any topical flea drops (with the possible exception of Adams) that are not either Advantage, Frontline, Pet Armor or Advantix.  The other brands of so-called flea drops you see in your local big box store or grocery store use the same ingredients as in a can of bug spray like say, Raid.  They are toxic to your pets.  Just because it’s a flea drop, doesn’t mean it’s the same as the more expensive drops. Cheap is not always better – do your homework.

Every summer, whether I look for them or not..and usually I don’t, I end up fostering and placing at least one kitten.  It isn’t something I purposely try to do, it just works out that way.  Spring, summer, and fall in Georgia is kitten season.  Because of the warmer weather, cats can breed longer and have up to two litters a season.  Here in rural Georgia, cats are not valued, except for the few that make a living as a cattle or poultry farmer’s mouser/barn cat.

That farmer mentality regarding cats also means that they are left to breed and live by their wits. The result is a huge cat overpopulation problem in our area.  Our local shelter does a yeoman’s job of placing cats and kittens, many ending up with no-kill rescues in more metropolitan areas.  They also work with the veterinary school at the University of Georgia getting cats and kittens spayed and neutered for free before placing them.

But every once in awhile they get a kitten that they don’t have the resources for or can’t get into a no-kill rescue, and they call me.

Earlier this summer, it was Charlie, a 4wk old black domestic longhair, brought in by a woman who found it, but thought it was too young to keep. She actually ended up adopting one of the older shelter kittens and I took Charlie home.  As it happened, a couple I know in Atlanta had emailed me days before telling me one of their older cats had died of kidney disease and they were ready to adopt again.  So Charlie is now “Mr. Charlie” and lives with two other cats Phil and Margie adopted from me.

Then there was the calico kitten, bottle raised by a young woman who found it in her backyard.  She had raised it to six weeks and was going on vacation. I babysat for the little calico for a week.

When she came back, I was able to educate her on kitten care, vaccinations, low-cost spay/neuter and the importance of keeping the kitten inside. Since it was her first kitten, she was happy to get the info.

Then on Friday, as I stood in line at the local big box store, with a dozen things still left on my “to do” list, I get a call from Amy at the shelter.  “We have a project for you,” she said.  “Really? This isn’t a good time,” I thought.   “A little kitten was just brought in that’s covered in scabs, we think he was burned.  If you can’t take him, we’ll have to put him to sleep,” she said. “Just come look at him.” Since our shelter has no medical facilities, I thought I might as well see what the situation with this kitten was.

When I got there, he was sleeping on Amy’s chest, very quiet, very content. This one is the most calm, good-natured kitten I’ve ever seen.  But the top of his head and his ears were covered in one large scab, like he had been subjected to a burn so bad it left a 3rd degree burn.  The hair was gone and parts were just open sores.  You would have thought he’d be skittish, and shy, but he was just happy to be getting attention.

Needless to say, I took him on.  I named him Moshe (Hebrew for Moses).  He went straight to the vet from the shelter and spent the night there.  The vet removed his scab and cleaned his wounded head and ears, tested him for feline leukemia and feline AIDS, vaccinated and dewormed him, gave him a bath and a capstar.  They also checked him for ringworm and he’s negative.

Through it all he purred..and ate like a horse.   Since he was found on a local college campus by some students who brought him to the shelter, she thought he might have gotten up inside someone’s motor.

Kittens will do that, left outside on their own, looking for a place to hide.  It’s very dangerous. They can be severely burned by the hot motor or killed.   Whatever happened, the vet said he was healing and should be ready for adoption in about two weeks after a course of anti-biotics and antiseptic cream for his head.

Meantime, he spends most of his time in his soft-sided condo, but I do let him out to play and he and Cody my 1yr old kitten are becoming friends as this video shows.   Cody and my other cats are very accepting of him after the usual day of hissing and growling, which will make fostering him easier.  Now we just have to get him adopted.

"This is fun!"

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