Pets Page

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way it treats its animals." --Mahatma Ghandi

old fuzzyfuzzy

This is Fuzzy.He came to live with me in 1987 (the top picture was taken in the fall of 1987) and went to the Rainbow Bridge on April 27, 2001.

He was my soul mate and was the "bestest cat in the whole world."After he left me, I got involved with rescue as a way to give back what Fuzzy had given me for so long.

I will always miss him.

Read about my pets and see their pictures.

I have loved Persian cats since I was a kid. This is Shah, a deaf blue eyed white Persian we got from a rescue when I was about 5 years old. I loved him dearly. He died when I was about 12 of Feline Leukemia. At the time, vets still knew little about the disease and there were no vaccines against it. I vowed that I would get another blue eyed white Persian one day, and it wasn't until 2001 that I got Schnee.

shar

 

What is the Rainbow Bridge? Here is the story.

Getting a Pet

After answering many questions from people about what to do when getting a pet, I have finally decided to put this new section on my website.  I have avoided it for several years because of the controversy concerning pet stores.   Often the information about pet stores and mills is inflammatory and rather emotional.  However, most people do not know the horrors of what goes on "behind the scenes" at pet stores, so I feel that it is time to provide the information so that well-meaning pet owners do not unknowingly support commercial breeders. There is a very good group on Facebook called Shutdown Petland Kennesaw  that has many pictures of the actual places that Petland's animals originate.

There are three options for getting a new pet. The first is rescue, the second is a breeder, and the third is at a pet store. Each option will be addressed under its own heading:

Pet Rescues

Adopting a pet from a rescue is a wonderful thing for both you and the pet.  Rescue animals come from a number of places:  animal shelters where they have been picked up by animal control, surrendered by their owners for various reasons, or surrendered directly to the rescue.  Some reasons people give for surrendering their pets are:  allergies, moving, can't pay enough attention to the animal, can no longer afford the animal, don't want it anymore.  It is important to get as much information as you can about the background of the pet.  Believe it or not, there are plenty of purebred adult animals that are in rescue!!!  When you get a pet from an animal rescue (see the partial list below), you are adopting the animal, not buying it.  There's a huge difference.  The adoption fees go to the rescue group to cover the vaccinations, spay or neuter, food, vet care, deworming, etc. that the pet has had while in rescue.  There is no profit made from the adoption of the animal, and in many cases, the amount of money spent on the animal far exceeds the adoption fee.

Fancy Feline Rescue of the South  is the rescue for which I volunteer. We specialize in "fancy," aka purebreds or purebred mixes that are surrendered, shelter pulls, and cattery closings.

Petfinder.com 
is one of the best (and biggest) rescue web sites because it allows potential pet owners to search for specific breeds of cats and dogs by age and location. 

Breeders

Many people know they want a specific breed of cat or dog and they want to get a kitten or puppy.  Purebred kittens and puppies are rarely found in rescues (adult purebreds are much more common in rescues).  What to do?  Find a reputable breeder.  Do your homework.  Read everything you can about the breed you are interested in.  There are a number of purebred pet groups online and the people in these groups own the breed and can give lots of detailed information about the breed--how it acts, how trainable it is, how much time it really takes to groom it, etc.  The descriptions of pets from the registering bodies are great, but what exactly do words like "exuberant," "protective,"  or "high maintenance" mean?  Exuberant may well mean hyperactive, protective can mean aggressive, and high maintenance can mean many hours per week of bathing and grooming.  The breed groups and the experienced owners of the breeds are the best information available.  A google search can help you find a breed group.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) is the registering body for purebred dogs.  They have listings of the breeds, their personalities, grooming and health needs, and trainability.  They have a list of breeders available for those looking for a purebred puppy.  Purebred cats are registered through one of two organizations:  The International Cat Association (TICA) or the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA).  Both groups have listings of the breeds and their atrributes.  The CFA has a comprehensive list of breeders online. 

What is a reputable breeder? 
A reputable breeder is concerned with several things:  breeding for type and health and placing their puppies or kittens into good homes.  Making money is not a major factor for a breeder.  Type means the physical atributes that make a high quality puppy or kitten of its breed.  Click here for a good checklist for finding a reputable breeder.

What should you look for? 
Look for a breeder who raises the pet under foot, which means the puppy or kitten has been raised with the rest of the household.  While breeders may crate or cage newborns and their mothers to insure that they are safe, when they begin to grow, they are confined to a room or section of the house with a gate.  Good breeders do not raise their animals outdoors or in a garage or in a basement in cages.  Generally, reputable breeders breed one kind of animal (all Siamese, all Persian, all Golden Retreiver, etc.) and do not have a large number of breeding animals. 

A reputable breeder does not breed his or her females more than once per year.  Cats and dogs will come into heat several times during the year and breeding the female more than once a year can lead to unhealthy and stunted offspring, as well as placing a tremendous strain on the mother.  Reputable breeders will also not allow their pets to go to new homes unspayed or unneutered unless there is an agreement in place that the animal will be a breeder rather than a pet. 

A reputable breeder cares where his or her animals go.  Expect to answer questions about how you will raise the pet.  Often there is an application process.   Expect to sign a contract.  A reputable breeder will take back one of their animals at any time, for any reason because they care about what happens to the animals they produce.  A reputable breeder will offer less than "ideal" animals as pets and not bring the pet to a shelter because of a fault.   A fault is some aspect of the animal's physical appearance that will prevent it from being shown.  My Snowshoe Eliot was a purebred that was disposed of at a shelter in Alabama at 6 weeks of age because he was polydactyl, and thus, disqualified from being shown.

A reputable breeder will welcome a visit to the kennel or cattery to see the puppy or kitten and to see the parents.  This is normal and a good breeder will have nothing to hide.  Beware of a breeder who does not want you to visit the kennel or cattery when they offer animals for sale.  While a breeder may not allow visits when the puppies and kittens are very young (before 4 weeks of age), a visit is a critical part of the process of choosing a pet.

A reputable breeder will provide paperwork showing health certificates, pedigrees, etc. of the parents and will have the puppies or kittens dewormed, vaccinated, and vet checked at least once before the animal goes to its new home.  He or she will also be happy to answer any questions you might have about the pet.

Pet Stores

This is a relatively "tame" picture from a puppy mill.

There is a very good group on Facebook called Shutdown Petland Kennesaw  that has many pictures of the actual places that Petland's animals originate.

The last and worst place, and in my opinion a non-option, for getting a new pet is from a pet store. Pet stores count on the fact that people come in and see the cute little faces and buy the animal on impulse.  Pet stores do not care what kind of a home the pet goes to.  They care about making money. Where do pet store puppies and kittens come from?
Pet store puppies and kittens come from backyard breeders and  mills.  Often the pet store will tell customers that a broker is employed in acquiring the puppies and kittens and that the animal did not come from a mill.  This is a lie.  A broker is a "middleman" between the mill and the pet store.  Brokers arrange for the animals to be sold to the pet store.  The animals they sell are usually purebred and have registration papers, but this means nothing.  If you've done your homework, then you know what the "ideal" of your favorite breed should look like.  The puppies and kittens in pet stores are far from "ideal" in both physical appearance and health background. 

What is a backyard breeder?
A backyard breeder is someone who has a purebred animal or a breeding pair and wants to breed them for various reasons.  Often, they give the reason that they wanted to give their children the experience of seeing "the miracle of birth," but once the animals are born and begin to grow, they must go somewhere, so off to the pet store they go.  They are not professional breeders and have not done the necessary health screenings or homework that should be done before a breeding program is undertaken. 


What is a Puppy or Kitten Mill?
A puppy or kitten mill is one of the most gruesome, blatant forms of abuse a person can perpetrate on an animal.  The conditions are horrendous and often times there are dead puppies or kittens in the cages with the rest of the litter.  The cages are often outdoors or in makeshift buildings on a property.  The cages are not cleaned regularly and food and water are not provided daily.  The females are bred every time they come into season and the offpsring often have serious birth defects and health problems. 

       

Schnee is a mill kitten out of a pet store. 

WARNING:   The following links are to pictures and videos of puppy mills.  These pictures are graphic and quite disturbing.  Many of the websites are rather emotional and use inflammatory language, but both are quite understandable when one has dealt with mills--it is emotional and can anger the most reasonable person.   Here is a page from Dachshunds.org's web site.  It contains pictures of puppy mills. Here is a link to AnimalConcerns.org's site.  Here is the Humane Society of the United States' site.  Here is a link to a list of links about pet stores and mills.  Petland uses Do-Bo-Tri Kennels as their broker.  A Google search reveals over 100 links to sites about complaints against and convictions of animal cruelty against this kennel. I could list hundreds of links to sites about kitten and puppy mills, but they are all the same--the animals are neglected and used for profit.  Love animals?   DO NOT BUY ANIMALS FROM PET STORES!!!  The only way to stop mills from breeding and pet stores from selling puppies and kittens is to pass the word and do not succumb to that cute face in the window.  You are not "rescuing" the animal--you are providing a spot for another victim of a mill!

NEW!!   Do you want to give to charities but don't have any extra cash?  Do you shop online regularly?  Check out igive.com , a program that gives rebates from many Internet stores to the charity of your choice.  AmazonSmile is a great way to support your favorite rescue. This is a great way to be able to buy online and help a charity at the same time! 

Being a Responsible Pet Owner

The cat owner's list of responsibilities.

Still not convinced that owning a pet is as big a responsibility as having a child?  Click here for a very sad story entitled "How Could You?" written by Jim Willis.  Want to read more?  Click here for "Free Kittuns," also written by Jim Willis.  WARNING:   Both of these stories are very sad, so have some tissues nearby! Here is a link to Jim Willis' home page.

Here is a link to The Merck Veterinary Manual , a comprehensive and authoritative source for veterinarians.

The question of declawing is a very volatile one in the cat world.  Some people see nothing wrong with declawing a cat, while others believe that declawing is mutilation of a cat.  Declawing removes the first section (similar to a human's knuckle) of the cat's toes.  The CFA, TICA, The Humane Society of the United States , ASPCA, and many veterinary societies have all taken a firm stand on declawing--it is cruel and unnecessary to declaw a cat and could lead to serious behavioral problems.  There are thousands of good sources of information on declawing on the Web.  A simple search in Google on "declaw" will yield approximately 23,500 results--all of which are against declawing.  Even though I tried to find a web site that could give some good reasons for declawing, I have not yet found one. The consensus of information and statements says one thing--DO NOT DECLAW YOUR CAT!!  Still not convinced??  Click here for pictures of a declaw procedure.  WARNING:  These pictures are actual pictures from a surgery, so if you are squeamish, DO NOT look at them!!

Most of us don't like to think about what might happen to our pets if something happens to us, but planning for the future safety and care of our pets is a very important part of being a pet owner.  Click   here for a link to a site concerned with the legal measures one should take to secure a pet's future.

Spaying and Neutering a pet is as important to its overall health and safety as feeding it good food, taking it to the veterinarian, and protecting it from abuse.  Spay Georgia sells low-cost certificates to motivate people to fix their pets.   To read some staggering statistics about a pet overpopulation, click here.

There are a number of great kitties out there who have been abandoned by their owners for various  reasons.  Think about bringing an adult cat into your life--you'll be thanked every day of your kitty's life!  Want a kitten?  There are plenty of unwanted kittens for adoption, too.  You haven't been loved until you've been loved by a creature who has had a rough start in life and finds security with you. 

Miscellaneous Cat Info

Do you know that many of our greatest writers were cat lovers??  Ernest Hemingway had many polydactyl (many-toed) cats.  T. S. Eliot loved cats (and referred to them frequently in his work). 

 

last updated 1/10/17