Archive for February, 2008

Finally! The initiative is over!

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Since the end of October I have spent every weekend collecting signatures for a California state ballot initiative that will ban veal crates, gestation crates for pregnant pigs (cages so small the pigs can’t even move) and battery cages for chickens (cages where 6-8 chickens are crammed in a cage). I must tell you…it was not an easy task nor was it super enjoyable. Yes, I did collect over 4,000 signatures but I must have asked over 20,000 people! It is not that people don’t agree with the initiative it is just that they are too busy to stop and hear about it. I would say that 99.9% of people who actually stopped and heard what the ballot initiative would do did sign. Of course, there were the few jerks who had to stop and say something stupid. I really did not care. What kept me going when there were jerks or when it was cold and rainy was the thought of those poor animals who don’t have anyone fighting for them. Those poor animals who don’t even have enough room to lay down when they are tired. Those poor animals who don’t have enough room to stretch their beautiful wings. Those poor animals who can’t even get comfortable while they are pregnant. The poor animals who are torn from their mothers right after they are born. The poor animals…the poor animals…the billions and billions of poor animals…THAT  is what kept me going. We can’t just close our eyes to the suffering these animals endure. We can’t just expect someone else to do something to help them. We can’t just hope that things will change. We can’t refuse to look with our eyes what these animals must endure with their bodies. We just can’t…we can’t…but…We CAN do something. We CAN educate ourselves ( We CAN tell others what we learn. We CAN volunteer with an animal group. We CAN vote with our wallets and refuse to eat animals. We CAN, we CAN, we CAN… stand up and help animals. I do it everyday and hope and beg you to join me in my quest to stop the suffering…it CAN be done.

Lost your cat or dog? Tips on how to find him/her

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008



The following are crucial steps to increase your chances of finding your lost animal. The more determination you have in finding your animal, the better chance you have. Do not give up! Follow all of these steps. These tips have helped reunite people and animals even months after their animal was lost.

  1. Hang posters within at least a mile of every direction of your house. The largest words on the poster should be “LOST CAT” or “LOST DOG” and “REWARD”. Having a picture on the poster really helps as well because most people do not know the difference between different types of cats and dogs. Hang these posters in grocery stores, on stop signs, telephone poles, neighbors’ doors, etc. Hang these posters right away and in places that they can easily be seen…your chances of finding your animal are greater right after your animal is lost.

  2. Go to the animal shelters at least every 3 days but ideally every day. The shelters are too busy to remember you or your cat or dog…do not depend on them to call you. Walk through the cat and dog area at each shelter and look for your animal. Remember that many shelters will only hold your animal 5 days before the animal is killed. This is why it is crucial to check at least every 3 days. Be sure to leave one of your LOST posters at the shelter.

  3. Post a “lost” posting on,,,, and Also, go through all the ”found” postings on all of these sites.

  4. Search your neighborhood both day and night. Your cat may be too scared to come to you during the day so be sure to go out at night as well. If your cat or dog has a favorite treat that he or she comes running to when you shake the can or bag, use this sound while you are searching. Use a flashlight and look under porches and bushes. For dogs walk through your neighborhood calling for your dog. Be sure to ask everyone you pass especially mail carriers and delivery people.

  5. Leave a bowl of water and food on your porch. Only put a small amount of food each day to determine if it is disappearing. This is especially important for cats. Cats who are neutered/spayed (which we hope your cat is!) will not roam. Cats typically stick very close to where they live as long as food and water are available. Most people who lose their cats find them within a few blocks of their home.

  6. Go house to house and ask neighbors if they have seen your cat or dog. Ask them to check their garage in case your animal ran in and got trapped.

  7. Dogs: If you believe that your dog has been home, but hasn’t stuck around, consider borrowing a humane dog trap from a rescue group. You will need specific instructions from the rescue group about how to use the trap. Any wild animal or other animal that is not your dog must be released immediately, by law. Cats: Set a humane trap on your front porch with mackerel and newspaper inside of it. Always check the trap at least every hour even through the night. If you trap a different cat or a wild animal, just carefully open the trap and they will run out. You can not keep a wild animal or a cat who does not belong to you. You are required to immediately release them. These humane traps are available from rescue groups such as or your local shelter. Only leave the trap on your porch if you live in a neighborhood where your front porch is protected and safe. If your front porch is not protected set the trap close to your door but in a hidden place and watch it at all times.

  8. Optional: Put baking flour on your front porch to determine if your cat or dog is coming on the porch. Cat and dog footprints are different than a raccoon.

  9. If you recently moved into your home or recently adopted an animal, go look at their previous home and hang signs there as well. Cats and dogs have been known to travel back to their original home after moving if it has been less than 30 cays.

  10. Contact all local rescue groups (names and contact info available by putting in your zip code at and give them a description of your animal. Sometimes people find lost animals and turn them into rescue groups instead of the shelter.

  11. Put an ad in your local paper and scan all the Lost/Found sections of the paper. Most papers will post FOUND ads for free.

The most important thing to do is NOT give up. Do not just try for a few days and think your animal is gone and there is no chance of finding him/her again. People have found their animals MONTHS after they were lost. The only chance your lost animal has is you! Keep looking for them until they are safe. Be sure to leave food and water on your porch continually until you find your cat or dog. Your animal may be hiding and only coming out at night to eat (more common with cats than dogs).

Once you get your animal back be sure to fix the fence or window where he/she got out. Keep your cat strictly indoors. Indoor cats are much safer and live longer than cats who go outside. Cats and dogs who go outside risk being killed by cars, dogs, coyotes, poison, etc. Keep your cat inside and your dog in a secure yard or indoors. Put a collar on both dogs and cats with an ID tag. This will help people get your animal back to you quickly. Also, Be sure to microchip your cat and dog in case a collar comes off because all shelters will scan for chips when cats/dogs arrive at the shelter. This will assure if your animal ends up in the shelter you will be notified. Of course, do not depend on this…always check the shelters yourself.

Now…go find your animal!

Moving with Cats

Saturday, February 16th, 2008

“I moved across country twice” says Little GarrisonSo you have to move? Most people dread moving more than anything…next to the death of a loved one!  I can’t stand to move. Of course you would never believe that considering we have moved 9 times in the past 14 years! But, each move did have a very good reason associated with it. Because I have moved so many times with animals, I have become an absolute pro. Dogs are pretty easy..always keep them on a leash and make sure you have food, water and bowls with you. Cats are different. There are many things you can do to help move cats with the least amount of stress. I moved 5 cats across country twice and each time it was smooth sailing. Here are the steps I take:

1. Try to limit the amount of packing your cats see you doing. I typically will work in one room and keep the cats out of that room while I am packing up boxes. I certainly do not want to pack one of my cats in a box!

2. Thirty days before the big move place the carrier you will be using in your house with soft bedding and treats in it. Keep the door to the carrier open so the cats get used to it. If you will be doing a long move where the cat will be in a carrier longer than a few hours, use a carrier big enough to also hold a small litter box. Start to use this litter box (as an extra box) so your cats get used to it.

3. Thirty days before the move start giving your cats about 3-5 drops of Back Flower’s Rescue Remedy (available at most health food stores) in their water. This is a all natural essence that will keep your cat calm. It has a cumulative effect so you need to start giving it to them at least 30 days before for the best results.

4. Try to limit your stress and give your cats lots of attention.

5. You can take your cats on small drives around the neighborhood (in the carrier of course) to get them used to being in the car. However, I have moved my cats without doing this and the stress was about the same.

6. Moving day: the first thing you do prior to moving your furniture and boxes out of your house is to secure your cats. I like to put them all in a bedroom that has the least amount of furniture to move. Put a big sign on the door telling your friends (who are hopefully helping you!) not to enter this room. You do not want your scared cats to dart out of your house.

7. Once the entire house is packed up and you are close to being ready to go, put your cats in the carriers. My cats like to have a travel buddy to snuggle. When I moved 5 across country I used two extra large dog carriers. I put 2 cats in one and 3 in the other. I put a hanging water bowl on the door of the carrier with a small amount of water. I also put a small bowl of food. The litter box also was in the carrier. Of course I had blankets and pillows to make it nice and cozy!

8. Before putting the cats in the carrier, spray the carrier with Felliway (can be purchased at any pet store). Felliway is a pheromone which makes cats feel safe and relaxed.

9. Before you move the carrier be sure the screws are tightened or use a zip tie to secure the carrier. Too many cats have been lost  from carriers popping open. Never carry a carrier from the handle…always carry from the bottom. Once the cats are in the carrier DO NOT open the carrier. NEVER open the carrier in the car or outside. Only open the carrier when in a secure room where you won’t lose your cats.

10. Have the car warmed up or cooled off (depending on the weather) and have very soothing music on in the car.

11. If you are driving a long distance that requires staying in a hotel be sure to have the felliway available. Also bring the comforter/spread from your bed to use in the hotel. Both these things will help your cats feel safe while in the hotel. You will also need to bring a gallon of the water your cats are used to drinking to prevent diarrhea.

12. When you arrive at the hotel be sure to completely check the room to make sure there is no areas where your cats can get out. Check windows, holes in walls, air vents, etc. Also check to see if your cats can hide under the bed, in the bed frame, etc. The first time we moved across country with our cats, Longtail climbed into an easy chair and it took us FOREVER to get him out! Be sure to close all windows in the room so your cats can’t push open a screen. Once you have secured the room, set up their food, water and litter box. Put your comforter on the bed and spray felliway around the room.

13. Make sure you will not need to leave the room once you bring the cats in. You do not want anyone to run out of the hotel door. Bring the carriers in, lock the door and let your babies out in the room for the night.

14. Once you arrive in your new home you will follow the same process as in the hotel…check for safety, put down food, water and litter box, put out familiar bedding and spray with Felliway. I suggest setting your cats up in one room while unpacking your car/truck. Be sure to put a note on that door telling people/movers not to enter.

15. Once you are completely moved in…let your kitties out to explore your new home. Keep putting rescue remedy in their water for 30 days after the move to help their transition.

Congrats! You survived a move with cats…

Tuffy Garrison

Friday, February 15th, 2008

Tuffy Garrison

Urinary problems in cats

Friday, February 15th, 2008

Our cat Tuffy has had urinary issues for the past 10 years. Twice he became blocked which could have killed him (once when he was a kitten… before I knew about this issue and once while we were on vacation).  This condition used to be called FUS but is now called FLUTD. Over the years, we have learned what to give him and what to avoid to prevent flareups. The following is info that could save your cat’s life!

If you notice your cat (typically male cats) straining, trying to urinate in odd places or going in and out of the cat box…get him to the vet right away. Cats can become blocked (which cuts of their ability to pass urine) which could be fatal within 24 hours if not unblocked.  If you are unsure if your cat is passing urine, lock him in a separate room (if you have other cats) and put some paper towel under the litter in his litter box. If your cat is straining but not passing urine GET HIM TO THE VET RIGHT AWAY.

How to prevent urinary problems:

1. Do not feed your cat any dry food. Cats with urinary issues need lots of  moisture. NO DRY FOOD AT ALL.

2. Avoid all foods with ANY fish. Recently the food we feed our cat Tuffy added fish and Tuffy was urinating blood within days. Always double check labels.

3. Add  cosequin and duralactin to your cat’s food on a daily basis or at least during a flare up. These nutrients help reduce any urinary inflammation and have saved our cat many, many times.

4. Avoid stress! Stress brings on urinary issues. If you are having stress due to work, family , money, etc. take a walk and try to leave your stress outside away from your cat. Even house guests can cause cats stress! Of course you can’t always avoid house guests but give your cat extra love and attention during stressful situations which include house guests, construction, moving, visiting animals, bad weather, etc.

5. If you go on vacation, be sure to tell your cat sitter to watch your cat each day and make sure he is not going in and out of the litter box or trying to urinate in strange places.

Farm Animals

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

There has been a lot of attention in the media recently about the cow who was seen by HSUS undercover investigators being dragged to slaughter. It is important that people realize that this is not an isolated incidence and this type of abuse goes on daily. If you are horrified by what you saw you should read more about the treatment of farm animals at You can make a difference every second of the day by the choices you make regarding what you eat and wear. Check out the photos on the web site and make a change in your life and the life of cows, pigs and chickens! You can make the world a more peaceful place…what are you waiting for?

Some of the cats ready for adoption

Monday, February 4th, 2008

We have the first 15 cats from the hoarding situation ready for adoption. They are spayed/neutered, vaccinated, micro chipped and ready to be loved! Once these ones get adopted we will post the next 15! Please view their photos at

Some good news!

Monday, February 4th, 2008


Monday morning I went to check the traps knowing that we still had at least 4 cats in the house (these are cats we had seen but had not trapped yet). I walked in the house delighted to see 4 traps with cats…three contained cats we knew about and one was an adorable black cat we had never seen. This meant that for sure a CUTE orange and white kitty was still in the house…possibly all alone. I took the traps outside and loaded them in my car. I just kept thinking that this poor little orange and white kitty may be in that disgusting house and all his friends are now gone…

I decided to set several traps and leave them open day and night (which would mean returning to the Valley a few times a day). I went back in the house and as I was setting the traps I heard a little voice speaking to me from the rafters. Sure enough it was the little orange and white boy. He would not stop meowing at me but would not come down. I could feel in my heart that he was saying “don’t leave me here alone!”. I found an old tall bar stool that I climbed on to be able to reach the rafters. Talking to him the whole time I reached into the rafters to try and convince him to come. When I put my hand out for him to smell he rubbed his sweet face against my hand. He truly wanted to come with me but he was just so scared. I spent some time talking to him and letting him know he could trust me. When the time was right I grabbed him and jumped down from the rafters with him in my arms! Safe at last! I felt in my heart that he was the last cat in the house so I named him… Finale.

Monday and Tuesday night I left a tiny amount of food in a bowl and several traps to see if there were any other cats. No cats in traps and no food gone. I went there again tonight and put baking flour on the floor to be certain that there are no cats in the house. However, I feel VERY confident that Finale will live up to his name!

Animals never fail to amaze me. In the almost 2 weeks I have been going to that house, little Finale never said a peep to me. But, he knew when all his friends were gone that I was his only chance to get out of that horrific situation and he certainly let me know. What a way to end this rescue!

We are DESPERATE for 2 things at this point…permanent homes and volunteers to work with the cats. If you can help with either please let me know!


36 cats rescued so far!

Monday, February 4th, 2008

Saturday 1-26-08 8:00pm

Today we trapped 4 more cats from the hoarding situation in the Valley which brings the count up to 36 cats so far. We know there are at least 4 more cats in the house as we have seen them in the past and have not trapped them yet. However, everyday this week we have trapped cats we had never seen so we really don’t have any idea how many cats are left! Just to put your mind at ease, we will keep trapping until we know there are no cats left. Then, we will cover the filthy floors in baking flour to see if any foot prints appear. This is important because a cat may be sick and not eating but we would see his/her footprints. I promise you we will not leave any cats behind!

The two cats who were in critical condition have pulled through and were brought yesterday to our temporary site. They are HUGE love bugs!!! We still have 2 cats at the vet and hope they pull through as well. One of them has a really bad upper respiratory infection and can barely breath. The other, Matty, a long hair orange tabby, is a very sad story. We had seen him in the house many times and I tried to grab him twice. Both times he slipped through my hands because the matting is so bad there is nothing to grab. Thankfully, my friend Pia and I took the time this week to get him secured in a space he could not escape and we got him. The vet said poor Matty was basically starving to death. He is so fearful of everything (but not feral) that he must not have been able to get any food with all those cats. In addition, he can’t hear so he gets startled very easily. Once his health improves he will be sedated to be shaved and to find out why he can’t hear.

Here is what we still need:

SUPPLIES: Thank you SO much to everyone who has already dropped off blankets, towels, bowls, etc. We could not have set up our temporary site without all these supplies. I and the kitties thank you! We still are in need of small cat beds, litter, jugs of water, wellness canned food (trying to keep the cats on the same food to prevent even more diarrhea than we already have there), treats, etc. We are still in DESPERATE need of large (great Dane size) wire cages. Right now we only have room for one more cat so we need to get cages ASAP. Supplies can be dropped off in either Sherman Oaks, Redondo Beach, Corona or Canyon Lake. Email and let me know which address you need for drop off.

VOLUNTEERS: We are scheduling volunteers to go to the temporary site in Malibu and help socialize the cats. So far all but 4 cats are friendly but just scared. Today, many of the cats who were really shy came around and even purred for the first time! We need people who can handle cats and help let the cats know they are safe. If you can volunteer please email Evelyn at It would be great if you can take one day/night each week so we know we have that day covered each week. We have someone to feed and do litter boxes each day but the cats REALLY need some TLC. We are also desperate for someone to post all these cats on Craig’s list, Petfinder and Email if you can help with this.

DONATIONS: Please help with vet bills and donate at

HOMES: Last but NOT least. These cats need homes!!! If you can open your home and heart to one or two or even three of these kitties please email for an application. Put in subject “interested in adopting cat from Valley Hoarding situation”.

We will have photos soon but here is a description of some of the amazing kitties:

Queen Bee – F long hair grey and white. Very friendly and inquisitive. Named Queen Bee because the first day we arrived at the house she just sat still in her box (the only place not covered in feces) like a Queen Bee watching all of us!

Blossom – F Maine Coon-type. Extremely affectionate! Likes other cats, but possibly to boss them around!

Inspector – M large B&W, adorable mask on face, needs to know everything that is going on and say hello to all the new arrivals. We can’t set up a cage without him checking out what we are doing!

Ariana – F black short hair, very sweet and affectionate. One of the kitties who was in critical condition but pulled through. She is a lover!

Abby – F toothless, tiny senior Abyssinian. Very sweet.

Vinnie – M HUGE, long-hair white, black with tabby markings on face. One ear partly gone from??– very, sweet and friendly.

Big D – M large orange tabby, super sweet face and personality. (Named in honor of someone very special!). Big talker!

Lover Boy – mackerel tabby, adorable personality – rolls on his back and gives you a come hither look!

3 bonded Lynx-point short or medium hair- very content and beautiful. These three are SO bonded and sleep in one big pile of cuteness!

Bonded pair of Maine Coons – one seems senior. Must stay together…they LOVE each other!

Thank you all for everything!

3rd day of rescuing from cat hoarding situation

Monday, February 4th, 2008

January 22, 2008 

I have spent the last 3 days in one of the most disgusting and neglectful situations I have EVER seen for cats. A hoarder in the Valley has over 30 cats in a house that looks like it has not been cleaned in years and years. It is not the number of cats that is the problem…it is the conditions they are forced to live. The floors are COVERED in inches of feces and urine, there is not one clean place for the cats (or humans) to even stand/sit and the smell is absolutely unbearable (even with a face mask on). We found one dead cat already and believe there are others hidden in the rafters. Another cat died in a volunteer’s arms when we got her to the vet and 2 others are in critical condition. All the cats are suffering from upper respiratory infections, eye infections, worms, etc.. Most of the long hair cats are so matted with feces they will have to be shaved. Words can not even begin to describe the condition of this house. We are getting the cats out and moving them to a temporary location. We took 20 cats so far and hope to get at least 8 more tomorrow. It is an absolute nightmare for these cats.


SUPPLIES: We are desperate for large wire cages for our temporary holding site (this is the most important item we need). Other important supplies are cat food, cat treats, towels, cat beds, litter boxes, litter, blankets, bowls, toys, etc. Supplies can be dropped of in Redondo Beach, Sherman Oaks, Corona or Canyon Lake. Email for the address of the drop off location close to you. Put in subject of email “drop off in _____”.

HOMES FOR THE CATS: All the cats are extremely sweet but scared. One is so old that she is missing all of her teeth. Her little tongue just hangs out…she was so happy to get wet food…she purred so loudly. I do not know how she even survived in that situation. The other cats include several Maine coons, Siamese, tuxedos, Abyssinians, orange tabby and more…photos to follow soon. If you can adopt one or more of these cats please email We would like to adopt the cats out in pairs as the cats are bonded to each other.

VOLUNTEERS: The cats are being held at a house in Malibu (all in cages). We need volunteers to feed the cats, brush them, love them, etc. I spent two hours with them tonight (while brining 5 more cats to the site) and they were so much more relaxed after this precious time together. These cats are going through post traumatic stress and need to know they are loved and safe. If you can go to Malibu at least one day a week for 2 hours please email and put ” volunteer for cats” in subject.

VET CARE: We have 2 cats in critical and all the others need to be seen by the vet, treated for worms, upper respiratory infections, parasites, eye infections, and many other aliments. Donations for vet care should be sent to Stray Cat Alliance. Visit

Thank you so much for helping with these kitties!!!