April 4th, 2008

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Do this for your mom!

April 4th, 2008

Perhaps you want to do something to honor your Mom? Maybe you would like to do something in memory of your mom? Maybe you were not a great Mom and now want to make up for it!? I have the PERFECT suggestion! The gates have been open and kitten season is here is full force! Rescue groups are getting inundated with calls to take kittens and pregnant mothers. The shelters are so full with cats right now that beautiful adult cats are being killed by the thousands to make room for the kittens coming in. YOU can make a difference! YOU can save lives! This kitten season why not agree to foster one family of cats? The shelters have LOTS of moms with their babies. Sadly, like other cats they are typically held 5 days and then the entire family is killed (yes, even the adorable babies). I am putting together a list of people willing to take in a mother cat and her babies. You do not need a a lot of room to foster since you can keep them in a bathroom or a spare bedroom. The Mommy cat will do the work and you get to enjoy watching! Then, when the babies are old enough to be spayed and neutered (2 lbs or 12 weeks…whichever comes first) you can start to find them homes. I can give you tips on adopting out cats and what to look for in a good home. Mothers Day is next month…start now helping the feline mothers…their only hope is you!!! Email me at Jane@janegarrison.com if you want to help.

Baby birds

April 1st, 2008

If you find a baby bird on the ground she/he most likely fell out of the nest. Find the nest and put the baby back in. If you can’t find the nest, take a plastic hanging planter, place rocks in the bottom (to prevent flooding and give good drainage) and put grass on top of the rocks. Place the baby in the planter and hang in a tree above where you found the baby bird. The mother should return within a hour or two. If you do not see the mom return call a local wildlife rehabilitation center. Do not worry that the mother will abandon the bird because your scent is on the baby…this is an old wives tale.

Babies belong with their moms!

April 1st, 2008

One day old kitten

As kitten season is here I feel very compelled to share an amazing story that happened this past weekend in hopes that more kittens can remain with their mothers where they belong and ore kittens can be saved from shelters. This story will also provide (at the end) a list of tips for what to do should you find a kitten.On Friday a friend of mine received call about a mother kitten who gave birth in a car at an auto body shop. The car had not been worked on in weeks so the mommy must have thought she found a nice, quiet, warm place to raise her babies. When the mechanic went into the car he scared the mom and she ran away with her 4 babies left in the car. She returned several times while the mechanic was by the car hissing at him each time. When the mechanic finally left the car the Mom came back and took one baby at a time to a new safe spot. When there was only one baby left in the car the worker called my friend and told her what had happened and that one baby was still left in the car. Thinking she was doing the right thing, my friend told the mechanic to take the last kitten quickly before the mom came back. It was 4pm at that point and he brought the 3 day old kitten to my friend. My friend began the task of bottle feeding the kitten and trying to keep him comfortable and warm. In the meantime from 4-6pm the Mommy cat returned to that car 3 times in a desperate attempt to locate her last baby. When my friend emailed me at 7pm and told me what happened and asked for help with the kitten, I immediately asked where Mommy was. She told me what happened and I explained that there is no better place for that kitten than with his Mom. I explained that there are millions of adorable, friendly kittens who are killed at shelters throughout the county every year so why would we bring another kitten into the “system” ? The kitten was perfectly content where he was and should be with his mom. I told her, “You must get that kitten back to his mom”. I explained to her that the Mom will continue to search for him for several days so it is not too late. I told her to get a cardboard box and put a sock filled with raw, microwaved rice in it to keep him warm and take him back to the auto body shop. It is a tough balance of keeping the baby warm and comfortable but uncomfortable enough that he will cry for his Mom to hear him. My friend’s terrific husband agreed to sit in his car close by to assure no other animal harmed the kitten. After 2 1/2 hours of waiting the mother cat appeared, searched around the car, jumped into the box… grabbed her baby and took off! Finally, she had all her babies back together. As humans we can’t control everything. We can’t have an attitude that every species is better off with us than with their own family. This attitude is the justification that zoos use when stealing elephants from their mothers. It is the attitude that marine parks use when stealing dolphins from their mothers. Sadly, it was also the argument that was once used for keeping humans as slaves. Humans must change their thinking and remember that we can’t protect and provide for all animals. In fact, as a species we are failing so many animals. I know that some rescuers will use the argument that we should take the kittens out from feral colonies to reduce the feral cat population. With 250 cats being killed in LA city shelters each WEEK we should concentrate on the cats who have NO chance of a life instead of those who at least have freedom, family members and a chance at living. Cats do not need to live with humans in order to have a fulfilled life. If someone calls you and says they found a litter of kittens…please start asking about the mom and trying to keep the kittens with the mothers. Rescuers are too quick to just take the kittens in and start bottle feeding. I know it is a tough philosophy for some to embrace but progress always requires a change in thinking and acting. I ask you to please just give this some thought. Read the following as well as it may help you understand the importance of leaving the kittens with the mothers and focusing on the shelter cats:

Common thoughts against leaving kittens in feral colonies and justification to leave them:

1. “The kittens are not safe”. Clearly if the mother cat is surviving in a location the kittens can survive as well. Cats are amazing moms and will provide everything the kittens need (i.e food, warmth, cleaning, love, etc). It it were not safe outside we would not have millions of feral cats in our country!
2. “We have to take the kittens while they are young to reduce the cat population”. With so many cats being killed in shelters we should concentrate on the cats who are most at risk. If you can provide a foster home for 5 kittens why not rescue 5 from the shelter who are going to be killed instead of five who can stay with their mother? However, be sure to go back and spay/neuter the kittens and the mother when they are old enough but do not take the kittens into your home.

3. “I can take care of the kittens better than the mother”. This attitude is such an elitist human attitude. No species can care for a baby better than the natural mother. Can a tiger care for a human better than a human? Can a wolf care for a skunk better than a skunk? Why should we think that a human can better care for a kitten better than the mother cat? We can’t and should not unless there is NO other choice.

4. “We have always taken the kittens from feral colonies”. We all know the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Clearly, taking kittens from feral colonies is not solving the killing of cats at the shelters. Let’s help the ones who have NO other hope of getting out alive.

5. “I won’t be able to place the kittens in homes if I do not get them young enough to socialize them.”. The feral kittens HAVE a home outside with the rest of the colony. Again, let’s concentrate on the kittens who are already loving, friendly and WANTING a home. You can help kittens by rescuing the friendly, tame kittens from the shelters.

6. “If you leave the mother cat with one kitten she will be happy”. Clearly from the above story mother cats want ALL their babies. Can you imagine a human mother who has several kids being told after an abduction of one of her children “well at least you have the other one!” . Cats have shown over and over that they will risk their own lives to save ALL their kittens. They know how many they have and will always make sure they are all accounted for. They are AMAZING mothers…please do not question that.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU FIND A LITER OF KITTENS:

More than likely the mommy cat is close by or off eating. Unlike humans, cats do not abandon their babies.

1. Look at the kittens and make sure there are no bugs crawling on them. If they are covered with bugs and cold to the touch it is more than likely something happened to the mother. Only at that point should you take the kittens. Otherwise, proceed to step 2.

2. Keep a far enough distance that the mom cat won’t be scared to come back. Sit either in a car or in your house and watch for the mom. If the kittens are already walking around the Mom will leave them for longer periods of time. If the kittens’ eyes are still closed she will only leave them for very short periods of time.

3. If a single kitten crawled off from where the other kittens are, find the rest of the litter if possible and put the kitten with the litter. If you can’t find the rest of the litter you can put the kitten in a box to prevent him/her from crawling away any further. Again, watch from a distance to see if the mom comes back. This can take several hours.

4. If you have already taken kittens from the mom take them back right away!!! It does not matter that your scent is on the kittens and it does not matter if it has been a few hours or days. Unweaned kittens must stay warm so put some uncooked rice in a sock and heat in the microwave until warm (not too hot!). Place the kittens, a towel and the rice sack in a box where you took the kittens from. The box must be small enough that the mom can get her kittens out but large enough that the kittens can move away from the rice sack if they get too warm. Watch from a distance (in a car or in a house) to make sure no other animal harms the kittens. The mom WILL return when she hears the kittens crying. Let the kittens cry so the mom hears them. If she does not return within 3 hours, you will need to bottle feed the kittens, make them go to the bathroom (email me at jane@janegarrison.com if you need instructions on how to do this) and start again. You must be patient!!!

5. Once the Mom takes the kittens back, be sure to note the location so you can return in the future to trap and spay/neuter the mom and the kittens.

6. . Be sure to provide food and water on a regular basis for the mom.


Elephant in Bubble Cancelled!

April 1st, 2008

Thanks to all your emails and calls the museum decided not to go foward with using an elephant in the bubble display. Thank you!!!!

Stupid elephant exhibit

March 11th, 2008

As you may know, most of my work for animals has been for elephants. I lived in Africa for three months, spent time in Thailand working with the Thai government on how to better protect their elephants and I have authored part of a book being released this spring called called Elephants and Ethics (published by the Johns Hopkins Press).

The Science Discovery Center in Santa Ana will feature a sensationalist stunt later this month, when an Asian elephant — a member of a critically endangered species — will be encased in a giant bubble as part of a Vegas-style performance. This is the same elephant, Tai, who was used in the controversial art show in Los Angeles last year, when she was full-body painted to blend into a wallpaper background. The museum is defending its decision to go ahead with the show.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
1. Read the article below

2. Vote on the web site, http://sciencedude.freedomblogging.com, on whether you think the stunt is demeaning to the elephant. Right now, the majority of voters say it does not. PLEASE VOTE TODAY.

3. Send an email to the Science Discovery Center at news@discoverycube.org and call 714-913-5018 and let the museum know how you feel about this.

Here are some points you can use:
– This is not science, it’s sensationalism. There is no justification for using a live elephant.
– Exploiting elephants like this sends the wrong message to children about nature and endangered species.
-Elephants like the one to be used in the show obey their handlers out of fear due to the violent and brutal training they have experienced.

Thank you for helping!

ARTICLE:

http://sciencedude.freedomblogging.com
Science center defends plan to put elephant in soapy bubble
March 10th, 2008 by grobbins

The Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana says “bubble artist” Fan Yang will be allowed to proceed with plans to briefly enclose a 40-year-old elephant in a soapy bubble despite claims by some animal lovers that the event is demeaning to animals.

Yang will attempt to enclose an 8,800-pound elephant known as Tai inside a translucent, non-toxic bubble on March 18, during the science center¹s annual “Bubblefest” activities. The stunt is expected to last 10-15 seconds.

“We don¹t consider this to be demeaning,” says Leslie Perovich, the science center¹s vice president of marketing. “This is a form of enrichment for the animal. Elephants in the wild are always busy doing things, moving, foraging. But animals in captivity are always looking for stimulation.”

Yang has placed as many as 99 people at once inside a bubble, but not an animal like Tai, an endangered Asian elephant that¹s owned by Have Truck Will Travel of Perris. Many people have no problem with Yang¹s plan. Others do, including Ed Boks, general manager of the Los Angeles Animal Services Department. Last year, his agency issued a permit to British aritst Banksy to paint Tai to resemble wallpaper, which drew protests from animal rights activists.

Boks later said the permit shouldnt have been issued. And he objects to what will soon occur at the Discovery Science Center. He said today that, “On the face of it, this sounds like animal cruelty. My concern with artists like this (Yang) is that they are making a strong statement that animal cruelty is not only OK, but that it can be elevated to an art form.

“I have no problem with consenting adults (being enclosed in a bubble). But when you exploit animals this way, it sends the wrong message.”

Noreen McQueen, a reader from Mission Viejo, writes: You do not need to haul an animal as intelligent as an elephant in some truck, prod it it out of it¹s “container,” corral it onto some stage, perform a parlor trick, shove them back into the truck and haul them onto the new show Å  and then call it education.”

Deniz Bolbol, a spokeswoman for In Defense of Animals, said, “Putting an elephant in a bubble is purely sensationalism and is counter-educational. This stunt has nothing to do with science. If science were the objective, they could put a bubble around a car or a semi-truck.”

Perovich said, “I don¹t people will learn science by putting Tai in the bubble. But people will take the time to learn more about endangered Asian elephants, and we will provide hand-outs about how to conserve elephants.”

Tai¹s owner, Kari Johnson of Have Trunk Will Travel of Perris, said, “I don¹t know or care if this is for science. It is something neat to do. It helps conservation. People learn about these animals and that makes them more likely to help them in the future.”

When asked if the bubble event is demeaning, Johnson said, ” I don¹ think its demeaning at all.”

Finally! The initiative is over!

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 (www.humanecalifornia.org). 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

February 19th, 2008

LOST YOUR DOG OR CAT?

TIPS ON HOW TO FIND YOUR LOST ANIMAL

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 www.Craigslist.com, www.petfinder.com, www.fidofinder.com, www.lostfoundpets.com, www.dogdetective.com and www.1800saveapet.com. 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 straycatalliance.org 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 www.1800saveapet.com) 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

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

February 15th, 2008

Tuffy Garrison