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Shelter Cats

Equla
December 3rd, 2009, 09:52 PM
So, I volunteer at a shelter. I usually hang out with the "ugly kitties."

From what I have noticed, the majority of the cats in that room are having touble with shelter life (I think). They pull their fur out, or lick themselves raw (hot spots). Once they have scabs, they rip the scabs off and make it worse.

I was about to suggest cones or the inflatable donut thingies, but I didn't want to intrude on the way things are done at this shelter (I'm new).

I'm left trying to give them more love and attention and hopefully ease the stress they are under, but other than that, I am at a loss. Does anyone have any ideas?

More than anything else, I want these 14 kitties to be able to go out into the general population so they can be adopted. Where they are right now, they aren't up for adoption and the general public doesn't get to see them at all. It seems like a never-ending catch-22.

I thought about asking to foster a couple of them, but I think our house would be even more stressful. We have a zoo and the adjustment would be hard for any cat. I'm at a loss... and all I do is worry about these babies.

sugarcatmom
December 3rd, 2009, 10:27 PM
Does anyone have any ideas?


Feliway diffusers might help if stress is the cause of the fur-pulling, but has anyone considered food allergies? What are they eating?

Equla
December 3rd, 2009, 10:50 PM
They are eating random cheap food. It's a shelter and they house almost 500 cats, so I don't expect expensive food. I think they are eating Purina. I saw a bag at one point, but mainly the food is kept in a large Rubber-Made trash can and is doled out using a scooper. Carrying a bag would be a nightmare around there, so that makes sense.

The first website that I looked at when I searched hair pulling said it might be allergies. I have a cat with allergies. He gets "acne." I haven't noticed that on any of the cats. Most of them have diarrhea and a bit of an upper-respiratory infection. I attribute this to shelter life. This is even in the cats that are up for adoption. I figured if those cats went to a home and weren't in contact with so many other cats, the couple of issues would clear up.

The ones I spend most of my time with seem to be having a harder time of it. They sneeze and wheeze occassionally and a couple have diarrhea, but the biggest thing that keeps them away from the public is their OCD way of pulling out their fur.

The first day I was there, I mentioned that there was a kitty in one of the main rooms (the cats are kept in 5 large rooms free-range) that was having a lot of extra snotty-ness. The lady that was in charge that day said, "Oh darn... which one? We'll give him medicine again." That made me think that some of this stuff is just part of shelter life. Not all of the cats are like this... but some aren't handling it well.

I'm just so worried about the "ugly kitties" (my name for them). They are having such a tough time. If I could take any home, it would be these guys. They are all loving and just want a lap to lay in. But while they are there, they are constantly mutilating themselves.

Jim Hall
December 4th, 2009, 08:31 AM
they are bored they are stressed and your such an angel for giving them some love every little bit helps

i do the same thing at the shelter go for theones that have no chance of being adopted the"ugly' ones need it the most

14+kitties
December 4th, 2009, 02:28 PM
Bless you for caring for the ugly ones. In my eyes there are none of those. It would be a great thing if you could ask the shelter to stop feeding dry crap to those 15 at least and get them on canned. Hopefully a grain free canned. I know that is hard at a shelter but it sure sounds like food allergies to me.
Your kitty that gets acne...... have you removed all plastic dishes and only use glass or stainless steel?
Too bad you can't find a rescue in your area who would be willing to take on these little ones. :sad:

Equla
December 4th, 2009, 03:12 PM
Bless you for caring for the ugly ones. In my eyes there are none of those. It would be a great thing if you could ask the shelter to stop feeding dry crap to those 15 at least and get them on canned. Hopefully a grain free canned. I know that is hard at a shelter but it sure sounds like food allergies to me.
Your kitty that gets acne...... have you removed all plastic dishes and only use glass or stainless steel?
Too bad you can't find a rescue in your area who would be willing to take on these little ones. :sad:

For Casey (our acne boy) we switched the food to grain free and the cat food bowl is metal. The water is a little harder. Since we have a lot of animals, we have to have one of the gallon water feeder thingies. This one is still plastic because the metal ones get knocked over easily by the dogs. The plastic one we are using now fits snugly together. The metal ones we've tried, the jug just rests on top of it and one minor bump from Mansa and the whole thing goes over. We're still working on an alternative. I run it through the dishwasher to sterilize it a couple times a week. So far, Casey's acne has been a LOT better. He has gone from constantly having such bad skin that his eye would swell shut (got him the nickname Rocky) to having slight flaire-ups (just a bit on his chin) once every couple months.

As for the babies in the shelter, I'm thinking I will have a meeting with the cat manager. I'll ask her if it's ok if I bring in the feliway diffuser. Any food changes would probably have to be done per the vet, I think. I would love to get them on better food, but I get the feeling that even if I offer to buy the food myself, they might say no because dietary changes are hard on cats and "What if I stop bringing it in?" (I can already hear it) I will ask them, though. I know that in the end, the common goal is to rehome all of these animals and there are some darlings in that room that would be snatched up so quickly if they could be out with the public (with their fur back, of course).

lindapalm
December 4th, 2009, 10:45 PM
I have three cats that once a year pull their fur off their back. They each get two allergy shots, depo and dex. I don't know the full name for the medications, but they work great, and the fur gradually grows back. I also volunteer for a shelter, and there is no chance they can give canned food because of the cost. I brush the cats, pet them, and give them treats so they will get used to people, and hope they will have it better if and when they get adopted. It takes years sometimes, but they all do, even the hopeless ones.

rjesak
December 5th, 2009, 05:59 AM
I have three cats that once a year pull their fur off their back. They each get two allergy shots, depo and dex. I don't know the full name for the medications, but they work great, and the fur gradually grows back.

I'm guessing the shots are depo-medrol and dexamethasone. Both are steroidal. I'm familiar since Oscar's had every steroid in the book :wall: although, thank goodness, he's off all but the inhaled ones now. :lovestruck:

krdahmer
December 5th, 2009, 02:15 PM
My mother in law is convinced that Purina causes mental issues too, she used to feed it but had so many issues with self mutilation that she swears it's what caused it. As soon as she cut out all purina products the issues stopped.

I'm with 14, there are no ugly kitties... they are all beautiful to me. I think meeting with someone there and voicing your concerns is a great idea....and a feliway diffuser might be a good solution. They would be a great idea for all shelters to have....hm...I just thought, you know that would be a great thing to donate to your local shelters.... most of us here know where to get them cheap online...:lightbulb:

sugarcatmom
December 5th, 2009, 02:20 PM
....hm...I just thought, you know that would be a great thing to donate to your local shelters.... most of us here know where to get them cheap online...:lightbulb:

That's a great idea!!!! I just might have to do that.