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Below you will find important information about cats. This section is updated regularly, so come back often!

Common questions

 

How can I make sure never to lose my animal?
If you let your cat go outside, you must follow several rules to make sure she never gets lost!

  • Make sure that the neighbourhood is safe for your cat: no large, busy streets, no neighbours who don't want cats on their property, etc. If that is not the case, if you are not sure that your neighbourhood is very safe, get a harness for your cat and always take her outside with you (if left alone in a harness, your cat could get tangled in the leash and accidentally choke to death).
  • Your cat should always wear a collar and i.d. medal, on which you can engrave your phone number and address (ex.: X Street, corner Y Street). This will allow anyone who finds your cat to realize whether she is lost (far from home) or if she simply went out for a walk. This will also prevent someone from thinking that your cat is homeless and take it.
  • Do not let a kitten go outside.
  • Never let a cat who has not been vaccinated go outside. It could easily catch any number of diseases which could be fatal.
  • Go outside with your cat the first few times, starting with the balcony, and then the backyard. Don't let your cat out too long at first.
  • Never let a cat who has not been sterilized go outside. Such a cat can easily run away (several kilometres away!), get into fights and become exposed to several diseases (such as FIV - feline AIDS) for which there is no vaccine and no cure. Finally, don't forget the horrible situation of cats who reproduce rapidly and are condemned to die of hunger, disease, and cold. It is your civic duty to make sure your animal is sterilized (unless you are a duly registered breeder).
  • Never let your cat go outside if you have just moved to a new home. Your cat will need several weeks to get used to a new environment and a new neighbourhood otherwise she could easily get lost.
  • Do not let your cat go out at night, even if your cat likes to. Most cats who are lost were let out at night. Since there are fewer cars on the street, many cats will venture out further than they would during the day and won't be able to find their way home.
  • To be certain that your cat will come back home at the hour you want (early evening is the best time), always feed your cat at that time (a bit of canned food for cats who usually eat dry food during the day, or some treats). A cat is wired to feeding times like clockwork and it will quickly get used to the routine that you choose.
  • If your cat has been declawed, it would be best not to let her go outside, since she won't be able to climb somewhere to escape danger. It would also not be a fair fight if she has to defend herself from another animal; her only defence would be to bite, leading to a much greater risk of contracting a disease.
  • Let's not forget that a cat is a territorial animal, and when it meets other cats, there is a good chance that a fight will ensue to claim the right to share the territory.
  • Make sure that your cat is always wearing an i.d. tag every time you take her somewhere.

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What can I do if my animal is lost?

  • Don't wait several days, you know your cat's habits and if she doesn't come home, then something has happened.
  • Always have a recent picture that you can print and distribute copies of in your neighbourhood: poles, alleys, veterinary clinics, convenience stores, grocery stores, pet shops, internet sites (see our Links section), newspaper ads…
  • Contact the SPCA, Berger Blanc, or any other animal rescue organization in your area. Call them everyday, because if your animal is brought to one of these organizations, it will be euthanized within 3 to 5 days, unless it's a kitten and even then, it depends on the time of the year.
  • Make sure you leave a description of your pet with every veterinary clinic in the area.
  • Cats are by nature very curious, and they might have been checking out your neighbour's basement or garage, or holes in the ground. They can then become stuck or locked in. They can also follow another cat over great distances. Go out to look for your cat early in the morning (at dawn), with a box of her favourite treats, and you will be able to hear its meows if she is trapped somewhere.

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What should I do if I find an animal?

  • Contact the SPCA, Berger Blanc, local veterinary clinics and other organizations quickly. Leave a description and your phone number.
    It is better to keep an animal with you until you find her owner rather than taking her right away to the SPCA or to Berger Blanc, where it will probably be quickly euthanized.
  • Be on the lookout for an ad in your neighbourhood: poles, alleys, veterinary clinics, convenience stores, grocery stores, pet shops, internet sites (see our Links section), newspapers…
  • Place an ad at every one of these places saying that you have found an animal (see our Links section).
  • If you have not found the animal's owner after a few days, contact an animal rescue organization (see our Links section). They will try to find another permanent home for the animal.

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There are some homeless cats in my neighbourhood, what can I do?
A considerable number of cats are abandoned each year on moving day, or by people who simply don't want them anymore. Also, some people who never bothered sterilizing their cat simply abandon the kittens after their cat has given birth. If you are sensitive to such animal suffering, but you cannot give them a home yourself, you can still help! So if you often see a cat near your house without an i.d. tag, she probably is an abandoned animal. To make sure it doesn't belong to anyone, try to gain her trust, and if you can, put a collar with an i.d. tag around her neck. You can make the tag out of a piece of thin cardboard, on which you can write "Does this cat belong to you?", along with your phone number. If you don't hear from anyone after a few days, call an animal rescue organization and explain the situation.

IMPORTANT: If the animal is a female cat who is not yet sterilized, or who is pregnant or in heat, you must quickly contact an animal rescue organization (see our Links section), to make sure she won't give birth on the street to her litter, who will in turn grow up, reproduce and create even more abandoned animals… The Bond Foundation can help you cover the cost of sterilization. You can then bring the cat to the animal rescue organization of your choice.

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Why and when should my cat be sterilized?
You have adopted a cat and you love having it around. The question of sterilizing your pet is an important one. People often wonder why a female cat should be sterilized, because it seems a bit more obvious to have a male cat sterilized (an unsterilized male cat will spray to mark his territory, a rather unpleasant odour inside a house!).

For a female cat
Many people wrongly think that sterilizing a female cat is a form of mutilation and will make the cat unhappy. It is absolutely false to say that a cat needs, for health benefits, to have been in contact at least once with a male cat or to have had one litter. The main advantage of sterilization is to prevent unwanted kittens from being born only to be abandoned. As well, a female cat who is in heat will constantly meow rather unpleasantly, will rub herself everywhere and will take advantage of the smallest opportunity to run away, because hormones just take over! She would therefore be more at risk of contracting a disease such as FIV or feline leukemia (transmitted by copulating or biting). Also, serious hormonal problems related to ovaries are common (cysts, ovarian or breast tumours…). Therefore, a female cat must be sterilized even if she lives indoors, to ensure that she will stay healthy, and live longer! The ovariectomy is a simple surgical procedure practiced by all vets, which will solve behavioural problems, as well as problems related to reproduction and to diseases caused by active ovaries. The female cat can come home on the day of the surgery; she will probably sleep a little more than usual for a day or two, but should eat normally. You can have your cat sterilized without any worry whatsoever, and with a clear conscience!

Please note: a female cat can be in heat for the first time as young as 5 months old! The recommended age for sterilization is between 5 and 7 months. Don't wait much longer! Ask you vet for advice.

For a male cat
Many cat owners do not see the advantages of having a male cat sterilized (from a medical and behavioural point of view). Castrating a male cat is a simple surgical procedure and your cat will generally be able to come home on the same day. The following day, he will be eating and playing normally! As well, this surgery can positively affect the behaviour of a male cat, who often becomes more affectionate afterwards. This surgery will also prevent the cat from marking his territory, which he does by spraying a strong-smelling urine, and it is really difficult to get rid of this smell. Also, it will help make sure that your cat doesn't run away (an unsterilized male can travel several kilometres to find a female and is almost sure to get lost), therefore not getting involved in fights or becoming at risk for diseases which can be contracted by copulating or by fighting.

Castrated males can be more prone to urinary problems (such as urolith - urinary calculus). High-quality food will prevent such problems by providing balanced minerals (notably for phosphates). To make sure your cat doesn't suffer from urinary problems, make sure your cat drinks plenty of water and urinates well.
The recommended age for sterilization is between 5 and 7 months. Don't wait much longer! Ask you vet for advice.
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Conclusion
Sterilizing your cat is your civic duty, to make sure that there aren't more abandoned animals. There is no point in letting your female cat give birth to a litter, people looking to adopt a cat can easily do that through an animal rescue organization. Hundreds of thousands of animals are abandoned in Quebec each year! And there are over 2 million homeless cats in Quebec alone! Yes, these numbers are correct, just check out the SPCA's web site if you're not convinced.

So out of respect for animals, don't contribute in any way to feline overpopulation.

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Why do you forbid cat declawing?
Cats’ claws and the bones and cartilage that hold them in place allow cats to balance properly, climb, and defend themselves, among other functions. Declawing, which removes these claws, bones, and cartilage, is a painful and permanently crippling procedure that should never be performed.

Understanding Declawing
Declawing involves 10 separate, painful amputations. It is a serious surgery, not just a manicure. Declawing a cat involves general anesthesia and amputation of the last joint of each toe, including the bones, not just the nail. The following are possible complications of this surgery:

• Adverse reaction to anesthetic
• Gangrene, which can lead to limb amputation
• Hemorrhaging
• Permanent nerve damage
• Persistent pain
• Reluctance to walk
• Scar tissue formation
• Sequestrum (bone chips), requiring additional surgery(2)
• Skin disorders

After surgery, the nails may grow back inside the paw, causing pain but remaining invisible to observers. Declawing results in a gradual weakening of leg, shoulder, and back muscles, and because of impaired balance caused by the procedure, declawed cats have to relearn to walk, much as a person would after losing his or her toes.

Lasting Difficulties
Without claws, even house-trained cats may urinate and defecate outside the litterbox in an attempt to mark their territory. Declawed cats may be morose, reclusive, and withdrawn or irritable, aggressive, and unpredictable. Many people think that declawed cats are safer around babies, but in fact, the lack of claws, a cat’s first line of defense, makes many cats feel so insecure that they tend to bite more often as a means of self-protection. A study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) reported that of those observed, 33 percent of declawed cats developed at least one behavioral problem and 80 percent had more than one medical complication.

Banned by Countries and Cities and Condemned by Vets
Nearly two dozen countries—including England, Australia, France and Japan—ban or severely restrict declawing surgeries.Catalonia, Spain, prohibits declawing under its Law of Animal Protection. Declawing is prohibited in West Hollywood, California, where one city council official explained, “As guardians of animals, we have a relationship of respect, that the animal not be amputated or subjected to techniques that create harm.” On the heels of that precedent-setting legislation, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution “condemning” declawing and urging veterinarians to drop the procedure.

Compassionate Alternatives
With a little effort and patience, you can protect your furnishings and preserve your cat’s claws at the same time. The following hints will help:

  • Trim your cat’s nails regularly. When the cat is relaxed and unafraid, gently press on the toes until the claws extend. Use a pair of nail clippers and cut only the tip of the nail, taking care not to damage the vein or “quick.” The nail hook is what tears upholstery, so removing it virtually eliminates damage.
  • Buy or build two or more scratching posts. They must be sturdy, tall enough to allow the cat to stretch (3 feet or taller), and properly placed. Bark-covered logs, posts covered with sisal, or posts covered with tightly woven burlap work well. Soft, fluffy, carpeted scratching posts don’t work—they are one of the greatest causes of declawing because cats don’t like the posts, and frustrated human companions resort to surgery. If you use carpet, secure it to the posts with the rough backing on the outside; soft carpeting will not satisfy a cat’s need to claw. Place one scratching post where your cat is already clawing and another near the area where he or she normally sleeps (cats like to stretch and scratch when they first wake up).
  • Consider cardboard or sisal “scratching boxes” that lie flat on the floor. These are inexpensive and small enough to scatter around the house, allowing your cat easy access to an “approved” scratching spot at all times. They do wear out fairly quickly, however, and will need to be replaced every few months—otherwise, cats may get frustrated and revert to using furniture.
  • Teach your cat where to claw and where not to claw. Place your cat on the new scratching post and move his or her paws, or pretend to scratch it yourself. This will scent the posts and encourage exploratory clawing. Make the post a “fun” place to be. Play games with your cat on and around the post, and attach hanging strings, balls, and/or bouncy wire toys to it. Try sprinkling catnip on the post, too. (A once-a-week or so refresher application will keep your cat interested.) When kitty uses the post, reinforce this behavior with praise, but be careful not to startle or frighten him or her. When your cat claws furniture, discourage this behavior with a firm voice or other loud noise, but never with physical force. Directing lukewarm water from a squirt gun at the animal’s back is often successful. During the training period, you may need to cover upholstery with plastic or other protection (cats don’t like the slippery feel and will quickly learn to stay away).
  • Strategically placed double-sided tape, such as Paws Off also discourages the clawing of furniture and upholstery.

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Common questions

Will my cat become overweight after being sterilized?
You must keep an eye on your pet's nutrition and provide a sufficient quantity for its well-being. Some cats have a tendency to overeat, while others can be picky eaters. If you think your cat is eating too much, feed him his daily portion separately (2-3 times per day) instead of all at once. The cat will quickly get used to a feeding schedule and will therefore not gain too much weight. If your cat still seems hungry, you can leave out diet food to be eaten at will. A cat will usually prefer regular food, but can eat diet food when really hungry - it's all really simple!
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I have a cat who is used to going outside, will it become unhappy if I keep it inside from now on?
This is another false notion. Obviously, if you cat has known the joys (and the dangers) of going outside, it will ask to go out. But don't forget that a cat can understand "No!". Just because a cat is looking out the window, it doesn't mean that it is unhappy about not going outside. After a few days, the cat will understand the new rules and will accept them. However, you can get your cat a harness and take it outside with you on the balcony or on the deck. A cat is always happy to be lying in the sun!
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Too wild to be adopted?
We have saved a lot of homeless cats, of all ages, who were very fearful at first. After a while, and once sterilized, they become affectionate and consider their new owner as their "saviour". It's as if these cats want to prove their gratitude. All you need is a bit of patience, and once they trust you, they become completely transformed. At Project Sphinx, we socialize our cats by having them live in foster homes first, where they quickly understand that they no longer have to fight to survive. The change is radical and very surprising!
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