SPCA Treats Pet Owners to Tricks for Keeping Pets Safe This Halloween

October 18, 2022
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

WITH A FEW EXTRA PRECAUTIONS, PETS CAN HAVE A HAPPY HALLOWEEN TOO!

Halloween is meant to be fun for children of all ages, but according to the SPCA Serving Erie County, pets often experience the dark side of Halloween fun.  With extra precautions, seasonal problems can often be avoided:

HUNGRY PETS:  CHOCOLATE CAN BE FATAL TO YOUR PET!  Please share this tip with children, who may be tempted to share their Halloween take with their best four-footed friends! The sweet smell of Halloween chocolate and other candy left by a door pleases pets, as do cookies and cakes served at Halloween parties. Sweets can cause diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain or worse.  Purchase Halloween treats made specifically for pets and keep the “people” treats away from where pets can reach them.


PETS AS VICTIMS:
 
 Halloween is traditionally known for trick-or-treaters…and pranksters.  KEEP ALL PETS INSIDE on Halloween night, and the nights immediately preceding and following October 31.  This will prevent them from being stolen, teased, kicked, blinded by flashlights or abused in other ways.

NERVOUS/TERRITORIAL PETS:  Constant door-knocking or doorbell-ringing may cause an extremely nervous pet to shake or tremble uncontrollably, or have an “accident” in the house.  Territorial pets may become aggressive at the sound of unfamiliar visitors.  Keep nervous or territorial pets distracted in another room with the door closed.

CURIOUS PETS:  Keep pets away from costume-making areas, where sequins or buttons can be swallowed.  Scissors used for cutting patterns, or knives used for carving jack o’lanterns, can harm your pet.  Also remember to keep pets away from a candle-illuminated jack o’lantern.  Halloween has become a popular season for decorations as well.  Keep decorations out of your pet’s reach, or securely attached in place to prevent your pet from pulling the decorations down.  Swallowing a decorative object may cause intestinal problems and present a potential emergency.

KEEP CURRENT ID ON PETS: Exuberant or nervous pets may bolt out doors opened for trick-or-treat candy handouts. Ensure they are wearing proper identification (even if they are microchipped) in case they become lost. Collars are available for purchase at the SPCA Petique, located at the 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca shelter, and other pet supply shops. If you lose or find a pet, visit the SPCA’s Lost & Found page for tips on what to do next.

Contact the SPCA Serving Erie County with any questions or concerns: 716-875-7360.

SPCA’s HOCUS POCUS October Adoption Special >>

Click on the image below to watch the full story:



–Gina Lattuca, SPCA Chief Communications Officer

The SPCA’s New SHADOW CAT Initiative

February 10, 2022
By: Vice President of Veterinary Services Melanie Rushforth

UPDATE 4/21/22: The adoption fee for all Shadow Cats, regardless of age, has been waived! This includes the adoption of Shadow Cats from either the SPCA shelter or a foster home! Wondering if an adoptable kitty has been designated as a Shadow Cat? Check out adoptable animal photos here >>  and click on individual listings of our cute cats to read their descriptions and find out if they are Shadow Cats!

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The SPCA Serving Erie County is proud to roll out a new initiative that shines the spotlight on a unique population of animals in our care.   Effective immediately, the SPCA’s Shadow Cat effort will work to meet shy or fearful cats where they are behaviorally to assist them in navigating the journey to becoming adoptable pets living out the rest of their lives in long-term homes. 

Fear is common and a perfectly normal, innate, and adaptive behavior in all animals. However, if fear isn’t addressed appropriately, it can develop into serious behavioral and health problems and result in deterioration. Our goal with Shadow Cats is to be proactive in managing a cat’s fearfulness or shyness should a cat surrendered to the SPCA present those behaviors while in the shelter.

Transitions and big changes are hard for many cats, even ones who are not identified as fearful. In preparing to introduce a cat into the home regardless of their confidence level, it is very important to set the cat up for a successful experience by making some small, but important adjustments.  The intent of Shadow Cats is to offer a home environment, in the form of a foster home setting, to allow the cat to gain confidence, relax, and build trust.  These cats may wind up being the best friend that was missing in that particular home, and we always consider that a foster “win” rather than the traditional term “foster fail.” Even if the stay is temporary, the effects of a loving and welcoming home environment will be permanent. 

Introduction to a new home can be very challenging for a fearful cat. Fearful cats usually do best in relatively quiet homes or quiet areas of the home. Many fearful cats slowly become more confident as they get used to their living space and daily routine. The Foster Department of the SPCA Serving Erie County will assist new and experienced foster parents with whatever they may need to help  Shadow Cats acclimate to their homes.  Time, patience, love, and food are some of the ingredients that will help a Shadow Cat step into the light a little bit at a time. 

It is a special experience to build a relationship and bond with a fearful cat, and it is deeply rewarding. The journey may be long, but patience is a true gift to a nervous cat in need.  Just like people, cats can have vastly different personalities.  Some of these Shadow Cats may blossom into lap cats, while others may remain the quiet roommate that is grateful for love, attention (from a distance) and a safe place to call home.  Whatever the end result, we are grateful to have the opportunity to showcase these special cats in an effort to save more lives. 

Do you have room in your life for a Shadow Cat? Find out how you can get involved right here >>

 

Email MelanieR@yourspca.org for information or to register for the virtual session, or click on the image below for details on the SPCA’s Foster Care Department:

SHADOW CATS

Help a cat see the light! Become a member of the SPCA’s Foster Care team and bring home a “Shadow Cat!” And now, you can ADOPT a Shadow Cat for a waived adoption fee! Shadow Cats:
-Are quiet, polite roommates
-Are low-key
-Are not attention-seekers
-Keep to themselves
-Are perfect for those with busy lifestyles
-Only require food, a litter box, and plenty of hiding spots! 
NEW! Are available for adoption from either a foster home or the SPCA’s West Seneca shelter for a waived adoption fee! Read about this exciting update here! >>

Shadow Cat foster parents will foster cats in the home a minimum of two weeks; length of stay depends on each cat’s individual needs. As with all foster companions, the SPCA provides food, supplies, veterinary care, and guidance.

You can read more about the SPCA’s Shadow Cat Program here. If you’d like to help a Shadow Cat see the light, please contact the SPCA’s Foster Care Department at (716) 875-7360, ext. 216, or FosterCare@yourspca.org

Learn About the SPCA’s Foster Care Program >>

 

Take This Job and Love It:
Great Benefits Program with Perks for
Blue Collar Working Cats

June 21, 2021
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca



They’re a little too temperamental to be considered perfect, in-home, companion cats. Some are even feral. What’s to be done about these categories of cats when agencies like the SPCA Serving Erie County receive them as surrendered animals, or as part of an animal hoarding situation or other type of animal rescue or cruelty case?

For more than a decade, East Aurora-based Feral Cat FOCUS Inc. (FCF) has provided an answer for this agency and other cat welfare organizations in the state. Historically called other names such as the Adopt-A-Barn-Cat program and the Adopt-A-Working-Cat program, the Blue Collar Working Cats program now encompasses more of the varied establishments that have taken advantage of the loyal presence of these hard-working cats!

One of the founders of FCF, Edie Offhaus, says, “These are cats of various temperaments. In some cases, they are not exactly feral, but they’re unsocial. This program is a beautiful adoption alternative for these types of cats who have nowhere else to go.”

According to Offhaus, Blue Collar Working Cats have been placed in various New York State establishments including wineries, warehouses, nurseries and greenhouses, barns and stables, and more. “We place cats in all parts of Western New York, and assist agencies all over New York State, even some in the New York City area,” Offhaus states. When an organization representative calls to inquire about receiving Blue Collar Working Cats to live on the property, Offhaus says, “We conduct a thorough interview to ensure proper placement, since not all of these cats will thrive in all of these settings. We also ensure there are enough people who will take full responsibility for the care and feeding of these cats throughout their lifetime.”

Once an establishment is deemed a proper setting for specific Blue Collar Working Cats, a representative of FCF brings a minimum of two cats (some larger establishments have four or more Blue Collar Working Cats), already spayed or neutered, treated for fleas, and vaccinated by veterinarians at Operation PETS: the Spay/Neuter Clinic of WNY, Inc. for “grounding” purposes. Cats are placed in extra-large dog crates at their “new home” (when a separate, closed-off room is not available) for a three-week period, which allows them time to adapt to the different people, sights, sounds, smells, and, possibly, other animals that collectively comprise the new setting.  Most importantly, they begin to recognize the voices of those who will be providing the majority of care.

“Feral Cat FOCUS provides the crates and other equipment during the three-week grounding period,” Offhaus says. “After that, as with any adoption, all care is the responsibility of the new owners.” Offhaus also remarks that, in all the years of managing this program, FCF has had very few cats that didn’t respond to the new surroundings. “Now that the quality of life has increased for the animals and they’re more content, some of them become even more social and enjoy being present around people for longer periods of time.”

To date, more than 600 establishments house a minimum of two Blue Collar Working Cats. The purpose? “Rodent control, plain and simple,” Offhaus says. “Sometimes the mere presence of Blue Collar Working Cats is enough to keep rodents away from perceived food sources or food and beverage storage areas.”

FCF is unable to accept surrenders of cats from private owners who believe their cats may not be living a high quality of life indoors, yet feel guilty about keeping them outdoors or giving them up. “What we do,” explains Offhaus, “is walk those pet owners through how to set up a Blue Collar Working Cats program right at home. We remove the misplaced guilt they may feel over not keeping a cat indoors. Not every cat can life a high-quality life indoors. So we help these people establish a Blue Collar Working Cats program right where they are; we walk them through all the steps and assist as much as possible in their imitation of our program.”

The SPCA Serving Erie County is honored to be one of the organizations with which FCF works in its Blue Collar Working Cats program. Several hundred cats who were not viable adoption candidates found new lives through FCF and this program, and the SPCA is indebted and eternally grateful to the team at FCF for dedicating so many of their resources to these special cats with high work ethics.

Organization representatives who believe Blue Collar Working Cats might be a welcome addition to their establishments are encouraged to call FCF at 1-888-902-9717 or visit the FCF website to learn more about adopting a working cat team.

Feral Cat FOCUS Inc. is an all-volunteer organization with 501(c)(3) status. Donations are welcomed and encouraged. Make a gift or learn more >>

SPCA Set to Receive Animals from Two Massive TN Hoarding Cases

July 23, 2020
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

Next week the SPCA Serving Erie County will receive approximately 27 animals rescued from two massive hoarding cases in Tennessee.

The SPCA is an emergency placement partner of the Animal Rescue Corps (ARC), a nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC dedicated to conducting large-scale rescues throughout North America. Organization members rescue animals from abusive and neglectful situations including puppy mills, hoarding situations, fighting rings, exotic animal cases, and more, along with conducting rescues during natural disasters such as floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and blizzards.

Animal Rescue Corps: Operation Fresh Air

On June 23, the ARC assisted the Henry County Sheriff’s Department in Paris, TN with Operation Fresh Air, the removal of 45 dogs living in what the Corps called “…horrendous conditions in a single-family trailer.” See video from this rescue here, and see coverage from Knoxville, TN CBS affiliate WVLT-TV 8 here.

Animal Rescue Corps: Operation Fresh Air
Animal Rescue Corps: Operation Caged Hell

Just two days later, on June 25, the organization again assisted the Sheriff’s Department with Operation Caged Hell, a rescue of 726 animals from a home in Buchanan, TN that included the rescue of an 18-month-old toddler living in an animal cage mere feet away from a 10-foot boa constrictor and other snakes. (See video from this rescue here, along with the full story, videos, and photos from the rescue as covered by Nashville, TN Fox affiliate Fox-17 here.)

Animal Rescue Corps: Operation Caged Hell
Animal Rescue Corps: Operation Caged Hell

As one of several ARC emergency placement partners, two volunteers from the SPCA Serving Erie County are scheduled to meet ARC drivers just outside of Cleveland, OH on Tuesday, July 28, to receive two dogs and four pups from Operation Fresh Air, and four dogs, four pups, four parakeets, eight domestic rats, and one gecko from Operation Caged Hell.

Barring any last-minute changes or delays, you can watch the SPCA’s Facebook page to see these animals arriving at our West Seneca shelter live on Tuesday. Estimated time of arrival is not yet determined, but will be announced on our Facebook page Tuesday.

Each animal has already received initial examinations and crucial care, and will receive further examination and any necessary additional care at the SPCA’s 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca shelter infirmary. Most of the animals are expected to be temporarily placed in volunteer foster homes.

There is no word on when the animals will be available for adoption, but as they become available the animals will be listed on the SPCA’s Adoptable Animals website page.

Updates on this story will be provided as they become available.


YOU can help stop the puppy mill pipeline in New York State! The NYS Senate passed the “Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline” Bill. Now we’re asking YOU to contact your assembly members to bring this bill to the floor for a vote! Find out how & read the full story here >>  

SPCA, CONTINUING TO SERVE 

June 16, 2020 — This comes to us from SPCA Serving Erie County Animal Cruelty Investigator / Animal Rescue Officer Tyler Robertson:

On Saturday, June 13, 2020, Officer Ivory, Officer Jaworski, Officer Maleskis, and I rescued eight domestic ducks from Cazenovia Park. Officer Ivory and Officer Maleskis used kayaks to steer the ducks to shore where Officer Jaworski and I were able to net the ducks and get them into carriers to be transported back to the barn at the SPCA.

Credit for the video and pictures go to SPCA volunteer Cheryl L. who happened to be walking by and who provided assistance as well!

This was one of two duck rescues over the weekend; read more about the rescue of 8 ducklings practicing a little too much social distancing here.

Read about Officer McCormick’s rescue of Harry the Beagle and listen to the entire SPCA Bravery Award press conference from Oct. 22, 2019 by clicking the image below!

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