When You Want to Adopt a Stray

Your next cat may show up when you least expect it. You glance out the window and see a skinny cat with a dirt-smudged coat looking back at you. He doesn’t rush to greet you like a lovable, lost Labrador Retriever. He sizes you up, determining if you’re friend or foe. You place bowls of food and water on the back porch to prevent him from starving or becoming dehydrated, but as the days pass and the cat moves closer to you and lets you pet him, you’re smitten. You’ve made the transition from performing an act of kindness to wanting to provide a safe, loving home.

A Commitment to Improving Well-being

Imagine veterinarians being able to sterilize feral cats by vaccination instead of surgery. Or to identify the connection between a relatively benign form of feline coronavirus and feline infectious peritonitis, which is nearly always fatal, with the hope of finding ways to diagnose and combat it. Or discover how and why vaccine-associated sarcomas may trigger DNA damage in some cats and how this damage may be used to predict which cases of the sarcomas are amenable to chemotherapy. These are just three of the many scientific studies funded by the Cornell Feline Health Center where, under the guidance of Director Colin Parrish, Ph.D., Professor of Virology, the goal of bettering the health of cats continues to be the focus and commitment, as it has been since the center opened its doors in 1974.

Ask Elizabeth: April 2012

Dear Elizabeth: Last summer, my husband and I became the proud keepers of Miss Looci, a four-week-old rescue cat. She’s a lovely, strictly indoor cat — long-haired and pure black. Since she’s been with us, Looci has become my home-bound husband’s constant companion, and she’s become quite big and strong. We love her, and she gets plenty of attention. But here’s our problem: Looci has the habit of suddenly biting me, my husband or our guests while she’s being petted. Why does she do this, and how can we stop her?

Short Takes: February 2012

In shelter and rescue situations, it is extremely important for personnel to identify the most adoptable animals whose adoptions are unlikely to be delayed for medical reasons. This study (“Risk factors for delays between intake and veterinary approval for adoption on medical grounds in shelter puppies and kittens,” in Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 2011) was designed to identify risk factors for health-related delays from intake to approval for adoption in shelter puppies and kittens.

Ask Elizabeth: January 2012

We adopted a new kitten from a local rescue group last month, and she is just perfect. Although she had been tested for the feline leukemia virus and FIV by the terrific group that saved her from the street, we took her to our veterinarian right away so that she could be examined before we introduced her to our two older cats. After a clean bill of health, we brought Bunny home, and she has become a well-integrated part of the family. The problem is that before we scheduled her spay surgery, she came into heat. What a scene!

Ask Elizabeth: April 2011

I adopted a cat from a local animal shelter three years ago. She is a beautiful brown tabby girl who loves to help when Im working at my desk. The trouble is that she sneezes green goobers all over my paperwork. When I brought her home she had a runny nose and goopy eyes with a lot of sneezing - a classic cat cold according to my veterinarian. A week of antibiotics helped decrease the wet sneezes, but Tabitha has never really recovered from that early cold.

Fostering Kittens: Getting Started

Consider this: One cat and her offspring can produce a whopping 420,000 cats in just seven years. Each year, from April to November, hundreds of thousands of kittens are born - often to feral or stray moms that scavenge out a meager existence on our city streets, in the suburbs, and in rural areas across America. Without human intervention, most of these newborns will die or, at best, lead short, miserable lives. The moms that are not killed by cars, other animals, or disease, will repeatedly become pregnant, adding to the already crushing pet overpopulation problem. Whats a caring animal lover to do?

Ask Elizabeth: February 2011

When I brought her home she had a runny nose and goopy eyes with a lot of sneezing - a classic cat cold according to my veterinarian. A week of antibiotics helped decrease the wet sneezes, but Tabitha has never really recovered from that early cold. Three years have gone by and she still sneezes thick goobers nearly every day. Although she seems happy, is active and eats well, her constant snuffling, congested breathing and spewing green goobers breaks my heart - and also has me frustrated. My veterinarian has done everything she can think of, from antibiotics for weeks on end to medication to help with Tabithas immune system. Everything seems to help … for a while.

Ask Elizabeth: July 2010

We recently adopted a nine-week-old kitten. Shes only a tiny ball of fluff, but already shes using her teeny nails to scratch the brand-new couch that we just bought to replace a couch our recently deceased cat had ruined. I am opposed to declawing cats, but my husband is adamant that we will not be buying any new furniture in the near future. We both love our sweet Fiona, but need some advice. Do you have any tips to help protect our furniture?

Finding a Cat a New Home

Your sister is moving to Japan for her job and she can’t take her cat with her. She’s devastated and turns to you for help. But you already have three cats and can’t take on another. You can’t imagine ever having to give up one of your own cats, but dealing with your sister’s situation is almost as bad. What do you do? Someday, you may need to find a home for your own cat. But there are a number of things to try before deciding that a cat cannot stay where she is. And if it becomes absolutely necessary, here’s some help in finding her a new home.

Adopting a Neighborhood Stray

Several years ago I came home to my first apartment and was greeted by my best friend, grinning from ear to ear. "Theres a surprise in your bathroom!" she exclaimed. That surprise turned out to be an adorable stray kitty from her hometown. "Nana" soon revealed herself to be an amazingly adaptive cat that was happy just basking in our love and attention, but the road to domestic bliss was certainly not without its bumps. In hindsight, there were several steps we could have taken to make the transition a bit smoother. In fact, there are several potential problems when bringing an outdoor cat (e.g. a neighborhood stray or barn cat) indoors to live; however, if you anticipate these problems - and address them accordingly - they can be greatly minimized.

Short Takes: February 2010

Some involved with animal welfare are critical of free adoptions of adult cats, believing it devalues the cat in the adopters eyes, or it may attract adopters who are unable to fulfill the financial responsibilities of cat ownership. Advocates believe waiving the fee for adult cats will enhance rates of adoptions, and provide opportunities to educate owners who may otherwise adopt from neighbors or may respond to "free to good home" ads.