Raising Kittens to Be Happy and Healthy


Written by Elizabeth Colleran, DVM

Six weeks ago, a young female cat was dropped at the backdoor of our veterinary clinic. It happens, though not often. One of the assistants picked up the box she came in and put her in our isolation ward. We are always cautious about strays; two people are always required to be present if we are going to handle them.

She was alone for a bit while the assistant awaited the arrival of another staff member. When she arrived, they opened the box containing the stranger, who was in the process of delivering kittens. In time, six of them.Continue Reading

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Liberty and Justice: a tale of loss, faith, and kittens


If you’ve read The Conscious Cat for a little while, you may remember reading about Steeler. Steeler was a tortie who belonged to my friend Bernie. Steeler had come into Bernie’s life during a time when she really needed a little angel. Her husband had become severely debilitated by Alzheimer’s, and after Bernie took in the the little stray cat sporting the colors of her favorite football team, she quickly won both of their hearts. Miraculously, Bernie’s husband, who didn’t respond to anyone else at that stage, not even to Bernie, still responded to Steeler’s presence.

After her husband was hospitalized, Steeler became a great comfort to Bernie. Sadly, fate wasn’t done providing challenges for Bernie. Bernie’s husband succumbed to his illness last December. A few weeks later, Bernie’s son Eric lost his battle with lung cancer. And four months after that, Steeler passed away after dealing with multiple health issues.

It takes a strong person to go on after so much loss in such a short period of time. Continue Reading

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Could Your Cat Benefit from Omega-3 DHA Supplements? Vet Explanation


Written by Dr. Serge Martinod

Sometimes it seems like your cute little kitten is growing up in the blink of an eye. In order to ensure that your kitten grows into a happy and healthy mature cat, it is important to understand what constitutes a healthy lifestyle so your cat can get the most purring, toy chasing and ear scratches out of life.

Aging is a complex biological process that predisposes cats to chronic diseases including behavior changes, limited mobility or kidney malfunction. To help them develop properly as kittens and age gracefully into senior cats, added Omega-3 DHA is a major dietary need for all cats.

Benefits for kittens

DHA is an important building block of the brain and, kittens will experience a sharper nervous system and visual abilities when supplemented as pre-natal kittens and up until the first nine months of life. Daily supplementation of DHA is recommended for pregnant and lactating cats for proper brain and nervous system development of their offspring. Improvement in neurological development will not only better your kitten’s life, but play a significant role in enhancing the bond between the two of you.Continue Reading

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Kitten Associates – the new breed of cat rescue

In the year’s first post on this site, 7 tips for a healthy, happy new year for cats and their humans, item 7 is “do something for less fortunate cats.”  One of the ways I’m going to do that here on The Conscious Cat is by periodically featuring cat rescue groups.  I hope that by introducing you to these organizations and the dedicated individuals behind them, I’ll give you ideas on how you, too, can help – whether it’s fostering a cat, volunteering to help at adoption events, going to a shelter to give the cats some love and attention, or making a monetary contribution.  And who knows, by giving these organizations some publicity, some lucky cats and kittens might also find their forever homes.

The first group I’d like to introduce you to is Kitten Associates.  I first met founder Robin Olson at the 2009 Cat Writers Association conference.  Even in a room full of cat lovers, Robin’s exceptional dedication to the welfare of all cats, not to mention her huge heart, came through in just the few conversations we had at the meeting.  After the conference I began to follow Robin’s blog, Covered in Cat Hair, where she’s been writing “mostly true stories of a life spent with cats” for the past five years.  Then Robin became aware of the plight of cats in the Southern United States, where euthanasia rates are alarmingly high compared to other parts of the country.   Shelters are overloaded, and shelter staff who spend their days euthanizing healthy cats instead of saving them are pushed to their emotional limits.

In a series of blog posts titled Not on My Watch, Robin began to share stories about these cats.  By sharing these stories, and with help from a solid social media presence, she was able to raise funds for cats that needed life-saving surgery, rescue cats from high kill shelters by working with private rescue groups in those areas, and find homes for these cats.

But it wasn’t enough.  In 2010, in the middle of one of the worst economic crisis our country has ever experienced, and with animal rescue groups suffering lack of funding and shelters closing everywhere, Robin decided to start her own non-profit rescue, Kitten Associates.

Based in Connecticut, Kitten Associates is a new breed of rescue.  According to their mission statement, Kitten Associates is dedicated to saving the lives of cats (and dogs, too!), supporting animal rescue organizations with powerful online marketing tools, and championing legislation for spay/neuter programs to end pet overpopulation.   

In addition to rescuing cats in need, Kitten Associates builds and delivers management and communications tools to struggling, small rescue groups and shelters, to help them be more effective in promoting their available animals, raising donations and attracting more volunteers. Both Robin and her fiancé, Sam Moore, draw on many years of experience with corporate management and marketing communications, and they plan to deliver web sites, databases, communications strategies and other technical and marketing support tools that can help rescue organizations make the most of their limited personnel and resources.  They are able to do this for no or very low cost because they get their funding from grants and corporate and private donors.

One of their first websites just went live, illustrating why there is such a need for this aspect of their mission.  Heard County Critters is a small group of folks who partner with Heard County Animal Control Center in Georgia. Oddly enough, none the volunteers for the group even live in Georgia. They just saw a need and decided to help out. The animals get 72 hours before they get euthanized.  Sometimes they get a few more days, but not often. Since the municipal shelter doesn’t have a web site or the ability to accept donation using PayPal (they still use Western Union!), Kitten Associates created a web site that links to their Petfinder pages, shows which cat or dog is “urgent” (meaning, his or her time is close to running out), and makes it simple for folks to adopt or sponsor the animals.

Kitten Associates reflects their founder’s passion and values in every aspect of the organization.  They don’t just want to rescue cats, they want to ensure that the cats they rescued will continue to lead happy, healthy lives in their new, hopefully forever, homes.  Adopters are required to feed a grain-free and/or raw meat diet and may not feed dry kibble.  Declawing is not allowed under any circumstance. Kitten Associates guarantees their adoptions for the life of the pet.  One very unique aspect of their post adoption support includes on-call availability, should adopters have a question regarding health or behavior issues.

In its first year (which was really only four months long), Kitten Associates rescued 60 cats and kittens – a remarkable feat for any rescue group, but especially for a brand new, essentially three-person operation.

Kitten Associates’ focus for this year is on basic fundraising to obtain a solid financial base so they can stop the constant worry about all the bills Robin currently pays out-of-pocket.  They need foster homes.  They need volunteers.  They need creative folks who can help with event planning and fundraising.  They need experienced cat rescuers, a vet tech or a vet who are willing to be on call for questions after business hours, should the need arise

Kitten Associates have a lot on their plate, and they have a big vision.  Knowing Robin, there is no doubt in my mind that they will achieve their vision, and more.  And more importantly, I know that thanks to Robin and Kitten Associates, cats and kittens that otherwise wouldn’t have had a chance at life will find their forever homes.

You can learn more about Kitten Associates on their website, and more about Robin on her blog, Covered in Cat Hair. 

All photos © Robin Olson, used with permission.

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