The Thanksgiving Cat


Thanksgiving, for most of us, is a day for family and friends; a pleasant day with lots of great food and often a houseful of guests. However, for your cat, Thanksgiving can be a living nightmare.

With lots of people coming and going, the doorbell ringing constantly, and major changes in the household routine, Thanksgiving can be an extremely stressful time for your cat. Unfortunately, stress and cats do not generally go well together. Stressful situations can make your cat anxious and frightened. They can also cause your cat to become ill. There are many stress-related feline diseases, with interstitial cystitis (urinary tract disease) being among the most common and most well-known of these diseases. Other diseases that can be caused by stress include intestinal diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and even respiratory diseases like asthma can be antagonized by stress. While it may not be practical to keep to your regular household routine on Thanksgiving, there are steps you can take to make your cat more comfortable and reduce the stress level for him.

  • Make sure your cat has a quiet, safe, private area that he can retreat to if he feels the need. This area should be restricted from your house guests so that your cat can rest undisturbed. An unused bedroom or bathroom will work for this purpose.
  • Provide your cat with a litter box and with a food and water station in his safe place. A bed or a soft towel or blanket which keeps your cat comfortable while resting should be provided as well. If your cat is acclimated to his carrier and feels safe there, consider placing his carrier in the safe room with him. Leave the carrier open so that your cat can enter and exit at will.
  • Play a radio, television or CD in your cat’s safe room to provide background noise and mask the sounds of the festivities in other areas of the house. Classical music is a good choice.
  • Feliway is a synthetic pheromone that can be used to reduce your cat’s stress level. It is available as a diffuser or as a spray. Either form is effective and can be used to help calm your cat during stressful periods such as Thanksgiving.
  • There are also other natural remedies, such as Rescue Remedy for Cats, which can be helpful in providing a calming effect for your cat. Never use any remedy for your cat that does not specifically say that is safe for cats on the label. Some medications, natural or pharmaceutical, are safe for dogs but not for cats.
  • If your cat becomes especially anxious or fearful, sedatives such as alprazolam (Xanax) can also be considered, particularly if the natural remedies prove to be ineffective or only partly effective. Talk to your vet about whether this would be appropriate for your cat.

Your cat will thank you for giving him the opportunity to escape from people and activity with which he feels uncomfortable. Of course, there are some cats that enjoy the added attention and the tempting smells that come with Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving dinner. If your cat is in this category, let him enjoy the festivities. Having his own private room or even an open carrier he can sneak away to will still give your cat the opportunity to take a break from the action if he finds it necessary.

 Article Courtesy Dr. Lorie Huston






2013 Statistics – Cost to Care for a Dog or Cat

Dog Help Wanted

Wonder what it costs to care for a pet?

Buddy came up with these statistics.

He’s now looking for a job to pay his own way…good boy!

According to the 2013-2014 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, basic annual expenses for dog and cat owners in dollars include:

                                                                Dogs      Cats

Surgical Vet Visits                           $621     $382
Routine Vet                                        $231     $193
Food                                                       $239     $203
Food Treats                                          $65       $36
Kennel Boarding                              $327     $337
Vitamins                                                 $64       $77
Groomer/Grooming Aids               $61       $20
Toys                                                           $41       $23

Should You Give a Pet For Christmas?

dog christmas tree

Generally those of us in the animal rescue business discourage giving pets as a gift at Christmas. But research show we may have been wrong. We believed it is based on the fact of seeing pets dumped us, or the shelter just 30 or 60 days after Christmas, when the reality of taking care of a puppy or kitten overwhelms some people.

Some rescue groups and shelters also have a long-held belief  that animals not specifically chosen by their new owners may be considered less valuable.

This belief, however, is actually counter to new research by the ASPCA and other experts in the animal-welfare field.



In 2013, the ASPCA surveyed people who had received their pets as gifts in order to learn more about their attachment to – and the retention of – that pet. They also explored the difference in those factors for those that obtained their gifted pet as a surprise. Research found there is no correlation between getting an animal as a gift and an owner’s love and attachment to the pet even if that pet was a surprise gift and no increased risk of relinquishment for dogs and cats received as gifts.​

An earlier study, identified the source of approximately 2,600 dogs and 2,300 cats relinquished to 12 shelters in four regions of the U.S. They found that dogs relinquished to shelters had most frequently come from friends, shelters and breeders. Relinquished dogs infrequently came from pet shops, as gifts and from veterinarians. That study found that the odds of dog relinquishment were higher when acquiring an animal from a shelter, friend, as a stray, and from a pet shop compared to receiving an animal as a gift (and controlling for other factors such as gender, neuter status, length of ownership and purchase cost).

In addition, Scarlett et al identified 71 reasons given for pet relinquishment. “Unwanted gift” was listed as a reason for only 0.3% of dogs and 0.4% of cats entering the shelters surveyed, compared with “No time for pet” as a reason 10% of dogs were relinquished and “allergies in family” as a reason 18% of cats were relinquished.

And finally Patronek et al examined risk factors for dog relinquishment at one shelter and concluded that dogs that were received as a gift were at significantly decreased risk of being relinquished, compared to dogs who were purchased or adopted.

Bottom Line 

These are exciting findings that may help open new adoption options for rescue groups and animal shelters, allowing more animals to be placed in loving homes. The ASPCA recommends however that the giving of pets as gifts be only to people who have expressed a sustained interest in owning one, and who have the ability to care for it responsibly.


2013 U.S. Pet Industry Statistics

ccal 400dpi

According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent a total of $53.33 billion dollars on their pets in 2012; it is estimated they will spend $55.53 billion in 2013

83% of pet owners refer to themselves as their pet’s mom or dad

70 % of pet owners sign their pet’s names on greeting cards

18% of dog owners say they have included or would include their pet in their wedding

66% of dog owners say they would refuse to date someone who didn’t like their pet

21% of dog owners say their pet sleeps in their bed

At least 25% of cats are obese or likely to become obese

Between 25-40% of dogs are considered obese

63% of US households own a pet

45% of US households own more than 1 pet

40% of US households own a dog

There are 90 million cats in the USA and 73 million dogs

78% of dog owners buy their pets several gifts a year

51% of cat owners have bought their pet a gift within the last 12 months

60% of dog owners purchase chews for their dogs

30% of dog owners own dental care products for their pet. This includes toothbrush, floss, mouthwash and whitening products.

29 million dogs travel with their owners on trips.


Estimated 2013 Sales within the U.S. Market

For 2013, it estimated that $55.53 billion will be spent on our pets in the U.S.

Estimated Breakdown:
Food                                                      $21.26 billion
Supplies/OTC Medicine                           $13.21 billion
Vet Care                                                $14.21 billion
Live animal purchases                             $2.31 billion
Pet Services: grooming & boarding           $4.54 billion