Kittens Galore

In this file photo, Pam Tharp, board member of The Ark cat sanctuary, left, and Susan Marue, founder of the The Ark, stand in the kitten room at the sanctuary holding a litter of kittens.

Jake Bacon/Arizona Daily Sun

Many animal lovers in our town have questions about how to find the right resources to care for their own animals and how to find help to care for an animal that isn’t theirs. Here are some answers.

Q: We’ve been putting food out for a cat that appears to be homeless. It seems very fearful but I can't say that it's feral. We would like to trap it and perhaps bring it into our home before snow season starts and the cat can't get to any food sources. Who can I ask for information about a situation like this?

A: First, thank you for being concerned about the welfare of a “community” cat! Many people don’t realize that cats in this situation probably didn’t choose to be homeless and that they need our help to “come in from the cold.”

Your first step is to catch the cat and get it into a safe environment. To do this, you’ll need a trap and a place to house the cat while it adjusts to being inside.

If the cat turns out to be friendly, your next step is to take it to a vet to be checked out including determining if the cat is microchipped and if there is an owner to be located.

If the cat isn’t initially friendly and regular offerings of food don’t turn it around, then you may have to consider other options for the cat including providing appropriate shelter and regular food or checking out “barn cat” programs.

Either way, before releasing or re-homing the cat you’ll want to make sure that it is spayed or neutered and fully vaccinated.

The Ark Cat Sanctuary and Paw Placement have volunteers trained in trapping cats and can offer you the loan of a trap as well as guidance on how to set the trap and care for the cat after it is trapped. A large dog crate can also help contain the cat, if necessary, until you determine how the cat is reacting.

When you’re ready to go to the vet, Paw Placement has no-cost vouchers available that will pay for a spay or neuter and vaccinations for the cat. You can reach a volunteer with Paw Placement by calling 928-699-7586 or online at info@PPNAZ.org. You can reach a volunteer at the Ark Cat Sanctuary online at info@arkcatsanctuary.org.

Q: I’m new to Flagstaff and have two dogs and a cat. I need some suggestions for vet care, boarding, etc. Where can I easily find this type of information?

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A: So glad you asked! Paw Placement of Northern Arizona has put together a terrific “Pets are Welcome in Flagstaff” brochure that lists all the vets in town, where to buy food and pet supplies, boarding options and groomers, as well as safety tips and other resources.

They also offer a central resource/information center for owners through their partnership with Findlay Toyota. The Pet Resource Line can be reached at 928-300-4510.

Q: My neighbor lives on a fixed income and is having a hard time feeding her pets. Are there any resources available to help her?

A: Coconino Humane Association’s Pet Food Bank provides pet food as a temporary resource to eligible Coconino County residents. The Pet Food Bank is offered on the third Saturday of each month, from noon to 3 p.m. at the shelter, and provides supplemental food for people and pets in need. Volunteers from Paw Placement distribute the food that is donated by Purina. Last month 45 families, which included 259 pets, benefited from this program.

Three animal welfare organizations in our community were awarded grants last month by the Arizona Community Foundation of Flagstaff. As part of the newly created Flagstaff Animal Welfare Fund, grants totaling $6,300 were awarded to the Ark Cat Sanctuary, Arizona Cattle Dog Rescue and Paw Placement of Northern Arizona.

The grants will help pay for spays or neuters for feral cats; provide spays or neuters and vaccines for rescued dogs; and help pets belonging to low-income individuals and families gain access to basic vet care.

Written by Pamela Tharp, a member of the Flagstaff Animal Welfare Task Force, and Board member of Paw Placement of Northern Arizona and The Ark Cat Sanctuary.

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