Frequently Asked Questions

How much are your adoption costs?

Our regular adoption fees vary according to the age of the cats. Purebreds or mixes are often a little more. All animals up for adoption have been spayed or neutered. The adoption fee also includes: testing for leukemia and FIV; distemper and Rabies shots; worming, micro-chipping and treatment for any other condition or parasite seen in the animal.

What do I do if I want to adopt a cat?

Fill out an application form (found on our homepage). Please call us at (248) 622-4331 if you are interested in adopting one of our cats and want more information.

My cat is having litter box problems. What can I do about that?

First, remember that your cat is a feeling being that may have a physical problem just like any other family member, and should be given the same benefit of treatment. To simply pass on a cat with problems to someone else is not doing a service to the person or the cat and may result in abusive treatment of the animal or abandonment.

The first step to take with a cat that is peeing outside of the box is to take the cat to the vet. For a thorough exam AND a urinalysis! The majority of cats who are peeing inappropriately have bladder infections, which can be treated successfully with antibiotics. The treatment should continue for AT LEAST 2 weeks (in some cases 3 weeks). In order to prevent recurrence of the peeing, it is necessary to clean any urine-stained areas with a product designed especially for urine odor, e.g. Nature’s Miracle, Odor-Mute, Odo-Ban, etc. If this is not done, the remaining urine odor is a signal to the cat that “this is the place where you’re supposed to go”.

Cats that have recurring bladder infections even after adequate treatment, area cleaning, etc., may benefit from a drug called Cosequin, which is sprinkled on the cat’s food. Consult a cat specialty vet about this.

Other important considerations that need to be addressed are:

  1. Are you keeping the litter box(es) clean? Some cats are VERY picky about the cleanliness of the box and will not use even a slightly dirty box.
  2. Do you have enough litter boxes? Usually, at least one for each cat is suggested.
  3. The litter boxes should be placed in a location convenient for the cat to access, but NOT in a busy traffic area. A timid cat may shy away from using a box in a busy area. Also, don’t let children or pets bother the cat when it is using the litter box.
  4. There are many types of litter available and some cats have definite preferences about the type of litter they prefer. You may have to offer several boxes with different litter types to determine what your cat prefers. In general, cats do not like perfumed litter. Try to stay with unscented litter. Many cats don’t like “novel” litters (pine, wheat, etc.). For especially difficult situations try using “Cat Attract” litter, which has a special blend of herbs added to the litter to attract cats to it.
  5. Some cats like a covered box; some will not use one. You will have to try both and see which the cat prefers. The box should be big enough for the cat to fit its entire body in and turn around.

Sometimes cats have litter box problems for emotional reasons. Perhaps it is being intimidated by another cat; perhaps it can’t adjust to boisterous children; maybe it doesn’t like the new dog, etc. Declawed cats are more likely to exhibit these problems as the loss of their fingertips makes them feel more vulnerable and insecure. It may be possible to get a peeing cat through a difficult time by temporarily using a psychotropic drug, e.g., Prozac.

Sometimes an anxious cat can be soothed by using a Feliway spray or plug-in. This is a feline pheromone diffuser that tends to calm anxious cats. These can be purchased at a pet supply or online.

Occasionally, a peeing cat can be retrained by putting the cat in a dog crate with a litter box, food and water, for a minimum of two weeks to “retrain” the cat to use the litter box. This is to be done in connection with the other above suggestions. Physical punishment and yelling at the cat will not help and will only make the situation worse and make the cat fearful of the owner.

Most peeing cats can be turned around by using the suggestions above and giving the cat time, love and patience.

I want to give up my cat or a found cat, what do I do?

First, be aware that millions of cats are being killed in pounds and humane societies in this country. Even kittens are being euthanized in the summer, simply because there are not enough homes for them, and because some people STILL don’t bother to sterilize their animals. If you are giving up your animal for a reason that is of questionable importance, please rethink your decision. Many people think there are homes out there just waiting for an animal like theirs. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are millions more homeless cats than there are potential adopters. If you are giving up your animal for a behavioral reason, please make an attempt to solve the problem instead of just abandoning the animal.

The hardest thing for us to understand is the number of people who give up their animals to move somewhere that animals are not allowed. Not only is this unconscionable, it is not necessary. There are many affordable apartments, condos and rentals that do allow animals. You just need to look around.

To give up an animal, whether your own or a stray, please call (248) 622-4331 and leave a message. Leave as much information as possible about the animal and the circumstances. Callers who leave only a name and number and no information, or ask us to call them back for the information, will not be considered. We get very many calls every day and can’t talk to everyone. We will call back ONLY if we can take the animal. Also, speak your number slowly and clearly. If we can’t understand the number, we will have to delete the message. If you are moving, please give an estimated date of the move.

If we call you back to take the animal, you must be ready to bring the animal in a timely manner. If you take your time responding or bringing the animal, we will have to move on to the next caller due to the volume of give-up calls.

How do I introduce a new cat into a household with established cats?

In general, it is best to introduce a new cat slowly and indirectly. This is best accomplished by putting the new cat immediately into a separate room with its own litter pan, food, water and scratching item (e.g. a Turboscratcher). Place the dishes near the door on either side so the cats will come close to the door and get each other’s scent. Keep the cats separate for at least 48 hours. After the first day, rub each cat with a towel and place it in the other cat’s area to increase the scent. If there is any hissing or growling, keep the cats separate until that ceases. When everything seems OK, put the new cat in a carrier in the resident cat’s area and observe. If it goes well, put both cats together, staying in attendance with a squirt bottle and blanket or towel to throw over one cat if there is a fight. If everything is OK, separate the cats after an hour and put them together later for a longer period. If there is still any negative reaction, keep them separate for a longer period and try again when they seem calmer. Also, you can bathe all the cats with the same shampoo to make them all smell the same, if you’re feeling brave. I’ve also heard of rubbing Catnip on the cats to make them more attractive to each other, but have never tried it.

You can try having two people hold each cat in close proximity and give them each treats, pets and soothing words, so that they associate being close together with good things happening. Most cats will adjust to a new cat within about two weeks, while some are fine within two days. Some cats will take months to adjust, but as long as there is improvement, it is worth taking the time.

It’s a good idea to maintain separate food dishes and litter pans for both cats after they are together until you are sure they are willing to share and not show any aggression. Occasionally there is a cat that will not adjust at all. If no improvement is seen within 2-4 weeks and there is aggression being expressed, it is likely that they will not adjust to each other.

Introducing a new kitten

It is not unusual for a new kitten (or even a cat) to hide at first in a new home. Everything in the animal’s life has suddenly changed and they don’t know why. Make sure the animal has easy access to its food, water and litter in the spot it has chosen to hide. Occasionally go and pick up the animal, pet it, talk soothingly to it and play with it. Let it hide part of the time until it has determined that it is in an environment where it is safe to come out on its own. Try to keep loud noises to a minimum during this period.

To make your home safe for the kitten, make sure that:

  • the toilet lid is kept down; a little kitten could be unable to get out and drown.
  • the dryer door is kept closed. Many cats and kittens are killed in dryers
  • large appliances are checked to make sure the kitten can’t get inside and get shocked
  • don’t use clumping litter for small kittens, they may eat it and die
  • you remove strings, metal pins, tinsel, other small objects from toys, they may be eaten
  • check online to see if your plants are non-toxic. Lillies, e.g., can be fatal
  • check electrical cords, which can be chewed and give a shock (cord covers are available at home improvement stores)
  • the underneath area of recliners are safe, many are not (be sure to check them)
  • dogs are leashed and in control when introducing a kitten or cat

At first, when you are gone, keep the kitten in the room where its litter pan and food are being kept so that it will not make any mistakes and will learn the location of the box, and be safe from any accidents or other pets. Also, so that if it hides, you will be able to find it easily.

How can I Scratch-Train my Cat?

It is important to realize that scratching is a natural instinct that cats have from infancy. Cats scratch to mark their territory via the scent glands in their paws, for exercise by stretching their muscles, to maintain the condition of their claws by removing the dead nail cells and for fun.

It would be futile to try to stop a cat from the act of scratching; even declawed cats continue to exhibit scratching behavior. The reasonable thing to do then is to provide the cat with appropriate items to scratch on. We recommend using a Turboscratcher for horizontal scratching and a scratching post for vertical scratching. The Turboscratcher is a large round plastic disc with a “track” around the outer edge with a plastic ball that can be batted around the track. The center has a circular cardboard insert for scratching. Most cats take to this item quickly. The scratching post should be at least 32 inches tall with a large stable base. Most cats prefer a post with sisal rope wrapped around the post for scratching and carpet on the top and bottom. There are also corrugated cardboard, flat scratching boxes available. It can be helpful to rub or spray catnip on these items to make them even more attractive to the cat. Make the scratching items readily available to the cat, do not hide them away from view. You want something appropriate handy in various parts of the house. In an especially large house you will need several of each item so the animal can easily find something when it feels the need to scratch. Be sure you have something available from the beginning so the animal doesn’t start getting bad habits.

Tell the cat “no” when it is beginning to scratch inappropriately and move it to the desired item. When the cat is using the appropriate items, praise it for doing so. Once the cat has figured out what is acceptable, you can use a water-filled squirt gun to deter the cat from the undesirable behavior. Physical punishment is not effective on cats and should not be used. It will only result in the cat being fearful of the person doing it and may cause the cat to develop other undesirable behavior problems.

Cutting the cat’s nails on a regular (two week) basis can cut down on damage as well. Cat’s nails are normally retracted and can be extended by pressing on the toe pad. Cut off the pointy tip, being careful not to cut into the pink “live” part, which will bleed and hurt. Do not use the “Guillotine” type of cutters used on dogs for cats. (These are the ones with the sliding blade.) Look for small dog nail cutters in the dog section of a pet supply store.

In cases where a cat is especially attracted to scratching on a certain item or surface type, try spraying that item with a good quality repellant, until the animal learns to keep away from it.

What about Declawing?

Declawing involves cutting off the last joint of the toe. It is NOT just a matter of removing the nail. It is serious and very painful surgery involving 10 separate amputations. Unlike humans who walk on their soles, cats walk on their toes. The toes are, therefore, very important to a cat when moving to keep the back, leg, shoulder and joint muscles in proper alignment. Declawing drastically alters this alignment causing chronic pain in the back & shoulders when walking, running or climbing.

There are many possible complications to declawing, often resulting in more surgery and frequently, life-long pain.

Declawing is outlawed in at least 25 countries, most of Europe, and 8 U.S. cities. There are veterinary societies in most states made up of vets who will not perform the surgery for ethical reasons.

Some cats are so shocked by the trauma and pain of declawing that they experience a permanent negative personality change. The majority of declawed cats are anxious, fearful and insecure, often becoming aggressive as a defense and biting. Most declawed cats become intolerant of any change in their environment, e.g., a new baby, new pet, new home or person.

The main problem occurring in declawed cats that causes them to be abandoned in great numbers by their owners is their frequency of inappropriate urination. They blame their painful feet on the litter box and avoid it, or they hold their urine, thus getting bladder infections and peeing around the house. Since we have started doing urinalyses on all declawed cats, we have found that the majority of them have bladder infections.

Obviously, we do not recommend declawing. We recommend training the cat to scratch appropriately. This is successful in the majority of cats. In the case of the occasional cat who is untrainable, we recommend using “Soft Paws’ instead. See the next section.

What are Soft Paws and how do they work?

Soft Paws are a soft, smooth vinyl cap that is glued over the trimmed nail of the cat to render the scratching motions non-damaging to people or property. They are available at most vets, pet supplies or from the company directly. You can order from the company by calling 1-800-989-2542, or online at Soft Paws are reasonably priced and come in a package of 40 nail caps. Since the caps stay on for approximately 6 weeks, 40 caps will last about 6 months. They will naturally fall off as the nail grows out and the outer cell layer is shed.

This is a much more humane way to solve the scratching problem than declawing, and is very affordable.

What is a CH cat?

CH cats, or cats with Cerebellar Hypoplasia, have a condition affecting the cerebellum of the kitten’s brain. The cerebellum is the portion of the brain that influences fine motor control. Kittens affected with CH will have poor coordination (jerky or wobbly movements when they walk or run). Some will have head tremors. This can happen to a greater or lesser extent in each animal. Many will fall over during movement. Life expectancy is not affected.

The cause of CH may be a viral infection during gestation or in kittenhood. Distemper is the most common cause of intra-uterine infection. However, CH can occur in-utero or at a later date due to injury, poisoning or a virus. The symptoms of CH generally DO NOT worsen as the animal ages and most will learn to compensate to some degree. However, this will be a lifelong condition. There is no treatment for the condition. The animal can have a good quality of life if given protection from accidents. These cats will be clumsy and must be protected from stairs, for example. They absolutely MUST NOT be declawed as they need their nails to help them hang on when they slip or fall. Cushions should be placed under places from which the cat may fall (window sills, etc.). It is a good idea to use untippable food and water bowls and a litter box with high sides but a low entrance area. These cats MUST be kept indoors for their own safety. CH cats seem to be unaware that they are different in any way and therefore may attempt feats that could be dangerous for them, but they seem to lead very happy lives.