The blocked stops here!

Male cats are prone to being blocked which can be a life or death situation. A blocked cat could only take the matter of days before he passes away. So how do you prevent it from happening in the first place?
  • Grain free, no by product diet. Grains seems to be the worst offender of blocked cats as it takes away moisture. In fact if you can do a wet food only diet (that is grain free, no by products) that would be best or at least supplement it into your cats diet.
  • Like people if they don’t use the washroom enough it can cause UTI’s which can lead to further issues. Make sure that there are equal number of litter boxes to cats plus one extra around the house and that it is cleaned enough to their liking so they use it regularly.
  • Overweight cats can be prone to having these issues as well. So it is very important to make sure your cats are at a healthy weight. Some cats should not be free fed as they tend to not know when enough is enough and will eat way more then they should so regulated diets are a must for them.
  • Fresh water or water fountains are extremely important. Cats do not drink enough water mostly due to in the wild cats get their water from their prey so on a dry food diet only they don’t ever get enough water. By adding the water fountain it promotes cats to drink more, or by having fresh water a cat will be more inclined to drink. You could even put a little bit of water in the dry food to help give your cat more water intake.

What are the signs of a blocked cat?

  • Straining to urinate.
  • Peeing more frequently.
  • Blood in the urine.
  • Peeing in places that is not the litter box.
  • Crying out in pain while peeing.

It is extremely important that if you see the signs to get your cat to a vet immediately. If money is tight contact various vets to see what their pricing is and if they are willing to do payment plans. But as always if you generally don’t have thousands of dollars to use for vetting, please get  pet insurance so you never have to deal with the huge amount of stress of not having the money to make your best friend feel better.

A new adoption, what to expect in the first month.

Did you know that first month is the hardest for any newly adopted animal?

Some things you can possibly expect to deal with the first month:

  • Separation anxiety: It is very common especially more so with dogs/puppies but can happen in cats.
  • House training/litter box issues: Dogs/puppies have to relearn a new routine which can be different than what they are used to. It can also take awhile for the new owner to tell the telltale signs of them having to pee. For cats, some like certain litter or litter box styles, and placement is equally important. It is actually a good idea to see if you can take some used litter from the foster home to place into the new litter box. Cats are all about the smell so by placing the litter in the new litter box the cat will know that that is the place they should go in.
  • Aggression/fear of resident pets: Proper introductions is very important not just for dogs but for cats too. Just because your cat or dog had a previous friend it doesn’t mean this new pet will become their instant best friend. Like people, not everyone gets along or sometimes it takes quite awhile to adjust. This is why proper slow introductions are important for cats, it can take months for cats to become friends or at least put up with each other so expect to take at least a week possibly more for a cat/kitten to be in a sanctuary room.
  • Runners: The first week has the highest chance of pets escaping, dogs especially that is why some suggest not taking them for a walk until after the first week or have two leashes on the dog a harness and a leash just in case the dog slips one you will still have the second.
  • Shyness: Let’s face it, it’s scary to go to any new place but when you add in other pets, different people, and a busy household it can be very overwhelming. So expect at least two weeks to be best able to assess their personality.
  • Retraining: Even if a dog or cat is said to be perfect everyone’s idea of perfect can be different. Some people are ok with a dog on the couch while others not so much likewise with a cat on the table. So expect to have to train the new animal to have to learn the new house rules.
  • Unsure/scared/aggressive to the kids: Even if a foster home has kids, like resident pets, everyone is different. Some kids can be cat/dog savvy and know body language really well and know not to push an animal too far or be quieter in the home while others not so much. So especially for the first week, you want your kids to only be around the new pet under supervision as well make an effort to teach them how to be gentle and to understand warning cues. 

It’s also very important to set up your new puppy or kitten for success. So don’t let them get away with something you won’t find as cute when they are much older. Even kittens can be trained, some people thinks cats can’t be but they know that they can easily train us to please them, that’s how smart they are.

It will take at least a month for any new animal to settle into a household sometimes even more. Set them up for success by researching as much as possible beforehand in regards to training, and be honest with what exactly you are looking for, what you can handle medically/behaviorally, and if your resident pet(s) even want a new friend. Don’t get a pet just because it’s cute as it is a 10-20 year commitment that requires a lot of work and training to ensure they become a great part of the family. If you aren’t sure of any allergies in the family, bring the entire family to a friend’s or family members place to spend quite a bit of time with their dogs/cats to assess any allergies before adopting. Getting a new family member can be the best thing you ever do but it’s best to not have expectations that just aren’t fair for any new animal to live up to so quickly. 

Your Library Resource


There are just some books that you should have in your library whether you have cats or dogs or both. The following is a list of books that have great resources and can help you with behavioral issues, training and as well what to expect when adopting a new member of the family. Now it’s not every book you should have in your library as there are just too many great books out there to list them all, but it’s just a few you should consider reading. Yes some books are similar so ultimately it’s your choice what you choose.

Cat books:

Books by Author Amy Shojai are wonderful and easy to read.

  • Complete kitten care – a must read for people adopting kittens.
  • CAT FACTS: THE PET PARENTS A-to-Z HOME CARE ENCYCLOPEDIA -a book to help understand health issues.
  • Complete care for your aging cat -a go-to book for anyone with a senior cat, it gives extra information on how to help your senior cat live a long healthy life.
  • ComPETability: Solving Behavior Problems In Your Multi-Cat Household – a great book to have if your cats are not getting along.
  • ComPETability: Solving Behavior Problems In Your Cat-Dog Household – dogs and cats, let’s face it they don’t always love each. This book can help!
  • PETIQUETTE: SOLVING BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS IN YOUR MULTI-PET HOUSEHOLD -A great book if you have multi pets to help you have a peaceful home.

Books by Pam Johnson Bennet are also great, it has a bit of sense of humor and it more geared towards helping you understand more about cats and their behavior.

  • Think like a cat – Ever wanted to know more about why your cat does certain things or just more information on cats in general? This book has a ton of information that can help you understand more why your furry friend does what it does.
  • Cat vs Cat – A fantastic book to help cats get along peacefully in a home and more information on introductions to help them get off on the right foot.
  • Starting from Scratch: How to Correct Behavior Problems in Your Adult Cat -Does your cat have some behavioral issues that you are struggling to stop? This book has a lot of information that can help you do it, from litter box aversion to cat aggression and everything in between!
  • CatWise: America’s Favorite Cat Expert Answers Your Cat Behavior Questions – Have questions on cats? This book has loads of questions that was answered by a cat behaviorist.

Dog books:

  • The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs by Patricia McConnell Ph.D. – a great resource to understand why your behavior can affect your dog! A must have book!
  • Complete puppy care by Amy Shojai -a book that has all things puppy and is perfect for the first time puppy owner.
  • The power of positive training by Pat Miller- want a comprehensive book on positive reinforcement training? this is the book for you! complete with a diary to track your progress.
  • It’s me or the dog: how to have a perfect pet by Victoria Stillwell -this book is extremely easy to understand and has photos to help guide you. Even kids would love this book and can help with training.
  • Inside of a dog: what dogs see, smell and know by Alexandra Horowitz -what to know more about why a dog does certain things? This book can explain a dog’s inner mind.
  • The Cautious Canine: How to Help Dogs Conquer Their Fears by Patricia McConnell Ph.D – A fantastic book to have if you have a fearful dog.
  • Don’t Shoot the Dog!: The New Art of Teaching and Training by Karen Pryor -A MUST HAVE book!
  • Before & After Getting Your Puppy Hardcover by Dr. Ian Dunbar -The perfect book for when you are getting a puppy.
  • ComPETability: Solving Behavior Problems In Your Multi-Dog Household by Amy Shojai – A book to help your dogs get along.
  • Complete care for your aging dog by Amy Shojai -A great book for your senior dog to help make his golden years comfy.

We hope this list of books can help you with training and help you when you are dealing with behavioral issues so you can enjoy the experience of having a pet.

The 22 – kitty foo fighters!

We were told about many cats and kittens in a not good situation. There were over 40 kittens and by the end of it, we took in 22 kittens. SCARS and BARS took the rest. The Alberta spay and neuter task force fixed all the adult cats.

Initially, we knew something was wrong, they appeared to be 4-5 weeks old but the vet said they were 8-9 weeks old. This meant they were extremely malnourished and very skinny. They require around the clock care from their amazing foster moms Pauline, Jocelyn, and Jill. Most are still very underweight. Sadly out of the 22, we have 16 left. After the frequent blood and diarrhea panels, ultrasounds, and necropsies on the kittens who passed, it was discovered that they have the FCOV and various infections. They require a special type of antibiotic, IV fluids and special food. We have already spent thousands of dollars on these kittens but we refuse to give up! Please consider sponsoring them or donating to their care!

theformer22Though they are sick, the 16 who are left never cease to warm our hearts. They love to play, and even when they aren’t feeling well they purr in their foster mom’s arms. Sadly Sly has been diagnosed with the deadly FIP virus, less than 5% of those who have FCOV will get this deadly illness. The vet says the others do not have a high chance of getting it and it’s not contagious. Sly is still happy and playing for now but sadly will not make it. Dignity is extremely skinny and yet very bloated, the ultrasound thankfully did not suggest FIP. Glam is still under a pound but slowly gaining weight! All the others are doing very well and we are hopeful for them. We want to give these amazing kittens something to look forward to, so next week we will start accepting applications on most of them and continue to keep everyone up to date on how they are doing.

The ones who have passed are Edmonton, Parade, Tinkerbell, Hamlet, Murray, and Queen. They are living it up on rainbow bridge.ripkite

Best friends 4 Life!

chichol1There are many reasons why it’s a great idea to adopt a bonded pair or get two kittens instead of one. But here are just some of the reasons:
-A bonded pair you know will get along, you won’t have to do introductions later on if you wanted two anyway. Not all dogs/cats will become instant friends or friends at all. With a bonded pair you know they are compatible.
-Separation anxiety is quite common, especially with animals who are used to having other pets around. So unless you are home often, having a buddy can help prevent the destruction and phone calls about barking dogs.
-Dogs and cats are social creatures, many will not do good as a single pet. This is also true for kittens who can become very lonely and even scared on their own.
-Kittens will learn from each other, not only to use the litter box but also bite inhibition and how to play nice.
-Kittens will have each other to play which greatly lessens the chance of play aggression especially towards adult cats who are not playful.
-Bonded pair of dogs will help tire each other out so less walks/play time needed.
-You save two lives instead of one!
-The cost isn’t that much more to get two! Even for extra food, toys, litter boxes, scratching post. The adoption fee for bonded pairs is $300 for dogs (yes that’s right folks, dogs are two for the price of one!), $200 for cats and $250 for kittens! This, of course, includes the spay/neuter, up to 2nd set of shots, microchip and deworm!
-Twice the fun, love and cuddles!

Now that you are thinking about adopting a bonded pair, we will let you know we have many bonded pairs:

for dogs we have:
Chi Chi and Cholo
Sam and Samantha
Vincent Vega and Cory Flower

for cats we have:
George Weasley and Miss Blue
Leonardo Dicatrio and Don Drapurr
Hopper and Petrie

We do have many kittens in care and always highly recommend adopting a pair if you don’t have another young adult cat who is playful. Kittens are used to being around another feline so separation anxiety is extremely common for them.

Lost & Found

What to do if you lost or found an animal.


If you lost your pet:
For cat’s put out there uncleaned litter box on the front doorstep.
-If your cat is fixed and is an indoor only cat, unless frightened off they will stay nearby. Check your neighbor’s yards, under decks/porches and bushes.
-Put up posters all around the area, and nearby vet clinics.
-Talk with your neighbors.
-Post on pet lynx/Kijiji/facebook lost pets pages.
-Contact various rescues to see if they recently got a stray like that.
-Keep checking Kijiji and check your local humane society/ACCC.
-If you are offering a reward, if someone contacts you saying to pay up or your pet will die it is a SCAM, and sadly a very common one. They do not have your animal, they just want the money. Unless you see the animal in person and confirm it yourself, do not give them money.

If you found an animal:
-Please, please bring them to the ACCC. It is the best place for them to find their home who is looking for them. Not everyone has the internet to check sites like this but can easily go into the ACCC to find them. It is right next to the EHS. Please understand that the animal with not be euthanized unless there is a severe medical or severe behavioral issue that would make the animal too dangerous to be adopted out. If no one claims them most of the time, once they go to the EHS, they will find different placements for them in rescues or in barn homes if they are not doing well at the EHS or have behavioral/medical issues that can be managed easier in a foster type setting or barn home.
-By law, you are not allowed to keep a stray, or give them away. You can bring them to the ACCC and ask to be put under special consideration if no one comes claims the animal you can adopt them once the mandatory time at the ACCC is over.
-You can get them checked at the vet for a microchip and can even leave them there as many times the vet staff will bring them to the ACCC.
-You can post up found posters and ads on kijiji/pet lynx/various lost and found fb pages as well even to just put that this animal is at the ACCC.
-Do not judge. Indoor-only pets generally have no idea how to take care of themselves on their own, usually, they are dirty, even matted, some can even have mange as well and can be extremely skinny.

How to prevent losing your pet:
-Fix your pets. It is so important. It is by far the number one reason why animals get lost, even if they are indoor only they will try to escape. Contact various vets for pricing, as well the EHS has the PALS program for low-income households.
-Get your pets microchipped, even if they are indoor only. It is the best way to get your pet back. Don’t forget to keep the info up to date.
-Know when thunderstorms and fireworks are going to happen. Pets, especially dogs, can get very frightened and will escape the yard. Keep them inside, in a covered crate/kennel with a radio going on, preferably in a place that has no windows. Do not take your dogs out to see fireworks unless you are 100% certain they will not escape.
-Dogs for the first week or even month have the highest chance of trying to escape during a walk. You can do umbilical training (leash tied around your waist) so they get used to you. You can burn off energy by playing in the backyard/house and training. Find no slip leashes/harnesses and if need be use a double leash technique, this way if your dog slips one leash you do have a backup leash to keep control over your dog.
-Cat fencing, cat enclosure, and even a harness can help your kitty stay put. A harness lets your kitty explore while not escaping. It’s not safe to let your cat roam but they can still enjoy life outside in a secure yard with cat fencing, cat enclosure or on a harness.
-Get locks put on your fence. This will prevent anyone from opening the gate to either steal them or to let them out.

Also check out this awesome resource as well


To roam or not to roam.

ZARS has a policy that cats must be indoor only. If allowed outside, they must be on a harness/leash or in a cat enclosure. Why? For their safety. Due this policy we do not adopt out to outdoor or indoor/outdoor homes for cats. Though we have a barn program that is currently in the works for feral cats. We will be looking for barn homes that have a heated barn/garage, provide vetting and food. Stay tuned for more updates on our barn program but all non-semi feral cats/kittens must be indoor only.
There are many dangers out there for cats who roam.
Things like:
  • Heavy traffic or any traffic is a serious danger to cats. On average hundreds of cats if not thousands get run over every year in and around Edmonton sadly, most will not make it.
  • Attacked by other animals such as dogs and coyotes. Cat fights can lead to serious infections and even death.
  • Poison, such as antifreeze, pesticides/herbicides, trash, poisonous plants and some people view cats as vermin and will poison them to get rid of these pests.
  • People can and will keep friendly cats, even if they have a collar. Some people have also been known to trap and dump cats outside the city or as far away as possible. People can be very dangerous to cats as they can hurt them or even kill them.
  • If your cat gets lost, there is a chance you will never find your beloved pet.
It is also against the law to allow your cat to be at large. If your cat is brought to the ACC it is a $100 fine plus $25 for intake then $15/day kennel fee after the first day. If any vetting is needed you’d be required to pay that as well to get your cat out. If your cat is not licensed it is a $250 fine.
How to prevent roaming:
  • Get your cats fixed, this is so important. Unfixed cats have a huge need to get out and roam. They generally will not stay in the area either as their mind is not on food but on finding a mate. Not fixed males can sire hundreds of litters in their lifetime who unfortunately most won’t make it on the streets. If you are low-income you can fill out an application for being apart of the PALS program, or contact various vets for pricing. Edmonton west animal hospital and West Edmonton spay and neuter clinic have great prices. Even if your cat is indoor only they will still try to escape to breed.
  • Build a cat enclosure or put up cat fencing to prevent your cat from getting out of the yard.
  • Environment enrichment is important to cats, a bored cat will find ways to amuse themselves. Getting various cat toys, cat trees, scratching posts, cat tunnels and even hiding treats around the house can help your bored cat from wanting to escape.
  • Take your cat outside on a harness/leash, some cats will even go for walks. T-Shirt harness types are great and make sure you have their collar and tags on just in case.
Train them not to door dart. This website has some tips to help that:
Unfortunately, the city is far too dangerous to let your cat roam, cats don’t need to roam to feel enriched. Indoor cats can live to be over 20 years old while outdoor cats on average live 5-8 years. By keeping your cat indoors you not only double their life span but increase their quality of life as they have less of a chance of injuries, diseases and parasites. Keep your cat safe by not allowing them to roam the streets.

Are you buying from a puppy or kitten mill?



Puppy/kittens mills have become a multi million dollar industry at the expense of helpless animals who generally never get any vetting, live a life in a cage and are just breeding machines for their “owners”. Many of these dogs and cats have numerous injuries and behavioral issues due to poor care. But nowadays it’s hard to know where your puppy or kitten has come from. Buying off of kijiji/craigslist or the internet can put you at risk for buying a puppy mill puppy or kitten. So here is a list of things to be on the look out for while you hunt for your newest family member.

  • Be very weary in regards to “designer breeds” like pomsky, frenchton, puggles. Breeders will breed to promote their breed of choice and have thorough knowledge of the breed, ensure that there are no genetic defects and high standards on breeding. Breeding a “designer breed” is completely for pure profit and generally do not have high standards on what dogs they breed which can result in genetic problems for the puppies. Sadly many of these “designer breeds” come from puppy mills.
  • Always view the parents, or at least the mom and make sure to notice if she has recently had a litter. Some “owners” will show a female dog who doesn’t even look like she has had any puppies at all as they don’t want you to see the poor condition the real mom is in.
  • View the property, yes it can be impersonal but really what do they have to hide?
  • Never transfer any money to an account to purchase the pet.
  • Never purchase the pet outside the home, parking lots or gas stations are huge red flags for potential puppy/kitten mills.
  • No good breeder would sell puppies or kittens to a pet store where they have no control on who buys them.
  • Know the breed you are wanting! Do very thorough research to find the right fit for you and your lifestyle. Always know the breed, temperament and any markings/coloring’s that is standard. Sadly it is  common for people to sell brown tabbies as Bengals, long hairs as Maine Coons and grey cats as Russian Blue cats just to ask for a higher price.
  • Kittens mills do exist sadly, Ragdolls, Persians and Himalayan cats are extremely common for kitten mills so be aware when purchasing a kitten of these breeds.

ila3Good breeders:

  • Sells purebreds only from registered parents. 
  • Has a spay/neuter contract (Only those with the ideal standard and temperament of the breed could be bred to preserve the breed, pet quality puppies/kittens should be fixed to prevent unwanted genetic defects).
  • Does not allow you to re home your new pet.
  • Has thorough knowledge of the breed and is careful of who buys for them.
  • Only breeds one or two breeds, to them quality and giving individual attention is important.
  • Puppies/kittens have at least first sets of shots and dewormed. To these breeders it is important that they get vetting to ensure they stay healthy.

Bad breeders:

  • Sells mutts or kittens as designer breeds or emphasizes that such and such kitten/puppy has a certain breed in them in order to ask for more money.
  • Sells puppies/kittens as potential breeders, even if poor quality usually to ask for more money.
  • Only cares about profit, not the animal, so these puppies/kittens get no vetting at all and were probably never look at by a vet which could mean you are buying a sick animal.

Backyard breeders are common and you should also be very cautious with them. Most are just breeding for pure profit not for their breed of choice to ensure that the breed continues on. If you think you know of a puppy mill or kitten mill or see poor quality of life for some dogs/cats you go and see then please contact your local humane society and they will investigate. The only way to stop puppy mills and kitten mills is with knowledge and speaking up against them. With your help, they could be a thing of the past! Let’s put a stop to these inhumane breeding facilities, animals are much more then just dollar signs, they are family and should be treated with love and care from the moment they are born.


Happy Valentine’s day from us to you!


It’s Valentines day! A day to celebrate your love for each other. Remember husband and boyfriends, stay out of the doghouse by:
1. Not forgetting it is valentine’s day.
2. Bring her flowers, chocolate or a shiny gift.
3. Do not get her bad gifts these includes things like vacuum cleaners, mustache shavers, and gym memberships.
Three simple steps that will ensure a happy v-day. And ladies don’t forget to tell your man how much you love him!

If your single don’t worry! If you have a pet you are in a relationship where:
1. They will ALWAYS listen to you, even when your rambling on about something pointless like how much you hate your job for the 1000000th time.
2. They love you no matter what, even if you forget it’s their birthday, it’s valentine’s day or your anniversary.
3. They love whatever you get! Except cats, cats are more practical and don’t need that expensive toy, they just love the box it came in.
4. They never judge you! So eat your ice cream chocolate fudge, with a triple patty and cheese fries on the side without hearing about how it’ll go to your hips. Caution: Dogs might help you eat it, and drool on your lap.
5. They are just happy to be with you! You are their whole world! They live to be with you and enjoy every minute of it.
6. They love to cuddle! Yes even when it’s hot they will happily cuddle with you and make you feel loved.

So you see! Being single with a pet is the best! Unless you have a jerk cat who just uses you for food and litter box cleaning. But do not have regret, no one could ever love jerk cat like you do! Happy Valentine’s day everyone!

What’s in your pet’s diet, Part two

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Table scraps

We all know those cute puppy dog eyes (or kitty begging) when we are eating our meal but sometimes it’s best to ignore or limit the treats they get. But if you wanna still give them a treat make sure it’s safe and NO junk food (yes this means chips and popcorn).  Certain foods are poisonous in different amounts (the larger the amount eaten the more dangerous it is) including onions, grapes, chocolate, raisins, nuts, garlic, dairy (many are lactose intolerant), chives, coconut, citrus, raw and under cooked meat, salt and salty snacks, and yeast dough. If you are sure that it is safe to give your pet make sure you lessen the amount of dog/cat food you give to ensure your pet doesn’t become plump. Feeding your pet table scraps will teach them to beg, so if you want a peaceful meal without pleading eyes, whining and scratching, it’s best to not give in to the begging.


Treats, treats and treats.

Treats are great, they can be used for training but just like in humans, moderation is key. People love to give their dogs bones however cooked bones can become splintered and lodge in their throats. Dogs who are given bones should only be given when you can watch them. Rawhide can also be dangerous as if it is ingested it can actually enlarge in the throat or intestines and can be fatal. Antlers and bully sticks are a safer alternative to rawhide but should be monitored and once it gets small it should be thrown out.


Extra tidbits:

  • Feed your pet according to it’s age range (kitten/puppy, adult, senior) and read the label to find out guidelines of the amount.
  • Do not feed your cat dog food and vice versa.  Dog’s have different nutritional requirements then cats.
  • Do not change the food abruptly but slowly by adding the new food into the regular food over time.
  • Does your pet inhale it’s food? Slow feeders are great for pets, as well giving small meals instead of one large bowl of food. This can prevent your pet from getting sick due to over eating and eating too fast.
  • If your pet isn’t having drinking enough water throughout the day, add some water to their dry food.
  • If your pet suddenly stops eating, and becomes lethargic bring them to the vet asap.
  • Do not disturb a pet who is eating, this can cause anxiety and even make an animal lash out.
  • Medium to large breed dogs should eat from a raised bowl to prevent bloating. A raised stand can be ought at various pet stores, some breeds are more susceptible to bloating.
  • Do not feed your dog before travelling in the car as this can encourage car-sickness, or an hour before or after exercise as this could contribute to a stomach dilation and torsion (also known as bloat) which is a life threatening condition requiring immediate veterinary intervention.


We all love our pets and love to spoil them but it is important to read labels and give treats in moderation to ensure to your pet lives a long healthy life.