FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
Why should I spay or neuter my companion
How can I get
low-cost spay/neuter services for my companion
How can I get
low-cost vaccinations for my companion animal?
I’m thinking of declawing my cat.
What do I need to know?
What if I cannot afford medical care
for my companion animal?
How can I find my lost companion animal?
How do I report neglect or abuse
of an animal?
What is a feral cat?
I have found a group of feral or
stray cats. Where can I turn for advice?
I found an
orphaned baby kitten or kittens. What should I do?
How can I locate a shelter or rescue
organization in my area?
How can I find a shelter companion animal available
How can I find a specific breed of
dog to adopt?
How can I find
a new home for my dog or cat?
Where can I get help for my companion animal’s
Where can I find good companion animal care information
What if someone in my family is allergic
to our companion animal?
We are expecting a baby, or have
a new baby. Can we still keep our companion animal?
How can I find an animal-friendly lawyer?
Where can I find homeowners insurance for a family with pets?
can I find animal-friendly apartment listings or rental property?
Who are my U.S. and state Senators
and Representatives? What animal legislation is pending in Connecticut?
I found a baby
bird, squirrel, raccoon, injured duck or other wildlife. What
should I do and who can I call?
I call regarding “nuisance wildlife”?
Q: WHY SHOULD I SPAY OR NEUTER
MY COMPANION ANIMAL?
A: There are many reasons to spay or neuter your companion animal.
The pet population problem
Every year, millions of unwanted dogs and cats, including puppies and kittens, are needlessly destroyed. The good news is that every pet owner can make a difference. By having your dog or cat surgically sterilized, you will do your part to prevent the birth of unwanted puppies and kittens and you will enhance your pet's health and quality of life.
Pet behavior and pet reproduction
Contrary to what some people believe, getting pregnant - even once - does not improve the behavior of female dogs and cats. In fact, the mating instinct may lead to undesirable behaviors and result in undue stress on both the owner and the animal. Also, while some pet-owners may have good intentions, few are prepared for the work involved in monitoring their pet's pregnancy, caring for the newborns and locating good homes for all the offspring.
What is surgical altering?
During surgical altering, a veterinarian removes certain reproductive organs. If your cat or dog is a female, the veterinarian will usually remove her ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus. The medical name for this operation is an ovariohysterectomy, although it is commonly called "spaying." If your pet is a male, the testicles are removed and the operation is called an orchiectomy, commonly referred to as castration or simply "neutering."
While both spaying and neutering are major surgical procedures, they are also the most common surgeries performed by veterinarians on cats and dogs. Before the operation, your pet will be given a thorough physical examination to ensure that your pet is in good health. General anesthesia will be administered before the surgery making the procedure non-painful. You will be asked to keep your pet calm and quiet for a few days afterwards until the incision begins to heal.
What are the benefits of spaying and neutering?
Both operations lead to improved long-term health, prevent unwanted litters, and eliminate many behavior problems associated with the mating instinct.
Benefits to your female pet
Female dogs experience a "heat" cycle approximately every six months, depending upon the breed. A female dog's heat cycle can last as long as 21 days, during which your dog will leave blood stains in the house and may become anxious, short-tempered and actively seek a mate.
Female cats can come into heat every two weeks during breeding season until they become pregnant. During this time they may engage in behaviors such as frequent yowling and urination in unacceptable places.
Both female dogs and cats benefit from spaying, which eliminates their heat cycles and generally reduces the negative behaviors that may lead to owner frustration and, ultimately, a decision to relinquish the pet to a shelter. Most importantly, early spaying of female dogs and cats helps protect them from serious health problems later in life such as uterine infections and breast cancer.
Benefits to your male pet
At maturity (on average, 6-9 months of age), male dogs and cats are capable of breeding. Both male dogs and cats are likely to begin "marking" their territories by spraying strong-smelling urine on your furniture, curtains, and in virtually any part of the house. Also, given the slightest chance, males may attempt to escape from home in search of a mate. Dogs seeking a female in heat can become aggressive and may injure themselves and people by engaging in fights.
Neutering male dogs and cats reduces the need to breed and can have a calming effect that makes them less inclined to roam and more content to stay at home. Neutering your male pet also improves his health by reducing the risk of prostate disease, testicular cancer and infections.
What is the best age to spay or neuter my pet?
A dog or cat can be surgically altered at almost any age. Your veterinarian can advise you on the most appropriate time for your particular pet based upon its breed, age and physical condition.
Will the surgery affect my pet's disposition or metabolism?
The procedure has no effect on a pet's intelligence or ability to learn, play, work or hunt. Most pets tend to be better behaved following the operation, making them more desirable companions. Contrary to popular belief, the surgery will not make your pet fat. A balanced diet and exercise will keep your pet from experiencing the health risks associated with obesity. Ask your veterinarian to advise you on the best diet and exercise plan for your pet for each stage of its life.
Is the surgery really worth it?
Yes! This is a one-time expense that can dramatically improve your pet's quality of life. If you are still uncertain whether or not to proceed with the surgery, consider the expense to society of collecting and caring for all the unwanted, abused, or abandoned animals being housed in shelters - most with little chance of finding permanent homes.
Having your pet spayed or neutered is a part of responsible pet ownership and an important investment in your pet's long-term good health. Also low-cost options are available.
Please read the
Spay or Neuter? to learn why spaying or neutering is the
best thing you can do for your companion animal.
Q: HOW CAN I GET LOW-COST SPAY/NEUTER SERVICES FOR MY COMPANION
A: Click here for a list of Connecticut low-cost spay/neuter programs. In addition, the following organizations provide
low-cost spay/neuter services or referrals:
Q: HOW CAN I GET LOW-COST VACCINATIONS FOR MY COMPANION ANIMAL?
A: Low-cost vaccine clinics
are sometimes held at local pet supply stores. Please call Luv-My-Pet,
Inc. at 508-616-8765 to obtain information on a low cost vaccine
clinic near you. Or contact your local Petco
to see if a Luv-My-Pet vaccination clinic is offered. You should
also contact your local Department of Health and/or Animal Control
to see if Rabies vaccine clinics are offered.
Q. I’M THINKING OF DECLAWING MY
CAT. WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
you declaw your cat, please read the article Why Cats Need Claws
and visit Declawing.org
and The Paw
Project to get all the facts about declawing. Also visit
Cat Scratching.com and our section
animal behavior for alternatives to declawing.
Q. WHAT IF I CANNOT AFFORD MEDICAL CARE FOR MY COMPANION ANIMAL?
Please see a list of financial resources below, or contact your
local shelter or rescue organization to find out if financial
assistance is available. To locate a shelter or rescue organization,
please visit Petfinder.com.
Financial Aid Resources:
CareCredit offers a revolving line of credit for veterinary expenses
Feline Veterinary Emergency
Assistance Program offers financial aid for emergency veterinary costs for cats
(click on “how to apply”)
Help-A-Pet offers financial assistance to companion animal owners
with individual income below $20,000, or family income below $40,000
IMOM offers two financial assistance programs. The first is Financial
Aid to Pet Owners with companion animals who require emergency veterinary care; the second is the LuvBug Fund, available to qualifying rescue organizations
United Animal Nations
has a LifeLine program which provides emergency veterinary care
grants when rescuers or caregivers cannot afford the cost of treatment;
LifeLine can also assist senior citizens and low-income families
pay for immediate emergency veterinary care
a full service veterinary practice, which provides veterinary
care for animals whose owners are in financial need
NY Save gives aid and assistance to low-income companion animal owners residing
in one of the five boroughs of New York City, whose companion animal is in need of emergency
Diabetic Pets Fund provides help to diabetic companion animals in
Breed Specific Financial Aid Resources:
CorgiAid Inc. provides assistance for corgis and
Doberman911 provides help for rescue and privately owned senior
and special needs Dobermans
Labrador-L Emergency Medical Assistance
provides assistances for rescued Labradors in need of medical assistance
Labrador LifeLine offers financial aid to owners of
rescued and privately owned Labradors (click
West Highland White Terrier Medical
Assistance provides assistance for West Highland terriers only (click on “apply for
Q: HOW CAN I FIND MY LOST COMPANION ANIMAL?
A: PetRescue.com offers an excellent guide called
How to Find A Lost Cat or
Dog. You can make a flyer for your lost companion animal,
using Best Friends Flyer
Maker, which you should distribute to all veterinarians,
shelters and rescue organizations in your area.
read the incredibly informative article "Lost
Pet Behavior" by Kathy Albrecht from the Summer 2005
issue ofPaws to Think Magazine for recovery tips that save
lives. Albrecht, a former police detective is the founding the
of the Missing Pet Partnership,
a national non-profit organization working to conduct research
into the behavioral patterns of lost pets.
You can post your missing companion animal on the Internet Lost and Found for a fee. Additionally,
you can post your missing companion animal on all the following
websites free of charge.
Missing Pet Network
Hugs for Homeless Animals
Q: HOW DO I REPORT NEGLECT OR ABUSE OF AN ANIMAL?
If you see instances of abuse or neglect, you should call both
the Animal Control divisions of your local police department as
well as the closest Humane Society in your area. Animal Control
or local humane societies are usually legally empowered to investigate
abuse or neglect. It will be helpful in any subsequent investigation
if you are able to document your complaint with photos or videotape
and a written chronology of events (be specific with the date,
time, place, and what you witnessed).
Q: WHAT IS A FERAL CAT?
A: Feral cats are domestic
cats that, through birth or circumstance, have reverted to the
wild, living outdoors in urban, suburban, and rural environments
with little or no human contact. Please read
About Stray and Feral Cats
and Do You Believe She Deserves
to Live ...Even Though She is Wild?
to learn more about feral cats and the compassionate solution that
Q: I HAVE FOUND A GROUP OF FERAL
OR STRAY CATS. WHERE CAN I TURN FOR ADVICE?
A: In addition to contacting a local rescue
organization, please visit AWFCT's feral cat resources page, or one of the following websites that offer great information about
Cat Allies is the national nonprofit clearinghouse for information
on feral and stray cats. As the foremost experts on feral cats,
Alley Cat Allies promotes nonlethal control for feral and stray
cats with trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs that effectively reduce
their population by sterilization - not euthanasia.
Neighborhood Cats is one
of the leaders in the TNR movement. Neighborhood Cats offers
workshops on how to manage a feral cat colony, a TNR mini-course,
and a TNR handbook and video.
New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance - Feral Cat Project is a great resource center for feral cat information.
San Francisco SPCA has a model feral cat program and offers a series of informative Feral
Cat Fact Sheets.
Q: I’VE FOUND AN ORPHANED BABY
KITTEN OR KITTENS? WHAT SHOULD I DO?
A: Stray mothers will leave their
young unattended while they search for food. Also mothers will
sometimes move a litter of kittens from one place to another.
If you have found unattended kittens, their mother may be in the
process of moving them. Try to assertain if there is a mother
present. If you have found truly orphaned kittens, please read
the Kitten Rescue Handbook, a guide for hand-raising orphaned
kittens, and contact your veterinarian or local rescue
organization for advice.
Q: HOW CAN I LOCATE A SHELTER OR RESCUE ORGANIZATION IN MY
A: A listing of shelters and rescue organizations can be found
online at Petfinder.com or WorldAnimalNet.
Q. HOW CAN I FIND A SHELTER COMPANION ANIMAL AVAILABLE FOR
A. To locate a shelter or rescue organization nearest
you, or to view animals available for adoption, please visit Petfinder.com,
911, PetBond, or Pet Ark.
Q: HOW CAN I FIND A SPECIFIC BREED OF DOG TO ADOPT?
A list of dog breed rescue groups is available from All Breed
Rescue New England or visit Petfinder.com. Also, please be aware
that 25% of dogs in shelters are purebreds, so contact all of
your local rescue organizations to find out if any of them have
the specific breed you wish to adopt.
Q: HOW CAN I FIND A NEW HOME FOR MY DOG OR CAT?
you need to find a new home for your companion animal, the most responsible
option is to place your companion animal yourself. A shelter is a very stressful
environment and is not the solution to the problem of companion animal overpopulation.
A shelter should be considered only as a last resort. The
grim reality is that Connecticut shelters take in hundreds of animals daily.
The main reasons
for owner relinquishment are problems that with some effort can
be resolved by the owner. Local shelters and rescue groups may
be able to recommend training classes, behaviorists, and animal-friendly
housing agents. Please see our listing of behavioral and animal friendly housing
resources below, as well as information on animal allergies and companion animals and babies.
If you are specifically looking to rehome your pit bull,
please visit Pit Bull Rescue Central.
If you still
feel you need to place your companion animal, first explore options with friends,
family members, and coworkers and see if anyone you know is looking
for a new companion animal. Best Friends Animal Society offers an excellent
guide called How
to Find Homes for Homeless Pets, as well as a program
Maker to help you create an adoption flyer for your companion animal.
If you have truly exhausted all of your resources, a
list of shelter and rescue organizations in your area can found
Q. WHERE CAN I GET HELP FOR MY COMPANION ANIMAL’S BEHAVIORAL
you companion animal has developed a behavioral issue you should
first contact your veterinarian to rule out a medical cause for
the problem. If there is no medical cause, your vet may be able
to offer you some behavioral advice. In addition, there are several
resources available for addressing your companion animal’s behavioral
The following websites offer in-depth behavior information
about cats and dogs:
Associates has a great library of behavior articles for cats and dogs.
Cats International offers a wealth of information on
Dumb Friends League of Denver has a comprehensive library of information
on dog behavior, cat behavior, and small animal behavior.
Tompkins County SPCA offers a great selection of articles
on dog care and behavior.
has a great website offering information on Training Your Dog and Problem Dogs.
To find a dog trainer in your area, please visit the
Association of Pet Dog Trainers
for a listing of positive reinforcement dog trainers in your area.
For information on specific cat behavior issues, such
as litter box issues, scratching, and aggression, please click
information about rabbit behavior, please visit the House
Free behavioral counseling services
are available by phone from the following organizations:
Cat’s International (Cats only): Call 262-375-8852
Dumb Friends League Behavior Helpline: Call 877-738-0217
Behavior Hotline: Call 415-554-3075 or email: email@example.com
Tree House Animal Foundation: Call 773-784-5488, ext. 228
University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine Behavior Clinic: Call 215-898-3347
behavioral counseling services are available by phone from:
Cornell University Feline Telephone Consultation Service:
of Veterinary Medicine PETFAX Program: 508-887-4640
Q. WHERE CAN I FIND GOOD COMPANION ANIMAL CARE INFORMATION
A. There are several reliable
sources of companion animal care information online. Please be aware that
none of these sources should be used as a substitute for veterinary
care in the event your companion animal becomes ill.
General companion animal care:
AVMA - Care for Pets
Friends Pet Care Library
Cornell Feline Health Center
National Animal Poison Control Center
Caring for special needs
Thinking of Adopting
a Feline Leukemia Cat?
Truth About Cats and FIV
a bad case of rumors
FIV Fact Sheet
Guide to Feline Diabetes
for a Diabetic Animal
With A Diabetic Pet
They Are Just Too Sweet - Living With Diabetes
Feline Chronic Renal Failure Information Center
With An Epileptic Pet
With A Disabled Pet
Senior Dog Project
Caring for small companion animals:
Association of Connecticut
House Rabbit Society
Q. WHAT IF SOMEONE IN MY FAMILY IS ALLERGIC TO OUR COMPANION
A. Too often people
with allergies are advised to give up their animals. The truth
is that most people with allergies can keep their animals and
their health by taking a few simple steps. When we consider how
many companion animals die in shelters each year, just for the lack of a home,
it’s obvious that we owe it to ourselves and our companion animals to try to
live with allergies.
information on animal allergies, please read the following:
Allergies & Cats:
What You Can Do
Allergies to Pets
there are several animal products available on the market designed
reduce animal dander. The following products are non-toxic and
safe to use on your companion animals. Many are available from your local
pet supply store, or online at Doctors Foster & Smith, or National
Allergy Supply, Inc.
Allerpet: This once-a-week non-toxic treatment
is available for cats or dogs. Spray Allerpet on your
animal’s coat and rub in to remove the dander and saliva that
contains the antigens that cause your allergic reactions.
Miracle Dander & Odor Eliminator: Spray your animal's coat with this
natural enzyme spray and rub it in to remove dander that causes
your allergic reactions. Non-aerosol pump spray is safe for both
cats and dogs.
Allergy Relief: Helps reduce the elements that cause human allergies to dogs
or cats. Rub into hair coat and wipe off with damp cloth. Helps
reduce dander that causes dog allergy and cat allergy reactions
in humans. Gentle enough for kittens over 12 weeks and for puppies.
Guard & Allergy Relief Wipes: Shed Guard Wipes contain proteins
and natural conditioners to help reduce nonessential shedding
without affecting the seasonal shedding process. Allergy Relief Wipes
contain proteins and moisturizers to clean away dead hair
and dander that trigger allergic reactions. Neither requires water
or rinsing, and both are gentle enough to be used on companion
animals 12 weeks and older.
Q. WE ARE EXPECTING A BABY, OR
HAVE A NEW BABY. CAN WE STILL KEEP OUR COMPANION ANIMAL?
A. Shelters still receive many calls
from mothers and mothers-to-be who have been convinced by well-meaning
relatives or old-school obstetricians and pediatricians that they
must give up their companion animals to ensure the safety and well-being of
their child. But that’s just not the case. Please learn the
fact about companion animals and babies, and how you can safeguard both. The
following articles offer a wealth of information and tips on babies
and companion animals:
Baby Makes Four: Preparing the Cat for a New Baby, by the ASPCA
and a New Baby,
by Best Friends Animal Society
Pets & Babies, by the Ottawa Humane Society
Your Pet and New Baby, by the Humane Society of the United States
Quick Tips for Introducing
Your Baby to the Family Pet, from Parenthood.com
Cats and toxoplasmosis in pregnant
the study “Sources of Toxoplasma Infection
In Pregnant Women: European Multicentre Case-Control Study” conducted on behalf of the European Research
Network on Congenital Toxoplasmosis (BMJ 2000;321:142-7)
researchers found that eating undercooked meat or cured meat was
the major risk factor in developing toxoplasmosis. “No significant
associations were detected between infection and presence of cats (whether kittens or adults), the diet and hunting habits of the
cats, or cleaning a cat’s litter tray.”
Q. HOW CAN I FIND AN ANIMAL-FRIENDLY LAWYER?
A. Contact the Animal Legal Defense Fund at 707-769-777 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit their website at www.aldf.org.
Additionally, if you have received legal notice regarding pets and housing, you may contact the Legal Department of the ASPCA. They can provide literature and attorney referrals at (212) 876-7700, ext. 4551.
Q. WHERE CAN I FIND HOMEOWNER'S INSURANCE FOR A FAMILY WITH PETS?
A. If you are a dog owner who has recently experienced a problem obtaining or renewing your homeowner's insurance due to breed bias or other reasons, please click here to see an article from the American Kennel Club. A list of recommended insurance companies is also available on the ASPCA's website. Click here for more information.
Q. HOW CAN I FIND ANIMAL-FRIENDLY APARTMENT LISTINGS OR RENTAL
A. The following websites allow you to search
for animal-friendly apartment listings:
www.petapartments.net (customized search by town)
www.apartments.com (searchable by cats, small dogs, all dogs)
www.peoplewithpets.com (34 metro areas, plus possible help in
tips for renters with companion animals:
The Humane Society of the United States offers and online resource
for rental managers and companion animal owners, called Renting
Doris Day Animal League provides an excellent explanation
of rights, responsibilities, and laws pertaining to renters with
companion animals entitled Best Friends for Life: Humane Housing
for Animals and People.
Q: WHO ARE MY U.S. AND STATE SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES?
WHAT ANIMAL LEGISLATION IS PENDING IN CONNECTICUT?
A: To find your U.S. and Connecticut Senators and Representatives, visit
learn about pending legislation or animal advocacy in Connecticut, please visit one of the following:
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals - Advocacy Center
Society of the United States - Legislation
Doris Day Animal League
Q: I FOUND A BABY BIRD, SQUIRREL, RACCOON, INJURED DUCK OR
OTHER WILDLIFE. WHAT SHOULD I DO AND WHO CAN I CALL?
A: Wild animals often leave their young unattended for several hours or more. Be
aware that animals thought to be orphans may not need your assistance.
Do not intervene unless you are certain that the animal is orphaned,
it is obviously injured or it is in immediate danger. If you suspect
that an animal is orphaned, watch from a distance for a minimum
of several hours and attempt to reunite the orphan with its mother.
If you think
an animal needs help, make sure to contact a licensed wildlife
rehabilitator. To find a wildlife rehabilitator near you, please
visit the Connecticut
Department of Environmental Protection website and
click on the appropriate species, or call them at 860-424-3333.
Fact-sheets for orphaned birds, small mammals, or fawns, are available from
both Wildlife Orphanage
and the Connecticut DEP.
You may also contact one of the following private wildlife rescue organizations:
Wildlife Orphanage 888-727-6774
Wildlife in Crisis 203- 544-9913
Wild Wings Wildlife Advisory Hotline:
Q: WHO SHOULD I CALL REGARDING “NUISANCE WILDLIFE”?
A. Please read Living with Wildlife,
by the Tompkins County SPCA. Also view their
library of articles on humane deterrents for a variety of wildlife, including
birds, mice, raccoons, skunks, and woodchucks. If you have an
issue with wildlife inside a building, please contact A Humane
Solution at 203-322-4704, or email: email@example.com