Monday, 23 November 2009

Flood victims illustrate crucial problem of strict landlords regarding pets.

The devastating floods in Cumbria have indirectly highlighted one of the problems that is putting strain on UK rescue centres; the strict ‘no pet’ policies held by some landlords of rentable properties.

Today (23.11.09), BBC Five Live discussed one of the problems faced by flood victims as many are struggling to find temporary accommodation that allows them to bring their family pets.

The Mayhew Animal Home in London is taking this opportunity once more to emphasise to all UK landlords the importance of reconsidering their strict ‘no pet’ policies on rented properties. High numbers of cats and dogs arrive annually at rescue homes across the country after owners have to move and are unable to find a landlord to accept their existing pets. Rescue centres are continually fit to bursting and with long waiting lists. Landlords would be helping a great deal to alleviate the crisis by considering tenants with pets.

In existence since 1886, The Mayhew is confident that any responsible pet owner to ensure that their cat or dog behaves well inside the home and animal staff from the Home are always happy to offer information to any pet owners who are looking for behavioural advice.

The Mayhew proposes that landlords ask pet owners for references from previous landlords and their vet in order to establish they are a responsible owner. They should also ask for all pets living in the property to be neutered, therefore eradicating any territorial marking of the property and unwanted litters of puppies or kittens. Landlords could potentially ask for an increased deposit to be placed as reassurance for while the animal is living at the address. All these measures would offer a huge amount of security for concerned landlords and would reduce the high numbers of dogs and cats needing to be re homed unnecessarily through rescue centres.

Mayhew CEO, Caroline Yates, said: “We hope that by raising the awareness about this issue while it is highlighted in the media, in regard to the flood victims, private landlords will take into consideration how a well-trained pet can present them no problems whatsoever. They will also be directly helping rescue centres like The Mayhew by reducing the numbers of animals arriving to be handed over.”

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Don't forget about pets on World Diabetes Day

This Saturday marks 2009's World Diabetes Day and this is a medical condition we recognise well at The Mayhew -not because staff have the condition but because of the numbers of cats that arrive with us; unwanted as soon as they are diagnosed with diabetes.

As many pet owners know, diet is a real contibutor to the disease and our vets are always keen to highlight to pet owners just how dangerous it can be to let your cat, or dog become overweight.

Sadly, we see arrivals to our Cattery who have diabetes and are no longer wanted since they have developed their conditions; their owners decided they no longer want to take responsibility for caring for their health. This is naturally a very sad situation, but as The Mayhew is committed to giving every animal a chance we will happily take in and care for diabetic cats.

The condition can be easily managed, often with diet and sometimes with medication and we have adopted out many diabetic cats, one of whom went to a diabetic owner earlier this year.

We would dearly love to find a home for Angel, one of our diabetic cats, who has been with us for a while. She is a wonderful feline, who needs injections for her condition, which she accepts very well. She is a loving, affectionate and gentle cat who deserves a forever home.

Here is a bit of information about caring for diabetic cats, which we hope will make people feel less overwhelmed if their pet develops the condition, or perhaps for potential adopters who could home a diabetic cat :

Caring for Diabetic Cats

An owner of a cat with diabetes must be prepared to make an individual commitment in order to keep the animal as healthy as possible.

Cats determined to have diabetes are generally monitored in a pet hospital and once a treatment is found to be effective, it mainly involves prescription medications, diet and check up visits to the vet.

Insulin injections are commonly prescribed for diabetic cats.

Most cats under veterinary care are prescribed two injections a day, but some only require one. Many cat owners find the process to be painless for their cat, and much easier than anticipated.

Feline diabetes is also controlled through a well-monitored diet. A feline diabetes diet is generally high in fiber and low in sugar.

The veterinarian will also recommend the amount of food to best meet the health care requirements and needs of the cat.

Diabetic cats can live long and contented lives provided their diabetes is properly treated and controlled.

Owners of cats with diabetes must be prepared to make a commitment to their cats to keep them as healthy as possible.

Veterinarians generally recommend feeding a cat with diabetes a measured amount of food at regular intervals. Feedings are usually twice a day and should be provided before injections are administered. Although feeding a cat at predetermined times can be challenging, cats once provided food on demand can become accustomed to eating at specified times.

A cat with diabetes should be weighed on a regular basis, and the appetite needs to be monitored for changes. A baby scale works very well for weighing a cat. Detailed notes should be taken so the appetite and weight can be monitored and made available to the veterinarian if necessary.

Monitoring Diabetic Cats

Monitoring a cat with diabetes also requires measuring the input and output of water. Water should be measured (refilling water bowl from a measuring cup and output can be determined by using litter that clumps when wet.

Urine must also be checked for sugar content as often as recommended by the veterinarian. This can be accomplished by using pea gravel, fish tank gravel, or foam peanuts or a cat litter that does not absorb any urine (called Katcor and is available from our vets at the Mayhew) instead of cat litter just long enough to obtain the sample. Glucose test strips are available where health care products are sold. These are the same test strips used by people monitoring their diabetes.

A diabetic cat will impact certain parts of your life. Arrangements will have to be made for any time you spend away from your home, you will need a responsible person to take over the care of your cat while you are away. Some veterinarians offer boarding facilities or in the home care and with these services you can be assured of your diabetic cat’s treatment. A responsible adult friend or neighbour may be able to do this for you but would, of course, have to follow your complete instructions.

Caring for a cat with diabetes sounds overwhelming and time consuming, but it isn't as difficult as it seems once the right medication and diet is prescribed and enforced. The owners of diabetic cats can provide their pets treatment that will allow those felines to live a long and healthy life full of love and dedication.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Pet advertising regulations

The day after my last blog about Dog Control legislation, a terrrible news story was featured across the media about a poor boy in Portsmouth who had been attacked by a dog reported as a Staffordshire Bull terrier cross breed. The owner in control of the dog, was only 11 years old and by all accounts unable to hold or control the animal. This is such a sad tale for all involved and just reinforces the need for a change in Dog Control legislation, which I outlined in my prior blog -championing a specific focus on regulating pet advertising and sales.

Puppies and dogs (amongst other animals) are bought and sold through internet advertising at a rapid rate. It is just too easy these days for people to purchase a pet, without any real thought as to whether they can care for them or meet their needs. It is also far to easy for 'backbedroom' breeders to sell on puppies without any idea of whether the owner will look after them responsibly and not misuse them in any way.

The Mayhew is part of the Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG) made up of animal welfare organisations, media publishing companies and the Metropolitan Police, working to promote responsible pet advertising. More needs to be done at a government level to stop the traffic of pets being passed around and the consequences for both person and animal.

On Thursday this week, BBC2's Wonderland will be screening a programme, Seven pups for Seven people following a litter of Staffordshire Bull Terrier pups and the homes they will end up going to. It will be interesting to see how the owner of these puppies approaches finding responsible new homes for each one........

Seven puppies are born to a first-time mother called Uggs in a cramped front room in East London. These aren't just cute and cuddly puppies - they are Staffordshire bull terrier crosses, the dogs the tabloids sometimes call 'devil dogs'. They are both one of the most sought-after breeds in the country, and perversely the most frequently abandoned. One in three of Battersea Dogs Home's total intake is a Staffie cross.

This film follows the fate of Uggs' puppies as her owner tries to find new homes for them at 300 pounds a pup. It isn't long before boon turns to burden, however, as Uggs' owner realises the puppies are costing her more in food and care than she can ever make from the sales.

Introducing Uggs' owner and the new Staffie pup owners, this film uncovers the lives of the people from a marginalised section of society, who may mistrust other humans, but have a genuine love of the Staffordshire bull terrier.