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Author: Shelter Staff (page 1 of 25)

Lets talk about your indoor cats

We posted previously on tips to keep your outdoor animals safe this winter, but what about our indoor cats!? Hopefully you have been enjoying our relatively warm winter so far, however it is evident that the temperature will start to drop soon, making it a perfect time to curl up with a good book, a warm blanket and an even warmer family pet! So here are some tips to help keep our feline friends safe, happy and healthy!


  1. Know the mantra of your cat! Hunt-Catch-Kill-Eat-Groom-Sleep! This is what cats want to do, in this order, every day (cat mantra courtesy of Jackson Galaxy). You can help your cat get in touch with their inner ocelot by setting up playtime at the right times of day. Engage your cat in vigorous play right before meal time, feeding them after they have had a chance to “kill” the toy they are hunting. This will inspire the cat to spend 30-60 minutes grooming after the meal followed by a nice long nap. If your cat is disruptive at night, timing this ritual before you go to bed can buy you a few extra hours of shut-eye.
  1. Add some cat-friendly furniture!  Invest in a good quality cat condo that you cat can scratch, climb and sit on. Cats LOVE to sit up high and survey their territory, so the taller, the better!
  1. “Cat up” your living space! Once you’ve chosen an awesome cat condo, don’t hide it away in the basement! Territory is VERY important for cats, so getting the most out of your cat tree usually involves sacrificing some prime real estate – like in front of a living room window. This gives your cat a chance to enjoy your company when you are around but also gives them access to cat TV (the great outdoors) when you are away. Hanging a bird feeder in the front yard can provide even more visual stimulation for cats.
  1. Toys! Having some good quality interactive toys as well as some foraging toys (like treat balls) that you can leave out for your cat to solve helps you cat from becoming bored easily. If your cat is easily bored an interactive feeding dish , such as a puzzle dish can be a great way to keep feline brains busy.
  1. Catnip!  But must be done responsibly! Not all cats like catnip, but if your cat does then catnip is a great way to occasionally spice up your cat’s life. Catnip can be a great way to encourage cats to play more and it can also be used to reinforce the use of specific items in a home (like a new cat tree!). Consider purchasing some catnip scented toys or rub a bit of catnip into the cat tree from time to time to keep things interesting. Some words of caution: Overusing catnip can cause your cat to become bored with it, and if your cat gets aggressive when given catnip you will want to ensure their catnip time is well-controlled.

We hope this helps you keep your indoor feline happy this winter! Do you have another suggestion? Is there something you would like to see featured on the blog in future? Let us know on our Facebook page!


Melissa Topham, RVT
Operations Manager
Swift Current SPCA
P.O. Box 1163 Stn Main Swift Current SK,S9H 3X3
Phone: (306)-773-1806 Fax : (306)- 773-2035
Website: www.spcaswiftcurrent.com


Brace yourselves…. Winter is Coming

Winter is coming….. actually it may already be here! Keeping ourselves safe and warm is extremely important as the weather turns colder, but what about keeping our pets safe and warm?

Just like us, our pets can suffer from the effects of the cold, they can become hypothermic, or get frostbite as well. Here are some tips to keep your outdoor and indoor pets safe an warm this winter.

  1. If your pet must stay outdoors ensure they have an available water source at all times. Well hydrated animals are less likely to be affected by the cold. Lots of pet stores offer heated water dishes to prevent freezing.
  2. Antifreeze poisoning is a very serious condition that happens frequently in the winter months. Animals love the taste of antifreeze, so ensure containers are kept closed and well out of reach of any type of critter.  If your vehicle leaks any antifreeze onto the snow wash away immediately with lots of water.
  3. Outdoor pets need a sheltered place that is well-bedded with DRY straw, shavings or blanket strips that trap warm air. Remember, animals drag a lot of moisture into their bedded areas from snow, rain and mud. Check their bedding often and change it whenever it is wet.
  4. Most cats prefer to be kept indoors during the winter months but if it is an absolute must that the cat has to be outside always check under the hood of your vehicle before starting as a popular spot for outdoor cats to try and stay warm is on the engine of your car.
  5. When taking your dog for a walk, wipe off dog’s legs, feet and stomach when they come in out of the snow or ice. They can ingest salt, antifreeze or other dangerous chemicals if they lick their paws. Be sure to inspect the pads of their feet for encrusted ice as they may crack from the cold. Many dogs need boots in cold weather
  6. Dogs with very short coots have the least tolerance for cold. These dogs should not go outside without a sweater or a coat. A good coat should reach from the neck to the base of the tail and also protect the belly. But remember that coats will not prevent frostbite on the ears, feet or tail … so even with a cozy coat, don’t keep your short haired dog out too long in freezing temperatures.
  7. If your dog feels the cold, try to walk him in the late morning or early afternoon hours when temperatures are a little warmer, and avoid early morning or late evening walks. Spend time playing outdoors while it’s sunny; sunshine brings the added benefit of providing both you and your pet with vitamin D!


Harsh winter weather brings a wide variety of concerns to responsible pet owners. Bitter cold, numbing wetness or biting winds can cause discomfort for that special animal in your life. Paying special attention to your loyal friend’s well-being during the winter season will ensure that you both enjoy the season to the fullest.And don’t forget that winter cuddles with your little buddy are a great way for everybody to keep warm!




Melissa Topham RVT

Operations Manager


Yep you read that right, backpacks! Not just any backpack, your child’s backpack to be specific. With the school year now in full swing, here is some  helpful information you and your kids need to know. Did you know many things found in your child’s backpack can be potentially very dangerous for your pets?  For pets, a school bag thrown on the floor can be absolutely irresistible to investigate. This is why the ASPCA(American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)  encourages pet owners to designate an out-of-reach area in your home where your pets can’t get to the bags. They suggest a wall hook your pets can’t reach, or a closet behind a closed door.

If unable to get the bag out of sight/reach here are some things to avoid,

  • Sugar-free gum containing the sweetener xylitol
  • Homemade slime
  • Over-the-counter and prescription medications
  • “leftovers” in the lunchbox, especially toxic, or dangerous foods for our pets including, Avocado, chocolate, caffeine, citrus items, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, dairy products (can cause gastro intestinal upset), garlic,and onions to name a few.

Follow these tips to help keep your pets safe and enjoy a safe and happy school year!



Melissa Topham RVT

Operations Manager Swift Current SPCA


Halloween and your Pets!

BOO! Halloween is here and while you may not think its too scary it can be a terrifying time for your pet! Here are some tips to make Halloween a less “hallowing” time for your pet!



  1. If your pet is wary of strangers or has a tendency to bite, put him or her in another room during trick-or-treating hours or provide him or her with a safe hiding place.
  2. Keep your pet inside
  3. Keep lit candles and jack-o-lanterns out of reach of pets
  4. If you plan to put a costume on your pet, make sure it fits properly and is comfortable, make sure it doesn’t have any pieces that can easily be chewed off, and doesn’t interfere with your pet’s sight, hearing, breathing,or movements. Take time to get your pet accustomed to the costume before Halloween, and never leave your pet unsupervised while he or she is wearing a costume
  5. Don’t feed your pets Halloween candy, especially if it contains chocolate or xylitol (a common sugar substitute found in sugar-free candies and gum
  6. And last but not least, make sure your pet is properly identified with a microchip, collar and ID tag (all of which we offer here at the shelter) in case he or she escapes through the open door while you’re distracted with trick-or-treaters.


Happy Halloween!!


Melissa Topham RVT

Operations Manager


Indoors… is it bad for your cat?

Quite the opposite actually!

While some cat owners will argue depriving a cat of outdoor freedom decreases its’ quality of life, the reality is vastly different. There are many dangers posed to cats that are allowed to wander at will. Cats can be hit by cars causing devastating  or fatal injuries, diseases and unwanted pregnancy are also concerns for the animal as well as falling victim to a predator results in the deaths of dozens of cats every year. Cats at large are also prime targets for cruelty, whether that be trapping and inappropriate disposal or they can become easy targets for those looking to abuse animals.


Aside from theses risks associated with letting you cat run at large, depriving a cat of adequate food, water or shelter is an offense under the Animal Protection Act and allowing a cat to run at large could be considered an offense under the City of Swift Currents bylaws.


In closing, Indoors…. not so bad after all.

Melissa Topham, RVT
Operations Manager
Swift Current SPCA
P.O. Box 1163 Stn Main Swift Current SK,S9H 3X3
Phone: (306)-773-1806 Fax : (306)- 773-2035
Website: www.spcaswiftcurrent.com

Road trips with Fido

This is the time of year when many pet owners hit the road — or sky or rails — for their summer holidays. It seems that when Fluffy and Rover don’t fit with summer plans, too often they end up in our shelter. We want to help owners find alternatives, whether it be bringing pets along safely or making alternate arrangements.

What to Bring

  • Medications: Before you leave, consult with your vet. Ensure your pet is in good physical health before you travel. Pick up refills of any medications your pet will need while you are away. Ensure all medications are clearly labeled and kept in their original packages.
  • Kennel or carrier: Some accommodations ask that you kennel your pet if you are going out and leaving him in the room. This request is sometimes made in order to ensure the safety of your pet while left alone in the room (if they allow pets to be left alone), and also to ensure that their property is not at risk of being destroyed. The kennel is also a safe way for your pet to travel.
  • Food and water bowls.
  • Food and water: Keeping your pet on the same diet that he’s accustomed to will help to prevent the dreaded diarrhea or vomiting.
  • Can opener: if your pet is fed canned food.
  • Stain remover/cleaning supplies… just in case! Please be courteous and clean up as much pet hair, etc. as you can. A good quality lint brush or pet hair roller is always useful!
  • Plastic bags or litter box/scoop so that you can clean up after your pet.
  • Grooming tools including a comb and/or brush, nail clippers, pet shampoo, and anything else your pet may need.
  • Extra towels for wiping those muddy paws and wet or dirty bodies!
  • Collar and leash(es): Consider bringing an extra leash just in case one of them breaks.
  • Comfortable bedding. Bring along whatever your pet is accustomed to, and what smells like “home.”
  • Document file: The document file should be kept in your glovebox and should contain:
    • Identification. Be sure to record the license numbers, tattoo numbers, and microchip numbers of your pets and bring this list with you. It’s important, too, that your contact information is up-to-date.
    • Recent photo. If your pet is lost while you are traveling, the photo will come in handy when describing him to others. Also jot down any unique identifying marks — be specific.
    • Microchip information. If your pet doesn’t have one we would be more than happy to do it here for you.
    • Vaccination records and other documents. If you are travelling to and from another country, such as the United States, be sure to check what types of vaccinations your pet will need. Bring an up-to-date record with you.
    • Any other pertinent certification papers.
  • First aid kit: You can purchase an animal first aid kit or assemble a pet first-aid kit yourself.
    • A pet first aid kit should contain:
    • Vet wrap
    • Gauze
    • Antiseptic wipes
    • Liquid band aid
    • Tick puller
    • Nail clippers
    • Scissors
    • Disposable gloves
    • Hydrogen Peroxide

Stay Safe! Remember…

  • Your pet should always be under your control
  • Always use restraint tools like seatbelts or travel crates
  • Don’t let rover stick his head out of the window; this could cause irritation of the eyes
  • Never leave your pets in an unattended car.


  • Come prepared! Be sure to ask hotels/campgrounds, etc. to ensure that they are pet-friendly, and to ensure that you bring all of the necessary paperwork and tools required. For example, some accommodations may require the Canadian Good Citizen Certification, while American hotels may require the Good Neighbor certification. They may also require vaccination records, and they may charge an extra fee. Hotels often require that pets be kept in crates as well; it depends on the hotel or camp ground. Take care to inform yourself on what is required of you as a pet owner.

When Fido can’t come:

Many pets are given up at vacation time because of a perceived inconvenience. Thousands of pets who were left with “pet sitters” are lost each year. A little forethought would have prevented these things from happening. Here are a few helpful hints about holidays and how to make them safe and enjoyable for your pet.

If You Leave Your Pet Behind

  • Take time to explain your pet’s routine to the sitter and include a list of written instructions of what to do if the pet is lost.
  • Whether you choose a pet-sitter or a kennel service, be sure to notify your veterinarian of your absence, and who is authorized to make medical decisions for your pet in the meantime. Also notify the caretaker of your pet that in the case that you cannot be reached, that they are authorized to approve up to a certain amount of money to be spent on emergency medical expenses, and that the veterinarian has been notified of the parties who are authorized to make decisions if medical intervention is required while you’re away.


  • Always leave a list of emergency phone numbers for the pet-sitter or kennel service, which includes your phone number, your pet’s veterinarian’s phone number, an emergency after-hours veterinary phone number, and the phone number of an emergency contact in the case that you cannot be reached.
  • Always leave medical, vaccination, and microchip documents with the pet-sitter or kennel service. Whether you choose to have your pet looked after by a pet-sitter, a drop-in neighbor, or a kennel, always leave information on how much money they are allowed to approve in case of emergency veterinary expenses. If you cannot be contacted, it is important that clear instructions are left for the party responsible for your pet while you are away.
  • Provide the contact info of your pet sitter, and who is authorized to make medical decisions in your absence.


Happy summer!!


Melissa Topham, RVT
Operations Manager
Swift Current SPCA

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