BC SPCA Cat Wellness Program - Bring a ray of sunshine to a cat today - British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

 
BC SPCA Cat Wellness Program - Bring a ray of sunshine to a cat today - British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
British Columbia Society for the
    Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

     BC SPCA
Cat Wellness Program
Bring a ray of sunshine to a cat today

                                          Copyright BC SPCA 2006

                         BC SPCA Cat Wellness Program
BC SPCA Cat Wellness Program - Bring a ray of sunshine to a cat today - British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Table of Contents

Introduction
   The Cat Wellness Program .................................................................................1
   Goals of the Cat Wellness Program ....................................................................1
   What is Cat Wellness? ........................................................................................1

Section 1 - Helping around the shelter
  How to transport a cat to the cat room ................................................................2
  How to set up a cage ...........................................................................................2
  How to clean a cage ............................................................................................3
  How to feed in a single cage ...............................................................................3
  How to trim a cat’s claws....................................................................................3
  How to handle a cat                                                                                             4
  How to feed and clean in the communal.............................................................5
  How to introduce a new cat to the communal.....................................................5

Section 2 – Having fun with the cats
  Having fun with play & exercise ........................................................................6
  Stimulating the kitty brain with problem solving games ....................................7
  Providing affection with petting & grooming.....................................................9

Section 3 - Providing relief for emotional distress
  Equipment ...........................................................................................................8
  Reducing anxiety ................................................................................................9
  Reducing fear ......................................................................................................11
  Reducing frustration............................................................................................11
  Reducing depression ...........................................................................................12

Section 4- Reporting an incident
  What is an incident?............................................................................................10
  How to report an incident ...................................................................................10
  Incident Report form...........................................................................................11

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BC SPCA Cat Wellness Program - Bring a ray of sunshine to a cat today - British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
The Cat Wellness Program

The Cat Wellness Program is one of four cat volunteer programs at the BC SPCA. Volunteer programs are a
very important aspect of CatSense - an evidence-based system for the management of cats in shelters. This
means we have used the latest scientific knowledge about cats and the human-cat bond to develop the best
possible tools and practices for our cats. In addition, we continue to evaluate and refine our tools.

To become a cat wellness volunteer, you must attend a BC SPCA Volunteer Orientation followed by a CatSense
volunteer workshop and / or buddy training session.

CatSense Volunteer Programs
       The Cat Wellness Program
       The Cat Match Program
       The CatSense Public Education Series
       The Cat Fostering Program

Goals of the Cat Wellness Program
       To ensure low stress care
       To relieve emotional distress
       To provide enrichment needed for good welfare

By the end of this workshop you will be able to
        Provide low stress animal care
        Recognize emotional distress in cats
        Apply appropriate treatment(s) to reduce emotional distress
        Provide appropriate exercise, mental stimulation, play and affection to all cat

 What Is Wellness?
 Wellness is synonymous with good welfare and well being - A state of optimal physical,
 behavioural & emotional health, not merely the absence of disease & stress.

 To Have Good Welfare, A Cat Must Have At Minimum:

    1. Freedom from hunger, thirst & malnutrition by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full
       health and vigour.
    2. Freedom from pain, injury & disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
    3. Freedom from discomfort by providing a suitable environment.
    4. Freedom from emotional distress by ensuring conditions that reduce mental suffering.
    5. Freedom to engage in behaviours that promote well-being by providing sufficient opportunity to
        engage in behaviours that fulfil the cat’s natural drives, emotional and social needs.

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BC SPCA Cat Wellness Program - Bring a ray of sunshine to a cat today - British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
The Cat Wellness Program focuses mainly on freedoms 4 and 5

Freedom 4 is important because emotional distress:

      Is suffering
      Fosters behaviour not conducive to adoption
      Causes cats to take longer to adapt to the shelter
      Weakens their immune system
      Makes cats difficult to handle
      Contributes to higher animal care cost

Freedom 5 is important because:
      Wellness (good welfare) is more than not being sick or emotionally distressed; it is also being able to do the
      activities that promote contentment (such as exercise, play, mental stimulation and positive interaction
      with people and other cats).

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BC SPCA Cat Wellness Program - Bring a ray of sunshine to a cat today - British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Section 1 - Helping around the shelter
    1. Transporting from reception to cat room
    2. Setting up a cage
    3. Cleaning a cage (single size)
    4. Feeding cats
    5. Handling cats
    6. Organizing the communal
    7. Introducing a new cat to the communal cat room.

How to transport a cat to the cat room
You may be asked to transport a cat from reception to the cat room. The cat will be in an open wire cage.

It is the volunteer’s responsibility to ensure that the trip to the cat room does not cause undue stress.

        Always cover a cat’s cage with a towel.
        Do not swing the cage from side to side.
        Stay as far as you can from the dog kennels.
        Do not stop along the way.
        Once in the cat room, open the wire cage and pick her up
        (see handling section).
        Place her directly in the hiding area (in the box).
        Spend a few minutes talking to the cat using a gentle high-
        pitched voice to provide reassurance.

How to set up a cage
Quality of space is very important to cats. At the BC SPCA, each cat gets a Hide Perch & Go box. This helps
separate feeding, sleeping and elimination areas. It provides the cat with a place to hide and perch and
opportunity for rubbing to saturate the cage with their own scent.

        Box goes along the left side of the cage (slightly to the front)
        Food (for dry kibble) & water bowls are fastened to the door
        at the height of the perch
        Litter box goes length wise against the back wall (all the way
        back). Should not block opening of box
        Soft bedding should be inside and on top of box
        Do not block openings of box with “stuff” or bowls
        Provide a toy

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BC SPCA Cat Wellness Program - Bring a ray of sunshine to a cat today - British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
How to clean a cage
Not all shelters use the same cleaning products (check with staff on how to use the shelter’s product).

        Observe the cat for a few seconds, talk to the before opening a
        cage.
        If the cat is very fearful ask for assistance from staff.
        Remove the litter box, food and water bowls.
        Wipe the cage with a small cloth dipped in water and product.
        The cloth should be well wrung (don’t wet the box or leave the
        cage moist.) Use a new cloth for each cage.
        Change the bedding only if soiled.
        Put a clean litter box back in the cage.

How to feed in a single cage
Cats can be fussy eaters. In addition, stressed cats may lose their appetite and frustrated cats may overeat.
Some cats are stimulated to eat when you pet them. Others will not eat in front of people. You can check a cat’s
intake information to find out more about her eating habits.

        Once the cages are clean – you can feed the cats. Spend a
        few seconds (minutes, if you have time) with each cat during
        feeding. Talk to, and pet the cat. Petting stimulates eating in
        well-socialised cats.
        Bowl with dry food and water bowl go in the rings fastened
        to the door.
        A small dish with wet food goes at the front of the cage.
        Never mix wet and dry food.
        Feed age appropriate food. Even in shelters dependent on
        donations, there is always a choice of kitten, adult or senior
        food.

How to clip cat claws
It is very important to clip cat’s claws regularly. Shelter cats do not have much opportunity for getting rid of the
old top sheaf of claws. Their claws get caught on bedding and people’s clothing during handling (cats and
people don’t like that.) Cornell Feline Health Center is a good site to view short video clips on trimming
claws. http://www.vet.cornell.edu/FHC/

   Notice the pink tissue (the quick) on the inside of the claw.
   Avoid the quick when you trim the claw; cutting into it will
   cause pain and bleeding Remove the sharp tip below the
   quick (away from the toe), clipping about halfway between
   the end of the quick and the tip of claw

        Cats usually have five nails on each front foot and four on the rear, although they can be born with extra
        toes. The nails on extra toes tend to become ingrown and should be trimmed more frequently.
        This may a job for two people. Ask for assistance from another volunteer if necessary
        You may not be able to do all claws in one session.
        Have everything ready before you start (clippers, chair, lots of light). Cats don't like restraint, especially
        for long periods.

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BC SPCA Cat Wellness Program - Bring a ray of sunshine to a cat today - British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
1. Place your cat in your lap, and gently hold one of his paws.
    2. Unsheath your cat's retractable nails by placing your index finger underneath one toe and your thumb
       over the top of the same toe. Squeeze your fingers together gently. As you do this, you'll see the toenail
       protrude; it will remain extended until you release your hold.
    3. Trim each nail just beyond the point where it starts to curve downward, using pet nail trimmers
       specifically designed for cats or a small human nail cutter (keep it horizontal so you don’t cut the pad)
    4. Start gradually, clipping a few nails in one sitting, using positive reinforcement such as petting or treats
       as you clip.
    5. If bleeding occurs, apply pressure to the tip of the nail using styptic powder or a substitute such as baby
       powder or cotton balls. Notify staff immediately.
    6. Work up to trimming the nails on all four paws in one sitting

How to handle a cat
You may need to pick up a cat for a variety of reasons. To transfer her from the transport cage to her cage, to put
her in the Hide Perch & Go box (to go home), to move her to a different cage, to place her on you lap for a
petting session.
Take a few seconds to observe and talk to a cat before opening a cage and handling. Do not handle very fearful
cats showing defensive aggression (ears flatten, pupils dilate, cat backs away & flattens his body, hissing,
spitting or striking out). Ask staff for assistance.

If you are taking a cat out for a supervised play session, it is better to let the cat jump out (if the room is secure).
Do not force a cat out of her box for an interaction. You can socialise while the cat remains in the cage.

    1. Talk to the cat in a gentle but high pitched tone
    2. If and when giving eye contact, keep eyes semi closed (difficult to get used to but can be done). This
       will help the cat relax.
    3. Let her smell your hand. Pet under the chin and encourage her to come to the front of the cage (take
       your time).
    4. Place one arm over the cat and scoop her up. Place her under your arm, close to your chest.
    5. Place your thumb under the arm pit or squeeze legs together or wrap both legs in your hand
    6. Do not use tight restraint.

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BC SPCA Cat Wellness Program - Bring a ray of sunshine to a cat today - British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
In the communal
      Most BC SPCA shelters have communal pens. While this is a good way of housing cats, it can also be a source
      of stress if cats have to compete for resources (food, litter boxes, shelves, access to windows) or do not feel safe
      when accessing them. To increase the safety of each cat and decrease competition for resources you need to
      ensure that:

               there are as many single size perching areas as there are cats (should be 1-3 m apart)
               - A cat should not have to jump over or walk by another cat to get to a resource (shelf, food, litter
                   box, window)
               There are perching areas in corners where less confident cats can rest without the risk of a cat
               approaching them from behind
               Food and water bowls are placed in such a way that a cat can have a view of the room while eating.
               - bowls should not be under a shelf so a cat on the can jump on one eating below
               The litter boxes are placed against a wall (so a cat cannot be approached from behind while in the box)
               Boxes are not be covered (so a cat cannot be trapped by another while in the box)
               There is lots of free floor space, a scratch post and some toys.
               There are no cats being aggressive to other cats.
               - If you notice a cat scratching, attacking or intimidating another in any way, report this to the staff.

      ** The best way to figure out if the communal feels safe to a cat is to look at it from the cat’s perspective. Get
      on your hands and knees and ask yourself these questions. Can I see the whole room while I’m eating? Can a
      cat jump on me when I’m eating? Can I get to the window without stepping over or crossing paths with another
      cat? Can I be approached from behind when I’m in the litter box? Do I have my own little space where I can
      rest without other cats jumping on me?

      How to introduce a new cat to the communal
      Staff may ask you to move a cat to a communal cage. A new cat changes the dynamic between all cats and can
      be a source of social stress. Ideally, there should be introduction cages in the communal. The new cat would
      spend two days in the single cage and come out when relaxed. Many of our communal cages do not have
      introduction cages. In that case, please follow these instructions:

    1. Take the Hide Perch & Go box out of the cat’s cage and put it in the communal
       (in a corner against a wall). Let other cats sniff it.
    2. Rub a cloth on the face of the friendliest cat in the communal and rub it on the
       face of the incoming cat
    3. Rub a cloth on the face of the incoming cat and rub it on the face of all cats in
       the communal
    4. Put the cat in transport wire cage (her bedding at the bottom) and cover it (leave
       front uncovered)
    5. Enter the communal and sit with the cage next to you (next to the cat’s Hide
       Perch & Go box)
    6. Watch all cats carefully for hissing, spitting, growling, lunging
    7. Once all cats seem relaxed, uncover the cage
    8. Let cats approach and sniff. Terminate if the incoming cat shows stress or
       aggression (flattened body, ears back, pupils dilated, hissing, spitting, swatting)
    9. Once all cats seem relaxed with the towel off, take the cat out and place her in
       the hiding area of her Hide Perch Go box (do not block openings with a wall or
       litter box). Remain in the communal for 10 to 15 minutes to monitor

**It is normal to expect a little bit of hissing but swatting attacks, bites should, not be
permitted. Cats that intimidate other cats must be reported to staff and removed from
the communal ASAP.
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BC SPCA Cat Wellness Program - Bring a ray of sunshine to a cat today - British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Section 2 – Having fun with the cats

Playing, exploring, running around, using a scratching post, and spending quality time with a human are
all essential activities for cats. Shelter cats spend weeks, sometimes months, in a cage. They have little
control over their environment, and little opportunity for play, exercise, mental stimulation or affection. Many
become bored or frustrated and over time may become depressed. All this contributes to aggressive behaviour,
illness and mental suffering. The Cat Wellness Program helps cats cope with the shelter environment by
meeting their physical, mental and social needs.

In this section, you will learn how to provide cats with appropriate exercise, mental
stimulation, play and positive physical contact.

Have fun with play & exercise
Playing is a very important activity for kittens and adult cats. It enables them
to engage in natural behaviours that resemble hunting (stalking, pouncing,
and chasing). It provides them with exercise to keep them fit while at the
shelter. It helps shy cats gain confidence and helps more confident cats
release negative energy or aggression. Play is very important to help cats
stay bonded to humans. Cats that have the opportunity to play while at the
shelter are friendlier and more relaxed in their cages. Friendly and relaxed
behaviour makes cats more likely to be adopted quickly.

Appropriate toys
Cats will play with just about anything that moves. As most of our toys are donated, every shelter will have
different toys. Here are some suggestions for toys:

        Round plastic shower curtain rings                        Anything tied to a string that you can wiggle
        Plastic balls with bells inside                           and get the cat to chase
        Ping pong balls                                           Laser pointer (read instructions, can be
        Paper bags (remove handles)                               dangerous
        Toilet paper rolls (without paper)                        Puzzle box

Play rules
        Never play with a cat using your hands, feet or clothing. This teaches cats to pounce on people and
        scratch or bite. Hand play can lead to play aggression.
        Use toys that are safe (no small string they could eat, nothing to get wrapped in)
        Cats play better in dim lights (they are crepuscular hunters). When possible dim the lights during the
        play session.
        Make the toy act like prey - a mouse or a bird. Pretend that the toy is running away. Make it hide, duck
        and freeze. Vary the speed and direction of the toy. Let the cat set the pace.
        Don't make it too easy but let the cat catch the toy (prey) every once in a while.
        Once the play session is over, give the cat a few minutes to settle down before returning her to the cage
        or she may get frustrated. At that point, you should be able to pet her (short strokes only). Give her
        treats if she remains calm during petting.
        Once back in the cage give her some toys and a Kitty Kong with food treats in it.

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BC SPCA Cat Wellness Program - Bring a ray of sunshine to a cat today - British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Cat agility (so much fun for you too!)
A great way to provide exercise is to get the cat doing Kitty Agility. You can set up an agility course with
things around the shelter. For real cat agility course, typical obstacles include:
        Ramps                                                            Hoop or Tire Jumps
        Platforms                                                        Weave Poles
        Open Tunnels                                                     Tables for Distance Leaps
        Bar Jumps

        Get the cat to chase a (fake) feather lure on the end of a stick to
        go over, under and through obstacles (Most cats catch on very
        quickly. Jumping over obstacles is a natural thing for them to do
        when chasing their "prey").
        If you have experience with clicker you can combine agility with
        clicker training (double the fun!)
    For more information on cat agility (and a short video clip, visit
    http://www.catagility.com/

Stimulate the kitty brain with problem solving games
Solving problems, learning new things, exploring, working for their treats are all great ways to stimulate the
brain. Be creative!
        Take an empty litter box; fill it with stuff from outside (leaves, sticks, rocks, earth). Hide treats inside.
        Give a clean yogurt cup taped closed with a treat inside. Make a hole in the container big enough for
        the cat to stick his paws in and retrieve the treat).

Clicker training and is great for mental
stimulation. AND yes, you can train a cat to do all
sorts of things (shake a paw, roll over, jump. back
up, give a kiss, high five, etc)
Clicker is great mental stimulation because the cat
has to think (what can I do to make this thing click
and get my treat)

Getting started:
    1. The first step is to condition the cat to the clicker. This means that he understands that a treat (or
       availability to a few seconds with a favourite toy hidden behind your back) always follows the click
       sound.
    2. Prepare 10 to 20 small treats. Hold out a pencil or chopstick near the cat’s face as a “target.” Click
       when the nose touches the stick. Drop the treat so the cat has to go pick it up (not too far). Repeat 10 to
       20 times. Now you can start teaching the cat something.
    3. Basically, you wait for the cat to do something (capture method.) For example, he moves his front paw.
       Click and treat. Repeat until you can do you want. He will wilfully lift hi paw a ‘high” with the cat.
Demonstration will be provided during the workshop.
For more information on clicker training cats visit http://www.clickertraining.com

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Providing affection with petting & grooming
Petting is very important for cats. It enables them to deposit their scent on a human (or cat) friend to create and
maintain social bonds. Cats also rub objects they consider part of their home range.
Cats have many receptors on their skin and specialized hair on various parts of their bodies that are extremely
sensitive to touch, heat, cold, change in air flow and pressure.
Most cats prefer petting on the cheeks, temples, and between the ears and
eyes, chin, lips, back and chest. Many cats do not like touch on near the
tail, tummy and back legs. Some cats are fussy about the order in which
they are touched (start with the head), the time of day or activity.
For example, cats that do not like petting will have more tolerance for it
during feeding rather than during resting. More importantly, how long a
cat can be petted before she gets over stimulated varies from cat to cat.
For some, it may be only seconds. When a cat gets stimulated, he will have
a reaction similar to that when experiencing pain (almost like a reflex). He
will suddenly turn and bite or scratch whatever is causing the irritation
such as your hand or the brush.

Petting or grooming shelter cats
        It is important (particularly with shelter cats) to let the cat
        control the petting session.
        Let the cat sniff your hand and rub on it himself.
        Keep your hand close to the cat can direct the petting
        If using a brush, use a soft brush or zoom groom

It is better to use:
        short strokes (resembles the motion made by mother cats
        when grooming their kittens.)
        scratching in favourite areas (chin, between ears, lips) instead of petting the whole body.
        the stop /start technique (giving her a break every few seconds)

Observe the cat for signs that she is becoming over stimulated. Stop petting immediately if cats:

        Ears flatten (and sometime flicker)
        Tail start swishing
        Gives a low growl
        Skin ripples
        Body stiffen

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Section 3 - Providing relief for emotional distress
The shelter is a very stressful place where cats have little control over their environment. Many are grieving the
lost of their guardian, their home and their routine. They may be anxious, frightened, frustrated or depressed.
The way a cat feels can change from day to day depending on shelter activities, how long they have been at the
shelter, the weather, how much attention they have received, etc. Cats are also affected by your emotions, your
facial expressions, the sound of your voice, your scent and the way you interact with them. If you are nervous,
impatient or agitated when interacting with a cat, this will cause or increase emotional distress. When
interacting with cats, you should always be calm, gentle, and confident.

In this section you will learn how to relieve anxiety, fear, frustration and depression with
specific welfare therapies.
In BC SPCA shelters the welfare of cats is assessed daily by a trained Cat Assessor. The Cat Assessor puts a
coloured dot or a laminated coloured card on the cat’s kennel card to communicate with you about how the cat is
feeling that day and what treatment she needs.

                A yellow dot indicates that the cat needs treatment for anxiety
                A red dot indicates that the cat needs treatment for fear
                An orange dot indicates that the cat needs treatment for frustration
                A blue dot indicates that the cat needs treatment for depression

Equipment
Every shelter has a cat wellness kit to be used by trained volunteers to reduce anxiety, fear, frustration and
depression. The kit may vary somewhat from shelter to shelter. The main thing to remember is that the
equipment you use must be right for the cat. The list of items below will give you an indication of what
equipment to use with each cat (based on the cat’s needs). The kit is to be used for treatment of emotional
distress or enrichment session. Be sure to put all items back in the volunteer room so it is available for other
volunteers.

 For            Product       Instructions
 Anxiety/       Feliway       One spray on a small cloth. Wait a few minutes (until you can no longer smell the alcohol).
 Fear           Spray         Place between the bars. This will last 24 hours.
 Anxiety /      Lavender      One drop on a small cloth. Place between the bars. This will last 24 hours
 Fear
 Frustration
 Depression     Peppermint    One drop on a small cloth. Place between the bars. This will last 24 hours
 All            Cat CD        Place CD player near the cage for the duration of your shift.
 Depression     Zoom          Hold it up to the cat’s cheeks and let her rub on it. Once she seems to enjoy it, stroke her
                groom         head, chest and back (but not her tummy).
 Frustration    Puzzle box    Place the puzzle box on the floor. Encourage the cat to play with it by moving the little
                              balls inside it.
 Frustration    Variety of    Fish pole type toys. Batting and rolling toys. (See play section)
                toys
 Frustration    Laser         Use with great caution. The laser can damage the sensitive retina of cats and cause
                pointer       blindness. Never shine the light in the cat’s eyes (or other cats). Point to the ground (not
                              walls). Get the cat to chase the light. Short sessions.
 Frustration    Kitty kong    Stuff the Kong with yummy treats mixed with wet food. Put it in the cage once you return
                              the cat from a play session.
 Frustration    Scratch       You can use any scratch post available at the shelter. Keep one in the volunteer room to
                post:         take out for therapy. Wiggle a toy on the scratch post to get the cat to use it.
 Depression/    Special       Cans of mackerel, sardines, tuna, chicken, turkey and yummy treats.
 Fear           treats

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How to Reduce Anxiety (Yellow dot) and Fear (Red Dot)

   Equipment
   Feliway Spray
   Lavender essential oil
   Cat CD

Scheduled visits (with contact) for anxious cats:
Cats are anxious when they are not feeling safe. The following treatment helps cats change their negative
perception of the shelter and the people that care for them.

                Prepare a cloth with Feliway for each anxious and fearful cat you will be working with during
                your shift. Place between bars (to the right) before your first visit.
                Place the CD near the cage on a chair and play.
                Approach the cage; speak to the cat in a soft and high-pitched voice
                Keep eyes soft and semi closed. If you watch your face in the mirror when saying “hi kitty,
                kitty,” you will notice that your eyes open wide. You must control that response and be sure to
                keep your eyes semi closed when talking to an anxious cat. Eyes open wide and direct stares
                makes them feel threatened.
                Open the cage slowly and quietly. If the cat does not show aggression, extend your hand near
                her nose and wait a few seconds. If she comes forward, pet under the chin only.
                Do this for only a few seconds and leave.
                Return to the cat’s cage a couple of minutes later and repeat. It is very important to have
                frequent (every few minutes) but very short sessions.
                You will find that the cat becomes more confident at each visit. When she shows a desire to be
                petted, stay a little longer. Talk to her, and pet her.
                By the end of your shift, she may actually come out of the box to interact with you (that’s the
                goal).
                Never force a cat to come out of her box. Always let her decide how much petting is OK.
                At the end of your shift, put one drop of lavender oil on a small cloth and place between bars
                (next to the Feliway cloth)

** You can be working with several cats at the same time. However, be sure to wash your hands between visits.

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Scheduled visit (no contact) for fearful cats

 Equipment
 Feliway spray
 Lavender oil
 Yummy treats

      Use the same technique (and equipment) as above, but do not open the cage. Do not touch the cat.
      Go to his cage and talk to him. (Be sure to keep eyes soft.)
      Leave a piece of yummy, smelly food and leave. Repeat.
      The cat should associate your approach with something positive.
      If the cat shows a reduction in fear response you can stay a little longer in front of the cage and talk to the cat.
How to Reduce frustration (orange dot)

   Equipment
   Lavender oil
   Toys
   Laser pointer
   Puzzle box
   Scratch post
   Kong

Frustration may cause a cat to be moody (aggressive one minute, friendly the next) or to self mutilate (chew at
himself, pull out hair, bite the end of his tail).

Caution: Do not handle the frustrated cat. Do not pick him up. Do not pet for more than a few seconds.
Petting, cuddling and brushing is not appropriate for these cats. They may bite or scratch with little warning.
No hand play allowed!

Supervised playtime out of the cage:
The most important thing you can do to reduce frustration is to provide interactive play.
Make sure the doors are closed and the room is secure
          Approach the cage, and show the cat a toy (fish pole type toy)
          Open the cage and let him jump out
          Have a play session using a variety of toys and the laser (See play section for instructions)
          Once the cat has done a bit of running around, encourage him to use the scratch post by wiggling the
          toy up and down the pole
          As you are getting close to the end, encourage him to play alone with the puzzle box
          The cat can return to his cage once he seems more relaxed and can be petted without getting over-
          excited.
          Once the cat is back in his cage, put a Feliway cloth and a lavender cloth between the bars. Give him
          a stuffed Kitty Kong and a couple of new toys. Cage toys have to be rotated every day.
      **Do not let the cat approach the bottom row cages (distract him with a toy). This may stress out the
      caged cats.
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How to reduce depression (blue dot)

    Equipment
    Peppermint oil
    Special food
    Zoom groom
    Chair
    Towel

 When left untreated, chronic frustration can lead to depression. Depression is the most difficult emotional state
 to treat in the shelter environment. Depressed cats usually have priority for fostering and must be promoted as
 Pet of the Week to get them out of the shelter more quickly. Contrary to frustrated cats, depressed cats need lots
 of handling, petting and brushing to stimulate them.

  Treatment - Physical contact and feeding
        Place the chair and towel (with one drop of peppermint on it near the cage)
        Approach the cage and talk to the cat (she will probably ignore you)
        Open the cage, let the cat smell your hand and pet her chin
        Pick her up (see handling instructions)
        Place the cat on your lap (on the peppermint towel)
        Start with petting for a few minutes, then brush (with zoom groom) or use TTouch massage (if
        you know how)
        Every few minutes, give her a piece of food. You may need to put a little bit on her lips. Once
        she has a taste she may want more.
        Pay attention to her body language. If she begins to get annoyed (swishing her tail, flattening her
        ears, growling), stop petting. just let her stay on your lap and start again when she relaxes.
        Once you are done, place the peppermint towel in the cage and put the cat back.

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Section 4- Reporting an incident

Cat Wellness Protocol
Cat Wellness Protocols may differ slightly from shelter to shelter because the facilities, hours of operation
and the way in which staff communicate with volunteers about the cats may be different. The cat
wellness coordinator or Branch Manager in your shelter will be providing you with a Cat Wellness
protocol handout.

What will be similar from shelter to shelter is that when you walk into the cat room, you should see
coloured dots or laminated cards on the cat’s cages).

You will apply the treatment prescribed based on emotional state of the cat. You will then take the dot or
card away and place it in an agreed upon location. This way the assessor knows that the cat has received
the treatment. The cards are numbered “1” on one side and “2”on the other. In shelters, where we are
lucky enough to have two shifts of volunteers, you would turn the card around instead of putting it away.
The second volunteer will put it away after the second treatment. The cat assessor will know the cat has
received two treatments.

Reporting an incident
If an incident has occurred at any time during your shift with cats, or if you want to give information
about the cat, complete the Incident Report and give it to your volunteer coordinator or a staff member.
Record your name, the date and time the incident occurred. Write down anything noteworthy.

For example:
Medical
        Runny stool or blood in stool.                             Sneezing
        Injuries                                                   Cat is very lethargic

Behavioural
      Aggression towards other cats in the                    Cat has bitten you
      communal                                                Cat has very tolerance for petting

You can also report good “things” that can go on the cat’s adoption profile
      Cat is very affectionate                     Tricks the cat has learned
      Friendly and relaxed                         Is being friendly with other cats

When describing an incident, try to be as objective as possible. This means that you describe what
happened rather than writing what you think the behaviour means. Here is an example:

Aggression between two cats

            Wrong way: The cat was really angry with the other cat and attacked him for no reason.

            Right way: The cat approached one of the bottom row cages. He hissed, growled and
            attempted to swat at the cat through the cage door. The other cat was sitting at the front of
            the cage and retreated to the perch. The (subject) cat continued until I distracted him with a
            toy.

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Incident Report

Please use the Incident Report to describe an event you have witnessed during any interaction with a
shelter animal. Please read the instructions on page two before completing the Incident Report. Be
accurate in the details and provide your contact information for follow up if necessary.

 Your Name:………………………………………………….
 Date:………………………………………………………….
 Log #:…………………………………………………………
 Kennel#:……………………………………………………...
 Animal’s Name:……………………………………………...
 Shelter:……………………………………………………..…

Concern is:                 Medical         Behavioural              Emotional

Comments:

Name and title:…………………………… Phone/ email:……………………………………..

Signature:………………………………… Date:………………………………………………..

Supervisor name:……………………….. Supervisor signature:……………………………..

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Please read these instructions before completing the Incident Report

The person completing the Incident Report and the supervisor must sign and date the form. The Incident
Report is for staff and volunteer use. For example, an incident during a walk is completed by the Animal
Walker and signed by the Animal Walking Coordinator. An incident during kennel cleaning is completed
by the Kennel Attendant and signed by the Branch Manager.

            An incident report must be prepared and signed on the day it occurs.
            The supervisor (volunteer or staff) must read and sign the form.
            The completed and signed Incident Report must be given to the Branch Manager/Supervisor.
            The Branch Manager must review and sign all Incident Reports.
            The Incident Report must be placed in the animal’s file and also sent to the GM Operations.

You can report three categories of incidents:

Medical:        Includes blood in stools, diarrhea, signs of injury, bleeding gums, limping, sneezing,
                coughing.

Emotional:      Includes all signs of stress (see Welfare Checklist).

Behavioural: Includes any incident that relates to an interaction between you and the animal or
             between 2 animals.

Behavioural Incident
It is more important and useful to give a description of the animal and the context of the incident
rather than to interpret and attempt to determine the animal’s intent.

Attempt to describe the animal’s:
             Body posture such as position of ears (back, up forward), tail (high up, between legs), eyes
            (direct stare, looking away, eyes wide open, pupils dilated), coat (hackles up), body (stiff,
            relaxed.)
            Movement such as jumping up, moving back and forth, cowering, standing on hind legs.
            Vocalisation such as growling, barking, whining

Describe the context:
            Who was there? What happened just before the incident? For example, “you scolded the
            animal”, “people were running by”, “you were touching his collar”, “another animal
            approached.”

    If a bite has occurred, describe the severity of the bite such as no marks, torn clothing, red pressure
    points, skin puncture, names of witnesses, etc.

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Message From An Older Shelter Cat

          I sit alone and so confused behind the metal bars,
         the loss that I am feeling will forever leave its scars.
        My family left me here one day a month or two ago.
    They said, "Don't worry, Tabby, you'll find a home, we know."
    It seems they'd bought a condo that said "No Pets Permitted".
   I thought they'd never leave me but then they went and did it.
    My favourite windowsill is gone where I used to lay and sun.
  I cried all night the day they left and remembered years of fun.
    The people stop and look at me and always say, "Poor Thing".
     Then they choose a kitten when they could have had a King.
                 As Christmas nears, it’s gotten worse.
                 I remember presents under the tree,
                  lots of catnip and a turkey dinner
                 loving hands that once stroked me.
  There was lots and lots of laughter as I played with all my toys.
I miss them all so much this day, their love, their kisses and the joys.
    So, please, if you stop by my "cage", just give me an extra rub.
     I've given up being adopted, but I sure could use the love.
  And if you really like me, please, please take me home with you.
     I'll be real good, I promise, and love you long and true.

        Bring a little sunshine into a cat’s life today

Thank-you for volunteer with the Cat Wellness Program

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