What makes Happy Cats different from other shelters?
A purr is more subtle than a wagging tail. Cats sometimes need a little help to bring out their best sides, especially with the trauma of losing their homes. We focus on the special needs of cats in shelters, creating a cage-free feline-friendly space that lowers their stress and best promotes each cat’s individual personality. This also makes us more human friendly too, giving you a comfortable environment to make your best match possible.
Your cats are safe here so why shouldn't I adopt a cat who might die at a regular shelter instead?
We do take care of each and every cat or kitten until they are adopted. However, there is limited space available, so if we don’t adopt out any cats, we cannot take any in. At any given time, we have 30-50 cats and kittens on our wait list. We also turn away an average of 15 cats a week. Every cat or kitten you adopt from Happy Cats saves two: the one you take home and the one who then gets to come in. We are also committed to taking back any of our adopted cats, for any reason.
My cat got out and hasn't come home! What should I do?
Most fixed cats do not leave home unless something scares them away. Lost cats do not behave like they do in your home because fear can shut them down. The clock is ticking when your cat is missing. Never assume that cats will come back on their own, as many cats will be too afraid to find their way home without help. Click here for tips on how to find your lost cat. Don’t give up and don’t be afraid to humanely trap your cat to get him back!
I don't want my cat to scratch my new leather sofa. Why shouldn't I just have him declawed?
Declawing amputates the last bone in each toe, and severs tendons, nerves and muscles. During the surgery–even when anesthetized–cats often moan aloud as there is no anesthetic strong enough to remove the deep bone pain that declawing causes. It can also lead to litterbox and other issues that are worse than having claw marks in your sofa, landing them in shelters. We know; we’ve seen it. Click here to find out more about declawing. Click here to find out ways to keep your cat from clawing where you don’t want…and make sure he claws where you do.
Why can't I just turn my new kitty loose in the house and let him figure it out?
Cats are creatures of habit and change can be very stressful for them. The best way to help him or her transition to your home, with the least amount of stress, is by creating a separate “safe room” to stay in for the first few weeks of coming into your home. This room should have all the essentials: food, water, bedding, litter box, toys, and something with their scent on it from their previous space. Other animals should initially not be allowed in the room so that your new kitty has a chance to get used to the new sounds and scents without feeling overwhelmed! On average it takes between 2-4 weeks for kitties to acclimate to their new environments, but the exact amount of time depends on how confident your new kitty is. The shyer the cat, the longer they may need. Click here for more information on creating and using a Safe Room.
My cat did great in her Safe Room but is now hiding a lot. Can I move her back?
Absolutely! It is possible that the size difference from her “safe room” to the entirety of your house was too much change for her. You can always scale back the amount of space available to her. Put her back in her “safe room” for a week or so. When she starts acting confident again you can then open up a larger portion of the house to her for a few weeks. Play with her in this space so she has positive associations with it. Then, when she seems confident in this portion of your house, open up the rest of the place to her at that time.
I just found out I'm allergic to my cat! Is there anything I can do so I can keep him?
Yes there are! Many of us at Happy Cats have cat allergies, but have found ways to help us live with them. Especially if your allergies are seasonal, you can try using unscented litter, brushing your cat more often, using an air filter when needed, training him to sleep somewhere else, changing your diet and taking supplements as needed. Click here for how not to let allergies steal your cat away and here for even more tips on allergies and cats.
Why are your kittens so expensive?
Every kitten who comes into Happy Cats is tested for Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Viruses, vaccinated (usually 2-3 times during their stay), spayed or neutered and microchipped at the minimum. That means we have to spend at least $75 on each kitten. Kittens are usually the first to be adopted, unlike our adults, especially our seniors and challenged kitties. The adoption fees of kittens help save the lives of cats who might have to wait weeks or months to find their forever homes.
Why did my cat stop using the litter box?
Most cats and kittens will instinctively use the litter box. If your feline friend has suddenly started eliminating outside their litter box they may have a medical issue or be trying to tell you something. Medical reasons can include: Urinary Tract Infections (UTI), arthritis, kidney stones, blockage, etc. Environmental/behavioral reasons can include: dirty boxes, not enough litter, box is too small, poor access to box, wrong kind of box or litter for your cat, negative associations to litter boxes, household stress, food bowl by litter box, multi-cat conflict etc. As prey animals who are often solitary, cats are hardwired to hide their illness. Please have your kitty examined by a vet immediately to check for any physical causes. Click here for information on solving simple litter box problems.
I've heard I should have a litterbox for each cat plus one extra. Why can't they share?
Experts say the extra box is good insurance against litterbox issues. All litter boxes should be easily accessible for your cat. If you have multiple cats you are going to want to have multiple locations for the boxes in case more than one kitty needs to utilize the box at a time. If clumped together, the area becomes one large litter box and your kitties may not want to share. Keeping them all in one place can be a setup for bullying and lead to litterbox issues. Also, if you have a multi-level house you are going to want to make sure to have at least one box per floor for ease of access. This is especially important for older cats that may have trouble going up and down stairs or kittens who can’t find their way around your house yet.
How often should I clean my cat's litterbox?
At a minimum, you should be scooping the litter box daily, but you can do more frequently if you choose. At least every couple of weeks you should be dumping the litter, cleaning the box with warm water and unscented soap (or baking soda) and completely replace the litter. Natural litters like wheat or corn can be flushed to make scooping the box easier for you.
I'm expecting a baby and want my cat to like him. Can I do anything for that?
Bringing home a baby changes everything…for everyone! Happy Cats ends up with many perfectly wonderful cats who weren’t given the chance to adapt to having a new baby in the house. Cats adapt best to big changes if they have time to adapt to smaller ones, a little at a time. Click here for 4 tips to help your cat adjust before you bring home your little one, and maybe save your kitty from having to find a new home.
I have a dog but would like a cat too. Can cats and dogs ever get along?
Yes they can! We have lots of happy tales about our cats being best friends with their dogs. However, we also have tales where the match wasn’t right or the introductions weren’t slow enough and the cat was terrorized or harmed by the dog. Click here for some things to consider when getting a cat for your dog. Click here for how to introduce your new cat if you have a dog in the home.
Why don't you ever have free adoptions like some other shelters?
Our cats and kittens go home with most expenses already covered. Their adoption fees go toward paying for those expenses, though they usually don’t cover all of them. We offer discounts but do not give away our cats or kittens. Research shows that people make irrational decisions when getting something for free and that animals adopted for low fees are often at higher risk for being returned. Making cats equivalent to a Craigslist curb alert perpetuates the notion that they can be discarded if anything goes wrong. Click here to read about the great signing bonuses that come with our cats and kittens.
I want to rescue a cat I know is in immediate danger. Do you take cats from high-kill shelters?
While it may be true that some cats in conventional shelters are at high risk for euthanasia–particularly black, senior or ill cats or those with behavior issues–there are also many, many other cats who are at equally high risk. These can include cats like our teen moms left behind to try to protect and feed their kittens outside, or cats abandoned outside like many of our adults, or any of our kittens who were dumped or lost as orphans. All were just as vulnerable as any cat in a conventional shelter, some more so. And every cat who gets adopted from us opens up space for another cat to come into safety from yet another dangerous situation.
My cat is terrified of the vet and I just hate taking him there. Is there anything I can do for that?
You’re not alone. Research says that 38% of people with cats get stressed just thinking about a vet visit…and we all know it’s way higher for cats! Cats need veterinary care just as much as dogs do, but get half the care. Click here for some things to make it easier on your cats to get the health care they need.
What should I feed my cat?
People have very strong opinions about what to feed our little carnivores. We offer a list of possibilities so you can make up your own mind, with pros and cons under each type, including dry food, wet food, raw food and treats. Where you feed your cat can be nearly as important as what you feed her, so click here for ideas about that.
Why have a cat-only shelter?
Nationwide, around 9 out of 10 dogs in shelters find a home. For cats, it’s only about 1 out of 3. We’d like to put a dent in those horrific statistics by showing people what great companions cats can be. We also spay and neuter each cat to help reduce the kitten explosion that leads to over 3,000 cat and kitten euthanasias a year in the Pikes Peak region alone.
Why do I have to make an appointment to surrender my cat?
Most of our cats live in small groups in small rooms called colonies. Because they are exposed to each other, we must make sure they’re healthy before they come to live here. Your cat will be tested for contagious feline viruses at intake so that we can evaluate where best to place him or her.
Please visit our Help Us page to volunteer or donate. Most of us are volunteers too, so thanks from all of us!
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