Redwood Coast Humane Society

Animal Advice and Information

  1. Animal Diseases
    1. Rabies
    2. External Parasites
      1. Fleas
      2. Lice
      3. Ticks
  2. Animals on the Coast
  3. Cat Information
    1. Common Kitten Ailments
    2. Introducing a Cat to a New Home
    3. Tips for Keeping Your Cat Comfortable
    4. Vaccines for Cats and Kittens
  4. Disaster Prep for Pets
  5. Dog Information
    1. Heart-worm
    2. Vaccines for Dogs and Puppies
  6. Feral Cats
  7. Owning a Pet is a Big Responsibility
  8. Pet Profiles
  9. Wild Animals on the Coast
    1. How to Discourage Skunks and Raccoons
    2. Bobcats
    3. Coyotes
    4. Deer
    5. Fox
    6. Hawks
    7. Mountain Lions
    8. Raccoons
    9. Skunks
    10. Wild Turkeys
    1. Animal Diseases

      1. Rabies
        Rabies is transmitted through the saliva of affected animals via bites. This ancient disease can be transmitted by wildlife (including skunks, bats, and raccoons) as well as domestic pets. Humans can also be affected. Rabies has two stages: furious and paralytic. During the furious stage, animals appear aggressive and uncontrollable. Rabid animals often snap, bite, chew and drool. The paralytic stage brings loss of bodily functions. Animals diagnosed as rabid should be humanely euthanized.
      2. External Parasites
        Most animals born outside are infested with lice or fleas. It is essential to remove these parasites as soon as possible. Fleas in particular are a serious health threat. Fleas ingest blood from the kitten for nourishment. A kitten can die from anemia due to blood loss from lea infestation.
        1. Fleas: Fleas pose many challenges to pets and people, including the introduction of canine or feline tapeworms. If your dog or cat has tapeworms, you will notice segments of worm, resembling grains of rice, around the animal's anus, and in the animal's feces. Medications are available from your vet to treat tapeworm.
        2. Lice:
        3. Ticks: Some species of ticks carry Lyme's Disease, which has potentially serious consequences for humans. If you locate a tick on your pet or yourself, pull the entire tick straight out. Do not twist. See a doctor if you are concerned
        4. Ear mites: Ear mites are tiny parasites which live in the ear canal. They cause intense itching, noted by scratching behind the ears and violent head shaking. Inside the ears, you may see a crumbly, dark brown discharge which may smell bad. Ear mites are contagious to both cats and dogs and can be treated with drops
    2. Animals on the Coast

      Welcome to the pristine beauty of the North Coast. Whether you're just enjoying a vacation here, or have decided to make your home among the redwoods, here are a few things to keep in mind regarding the well-being of your animals in our region.
        1. Our temperature range is moderate compared with the extremes experienced in other parts of our country, but our weather changes quickly.
        2. Remember - never leave your animal in your car for more than a few minutes-even with the car-window partially open.
        3. If your animal is outdoors during the day, we recommend a heavy-duty shelter be provided in case a storm arises suddenly.

        The northern coast gorgeous, but crashing waves are dangerous for humans and dogs. It's tempting to let dogs run on beaches off-leash, but surf swells are unpredictable. Humans and dogs drown regularly in these waters.


        We recommend that no animal be left outdoors overnight. Small animals are always prey for bobcats and mountain lions and even raccoons. Don't leave food outdoors for your pet-it will attract wild animals

    3. Cat Information

      1. Common Kitten Ailments
        1. Conjuctivitis (URI)

          Upper respiratory infection are unfortunately fairly common. These airborne viruses are contagious and can spread very quickly. symptoms of URI include sneezing and discharge from eyes and nose, congested breathing , loss of appetite and lethargy. It is important to cal the vet as soon as your cat or kitten shows any symptoms of URI, preferably within 24 hours of the first symptom. You may receive medication and or eye ointment to administer at home. It is extremely important that you keep any infected animals strictly isolated from your own gets , and that you wash your hand and change clothing after handling infected animals. Your get should be current with their vaccinations. If your pets are very young, very old or compromised in any way, it is not advisable to foster cats that have shown these symptoms.

        2. Ringworm

          Ringworm is not a worm, but a fungus related to athletes foot. In cats, ringworm often appears as irregularly shaped spots of fur loss. The skin of the furless area will look rough and scaly. The spot will get larger, and additional spots will appear on the face, ear and paws. Sometimes the spots will be more regularly shaped with furless scaly circles and a visible red ring on the outside edge. Ring worm causes little distress and is not a n emergency, but is contagious to coats, dogs and people. Everything the kitten touches while in your home will need to be disinfected with a mild bleach solution.

        3. Ear mites

          Ear mites are tiny parasites which live in the ear canal. They cause intense itching, noted by scratching behind the ears and violent head shaking. Inside the ears, you may see a crumbly, dark brown discharge which may smell bad. Ear mites are contagious to both cats and dogs and can be treated with drops

        4. Coccidia

          Coccidia is a protozoan parasite most prevalent in kittens. The diarrhea associates with Coccidia is explosive and frequent. Coccidia can be spread to other cats and dogs, but will probably not cause clinical symptoms. Feline Coccidia cannot be spread to people. Coccidia is treated with Albon, a tasty liquid that is easy to administer. You will need to bring a fresh fecal sample to the vet to verify this diagnosis.

        5. Toxoplasmosis

          Toxoplasmosis an intestinal parasite sometimes found in cats, is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be transmitted from animal to human. Rabies is in this category of disease. The risk of toxoplasmosis from the presence of feral cats is extremely low. The source of transmission is from handling cat feces and subsequent contact with eh mouth. More people get toxoplasmosis from eating raw or undercooked meat than from cats.

      2. Introducing a Cat to a New Home
        Cats pretend not to need us, but they do. Who else will drive them to the clinic to get their teeth cleaned? While a cat's exercise needs are more modest than those of dogs-they wouldn't be caught dead chasing a Frisbee-- they do require all of the rest of the above. Except, of course, for the obedience training-as if!
        1. Especially important: you must be prepared to bring cats into the house at night, even if they prowl the outdoors by day. Not only do our winter temperatures drop to a level which could be challenging to cats, but there are many nocturnal predators who may find them appetizing.
        2. Adult cats are highly territorial by nature. Kitten are naturally less so, but would still benefit from the following steps to ease their transition into a new territory. Introducing a cat into a new home is extremely stressful for most cats. A cat's basic reaction to stress is to run and hide. You can help to ease the cat's stress by providing a safe haven for him.
        3. Upon arriving home, set up a small room that will serve as the cat's initial territory. Any small, quiet room works well, such as a bathroom, small bedroom or large walk-in closet. Keep the cat in the carrier while you are setting up the room, allowing him to adjust to the sounds an smells. Be sure to put everything the cat needs inside this room: litter box, food, water (food and water placed far apart from the litter box), toys, scratching post, bed, etc. Open up the carrier and let the cat decide whether he wants to explore or to remain inside the carrier. Many times a cat will remain inside the carrier for hours.
        4. Give the cat time to adjust to his new territory. come back to the room to visit often, but let the cat set the pace of the visits. Don't force your attention on the cat--when he wants affection, he will ask for it. When the cat is comfortable in this room (it may take a day, a week, or more) open the door and let him explore the rest of the house at his own pace. Cats usually begin investigating at night, making short explorations interspersed with rapid retreat to their safe haven. it is rare for a cat to explore a new territory without hesitation.
        5. If the cat is allowed to adapt to a new environment at his own speed, everything will work out in good time. Some cats take days, others will take weeks or months. The length of time needed to establish new territory will depend on the cat's temperament, past experience and whether there are other cats or dogs already present in the new home. If no other cats or dogs are present in the house the adjustment period usually takes one or two weeks, but it can take several months.
      3. Tips for Keeping Your Cat Comfortable
        Here are some tips to help your kitten feel comfortable in a new home.
        1. Start small:
          Start your kitten in a small space such as a bathroom or laundry room. The small space allow the kitten to learn where it s litter box , food and water are, as well as allowing time to adjust to an unfamiliar place,. Have the litter box, food and water and bedding already set up for your kitten arrival. Food should not be near the litter box. As the kitten becomes more comfortable, certainly allow it more space to explore while continuing to remind where its room is.
        2. Introductions to children:
          Kitten are not like puppies. They tend to frighten easily. While the kitten is still in its room let your child visit quietly. If you have more than none child, let them visit one at a time until the kitten seems comfortable. Don not grab the kitten, make quick movements or loud noises. All the kitten explore your child. Remember you are much larger than the kitten.
        3. Introductions to dogs and cats:
          the newcomer and the resident pet can adjust to each other's smells before meeting face to face. After a period of time, leave the door to the kitten's room open slightly and be present to intercede should problems arise. From the security of the room, the kitten can explore with confidence and retreat if there are disagreements. Be sure the kittens can easily get to its safe place. Be patient. The get- acquainted period may last a day, a week , or longer. Always reward the animal for good behavior, especially toward each other, but do not punish them for their natural instincts. If a problem develops, separate them and proceed with the introduction more slowly and under close supervision until those instincts begin to relax.
        4. Discipline:
          Contrary to popular belief, kittens can be trained. consistency is the key. Scratching is a natural behavior. Your kitten needs to scratch and climb to stay fit and healthy. Provide your kitten with a variety of vertical and horizontal objects to scratch. Use a toy/treat to lure it to the area. Most cats scratch upon waking, so place a post close to its sleeping area. Double-sided tape plied to the sofa ( they don not like sticky stuff on their paws) or a squirt with a water bottle usual discourages a kitten from scratching in the wrong place, but be sure to remind the kitten of the right place.
        5. Trim your cats nails weekly to keep its nails blunt. For difficult cases, consider soft rubber nail caps that are applied monthly. Although small kitten can inflict substantial property damage in a relatively short time, their main weapon are their front claws, although some kittens also chew. Scratching is normal and provides many benefits to cats. it scratches their muscles, leaves a scent and a visual marker and grooms their nail beds. Cats are going to scratch. The key to successful management is to target the scratching at acceptable times and in appropriate locations. These scratching structures should be sturdy, either horizontal or vertical and made from materials that your kitten favors.
        6. Some kitten chew household items, especially string like objects or plants. Just as you childproof a house, you need to kitten proof it. Keep plants out of reach. Unplug cords or place them our of reach. A protective covering for cord that can't be removed from the environment can be found at home improvement stores. A remote punishment may be effective, consider coating target items with an unpleasant material such as a commercial detergent spray or bittering agent. It is important to provide acceptable items to chew. A small pot of wheat grass or a rawhide chew may help. Playing with fishing pole toys will tire the kitten and provide an appropriate outlet for oral activity.
        7. Cats need appropriate outlets for play. If these aren't met, cats will sometimes use their owner as play targets. If your kitten becomes too excited or aroused, it may injure you. Over exuberant play behavior toward another pet in the household may also result in problems.
        8. Avoid giving any type of reward for play aggression. Do not deliver any direct interactive punishment ( e.g. don't hit the cat) because it may induce fear or defensive aggression. You can interrupt inappropriate play behavior by providing remote punishment (using a squirt bottle or a noise maker) or leaving the room if the cat instigates inappropriate play.
        9. It's alright to put a kitten in its room during meals times or particularly chaotic times.
        10. Its room has already been established as a safe place, so this would not be a punishment for a short period of time.
        11. Litter Box Basics
          One of the joys of owning a kitten is that housetraining is usual much easier in cats than with dogs. Most kittens are naturally attracted to a litter box. Problems tend to arise when the litter box isn't accessible or clean. A litter box can't be too clean. daily scooping and routine washing with soap and water are mandatory. Sometimes a kitten discovers alternative, equally attractive elimination spots such as the dirt in a potted plant. It is easier to avoid a litter-box problem than to fix it. Most cats prefer fine particulate unscented material to eliminate in. Make sure the litter box is near your kittens core living area so the kitten can easily access it.
        12. Litter for kittens
          Do not use clumping litter with kittens. Instead buy the cheapest gravel or clay litter possible. If a kitten has diarrhea the clumping litter can be ingested while grooming, causing painful and life threatening "cementing" in the intestines.
        13. Nighttime activity by cats is a common problem. to solve it, try to keep your cat active during the day. A kitten that is kept awake all evening with games or chasing toys is much less likely to get into mischief in the middle of the night. Don't get up and feed your kitten when it is active during the night. It will quickly learn that awakening you reaps rewards. consistent disregard on your part will eventually extinguish the night time behavior.
        14. Food
          Unweaned kittens will need KMR (kitten milk replacer) which is fed with nursing bottles. This is an extremely expensive product and a litter of 6 can easily go through $60 worth of KMR in a two week period. Depending on the age of the kittens, it is a good idea to wean them on to solid food as soon as possible to make their adoption easer. A good quality dry food, not a supermarket brand, mixed with a little unsalted chicken broth, is the beet food to being the weaning process. sometimes you will have to start by mixing the KMR into dry food. Wet can food is not a good idea for kittens as it is too rich for them. especially if they have been out on their own for a while. Intestinal problems frequently occur due to the wet food, causing an unnecessary visit to the vet. Make sure fresh water is available at all times.
        15. Over feeding a new born kitten can cause serious health complications. The kittens immature kidneys have a very limited capacity and are unable to handle excessive amounts of fluid. Over leading the digestive system causes diarrhea. Diarrhea caused dehydration which can kill a kitten.
        16. Start Small -The biggest single issue for abandoned cats and kittens is being frightened and insecure. When your foster animal arrives at your home, it will be stresses, as well as frightened. confine the cats to a small room, such as a bathroom, and observe how she/he responds to you and the new environment. He/she hay be very confident, and come to you immediately for affection or to smell you. More likely, the poor animal will try to find a hiding place in the small room and will stay away from you for the food. If this is the case, allow the animal time to get familiar with its room and with you. If it is skittish, nervous and fearful, the best thing you can do is to give it time and space.
        17. It may take several days or even a week or two for an animal to become comfortable. Many our good intentions make matters worse. When we try to show the animal that there is nothing to be afraid of and shower it with our love and attention by dragging it out of its hiding place, we are becoming part of the problem. Forcing the cat to meet head-on with what scares it often makes the animal more frightened and less likely to come out of those hiding places on its own. The best thing to do is absolutely nothing. The cat must be allowed to build up its confidence on its own good time.
        18. Use discretion about letting a foster animal outdoors.It is important to have a sense that the animal is comfortable in your home and will want to return before allowing it outside, Additionally, an adopter may want an indoor only cat.
        19. 5 Dangerous Foods for Cats - Click here to learn about dangerous food for your cat.
      4. Vaccines for Cats and Kittens
        Kittens are particularly vulnerable to disease because their immune systems are immature. They are protected from infection when maternal antibodies received from mom's first milk are present. However, many of our foster kitten do not have their mom's milk to protect them. By eight week of age, adoption age, kittens will have had their first vet visits.
        1. The first shot they receive is referred to as FVR-CP. CATS are susceptible to upper respiratory infections because they inhale viruses and bacteria as they sniff interesting smells.
          These diseases are caused by Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FVR) and Feline Calicivirus (C). Feline distemper, also called Feline Panleukopenia (P) is not related to canine distemper. Kittens also receive an FVR-CP booster at 12 weeks of age. At 4-6months, they receive their rabies shot (RV) and a Feline Leukemia vaccine (FelV). This infectious disease compromises the cats' immune system. It is best to speak with your bet concerning the leukemia test/vaccine. Adult cats should get yearly FVR-CP booster shots, a rabies booster and, if you choose, a Feline Leukemia booster.
        2. All kittens should be inoculated at 8 weeks of age for Rhinotracheitis, Panleukopenia and Calicivirus (3 in 1). Exceptions- If a kitten is ill and the vet suspect Leukemia is the cause, and euthanasia is a possibility, you may authorize him to perform the Leukemia test. This is a very expensive test, so use your best judgment.
        3. FIV-Feline AIDS can present a wide variety of symptoms, including what owners have described as " He just doesn't seem to feel well." It is thought that aggression among cats- particularly biting- is the most common route of passage of this disease. Therefore, the most likely victims are roaming, sexually intact cats. Fevers of 103 F or higher often develop from FIV infection, as do loss of appetite, infections, of mouth, skin problems, bladder problems, diarrhea and breathing difficulties. Occasionally seizures, disorientation and neurological disorders appear. Treatment is symptomatic, although treatment for FIV itself is experimental. There is no vaccination, prevention requires isolating healthy cats from those that are infected. it must be noted that FIV differs significantly from human AIDs.
        4. Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) is spread from cat to cat and is a deadly disease. Occasionally an affected cat will exhibit depression, anorexia, weight loss and/or fever; however, many affected cats appear normal. One sign of FIP is swelling of the abdomen, which is caused by fluid retention. Eventually the fluid causes respiratory distress, which may be accompanied by jaundice or anemia. Abnormalities in the gastrointestinal system, the nervous system or the cat's vision may appear. Most affected cats survive no longer than two or three months, so vaccination is critical in preventing such a tragedy.
        5. Rabies
          Rabies is transmitted through the saliva of affected animals via bites. This ancient disease can be transmitted by wildlife, including skunks, bars, and raccoons as well as domestic pets. Humans can also be affected. Rabies has two stages: furious and paralytic. during the furious stage, animals appear aggressive and uncontrollable. Rabid animals often snap, bite, chew and drool. The paralytic stage brings loss of bodily functions,. Animals diagnosed as rabid should be humanely euthanized.
          A very effective vaccine is available to prevent rabies. Most communities require dogs to be vaccinated for rabies before they can be licensed. However, some cat owners are lax in obtaining protection for their pets. Be sure your vet inoculates our cat for rabies- especially if your cat is exposed to other animals.
        6. Feline Enteric Coronavirus can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms are usually mild and chance of recovery is good. Unfortunately, there is no vaccination for this disease at this time.
        7. Feline Panleukeopenia Virus (often called cat fever) causes inflammation of the intestine, which then causes vomiting and diarrhea. Cells throughout the body are affected, and number of white cells in the blood is drastically reduced. The disease is potentially fatal. Luckily, an effective vaccine for this disease is readily available.
        8. Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV), which is caused by a retrovirus, suppresses the cat's immune system. This condition can cause a variety of problems because the cat is generally weakened due to disease and infections. Poor would healing, cancers, anemias, patches of tough skin and recurrent abscesses can often be attributed to the underlying condition know as FeLV. Vaccination for this condition is critical in maintaining the overall health of a cat, particularly for cats that go outdoors.
        9. Rotavirus is a newly identified disease. The common disease usually produces mild or no symptoms in adult cats, but kitten are more drastically affected. Veterinarians ca detect this disease by examining fecal specimens. Currently there is no vaccination for rotavirus.
        10. Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FVR) is also known as feline herpes virus. This disease usually involves lesions of the skin, eye and /or mouth. Stress often precipitates an eruption of lesions.
        11. Feline Calicivirus Infection (FCV) is an acute infection of the respiratory system. Similar in appearance to the human cold, FCV has many strains. Vaccinations are available, and multi cat households should be especially careful to keep their cats current on this protection.
        12. Feline Urinary Syndrome (FUS) occurs in both sexes when small crystals form in the bladder and make urination painful and difficult for the cat. Usually females (due to a wider urethra) can expel crystals but males often cannot. With urethral obstruction, urine backs up, eventually causing kidney failure. Perieal urethrostomy (surgery to enlarge the urethral opening) brings relief to affected cats.
    4. Disaster Prep for Pets

      Everyone can benefit from having a household evacuation plan. A prepared kit, kept in an easily accessible place will enable you to provide immediate care for your animals in an emergency, whether it is a large scale natural disaster or a situation that causes you to leave your home temporarily. A calm, well-trained animal either on a leash or in a carrier will be more welcome where ever you go.
      1. Do some Research before an emergency happens
        Keep a list of pet-friendly hotels outside your immediate area. Ask friends or relatives outside your area if they would shelter you and your animal if necessary. If you have more than one pet, be prepared to house them separately.
      2. Cats and Dogs
        Be sure your dog (and cat if it is an outside cat) is always wearing a collar with ID.
        An ID chip is recommended and can be obtained at any vets office
      3. If possible, take your pets with you if you need to evacuate
        Have cat carriers readily available
        Have a disaster kit ready which includes
        1. enough pet food and water for 1 week
        2. pet medication
        3. leash and lead line
        4. plastic poo pick-up bags
      4. Horses
        If you need to evacuate and leave your horses behind
        1. leave then in the largest area possible
        2. do not close them into a stall
        3. Put a halter on your horse
        4. leave plenty of food and water
      5. Your Animals best protection is you, but if you have to leave your pet behind
        1. Post a highly visible sing to let rescue workers know how many pets were left behind
        2. Leave water in a large-spill proof open container like a sink or bathtub
        3. Do not tie or cage your pet. Never leave a dog tied outside
        4. Leave dry low fat food. it deteriorates more slowly than high fat food and is less palatable so your pet won't try to eat its entire supply at once.
      6. Items to Include in your Pet Disaster Kit
        1. Sturdy crate or carrier
        2. ID tags and collar
        3. Leashes
        4. Food/water for 7 days
        5. Non-spill bowls
        6. Water tight containers
        7. Litter/litter box
        8. Medications
        9. Copy of current shots records
        10. Manual can opener/plastic lids
        11. Recent photo of each pet
        12. Emergency phone numbers
        13. Large plastic bags
        14. Paper towels
        15. Basic 1st Aid kit
        16. Bedding
    5. Dog Information


      Dogs need love, attention & exercise
      Dogs in particular need a great deal of human attention and interaction, including daily walks. If you don't have at least one full hour every day to devote exclusively to exercising your dog, we urge you to reconsider.

      Allowing dogs to romp in a yard is good, but not good enough: most breeds need to run hard every day to truly thrive.

      In addition to daily exercise, quality food, clean water, routine medical care, obedience training, bathing and grooming, flea and tick protection and more, dogs also need to be allowed inside your heated house in our rugged climate. This means wildly wagging tails flinging rainwater everywhere, muddy paws on your couch-and so much more. And oh-so worth it.

    6. Feral Cats

      1. What is a feral cat?
        The Redwood Coast Humane Society defines a feral cat as a domestic cat that has reverted to a wild state after being lost or abandoned, or a cat that has been born outside to a lost or abandoned cat.
      2. How does the program work?
        As long as people continue to abandon pets, especially pets which have not been spayed or neutered, there will continue to be large feral cat populations everywhere. RCHS devotes volunteer efforts to rescuing all feral cats. It is fair to say that some people oppose this practice. Through education and demonstration, we hope to change their perception.
      3. Trap/Neuter/Vaccinate /Release (TNVR)
        RCHS has adopted a policy called 'trap/neuter/vaccinate and Release or TNVR. Studies have shown that TNVR to be the most humane and effective way to manage feral cat colonies. Year-round, we capture as many adult feral cats as possible, using humane safety traps. We have the adults neutered or spayed. If the adult cat can be socialized, we foster the animal and find it a permanent home with a caring family. If the adult cat is truly feral, we release it back into the environment where it was captured.
      4. We also capture kittens born to feral mothers. We have an excellent success-rate in socializing feral-born kittens to the point where they can be adopted as lovable, loving pets.
      5. Benefits of TNVR
        1. TNVR stabilizes the population of the colony by eliminating future litters.
        2. Fighting and noise related to mating behavior is reduced or eliminated.
        3. Male spraying is eliminated.
        4. Overall health of the cats is improved.

        Studies on feral cat colonies have shown that removing a colony creates a vacuum that will be filled by new cats. Neutered animals maintain their group identity and usually do not permit unaltered adults cats to move into their territory.

        Lastly, feral cats account for a small part in the decline of bird and other wildlife populations. Habitat loss, pesticides, human activity and inclement weather changes have a greater impact. Feral cats tend to get most of their food from handouts or by scavenging, which is a lot less work for them.

      6. Trap Requests
        RCHS owns several Have a Heart traps and will loan them out to the community free of charge. It is RCHS policy to loan out traps only for feral cats, not for raccoons, skunks or any other wild life. If it is clear from the call that the trap is requested for a feral cat, the call will directly be forwarded to the CAt Coordinator. Otherwise the phone monitor will call back and inquire what the trap is needed for.
        A handout is available with advice regarding raccoon or skunk problems and will be mailed upon request.
      7. Who pays for the program?
        Currently there is no special funding available for the spaying and neutering of feral cats. Everyone who borrows a Have-A-Heart trap from RCHS is asked for a donation toward the cost of the surgery. The amount is based on our low cost prices. Regardless of the donation, the borrower will receive a Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Voucher to present to the Gualala Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Bohn requires that each animal receive a rabies shot if they have not previously had one. The rabies vaccination as well as any other medical treatment becomes the financial responsibility of either the colony care-giver or RCHS. This should be discussed and agreed upon before the trapping begins.
    7. Owning a Pet is a Big Responsibility


      Having an animal in your life is an investment. All animals require a commitment of time, attention, energy, and money. If you're not sure you're ready, call RCHS at 884-1304 and volunteer some of your time with our animals. You can get a feel for how much you truly are able to commit. There are no low-maintenance pets.

      The most important way in which you can help the animals of our coast is by being responsible for your own pet. This means having every animal under your care spayed, neutered and vaccinated as recommended by your veterinarian. It also means thinking twice before adopting a new animal, and being sure that you're truly up for the added commitment.

      Dogs in particular need a great deal of human attention and interaction, including daily walks. If you don't have at least one full hour every day to devote exclusively to exercising your dog, we urge you to reconsider.

      Allowing dogs to romp in a yard is good, but not good enough: most breeds need to run hard every day to truly thrive.

      In addition to daily exercise, quality food, clean water, routine medical care, obedience training, bathing and grooming, flea and tick protection and more. Dogs also need to be allowed inside your heated house in our rugged climate. This means wildly wagging tails flinging rainwater everywhere, muddy paws on your couch-and so much more.

      While a cat's exercise needs are more modest than those of dog, they do require all of the rest of the above. Except, of course, for the obedience training-as if!

      Get your feline or canine fixed
      Every year tens of thousands of cats and dogs are euthanized because there are more cats and dogs than families that want them. The option to euthanization is feral animals in poor health raiding our garbage cans and garages.

      Most female dogs and cats are able to become pregnant at about 6 months of age. Female dogs and cats often can produce up to two litters a year. For the rest of their lives. You do the math-it makes us dizzy.

      If you adopt a stray female and discover that she is pregnant, take her to the veterinarian immediately. In some cases, the pregnancy may be terminated without endangering the female, and a spaying procedure may follow. If not, call RCHS to plan an adoption program for the kittens on the way.

      Don't Give Pets as Gifts
      Redwood Coast Humane Society recommends that pets not be given as gifts. We especially do not recommend that pets be given as "surprise" gifts, or as seasonal gifts (i.e., baby chicks, ducklings, bunnies for Easter, etc.).

      Don't take in wild or exotic animals
      Another way that animal-lovers can help is by never adopting wild or exotic animals. There are exceptions, such as small animals, like skunks, which have been injured and then are rehabilitated (and de-fragranced) to become household pets.

    8. Pet Profiles

      Everyone who has a pet should think about how you want your pet to be cared for in case of an emergency or in the event your death. Care of your pets should be included your trust or will. Here are some questions to answer so that your pet's future care give has a good start.
      1. Pet's Name
      2. Your name, address, physical address, phone/fax/email
      3. Description of your pet (distinguishing features, etc)
      4. Approximate date of birth
      5. Descript of how this pet came into your life
      6. Diet, exercise, daily routine
      7. Health issues, veterinarian, medicine
      8. Grooming
      9. Likes, dislikes
      10. Indoor/outdoor?
      11. Friends (human and animal)
      12. My pet is afraid of...
      13. My pet and children...
      14. My pet and strangers...
      15. Possible long term guardians
      16. Type of veterinaries care you expect your pet to receive.
    9. Wild Animals on the Coast

      1. How to discourage skunks or raccoons in and around your house
        1. Booby trap your garbage can by placing empty tin cans on the top of an inverted garbage can top with a piece of plywood on it, so when the animal jumps up to the can the noise of the falling cans with frighten the animal.
        2. Place inflated balloons in the garbage can, so balloons will pop when the animal gets into the can.
        3. Place ammonia or bleach on a rag inside the can or where ever the animal is repeatedly going.
        4. Hang mothballs from handles of garbage cans.
        5. Feed your dogs and cats inside or pull food bowls immediately after your pet is fed.

        If you have a skunk or other animal under your house, your first step should be to find all entrances. Place baking soda or corn starch around likely entrances. Since skunks are nocturnal, this will show you where the entrances are. Once the entrances are found, place a light of some sort into each entrance way, and leave it on continuously. Be sure to leave one entrance/exit open so the skunk or raccoon can leave
        You can also place a radio in the den and leave it on continuously. This will further disrupt the skunks habitat. You can also bang pots, blow horns and slam doors. Use ammonia or bleach-soaked rag to create an unpleasant odor in the den. Several moth balls can also be used.
        You can also dampen the den (but don't flood) when the skunks are out of the den. Typically adults and youngsters will leave on their own within 24-48 hours. It may take up to a week if there are infants in the den.
      2. BOBCATS: Not as large as you might imagine, but will attach and kill cats, kittens, or puppies. Their mottled coat, tufted ears, short "bobbed" tail and long back legs are unmistakable.
      3. COUGARS: Also known as Mountain Lions. Tan in color; endangered; pose a threat to smaller animals and humans. If you see a mountain lion, report the sighting to>>>.
      4. COYOTES: Not as large as a wolf, but dangerous to pets; long, thin snout and legs.
      5. DEER: Herbivorous; carriers of deer-ticks.; plentiful in this area.
      6. FOX: Silvery in color; crepuscular(active mostly at dawn and dusk). Small and seldom a danger to house pets. Generally eat mice, gophers and rabbits.
      7. HAWKS: Several species of hawk are found in this area. Generally eat rodents, but have been know to seize a very small kitten.
      8. RACCOONS: Related to the bear; can be aggressive; inquisitive, opportunistic, dexterous. Keep any food locked with a raccoon proof closure. Will attach and kill cats, kittens, or puppies.
      9. SKUNKS: Generally shy; will avoid you and your pet.
      10. TURKEYS: Not indigenous to this area; Noisy, messy; eat reptiles, seeds, bugs