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TCAP Sterilizes 3,868 Feral Cats During Q1 2024

At the heart of our mission is the desire to end animal overpopulation and improve community animal welfare.  

This is why we are proud to offer our Feral Fix Program.  TCAP covers the cost of sterilizing the first 12 feral cats presented each day at our eight (8) DFW area clinics.  We also offer select “Free Feral Days” throughout the year to further help with this community need.  

We are pleased to report that TCAP performed free sterilizations on 3,868 feral cats during Q1 of 2024 (Jan-Mar).  This represents an increase of 18%, or 586,  over the same period in 2023. Feral cat sterilization is crucial to reducing the number of feral cat colonies in DFW.

Our team is grateful to the community members who use their time and resources to bring animals to TCAP each day.  

Your efforts help us to stop the growth of feral colonies throughout North Texas.

TCAP performs 3868 sterilizations during Q1 2024

The TCAP Feral Fix Program

The TCAP Feral Fix Program is designed to address feral cat colonies in North Texas.  Feral cats are unsocialized outdoor cats that have limited or no physical contact with humans.  Domestic cats who have left their homes or been abandoned can become feral.  The offspring of these cats who are completely born in the wild are feral cats.  They fear humans are not able to be adopted.  Often, these feral colonies experience high mortality rates due to disease, lack of food, and predation.

Each of the eight (8) TCAP clinics across DFW provides free sterilization for the first 12 feral cats presented each day.  Appointments are not necessary for this program.  They are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.  All cats must be transported in a live trap.  Feral cats that are scheduled for a sterilization appointment are charged just $20.

Drop-off occurs each morning at 8 am and pick-up is at 3 pm.  However, we do recommend getting the clinic early to secure your spot in line.

The Feral Cat Issue

According to a report by the USDA, there are up to 80 million feral cats in the US. Efforts to address the feral cat issue involve a combination of strategies. These include trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs. These programs humanely trap feral cats, spay or neuter them, and then return them to their environment. TNR programs are often coupled with efforts to monitor feral cat colonies. Education about responsible pet ownership is important. This includes spaying and neutering and access to affordable veterinary services.

A single pregnant female feral cat has an average of 1.4 litters per year. Each litter has an average of 3 kittens. 

Assuming one female per litter, that single female can create a colony of over 50 cats in just 5 years.  This includes the offspring of her litters.   Depending on survivability, litter size, the number of breeding females, these numbers can be even higher.  

Feral cat colonies can contribute to the spread of disease and other negative ecological factors such as predation on local wildlife including birds and rabbits. 

Cats carry the highest source of rabies risk in the US, according to the CDC.  

Here are some of the key concerns with feral cat colonies:

  1. Overpopulation: One of the primary issues is the overpopulation of cats, both domestic and feral. Cats can reproduce quickly, and without intervention, their populations can rapidly grow out of control. This overpopulation leads to increased competition for resources, spread of disease, and negative impacts on local ecosystems.

  2. Abandonment: Many feral cats are the result of abandonment by their owners. Some owners may release their cats outdoors, believing they can fend for themselves, while others may abandon them outright. These abandoned cats often join existing feral colonies or form new ones.

  3. Lack of Spaying and Neutering: Failure to spay and neuter pet cats contributes significantly to the feral cat population. Unaltered cats are more likely to reproduce, leading to more kittens being born into the feral population. Lack of access to affordable spaying and neutering services in some areas exacerbates this problem.

  4. Health Risks: Feral cats face numerous health risks, including exposure to diseases such as feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leukemia virus (FeLV), as well as parasites like fleas and ticks. These health risks not only impact the cats themselves but can also pose threats to other animals and even humans.

  5. Impact on Wildlife: Feral cats are skilled hunters and can have significant impacts on local wildlife populations. They prey on small mammals, birds, and reptiles, which can disrupt fragile ecosystems and threaten native species.

  6. Community Concerns: Feral cat colonies often become a source of concern for local communities due to issues such as noise, odor, and the spread of disease. Additionally, conflicts can arise between advocates for the cats and those concerned about the welfare of wildlife and public health.

Post Spay Care for Puppies: Ensuring a Smooth Puppy Spay Recovery

Spaying your puppy is a critical step in preventing unwanted litters and a significant aspect of responsible pet ownership. After the surgery, it’s crucial to ensure a smooth puppy spay recovery for your furry friend. In this blog post, we’ll provide essential tips for a successful puppy spay recovery, helping your young pup get back on their paws in no time.

Follow All Post-Op Instructions:

The TCAP team will provide you with specific post-operative care instructions. It will be a yellow sheet that is reviewed with you at the time of pick up.

These guidelines are tailored to your puppy’s needs and are essential to follow. These instructions include information about feeding, activity restrictions, what signs of complications to look for, and TCAP’s walk-in recheck hours.

TCAP provides free rechecks during any of our posted walk-in vaccine hours. If you have misplaced your post-operative instructions, visit: Post Operative Care.

Monitor the Incision Regularly

The post-op instructions contain several essential instructions, but chief among them is monitoring your pet’s incision. After the surgery, regularly check the surgical site for any signs of swelling, redness, bleeding, or discharge.

If you notice any concerning changes or if your puppy appears to be in pain, contact TCAP’s post-operative line (940) 395-4306, or bring your puppy in for a free recheck.

Manage Your Pet's Recovery

Create a quiet, comfortable space for your puppy to recover. Keep them in a clean, dry, and warm area. A cozy bed and some familiar toys can help keep your puppy calm and content.

If your puppy lives in a household with other pets or children that they like to play with, it is advised that you keep your puppy in an isolated area during their recovery. Rambunctious play, jumping, or running can cause strain on your puppy’s incision, leading to swelling that can either delay their recovery process or create a need for corrective surgery.

When you take your puppy out to the bathroom, please keep them on a leash and only let them out there long enough to do their business.

Recheck Hours

TCAP provides free rechecks during any of our posted walk-in vaccine hours. Pets brought in for a recheck will receive priority service, meaning that you will not need to wait in the main vaccine line. If you need to bring your pet in for a recheck, please just let a TCAP staff member know that you are there for a recheck, and they will guide you through the process.

A puppy’s spay recovery is a manageable process with the right care and attention. By following these tips and adhering to your post-operative instructions, you can help ensure a smooth healing process for your young canine friend.

 

Kitten Vaccines: Common Misconceptions Debunked

Kitten vaccines are a vital component of feline healthcare, playing a crucial role in safeguarding the long-term health and well-being of your feline companion. For a deeper understanding, read our comprehensive guide on kitten care for more detailed information.

Misconception 1: "Kitten Vaccines Aren't Necessary for Indoor Kittens"

One of the most common misconceptions is that kittens don’t need vaccinations. Some pet owners believe that indoor kittens or those who don’t come into contact with other cats are safe from diseases. However, this is far from the truth.

Kittens are born with temporary immunity from their mother’s milk, but this protection wanes as they grow. Vaccinations are essential to bolster their immune systems against deadly diseases, even if they primarily live indoors.

Misconception 2: "Vaccines May Cause Illness in Kittens"

Another prevalent myth is that kitten vaccinations can make them sick. While it’s true that some kittens might experience mild side effects like soreness at the injection site or lethargy, these are generally short-lived and much less severe than the diseases vaccines prevent.

The vaccines are designed to stimulate the kitten’s immune system without causing the actual disease, ensuring their long-term health.

Misconception 3: "Kittens Should Get All Vaccinations at Once"

Some pet owners believe that it’s best to give all vaccinations at once to save time and money. However, this approach is not recommended.

Kittens’ immune systems need time to develop and respond to vaccines. Overloading them with multiple vaccines simultaneously can lead to an overwhelmed immune system and a higher risk of adverse reactions. Veterinarians typically follow a schedule that allows for proper immune system development and optimal protection against various diseases.

Misconception 4: "Only Kittens Need Vaccines"

It’s essential to understand that vaccinations are not only for kittens but for cats of all ages. While kittens require a series of vaccinations to build immunity, adult cats also need regular booster shots to maintain protection throughout their lives. Your veterinarian will help determine the appropriate vaccination schedule for your cat based on its age and lifestyle.

Misconception 5: "Kitten Vaccines Guarantee Complete Immunity"

Kitten vaccines are highly effective, but no vaccine provides 100% protection. Some kittens and cats may still contract a disease even after vaccination, but the severity of the illness is generally much milder in vaccinated cats. The primary purpose of vaccinations is to reduce the risk and severity of disease, making it a crucial preventive measure for your pet.

Kitten vaccines are a fundamental aspect of responsible pet ownership. It’s essential to be well-informed and separate fact from fiction when it comes to your kitten’s health. By understanding and debunking common misconceptions about kitten vaccines, you can make informed decisions that will protect your feline friend from potentially life-threatening diseases.

5 Thanksgiving Foods Dangerous for Pets

Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude, delicious feasts, and quality time with loved ones. However, it can also pose potential hazards for our pets, as many Thanksgiving foods are unsafe for dogs and cats. We’ve outlined five common Thanksgiving foods that are unsafe for pets.

1. Turkey Bones

Turkey is a common main course for Americans celebrating Thanksgiving. However, turkey bones can splinter and cause choking blockages or internal injuries for your pet. Keep all poultry bones far away from your pets.

2. Fatty Foods

Rich, fatty dishes like gravy or buttery mashed potatoes can lead to digestive issues, including pancreatitis. Avoid feeding your pets these high-fat foods.

3. Chocolate

Chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic to pets. Keep chocolate desserts out of their reach.

4. Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic, common in stuffing and many dishes, are toxic to pets and can cause severe health problems. Keep them out of reach.

5. Desserts with Alternate Sweeteners

Xylitol, a sugar substitute often used in desserts, is highly toxic to pets. Be cautious when baking or storing treats containing xylitol.

Be Ready for Emergencies:

If your pet does ingest something from the Thanksgiving table they shouldn’t, or you’re unsure of, the Pet Poison Helpline is a great resource. Their experts can advise if a visit to the emergency vet is warranted.

Deworming Your Pet

Deworming is a crucial step in safeguarding the long-term health of your pets. Intestinal parasites, commonly known as “worms,” pose a significant threat to both cats and dogs, and sometimes even to their human companions.

Why Deworming is Essential

Parasitic worms such as roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and whipworms can severely affect the health of your pets. These parasites cause discomfort and can lead to more severe health issues like gastrointestinal problems, weight loss, anemia, and in extreme cases, even death. While puppies and kittens are especially vulnerable, pets of all ages can suffer from worm infestations.

Dog Worms

How Pets Get Infested: The Need for Dog Dewormer and Cat Dewormer

Worms are typically transmitted from one host to another through various means. These can include the mother’s milk, ingestion of contaminated fecal matter, or soil. Often, we may not have complete health records for the mother cat or dog, especially if the pet was a stray. In such cases, administering a general dog dewormer or cat dewormer during each round of vaccines is highly recommended.

Tapeworms are unique in that they can be transferred when a pet ingests a flea. This often happens when a pet bites an itch while dealing with a flea infestation.

When to Use Cat Dewormer and Dog Dewormer

Puppies and kittens are usually given general dewormers due to their higher susceptibility to intestinal parasites. However, even healthy adult pets can get worms, making regular treatment or fecal testing essential.

For dog owners, your monthly heartworm prevention medication might also serve as a dog dewormer against most common intestinal parasites. It’s crucial to know which dewormers are present in their current medication to ensure comprehensive protection.

For cats, we recommend using a cat dewormer annually, or bi-annually if your feline friend spends a lot of time outdoors.

Deworming Methods: Choosing the Right Cat Dewormer and Dog Dewormer

The method of deworming depends on the type of worm affecting your pet. If you notice worms in your pet’s stool, consult your veterinarian immediately. Administering the right cat dewormer or dog dewormer is essential to effectively combat the parasites and prevent them from developing resistance to medications.

Oral medications can treat most worms, but tapeworms usually require an injection. This tapeworm-specific dewormer is administered much like a vaccine and may need to be given multiple times, spaced 2-3 weeks apart, to ensure complete deworming.

Deworming for a Healthier Pet Life

Deworming is an integral part of responsible pet ownership. At TCAP, we are committed to offering affordable and effective cat dewormer and dog dewormer services. Ensure your pets lead happy, healthy lives free from the discomfort and risks associated with parasites by planning your next visit to TCAP.

Year-Round Heartworm Prevention: The Truth About Heartworm Vaccines for Cats & Dogs

In Texas, mosquito activity never fully dies off due to our mostly mild winters. As a result, heartworms are a threat year-round. At TCAP, we are often asked about the best approach to year-round protection for pets. Which medication is the best? Can’t I just skip doses in the winter time? Is there a heartworm vaccine?

Heartworm Vaccines: What You Need to Know

Despite advancements in veterinary medicine, a vaccine for heartworm disease has not yet been developed. This often leads pet owners to ask, “Is there a heartworm vaccine?” Unfortunately, prevention remains the only effective way to protect your dog or cat from this devastating condition.

Year-Round Prevention: Why It’s Necessary

With mosquitoes present year-round in Texas, so is the risk of heartworm disease. Therefore, you must continuously administer heartworm preventive medication to ensure both your dog’s and cat’s protection. Skipping doses can put your pet at risk and leave time for heartworm larvae to develop into adult worms. The American Heartworm Society is a great resource for learning more about these terrifying parasites.

Prescription Preventive Medications: Your Options

The FDA mandates a veterinarian prescribe heartworm preventatives, and there are various prescription medications available to prevent heartworm disease. These include:
  • Oral tablets
  • Flavored chews
  • Topical treatments
Each type of prevention is equally capable of protecting your pet against heartworms. The type of medication you choose will often come down to your pet’s lifestyle and your preferences for administration.

Regular Heartworm Testing: A Must for Pet Parents

Regular heartworm testing is essential even if your pet is on preventive medication. Testing detects potential infections early and ensures your furry friend’s ongoing health. Heartworm tests are conducted via a small sample of your pet’s blood and take around 15 minutes to produce results.

While TCAP does not currently offer cat heartworm testing, tests for dogs are available during our walk-in vaccine hours and are affordable for most pet parents.

The Importance of Year-Round Prevention and the Absence of a Heartworm Vaccine

While no heartworm vaccine exists, your commitment to year-round prevention is the most effective way to safeguard your dog or cat from this serious disease. Heartworm prevention medications, regular veterinary check-ups, and mosquito control measures play crucial roles in maintaining your pet’s health. By staying informed and proactive, you’re ensuring that your furry companion can enjoy a life free from the threat of heartworm disease.

Adopted Kitten Care: 9 Loving Tips for Your New Pet

Adopting a new kitten is an exciting adventure. These adorable bundles of fur bring joy, companionship, and a dash of mischief to your life. Providing the best adopted kitten care to ensure your new feline friend’s health and happiness is essential.

We've compiled nine tips to ensure your adopted kitten lives a happy, healthy life in their new home!

1. Prepare Your Home for Adopted Kitten Care

Before bringing your new kitten home, make sure you’ve set up a safe and comfortable environment. Create a designated space with a cozy bed, scratching post, toys, and a litter box. Having these items will help your adopted kitten adjust to their new environment.

2. Feeding Your Adopted Kitten

A balanced diet is crucial for growth and development. Ensure you have age-appropriate food for your adopted kitten before bringing them home. Generally, kittens will eat food labeled for kittens until they are a year old. After that, they should transition to adult food.

3. Litter Training

Litter training is a significant step for indoor cats. Place the litter box in a quiet, easily accessible location. Most kittens instinctively use the litter box, but accidents can happen. Be patient, avoid scolding, and clean up accidents promptly.

If you’re transitioning your cat to a different litter than the one they are used to, and your kitten seems hesitant, try mixing the style of litter they are used to with the new type little by little over 3-4 weeks. There are many different types of cat litter (clumping clay, paper pellets, amorphous silica gel, and more), and it may take some experimenting to find the best litter for your household.

kitten resources

4. Adopted Kitten Socialization

Early socialization shapes your kitten’s behavior and temperament. Introduce your kitten to various people, experiences, and gentle handling. Handling them regularly and introducing them to new people make future vet visits less scary for your furry friend.

5. Veterinary Care

Regular veterinary care is essential for your kitten’s health. Ensure your kitten is up to date on vaccinations, deworming, and heartworm prevention. We’ve developed a vaccine guide to help you understand which vaccines your kitten needs and how often.

If your new kitten needs these wellness services, bring them to any of our walk-in vaccine events, and our team is happy to assist.

6. Introducing Other Pets

If you have other pets in your home, introduce them gradually and under supervision. This process requires patience, positive reinforcement, and a safe space for your kitten to retreat if needed.

High-quality vet care

7. Kitten Grooming & Hygiene

Regular grooming keeps your kitten’s coat clean and healthy and strengthens your bond. Brush your kitten’s fur and trim their nails regularly. If you’re unsure how to trim your cat’s nails, TCAP’s staff are happy to help with that, too (as long as your kitten is up to date on their rabies vaccine).

8. Kitten Playtime & Enrichment

Kittens are naturally curious and energetic. Engage them in interactive play to stimulate their minds and bodies. Provide a variety of toys to prevent boredom and encourage physical activity.

9. Monitoring Health and Behavior of Your Adopted Kitten

Pay attention to your adopted kitten’s behavior and health. Watch for any signs of distress, changes in appetite, litter box habits, or unusual behaviors. Early detection of issues can lead to prompt treatment and better outcomes.

Bringing a newly adopted kitten into your home is a heartwarming journey filled with joy and responsibility. By following these care guidelines, you’ll provide the best possible start for your kitten’s life. Remember, consistent care, patience, and love are the keys to a happy and healthy life for your new feline companion.

Cat Lovers Unite: FlexiScoop Sales Benefit TCAP

Self-proclaimed clean freak, cat lover, product designer, and owner of Product Design House, Joan Eckstein, is donating 25% of the proceeds from every FlexiScoop Litter Box Scoop sale to Texas Coalition for Animal Protection.

“We’re continually amazed by the pet lovers of North Texas,” said Stacey Schumacher, TCAP Executive Director. “Product Design House’s donation to TCAP via product sales helps solve two problems cats face: dirty litter boxes and overpopulation. These contributions to TCAP help fund programs like our free Feral Fix — providing free spays and neuters to community cats across North Texas.”

Retailing for $20, the FlexiScoop sports an ergonomic handle, built-in ribs for extra strength, a beveled-edge scraper/rake, and a hanging loop. However, the best part of the FlexiScoop is its ability to help mitigate two problems at once, a stinky litter box and subsidizing free spay and neuter for cats in need.

“I believe that inside cat lovers love all cats,” said Eckstein. “That’s why we’re happy to help community cats with a contribution to TCAP.”

Check out the FlexiScoop, and learn more about its creator at theflexiscoop.com.

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