Operation Catnip Clinic Stations

High volume spay and neuter clinics like this one require up to 75 volunteers at each event.

The effort to care for community cats now has a powerful new tool to help reduce cat overpopulation and improve the lives of the tens of millions of unowned cats in the United States.

Dr. Julie Levy, director of the Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in Gainesville, Fla. founded Operation Catnip in 1998. Since then, the successful trap-neuter-return (TNR) operation has cared for more than 45,000 felines, establishing a successful and replicable program that can now be shared across the nation.

Through a grant from PetSmart Charities, Levy’s training program and educational materials will be made available to veterinarians, vet students and vet techs to set up their own regular, high-volume, local spay and neuter clinics.

By following Levy’s proven best practices and turnkey processes for high-volume clinics, local volunteers, veterinarians and other partners can help cut down on the number of community cats and ensure better care for them. According to their web site, recent Operation Catnip clinics have cared for up to 180 cats at one event.

“Our vision is to train an army of veterinarians to spay and neuter America’s community cats,” said Levy. “This approach, along with vaccination, will allow us to reduce cat population, control infectious diseases, and improve the lives of the cats.”

While veterinarians perform spay neuter operations in their own practices, these high-volume clinics involve up to 75 volunteers at each event and require extensive set up and coordination with the community. Levy’s program and materials outlines the entire effort down to the detail, making establishing a volunteer clinic efficient and effective.

The on site process begins when community cat caretakers or other concerned citizens bring in cats that they’ve trapped.

Each cat passes through a series of 16 clinic stations where a team of dozens of dedicated volunteers, including veterinarians, students, technicians, and cat lovers operate MASH-style.

One experienced volunteer is serves as the captain for each station. Each captain manages their own station, facilitates the flow of cats through the clinic, acts as a mentor for less experienced volunteers, and oversees set up, break down and clean up of their station.

The Operation Catnip volunteer veterinarians, vet students and vet techs sedate the cats, spay or neuter the cats, vaccinate them and treat them for fleas or other parasites. They give the cats the customary identifying “ear tips” where they clip a small piece of the tip of the cat’s ear to signify to others that the cat has already been neutered. Once the cats have had time to recover, the cats are released back into the areas in which they were found.

Those who have worked under Levy in the past have found the experience gained through her program to be not only beneficial to their own communities, but inspiring, as well.

Dr. Amy Karls, a veterinarian in Massachusetts who is involved with four local community cat organizations, applied knowledge she’d gleaned from her time with Levy to her own practice.

“I was able to bring everything I learned back to our local rescue and TNR groups,” she said. “It was truly wonderful to see so many people united for the common goal of improving the lives of the homeless cat population.”

Thanks to the PetSmart Charities grant, others like Karl can now implement Levy’s practices, creating their own trap-neuter-return clinics and helping cats across the country.

Hahaha! This guy is hilarious. I love how he slowly removes the fluff and then stares. Happy Caturday, friends!

CatVacay.com launches! Guest post by the Staff

Cats have a reputation for being low maintenance and for not being too concerned when their human staff is out of town. They may not admit it and they may put on the “Oh? You were gone? I didn’t even notice” attitude when you get home, but the truth is, most cats do get lonely and anxious when their people are away.

Our family has been in situations where we’ve lived in new cities where we didn’t know anyone….and one of our biggest sources of angst was who would watch Romeo and Pugsley if we needed to leave town. In fact, finding a cat sitter is always higher on our list than finding a pediatrician for the human kids. Doctors are a lot easier to find than good pet sitters. It’s a fact.

So I’ve been there. When I learned that DogVacay, the premier online resource for dog owners looking for qualified pet sitters to watch their beloveds, is launching CatVacay, I was super excited.

Since 2012, DogVacay has helped owners find sitters who can either watch your dog in your home or….as the name implies…in their home, giving your dog a vacay of his own!

Of course, a cat’s idea of a vacation is certainly not in someone else’s home. Felines are more of the staycation type.

So, CatVacay is all about finding someone to watch your cat in your home, where they are comfortable and secure. Sitters are available for either check-in visits or to stay in your home with your cat while you’re gone.

Here’s how both DogVacay and CatVacay work: You visit the site and type in your zip code to find a list of sitters near you. Then, you schedule a meet and greet, phone call or other communication with your sitter. Once you’re comfortable with your choice, you simply book the sitter and pay online.

Then you can hit the road knowing that your sweeties are in good hands.

All sitters are vetted, including background checks, interviews and references. Many sitters have their own pet sitting businesses and work through DogVacay or CatVacay to connect with customers.

Each engagement includes vet insurance, 24/7 emergency support and daily photo updates.

Average CatVacay check in visits run $15-20 per visit. Someone staying with your cat while you’re gone obviously runs more and varies from sitter to sitter.

So with spring break and summer vacation right around the corner (can I get a hallelujah for that?) the time is perfect for CatVacay to launch.

Friends, how have you found cat sitters? What special things do they do that stand out to you?

Oh, and just so you know: this is a sponsored post by CatVacay. But as you know, I only feature products and services that I believe are quality! And, revenue from this site goes to help homeless pets so everybody wins! Love you guys!

We all know our pets have stolen our hearts…but check out these sweet dogs and cats who wear their hearts on their fur…..

Joey, courtesy of Robin Olson of Kitten Associates

I love this boy’s tongue heart! Lebowski’s kisses have extra love in them! Thanks to the Humane Society of Flower Mound, this loverboy now has a home!

Lebowski, courtesy of Jenny Froh

Effy was born with a heart on his sweet little puppy chest! He’s a big dog now and oh, so loved by his family.

Effy, courtesy of Shan Ross

How much do you love Sparky? He’s a two-year-old pittie mix located in South Jersey.

Sparky, courtesy Bill Tierno, Don’t Bully Us Rescue

Sweet senior Sara will steal your heart…..

Sara, courtesy of the Nevada Humane Society

Ella never has to decide whether to follow her heart or her head…..they are one in the same!

Ella, courtesy of Lisa Printz Fishler

Moo exposes his secret heart when his legs come together! Here is a photo of Moo with his mama, the creator of Your Daily Cute.

Moo, courtesy of Dorian Wagner

Here’s Rome….what a sweet angel!

Rome, courtesy of Nancy Hassel, Long Island Pet Professionals

Check out Houndy. He (and his side heart) found his furever home through Underdog Rescue in Phoenix, Arizona. Aroooo!

Houndy, courtesy of Pause Image photography

Iggy always has love on his mind. Good boy, Iggy!

Iggy, courtesy of Lisa H.

Pandi’s family found him on a back street in St. Louisville last summer. He was so tiny and had a very badly infected eye. He was only 7.5 ounces when they found him but is now a healthy, beautiful, very playful member of his new household! His side heart shows just how much he loves his people!

Pandi, courtesy of John and Laurie Wright.

Here’s Dexter – such a handsome boy who is definitely the love of his mama’s life!

Dexter, courtesy of Carol Bryant

I don’t know what’s more incredible – this lovely lady’s pretty eyes or her fur heart. She’s just all around stunning. Obviously someone else agreed because she’s now happy with her new family, thanks to Louie’s Legacy in Staten Island, NY.

Pretty girl, courtesy of Carol Locey Photography

Searcher is a sweet little girl with a sweet little heart! She found her home through the Helen Woodward Animal Center and is surrounded by love from her new family.

Searcher, courtesy of the Helen Woodward Animal Center

Thomas has THE cutest heart shaped nose. Don’t you want to kiss it?

Thomas, courtesy of Joan DeMartin

We love Kya’s chest-heart and her pink tutu! Thanks to Guardian Angel Rescue in Brewster, NY for sharing this photo of sweet Kya.

Kya, courtesy of snootydog.com, Gina Accurso and Guardian Angel Rescue

There’s a reason this boy is named Romeo…..

Romeo. Love.

Catnip: One Cat’s Opinion

February 6, 2015

Catnip is a great thing. But it’s often misunderstood…..like many people don’t realize that not all cats love catnip. I do…but my compadre the Pugman does not. *Shrug*

The staff wrote this article about the different kinds of catnip users that definitely describes those who partake in the nip.

But then we found this great infographic that I thought was quite thorough in its explanation of what catnip is and the ins and outs of usage. Bottom line: Catnip = good stuff. We like it. Or, at least 50% of us do.




Dear Kitten Super Bowl Video

January 24, 2015

Oh man you guys…this is a funny, funny video!

BuzzFeed and Friskies just released this hilarious video….a Superbowl ad titled “Dear Kitten: Regarding the Big Game.” The video is available online and is airing in only three markets during the game:

Kitty Hawk, N.C., Los Gatos, Calif. and Pawnee, Neb. Hahahahahahahaha!

Here’s the video:

The video is one of the Friskies “Dear Kitten” series. In the series, an older, smarter cat explains life to a kitten. They are FUN-NY. Check out the other videos here.

How cute? OK let us know what you think in the comments below….
Meow for now!

Up on the Bed Top

Up on the bed top kitties pause
Careful not to use our claws
Tickle your face and paw your head
All to get you out of bed

Wake up now
Wake up now
It’s time for you to start your day
And get our BREAKFAST on its way

We’ll try meowing loud and clear
In your face and then your ear
Nuzzle your neck with our wet nose
Whatever it takes so you won’t doze

Wake up now
Wake up now
It’s time for you to start your day
And get our BREAKFAST on its way

Next we’ll target your left ear
Lick it, nose it, sneeze in there
Then we’ll stand upon your head
That should get you out of bed!

Wake up now
Wake up now
It’s time for you to start your day
And get our BREAKFAST on its way

#drivepetshomeAttention rescues, shelters and those who love them in NYC, Chicago and Los Angeles!

There is a super cool event going on NOW through Oct. 10 sponsored by Get-A-Pet, an organization with a history of helping place homeless pets from rescues and shelters into forever loving homes.

Get-a-Pet has partnered with Halo Purely For Pets, GMC and Chevrolet to donate three vans full of Halo Spot’s Stew and a total of $9,000 in cash to a handful of lucky rescues and shelters.

“Drive Pets Home” will be the first of its kind scavenger hunt, which will take place in New York City, Chicago and Southern California from October 1 – October 10. Get-A-Pet is releasing clues through Facebook and Twitter to find three hidden keys in each city.

Fans will follow the clues to find the key that will unlock one of three vans that will be filled with Halo Spot’s Stew. The vans will be donated to one lucky rescue of the finders’ choice in each market.
But that’s not all: every “Drive Pets Home” key is a winner.

The holder of the key that unlocks the van filled with Halo Spot’s Stew will receive $1,000 cash, and choose the animal rescue that receives the van. The finders of the other two keys will receive $500 cash, and get to choose an animal rescue that will receive a $500 donation.

It’s easy to participate! Just do this:

  • Simply Follow Twitter, @GetAPetToLove and Facebook.com/getapettolove for clues to where the keys are hidden in New York, Chicago and Southern California.
  • The New York event is happening right now. Chicago clues begin Sunday, October 5 and Southern California clues on or around October 7.
  • Look for clues and hunt for the keys.

Let me know if you are going to participate and we’ll cheer you on!

Meow for Now!


Believe me, Pug has been working it today. He’s no dummy.

Black Cat Appreciation

Bonjour, Guy! Photo: Catastrophes

Bonjour, Guy! Photo credit: Catastrophes

Great news, cat peeps (and cats)! A new web video series has launched that uses comedy to promote an important topic that is oh, so close to our hearts: adoption.

CATastrophes recently made its debut on Discovery Digital Network’s Animalist.com.

The series is the brainchild of Alana Grelyak and Michael Gabriele, a Chicago-based husband and wife film making team, along with actor and comedian Kris Flanagan.

You may remember these guys from their other very funny videos, a couple of which were finalists in the Catdance Festival: CATalogue and Inheritance.

Alana also pens a blog called Cat in the Fridge, all about special needs cats, and is a huge animal advocate. Love her. 

This series is poised to do great things to raise awareness for homeless pets in an entertaining and creative way.  Each show features hilarious cat antics and the long suffering couple who has to put up with them (although it’s obvious they really don’t mind!)

Plus, each episode weaves in an important adoption message. “We hope our work will make more people aware of important topics, like adopting special-needs pets, or making sure their kitties are spayed and neutered,” says Grelyak, “but we want to do it in a funny way that will make people want to hear more about it. We feel like it’s a fresh approach to reaching viewers that would prefer to laugh instead of having their heart strings tugged.”

And, all of the stories feature adoptable cats (yay!)

Episodes include Cats vs Zombies – Feeding Your Cat In The Zombie Apocalypse; the hilarious adventures of Wellington, a cat who can time travel, starring none other than LIL BUB, the story of Guy, a French cat who comes to America looking for love, and more.

Plus, you’ll also find shorter videos featuring tips for living with cats (also quite entertaining, I must say).

We love this entire concept and are so excited to support it and know you will, too.

So, what can you do to help this wonderful series spread the good word about adoption?

1. Watch the series. And get ready for some giggles.

2. Subscribe to the videos so you don’t miss any. They’ll be appearing weekly on YouTube and on Animalist.com.

3. Share the videos with your social networks.

Thanks, CATastrophes, for your creativity and dedication to helping pets in need – in a fun, entertaining way!

xo, R & P

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Discovery Digital Network. I’m being compensated for helping spread the word about CATastrophies but, like all income we receive from this site, the sponsorship money will go to cats in need! Meow!