Ask Hopeful Henry: What to do about ‘spare’ pets
Dear Hopeful Henry: I’m writing about the neighborhood “spare cat.” He is a Siamese who has been seen in the neighborhood for a few months. He had a collar but now it’s gone.
Last night, he showed up at my door about 9 p.m. I fed him and let him in and he finally let me pet him. He is a sweet cat and I don’t know what to do. I already have covered the area with fliers in hopes of finding his owner. Any suggestions about what else I can do? — Dana
Dear Dana: Your spare cat situation sadly happens a lot. Being that he had a collar he was obviously someone’s cat at some point. Ether he is lost or his owners moved and just left him (hard to believe but happens all too often). Tahoe is a very transient area with new people moving in and moving out all the time. Most people who move to the area are not aware of the environmental conditions of Tahoe and do not realize it is not a safe place to let you cat be an indoor-outdoor pet. The winter climate is far too cold for any pet to be left outside, not to mention the danger presented by coyotes. So, as a side note for those of you reading this article and have just moved here, do not let your cat outside unless you are with it.
Now, what to do about your spare cat situation. First you can contact the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. They have traps they can set you up with which will assist is catching a kitty that you can not handle enough to put in a cage or carrier. Once you have the cat in the trap, you can bring it to the Humane Society office and they can scan him to find out if he has a chip or not. If there is a chip, hopefully contacting the owner is possible. If no chip was used or the owner can not be located, we can take him to The El Dorado County Animal Services shelter. If he does have an owner that is looking for him, it is likely that they would check there. After all, there is a chance that Mr. Spare Cat is lost and just far from home. You would be surprised how many lost cats get returned to there owners via the shelter.
Now, speaking of the shelter, every time I suggest turning a found animal to the shelter I get a very negative reaction. With the reputation most animals shelters have I do understand that reaction; however, we are fortunate to have an amazing shelter with an even more amazing staff. They are kind and always do their very best to find homes for the animals. Even if Mr. Spare Cat is feisty toward you, the fact that he did belong to someone at some point means that he will warm up to people again. He is just in “protect mode” right now, which is why he has survived so long outside. Another advantage of him going to the shelter is it will give him the opportunity to warm up to people again, not to mention it will get him out of the cold and away from the wild animals, which will likely be his ultimate demise. Meanwhile, if anyone reading this is missing a Siamese male cat, please contact the Lake Tahoe Humane Society. Thanks. — Hopeful Henry
Dear Hopeful: I am having a tough time right now and had some unexpected expenses that left me with no money to buy my pets food (one dog and one cat). I’ve never been in this situation and don’t know what to do. — Barb
Dear Barb: Fortunately the Lake Tahoe Humane Society has a pet food assistance program for those in need. Just give them a call 530-542-2857 and they will be able to help you out with some food for your furry family members. Best wishes. — Hopeful Henry
— Submit your questions or letters via email to email@example.com or by mail to P.O. Box PET, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96158. Visit the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and SPCA on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LakeTahoeHumaneSocietySPCA. You can also become a Facebook friend of Hopeful Henry at http://www.facebook.com/Hopeful.Henry. Join us at our open house Feb. 25 from 2-7 p.m. at our new office location 870 Emerald Bay Road, Suite 104.