Presque Isle Region

Weighing in

All of us at the Central Aroostook Humane Society hope that you had a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving holiday.  One change in shelter hours: just for the month of December, we will be closed Thursdays for training purposes.

If anyone stopped by the “Paws & Kisses” booth at the County Christmas Market and Craft Fair on Nov. 20, then hopefully you saw the wonderful table filled with a dozen or more raffle items to benefit our animals.  Nicole Pelletier of Caribou chose the shelter this year to do a wonderful fundraiser which featured beautifully decorated gift baskets filled with many unique items.  She solicited donations from local merchants and prepared an amazing display.  

Nicole raised $450, and much of the funds will purchase needed items from the shelter’s Amazon wish list. Nicole chooses a nonprofit each year to help, whether it’s the veterans, Toys for Tots or other very worthwhile causes.  We are so very grateful to her for her kindness and generosity.

Now let’s “weigh in” on cats.

We are all a little guilty of indulging in wonderful food and treats, especially during the holidays, that can add unwanted calories and extra pounds to the waistline. Our cats can also be a bit lazy, and for those that always have an overflowing bowl of food left to the cat’s discretion, then it’s easy to see extra weight and “fat pads” appearing. 

The key to trimming Kitty’s waist line is pretty basic — less food and more exercise. Yup, the same for us humans.

The first step is not leaving an unlimited supply of food.  Offering more frequent feedings of smaller amounts of food is one option. Pet food manufacturers have caught on and are tailoring their products to our cats’ needs.  For instance, there are now formulas available for senior, less active cats.  If you’re not home during the day, you may want to invest in an automatic cat feeder that allows you to set the amount and frequency that Kitty’s food is dispensed.

All the dieting in the world won’t help weight loss the way dieting combined with exercise will. Of course, if you’re embarking on an exercise program for your cat, particularly if he or she is overweight, it’s best to tell your vet and get Kitty a physical check-up.  One of the best ways to get your cat’s heart pumping is to toss favorite toys.  You may want to purchase or build a series of shelves or perches for Kitty to climb, or put down cartons or paper bags to explore and climb in and out of.   

The minute any box comes into our home, Willie and Annie are always anxious to explore and play inside.  

Providing your cat with something to scratch is a must, whether it is store-bought posts, a clean piece of wood or a piece of carpeting rolled so that the backing is exposed (cats prefer the backing). 

If your cat loves to hunt and pounce, try one of those kitty fishing poles from which a toy dangles. Of course, you’ll need to play with your cat with this one, but you’ll both have a lot of fun.  Just remember to put this one away when you’re not playing to prevent your cat from getting entangled in the string and choking.  

Another option is that you may want to consider adding a second cat to your family as a playmate.  Sometimes this works — but our previous cats lived together for 18 years, but never really “liked” each other.  

Either way, keeping an eye on your kitty’s health will not only benefit the cat, but will assure your furry friend will have a long and happy life.

Check out Facebook for our pets that are up for adoption, or stop by the Central Aroostook Humane Society, 24 Cross Street, Presque Isle. The shelter hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, closing 12 to 12:30 for lunch. 

Reminder that the shelter will be closed Thursdays through December. 

Please be responsible — spay/neuter your pets.

Gloria J. Towle is the secretary and a member of the board for the Central Aroostook Humane Society.

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