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Pet FBI and Helping Lost Pets working together to bring more pets home!

Pet FBI is excited to announce our collaboration with Helping Lost Pets. Pet guardians who have lost a pet will now enter a report only once at either site and the information will automatically populate both databases. The larger and more comprehensive web-based information source will greatly increase the chances of reuniting lost animals with their families.

Lost Dogs of America and Lost Cats of America, additional project collaborators, will lend their considerable Facebook reach outside of Ohio to share posts on their respective social media pages.

We are thrilled about the potential of this collaboration, and we look forward to working with the dedicated team members of Helping Lost Pets, Lost Dogs of America, and Lost Cats of America!

Pet FBI was founded in 1998 in Ohio as the one of the first web-based lost and found pet services. In 2014, the service was expanded to serve the entire United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Helping Lost Pets created their map-based lost and found database in 2010. They serve the United States and Canada. All services provided by Pet FBI and Helping Lost Pets are always free of charge.

Read the full press release here.

PET FBI FOUNDER LOSES HER CAT!

“CHUCK” FINALLY RECOVERED AFTER 172 DAYS.

Chuck first showed up on our deck as a scrawny feral (wild) kitten. We took him in and gave him lots of attention and affection, but he never overcame his primal fears and would always run from us, unless we were tucked away in bed under the covers. He felt safe then and would knead and purr and delight in being petted and rubbed.

Last Spring, after three years as an inside cat and contented companion to our other felines, Chuck slipped out through a door that had accidentally blown open. I think he went through that door more out of curiosity than any desire to escape, but once outside, all his wild instincts were awakened and it was hard to get him back in.

The Pet FBI website often states that anyone can lose a pet, and we should not condemn the pet’s family. In almost twenty years as Executive Director of Pet FBI I have seen many cases of people who find lost pets, think that the family must have been careless, and use that as an excuse to keep the stray and not try to return it. But from painful personal experience, I can say most emphatically that ANYONE can lose a pet and should not be blamed for it.

Be aware that cats hang around for a while and hide. To lure Chuck back, we tried every tip and trick recommended on the Pet FBI site, all to no avail. If we tried to leave food for him, the raccoons got it as soon as we put it out. We finally found a way to outwit the raccoons by extending the legs of a table, making it possible for a cat to jump onto, but too high for a raccoon to climb.

You may have to trap. When a pet is lost its instinctive fearfulness kicks in and it may not always come to you. We bought an inexpensive security camera to monitor our deck to see if Chuck was still around. The security camera caught an infrared photo of a cat that looked like Chuck who came every night and jumped on the table to eat the food we had set out. We set a trap and caught it! We were jubilant until we took the trap into the house and into the light and saw it was not Chuck – just a tabby look-alike, undoubtedly a neighbor’s free-roaming pet, so we released it. That was the first of seven Chuck look-alikes we trapped over the six months we spent looking for him!

Take advantage of web-based resources, including social media. We used the Pet FBI database, Nextdoor.com, Facebook, and Craigslist. That resulted in many sighting reports.

Flyers are very effective, and Every Door Direct Mail may be even more helpful. We hung flyers everywhere and mailed postcards to 1,400 homes in our neighborhood through an inexpensive program run by the postal service called Every Door Direct Mail.

We had this 5×7 inch postcard made up by a local printer that also handled the EDDM mailing.

Print out an aerial view of your neighborhood. To determine what carrier routes to target for the EDDM mailing we studied an aerial view of our neighborhood (maps.Google.com) and reasoned that since Chuck is rather fearful, he would probably not venture beyond some busy streets and or the railroad tracks that bounded our neighborhood. The aerial map also enabled us to identify wooded areas and small streams that might be attractive to a lost cat.

The web-based reports, the flyers and especially the EDDM mailing produced over one hundred sighting reports.

Keep a record of sightings. People were so helpful! We kept a careful record of the sightings: who called, when and where. We plotted the sightings on the aerial map we had printed out. When there was a promising report or a cluster of sightings, we would set up a food station and a trail camera.

Follow up on sightings, using a trail camera if possible. We were fortunate to be assisted by two women who volunteer to help people recover lost pets with the aid of a trail camera. Trail cameras are motion activated and send photos, including infrared night photos, to a mobile phone via the cellular network. Then the volunteer who is monitoring the camera transmissions sends a text or an email with the photo to alert us. That was how we discovered and trapped all the wrong cats. Gray tabbies are all so similar!


An infrared photo from the trail camera. We monitored this cat for several days before we trapped him. It was not Chuck but sure looked like him! He was definitely feral but the neighbor who had reported him was willing to become his caretaker, so we took him to a special vet and had him neutered and returned to his territory. “Tiger” as he is now known has a nice shelter and is being well fed.

This is another cat we trapped thinking it might be Chuck. She looked thin – another feral. We took her to be vetted and discovered that she was lactating! Fortunately, the neighbor who had told us about her had just that morning discovered where she was hiding her kittens. We rescued them as well and took them to a shelter that accepts feral cats, which is very unusual. From the neighbor we learned that this kitty had been around the neighborhood for several years and had produced many litters. We think there is a strong possibility that she is Chuck’s Mom and that the neighborhood Chuck look-alikes that we trapped were her offspring that had survived.

Nothing succeeds like persistence. Days, weeks and then months went by and we were starting to get discouraged. Most of our flyers were gone. People take them down or they deteriorate. Sightings had gradually dried up. The weather was turning cold. I decided to do a second EDDM postcard mailing. We immediately got three sighting reports in one evening, all in the same area just up the street from us. One neighbor sent us a cell phone photo of a cat on her deck. This time we were 99% certain it was Chuck.
With that kind neighbor’s permission, we set up a feeding station and a camera on their deck. The next night we caught Chuck on camera at about 8 PM

He ate all the food. The following morning, we set the trap and waited…and waited…and waited. By 9PM he had not yet come. Marci, the woman with the trail camera who was helping us, suggested that we disarm the trap by 9:30PM for overnight or we would only catch a raccoon or a possum or worse yet, a skunk. So, we drove over there at 9:30 and discovered a raccoon who had just gotten himself trapped but had not yet had time to eat the food. We released him and scattered the food around on the chance that Chuck would come by and be motivated to continue returning to that deck. The camera had, in fact, caught Chuck showing up at 10PM, but we missed catching him because we had disarmed the trap!

Chuck at last! The trap is sheathed in plastic to avert suspicion and put in place without being armed for a few days until the cat gets used to going inside.

The next morning, we again baited the trap and waited for the call from Marci who was monitoring the trail camera. Late that afternoon we got the call that there was a cat thrashing around in the trap. We flew over there. As soon as we spoke Chuck’s name and made eye contact the cat settled down. We took a good hard look and confirmed it was Chuck!

Since he had been on the street for about six months, we could not just take him home and release him to mingle with our other cats. Fortunately, our vet was able to see him without an appointment. Chuck was very subdued, almost as if in shock. He seemed to be in pretty good shape. He had lost a few pounds, but he was not emaciated. They treated him for fleas, mites and worms, and we took him home. The vet advised us to keep him isolated for a few days, that it would be like introducing a new cat. But after two days Chuck was anxious to be liberated and have the run of the house again. It was like he finally realized that we were his benefactors and he didn’t need to be afraid anymore! Our cat-sitter, Char, pronounced him “the new, improved Chuck”!

At last the ordeal was over. No more dashing all over the neighborhood at all hours responding to sightings. No more going to bed wondering where he was and how was he surviving. No more waking up in the morning to the renewed anguish of knowing he was lost. So, we are sharing Chuck’s story to help others achieve a happy ending.

Here are some important takeaways from our experience:

  1. Like most inside cats that slip out accidentally, Chuck hung around for about two weeks, but he was hiding. We spotted him a few times, but he always ran from us. That is normal behavior for a cat in a strange environment. If it is safe and you can leave a door or window open, cats will often come back in their own good time. This initial period is the optimal time for trapping.
  2. We might have kept Chuck around if we had been able to make food available for him. Unfortunately, we were in the habit of giving leftovers to raccoons and they were always around ready to snatch anything we put out. By the time we figured out how to foil them, Chuck had moved on.
  3. Good photos are indispensable to recovery. Fortunately, we had several good photos of Chuck showing distinctive characteristics like the striping on his paws or the markings on his torso. Still, he closely resembled most other gray tabbies, possibly because they all came from the same mother as we later discovered. We used the best photo for our flyers and postcard mailings.
  4. We found Chuck through sighting reports prompted by social media (Nextdoor.com was particularly helpful), flyers and mailings. The flyers were effective only short term. Most people don’t notice them unless they have a pet themselves and often they get taken down. For example, after we spent several hours posting flyers all around a condo complex because there was a sighting, someone took them down the very next day.
  5. The EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail) elicited the best response. I think we heard about every gray tabby cat in the neighborhood after our postcards went out! Several people said they posted it on their fridge.
    You can ask a local printer to help you create a postcard for EDDM. You do not have to spend lots of money on a for-profit commercial pet finding web site.
  6. Setting up a food station, monitoring with the trail camera and trapping were necessary follow-ups to sightings. If you do not have the use of a trail camera, just go ahead and trap although you risk catching the wrong cat. Even with the aid of a camera, you may still end up catching look-alikes.
  7. If you cannot afford or cannot borrow a trail camera, there are inexpensive home security cameras that will record comings and goings of people and animals. They may not send real time photos, but at least you will be able to determine if your pet has been coming around. So, in response to sightings you should; a) get permission to set up a food station and b) OPTIONAL: monitor the food station with a camera and c) once you think your pet is coming around set a trap.
  8. Most of all, do not give up too soon. As with almost anything we try to accomplish, nothing succeeds like persistence.

We should add that the method we used to recover Chuck worked well because Chuck did not go far beyond our neighborhood of several square miles. When searching for a lost dog or an adventurous cat, you need to exploit all means to elicit sightings far and wide: the Pet FBI database, all social media including Facebook and Nextdoor.com, Craigslist, and of course flyers. To be sure your flyers are the most effective, use the Pet FBI template and follow the suggestions for posting on our advice page.


A more self-confident Chuck enjoying the comforts of home.

PLEASE SHARE YOUR STORY OF RECOVERING A LOST PET WITH US!
JUST SEND IT ALONG WITH SOME PHOTOS TO THE CONTACT LINK ON THIS

Can I share my holiday meal with my pet?

“Can I share my holiday meal with my pet?”

Our pets are part of the family and it’s only natural to want to include them with their own special dish.

If your dog or cat hasn’t had food sensitivities in the past, they can enjoy a taste of your holiday meal, but with a few precautions.

NONE of these:

  • Make sure the food isn’t too spicy or fatty.
  • Avoid ingredients such as raisins and grapes (can cause kidney failure in dogs), xylitol (artificial sweetener), onions, scallions, leeks or other members of the onion family (which can cause serious health problems).
  • No chocolate, caffeine, or alcohol.
  • No Macadamia nuts, which have a toxic ingredient to dogs (Who knew?)
  • No bones, which can splinter and cause serious intestinal damage.

YES, please! Here’s a sample plate that you dog or cat can enjoy safely. Just keep the portions small.

  • Turkey or ham, fully cooked (without bones or glaze)
  • Mashed Potatoes (if no garlic or added ingredients that irritate). Skip this one for cats because of butter and milk ingredients.
  • Green Beans
  • Macaroni and Cheese (just a taste—it’s high in fat)—dogs only. Cats don’t tolerate milk well.
  • Cranberry sauce—again, just a taste, because it’s high in sugar. Even better, your dog may prefer some raw cranberries as a treat.
  • Sweet potatoes with no brown sugar/cinnamon topping.

Your cat will be easy to please. She’ll be more than happy with a tasty slice of turkey or ham, no sides.

Happy holidays!

And remember to include on your gift list your favorite animal welfare organizations this holiday season.

To donate to PetFBI, click here: http://petfbi.org/how-to-help/donation-form/
To volunteer, click here: http://petfbi.org/how-to-help/anyone-can-help/
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Sources:
http://www.thehonestkitchen.com/articles/holiday-meals-pets-can-eat-too/
http://www.petmd.com/dog/wellness/nutrition/evr_multi_holiday_scraps2
http://www.banfield.com/pet-healthcare/additional-resources/article-library/safety-tips/holiday-foods-that-are-hazardous-to-pets?BanfieldBuildReleaseTag=20171116h
http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/thanksgiving-safety-tips

The Top 5 Safety Risks for Your Pet at Halloween

Can’t wait for Halloween? Your pet may not share your excitement.

And it’s not just the indignity of those ridiculous costumes. Here is a list of the top 5 Halloween safety risks for dogs and cats.

  1. Halloween treats with chocolate or xylitol (a common sweetener) can poison your pet
  2. When trick-or-treaters flood your porch, your dog or cat may panic and escape out the door.
  3. Electrical décor and wires and can invite chewing and turn deadly. Pets can also get tangled up in the cords causing injury.
  4. Wrappers, strings, and foil in your pet’s tummy can cause illness or blockages.
  5. More than any other time of year, cats (and dogs) are targets of pranks and abuse.

Keep your pet inside and away from the ghosts and goblins. Even the most kid-friendly pets can be overwhelmed and scared, leading them to growl, snap, or bolt.

Make sure your pet has proper identification. Microchips are recommended along with ID tags.

Not all pets tolerate a costume. If you still want your pet to sport a seasonal costume, make sure it doesn’t interfere with his vision, movement, or going to the bathroom. Try it on him a time or two before the big day, and if he struggles and shows distressed behavior, consider just a festive bandana.

Article contributed by Pet FBI volunteer, Linda Blaine.

The Big Give 2017 – Columbus Foundation

Support Pet FBI by Participating in The Big Give

WHAT IS THE BIG GIVE?

The Big Give is a 26-hour online giving event to make a difference through kindness. The Columbus Foundation, its family of donors, and corporate and community partners have provided a $1.3 Million+ Bonus Pool, encouraging everyone to support nonprofits they care about.

Donations received during the 26-hour event will be amplified by Bonus Pool funds on a pro rata basis. Everyone who gives will have their donation(s) increased. In addition, the Foundation will cover all credit card fees, so 100 percent of donations go to participating nonprofits.

HOW DO I PARTICIPATE?

Make a donation to support Pet FBI beginning on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. ET, through Wednesday, October 11, 2017 at 12:00 p.m. ET. To begin, go to our listing at columbusfoundation.org.

Donations may be made by using a major credit card (VISA, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express), starting with a minimum gift of $20.

Everyone who makes a donation will receive an email receipt of their donation.

Thank you for supporting Pet FBI!

 

Party on the Patio a Doggone Good Time!

Party on the PatioThank you to everyone who came out to support Pet FBI at Wednesday’s Party on the Patio. The weather was perfect and all the dogs, and their people, had a great time!

Special thanks to the Overtime Sports Pub and Zuko’s Pizza for hosting. The pizza was fantastic and the happy hour drink specials were amazing. The Overtime even brought out martini glasses filled with dog treats!

Dwayne Napper kept the party hopping all night with his music. Thanks Dwayne!

Many thanks to The Boutique Truck and Gleicher Treats for coming and supporting our cause as well as the representatives from Adornable.U, Rodan + Fields, Scentsy, and SignatureHomestyles.

We had such a great time, we’ve started planning our next one!

 

 

Party on the Patio for Pet FBI!

Wednesday, August 9 from 6:30-9 p.m.
Overtime Sports Pub and Zuko’s Pizza
4337 Cosgray Road, Hilliard, Ohio 43026

Join us on the patio at the Overtime Sports Pub to eat, shop, and enjoy some beverages – all for a good cause!

Zuko’s Pizza will be serving up the best pizza around while the Overtime Sports Pub will be offering happy hour specials on their dog-friendly patio.

The Boutique Truck, Columbus’ first mobile fashion truck, will be selling their amazing clothes and accessories. Gleicher Treats will have their wholesome, yummy dog treats for sale, and representatives from Adornable.U Accessories, Signature HomeStyles, Scentsy, and Rodan + Fields skin care will be selling their products as well.

Live music will be provided by Dwayne Napper. Plus, we will be raffling off some great pet-themed items!

All of these lovely businesses will be donating a portion of their proceeds to Pet FBI. Thank you! Donations underwrite the cost of services so our information center for lost and found dogs, cats, and all other pets is provided for FREE!

July 4th Pet Safety Tips

Everyone looks forward to July 4th celebrations but we here at Pet FBI know that July 5th will be our busiest day of the year. More pets are lost on July 4th than any other day of the year. Shelters typically see a 30% increase in lost pets between July 4 and July 6.

Fortunately, there are things you can do both before and during the 4th, to protect your furry family member.

Things to do BEFORE the 4th

  • Get your pet microchipped! This is a simple and safe procedure that can be done by a veterinarian. Some communities also offer free or low-cost clinics. Check with your vet or your local humane society.
  • If your pet is microchipped, check your registration to be sure the information is current. You can check your registration here; www.petmicrochiplookup.org
  • Make sure your pet is wearing an ID tag with your current contact information. You can order your pet ID tags here and support Pet FBI!
  • Be sure you have a good quality photograph of your pet showing any distinctive characteristics he or she may have. In case your pet ever gets lost, this photograph could be invaluable.
  • Check your backyard to be sure your fence is in good repair and gates are secure. Patch any holes or places where a frightened pet could escape.
  • Remember, backyard celebrations including fireworks start well before the 4th. Be prepared!

On July 4th

  • If you’re going to the fireworks, a parade, a cookout, or anywhere there might be firecrackers, sparklers, or fireworks, LEAVE YOUR PET AT HOME. Even dogs that are used to crowds and noise can become terrified and run away when they hear fireworks. At home, inside the house, is the safest place for your pet.
  • If your pet will be home alone during the fireworks, consider leaving the TV on or some soft music playing. If your dog is crate trained, you may want to put them in their crate so they feel more secure.
  • Keep your pet indoors as much as possible that day. The best-behaved pets can become spooked when they hear fireworks. Just because they’ve never slipped their collar or jumped the fence before is no guarantee they won’t do it once the booming begins.
  • It’s hot in July and animals can suffer heat stroke, dehydration, and sunburn if left in the heat too long. Make sure they have plenty of shade and fresh water. Keep them inside as much as possible. Never leave an animal in a hot car, not even for a minute.
  • Keep your pets away from lighter fluid, matches, citronella-based insect repellents, and alcoholic beverages. All can be harmful to pets.
  • If you will be entertaining, be sure your guests are careful when opening and closing the doors so pets don’t escape.
  • Exercise your pet early in the day so they will be more inclined to rest during the festivities.
  • If your pet does get lost, check your local shelter in person. Post a report on Pet FBI and follow the steps listed here.

Have a happy and safe July 4th from all of us at Pet FBI!

Can Your Pet Make You Sick?

Thanks to Amber Kingsley, who researched and wrote this article. We hope people will take heed. We have heard too many stories of people who won’t take their children to visit Grandma because her kitty has runny eyes or a runny nose, or worse yet, people who put their dogs or cats down because they seem to have a chronic “cold” although the pet is otherwise healthy, eating well and enjoying life.

We humans often suffer from the common cold or a flu virus. When we get sick, we tend to steer clear of other people so as not to transmit the infection and “spread disease”. Because these illnesses spread quickly among ourselves, we may assume that our pets are also capable of  transmitting their colds and upper respiratory infections to us.

cat w mask

In our great-grandparents’ time, it was rabies that was a huge concern when it came to animals spreading diseases. It was especially problematic with wildlife like rodents, skunks, raccoons and other nuisance animals that could come into contact with us or our pets. Thanks to aggressive rabies immunization requirements for pets, it is very rare indeed for a cat or dog to infect a person with rabies. But what about our pets’ “colds” and “flu”?

The Truth About Cats & Dogs – Colds & The Flu

In a nutshell, if a companion animal has a virus that causes a cough, symptoms of a cold or the flu, the organisms that cause these symptoms are different for pets from what  they are for humans. The bottom line is, “colds” and “flu” aren’t spread from animals to humans, or vice versa. If you’re sniffling and your four-legged friend is sneezing, this is only a coincidence and not a shared condition.

Although it’s possible that you both may need to be seen by a doctor or veterinarian,  the two aren’t linked within a shared virus. Beware, although humans usually have the ability to fight off a cold or the flu on their own, if a dog or cat is showing cold or flu-like symptoms, you should take them to see a vet immediately as these could be a sign of a different, more dangerous disease.

Kennel Cough & Upper Respiratory Infections

Kennel cough got it’s name from how easily this disease is spread from animal-to-animal in close quarters, like conditions found in shelters or kennels. Although highly contagious, especially with canines, kennel cough or Canine Bordetellosis, is not transmittable to humans (note the word canine in the identification of this disease).

sick dog

http://www.pawsomeposts.com/do-dogs-get-colds/

Cats seem to be more susceptible to upper respiratory tract infections compared to canines and this condition is also highly contagious among felines. Just as humans carry bronchitis and viral pneumonia and can pass it from person-to-person, again, these are different types of diseases that aren’t interchangeable between humans and pets.

What You Can Catch

Not to say that you aren’t in some kind of danger from catching something from one of your pets, but as you’ll see, chances and odds are slim, comparable to contracting rabies:

Lyme disease: It is “humanly” possible (but highly unlikely) for an infected tick present on a pet to detach, transfer onto a person and thereby give them the disease from a bite. Thanks to the vigilance of most pet owners who ensure their animals aren’t bothered by fleas and ticks, they’re using medications help to keep these types of nuisances at bay.

Salmonella: Reptile owners (snakes, turtles, lizards, etc.) run a much higher risk of contracting salmonella from these cold-blooded creatures since it’s commonly found in their feces. The majority of these pet owners are aware of this fact and take special care in cleaning their cages or confinement areas.

Toxoplasmosis: This is actually a condition found mostly in the feces of cats and kittens. Almost a third of humans exposed to the virus are immune to the disease, but it can be problematic for pregnant women and their unborn fetus. That is why it’s recommended that women do not clean the litter box while they are expecting.

Remember that you are far more likely to contract something contagious from a friend, family member, coworker or another human that you’re in constant contact with, rather than from a pet. Don’t let the fear of contagion stop you from being a loving pet owner or visiting “Grandma” and her rheumy-eyed cat!

Why Microchip Your Pet?

black cat reclining

“SLINKY”: SAVED BY A MICROCHIP!

Slinky went missing during a move last summer and was reunited six months later, just prior to Christmas! A woman had been feeding him outdoors about a mile from where we went missing. Not wanting to leave him outside all winter she finally got him inside, but he wasn’t having any of it. He was miserable being kept indoors and he was making her miserable. She was so exasperated that the took Slinky  to a vet to be put down. Thank goodness the vet suggested checking for a microchip …..BINGO!

In any case the vet would have had Slinky put up for adoption if no chip was found. But not all vets are as compassionate. Under other circumstances, Slinky might not have been so lucky. Some vets are victimized by their compassion. We know of one who has a large farm in northern Ohio that has turned into a sanctuary for unwanted pets she was asked to put down. Currently she is feeding and caring for almost one hundred cats and dogs!

Slinky’s story is only one of many many we have heard – reunions that have taken place after months and even years, improbable reunions that would never have happened if the pet were not chipped.

OBJECT LESSON:
Microchips work! Have your pet chipped!
Microchips are not expensive and they are not painful to insert.