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VACTF Manual: Chapter 6: Animal Care Practices


Female - Queen
Male - Tom

Basic Animal Care Practices

  • Fresh, clean water in a spill proof container should be accessible at all times. (See also Title 13, Section 351 (17) for new definition of "adequate water").

  • Should be fed at least once a day with a good quality cat food, based on feeding instructions on package. (See also Title 13, Section 351 (16) for new definition of "adequate food").

  • Indoor cats must be provided with litter pans and litter material, cleaned daily to prevent urine and fecal buildup and odor. (See Title 13, Section 365 (g) for new living space requirements for cats).

Additional recommendations

  • Although not required by law, cats should have yearly veterinary exams to ensure their health and to provide any necessary medications and vaccinations against feline distemper, rabies, and (optional) feline leukemia. A rabies vaccination is required by law for "domestic pets", which includes cats. (See Title 20, Chapter 193, Section 3581a (a))

  • The cat should be spayed or neutered. This will prevent the birth of additional litters and improve the health and behavior of the cat.

  • We believe that a primary responsibility of a cat owner is to protect cats from outdoor hazards by keeping them inside; however, if a cat is let outside or kept outside, it should have access to proper shelter, such as a barn, garage, etc. Feline leukemia testing and vaccinations are strongly recommended for outside cats.

Signs of neglect/cruelty - what to look for

Appearance of animal: runny nose and eyes; congested breathing; ear mites; sores from fighting; thin body; matted fur; vomiting; diarrhea; parasites or allergies; hair loss (possibly from frost bite or mange). (see also pg 264 in Appendix IV, Fact Sheets and Articles, "How to Tell if a Dog or Cat May Need Veterinary Care").

Housing Conditions: no clean litter boxes; no clean water; no food available; no shelter; overcrowding - overcrowding causes stress and infectious disease.

Behavior: excessively aggressive; fearful; listless; unresponsive; self-mutilation; constant scratching, biting at self.

If any of the elements above are present, call a veterinarian to examine animals.

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