Join the Movement 5 Million Strong Ellen Degeneres’ HALO® Natural Pet Food & PETCO Partner to Host National Adoption Weekend April 9-10 San Diego, CA (April 2011) - Ellen Degeneres’ HALO® natural pet foods has partnered with PETCO this April to help shelter pets in a variety of ways, from ensuring they're fed a nutritious meal to providing them with a much needed home. During PETCO’s National Adoption Weekend, which is held at every PETCO store April 9-10, 2011, pet parents will have an opportunity to meet and greet local shelter animals in need of a home. New pet parents will also be able to help donate meals from HALO ® to shelter animals - the nonprofit recently celebrated the donation of their five millionth meal to a hungry pet this April. Animal lovers who visit PETCO’s National Adoption Weekend can join in by redeeming a special Freekibble coupon for $2 off any size bag of HALO Spot’s Stew® dog or cat food. For every coupon redeemed, HALO will donate one meal to In addition, one lucky new pet parent will win the opportunity to donate 10,000 HALO meals to the shelter of their choice. Halo owner, Ellen Degeneres states, “At Halo we want to promote healthy living for pets and eating good food is a big part of that. So, we agreed to donate one million meals of Halo to shelter pets. I mean, imagine, an animal in a shelter, in a cage, lonely - a good meal is kinda all they have to look forward to, until you adopt them!" PETCO’s partnership with HALO comes on the heels of the launch of PETCO Certified Nutrition, which believes every pet deserves a healthy and nutritious meal, including shelter animals. In addition to helping feed hungry dogs and cats, new pet parents can receive nutrition and care tips from PETCO representatives. Those who choose to adopt a cat during National Adoption Weekend will receive one free 16 lb. jug of PETCO Cat Litter, in addition to their HALO $5 coupon. Plus, all pet parents who adopt enjoy additional savings from PETCO's Think Adoption First Care and Savings program. Ask a store associate for details or visit HYPERLINK "" About PETCO PETCO is a privately held specialty retailer that provides products, services and advice that make it easier for our customers to be great pet parents. We operate more than 1,000 stores in 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as a leading pet products and information destination at Our nonprofit organization, The PETCO Foundation, has raised nearly $70 million since its inception in 1999 to help promote and improve the welfare of companion animals. In conjunction with the Foundation, we work with and support approximately 7,000 local animal welfare groups across the country to help find homes for more than 200,000 adoptable animals every year. ABOUT HALO, PURELY FOR PETS® For over 25 years, Halo, Purely for Pets® has created holistic pet products of uncompromising quality. Halo believes nutrition is the single most important factor in the quality of a pet’s life. Halo’s natural pet food, treats, supplements and grooming products - including the award-winning Halo Spot’s Stew, Dream Coat and Liv-a-Littles treats - are available at PETCO, Whole Foods Market, thousands of independent pet specialty and natural food stores, and online at Ellen DeGeneres – a long time Halo customer – became a part-owner of Halo in 2008, saying, “because I think Halo is incredible, I decided to become part owner in hopes that all animals have the chance to be the healthiest they can be. And I'm anxious to spread the word so that everybody knows about Halo.”

Halo feels a great sense of responsibility to serve our Customers (Including pet parents, their pets and all other dogs and cats that may or may not have a loving home at this point in time) in a manner that extends well beyond the commercial aspects of our Company. We are proud to have donated more than 1 million meals of Halo Spot’s Stew in 2010, celebrating our unprecedented partnership with the United States Postal Service to promote the 2010 "Adopt A Shelter Pet" social awareness stamp In 2011, we will donate even more, in partnership with Halo has been widely honored for our product quality and philanthropy. Recent awards include the first and only National Canine Cancer Foundation Seal of Excellence, American Dog Magazine Humanitarian Award (first place), Tails Magazine Readers Choice Award (best dog food, cat food, dog treat, cat treat), Chefs in America Best Dog Treat, Vitamin Retailer Magazine Best Pet Supplement, and much more About Freekibble With the help of Freekibble’s 400,000 loyal monthly followers, they have donated over 4 million nutritious meals to over 100 shelters, rescues and food-banks across the country. At the end of each month, Mimi personally delivers all of the donated food to the Humane Society of Central Oregon and will be working with Halo, Purely For Pets® to distribute the pet food to all the other animal shelters they are assisting. Freekibble is played in 137 countries. was created by 14-year-old Mimi Ausland, when she was 11 years old, to help feed the homeless dogs and cats at her local animal shelter. “There are 10’s of thousands of dogs and cats in animal shelters across the country, all needing to be fed a good meal… and they deserve it!”. Mimi was named the ASPCA and Humane Society of the United States Kid of the Year because of the impact Freekibble has had on feeding animals in need, and for the awareness she has created for shelter pets. and are two of the five most-visited animal rescue sites in the world. ### _____________________________________

Talking to the Community about Caring for Cats By Becky Robinson

When people contact us here at Alley Cat Allies about ways they can help cats, they’re often thinking of caregiving like trapping or feeding cats, or looking for help with organizing or fundraising. While these are all important aspects of humane cat care, there’s a very simple way you can protect cats in your community that doesn’t cost a thing: talking to people.

As a national organization advocating for cats, a major part of our work is educating Americans about feral cats and Trap-Neuter-Return—and equipping you to do the same in your community. Talking about cats at the local level—what we call “community relations”—improves cats’ lives by establishing a good relationship with neighbors and the entire community on their behalf.

Not everybody understands the nature of feral cats and colony care, so starting up an ongoing conversation with neighbors and officials will give you the chance to explain what you’re doing and respond to any concerns they may have. Establishing yourself as a contact person and encouraging community members to come to you with concerns instead of calling animal control could be the difference that saves the cats from being killed in a shelter. Being Proactive

A little bit of preemptive community relations goes a long way towards answering common questions and concerns and preventing them from developing into conflicts later on. Try these simple steps to address potential concerns before they arise:

• Whenever you start caring for cats, let neighbors or property managers know what you’re up to with informational materials like doorhangers and brochures. (Download or purchase materials in English and Spanish at Be sure to provide your contact information so people can get in touch with you if they have questions. • If you learn that cats are hanging out in areas where they are not wanted—like neighbors’ gardens, yards, porches, or vehicles—offer to provide and install humane deterrents, at your own expense if you can. Also hand out some How to Live with Cats in Your Community brochures, available at • Building or purchasing feeding stations and shelters and providing litter box areas also gives the cats more attractive options than neighbors’ yards. And, once the cats get used to them, you can gradually move them into preferred areas. Check out our Colony Care Guide at to learn how to build or buy these structures. • Practice clean and courteous colony care by removing food that the cats do not eat after 30 minutes and scooping litter areas frequently. • Don’t underestimate Trap-Neuter-Return as a bargaining chip. Often times, neighbors’ concerns are put to rest simply by explaining that the cats are neutered or that you are actively working towards that goal. Explain how this benefits the community: there will be no more kittens and mating behaviors like roaming, fighting, yowling, and spraying will stop. Talking to Anyone about Cats

Sometimes people get the wrong idea about feral cats—it’s a situation we’ve all experienced! In our experience, a little education can help bring the community onboard. Use our educational materials available at and these research-backed responses to clear up any misconceptions: • Outdoor cats have existed alongside humans for 10,000 years and in our country since it was discovered/formed. They are a natural part of every landscape. • Feral cats live healthy lives. Scientific evidence shows that they are as healthy as house cats and do not spread disease to people. • Trap-Neuter-Return is the only effective approach for feral cats. Scientific studies prove it benefits the cats and the community. • Feral cats are not adoption candidates at shelters because they are not socialized to people; nearly 100% of feral cats who enter shelters are killed. When people advocate for “no more cats outdoors,” it is a death sentence for cats. • Catch and kill doesn’t work. Decades of these failed practices show their futility. The vacuum effect caused by this method creates an endless cycle of trapping and killing. • Anti-cruelty laws make it illegal to kill a cat in every state and the District of Columbia. That means any cat—pet, stray, or feral.

If community members ask for more information, direct them to, where they will find all the science and research that supports these points. With just a few facts and handouts, you can make a huge contribution towards helping cats and people coexist in your community. Representing Cats to the Community

Talking to people about cats is as simple as having a conversation, but there are a few additional things you can do to make your discussions more effective. When you’re talking about cats or handing out materials in person, it always helps to leave your favorite cat shirt at home, to show that you are genuine about helping the community as a whole. Along these same lines, listen carefully to others’ concerns and emphasize common ground. Remind them that you all want the same thing—to protect all animals while taking the best approach for the community.

Above all, keep in mind that your goal is always to act in the cats’ best interest—which means remaining calm, open, and attentive to the concerns of the people sharing the community. If you don’t feel like you can do this on your own, try asking a fellow community member to act as a translator or ‘mediator.’

By following these easy steps and developing strong community relations in your neighborhood, you can save cats’ lives with just a few simple conversations. To learn more, check out our Community Relations Resource Center at


NAPPS Provides Advice to Pet Parents in Tsunami-Threatened Regions Disaster Preparation is Essential for Pet Safety

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. March 11, 2011– Natural disasters often leave a path of devastation, and the recent tsunami threats in California, Hawaii and Alaska underlines the importance of preparedness for these potentially life-changing events. The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS), a national non-profit dedicated to promoting the welfare of animals, is offering advice for pet parents facing the hazards associated with flooding and evacuation.

“Floods pose extreme danger for household pets,” states John D’Ariano, President of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS). “It’s essential for pet parents to anticipate their pets’ needs during evacuations. The key to safety is preparedness.”

Preparing for evacuation typically includes stockpiling and replenishing emergency supplies, planning evacuation routes, and ensuring equipment and vehicles are in proper working condition.

To protect pets in tsunami-stricken areas, NAPPS recommends the following actions:

Ensure pets are properly identified — keep a collar and identification tag on pets at all times. Make sure you have a way to keep pets safely confined if you have evacuated and are living in a temporary setting. When storing drinking water for your household, include enough water for pets. Even if you are not sure where to take your animals, do not leave them behind unless it would compromise your safety. If you must leave a pet behind, ensure it always has an escape route. Never tie an animal up if floods are pending. If your car stalls while in flowing water, abandon it immediately, taking with you any animals (unless it would compromise your safety.) Cars may only serve as traps in the face of a raging flood. NAPPS provides a comprehensive guide to disaster preparation for pet parents at its website:

About NAPPS:NAPPS is a national non-profit trade association dedicated to promoting the welfare of animals. The Association aims to help the pet owning public, those interested in pet sitting, and professionals engaged in the in-home pet care industry by fulfilling its vision statement, serving as “the most respected authority in professional pet sitting.” It does so by providing the tools and support to foster the success of its members. Additionally, pet parents can benefit from NAPPS’ free resources including a disaster preparedness guide, tips on how to select a pet sitter, nationwide referral service, and quarterly teleconferences aimed to educate the pet owning public. To find a pet sitter in your area, check out NAPPS’ nationwide “Pet Sitter Locator” at For more information on NAPPS, please follow @TheNAPPSon Twitter or join us on Facebook at

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National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, 1500 Commerce Parkway Suite C, Mount Laurel, NJ 08054 United States


Feline Nutrition

About 40 percent of cats in American households are obese.

“Obesity is a serious medical condition and has been linked to other medical conditions such as diabetes mellitus, degenerative joint disease, and lower urinary tract disease,” says Liz Kelley, veterinary technician II at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM). But here are some steps cat owners can take to ensure their cat is healthy.

When choosing food for your cat, the primary ingredient should include a high quality meat product. “Cats are obligate carnivores and have very specific protein requirements that must be met, and cannot metabolize plant proteins, such as wheat glutens and soy, as efficiently,” Kelley says. In addition to the best primary ingredients, many cat owners wrestle with the debate over canned food versus dry food and which is the healthier of the two.

Kelley recommends canned food for a number of reasons. “Canned food is a better choice for your cat,” says Kelley. “It is easier to get a higher protein content as well as more water with canned food. Dry food is a high carbohydrate food and has a low protein content. The high energy carbohydrates in dry food are also a major factor in causing obesity in cats and dogs.”

If you feel your cat is obese you should consult with your veterinarian. He or she will give you a specific diet and exercise regimen for your cat.

Kelley says that exercise alone does not work for weight loss in any species. “Diet must be the key to weight loss, and for cats a high protein, low carbohydrate diet is the best choice,” she says. “Protein is used for energy and also to maintain their muscle mass which increases metabolism and therefore weight loss.”

For your cat to maintain a healthy lifestyle, he or she needs to be properly hydrated. An 8-pound cat should drink about half a cup of water every day. “Cats get most of their daily water intake if they consume canned food,” says Kelley. “If cats are fed a dry diet, they do not get enough water from their food. You can make water more tempting by using water fountains or flavoring it with a little bit of low sodium tuna juice.”

Treats should not exceed 20 percent of the cat’s daily caloric intake. The best treats to give your cat should include protein made from dehydrated meats. “The most important thing to remember is to make sure the protein is from a high quality source and that the diet is a balanced diet,” Kelley says. Nutritional deficiencies can take anywhere from months to years to become apparent.

There is a fee-based website,, which is run by DVM consultants who are board certified veterinary nutritionists who can provide a balanced diet recipe or consult on a recipe that an owner is already using to make sure that it is healthy and balanced. In addition, the clinicians and staff of the Small Animal Hospital at Texas A & M recently opened a $70,000 kitchen donated by Nestle PURINA PetCare to help ensure that all of the furry patients’ nutritional needs are met. Several food brands will be available to guarantee the best options for all of patients. With the help from your veterinarian, you can make the changes necessary to prevent your cat from becoming obese and take the steps to give your pet a healthier lifestyle. .

I Love Cats would like to thank the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University for the information in this story.


National Poison Prevention Week March 20-26

Keeping Your Pets Safe from Common Household Items

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (March 7, 2011) – For 46 years, the third week in March has been designated as National Poison Prevention Week by U.S. Public Law 87-319. This year, it is observed March 20-26. According to the National Safety Council, thousands of lives have been saved due to physical barriers like child-resistant packaging and awareness campaigns. Likewise, in recent years, the veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline have worked tirelessly to raise awareness about protecting our vulnerable and unknowing pets from common household items that are highly poisonous to them.

“Every year, we receive thousands of phone calls from pet owners, veterinarians and veterinary technicians about potentially poisoned pets,” said Justine Lee, DVM, DACVECC and associate director of Veterinary Services for Pet Poison Helpline. “Fifty percent of the calls are for pets that have been accidentally poisoned by something that is safe for humans, but toxic to pets. It only takes a few minutes to educate yourself on how to avoid these situations. Appropriate pet-proofing and awareness of what to do in the event of a pet poisoning situation could spare you and your pet trips to the veterinarian for expensive, but life-saving treatments.”

Below are the most common household items that are toxic to pets. Ensuring that your pet doesn’t ingest them will be well worth the time and effort needed to keep them a safe distance away.

Xylitol: Many sugarless gums, including some Trident™, Orbit™, and Ice Breaker™ brands, contain xylitol, a sweetener that is toxic to dogs. Candies, mints, flavored multi-vitamins, desserts and baked goods may also be made with xylitol. Even small amounts when ingested can result in a life-threatening drop in blood sugar, or with large amounts of ingestion, liver failure. Signs of xylitol poisoning in dogs include vomiting, weakness, difficulty walking, tremors and seizures.

Human medications: Common human drugs including NSAIDs (e.g. Advil®, Aleve® and Motrin®), acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol®) and antidepressants (e.g. Effexor®, Cymbalta®, Prozac®) can cause serious harm to your pets when ingested. NSAIDs can cause serious stomach and intestinal ulcers as well as kidney failure. Acetaminophen can damage red blood cells in cats, limiting their ability to carry oxygen, and in dogs, it can lead to severe liver failure. Ingestion of antidepressants, which, of all human medications account for the highest number of calls to Pet Poison Helpline, can lead to neurological problems like sedation, incoordination, agitation, tremors and seizures.

Flowers: With Easter and spring right around the corner, flowers will begin to bloom. As beautiful as they are, some flowers can cause severe toxicity, or even fatalities, in animals. Certain types of lilies including tiger, day, Asiatic, Easter and Japanese lilies, are highly poisonous to cats. Severe kidney failure can result from ingestion of even a few petals, leaves, or even the pollen. In addition, ingestion of certain spring bulbs (e.g. daffodils, tulips) can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. More serious reactions include abnormal heat rate or changes in breathing.

Chocolate: With the Easter bunny on his way, make sure your kids hide their candy from your dog. While the occasional chocolate chip in one cookie may not be an issue, certain types of chocolate can be very toxic. Baker’s chocolate and dark chocolate pose the biggest problem. The darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more dangerous it is to our pets. The chemical toxicity in chocolate is due to methylxanthines (a relative of caffeine) and results in vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and possibly death.

Fertilizers: Many fertilizers are basic gastrointestinal irritants. However, some are often combined with dangerous chemicals and compounds called organophosphates or carbamates, which can be harmful or deadly to pets. Ingestion can result in drooling, watery eyes, urination, defecation, seizures, difficulty breathing, fever and even death.

Pest Control Products: Rodent, snail and slug baits are often used to keep pests at bay. However, if ingested, these poisons are extremely harmful to pets. They are highly toxic and without immediate veterinary attention can be fatal. Rodent baits typically can result in blood clotting disorders, brain swelling or kidney failure, while snail and slug baits can result in severe tremors or seizures.

Pet Poison Helpline recently worked with VPI pet insurance to produce several videos with helpful and interesting information about keeping your pets safe from toxins inside and outside the home. They are available here:

Remember that what is safe for humans isn’t always safe for pets. If you think your pet has ingested something poisonous, it is always better (and less expensive) to get help immediately, rather than waiting until your pet is showing severe symptoms. Contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately at 1-800-213-6680 for life-saving help. Pet Poison Helpline is the most cost-effective animal poison control center in North America charging only $35 per call, including unlimited follow-up consultations.

About Pet Poison Helpline

Pet Poison Helpline™, a division of SafetyCall International®, is a service available 24 hours, seven days a week for pet owners and veterinary professionals who require assistance treating a potentially poisoned pet. The staff can provide treatment advice for poisoning cases of all species, including dogs, cats, birds, small mammals, large animals and exotic species. As the most cost-effective option for animal poison control care, Pet Poison Helpline’s fee of $35 per incident includes unlimited follow-up consultations. Pet Poison Helpline is available in North America by calling 800-213-6680. Additional information can be found online at


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