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A lost pet can be a frightening experience for any pet parent. Immediate action is crucial, but where do you start? Follow the steps below for the best chance of a reunion.

What to do immediately after your pet goes missing:

Walk the neighborhood: Take a walk around the immediate area and speak to any neighbors, postal service workers, landscapers, or anyone who may have seen your lost pet. You know your pet best, so look in areas that your pet may have been interested in or comfortable hiding in. Most pets are found close to home.

Share their scent: Put a couple of your pet's favorite items near the most common entry ways into your home. The front door and the door into your yard would be the best locations. You can include items like their favorite bed, blanket, toys, their litterbox (if cat) and any other items they use frequently. Their scents may help them find their way home. 

Next Steps:


Search for your lost dog or cat on Petco Love Lost: We have partnered with Petco Love Lost to easily help search the national lost and found database and create a searchable/shareable alert for your missing pet. Upload a picture of your pet or searching by location. Powered by image recognition technology, Petco Love Lost helps match found animals to reported lost pets nationwide. Visit Petco Love Lost and search now!

If you haven't done so already, be sure to register your pet on Petco Love Lost to do things like create a Lost listing that can be shared and print out premade fliers. You can also receive fliers via text message or email. 


Use the sharing features on Petco Love Lost to distribute your lost pet listing on other social media outlets like Facebook, Craigslist, and Nextdoor.


Make sure your pet’s microchip information is updated: If a finder takes your missing pet to be scanned for a microchip, you want to make sure that all the information is correct so that you will be contacted immediately. 

Check with your local animal services, animal control, and animal shelters: Call to see if your missing pet is at one of these locations. An in-person trip is preferable so you can look and see if your pet is in their care. Many organizations allow you to place a lost report with them, where you can leave a photo of your pet and your contact information. 

Continue to spread the word about your missing pet: Make sure any posters or fliers made are large and bright with only relevant information on it. Place in high traffic areas and in the vicinity of where your lost pet went missing. 


Don’t give up! Finding a lost pet can take time. Remember to regularly check websites that you have posted your lost pet on and make updates as needed. New lost and found pets are added regularly to Petco Love Lost and to your local shelters.

Click HERE to search and report your lost pet. 



The Montgomery County SPCA Veterinary Clinic provides limited services to shelter pets and the community. It is not a full-service emergency clinic. If you are in need of emergency services, please contact a local emergency clinic:

Capital District Veterinarian Referral Hospital

222 Troy Schenectady Road, Latham, NY 12110

(518) 785-1094

Open 24 hours

Montgomery County SPCA encourages all pet guardians to have a relationship with a local veterinarian to help their pets live their best, healthiest life.


Northway Animal Emergency Clinic

35 Fawn Road, Gansevoort, NY 12831

(518) 761-2602

Open 24 hours

Spay and Neuter Resources

Spaying or neutering your pet has a lot of benefits helping them to live a happy and healthy life. The procedure can increase your dog/cat’s chance of a longer life by reducing the risk of cancer and it can help reduce unwanted behaviors such as spraying or a pet’s desire to roam.

By not spaying or neutering your pet, you risk them producing offspring you cannot take care of. Overpopulation is a problem for many animal shelters and only increases with each new litter of puppies and kittens.
It is estimated that:

  • One un-spayed female dog and her offspring can produce 11,167 puppies per year.

  • One un-spayed female cat (as young as 4 months old) and her offspring can produce 60,000+ in their lifetime.



  • Over 6 million animals end up in shelters nationwide each year.

  • Of those, 920,0003 animals end up euthanized because they don’t have a home.


While some families want to share the miracle of birth with their children, it’s our recommendation to schedule your pet’s
surgery if you are not equipped to take care of a potential litter.  Cats and dogs should not be allowed to breed with little regard for the availability of homes for their litter. Instead, use spaying or neutering your pet as a way to teach your children about responsible pet ownership.

Community resources including Montgomery County SPCA’s Prevent Another Litter Program (PAL) are helping to ensure this important procedure for every pet.

Prevent Another Litter Program (PAL)

The Prevent Another Litter Program (PAL) provides owners access to spay/neuter services for their household dog or cat at a significantly reduced cost. Services are performed at Montgomery County SPCA by appointment only. Our veterinarian provides the highest level of care in our state-of-the-art Surgical Clinic at 1232 State Highway 5s, Amsterdam.


Spay and Neuter FAQ

What is Spay/Neuter?

  • Spaying (female) and neutering (male) are surgical procedures performed by a veterinarian to remove a dog or cat’s reproductive organs. The pets are then unable to breed.


Why Spay/Neuter?

  • Spay/Neuter will increase your dog/cat’s chance of a longer, healthier life by reducing the risk of cancer.

  • Spaying/Neutering your dog/cat reduces his/her likelihood to roam, spray/mark (cats), or have aggressive behaviors.

  • One unaltered dog/cat and his/her offspring can produce thousands of puppies/kittens in a lifetime.

  • There are more cats/dogs than available homes. Spay/Neuter ensures that your pet will not contribute to the number of pets in shelters each year.


Should I still Spay/Neuter if my dog or cat is always indoors?

  • Yes, when an animal is in heat, they follow their natural instincts and can escape from your home/leash to gain access to other animals.


Will it change my dog or cat's personality?

  • No, your dog or cat may be less likely to exhibit certain behaviors like humping, spraying/marking, aggression, and roaming, but his/her personality will not change.


Shouldn't I allow my female animal to have one litter before spaying?

  • No, this is a myth! Pets who are spayed before their first heat are typically healthier.


Please note: PAL provides lower-cost routine spay and neuter surgeries to animals in good general health and is NOT a provider of emergency surgeries. If your pet is experiencing a medical emergency, please contact your full-service veterinarian.

  • Services are provided by appointment only at Montgomery County SPCA’s Veterinary Clinic in Amsterdam, NY

  • Please call the MCSPCA (518)842-8050 to make an appointment

  • A non-refundable deposit is required to schedule an appointment: *$50 for cats and dogs*  The deposit will be applied to the fee for the spay/neuter

  • Services are provided on the same day of drop off

  • Pick up is the same day your pet is dropped off

  • A $50 fee will be charged for each animal that is not retrieved by the pick-up time

  • No follow-up appointments are needed

  • Post-op care instructions are provided at discharge

Cost of Services



  • Female $180

  • Male $160


  • Female $240*

  • Male $220*


*There is a $50 additional charge for dogs over 90 pounds

What is included?

  • Spay or Neuter surgery with anesthesia and pain medicine

  • Rabies Vaccination

  • If your pet is current on the rabies vaccine, please submit proof of vaccination up to two days prior to your surgery date

  • General Exam

  • Microchip

  • Nail Trim

Other Services: Flea & Tick Treatment ($10), De-Worming ($15), Distemper Vaccine ($15), Feline Leukemia/FIV Test ($25), Canine 4DX Test ($25), Umbilical Hernia Repair ($40), Cryptorchid ($55), Carrier That Requires Cleaning ($15)

Dogs or cats must be:

  • Cats must be at least four months of age

  • Dogs must be at least four months of age

  • Be in good health

  • Have no history of aggression

  • Owned by the applicant




Foods Toxic To Dogs

  • Chocolate contains theobromine, a compound that is a cardiac stimulant and a diuretic.  After a dog has eaten a large quantity of chocolate, owners assume their pet is unaffected. However, the signs of sickness may not be seen for several hours. A dog that has ingested a large quantity of chocolate will exhibit symptoms that include staggering, labored breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, tremors, fever, heart rate increase, arrhythmia, seizures, coma or death.

  • Cocoa powder and cooking chocolate contain ten times more theobromine than milk chocolate. Thus, a chocolate mud cake could be a real health risk for a small dog. Even licking a substantial part of the chocolate icing from a cake can make a dog unwell.

  • Semi-sweet chocolate and dark chocolate are the next most dangerous forms, with milk chocolate being the least dangerous. Obviously, the smaller the dog, the less it needs to eat.

  • Onions and garlic both contain the toxic ingedient thiosulphate. Both can lead to liver failure and death. The poisoning in dogs occurs a few days after the pet has ingested the onion. All forms of onion can be dangerous, including raw, cooked, dehydrated, and table scraps including onion. Pizza, fast foods and commercial baby foods often contain onion, as well as garlic. While garlic also contains the same toxic ingredient, garlic is less toxic.

  • Mushroom toxicity occurs in dogs and it can be fatal. Amanita phalloides is the most commonly reported severely toxic species of mushroom, but other species are also toxic. Symptoms include abdominal pain, drooling, liver damage, kidney damage, vomiting diarrhea, convulsions, coma, death.

  • As few as a handful of raisins or grapes can make a dog ill; however, of the 10 cases reported to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), each dog ingested between 9 ounces and 2 pounds of grapes or raisins. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and lethargy.

  • Macadamia nuts are another concern, along with most other kinds of nuts. Their high phosphorus content is said to possibly lead to bladder stones. Dogs develop a tremor of the skeletal muscles, and weakness or paralysis of the hindquarters. Affected dogs are often unable to rise and are distressed, usually panting. Some affected dogs have swollen limbs and show pain when the limbs are manipulated.


Foods Toxic Cats

  • Chocolate is very toxic to both cats and dogs. Theobromine is the offending substance here. Caffeine and other stimulants, including theobromine, can poison cats. Do not feed your cat these “people foods” or leave them out where the cat could reach them. Feed cats a high-quality commercially prepared cat food and never feed them foods meant for humans, especially “sweets.”

  • Onions contain a substance (N-propyl disulphide) which destroys red blood cells in the cat, causing a form of anemia called Heinz body anemia. Garlic contains a similar substance in a lesser amount.

  • Tomatoes and Raw Potatoes contain a bitter, poisonous alkaloid called Glycoalkaloid Solanine, which can cause violent lower gastrointestinal symptoms.

  • Although cow’s milk is not toxic to cats, it may have adverse effects. Simply put, adult cats fed a nutritious diet don’t need milk, and many cats are lactose-intolerant, which means that the lactose in milk and milk products produces stomach upset, cramps, and gassiness. If your cat loves milk, and begs for it, a small amount of cream may be okay, two or three times a week. (The more fat in the milk, the less lactose it has.)

  • Raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin, which decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin). This can lead to skin and hair coat problems. Raw eggs may also contain Salmonella.

  • Raw fish can result in a thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death. More common if raw fish is fed regularly.

  • Fish bones can cause obstructions or laceration of the digestive system.

  • Dog Food is for dogs. If accidentally ingested, it will not cause a problem; if fed repeatedly to a cat it may result in malnutrition and heart diseases.



We know that sometimes it’s just not possible to keep a pet.  But before making the decision to surrender a pet, please consider all your options.  Reach out to friends and relatives who might be able to give the pet a loving home. All animals are welcome at our shelter, as long as we have space available. We do not euthanize cats or dogs unless there is a serious health or behavior problem, and there is no time limit for any animal. We don’t euthanize because of lack of space and spend thousands of dollars every year treating medical problems and working with certain behavior issues to make animals adoptable. We will not place an animal for adoption, however, that is a danger to the community.

If you must surrender a pet, please follow the advice below. The Montgomery County SPCA works hard to place all adoptable animals in new homes.

Do’s and Don’ts

If you have to give up your pet, please do the right thing.


DON’T drop your pet off in the woods or countryside, assuming that it can take care of itself. Pets lack the skills to survive on their own and will die of starvation or injury.


DON’T abandon your pet in a house or apartment you are moving out of, thinking that someone will eventually find it. This doesn’t always happen.


DON’T give your pet away to a stranger. You don’t know if that person is a responsible owner or even an honest person. Pets that end up in the wrong hands may be abused or sold to research laboratories.


DO try to place your pet with a trusted family member or friend, one who you are confident will love and care for your pet properly and will keep you informed of its welfare. Be sure the friend or relative understands the commitment of time and resources your pet requires and that they would like the pet because it will be a good fit for their home. Shelters receive many pets from people who knew the previous owners and wanted to help them by taking in a pet, but who did so without realizing the efforts involved in keeping the animal.  


DO bring your pet to the MCSPCA if you have exhausted all other possibilities. Call us first. Normally, our cages are full and we have a waiting list to accept new pets.

What to Expect

Surrendering ownership of your pet

If you have decided to give your pet to the shelter, you will be asked to sign a release form giving the MCSPCA legal ownership of the animal. Once you have signed the release statement, you may not reclaim your pet, so please be sure that you have made the right decision for you and your pet. Please bring any medical records you have for your pet. If you don’t have records, give us the name of the animal hospital you use so we can request records to give to the new owner.  We will ask you information about the pet’s health, behavior, habits, likes, and dislikes. This is really helpful to people considering your pet for adoption and helps us decide what kind of home would be best.  Please be honest when answering these questions; let us know if your pet has a history of biting, refuses to use the litter box, has a serious or chronic medical condition, or any other problem. Your answers help to determine whether or not your animal should be put up for adoption. It is unfair to pass on severe behavioral or medical issues to another family.



Introducing Your New Dog To Your Other Pets
The way you introduce your new dog to your resident pet is very important. It takes time for everyone to accept one another.

The best way to introduce two dogs is to take them for a walk together in a “neutral” area, making sure they walk parallel to each other. You should walk them together for at least 45 minutes as soon as you arrive home from the shelter. You will have to proceed very slowly and understand that this may be a long process. To ease the transition, put your new dog’s crate, food and toys in a designated area behind a baby gate. Giving a new dog free access to your whole house can be overwhelming to him. It gives him too many things to get used to at one time and may cause him to act out inappropriately. Also, keeping him confined allows your resident pet(s) time to adjust to having a new friend in the house without having to meet in a confrontational situation. Keep meetings brief and be sure to pick up any toys or bones that may be lying around the house because these are common things for dogs to fight over.

When introducing a dog to a cat, make sure the resident cat has a place to hide where the new dog cannot go. You can expect barking, growling, hissing, and spitting. If a meeting becomes too intense, separate everyone and try again later. With understanding and patience you will usually see a friendship—or at least tolerance— develop between your animals.


Establishing A Relationship With Your Dog
From day one, talk to your dog. It will make your pet alert and responsive to you. Offer treats for rewards, but don’t let him snatch it out of your hand. Handle your dog a lot. For example, gently massage his ears, run your hand down each leg, pick up each paw and softly touch his toenails as you give him a treat, all the while talking happily to him.  Monitor your dog’s activities in the house and the yard. Also remember to provide lots of exercise. A tired dog is a good dog. Be sure not to scold or punish, as this will only make him more afraid and turn into a contest of wills. Dogs are like young children and need to know who’s in charge, what their limits are, and what’s expected of them.

Socialize your dog. This is the most important thing you can do to help him to have a great life. If you don’t do this, he can develop behavior problems like aggression or shyness. As long as your dog has had all his shots (at 4 months of age or older) you can take him to the park, the store, and to visit your friends. Get him out and about and he’ll feel like part of the family.

If he doesn’t like the car, start by just sitting in the car with him. Once he’s comfortable being in the car, start taking him on short trips and work your way up to longer ones. If he gets carsick don’t feed him before going in the car.

When you introduce him to a new place or person, if he’s afraid at first, let him take his time to get used to things. Don’t force or rush him. Use treats to reward him for approaching new people or situations. Even when he gets older, don’t ever stop socializing your dog. It will make him happier and more confident.


If you plan to housetrain your dog, do not paper train. It will only confuse him and prolong the housetraining period. Instead, teach your puppy/dog to go outside from the moment you bring him home. Your pup won’t ask to go out, so you need to remember to take him out often. Puppies under the age of 12 weeks should be taken out every 2 hours, and adult dogs may have to go out every 4 hours. At the very least, take out your adult dog first thing in the morning, after each meal, after a nap or playtime and last thing at night. More frequent outside visits will help him to understand the system even better.

You should put your puppy or dog on a leash when you go out with him. Plan to spend no more than 5 minutes outside and don’t play with him. Puppies are easily distracted, so if they think they are going outside to play they won’t bother going to the bathroom. Playing should be done indoors or in a completely separate area from his “bathroom” so he understands why he is going outside. During housetraining, always take him to his designated outdoor spot to relieve himself. Consistently use a key phrase, such as “hurry up” or “do it,” so that your dog learns to associate the command with the action you expect. Be sure to praise him when he goes!

Inside, confine him to a small area at night and whenever you cannot watch him. A training crate is an excellent tool because dogs don’t like to soil the place where they sleep. If you can’t use a crate, confine your dog to a hall or bathroom with a baby gate. He’ll be happiest if he can hear, smell, and/or see you. He shouldn’t be isolated or banished to the cellar or garage.

At bedtime or when you leave the house your dog should be in his crate. If you do catch him in the act of messing in the house, scold him sternly but briefly. Say “NO,” and take him right outside. Do NOT hit the puppy with your hand or a newspaper or rub his nose in his stools. None of these techniques works and it destroys the bond you are trying to establish with your dog. This is important: Do NOT scold him if you didn’t see him have an accident—he won’t remember what he did wrong. There is no benefit to yelling if the act was done 5 minutes or 5 hours ago. If an accident occurs, because you weren’t there to keep an eye on him, quietly clean and deodorize it with a product for this purpose. Don’t use an ammonia-based product—it smells like urine to a dog, and he might return to the “scene of the crime.”

If your dog keeps having accidents, have your dog’s stool checked by a veterinarian. A dog with intestinal worms may have accidents he can’t control. Worms are common and easy to cure. Most dogs are 90% housebroken by 4 months of age, but they cannot be expected to always let you know when they have to “go”. It is still your responsibility to anticipate his needs.


Crate Training
A crate is one of the kindest things you can do for your dog or puppy. It is a training tool that provides a safety zone and an undisturbed place for the dog to have his own space. If you use a crate, you can leave your dog at home alone for a few hours with complete peace of mind knowing that nothing in the house can be soiled or destroyed. Your dog will be comfortable and secure in his crate, without an opportunity to develop behavior problems.

New crates can be purchased at pet supply stores. Used crates may be found at yard sales and in bargain hunter ads.  A crate should be large enough to permit the dog to stretch out flat on one side, with legs extended, and to sit up without hitting his head. If you have a puppy, buy a crate that will be large enough for him as an adult. You can block off one end of it with a box until he grows larger. This will prevent him from having enough room to go to the bathroom in one end and sleep in the other.

The object is to help him understand that the bathroom is outside in a designated area, and the house and training crate are off limits for “doing his business.” If the pup is under 10 weeks, he isn’t capable of “holding it” more than 3-4 hours so if you must leave him longer than that, or at night, it is wise to allow him access to a small area outside the crate so he won’t have to soil the crate. You might want to put the crate in the bathroom and leave the crate door open so he can relieve himself outside the crate if he needs to go. Puppies usually accept the crate within a day. An adult dog needs a gradual introduction with pleasant and positive associations.

Encourage the dog to enter the crate with tidbits of food. Let him walk in and out of the crate at will for a day. Coax him to lie down and relax. Shut the door briefly while you sit with him. Praise him enthusiastically. His bedding and a chew toy should be placed in the crate. Even if things don’t go smoothly in the beginning, don’t weaken. He will adjust.

Put the crate in a “people” area. The bedroom or the kitchen is ideal. Remember, the crate is not a substitute for human companionship, it is a training tool. Your dog still needs plenty of attention and exercise. Use of the crate should be limited to a few hours at a time.

If your dog is housebroken and is not being destructive, let him sleep in the bedroom with a family member. This won’t spoil him. Dogs are pack animals and do not like to be alone. If you can’t trust him, consider having a second crate upstairs in your bedroom for nighttime. This also gives him two places to call his own.


Obedience, Exercise and Behavior
All dogs should learn basic commands. As early as is possible, take your dog to an obedience class. MCSPCA strongly recommends that every adopter take his dog to a professional training class, even if you have previous dog experience or your dogs seems to already “know” basic commands. The experience helps to strengthen the bond between you and your dog, and helps your dog learn how to interact well with other people and dogs. While there are many excellent books on dog training, it is still important that you and your dog get “hands-on” experience with a knowledgeable trainer.

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of exercise for the physical, mental and emotional well-being of your dog. Playtime lets him blow off steam, frustration and energy, as well as teaches him important lessons on interacting with others. Puppies especially need a lot of exercise, but usually fall down exhausted after about 20 minutes. Young puppies should be allowed to exercise until they are tired. Older puppies need more. A walk around the neighborhood is great for socialization, but doesn’t meet your dog’s exercise requirements. Running after a ball or another dog is the exhausting kind of interaction he needs. Lack of exercise is the number one cause of behavior problems in dogs. Remember – a tired dog is a happy dog!

Puppy nipping is common. If your puppy is nipping, give him a chew toy. Praise him immediately when he stops nipping. Never encourage tug of war games because this only teaches aggression.  To prevent destructive behavior, puppies and dogs should be provided with no more than 2-3 toys that are safe. If he chews something inappropriate, say, “leave it” and substitute it with one of his toys. Then praise him for taking the correct item. If your dog is destructive or not housebroken, he needs to earn his freedom step by step. Don’t leave him loose in a room before he can handle such freedom. Instead, he should stay in his crate whenever he must be left alone. A chew toy in the crate will keep him busy.  You shouldn’t leave your dog unattended in the yard for long periods of time. Don’t tie him outside all day. Besides being unnatural and cruel for your dog, this leads to boredom, nuisance barking, and aggression. He wants to be with you. You are his family. If you have to leave him for a long time, hire a dog sitter.

If your dog has serious behavior problems that won’t go away, don’t give up on him—find an experienced trainer or behaviorist. With commitment and hard work on your part, your dog’s behavior will improve. There is no magic age when your dog will suddenly become a well-behaved dog. There are many issues that can affect his development, including age, breed, and experiences in life. If you pass your problem dog on to other people, he will just repeat his behavior in his new home. Working with him will help increase your bond to each other and the rewards can be wonderful. If you need help finding a trainer, feel free to call us for suggestions.


Introducing Your New Cat to the Family Pets
It will take some time to get your new pet used to other family pets, but how you handle this stage will help to prevent fearful and aggressive behaviors from developing. Remember, pets who live in the same house may never be best friends.  Here are a few tips to help them adjust to each other.

When you come home with your new cat, confine him to one room with his litter box, food, water, and a bed. Then feed your resident pet and the new cat near either side of the door to this room. This will help start things out properly with the cats associating something enjoyable (eating) with each other’s presence.

It’s also a good idea to exchange blankets between the pets or put the scented blankets underneath the food dishes so they have a chance to become accustomed to one an other’s scent. When the new cat has spent some time in his confined area, and is using the litter box and eating regularly, give him some free time in the house while the other pets are confined in the same room the new cat was in. This will allow each pet to get used to the other pet’s scent without a face-to-face meeting. It also allows the newcomer to explore and become comfortable with his new surroundings without being frightened by other animals.

This kind of gradual introduction helps to discourage fearful or aggressive behaviors. It is perfectly normal to see some level of these behaviors when they first have direct contact, but don’t give them an opportunity to intensify. If either animal becomes fearful or aggressive, separate them and try again later. You should expect hissing, spitting, and growling from cats that are getting to know each other.

Do not directly interfere if a fight breaks out. The safe way to handle an animal fight is to throw a blanket or towel over each pet. Separate them until they calm down. Until they are accustomed to each other, keep them separate when you are not home or overnight and only have supervised visits. Don’t forget that this is a process and you will need to be patient.


Making Your Home Safe for Your Cat
There are many poisonous items in your home — Lysol™, aspirin, antifreeze and many cleaning products. Make sure to put these out of reach of your pet…but remember cats are very good at opening cabinets. If your cabinets are within your cats reach, consider child-proofing them.  And don’t forget that reclining chairs, string, yarn, garage doors, and electrical cords can also present dangers for your cat.

Many household plants are also poisonous, such as poinsettia and philodendron. If your cat gets into your plants, hang the plants up high. For plants that cannot be hung, wrap the base in tinfoil or stick toothpicks into the dirt to keep your cat from digging. Or you might try spraying the plant with water and sprinkling its leaves with powdered ginger.


Outdoor Cat Facts
The average life span of a cat that goes outdoors is less than two years, while an indoor cat often lives to be sixteen years old.  Indoor cats will not become lost, be stolen, or be injured by a car or another animal. They also won’t pick up fleas or other parasites (ticks, ear mites, worms), or be exposed to a number of contagious, deadly diseases like feline leukemia, infectious peri­tonitis and rabies.  If your cat goes out and your neighborhood is safe, make sure that you have him spayed or neutered first and buy an expandable collar with an I.D. tag in case he gets lost.

Most cats are very happy indoors if they get enough attention and exercise.  Indoor cats, and kittens especially, are active and need lots of toys and stimulation. We recommend climbing toys, scratching posts, and sturdy toys like ping-pong balls and empty spools.


Litter Box Problems
The number one behavioral problem in cats is litter box avoidance. When a cat isn’t using his litter box, he is not being spiteful. He may be under stress, have a medical condition, or be following natural instincts. It is your job as the owner to determine what is troubling him. It could be a move, a new baby, or a new addition to the household. Punishing him will get you nowhere and harsh treatment only contributes to a cat’s stress and worsens the problem.

Cats require clean litter boxes. If you have an old litter box, there may be lingering odors in it. Replace it with a new one. Cats may require two boxes and there should be at least one on each floor of your house. Each litter box should be scooped daily.  Often accidents indicate stress about the litter box placement. Cats are unique. Some like covered or open boxes, clay or clumping litter, plastic liners or newspapers, scented or unscented. Most cats like a quiet, private area. You will need to experiment to determine what your cat prefers.

If you have multiple cats, allow for differences in preferences and provide a separate litter box for each cat. Remember to not put a litter box near the cat’s food dishes. We wouldn’t want to eat near our bathroom either. Conversely, if your cat is having litter box problems put his food dishes in the area of the accident to deter it.

Be sure to check with your veterinarian first about any litter box problems your cat may be having to eliminate medical concerns such as a bladder infection or worms. Clean soiled areas with vinegar and water or soda water. Do not use ammonia-based products, which smell like urine to a cat and will only attract more accidents.  As a last resort confine the cat in a room that has not been soiled in the past. After a period of time your cat should be using the box consistently, then you can expand its territory, gradually adding one room at a time. If you are trying to make an outdoor cat use a litter box indoors, try mixing a couple spoonfuls of dirt in with the litter.



What Is A Pitbull?

This question is not as easy as it may sound.  For many people, the word “pitbull” includes American Pitbull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, in other words, any dog with some terrier in its mix. Some people even include Boxers, Bullmastiffs and Great Danes. The truth is, without a DNA test, it is nearly impossible to spot and accurately indentify a true Pitbull.  This is a problem when dealing with apartments that don’t accept people with pit bulls and airlines that don’t allow them to travel.  In order to discriminate and enforce rules, people have to have an answer to this question. And in order to be “safe”, they draw a broader stroke that goes beyond the truth.


Are Pitbulls Dangerous?

Many people THINK they are, and if you ask them for proof, they send you lists of bite statistics and news reports of Pitbull attacks. The reality is that the media doesn’t actually research the breed of dog that does the attacking, and Pitbulls get the blame. Remember, it’s impossible to determine breed by appearance alone.

In fact, for this reason and many others, both the CDC and the American Veterinary Medical Association do not recommend discriminating based on breed.  The frenzy against Pitbulls is nothing but blind fear fueled by a need to find a scapegoat. There is not a single shred of proof that the American Pit Bull Terrier is a vicious, dangerous breed.


Here is an interesting FACT:

The American Temperament Test Society ( perform their standardized temperament tests regularly on popular breeds. You can visit their web site to view upcoming testing dates and actually get your own dog tested. Here is their description synopsis of the test:


“The test simulates a casual walk through a park or neighborhood where everyday life situations are encountered. During this walk, the dog experiences visual, auditory and tactile stimuli. Neutral, friendly and threatening situations are encountered, calling into play the dog’s ability to distinguish between non-threatening situations and those calling for watchful and protective reactions.”

The dog fails the test if it shows:

  • Unprovoked aggression

  • Panic without recovery

  • Strong avoidance

American Pitbull Terriers passed the test at a rate of 85.3%.  This score is higher than that of Collies, Golden Retrievers, and other dogs generally considered “family friendly”. The average dog scores around 77%.

As most dog behaviorists and trainers will tell you, a dog is almost 100% a product of it’s owner and the training it receives.  Well-trained “pitbulls” have proven highly successful as therapy dogs and search-and-rescue dogs.   The reality is, more people die drowning in backyard swimming pools every year than die from dog attacks.  That doesn’t make it any less tragic, but to call it an “epidemic” is unfair.

Pitbulls are not the first breed to be unfairly labeled “dangerous”, and they won’t be the last. According to the Responsible Dog Owners of the Western States (RDOWS), there are seventy-five breeds of dog in the United States alone that are banned or restricted somewhere in the country. Yes, 75 BREEDS. These include some odd choices, including the Airedale Terrier, Australian Cattle Dog, Belgian Sheepdog, Springer Spaniel, French Bulldog, Pug, St. Bernard, Newfoundland, and even Golden Retreivers. Yes, Golden Retrievers.  Make sense? Of course not. Neither does labeling ALL dogs of ANY breed.

For more information, check out these Pitbull sites:



Trap, Neuter & Return of feral and stray cats in Montgomery County:
Feline Guardian Angels –

Click Here for Winter Weather tips on helping feral and stray cats in your area


Dog training, behavior modification, boarding and day care:


Pit bull rescue:




Veterinarians who work with the MCSPCA:
Amsterdam Animal Hospital –

Country Valley Veterinary Clinic –

Glenville Veterinary Clinic –


Animal Communicators:
White Light Connection –

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