Getting your cat or kitten spayed/neutered

Before Pearl goes into heat and annoy us with dreadful cries, we decided to get her spayed. I wasn’t too familiar with this process since Sky was already neutered when we adopted him. The local vet hospital in Mississauga that she usually goes to quoted us $350. Considering that we already spent approx. $250 for her previous 2 visits (flea prevention, vaccinations, etc.), we needed to look for alternative options. I called a few different vets around the area but the lowest cost was $150 in Scarborough. I looked online and read about spay/neuter clinics across the GTA that offer the surgery for canines and felines at a very affordable price. These are self sustaining, high volume clinics with waiting lists as they service the public, animal shelters and rescue groups. There are two associations that offer this service; Toronto Humane Society ($70) and Ontario SPCA ($65). I called the Toronto Humane Society first as they were in closer proximity to us but they were fully booked into late May. Cats can go into their first heat as young as 4 months old so I didn’t want to risk waiting any longer. I called the closest SPCA clinic which was the New Market location (they also have one in Barrie, St. Catharines and Windsor) and was able to book Pearl in for April 12th when both of us would be off. Payment was made over the phone and an email confirmation was received with pre-op instructions.

Night before surgery – no eating at all after 6:00pm, water allowed

Day of surgery
In mid April it was about 2 degrees and snowing. I placed Pearl in the carrier and we drove to the clinic. Due to weather conditions the drive took about an hour. They do not open the doors till 8:00 am sharp. At the door, there was a table of forms on clipboards for visitors to fill out. We grabbed one and went back into the car. We filled out the form and sat there until they opened the doors. Others decided to line up at the door. When we got in, we handed the form, paid $15 for the e-collar (cone) and left Pearl in their care. The drop off took about 15 minutes. They do not need proof of vaccinations to proceed with surgery which had me worried as I had forgotten to bring it. Owners were given the choice to come pick up their kitties at either 4:00 pm or 5:00 pm sharp. We opted for the latter as canine pick ups were at 4:00 pm only and wanted to avoid the rush. The pick up took about 15 minutes as well as they briefed us on important post-op information. Pearl was already awake by then and had the e-collar fitted on her. They also provided us with emergency contact if necessary on a copy of the admission form, and a sealed envelope with medication inside for post-op. Once we got home, we realized the anesthesia had not worn off yet. Pearl walked into everything possible, and when her cone hit something she would reverse a few steps and try again. She started eating right when I fed her and she’s already jumping up and down even though she’s not supposed to. We did have to keep the two separated though to prevent Sky from licking her wound.

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Morning after surgery
The next morning she was fine; no signs of swelling or infection. Right when I was about to feed her wet food, I remembered the medication. I opened the envelope and found two syringes of Metacam (meloxicam) in it. Metacam is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug which must be taken with food. I took one of the syringes and added it to her wet food which she licked clean as usual. Along with the medication is an information sheet that helps you determine if your kitty is in pain or not which I thought was really helpful. She’s in great shape for day 1 of 10! Sky couldn’t keep away from her so we let them play together but kept a close watch.

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All in all, I’m just glad the surgery was a success! I know some people might be worried that because they are a high volume clinic, they might not provide quality service but I think they are very professional and organized.  I would definitely recommend SPCA to any pet owners! 🙂

You can visit the sites for more info and fees:

http://www.spayneuter.ontariospca.ca/
http://www.torontohumanesociety.com/sn_clinic.htm

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How we adopted a cat in Korea

Back in August 2009, my hubby and I moved to Korea to teach English for a year. We lived in a small city called Mungyeong in Gyeongsangbuk-do Province. Halfway through the year we decided to get a pet since my hubby has never had any so of course I tell him we should start with something easier. So we picked up two hamsters; Hammy and Mocha. As much fun as it was watching them run on the wheel, they weren’t interactive at all.

Sky showing interest to the hamsters

Sky showing interest to the hamsters

I missed playing with my two dogs and cat back home. It wasn’t until I saw a fellow teacher’s post about Animal Rescue Korea that got me browsing through pages and pages of pets listed for adoption. After thinking hard about it we decided to adopt a cat. We took a trip to the Daejeon City Animal Shelter which was a 4 hour bus ride from where we lived. We watched Avatar in a nice movie theatre since our city didn’t have one and also shopped at a Costco! It was our first time going to a Costco in Korea; we were so excited and of course we bought lots which hubby had to lug back. We didn’t find the right kitty at the shelter though as it was more of a dog shelter so we waited for the next weekend to visit another shelter.

Next weekend came and we took a 3 hour bus ride to the Korea Animal Protection Society Daegu Cat Shelter. There were so many cats! We felt so sad but glad they had a food, water and protection from the cold weather. All the cats there have been fixed to prevent over breeding. The costs of surgeries, food, and medical care all come from donations and adoption fees. This shelter is ran by a nice lady named Sunnan Kum who started it in 1989 and became a charity in 1991. As two Canadians who were not fluent in Korean, we had no problem communicating with her. We were overwhelmed with the amount of kittens and cats there. We stayed for awhile playing with the cats. It was definitely hard to choose one to take home; we would take them all if we could! But I think it was meant to be. That day I was wearing a jacket with fur lining around my hood. My hubby loves all things furry. While I was sitting at a table, one cat came out of nowhere, jumped up onto the table and started licking the fur lining on my hood. My hubby said he was the one! We signed the papers, paid the adoption fee of $100 and put him in a cat carrier and took off. They were even so nice to provide a starter kit with dry and wet food!

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On February 6, 2010 we adopted him and named him Sky because of his beautiful blue eyes. At the time we adopted him, he was about 2 years old. We didn’t know what breed he was but the vet said probably a Siamese mix. After he settled in, we noticed he kept scratching his ears and brown stuff would fall out. Wen I looked into his ears it was all black/brown! He also had patches of missing fur all over and had the feline herpes (cat flu). We took him to a vet that we couldn’t communicate with but luckily my Korean co-teacher came with me and translated. He was given medication and topical cream and ear drops. After much TLC his flu subsided, ears were clean and fur grew back beautifully. He has been with us for 5.5 years and we couldn’t be more happier.

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That’s our adoption story! If you are thinking about getting a furry friend please check your local shelters first. If you’re on the fence about committing to a pet, try fostering an animal. If you like to play with animals but don’t want to commit to one, volunteer at your local shelter. These animals would be so happy to see you!

A bit about Sky & Pearl

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Sky is our first. We adopted him when we were living abroad in Korea (you can read more about it here). He was already 2 years old at that time and had already been fixed. We don’t know his exact date of birth but he is approximately 7 years old. He is a Siamese-tabby mix. When we took him home, he had either ear mites/ear infection and his skin condition was pretty bad as well, with missing patches of fur. We took him to the vet and nursed him back to a healthy kitty. He is absolutely the most cuddliest kitty I know. My mom has a kitty as well but she’s the really independent type. Sky just always wants to be around us, sit on us, and sleep with us. He is quite vocal when he’s hungry but is also a picky eater. He is not the adventurous type and is a scaredy cat. Even as an indoor cat, sometimes we open the door but he’ll be too scared to venture out into the unknown. He is also scared of the vacuum. We brought him back with us to Mississauga, which you can read more about here. Sky listens well to us; if I call him he’ll come running, if I say “NO” he’ll know not to do it again (such as going on the kitchen counters). He’s very docile, we can do anything to him and he won’t care. Grooming him is super easy as well.

 

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Pearl is our second. She was adopted in Toronto as a kitten and is approx. 2 years old now. I’m not sure about her breed, I think she is just a regular tabby? We had her spayed at the SPCA clinic which you can read more about that here. She had fleas as a kitten so we brought her to the vet where she had been treated and we isolated her from Sky for a few days. Sky knew there was another cat in the house but didn’t meet her till she was cleared of the fleas. Her personality is different from Sky’s. She is not cuddly and she’s happy just doing her own thing. But she is a purring machine. She purrs more often and louder than Sky. She likes to come to us and sit near us, sometimes on top of us while we’re sleeping. But if you hold her, hug her or just pet her, she’ll purr but still run off. She is the naughty one of the two. She doesn’t come to our calling, and she ignores us when we say “NO”. She goes on the kitchen counter even if I don’t allow it and she won’t get off till I literally come close to her. We have to be careful when opening doors, as she is more likely to dash out. Since she doesn’t like to be held, grooming her is definitely more difficult.

When it comes to feeding, she is the greedy one. She gobbles up her wet food, and will steal his. Sky is a pushover and will let her eat his food. It’s gotten a lot better now as I had tried to discipline her about taking from Sky. Now she just waits till Sky walks away from his dish then cleans up the rest. The only time it’s the opposite is with treats. For some reason, he gobbles it up faster or Pearl just eats treats slower, but he’ll steal if it’s for treats! Did I mention that Pearl will eat almost anything? If she sees us eating something, she’ll want some. We don’t encourage it but she’ll come and ask for food with that cute mew and it’s hard to resist! She loves chips! Sky, on the other hand, even if I try to put food in front on him he’ll just ignore it, so weird!

Meet Sky & Pearl

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Name: Sky
Age: ~7 yrs old
Sex: Male
Breed: Siamese mix
Personality: Attention craving teddy bear who whines when hungry
Loves: Furry things, cat treats & cuddling
Fear: Vacuums
Shedding level: 2/5

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Name: Pearl
Age: 2 yrs old
Sex: Female
Breed: Tabby mix
Personality: Independent and adventurous
Loves: Human food, boxes, bags
Fear: Spray water bottle
Shedding level: 4/5

Click here to learn more about us!