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Keep your cats inside

posted July 31st, 2013 by
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I hope everyone has had a chance to check out the July/August issue of Tulsa Pets Magazine. I learned quite a bit while writing my article on WING IT or Wildlife in Need Group in Tulsa. I just couldn’t squeeze everything into my article, so for the next few blog posts, I will continue to share what I learned from the group about wildlife in Tulsa.

If you haven’t already, read the article at http://www.tulsapetsmagazine.com/.

One of the topics that generated immediate and passionate responses from all of the WING IT volunteers I interviewed: cats.

“Keep your cats in. That’s huge,” said Kim Doner, WING IT organizer and volunteer. “That is a huge reason we not only get animals, but the reason that animals suffer and die in our hands.

“People let their cats go, they let them roam. It is not only illegal but more and more studies are pointing to how they are killing so much of our wildlife population and our birds and they are transmitting more and more diseases.”

The group recently had a great success story with a baby robin caught by a cat. What saved the nestling was the immediate effort to get him into the hands of rehabbers and started on antibiotics.

Most people don’t realize that a cat’s saliva is toxic to some wildlife, added fellow volunteer Kathy Locker.

“The saliva will kill and if they don’t get antibiotics immediately [the animal] will die from it,” Locker said.

While cats aren’t the only pet that can cause serious problems for wildlife, they do seem to be the main offender.

“Strikes are way against it when it’s a cat,” Doner said. “Dogs crush, cats puncture.”

You can read more about cats and wildlife here.

And in case anyone is wondering, as this conversation took place, Doner’s indoor cat sat behind my shoulder purring while other volunteers spoke lovingly of their own feline companions.

- Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]

Wildlife rescue vs. pet rescue

posted July 26th, 2013 by
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I hope everyone has had a chance to check out the July/August issue of Tulsa Pets Magazine. I learned quite a bit while writing my article on WING IT or Wildlife in Need Group in Tulsa. I just couldn’t squeeze everything into my article, so for the next few blog posts, I will continue to share what I learned from the group about wildlife in Tulsa.

If you haven’t already, read the article at http://www.tulsapetsmagazine.com/.

During the course of my interview with several WING IT volunteers, many of them mentioned their love for animals, especially the domesticated kinds we talk about so often at Tulsa Pets Magazine.

So why choose wildlife rescue instead of pet rescue?

“I’ve just been an animal lover my whole life, I’m a dog lover and I would probably do dog rescue except for the fact that I would fall in love and keep every one of them, said Karla Edmonds, WING IT volunteer. “This way I get my critter fix and turn them back to mother nature, I have no choice in the matter.”

Fellow volunteer Kathy Locker can relate saying, “I agree with the dog rescue thing, It’s such a big, awesome thing that people do, but I would be so attached.”

However, just because the animals they work with aren’t cats and dogs doesn’t mean they don’t still get attached. 

Above: Volunteer Kathy Locker bottle feeds a baby raccoon.

“I do get attached and it’s hard on the heart to release them…but it’s bittersweet because you know it’s a happy thing for them and when rehabbed correctly they really do become instinctually wilder which also makes it easier,” Locker said. “It’s so fascinating to see every little creature has their own personality.”

Dr. Paul Welch, DVM at Forest Trails, also points out that when working with a cat or dog group, owners must be secured.

“We don’t have to find owners, so that’s nice,” Welch said.

Not having to find owners for rehabbed animals means they can be released when they are ready, making more room for animals in need.

However, wildlife rehab can be more demanding in other ways depending on the animal being cared for, its age and whether or not it is injured. 

Baby birds, for instance, need to be fed about every half hour. Bunnies may only need care for two to four weeks while other animals may need several months of rehab.

Similarities and differences aside, the bottom line is animal rescue, be it pet or wildlife, is tough work. All of Tulsa’s volunteers deserve recognition for what they do for our community’s animal population.

- Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]