Keeping Your Dog Happy This Winter


We all spend a lot more time indoors during the winter months, and sometimes it can be a challenge to find ways to keep your dog happy both mentally and physically during famous Saskatchewan cold snaps.  Here are some fun ways to beat the winter blues while staying warm, indoors!


Make Meal Time, Fun Time

Meal times offer wonderful opportunities to provide not only nutrition to your pet, but some mental stimulation as well.  If you have a muffin tin, turn it upside-down and spread some kibble around the depressions.  Your pet will need to explore each of the mini-mountains to find their food. Conversely, place the tin right-side up and put some kibble in the cups.  Then, place tennis balls or balled-up socks over the kibble.  Your pet will need to sniff out the food and remove the balls to get their food.  Keep it interesting by leaving one or two empty! Another variation is to fill a box with crumpled-up newspaper and hide some kibble or treats inside. Be sure not to leave any shredded newspaper around when the meal is over.  A variety of commercially produced treat games can also be purchased at most pet stores.

Fun and Games

Create a kibble scavenger hunt hiding some treats in a larger room in your home.  Make it easy to find them, even putting a few out in the open to get the game going. To start, tell your dog “Go find them” and lead him to a pile of “hidden” kibble.  Before long, your dog will get the idea and know that hearing “Go find them” means treats are about to happen! You can make them a little harder to find as they get better at the game, but not so hard as to make it so he can’t find them.  Also, if your dog seems to lose interest or seems stressed because he can’t find the treats, make them easier to find.

Another fun game is to let your dog watch as you hide a treat under one of three upside-down plastic cups, then mix them around and ask your dog to find the cup with the treat under it.  These games are fun and easy, and your dog will love them!

Treat Them with Toys

Treating your dog with new interactive toys helps to keep them engaged and presents them with new and varied challenges. Toys that also double as treat dispensers, like the classic rubber Kong, are great tools to keep your dog’s mind active during the cold winter months.

Exercise – Indoors!

Have a game of Hide and Seek where you hide in a room and your dog needs to sniff you out, or a game of tug-of-war, both of which are great ways to get your dog’s heart pumping.  Even 15-30 minutes of play goes a long way to helping keep your pet mentally and physically happy.

Winter Time is Training Time

Consistent, reward-based training is very important for your pet’s overall well-being. It helps puppies get off on the right paw, and helps adult dogs to thrive. The Regina Humane Society offers a wide array of group training classes all year, including indoor classes during the winter.

For more information about our classes, visit our dog training website.

Keeping Your Pet Happy and Safe During the Winter


As the warm memories of summer give way to the biting cold of a Saskatchewan winter, spending time outside with your dog may take a little extra time and effort to keep everyone safe.  Winter can be a wonderful time to play and frolic in the snow together, so here are some tips to ensure everyone stays healthy during the winter months:

Be sure your pet has shelter when spending time outdoors 

Saskatchewan is known for its winds and these can greatly decrease the time that a pet is safe outdoors. Pets who spend more time outdoors than just a quick pee, must have appropriate shelter for the weather conditions and their size and breed.  You can find more info about proper shelters for dogs, here.

Watch for signs that your pet is cold

While some breeds can withstand cold more than others, a good rule of thumb is that if you feel cold, your pet likely does too.  Shivering and paw-lifting are tell-tale signs that it’s time to head indoors.  Always monitor your pet when they are outside, even if it’s through a window, and bring them in before they start to show signs of being cold.

Older pets have a tougher time staying comfortable during the winter 

Senior cats and dogs may not be able to move as quickly or stay moving due to arthritis, vision, and other general health issues related to age. Limit their time outdoors and always stay with them to monitor their well-being.

Short-coated breeds are more susceptible to the cold 

Dogs from Chihuahuas to Great Danes can still enjoy the outdoors, but consider wrapping them in a warm doggy coat for some extra protection.  Properly sized paw boots will also help them stay comfortable and have the added bonus of protecting them from snow clumping on their paws and contact with ice melters and salt.


Frostbite can be just as serious a risk for your pet as it is for you.  Watch for these signs of frostbite in your pet. Should your pet present with one or more of these signs, bring them into a warm indoor area and contact your veterinarian right away.

Signs of possible frostbite:

  • Swollen or hardened paws, ears, tail tips or lips
  • Prolonged or excessive licking or chewing of paw pads or toenails
  • Cracked or bleeding paw pads, ears, tail tips or nose
  • Crying, growling or snapping when you attempt to touch areas of frostbite concern.

Let’s all have a happy and safe winter!

Halloween Treats Aren’t Just for Ghouls and Goblins!


Halloween is just around the corner and many are putting the final touches on costumes and dreaming of all of the fun, and treats, that the day has to offer.  There’s no need to leave your furry friends out of the treat part!  We have some scary good, pet-friendly homemade Halloween indulgences that will keep your pets howling for more!

Canine Candy Corn

All the cheery colour of candy corn without the sugar — you and your pup will love these festive frozen treats!


  • 1  1/2 cups non-fat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1-2 small bananas
  • 8 3-ounce paper cups


  1. Fill each cup about 1/3 full with yogurt. Freeze until set.
  2. In a small bowl, mix 1/2 cup yogurt and 1/2 cup pumpkin purée. Pour the yogurt/pumpkin mixture over the frozen yogurt layer, leaving space at the top for the third layer. Freeze until set.
  3. Mash the bananas in a small bowl. Stir in the remaining yogurt. Pour the yogurt/banana mixture over the frozen pumpkin layer. Freeze until set.
  4. Peel off the paper cup and serve.


Doggy Doughnuts

Your dog will drool over these yummy doughnuts made in the microwave.


  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup beef broth or chicken broth
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons quick-cooking oats


  1. Grease a shallow, microwave-safe plate or baking dish. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together the egg and broth in a large bowl. Gradually stir in the flour and oats.
  3. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and roll it to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut out cookies using a round cookie cutter. Use a smaller round cookie cutter to cut out the center doughnut hole. Place the cookies on the greased plate or dish without crowding them.
  4. Cook in the microwave for a few minutes until the doughnuts are firm. Cool on a wire rack.
  5. Repeat until all the remaining dough is used up.
  6. Store in a sealed container in the fridge.


Kitty Cookies

Cats will go crazy for these tasty cookies made with only one ingredient (or two, if you count love!).


  • 1 can pâté cat food (not chunks in gravy)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F.
  2. Open the can and shake the cat food loaf onto a sheet of waxed paper.
  3. Cut the loaf into 1/2-inch thick slices. Cut the slices into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Place the treats on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  5. Flip the treats. Bake for another 15 minutes or until crispy.
  6. Store in a sealed container in the fridge.

Speak to Your Financial Advisor About a Gift-in-Will to the RHS


Are you interested in starting a conversation with your financial advisor about leaving a gift in your Will to the Regina Humane Society? Not sure how to start? We have a tool that can help!

The RHS has partnered with Will Power, in a national effort to show Canadians that you have the power to do more with your Will. The free Guide to Talking to Your Advisor, from our partners at Will Power, is a useful tool for beginning and directing the conversation about a gift in your Will with your financial advisor.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Open the conversation by sharing your intentions. Talk about why you want to leave a gift in your Will to the RHS, and what kind of impact you want to have.
  • Work with your advisor to better estimate the future value of your estate. Think about what percentage you would like to go to your loved ones, and what percentage to the RHS.
  • Speak to your advisor about the best ways to make your gift. Some options, like a gift of securities or life insurance, might come with big tax savings.
  • How do you want your future gift to live on? Would you like to get your family involved?

Download the full Guide to Talking to Your Advisor here.

We encourage you to explore other free tools and resources on the Will Power website such as their legacy calculator to see your potential impact. You can also find a financial advisor if you don’t have one already.

If you have questions about leaving a gift to the animals in your Will, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 306-543-6363 ext. 223. We’re here to help!

Your Pet and Vaccinations


When was the last time your pet received their checkup and vaccinations? If it’s over a year, it may be time to check in with your family vet!

This year, cases of Canine Parvovirus (“parvo”), Feline Panleukopenia Virus (“feline distemper”) and even Canine Distemper Virus have been diagnosed in a number of Regina pets.  Each of these viruses is contagious and can cause life-threatening illness, and they are in our community. The best defense against all of these diseases is to keep your pets’ immunizations up to date.

Why does my pet need to be vaccinated?

In the same way humans are vaccinated to prevent them from developing dangerous illnesses, pets need to be vaccinated too. Diseases such as canine parvovirus, canine distemper, and feline panleukopenia can be transferred very easily should your pet come in contact with the viruses. As these diseases are all present in our community, there is a chance that your pet may be exposed during ordinary, day-to-day activities. Regular vaccinations are effective at preventing these diseases and should be a part of your pet’s routine preventative care regimen.

How Do Vaccines Work?

After a vaccine is administered to your pet, their immune system develops the ability to recognize the specific viruses and prepares to fight the virus in the case of future infection. That allows the body to immediately begin fighting against potential infection should the pet ever become exposed. The effects of immunization do not last forever and for this reason, your veterinarian will recommend a regular schedule of booster vaccinations to ensure your pet’s immunity is maintained. These boosters serve as a “reminder” to help the immune system remain ready to fight potential infections. While no single measure can fully guarantee that the pet will never become ill, vaccination is highly effective in preventing most cases of serious illness in pets exposed to the viruses discussed above.

It is particularly important for young animals to receive the full series of vaccinations recommended by your veterinarian. Prior to vaccination, animals’ immune systems are not fully prepared to fight serious infections. It is important to limit their exposure to unvaccinated animals, other animals’ waste, and to public outdoor areas until they are able to begin their vaccination schedule. Your veterinarian can provide specific recommendations for vaccinating your pet based on their age, health status, and lifestyle to achieve the best protection.

By keeping your pets’ vaccinations up to date, you are taking one of the most important steps to ensure they live a long, happy and healthy life. Consult with your family veterinarian on this and other important preventative health measures for your pet.

Why is My Cat So Kneady?


Kneading.  Making biscuits.  There a few names for it, but if you have a cat, you’ve likely seen this behaviour in your cat – the rhythmic, back-and-forth pressing of their paws into a blanket, your favourite sweater or any other soft item.   It’s completely normal, yet many wonder why they do it.

Here are some reasons:

It’s an old childhood habit.  If you’ve ever seen a kitten nursing, you will notice that they use the same motion against their mother’s belly when feeding to stimulate the flow of milk.  The feeling of comfort that this creates can last a lifetime.

This place is mine!  They may be claiming that space as their own – and that can include you.  Cats leave their scents on things and people they consider to be theirs.  Kneading releases pheromones that are stored in scent glands in their paws and the action mark the blanket, sweater – or you – as their own.

It’s a wonderful way to stretch.  Cats love to stretch!  They do it when they get up from a nap, using the scratch pole and when kneading.  Sometimes it just feels good!

They’re nesting.  Many wild animals create beds, dens and other places that are comfortable to spend time in during rest time or to give birth to young.  As a throw-back to a time before cats were domesticated, kneading is often a means to create a nice soft spot to spend some time napping.

They’re happy.  While there are some biological reasons cats knead, sometimes it simply boils down to having one happy cat!  Showing pleasure while being petted, snuggling in for a snooze or kneading your lap because they are happy you are there.  All great reasons to make those biscuits!

One other point to remember.  Cats knead both with their claws retracted and with them extended.  If they are kneading you and those claws make their way through your clothing, it can be painful for you!  Ensure there is sufficient material to protect your skin or shift your cat to a better spot that is safer.  Should a rogue claw make its way through and give you a stab, avoid punishing your cat for what was an innocent accident during very natural and comforting behaviour.  Trimming your cat’s nails is easy and will help avoid this as well.


Jogging Safely with Your Dog This Summer


Whether it’s around the neighbourhood, in the park or at the lake, summer means being outside and that often includes a run with Rover.  For many, jogging is a fun and healthy activity that also provides an excellent opportunity to take your dog along for a little exercise too.  However, there are a few things to keep in mind that will ensure your run (or walk) is happy and safe for both of you.

Get a Health Check

Before setting out this season, it’s a good idea to ensure your dog is fit enough to be your jogging buddy. Due to the high-intensity cardio workout that jogging provides, it is a good idea to check with your veterinarian to ensure your pet will not be at risk. Some factors include:

  • Your dog’s weight. Overweight dogs may struggle more with running than one who is slim. For a dog who’s overweight, it’s best to start off slow and ease them into a new exercise routine, just like humans do!
  • Your dog’s body type. Dogs with shorter legs may not be able to keep up with you at full jogging pace. Dogs with heavier coats may be more prone to overheating in the summer heat. Also, flat-faced dogs such as pugs, Boston terriers, French bulldogs, English bulldogs and Shih Tzus may have difficulty getting enough air, which can make running dangerous for them. These dogs are better off with a nice walk than running.
  • Your dog’s age. Running your dog when they’re too old or too young can have serious health consequences for them. Running with your puppy before they are finished growing can impact her joints and muscles. When it comes to with an older dog, you should make sure that common aging problems such as arthritis and heart disease are ruled out before your run.
  • Build slowly. Just like for humans, any exercise program should be built up slowly. Your pet will need to build up their stamina and time to adapt to their new exercise program, especially if they have not been very active leading up to summer.

Ensure your route is dog-friendly

While running is a flexible activity that can be done almost anywhere, it’s best to keep the following in mind when jogging with your pooch.

  • Gradually build up your run.  Remember when you started jogging?  You likely would run for a bit, then walk for a while to let your body adjust.  This is important for your pet too.  Start off with a short period of jogging for a minute or two, and then walk for a few minutes. Slowly, you can build up to longer jogging segments.
  • Avoid jogging on hard surfaces. Pavement and roads can be tough on your joints and your dog’s too! Asphalt can also heat up in the summer sun to the point where it can burn your pet’s paw pads. If possible, stick to grass, dirt, or a softer terrain but be aware of uneven surfaces or any other hazards such as rocks and holes.
  • Is there shade? If possible, route your run through an area with trees or other sources of shade.  Lakes make a great place for a cool dip too, during or at the end of your run.
  • Timing is everything. It is best to run in the cool of the early morning or evening rather than in the heat of mid-day.  Limit your jogging to these times whenever possible.

Be prepared!

The planning is done, and now it’s time to run!  Well, almost.  You’ll need to take care of a couple of other things first.

  • Bring water for your dog. If you’re going for a longer run and bringing water with you, don’t forget to bring some for your furry friend too. Dogs can’t tell us when they’re dehydrated, so it’s best to take regular breaks for a bit of water.
  • Leash skills. If your dog does not do well walking on a leash, jogging on a leash could be a disaster.  Be sure to leash train your dog while walking before attempting to job. If your dog tends to pull on the leash, it could be very dangerous for both you and your pet.

Remember, your pet cannot speak to tell you she is tired, hot or has had enough.  It will be up to you to keep a keen sense of awareness regarding signs or symptoms that indicate they need to slow down or stop or if they are in distress.  If your dog slows down and lags behind you, chances are they’re pooped. If you see this, slow down to their pace and take a break with shade and water. Better yet, it may be time to head home and call it a day.

  • Watch for drooling, vomiting, or if your dog is warm to the touch.  These are all indicators of dehydration and possibly heat stroke. If you’re hot, your dog, wearing a fur coat, is too. Provide them immediately with warm (not cold) water and let them rest in the shade. If your dog’s symptoms don’t go away, call your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Lastly, be sure your dog is microchipped and has its license tag on in case he or she becomes separated from you for any reason!

Now you’re set for a wonderful summer of sunshine, exercise and companionship with your dog!

Keeping Your Cat Happy Indoors


Keeping your cat happy indoors is 100% possible. This can be achieved through “catifying” your home, providing a variety of enrichment items, and having a regular play schedule.

“Catify” Your Home

Catify means making your home a space that your cat enjoys and feels safe and comfortable in. There are a few really important features that help to achieve this:

Provide a Window Seat

Create a place for your cat to perch and look out a window. This can be amplified by placing bird feeders, or squirrel feeders in your yard to increase the amount of wildlife your cat will get to see each day.

Provide Vertical Space

Ensure there are lots of spaces that your cat can perch on that are up and off the floor. This can include cat trees, cat shelves on the wall or window perches. Cats naturally enjoy being elevated from the ground, and feel safest when able to observe their surroundings from a space that is higher up. This is one of the most important things you can do for your cat, but it also helps them to do what they would do outdoors, which is climb trees or fences.

Provide Great Places to Scratch

It’s important to understand that scratching is normal feline behavior. It is a means for cats to mark their territory both visually and with scent. Scratching also assists with nail conditioning, whole-body stretching and maintenance of necessary claw motion used in hunting, climbing and defense.  Providing your cats with a scratching post they like is critical to keeping them happy indoors. A great scratching post is: sturdy, ideally vertical so the cat can stretch out as they scratch, and provides a rougher surface (like corrugated cardboard or sisal).

Provide Stimulating Enrichment Items

Much like humans, cats enjoy some variety in their life. There are plenty of things you can do to help keep your cat entertained and engaged!

Provide Scent Enrichment

Cats enjoy a variety of scents beyond the standard catnip. Some great options for scent enrichment for cats are:

  • Silvervine
  • Valerian Root
  • Tatarian Honey Suckle
  • Chamomile

Create a Cat Garden

Bring the outdoors inside by creating a “cat garden”! Cats love to eat and smell plants, so providing safe plants that they can eat helps to mimic the feeling of being outdoors.  Some safe options for cat garden include:

  • Cat nip
  • Cat grass
  • Barley grass
  • Wheatgrass
  • Lemon grass
  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Spider plants (cats love these!)

Have a Regular Play Schedule

The amount of time to spend playing with your cat depends upon many factors, such as age and activity level. But generally, a couple of 10-15 minute play sessions per day is a good goal. There are many great ways to play with your cat.  Play is best done a few times daily, ideally before each meal.  A cat’s natural cycle is: play, eat and sleep. If you want to have your cat sleep when you’re sleeping, having a good play session, then feeding them is a great way to help lull them into a nap.

The following are great playtime tips:

Keep a variety of toys on hand. Just as with children’s toys, one of the keys to success is to rotate toys, putting them away for a while after playtime. If the toys are available to your cat all the time, they soon become boring, mundane items. Whether elaborate or simple, toys give your cat exercise, mental stimulation, a chance to act on hunting instincts, and a way to bond with you.  With so many cat toys on the market, it can be tough to pick ones that are both safe and appealing. Cat toys can range from free homemade items to battery-powered devices, but regardless of the cost, safety comes first. Cats should never have any toy that includes loose string or yarn, which can easily be drawn into the cat’s throat and digested, leading to serious or deadly problems with the digestive tract.

There are plenty of items around the house that make safe and fun toys for your cat, starting with a plain brown paper bag – especially if it is large enough to crawl inside. Empty boxes are also cat magnets. Boxes too small to hold your cat can contain small cat toys or treats accessible by cutting small holes in the boxes so cats will be challenged to dig out these rewards. Paper towel and toilet paper rolls make fun puzzle toys for your cat. Try putting your cat’s food in the middle and watch as they figure out how to get at it.  Wine corks, milk carton caps, ping pong balls, plastic bottles – the list of everyday household items that make great toys to bat and chase are limitless.

Felines are the only creature on earth who hunts for fun. Making sure you’re allowing your cat to express this natural behavior in your home is paramount to your feline being happy indoors. Fishing rod or teaser-style toys with a wand that allows you to easily move the toy and keep it just out of your cat’s reach are great options for interactive play which mimic the predator/prey chase. You can give the toy lifelike movements with slight jerks, pauses in movement, changes in speed, etc., to engage the hunting instincts of your cat. Ensure these types of toys are put away after use to prevent strangulation. Laser pointers are another toy that keeps you part of the game!

Let’s Talk About Ticks


Along with the warmer weather, comes the arrival of everyone’s least favourite pet pest – ticks!  Check out the what, where, how and why of these pesky arachnids and how to get through the spring tick season safely with your pet

What are ticks?

A tick is a tiny parasite that feeds on animal and human blood. While they can be found on cats, our dogs are more susceptible because we take them out more on walks through parks, fields and wooded areas.  Ticks are usually quite small and therefore difficult to detect, with some being as small as a poppy seed, but will grow much larger once they are engorged with blood, often to the size of a small jellybean.

Where can ticks be found?

Ticks reside just about everywhere in Saskatchewan, including urban parks and green spaces.  They prefer to live in wooded areas, tall grasses and under leaf and other organic debris.

Why should you be concerned about ticks?

While most tick encounters end with little or no discomfort for your pet, ticks are notorious carriers of Lyme disease.  Because ticks are so widespread, the odds of people or pets encountering them are strong, especially during the spring when they are very active.  According to a study published by the Government of Canada in 2017, human cases of Lyme disease have been increasing over the past number of years, and it only stands to reason that the risk to our pets is also on the rise.  Lyme disease can cause joint pain, fever and liver complications in your pet, which can be severe and require veterinary care.

How to check for ticks.

Starting at your pet’s head, run your fingers through their fur, feeling for any lumps or bumps that you had not noticed before.  Be sure to check under their collar or harness, in their groin area, under their front legs and in and around their ears – these are favourite hiding places for ticks.

If you find a tick, here’s how to remove it.

While ticks are not fun, there is no need to panic. Part your pet’s fur so you can get a good look at the tick.  Your goal is to remove the entire tick, including the head and mouth.  This is best-done with fingernails or tweezers so you can get as close to the skin as possible when gripping the tick’s mouth.  Once you have a good grip, gently pull the tick out of the skin.  Ideally, you should do a ‘tick check’ after each outing, particularly if your route included wooded or bushy areas or tall grass.

Help prevent the spread of ticks

While ticks are not about to go away, you can take some preventative measures to reduce the risk to your pet.  Consult with your family veterinarian to explore your options.


Changing the Way We Think About Feeding Time


There are often a lot of questions asked about feeding our pets – how often, how much, what kind of food.  These questions are best answered in consultation with your veterinarian so any needs of your specific pet can be addressed.  But, what about how to feed your pet?

Feeding can be more than plunking a bowl on the floor.  Feeding certainly provides for the physical and nutritional needs of your pet, but it can also offer mental exercise, stimulation and enrichment, particularly for canines.  So, why not make it a more engaging experience for them – and for you as well!

Most pet stores will have a variety of games and puzzles that you can use.  But, you can also make some great games at home.  Here are some safe and simple DIY ways to make your dog’s favourite time of day even more special!

Muffin tins

Spread kibble around the depressions in a muffin tin turned upside down. You can also put it right side up and hide the kibble underneath tennis balls or balled socks placed in the cups.

Paper roll

Before you toss those cardboard rolls found in toilet paper and paper towels, consider turning them into fun, interactive puzzles for your pet! Just fold one end of the roll and place their kibble inside. Then fold the other.

The Cup Game

Place a number of plastic cups around the room, and place a piece of kibble or treat under some of them.  Then sit back and watch as your pooch sleuths around trying to discover which cups have hidden treasure.

Snuffle mat

Grab a snuffle mat, a high-pile bathroom mat, or just some fleece strips tied to a rubber mat. Hide the kibble inside the mat and let your companion forage for their food like their ancestors did.

Box puzzles

Hide kibble in a cardboard box filled with crumpled-up newspaper. Make sure to pick up the shredded paper afterward so your dog doesn’t eat it.

Kibble scavenger hunt

You can create a kibble scavenger hunt in a room in your house or outside when it’s not too hot. Place a tracking harness and long leash on your dog and “cue” them to search while they lead you from hiding place to hiding place. This allows you to control the pace of the hunt!  Be sure the hiding places are too difficult to find – they may lose interest if they can’t find the treat. Once your dog gets the idea, you can gradually make the hunt more challenging. Remember, if the dog stops looking or shows stress over the game, simply make it easier or take a break for a while.

Make feeding time, fun time, too!

The Misadventures of Cheese


Each spring and summer, we see them…owned cats who are allowed to roam our city streets and parks. Doing so, is not only a violation of the Regina City Animal Bylaw, but also very dangerous for the cat.  A host of hazards loom for cats allowed to roam freely from their home.  Injury or death can often result from vehicles, toxins, disease, temperature extremes as well as threats from other animals including dogs, other cats and urban predators such as coyotes, foxes, owls and hawks.  Cheese’s story is an unfortunate example of one of these encounters before he arrived at the Shelter.

It was clear that the 5-year-old orange tabby had suffered numerous scratch and bite wounds around his head and neck. If you’ve ever heard two cats fighting, it’s not hard to imagine the damage that can be done to the combatants as each unleashes claws and devastating bites toward their opponent.  Cat saliva carries large amounts of bacteria, which, if deposited beneath the skin of another animal, can quickly cause painful and debilitating infections if not treated.  Similarly, bacteria is present under their claws from litterboxes that can have the same effects.

Often, these types of wounds seal over rapidly and trap bacteria inside the skin.  One of Cheese’s wounds had abscessed, causing significant pain.  Untreated, his wounds would lead to continued suffering and infection in other parts of his body.  Because of your support of the RHS, our veterinary team was there to provide immediate medical care to Cheese. His wounds were treated and antibiotics were administered to get him back in top condition. After a week-long recovery, Cheese’s time with us ended in the arms of his new mom in a very happy adoption photo-op! Nothing is cheddar than this!

While Cheese received the medical attention he needed, it was costly and his pain and suffering were avoidable.  When provided with places to climb and scratch and toys to satisfy their hunting instincts, domestic cats are not wild animals and are perfectly content to be indoors.  Should they want to venture outside, this should only be while on a harness and leash and supervised by their owner.  Another option is an outdoor “catio”, which can provide hours of safe time outside in the fresh air. When it comes to the health and safety of your cat, there truly is no place like home.

Adoption day!

How to Harness Train Your Cat


As the warmer weather approaches, leash walks don’t have to be just for Rover.  With a little time, encouragement and patience, both you and your feline family member can spend more time in the fresh air and sunshine…on a leash walk!

First, there are a few things you will need…


The harness should be snug but not too tight – you should be able to fit one or two fingers between the harness and the cat.  Ensure that the harness for this purpose is not a ‘break-away” model, as this type may release should too much force be put on it by your cat.


Use a shorter leash – no more than six feet.  This will help you maintain control of your pet.  Retractable leashes should be avoided so as to ensure your cat does not get to close to traffic or other animals.


It’s best to use your cat’s favourite treats for the best results.  And, if possible, use these treats for leash training exclusively, at least until she has it mastered. If treats aren’t her thing, try a wand toy.

Now let’s get started!

As noted above, patience is crucial to your success. Don’t rush! Rushing can lead to your cat developing a negative association with the harness or leash. Also, don’t expect your cat to walk on a leash the same way a dog would…your cat will not likely want to go too far from home.

Here are four steps to harness train your cat:

  1. Start with the harness

Don’t worry about the leash for now. Just focus on getting your cat comfortable with the harness. Start by putting your hand through the ‘head-hole’ loop of the harness and feed your cat a treat. Continue to feed treats like this, but reduce how far your hand goes through the loop each time.

Eventually, offer treats behind the loop until your cat puts their head through it to access the treat. Once your cat is clearly comfortable with the harness against their chest and neck, clip the straps and feed more treats.  Remember – patience!  Some cats will accept the harness readily, others not so much.

  1. Practice walking inside

Entice the cat to walk forward by offering a treat a short distance in front of them. Keep the treat steady as they approach. It is important that you do not move the treat forward until they have finished it. Once they finish eating, offer another treat further away. For cats that are not food motivated, a toy can be used instead. Continue until your cat walks around your home comfortably.

  1. Now comes the leash

Don’t go outside just yet. But now that you two have the hang of the whole harness thing, you can attach the leash and repeat step 2 a couple more times.

  1. Explore outside!

Beyond that door is a vast world you and your kitty can explore. But don’t overdo it. The outdoors can be overwhelming for cats at first. Be mindful of outdoor surroundings that can potentially pose a risk for your cat – such as wildlife or dogs.  Initially try your enclosed yard or just the front of the house for now.

Start with short trips, avoid busy areas, and be sure to offer lots of treats/toys to keep the experience fun. If you live in an apartment, start by taking them for walks in the hallway. After a few visits to the hallway and stairs, you can take them outside to a quiet spot. Slowly increase the duration of your trips, but don’t proceed if your cat is showing signs of fear, anxiety, and stress. Stress signs may include a tense posture, large pupils or flattened ears.

Even if you just stick to the confines of your yard, with a little time and patience, you and your cat can experience a whole new world – together!