Upcycled Engagement Items for Cats
Does your cat need a $250 exercise wheel? $20 motorized mouse? $30 play tent?
With trendy cat toys dominating social media and new kitty products emerging constantly, it can be difficult to decide which enrichment items will benefit your cat without breaking the bank. Worst of all, many cats seem to have a radar for expensive toys and steer clear of anything worth more than the receipt you received after purchasing it. Even the most technically perfect toy with feathers, lights, chirping noises, scratch pads, and catnip can go unnoticed by a finicky feline, and every cat owner knows the sigh-inducing sight of a brand new toy being passed over for the box it was packaged in!
When you’re a foster parent cycling between litters, the price of toys can become an even bigger issue. While Southern Pines Animal Shelter provides foster parents with toys for their kittens, many will want to spoil their itty bitty kitties with tons of enrichment op-purr-tunities. (And when your fosters have such adorable faces, who wouldn’t!)
It is an unfortunate reality that many kitten and cat toys will go unused in most homes, and because they are made of unrecyclable plastics, bleached and dyed feathers, batteries, and cheap fabrics, they hurt the environment even more than our wallets. The good news is that cats don’t always need the newest, most expensive toys, and as a general rule, the less effort put into a plaything, the more interesting they find it. Use this to your advantage by upcycling household items into fabulous feline fun.
From bubbles to boxes, here’s our list items that can be recycled, repurposed, or homemade for your cats to create the ultimate toys!
While the toys listed above can be easily upcycled from household objects, there are a few items that pose health and safety risks for our feline friends. You'll want to leave these items out of any DIY cat toys:
Our list might be over, but there are tons of household items that present fantastic upcycling opportunities for the crafty cat-owner!
What was your favorite toy idea on our list? What is your genius upcycled cat toy idea? Share your thoughts below!
Clinic Chat: Canine Parvovirus
The virus is invisible, ubiquitous, and deadly, but the defense is affordable, effective, and more convenient than ever before. With the odds in your favor, is your dog protected from parvo?
Canine parvovirus, more commonly called “parvo,” is a highly contagious, life-threatening disease that attacks a dog’s rapidly multiplying cells, particularly in the intestinal tract. Parvo is everywhere, and once it contaminates a surface, it can survive anywhere from months to years, indoors and outdoors. Direct contact with an infected dog is not required for a susceptible dog to contract parvo. It can be spread indirectly through virtually any surface an infected dog comes into contact with, from muddy park paths to kitchen counters.
To make matters worse, most common household disinfectants and antibacterial soaps cannot kill parvo. Bleach and REScue are two effective disinfectants proven to kill the virus, however, and both of these products can be used to reliably clean contaminated surfaces within homes, clinics, and shelters.
Young, elderly, immunocompromised, and unvaccinated dogs are particularly susceptible to parvo, and without swift and aggressive treatment, parvo is usually fatal, especially in puppies. Because parvo has an incubation period of 2 to 14 days before a dog becomes noticeably ill, it can be difficult to diagnose, making it even more difficult to treat once a dog is infected.
Even with an early diagnosis, treatment for parvo takes time. Between visits to a veterinarian, antibiotics, antiemetics, fluids, supportive treatments, and general care, treatment for parvo is expensive and exhausting. And heartbreakingly, it is not always effective.
Prevention is the key to protecting puppies and adult dogs from parvo. Because parvo is virtually everywhere and practically impossible to eradicate, every dog will come into contact with the virus at some point in its life, making vaccinations vital to the survival of puppies and adult dogs.
With low cost vaccinations from Southern Pines Healthy Pet Clinic, it is now easy and affordable to protect your dogs from parvovirus and many other diseases. The DAPPv vaccine offered at the Healthy Pet Clinic protects dogs against parvo (as well as distemper, parainfluenza, and two types of adenovirus). At 8 weeks old, dogs should receive their first vaccine. Afterwards, consistent follow-up vaccinations and check-up appointments with a veterinarian are essential to protecting your dog from parvo.
Through education, preventative care, and affordable vaccinations, our community in Hattiesburg can take effective steps to limit the spread of parvo and protect our dogs.
While canine parvovirus is a deadly disease that can be fatal to young, elderly, immunocompromised, and unvaccinated dogs, there are thousands of parvo survivors every year. In 2021, Southern Pines Animal Shelter has helped numerous dogs successfully fight parvo with the aid of swift medical action, generous donations from our supportive community, and tireless work from foster parents, adopters, and volunteers. Here are a few survivor stories:
When Colt arrived at Southern Pines Animal Shelter in January of 2021, he barely weighed 6 pounds and looked sickly. His concerning weight and demeanor were explained when his canine parvovirus test revealed that he had the deadly disease.
Treatment began immediately for Colt, and he was moved to a foster home where he would have a better chance of recovery. After two weeks of medical care and attention, Colt beat parvo!
Now, Colt is a healthy pup who spends his days playing fetch, taking long walks, and meeting new pups at the dog park with his loving new family.
Several days after Trinity arrived at Southern Pines Animal Shelter with her two littermates, these sweet puppies tested positive for parvo. The puppies were immediately isolated in Southern Pines' sick room and were started on treatment by our medical team. After 18 days of one-on-one medical care, Trinity and her littermates beat parvo and were ready for adoption!
In addition to surviving parvo, all three puppies found new beginnings with families who gave them happy homes.
Trinity is now a happy, healthy pup living her best life!
Parvo isn't just rampant in the summer months, it's active all year long. In January of 2021, five puppies tested positive for the virus.
Riggs and his littermate, Rufio, were among these sick puppies, and with so many dogs needing medical treatment and one-on-one care, the outlook looked grim for Riggs and his furry friends unless they could find foster parents to closely monitor their condition and administer care.
Luckily, Riggs found a compassionate human buddy, Brooke, to help him through his illness. Not only did Brooke foster Riggs while he was sick, she also adopted him and gave him a happy home to recover in.
All five puppies recovered from parvo thanks to the hard work of our medical team and the tireless care of our fosters and adopters who committed themselves to saving these sweet pups.
Riggs is currently a happy, healthy dog who lives with Brooke and enjoys going for walks, playing fetch, and learning new commands!
Protect Your Pup
Is your dog vaccinated against canine parvovirus? Make an appointment today at our Healthy Pet Clinic and make sure your pup is protected.
Rewrite Their Stories
Support from our community made all the difference for Colton, Trinity, Riggs, and so many other pets who need a little extra TLC. Southern Pines Animal Shelter depends on generous donations from individuals, businesses, and foundations to fund our lifesaving programs and operational expenses.
Will you consider making a gift today to rewrite the stories of homeless and hurting pets like Colton, Trinity, and Riggs? Your donation will go towards providing animals with food, shelter, veterinary care, enrichment, and resources necessary to find a loving home.
Blog articles are written by staff and volunteers of Southern Pines Animal Shelter.