Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Years Resolutions/Goals

After taking December off to shower my cat with holiday joys, Capital Animals is back!

While making some general New Years Resolutions I realized that a number of them were animal-related. While some are pretty specific to animal activities in which I engage (a lot of people would have to conquer a fear of horseback riding before dealing with jump-related fears), others could be used by anyone. So, in the holiday spirit of giving, I give you some animal-related resolutions to consider implementing in your own life.

--Go to the shelter more and use my time there more effectively; a lot of times I'll sit and talk with my friends at the shelter while just holding a cat. This isn't a bad thing but I could be brushing her or encouraging one of the volunteers to walk another dog with me (check to see if your shelter allows this). The shelter is a social place for me, but I can't let myself forget all the work that I'm supposed to do while there.

--Speak out against declawing even when socially awkward; animal pain outweighs social awkwardness and I can be polite when explaining why declawing is so awful for a cat.

--Brush my pet 5 days a week. I will admit that right now this is about a once a week occasion. If I do it more regularly, less hair will come off each time and Toby will enjoy the process more.

--Handle my cat's paws every day (hopefully leading to clipping at least one claw each day). Toby is a very sweet, docile cat. He didn't react when the vet took his temperature. As soon as she reached for a paw, he freaked out. This is one cat who does not like claw clipping. His old owner was rough when clipping his claws which only turned him off from the process more. For a while I was able to clip one claw a night but after some really bad scratches, I gave up because he wasn't being too destructive. Now that I've found the discarded shell from a claw on my floor (okay, found it in my foot when I stepped on it--those suckers hurt!), I'm trying again. Plus, it'll make life easier for my vet when I take him in. I'm going back to baby steps with this guy. Handling the paw with lots of Greenies before and after.

--Get my pet running around for 10 minutes every day--no matter how late I work or how tired I am. I can shake the wand, throw the mouse, and chase Toby for those few minutes.

--Attempt to make food for my pet. I buy midrange cat food for Toby right now. I make sure that there is no ash and I feed mainly wet food. My vet says Toby is healthy so he doesn't require a full diet change, but this is the guy who cheers me up when I'm sad or lonely, he deserves a home-cooked treat every now and then.

--Fully disinfect the litter box each week. Toby is a little more laid-back than most cats about his litter box. I sift it out every day and do a major digging each week, but I only do the major full washout when I'm having someone else watch him or won't be able to sift for a few days.

--Be more proactive in encouraging people to adopt. I'm asking a friend who owns a cafe if he'll host an adoption event and then going to ask my apartment building. It's hard for me to ask people, but similar to above, animal welfare trumps personal shyness.

I hope we all have success with our resolutions! If you're in the DC area, don't forget to mark your calendars for the seventh annual Sugar & Champagne Affair, January 28, at the Ritz Carlton. http://www.washhumane.org/sugar/sugar.html

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