How To Pick A Cat At TCHS

WashingtonHiRes WEBSo you’ve decided you want to expand your family with the addition of a purr-fect pet. Congratulations – and you’re far from alone! Common house cats are the most popular pet in the United States. They don’t require as much direct care as dogs, but that doesn’t mean they are no-fuss pets. Here are some tips to help you find and prepare for your new friend.

  • Kitten or cat? If your household is a busy one in which people work full time, consider bypassing a kitten or adolescent (less than 18 months old) in favor of a more low-key adult cat. Young children typically cannot handle kittens responsibly, so a cat that's at least four months old is a good choice.
  • Short-haired or long? Which one you choose is a matter of your preference and whether you have time to do regular grooming. Short-haired cats are more common at Tri-County Humane Society. Long-haired cats require frequent grooming to be mat-free. Short-haired cats need to be brushed, too, though, and most cats enjoy a good brushing.
  • Budget for your new pet. A vet examination can cost $25 or more. Food can cost up to $300 annually – and these are just estimates. Talk to staff members at Tri-County Humane Society about what you can expect to spend with your new pet. Keep in mind, a cat can live up to 15 to 20 years or so.
  • Browse Tri-County Humane Society. You can do this both in person and virtually. There is an array of cats and kittens waiting to meet you. All of them will be spayed or neutered at TCHS before they can be adopted. They also will have received an external exam, dewormer and some shots. (Adopters receive a medical record.) The cats’ information will include descriptions about their personalities; this will help you determine who is the best match for your household. Call 320-252-0896 for details.
  • Make an introduction. Ask a TCHS staff member or volunteer if you can bring a cat or kitten out of its cage so you can interact with it. Keep in mind that the shelter can be a stressful place for animals, so the way the animal reacts might not be indicative of what he or she is like in a home setting; often animals are calmer once they have more space in a quieter environment. If a particular cat needs more socialization, carefully consider whether your household can meet its needs.
  • Get your home ready. You’ll need food, a litter box (basic rule of thumb is one per cat plus one), litter, a litter scoop, a food dish, a water dish, a scratching post, and toys, of course! It’s great to have a toy that your cat can play with on his/her own, plus a toy that you can use to play with him/her. Consider shopping at Tri-County Humane Society’s store, located in our front lobby! We have everything you need here to get you started with your new cat or kitten, and all the proceeds go back to our animals.
  • Check out our tips on introducing a kitten/cat to its new home.
  • Bring your kitten/cat to a veterinarian within seven days. It’s very important that you bring your new animal to a vet – it will need follow-up care and should be evaluated by a medical professional. While TCHS does not give recommendations for veterinarians, our adoption packets include information on the professionals in Central Minnesota. We cannot make guarantees on the health of your animal, and there is a seven-day return policy.
  • Enjoy your new kitten or cat! This is the start of a special bond. Remember to play, take pictures, and most of all snuggle with them. And let TCHS know how well your new addition is doing!

Note: Some information adapted from Jacque Lynn Schultz, CPDT

Cold Weather Tips


We prefer that pets live comfortably in the home with their people rather than outdoors year-round, but on extremely cold days or nights, it really is necessary!  Minnesota winters are simply too harsh for even the most well-equipped breeds.  Please follow these tips to help your pet remain safe, comfortable and happy:

  • Bring pets inside when the temperature is below freezing.
  • Dogs with well-insulated doghouses should be brought inside when the temperature drops below 5 degrees.
  • Hay can be used as an insulator.  Do not use blankets as they can get wet and freeze.
  • Doghouses must be large enough to allow the dog to sit and lie down comfortable but small enough to hold in body heat.  The floor should be raised off the ground and doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.
  • Doorways to doghouses should be facing away from the wind.
  • When outside, make sure your pet has the proper shelter and fresh water.  Don't let their water freeze!
  • Staying warm in the winter requires extra calories, so adjust your pet's diet accordingly.
  • Thoroughly wipe off your dog's legs and stomach when they come in out of the rain, snow or ice.  Salt, antifreeze or other chemicals could irritate their paws or harm your dog if ingested.
  • Animals like the sweet taste of antifreeze, and just a few sips can kill your pet.  Store antifreeze containers away from pets and promptly clean up any spills. Seek medical help if you suspect your pet has ingested antifreeze.
  • Remember, if it is cold for you, it is cold for your pet!  Some pets may even require a warm sweater for quick potty breaks or walks.

Read more: Cold Weather Tips

Try Recipe to Remove Skunk Odor

Try this home remedy for removing skunk odor from dogs. 
(This is much more effective than tomato juice.)

Mix together the following:
1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide
1/4 cup baking soda
1 teaspoon liquid soap

Soak the dog with water and then work the solution into a thick lather on the dog.  Leave lather on for 3 - 5 minutes and then rinse off.  
(Make certain you don't get any solution in the dog's eyes.) 
Do not try to store the mixture in a closed container.

Claw Trimming

cat_claws_1They serve as hooks, crampons, switchblades and chisels. A cat's claws are the Swiss Army knife of the feline toolbox. They are essential in practically every role that a cat plays.

Claws are indispensable! Yet, in many households, a cat and his claws are separated via surgical declawing -- all for the sake of the sofa. While all cats need to scratch, few need to be declawed.  Would you cut off your entire fingernail?

Read more: Claw Trimming

Yum! Bake Homemade Kitty Treats


Fabulous Fishballs

  • 3 baby carrots, cooked until soft
  • 16 oz canned tuna in olive oil, drained
  • 2 oz cooked herring, skin removed
  • 2 Tbsp whole grain bread crumbs or oatmeal
  • 2-3 Tbsp grated cheese
  • 2 Tsp brewer’s yeast
  • 3 pinches of chopped catnip
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste (not ketchup)


Preheat oven to 350°.  Mash all ingredients together.  Mold into small balls and put on greased baking tray.  Bake 15-20 minutes, checking frequently (they should be golden brown and feel firm).  Cool thoroughly!

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