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Patricia H Ladew
Foundation, 2004


Spring has sprung! Take time to smell the roses . . . but watch out for thorns (and poisonous plants!)


Springtime brings beautiful flowers and everyone wants to be out in the garden -- be careful of some popular flowers that are toxic to cats!


"Lillies are very popular this time of year, especially around Easter time," says Dr. Susan Whittred, veterinarian of the Ladew Cat Sanctuary. "Please keep these flowers out of reach of your cat, preferably out of your home" Whittred urges. "It doesn't take much of the flower to cause renal failure in cats, which can be fatal! Lillies aren't the only flowers/plants that are poisonous to cats. The ASPCA has a wonderful reference for all plants that are toxic to cats," says Whittred "and is a great go-to source to learn about the plants and flowers that are safe around our cats."


The ASPCA also has a service where you can speak to a veterinarian if you think your pet did ingest something poisonous (plant or otherwise). They have a database of all substances that can cause harm and will tell you (or your vet) exactly the steps to take if your pet ingested any type of toxic substance. There is a $65 fee but worth the peace of mind.

Posted by theladewcatsanctuary at 03:24 PM

Sprucing up for Spring

Hope sits in one of the new wall boxes

Exercise and entertainment are important to keep shelter cats from getting bored. At our sanctuary, we have TV with movies of birds and mice to keep the kitties entertained, but exercise is also important so that our cats don't become couch potatoes! Until our new outdoor runs are built, one of the ways in which we enrich our kitties is by putting climbing boxes on the wall so our curious kitties can check out the room from above. The cats get exercise climbing up the boxes and can get some private time by having their own box for a nap!

Artistically inclined Janet Bruce created the template for Roland to cut the wood from
The team of Gerwald and Bruce was at it again, with Janet Bruce developing the cut-out template for Roland to cut out the wood and Roland coming up with the final design to make sure the boxes are safe for the kitties.


The final result are cubbies that the cats can climb, as well as sleep in (especially if they want a little privacy).


These boxes can be made (if you're lucky enough to have a creative and crafty team like we do!) but similar ones can be purchased online.

Roland and best cat bud, Fred

Posted by theladewcatsanctuary at 03:21 PM


Last November 2011 I had the sad experience of putting my sweet cat Lucky to sleep after a battle with kidney disease. Growing up, I never thought of myself as a cat person, and I actually grew to dislike them after being bitten by one in my childhood, and then developing allergies in my teen years. Fortunately, my best friend was a cat fanatic (as I took to calling her) and she never gave up on me. About 12 years ago, after much persuasion from my friend and daughter, I adopted two kittens, Jinx and Lucky.

In 2010 we had to put Jinx to sleep and then again in November 2011, Lucky passed away from kidney disease. My heart was broken and I decided not to get another cat for quite some time. WELL, that changed 6 weeks later! My daughter and I went to visit the same best friend, who just happens to be Dr. Susan Whittred! They both suggested it would be fun to just go "see" the kittens. I reluctantly went along knowing what their plan was but adamant I would not crumble. I took ONE look at Ariel and Tinkerbell and all resolve melted away. They immediately stole my heart especially when Tink jumped up on my shoulders and rubbed the cutest face I had ever seen in the world against my cheek.


Ariel and Tink have been with me for 3 months and every day is a new adventure. They are the happiest most curious kittens I have ever seen. Every waking moment is playtime for them. They constantly chase each other all over the house or they bring me toys which they like to leave in the bathtub. After hours of frolicking, they snuggle up together in their tree condo and kiss each other until they pass out. They are the sweetest, most lovable cats in the world and the hole that was once in my heart has been filled thanks to my best friend and her big heart. Thank you so much Susan and Lynn for all you do!!!!

--Christine Bellon

Editor's note: We told you so!

Posted by theladewcatsanctuary at 01:21 PM

Punkin (aka Elmo)

As a loyal volunteer of PHLF for a few years I am shocked that I am writing my FIRST 'Cat Tales' story. We have two female cats at home (Mooshi -- 6 and Greylee -- 3) and have been very content with our feline family. I had met Punkin (formerly Elmo) several times at the shelter and always thought he was super cute and very affectionate. We had an adoption show in December and for some reason I spent a large portion of the day holding him and sitting with him. He had such a great demeanor, never once tried to wiggle out of my hands or run off my lap. Later that day I was secretly texting my hubby pictures of him telling him what a great kitten he was . . . trying to feel him out. The day was nearly over and Punkin was still sitting there all bright-eyed so I slapped the adoption sign on his cage and told hubby to make room for a boy!

We have had Punkin for about 4 months now. We had forgotten how entertaining kittens can be. Mooshi and Greylee were shocked to see the little one but I think they enjoy his antics too. I occasionally see them enjoying a nap next to him which makes us really happy. My entire life I have always had a cat or two but never a boy (and never THREE)! I always thought my female cats were very affectionate and worried that a boy would not be as friendly -- but BOY was I wrong. He brings affectionate to a whole new level. We love our little boy and Dad is thrilled that he fetches a ball. (Yes, he really does).

Love, The Christiansen's

Posted by theladewcatsanctuary at 01:20 PM

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Mason's owner passed away suddenly, leaving Mason and 28 other cats with nowhere to go. A good neighbor stepped in and found placement for every single cat. Mason is a very sweet and affectionate Maine Coon who loves rub up against your legs as a signal for you to pet him. Mason and his best friend, Eric, are inseparable. They love to sleep all curled up with each other. Mason and Eric are a bonded pair and must be adopted together. MASON AND ERIC WERE ADOPTED!

Mason has been neutered, dewormed, vaccinated, tested negative for FELV/FIV and ringworm and is microchipped. If you have room in your heart for a new family member, please call 516-922-CATS. Also available for sponsorship.

You can help Mason by being a sponsor ($25 minimum)

Gift sponsorship is also available.

Posted by theladewcatsanctuary at 12:47 PM

ask dr susan april webready.jpg

Heartworm disease is prevalent in all of the United States, but infection is particularly common in dogs and cats along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts where salt marsh mosquitoes are prevalent. Because this disease and the treatment for it are potentially fatal, prevention is by far the best medical approach.

How is heartworm disease transmitted?

Heartworm larvae (immature worms) are carried by mosquitoes. If a mosquito that is carrying heartworm larvae bites your dog/cat, the larvae are injected under the dog's/cat's skin where the parasite matures for approximately 3 months. The larvae then migrate through the dog's/cat's blood vessels until they get to the blood vessels of the lungs (pulmonary arteries). The larvae mature into adult worms in the pulmonary arteries. Since the pulmonary arteries lead to the heart, these worms can migrate through the arteries to the heart, causing heartworm disease.

Is heartworm disease in cats the same as it is in dogs?

There are some differences between cats and dogs when it comes to heartworm disease. Cats are more resistant to the disease than dogs and they are not infected with as many worms as dogs (usually no more than 6 worms). However, because of their relatively small body size, cats that are infected with even a few worms are said to be severely infected and these few worms can be life threatening. There are two phases of heartworm disease that are potentially fatal in the cat. In the first phase of infection, the cat's immune system mounts a response, which can either prove to be fatal or subside. Following this first phase, many cats can tolerate the presence of worms, until, after about two years, the worms begin to die. The degenerating parasites can cause pulmonary inflammation or clog a blood vessel (thromboembolism) which can also be fatal (sudden death).

The most common clinical signs in cats are similar to dogs, with intermittent coughing and labored breathing being two of the most commonly reported signs. Vomiting (not associated with eating), weight loss and inappetance, among other less common signs, have also been reported.

Is there a test for heartworm disease in cats?

Testing and therefore, diagnosis of heartworm disease in cats can be more difficult as some of the tests (antigen tests) will only be positive if a female worm is present. Other tests (antibody test) may have to be repeated in 60 days if heartworm disease is suspected. If it is suspected that your cat may have heartworm disease, your veterinarian may suggest performing both tests as well as taking x-rays and having an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart).

Your cat should be tested if 1) your veterinarian suspects heartworm disease based on clinical signs; 2) further monitoring if your cat has already been diagnosed with heartworm disease or 3) if you are going to start heartworm preventative.

Is there treatment for my cat if he/she has heartworm disease?

Since the worms only live about two years in cats, therapy is aimed at keeping the cat stable until the worms die on their own. If you suspect heartworm disease in your cat, you should discuss the options with your veterinarian. The adulticide therapy used in the dog is used only as a last resort in cats.

Is there preventative medicine for cats?

Yes, you can discuss the different heartworm preventatives that are available with your veterinarian to find the one that is best suited for your cat.

In the case of heartworm disease, for both dogs and cats, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Posted by theladewcatsanctuary at 12:47 PM