I’m a firm believer in the internet being good for cats, as well as their caregivers. I’d like to go over some of the top reasons cat lovers like us use the internet for cat welfare. At the end of this article, please feel free to leave a comment on your primary online search of feline knowledge. I’m going to break it down into categories that I feel internet cat welfare fall into.
Most of us have a bad day every now and then, and turn to the internet to amuse us. I recently read a statement saying the internet offers the knowledge of the world at our fingertips, yet we choose to look at cat photos (and videos). There are thousands of websites devoted to cat fanciers looking for entertainment. We want our daily dose of cat photos, videos and also stories of how cat caregivers came about adding a cat to their household.
Facebook is famous for it’s cats posing as people (sshhhhh…don’t alert the Facebook police). We follow cats such as Grumpy Cat to amuse ourselves. My cat Furby has a page under Furby the Feral Feline. Sealy has Prayers for Sealy, and has personally run his own page for over two years. Those of us with Facebook cats tend to show our feline side (another word for a smart mouth) on these pages. I still follow cats like The Story of Snow, who was burned several years ago. I can’t help but check back and see how things are going.
CAT PRODUCT REVIEWS (INCLUDING VETERINARIANS)
There’s not a product out there recommended to cat lovers that I don’t Google a review on before I purchase. I’ve learned a lot of companies literally lie about a product being the best invention for cats ever made. I prefer to base my decision to purchase a toy, food, etc. knowing the opinion of other good cat owners. When I visit a pet store, the employees may as well get used to seeing me pull out my cell phone and looking up the product before I spend my hard-earned money on it.
The same holds true for veterinarians. It’s easy to find out the score a local vet receives, as there are many “grading” sites online. The Better Business Bureau, which was about the only realistic way to once judge a business of any kind, has been joined by sites such as yellowpages.com and merchantcircle.com. These sites welcome reviews, and people are using Google to find these sites for the latest information.
WHERE SHOULD I ADOPT FROM?
This can be broken down into three categories. Shelter adoption, breeder adoption or freebie ad.
I’d like to address freebie first. I don’t believe in recommending adoption from a freebie. The main reason for this is there are far too many unseen problems. Like the adopter being responsible for spay/neuter, vaccines and microchipping. This can easily run between $100-$250, depending on whether your area has a clinic with reduced prices. So realize that free doesn’t necessarily mean free.
Breeder adoptions are still high on the list of where to find the cat of your dreams. For those looking to adopt from a breeder, please do a thorough search (which falls under cat product reviews) to be sure it’s a reputable breeder. Cats available for adoption from a breeder are typically listed on a breeders website, along with a photo. They allow the potential adopter to see examples of the breed they’re looking for, including information on how long this breeder has been in business, as well as their ethics in improving a breed. It is always best to visit the breeder’s home and facilities in person.
Shelter pets are also searched for using social media. Most of the good shelters (as well as the bad ones) have a Facebook page showing the animals up for adoption, as well as the time left before that particular animal is murdered due to space or illness. While it’s important to support your local shelter, the option to adopt out of state are also there. Many transport options are available to get the cat from point A to point B at very little expense.
This is the biggest and best use of the internet I’ve seen over the past 10 years. I remember raising cats back in the day when you were lucky to find a book listing cat symptoms and possible treatment.
A lot of websites are devoted to everything from diagnosing symptoms to using an online vet service that will answer questions for a fee to A-Z topic sites. Thousands of websites have illnesses listed by symptoms and offer treatment options. Just use discretion when using this information, as many illnesses definitely need the hand-on treatment only a veterinarian can give.
The one major use I’ve had of cat health sites is looking up medication a vet prescribes. While I tend to trust the vet, if I come across 1000 cats being poisoned by a drug, I’m not shy about showing the post to my vet right in his officer. I also do this on over the counter drugs. There are still a lot of OTC drugs that a dog may have, but would be potentially fatal to a cat.
Readers, if you remember nothing else, remember a dog and a cat can’t tolerate the same drugs. Just because both species walk on four legs doesn’t make they’re alike on the inside. Cats definitely have a more fragile system. They tend to become ill easier than dogs, are more likely to die from that illness, and to die faster than a dog would. This isn’t saying dogs can’t die quickly, but cats are smaller than the majority of family dogs, and things like dehydration and starvation affect their organs faster.
WHAT’S YOUR INTERNET CAT INTEREST?
Which of the above is your primary reason for searching the internet? It may be a combination of all of the above. PoC is a great website to recommend to friends, because there’s a balance of information, stories and photos. Michael has created a well rounded site, and I can trust the health information he has written on. I do miss the stories of how people came about adding a cat to their family. There used to be many more of these, and that’s what attracted me to this site. You may think no one would like to hear how you chose your cat, but I can assure you, there are many of us who would.
Please feel free to comment on any of this. Especially if information online has helped save your cat during a feline emergency.