Over the course of years most Shelter personnel have repeatedly been asked the same questions by phone or in person by people seeking to adopt animals. Many of those questions are asked and answered here in an effort to explain the WHY and the HOW of finding forever homes for surrendered, stray, or abandoned animals along with some general pet questions not directly related to our Shelter.
How to Read the FAQ’s
Each question is a link. Simply click on a question and the answer will appear below it. To close an answer, click on the same link that you opened it with.
Questions and Answers
Shelter FAQs (3)
Literally millions of unwanted puppies and kittens are abandoned, left to fend for themselves, die of disease, or are killed on highways every year. Most, if not ALL, animal shelters will spay and neuter the animals in their care before they are adopted in an effort to prevent more babies.
Prices at the Watertown Humane Society are in line with other area shelters, and personnel are trying to recover some of the costs of care for the animals. All dogs at the Shelter are tested for heartworm and all cats are tested for Feline Leukemia (FeLeuk) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) before they are put out in general population.
Many animals come in with fleas, ticks, lice, ear and eye infections, and upper respiratory infections (URIs) and need to be treated with medications such as antibiotics, flea baths, ear mite medication, and several doses of deworming medication before they are adoptable. In general, the costs of all such testing and treatments go far above the dollar amounts charged for adoptions!
When the costs of spaying and neutering are added, an adopted animal costs far less at a shelter than from a breeder or a stray picked up from off the street, who will need multiple veterinarian visits to be totally healthy.
There are several area facilities and individuals in the area who are better educated and equipped to care for these animals and birds. We refer most people to Wildlife in Need Center located near Oconomowoc, for the care of baby animals found without their mothers.
Critter FAQs (3)
I want my children to witness “the miracle of birth” and isn’t it important for female cats and dogs to have at least one litter before they are spayed?
In answer to the second half of the question, NO! There is no harm done to female animals if they are spayed before their first heat, so that they cannot become pregnant. Many strays die, along with their kittens if they are impregnated in their first heat which can come as early as 5 or 6 months of age. This is comparable to an 11-year old girl having a baby!
If you want your children to see baby animals being born, you may want to find a movie showing this sometimes bloody event!
Again, NO! Male dogs and cats will reach sexual maturity long before they are totally grown, and can easily “make babies” before their total body growth is reached. Many breeds of cats and dogs will not be fully grown until they are two or three years old, so it is important to neuter them before they become sexually active or frustrated. A lot of the “humping” behavior seen in older dogs and cats is due to them not having been neutered early enough.
Leave them alone! Feral (wild) mothers will come back to feed their babies only when no people are around. If you have not seen a mother cat, or hear loud crying from the infants after a day or so, gather them up gently in a blanket, put them in a box, and bring them to the Shelter. Unless you are experienced in the care and feeding of tiny baby kittens, you can do more harm than good!
In no instance should you try to give them cow’s milk or canned food, as those items cannot be digested by nursing infants. There are milk replacement formulas made expressly for orphaned kittens and puppies, and they will need to be bottle fed for a few days or weeks until they are able to lap up milk, and then eat regular food, for themselves.
Additionally, kittens need to be manually stimulated to urinate or defecate, to simulate the mother’s licking them-and most people are NOT prepared to do that!