What is good healthcare for your cat or dog?

What is good healthcare for your cat or dog?

How can you help your cat or dog live their best life? Good healthcare is key and here are five things you can do to help your pet be happy and healthy.

    • Regular medical check-ups
      Unless your dog or cat can talk, it can be hard to tell when they’re in pain or sick. Preventative wellness visits every year can help screen your pet for signs of medical issues and ensure that they’re maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This is also a great time to check on behavioral issues.

    • Vaccinations and parasite control
      Even if your dog or cat lives indoors, there are still preventable viral diseases that they can catch. Just like humans, vaccines can help keep your pet from getting sick from things like rabies, bordetella, distemper and more. Your veterinarian can create a schedule and recommend vaccines to keep your cat or dog healthy.Parasite control is also important. Fleas and ticks don’t just make your pet miserable – they can bring life-altering diseases. Keeping your pet parasite-free helps prevent complications.
    • Dental Care
      Without thumbs, our dogs and cats can’t brush their teeth. That’s why it’s important we help keep up with their oral care. Removing plaque and tartar and getting their teeth regularly checked at your annual vet visit will help reduce the risk of serious dental problems and surgery later on.
    • Nutrition
      While it’s tempting to give our furry friend all of the treats as a gesture of our love, keeping them at a healthy weight can mean a happier pet and a longer life. To determine what your pet should weigh, talk to your vet and figure out a diet that will help keep your dog or cat on target for their breed, size and age.And even though it’s hard, try to limit the “people food” your pet receives. There are foods that we can eat that can be deadly for them! Here’s a helpful list from the ASPCA on top foods that are dangerous for your friend.
    • Enrichment opportunities
      Life’s no fun when you’re bored! Physical health isn’t the only component of your dog or cat’s life that needs attention. Luckily, playtime and games can help keep them both physically and mentally active. You can help your cat feel fit and feline by providing toys that can stimulate their hunter instincts and get them moving. There are dog toys that can help them chase and hunt, like balls or squeaky toys, and even treat puzzles to encourage their thinking processes and scenting skills.You don’t have to break the bank – there are low-cost and free options for enrichment that can keep your pet’s brain as healthy as their bodies. Even a cardboard box can provide hours of fun!

By meeting your dog or cat’s physical and mental needs, ensuring regular wellness checks, and giving preventative care, you can ensure your pet’s good health and happiness. And if your pet is happy, aren’t you happy?

More tips:


How to Prepare for an Emergency with Your Pet

How to Prepare for an Emergency with Your Pet

Whether it’s natural or man-made, disasters don’t just affect humans – they can affect your pets as well. But making a plan for everyone in your family – human and animal – can help ensure everyone’s safety.

Here are four ways you can prepare:

Make an Evac-Pack.
Just like they recommend for humans, having a go bag in case of an emergency can save time if you have to leave your home in the case of severe weather or other disaster. It’s easy to build an Evac-Pack for your pet. Make sure you include 3-7 days’ worth of canned or dry food, a feeding dish and water bowl, a spare collar and leash, and copies of medical and identification records. Also helpful to include: recent photos of your pet just in case you get separated. While it’s tempting to have only the images on your phone, physical copies can be useful if your phone’s battery dies and you need to create a lost & found poster. Click here for a checklist you can use to make your own Evac-Pack.

Make sure your pet is microchipped.
In a chaotic situation, it can be easy to get separated from your furry family member. While a collar may have your name and identification on it, sometimes a collar can come off. Microchipping can help reunite you quicker with your pet if you’re separated. Make sure your information is updated in the microchip database too any time your contact information changes – that way you will definitely receive the call if someone finds your pet and their microchip is scanned.

Get a rescue alert sticker.
In the case of an emergency evacuation, whether due to a fire or a weather event, you can help rescue workers know that they need to be on the lookout for your pet by placing a rescue alert sticker in a very visible spot, like your front door. The information on this sticker – the types of pets, number of pets, and veterinarian’s information – can help in a time of confusion. Click here to get a free safety pack, including stickers, from the ASPCA. You can also get a card to carry in your wallet with the information on your pets so that in the case of a medical emergency, rescue workers will know that you have pets at home.

Know where your pets will go.

If you have to go to a shelter during evacuation, your pet may not be welcome. Not every emergency shelter is pet friendly, though they will allow trained service animals. But how do you know where to go?

      • Contact your veterinarian for a list of preferred boarding kennels and facilities that may be able to be used in an emergency.
      • Ask your local animal shelter if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets.
      • Identify hotels or motels inside and outside of your immediate area that accept pets.
      • Ask friends and relatives outside your immediate area if they would be willing to take in your pet.

Also, determine who can be your pet’s “emergency contact” if you have a situation that means you can’t care for your cat or dog. Talk to your pet’s guardian in advance to make sure they agree and keep their information handy so that if needed, they can be called upon to provide for your pet.

While you can’t prepare for every emergency, making plans for what you can help reduce the chance of unfortunate outcomes. For more information that can help you plan ahead, see slides from our Emergency Preparedness class.​

Vaccination and Microchip Clinic

Vaccination and Microchip Clinic

Join the waitlist should there be any cancellations. Please note that joining the waitlist does not guarantee an appointment. You will be contacted should space open up. 

When pets are like family, we do everything to keep them healthy and safe. Come get your cat or dog vaccinated and microchipped at our Vaccination & Microchip Clinic on Saturday, October 14, 2023, from 9 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at SAFE Haven for Cats! Rabies and distemper vaccines are only $5 each and microchips are $15.

Why Vaccinate Against Rabies & Distemper?
Rabies is an easily preventable disease caused by a virus often found in mammals (most commonly raccoons, foxes, and bats). It’s transmitted mainly through saliva via bites or scratches of an infected animal; without immediate treatment after exposure, rabies is nearly always fatal. Distemper is a highly contagious and incurable disease that is spread from animal to animal. Getting your pets vaccinated against these two diseases will keep them healthy and disease-free. Additionally, rabies vaccines are required by law in the state of North Carolina; all owned dogs and cats must be vaccinated by four months of age, and the vaccination must be kept current.

Why Are Microchips So Important
Since you’re considering having your pet vaccinated, why not also think about getting them microchipped? Only about 22% of lost dogs and 2% of lost cats are reunited with their owners, but microchipping increases the chances of reuniting lost pets with their humans to almost 75%! During this simple and quick procedure, a small chip is inserted below the surface of your pet’s skin that allows them to be scanned by animal control and veterinarians if they get lost. Microchips are an important part of pet care because you never know when your pet might decide to go off on an adventure!

Vaccination and Microchip Clinic
Saturday, October 14, 2023
Pet Cats, Feral Cats and Dogs: 9:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m.
SAFE Care Clinic | 8411 Garvey Drive | Suite 133B

Registration is required for this event. Each animal must be registered separately. Please register on the SAFE Care website here: https://www.safecareclinic.org/spay-neuter-services/appointments/ The vaccination registration is only good for October 14, 2023, during the event.

Friendly Cats must be in carriers. Feral cats must come in a trap. Dogs must be on a leash.

Payment will be taken at the event. We accept cash and major credit cards.


  • Rabies Vaccination: $5
  • FVRCP (Cats – Distemper) Vaccination: $5
  • DHPP (Dog – Distemper) Vaccination: $5
  • Microchip: $15

* The 3-year rabies vaccine is available for animals with a valid and current vaccination certificate. The certificate must be displayed at check-in. Otherwise, the one-year rabies vaccine will be administered. We must have the certificate; the tag is not sufficient proof.

Feral Cats – Cats must be in a trap. We will only be offering 1 year rabies for ferals, no other services are available at this time.

Learn about all the benefits of vaccination and microchipping for your pets.

Keeping Animals Safe When It’s Hot, Hot, Hot

Keeping Animals Safe When It’s Hot, Hot, Hot

With temperatures around the world hitting record highs, it’s important to know how to protect our furry friends. Whether it’s your personal pet or a community cat, you can help keep them safe and cool.

Keeping Your Pet Cool
Just like it is for humans, heat can be very dangerous for cats and dogs, especially since they don’t sweat. Even indoors, your pet can get overheated if your air conditioning isn’t working or they’re kept in a closed space with no airflow. Here are three ways you can help keep them cool for the summer:

    • Stay inside. Whenever possible, make sure your cat or dog enjoys the great indoors. If you have to go outside to walk your dog, keep the activity short and be aware of how hot the asphalt can get – walking in the grass will be cooler and prevent the potential for burned paws.
    • Help them stay hydrated. Make sure you have fresh, clean water throughout the house in easy-to-access locations. Want to add a little chill? Add a couple of ice cubes into the water for an extra treat.
    • Don’t leave pets in parked cars. Even if it doesn’t seem like it’s too hot outside, the inside of a car can get overwhelmingly hot quickly. If you don’t need to take your pet with you, leave them at home where they can stay safe and cool.

Helping Community Cats
Community cats also need a little extra help when it’s sweltering! If you like to help the cats in your neighborhood or at nearby cat colonies, here are a few ways you can help.

    • Provide shade. Whether it’s just access to shade under your deck or a special shelter, giving community cats the option to escape the sun will help them stay a little bit cooler. Building a cat shelter can also be a great project for when you’re trying to stay inside yourself!
    • Ice → Water. Just like our indoor pets, our outdoor furry friends need extra access to water in the summer weather. If you can, check any water you leave out more frequently to make sure it’s full. You can also freeze water in bowls and leave it out to melt in addition to the bowls with regular water.
    • Try dry cat food. If you leave out food for cats in your community, dry food can last longer than wet food and also attracts fewer bugs.
    • Consider the weather when trapping. If you help with overpopulation by practicing TNVR, think about how hot it is outside before trapping. Even humane traps can get overheated so cats shouldn’t be left long in them.

Looking for more tips on caring for your pet? Learn what plants are safe to have and why microchipping is a great idea.

Can I have Plants AND Cats? Yes – with a Catch

Can I have Plants AND Cats? Yes – with a Catch

Plants are a great way to add finishing touches to your home, but did you know they may also be a death trap for your cats? There are many plants that are poisonous to cats. Here’s a list of plants that are a no-go when redecorating your space:

Most lilies are lethal to cats. Any lily that’s a part of the Lilium group – think Easter lilies, stargazer lilies and asiatic lilies – has a chemical that is toxic to our feline friends. In fact, they’re so poisonous that a cat can suffer fatal kidney failure just from biting into a lily leaf or petal, licking lily pollen from its paws or drinking water from a vase with cut lilies in it.

If you think your cat has chewed or eaten even a bite of a lily, go to the animal hospital immediately.

Although it’s pretty and smells great, eucalyptus is dangerous for cats. If ingested, it can cause cats to suffer seizures, vomiting, and diarrhea among other symptoms. Use eucalyptus essential oil in a sealed container instead to get your fix while keeping your cat safe.

While some ripe nightshades like tomatoes may be an okay occasional snack for felines, it’s best to stay away from having a tomato plant at home as they can be toxic. Its leaves, stems and unripe fruit are unsafe for your kitty causing serious stomach problems. Other nightshade plants include eggplant or the bittersweet nightshade flower.

Cannabis – the plant or product – is dangerous to cats. Although cats are likely to recover from minimal THC intoxication, like second-hand smoke (yes, you read that right), it’s best to seal and store any cannabis products away from your cat. THC intoxication symptoms include dilated pupils, lack of coordination, vomiting and even coma.

Azaleas & Rhododendrons
Azaleas and other plants of the Rhododendron family are a beautiful floral accent to your yard. However, just a few leaves can make your cat incredibly sick. It’s full of the toxin grayanotoxin, which is lethal to cats in a small dose that can result in cardiac failure.

While in some cases, just parts of a plant – bark, leaves, seeds, berries, roots, tubers, spouts, green shells – might be poisonous, it’s best to not have them around. If you must have any of them, keep them safely out of reach. Read a list of all plants that are dangerous to cats here.

If your cat gets sick, take the plant with you to help the vet identify the source of the poisoning and make an accurate treatment plan.

While in some cases, just parts of a plant – bark, leaves, seeds, berries, roots, tubers, spouts, green shells – might be poisonous, it’s best to not have them around. If you must have any of them, keep them safely out of reach. Read a list of all plants that are dangerous to cats here.

If your cat gets sick, take the plant with you to help the vet identify the source of the poisoning and make an accurate treatment plan.

Cat Poisoning Symptoms

  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Twitching or seizures
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of coordination

If you see or think your cat ate something poisonous, call the veterinarian immediately.

Overall, you’re welcome to have greenery in your home to add that special touch to your space. Just remember to stay informed on what species are safe for your kitty for a cozy home for you and your furry friend!