Kids & Pets
August 23, 2019
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Fostering is fun The Richard Crane School- Cougar Cub Character Assembly Richard Crane’s walk-a-thon Dog fights – often more bark than bite Summer hazards for pets Odd couples and unusual friends Sonoma County Vegfest – learn about a plant-based diet Mark your calendars-Support Bark After Dark Belated Happy Mother’s Day RP Animal Shelter has a rodent nursery All the pieces in place Cautions for your pet on the 4th of July Long distance adoptions Saving Hopps becomes a job Bark After Dark benefit a great success Richard Crane- Cougar Cub Character Assembly for May 20 Hahn Elementary-Life skill recipients for May To be a senior cat during the summer is the pits Black is beautiful! Spring is turtle season? Thomas Page Academy awards for May Summer camp review Monte Vista Elementary Student Builders-2018 Why nice animals sit We appreciate our volunteers John Reed Elementary-Positive behavior winners for April 30 You love pets? Quality vs. quantity Bark after Dark is coming Nov. 3 John Reed Elementary Positive Office Referral recipients Fires, floods, mudslides oh my! Monte Vista-Student builders for April 2 Monte Vista Elementary received recognition of being safe Monte Vista-Award winners for May 7 Monte Vista School Student Builders for October 2 Rancho Cotate High School Recognition of Curiosity for the month of October Monte Vista Elementary-Student builders for March 5 Richard Crane-Cougar Cub Character Assembly for April 1 Penngrove Elementary-Life skills for April 10 Hahn Elementary School Monte Vista Walk-a-thon The Richard Crane School Cougar Cub Character Assembly students November 5 Planning for our pets Penngrove Elementary- Life skills for Feb. 27 RCHS seniors sign commitment University Elementary-Life Skill Award for Perseverance for the month of April Summer fun for animal lovers Hahn Elementary-Lifeskill recipients for the month of April John Reed Elementary School A beloved dog, a stolen car and...a happy ending Broken legs in cats very costly Furry fire victims John Reed Elementary- Honor roll 2018-pets in review Finding strays out of Sonoma County A visit to Thomas Page Academy Leoni wins speaker contest Bunny fur ban bill The Richard Crane School Cougar Cub Character Assembly April 29 Penngrove Elementary School A lifetime commitment Hahn Elementary Life skills awards - October, 2018 Are you ready for Thanksgiving? John Reed Elementary- Positive behavior for Dec. 12 Monte Vista School-second grade celebrates the holidays The Richard Crane School Cougar Cub Character Assembly- Jan. 14 Hahn Elementary-Life skills for November Dictionary mania It’s spring and kittens are popping The truth about no-kill, does not mean zero deaths Thomas Page STEAM Club Young kittens are lots of work RCHS awards for Kindness the month of October Penngrove Elementary Life skills awards- Oct. 24 Helping out in Paradise “Mary did you know?” Monte Vista Elementary- Student builders for Dec. 18 Your help is needed when we offer generous programs John Reed Elementary-Positive Behavior winners for January Tale of Cooper Penngrove Elementary - Life skill awards for Feb. 20 Want something cuddly, attend the Bunfest 2019 John Reed-Positive behavior winners for March 26 Disaster preparedness for our pets CPI offers support University Elementary School Rohnert Park tree lighting ceremony Long-term residents need a home University Elementary School -Life skill award for responsibility The Richard Crane School Cougar Cub Character Assembly- Dec. 10 Penngrove Elementary School-Life skills A Happy reunion Monte Vista-Student builders for Feb. 19 Obese pets are not cute Monte Vista Elementary-Being responsible Hahn Elementary-Lifeskills for the month of March Monte Vista School Sept. 18 Free-roaming cats – is it safe Living with multiple pets Monte Vista School Student Builders for Dec. 4 Holiday happiness and mishaps Penngrove Elementary-Life skills for Dec. 12 Monte Vista Elementary- Student Builders for Jan. 8 Monte Vista Elementary School - Student builders for Jan. 22 Penngrove Elementary-Life skills for Feb. 6 Penngrove Elementary-Life skills for Feb. 13 John Reed Elementary-Positive behavior winners for Feb. 26 Rancho Cotate High School-Students of the month for Feb. and March Richard Crane School for Sept. 17 Penngrove School - For the life skills of gratefulness Thomas Page Middle School - Principal honor roll Penngrove Elementary TSA selecting more floppy-eared dogs University Elementary - Creativity Life skill awards for Jan Silver Paws times two University Elementary-Feb. Life skill awards for Creativity Hahn Elementary Life skills for the month of Feb.  2019 World’s ugliest dog® contest University Elementary for September Rancho Cotate High School Students for the month of Nov. Thomas Page Elementary School - Lifeskill awards Prepare pets for better grooming visits Rohnert Park municipal code update Rancho Cotate High School Achievement award for January Richard Crane Elementary Cougar Cub Character Expectation award winners for the week of Feb. 25 Penngrove Elementary for Sept. 12 Hahn Elementary School - Life skills for Nov. 2018 Girls, it is time to make changes and be empowered Monte Vista Elementary-Student builders for Feb. Visiting Cape Town SPCA John Reed School Positive behavior winners for Nov. 27 Thomas Page Academy Respect, Integrity, Service and Endurance awards Step up your kids’ STEM skills Taking work on vacation John Reed Elementary- Positive behavior winners for Jan. 22. Monte Vista Elementary-Student Builders for Sept 4 Penngrove School Lifeskill award for Sept. 5 Penngrove Elementary - Lifeskill Award for Aug. 31 Teacher Amy Miller is wrapped up Some assembly required: Putting together the pieces of your rescue pet University Elementary School life skill awards for the month of August Penngrove Elementary Lifeskill winners for the week of Aug. 22 John Reed positive behavior winners for Aug. 28 Happy Birthday Small dog syndrome: When predators are also prey Richard Crane School walk-a-thon Hope unleashed for pets with cancer Penngrove School Aug. 8 Richard Crane School Cougar Cub Character Assembly students for Aug. 20 Penngrove School for Aug. 15 Penngrove Elementary Lifeskill award winners for Aug. 1 Rescuing Pitbulls: When myths affect reality Try attending Sonoma County VegFest Aug. 18 “Stuff the truck” Time to get immunized before school starts 5 tips for bringing your pet to work this summer School bus safety 101 Living with a 3-legged dog is not easy Can we can clear the shelter?

Inside or out – the debate continues

By: Mickey Zeldes
May 3, 2019

One of the hottest topics that has divided families and pits cat lovers against each other is the continuing debate about keeping cats strictly indoors versus allowing them to free-roam.  Historically, cats have always earned their place near humans because of their rodent-killing skills.  Farmers would encourage cats to stick around their granaries to help keep the rodent population down and reduce loss and spoilage of their crops.  So, although cats have been “domesticated” for about 12,000 years, it’s really only been in the last 100 years that cats have moved inside the home with people.  

The “cats should be outdoors” fan club insist that cats are animals and should be allowed to live naturally.  They still have hunting instincts and should be allowed to live as they were designed to do – climbing, chasing, stalking, and enjoying grass and sunshine.  Keeping them locked up in a house without any access to nature is unnatural, they say.  Sure, some may get hurt or killed but it’s the quality of life that’s important.  What good is a long life if you are stuck in a prison?

But, retorts the “cats should be kept indoors” supporters, life in our cities and suburbs does not resemble the life cats lived a hundred years ago.  There are many more risks and our job as pet parents is to keep our animals safe.  There are cars to contend with now.  Nothing in a cat’s DNA will help him figure out how to cross a road safely!  Not only is that a risk to the cat, but how many accidents are caused by a cat running across the road?  

There are many other dangers that a free-roaming pet has to deal with too: poisons (rat and gopher bait, pesticides, antifreeze, weed killers to name a few), other loose pets, diseases, parasites, and more. With people living closer and closer together there is also the issue of being a good neighbor.  Part of living outdoors means that the world is one big litterbox, which isn’t fair to your neighbor that’s growing vegetables or flowers in his garden, or another whose children have a sandbox.  Your cat’s hunting instinct can be a problem too.  How fair is that to the bird lover down the block that has set up a feeder in her yard?  It is feared that songbird populations in certain areas are facing extinction because of predation.  To maintain peace, many cities have muni codes requiring pets to be contained on their owner’s property.

And this doesn’t even begin to touch on the millions of cats that end up in animal shelters each year.  If the free-roaming cats aren’t fixed (let’s at least all agree that spaying and neutering is a prerequisite before any cat puts a paw outside the home!) then unwanted offspring are the inevitable results.  Cats that get chased or follow a prey can quickly become lost.  The national average of cats that are reclaimed from shelters is only 2%, which is a disgrace and a tragedy.  

So is there a compromise?  I felt guilty keeping my cats locked inside on beautiful spring days and yet the thought of coming home each evening hoping they were there was a stress I couldn’t deal with.  The compromise that my husband and I came up with is an outdoor enclosure – one that our cats can have access to through a window screen and allows them to roll in the grass, climb on shelves, sunbath and yes, catch a bug or two.  All while safely enclosed on our property – which keeps my mommy instincts at a low stress level.  Jackson Galaxy, a cat behaviorist and host of television’s “My Cat from Hell”, has coined the term “catio” to describe an outdoor area that keeps the cat safely confined and promotes that concept frequently on his show.  Not everyone has the skill or time to build an enclosure, so thank goodness for companies like C & D Pet Products ( and the Fence-in System (  

Now everyone’s cats can enjoy the best of both worlds – living like a real cat and enjoying the outdoors, safely!

Upcoming Events

“Get Them Back Home” Campaign – Every lost pet should have a way to get back home.  FREE pet ID tag and a back-up microchip are available to all residents of Rohnert Park and Cotati.  No appointment necessary, just come by the shelter during our regular open hours: Wed 1-6:30; Thur. –Fri.-Sat. 1-5:30; Sun. 1-4:30.

Fix-it Clinics – Free spay and neuters for cats; and $60 dog surgeries (up to 80 lbs.) for low-income Rohnert Park and Cotati residents.  Call 588-3531 for an appointment.

Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at