Send us your cat photos for National Cat Day

Dear cat lovers of Austin,

We want to see how you’re celebrating National Cat Day, so send us your photos of your favorite feline friend! Tweet us at @austin360 or  tag @austin360 on Instagram. We will compile the photos in this blog, so check back with us later for all the cat photos you could ever want.

Photo by Rachel Corbelli
Photo by Rachel Corbelli

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#nationalcatday Here's my smiling kitten! 😻

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Dobby taking it easy on #nationalcatday

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Austin named a ‘getaway for dog lovers’

A vacation without your favorite four-legged friend is nothing special, according to Condé Nast Traveler. yard-bar

The travel magazine’s newest roundup, aptly titled “5 droolworthy getaways for dog lovers,” provides a number of ideas for how to travel with your dog, from truffle hunting in Oregon to “Bikejorging” in Vermont.

What is there to do for pets and their companions visiting Austin?

“Day drink,” according to Condé Nast, citing Austin’s many pet-friendly hotels, bars, restaurants and dog parks where you can drink alongside your dog.

In addition to a much buzzed-about cat cafe, Austin is home to Yard Bar, a bar that also serves as a dog park. Similar to Yard Bar, Dog House Drinkery is not too far away in Leander.

And when you’re done drinking for the day, Condé Nast suggests the Driskill Hotel in downtown Austin as the place for you and your pooch to rest. The historic hotel provides homemade dog biscuits as well as “Driskill Doggie Business Bags.”

Does this mean Austin will see more tourists drinking with their dogs?

Pets of the week: Oct. 23, 2015

Austin Animal Center

Shelby LynnShelby Lynn (ID A713709)

11-year-old Greyhound/Labrador mix, female

Shelby Lynn is one very smart girl, she knows sit, down and shake. Also, she seems housetrained. Plus, she has lived with other dogs and cats, and very respectful and nice to all of them She sleeps inside on her bed and would make anyone willing to make her a member of the family an excellent new friend!

VVioletiolet ( ID A693560)

2-year-old Terrier mix, female

Violet has been with Austin Animal Center over 314 days!! She knows sit, loves to play tug and go swimming. She is very well behaved for nails trimming and baths. Volunteers call her lovely and sweet.

She has lived with other dogs and is a considered a “Rock Star” in her play group. Violet has a video!


5-year-old Calico mix, female

Chrissie is a talker and wants to meet you! Are you looking for a cat to cuddle up with and be your only companion? Chrissie might be the girl for you. She was living on the street when a good Samaritan decided that Chrissie could live with her. She had spent the last 2 years living indoors before her owner had health problems and needed to bring her to us.

BobBob (ID A712790)

5-year-old Blue Tabby, male

Bob has lived with other cats and dogs. He loves our staff and often joins them for lunch in our screened-in cat porch. Come meet Bob and see if he is the right boy for you. Big Bob is waiting.

Thundering Paws Animal Sanctuary


1 year, female

Aditi is a friendly young cat, available for adoption starting in September 2015.  She is shown here with two of her kittens (Fayyim and Naja).


5 months, male




5 months, female





5 months, female





7 months, male



Central Texas SPCA

tucker closeupTucker

2 years, male

While he may seem a bit shy at first, Tucker is the happiest little guy once he gets to know you! Tucker loves to play and fetch balls, but once he’s tired out, Tucker is ready to relax with his favorite people. He’s a connoisseur of doggie treats, and milk bones seem to be his favorite so far!


cookie bench 2Cookie

7 years, female

Cookie is a sweet older lady with an easygoing attitude. She lives life on the slow side, and we’re happy to follow her lead! She seems to get along with other dogs just fine, her friend Mufasa can vouch for that! Cookie enjoys lap time above all things, and we’ve learned that she’ll do anything you want for a treat.

buster tieBuster

7 years, male

Buster is all about living it up in his golden years by having tons of fun!He’s a friendly guy who’ll greet everyone at the gate of his kennel with a wagging tail. We’ve found that he likes to sit on laps and lay around in the AC with people. Buster is really attached to Cookie, so we’d love for them to be adopted out together!


1 year, male

Ron is never without a reason to nap. Whether it’s in his comfy bed or on top of his brother, Harry, Ron is happy to relax. He does act a bit shy around new people but once you start petting him, he comes around pretty quickly.  Ron is not a fan of dogs so he would require a slow introduction if his adoptive family has a dog in the house.


1 year, male

This sweet boy is named Harry! He’s extremely friendly and will greet everyone at the door of his kitty condo. He loves to chase and play but his favorite kind of game is hunting a fake mouse toy! Harry will rub against your legs and sit in your lap for hours, his purr can be heard throughout the shelter.

Before you get a puppy, get prepared and be realistic

As the expression goes, we needed a puppy like a hole in the head. Two kids starting new schools, an upcoming surgery for Grandpa, two busy careers and tons of volunteer commitments — what were we thinking?

Chewbacca "Chewie" Villalpando arrived three weeks ago.

Yet, 11 days after our 11-year-old dog, Penny, died unexpectedly, my husband brought home an 8-week-old German shepherd/retriever mix puppy my daughter found at Austin Pets Alive. It was love at first sight. Instantly, we had a new baby — this time the furry kind.

We launched head on into Raising Chewbacca, Chewie for short. It’s our first foray into being puppy parents. Penny was 6 when we brought her home. The dog before, Jet, was almost 2.

Puppies are like 2-year-olds, says Dr. Stacy Mozisek from Firehouse Animal Health Center. They are mobile and get into everything. “Don’t give him a lot of free rein or he’s probably in trouble,” she says.

Eventually puppies become like a preteen child or a teenager, says dog trainer Steve Haynes of Fidelio Dog Works. They know what the right thing to do is, but they don’t always do it.

They can’t be left unattended until about age 1, they say.

I’ve even written about how a puppy is a horrible idea, especially not for Christmas. You can read that story I still stand by the think-before-you-leap wisdom, but who couldn’t love Chewie?

Here’s what we should have done and known before Chewie came home, according to Mozisek and Haynes:


Buy the crate before anything else. Because puppies can’t be trusted, they have to be contained in a safe place whenever you can’t have all eyes on puppy. That means at night, when you leave home, when you’re eating dinner, etc.

Think of their crate as their den. It should be a happy place with fun toys, not used as punishment. To get them to like going in there, consider throwing their food on the bottom of it or put treats inside.

Don’t put in anything soft like bedding because it’s an invitation to urinate on it. Also, it shouldn’t be too big, just big enough to stand up and turn around in. Too big means they will find a corner to make their bathroom.

Young puppies also can’t spend more than four to six hours in a crate at once. First their bladders and bowels will be barking at them. Second, they need a lot of socializing and they are missing that if they are locked up. If you work full-time, have a plan for someone to let them out in the middle of the day. You’ll eventually increase time in the crate as they age. Eventually, you might be able to do time out of the crate and unsupervised, but probably not before their first birthday.

Be ready to spend a lot of time outside. Puppies could have urinated outside and 20 minutes later urinate inside. They have tiny bladders and no control. When they are out of the crate, plan on visits outside every 20 minutes or so. Don’t leave them unsupervised outside, either.

Block off areas of the house. They don’t need to be in bedrooms, bathrooms or anywhere near the cat litter.

Remove the temptations for urinating. If you have shag carpeting or a sisal rug, it’s an invitation to urinate there. Block off those areas or roll up the rugs for now. Don’t use puppy pads because even when they are old enough to not use the pad, they’ll want to still go in the place where the pad once was.

Limit the food and water intake. They need to eat and drink often, but they also have no regulator on food and water. If water is available, they will keep drinking it and keep urinating. Same thing with food. Plan on feeding them two to three times a day, but not after 5:30 p.m. if you want them to sleep through the night. Water should be removed by about 7:30 p.m.

Puppies don’t do well in bed with you. Sure they are sweet and cuddly, but they’ll wake up every time you roll over or make a noise. They need to be in their crate in a dark place away from you. Unless, you want to have puppy play hour at 2 a.m., which has been a popular activity at our house. Get them to sleep in the crate. You might have a sleepless night at first, but it’s better than a sleepless year. You can put an old shirt that smells like you in the crate to ease the transition.

Puppy activities need to be limited. Until age 14 or 16 weeks when they are vaccinated and have built up immunities, they are at risk for serious diseases like parvo. Walking around Lady Bird Lake or going to a dog park will have to wait. Plus they don’t have dog manners, yet.

Puppies need to be trained. Start early with teaching sit, stay and shake. There are even puppy training classes to take or you can have a trainer come to your house. They learn easily at this age and you want you to be imprinted on them.

Puppies need to experience new things all the time. Expose them to a lot of different noises, including loud ones, and a lot of different people. Play with their ears and feet, because they don’t like it, but it will serve you medically later on.

Puppies chew and chew and chew. Keep a rotating cluster of puppy-approved toys at the ready. Don’t be surprised if they try to eat all the wood in the house including table legs and window sills around 16 weeks when the puppy teeth start to make way for the adult teeth. To help that teething, you can buy toys that can be frozen or wet a rope and freeze it.

Puppy proof like you baby proof. Consider anything on the floor is theirs. As they get bigger, anything on the couch or chair or kitchen table and counter also could be theirs.

Puppies ingest a lot of things, too. And those things can get caught and have to be surgically removed. Socks and underwear as well as stuffed animal stuffing don’t go well with puppy stomachs and intestines.

Keep foods, plants and medications away. Watch out for chocolate, grapes and raisins, and sugar-free gum and candy with xylitol. The ASPCA has a list of toxic plants on its website, but common ones include Sago palms and lilies. All medications, including Advil and Tylenol, need to be locked up.

Austin Animal Center to conduct free rabies vaccination clinic Oct. 17

From the City of Austin:

rabiesProtect your pets and your family with a free rabies vaccination at an upcoming clinic sponsored by the Austin Animal Center.

The clinic will be from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 17 at Richard Moya Park, 10001 Burleson Road.

As required by State law, an owner or handler of a dog or cat must get the pet inoculated with the rabies vaccine. The City of Austin Animal Services Office conducts free clinics throughout the year.

Vaccinations are for dogs and cats 12 weeks of age and older. Puppies and kittens younger than 12 weeks will be provided free identification tags and registered in the Animal Services database so that they can be reunited with their owners if lost.

Dogs must be on a leash and cats must be in carriers or secured in boxes with air holes. Puppies should be brought in carriers or crates. For more information the public can call 3-1-1.

For more information about Animal Services and the Austin Animal Center visit

About Austin Animal Center

Austin Animal Center is the largest no-kill municipal animal shelter in the United States, providing shelter to more than 17,000 animals each year and animal protection services to all of Austin and Travis County.

The Austin Animal Center is an open-intake facility where lost and surrendered animals from all of Travis County in need of shelter are accepted regardless of age, health, species or breed. The goal is to place all adoptable animals in forever homes through adoptions, foster care or rescue partner groups.

Animal Services has numerous programs and partnerships designed to help pets in the shelter, in the community and in your home.

The Austin Animal Center, 7201 Levander Loop, is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. For more information go to, call 3-1-1, or visit for daily animal updates.

The City also maintains the Town Lake Animal Center, 1156 W. Cesar Chavez St., as an overflow animal adoption location. It also is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.