Find the answers to frequently asked questions about Austin Pets Alive! and our lifesaving work here.
Austin Pets Alive! is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to providing the resources, education, and programs needed to eliminate the killing of companion animals.
Led by Dr. Ellen Jefferson, who previously founded Emancipet, APA!'s goal is to see the end of the needless killing of the homeless pets in Austin, Central Texas and the entire country. APA! Leads the No Kill movement in Austin by energizing the public and maintaining comprehensive, innovative lifesaving programs designed to save the animals most likely to be euthanized in shelters.
In 2008, APA! embarked on a bold and aggressive initiative to make Austin a No Kill city as fast as possible. APA! began building the resources needed to create a “safety net” for the homeless pets of Central Texas. By looking at the reasons why animals are killed in shelters, APA! was able to create specific lifesaving programs that address those issues head-on.
Because our mission is to focus on the populations of animals already in shelters who are most at risk, we are not an open-intake shelter. We partner with the city’s municipal shelter, Austin Animal Center, along with other area rescue groups and shelters to maintain Austin’s no-kill status, focusing specifically on pulling animals from euthanasia lists. In addition, we host students and apprentices year-round as part of Maddie’s Lifesaving Academy to share our lifesaving programs and help shelters and communities around the country increase live outcomes for shelter animals.
The fundamental feature of our work is that our work never stops. We are constantly innovating and researching to continue to improve lives and live outcomes for animals in Central Texas as well as across the country.
Before Austin Pets Alive! began actively rescuing dogs and cats in 2008, the city of Austin was euthanizing over 50 percent of the animals that came through the shelter each year. APA! began focusing solely on the pets who had no other options and would be killed the following day. We built groundbreaking programs that did not exist in shelters specifically to address the animals that always fall through the cracks, no matter the city. These programs are our Neonatal Kitten Nursery, Barn Cat Program, Parvo Puppy ICU, Ringworm Adoption Center, Feline Leukemia Adoption Center, Medical Triage & Wellness Clinic, and our Dog Behavior Program. We continue that work today, remaining the safety net for the bottom % of animals that are in danger of being killed.
Over the past ten years, we have created specialized programs for those populations of animals in great need: puppies with parvovirus, orphaned kittens, cats with ringworm, dogs with behavior challenges, geriatric animals, and more. We continue building and innovating new programs to save all of the pets, as well as sharing what we’ve learned with shelters and communities around the country to help guide other cities on their journey to No Kill.
We’re leading the national No Kill movement because we are truly the first of our kind. Our organization is entirely based on the results of analyzing who was dying at the Austin city shelter and focusing our efforts on saving that particularly vulnerable group of animals. We found that these certain groups of animals rarely made it out of the system alive – even with marketing and open adoptions. These groups of animals are puppies with parvovirus, unweaned kittens, cats with ringworm, and large dogs; and due to their volume in a city this large, we knew they would continue dying without some sort of programmatic infrastructure in Austin dedicated to supporting these groups. As a result, since 2008, APA! has pioneered innovative, lifesaving programs that target the animals most at risk for euthanasia in the shelter system so that they have a chance to leave the shelter alive. Our first of its kind, data-driven approach has been incredibly successful. Our now seven lifesaving programs are being taught to shelters and communities across the country through our sister organization, American Pets Alive!, and the Maddie’s Lifesaving Academy. Shelters and rescue groups are able to see first hand how our programs work – and how they too can save more lives. They are able to work with our lifesaving leaders to develop these programs in their own community, increasing lifesaving on a national level. Our work isn’t stopping here, though. We continue to improve everything we do in our own lifesaving at APA! while building strategic partnerships throughout the nation to give shelter pets everywhere the chance that they deserve. This past year, we hit our 90,000th life saved – a proud mile marker and symbol of our dedication and leadership to this mission.
Yes! When APA! helped create and lobby for the No Kill Implementation Plan, passed by Austin City Council in March 2010, we set the No Kill goal at 90% – double the city shelter’s save rate at the time. Now, a 90% live-release rate has become the nationally-accepted standard for a No Kill community, counting all animals in and all animals out. In February 2011, Austin reached that 90% no-kill benchmark for the first time ever, and we have consistently maintained a save rate of over 90% ever since.
In 2017, the city of Austin had a live release rate of over 97%!
Due to this success, Austin has earned the title of the "Largest No Kill City in America," but we aren't stopping there! We are continuing to innovate and educate to drive the No Kill movement forward. It is important that we as a community continue this urgent lifesaving work, as maintaining No Kill each month takes just as much passion and dedication as achieving that status in the first place.
APA! has seven lifesaving programs that were developed to save key groups of animals who are particularly vulnerable to facing euthanasia. Our innovative programs include the Medical Triage and Wellness Clinic, Neonatal Kitten Nursery, Parvo Puppy ICU, Ringworm Adoption Center, Dog Behavior Program, Barn Cat Program, and Feline Leukemia Adoption Center.
In addition to these programs, we also offer our support through our Positive Alternatives to Shelter Surrender work and our participation in the American Pets Alive! Conference and Maddie’s Lifesaving Academy.
APA! headquarters is located at the Town Lake Animal Center, 1156 W. Cesar Chavez St., Austin, TX 78703. We also have an additional adoption center for cats located at 3108 Windsor Road, Austin, TX 78703, and a dog adoption center located at 3118 Windsor Road, Austin, TX 78703.
We also have off-site adoptions on a regular basis throughout the community through our event partnerships and adoption centers at various PetSmarts and PETCOs. Check out our event calendar to stay informed of any upcoming adoption events.
Yes! APA! provides a complete medical workup including spay/neuter, vaccinations, and microchipping on every animal in our care before adoption. This lessens the financial burden on the adopter and ensures that placed animals do not contribute to more pets in our community.
Find out more about adopting a pet here.
We work partly from fees for service (adoptions), but mostly rely on the generous support of our community, including grants, sponsorships, and individual contributions. We do not currently receive any funding from government entities or national humane organizations.
Yes, we are a 501(c) (3) recognized charity by the IRS. Our tax ID is 74-2893360. Donations made directly to Austin Pets Alive! will be properly acknowledged and receipted for your personal records.
Yes, we are a 501(c)(3) recognized charity by the IRS. Donations made directly to Austin Pets Alive! will be properly acknowledged and receipted for your personal records. Our tax ID number is 74-2893360.
All donations to Austin Pets Alive! support saving the lives of the thousands of animals that come into APA!’s care each year. Unless you’ve designated funds to be used in a particular way, your monetary donation will support general operations. Your donation will be used where it is needed the most.
All donations made to Austin Pets Alive! support our mission to save animals at needless risk of death. Building and maintaining the comprehensive safety net that protects all shelter pets requires a complex operation. It includes critical needs you may not have considered, and these fluctuate throughout the year as we respond to the needs of at-risk animals as they occur. When you give generally to our operations, you enable the best use of resources in protecting the lives of thousands of animals.
Absolutely! When you make your online donation you can specify if you’d like for your donation to support a particular species or program. Simply choose the program of your choice from the “Direct Your Gift” drop-down menu.
Sending a check? Indicate in the memo section how you’d like us to use your gift or attach a letter describing how you would like your donation to be used. Donating online? Use the “Direct Your Gift” section in our online donation form. If you are unsure how to designate these or any other gift, please contact us at [email protected].
Our Development and Finance teams use protocols and technology that allow us to specify and track the use of funds. If you’ve designated how you would like your gift to be used, we flag it for a program, activity, physical need, or fund, and then inform our Finance team how to spend your restricted donations.
You can bring items to Town Lake Animal Center (TLAC), located at 1156 W. Cesar Chavez, and drop off donations in front of our medical clinic – Building C. Or, you can opt to shop on Amazon and have the items delivered directly to APA!’s TLAC location. If you would like to host a donation drive or would like to connect with a member of our team with further questions, please email [email protected].
Supplies donated in-kind are vital to our programs. To ensure that you are donating items that we can use, please visit Our Wish List. We keep this page updated with our most current needs. Please note that our needs may change depending on the season so we update our wish list frequently.
We are not able to use open bags or containers of food (unless it is prescription food), homemade treats, plastic food or water bowls, plastic litter boxes or scoops, litter pan liners, hand or washcloths, carpeted cat scratch posts, carpeted cat trees, newspapers, couch or patio cushions, or bed linens (including pillows, comforters, and large/heavy blankets). Please consider sharing these items with individuals or organizations that can fully utilize these donations. If you have any specific questions, email [email protected].
Thanks so much for your interest in giving monthly! You can set up recurring donations by becoming a Constant Companion. It’s as simple as filling out a form and selecting the amount you would like to give each month. Find out more here!
Yes! We love donation drives as they bring in much-needed donations. You can find donation suggestions via our wish list page and Amazon wish list. Please email [email protected] with additional questions. You can bring collected donations to Town Lake Animal Center (TLAC), located at 1156 W. Cesar Chavez, and drop off donations in front of our Medical Clinic – Building C.
Please email [email protected] before bringing your donation to the shelter.
Checks should be mailed to: Austin Pets Alive!, 1156 W. Cesar Chavez St., Austin, TX 78703.
We do! You can find out more about this opportunity here.
Yes! Simply email [email protected] for wiring instructions.
You can search for your employer using the widget found at the bottom of this page.
Yes! On our donation form, you will fill out the Tributes section. As you fill it out, more options will appear. You will be able to provide the recipient’s information and request an email or mailed card be sent. You can also request that the recipient not be notified of your gift.
Our tax ID is 74-2893360.
Take a look at our Available Dogs page or our Available Cats page, depending on which kind of pet you’re interested in! Make note of a few different animals that stand out to you, where they are located (ex: Are they in a foster home? Our TLAC location? Tarrytown?), and what is most important to you in a pet. From there, you can reach out to [email protected] with which pets you’re interested in, or come on down to one of our shelter locations to meet them!
In addition to the pets that you’re interested in, we ask that you be open for other recommendations of pets to meet. Our Matchmakers know these dogs and cats very well, and are dedicated to introducing you to pets that fit your lifestyle! Once you find the pet you’re ready to adopt, you’ll fill out any necessary remaining paperwork and chat through any education consults.
If required, post-adoption instructions will be given to you during your adoption consult.
In most cases, yes. We actually prefer for you to take your new pet home that day so that he/she can start being part of your family! It’s a good idea to have some things ready for your new pet such as bedding, food, bowls, and toys before you officially adopt a pet. That way, when you fall in love with the right dog or cat, you will be ready.
Sometimes, our adopters are unable to take home their dog or cat the same day. This can be due to a few different factors, including requiring meet-and-greets between resident dogs and your newly adopted dog, additional training requirements, and/or medical reasons. Our adoption team will let you know during the process if an additional meet is necessary before taking home your new family member!
Yes, your new pet will be current on all vaccinations at the time of adoption. From there, you will be responsible for keeping the dog or cat up-to-date on vaccines.
Every pet in our program is spayed or neutered prior to adoption.
You may complete the adoption process prior to your pet being spayed/neutered; this is called a pre-adoption. However, before we can legally transfer your pet to your ownership, your pet must be spayed or neutered.
In most cases, yes, as long as you live in Travis or Williamson County. In order to take home your pre-adopted pet, we require a fully refundable $100 deposit be placed for the spay/neuter surgery. APA! will refund this deposit to you once your pet has been spayed or neutered, at which point, your pet will be considered adopted!
APA! will take back any adopted pet if the adoption does not work out for any reason. Please email us at [email protected] to start the return process. Please specify the reason you are returning your pet so that our team can assist you as quickly as possible. Please be advised that this return will not be effective immediately and that our team will work with you to answer questions and provide next steps.
If you are having behavior concerns that you hope to resolve, contact [email protected] or [email protected]. We offer lifetime behavior support for all of our adopted animals and would love to work with you to keep your pet in your home!
Unfortunately, we are not able to refund adoption donations as these donations have already been put to good use to help us save even more lives. Our adoption team members are trained to help you find the pet that will be a great fit for your home based on your current lifestyle, other pets in the home, etc.; however, we understand that sometimes, adoptions just don’t work out.
We are willing to work through any issues that arise and depending on the situation, we may be able to offer an exchange (if the pup you chose doesn’t get along with an existing pet for example). We also have dog and cat behavior teams on staff that offer behavior support for the life of your pet and can help address concerns as they arise to give your new pet the best chance for success in your home. Contact [email protected] or [email protected] if you are having behavior concerns that you hope to resolve.
We do trial adoptions in certain situations, but usually just for our adult dogs. Trial adoptions are not available for cats. If you are interested in a trial adoption, speak with an adoption counselor at APA! about your situation. You will be required to do all of the adoption paperwork and pay the adoption fee, but your contract will have a stipulation that entitles you to a full refund if you return the pet to us within a certain timeframe. If you are adopting a dog, you may also consider coordinating a meet-and-greet with your current pet at one of our locations under the guidance of an APA! staff member. Our dog adoption counselors and Dog Matchmakers can help you coordinate this meet-and-greet.
We don’t do trial adoptions with puppies. Young animals will almost always get along well with the other pets in the home. If you have concerns about raising a young pet or introducing a young pet to your current pets, please talk to an adoption counselor or matchmaker. You might discover that one of our older dogs will be a better fit for your lifestyle!
Once an animal has been adopted, you should pursue any medical care with a private vet as APA! cannot continue to provide treatment. However, it occasionally happens that an animal has not been in our care long enough for a health issue to become apparent. If you believe your recent adoptee is sick, please contact our medical clinic within 14 days of adoption to let us know what's going on, and we can advise you on how to proceed.
We try to set the right expectations about anything we know about the pet before you adopt (dogs/puppies needing training and possibly housebreaking, separation anxiety possibilities, sociabilities, etc.) but if you are experiencing a problem, we want to help you fix it. We always want the adoption to be a success for both you and your new pet!
We have dog and cat behavior staff that are willing to help with any behavioral issues and veterinarians that can offer advice on what to do with medical problems. We want every adoption to be successful.
We will follow up with you within the first 90 days after you adopt from us, to ensure that you have the support that you need. If you need to contact us before that, please email us at [email protected].
If you need help with behavior issues, please contact our Dog Behavior Team directly at [email protected] or our Cat Behavior Team at [email protected].
We have a Cat Matchmaking team ready to help you with this very question! Contact them today at [email protected] with the specifics of the type of kitty you are looking for (age, gender, color, etc etc). They'll get back to you with a list of cats that we have in our care that would fit best in your home.
Many Therapy / Assistance / Service Dog Trainers don't recommend puppies being acquired with the intent to train them as working, therapy, or emotional support dogs due to the many different developmental stages a puppy goes through. Socialization to other animals and people; adapting and accepting new environments; and, the ebb and flow of normal fear stages as they learn about the world. This is why many nonprofits that train and provide Therapy / Assistance or Service animals have puppies in puppy placement homes until they are ready to be assessed at roughly 10 months old or later to see if they might qualify to be trained as a Therapy / Assistance or Service dog. If you are looking for a therapy or emotional support dog, we invite you to make an appointment with one of our Matchmakers so they can help you find who you are looking for.
Follow these steps to become an APA! Volunteer:
Fill out our Volunteer Application.
Watch the volunteer orientation online.
Complete 2 Jump Starts to learn the basics of APA! and our volunteer needs. Two will take place at APA!, 1156 Cesar Chavez St., and one will be at one of our three thrift stores.
Applications are processed twice a week by APA!’s Volunteer Team. The link to the Volunteer Orientation is sent after your application has been processed and can take up to 4 days. Please keep an eye out for that email and be sure to check your spam and junk folders!
You will have 30 days from your registered orientation date to complete it once you are sent the link.
The orientation fee provides your t-shirt, name badge, and access to your volunteer portal.
A common reason that an application fails to submit is if required fields are left blank. All items with a red asterisk must be completed. Also, each application must have a unique username. If you are trying to register multiple individuals with the same email address, you must start each application in the window on the left side of the screen. Upon entering a duplicate email address, you will see the following message:
"The email address you entered is currently registered with an account in our system. If you think that this account belongs to you but have forgotten your username and password, you can have your login information reset and emailed to you by visiting the password reset page."
If you are sharing this email address with another person and wish to continue creating a new account, click “Save And Continue”.
Make sure you have entered a unique username, and click “Save and Continue” to fill out an additional volunteer application.
After submitting your application, you will receive a confirmation email with information on attending an orientation session. This is a very important email, as it contains pertinent details relating to orientation. If you don’t receive the email, that doesn’t necessarily mean your application wasn’t received. In most cases, if you don’t find the email in your regular inbox, it will be in your spam filter or junk mail folder because your email settings are not allowing email from Austin Pets Alive!.
If you continue to have problems submitting your application or finding the email about orientation, please let us know by emailing [email protected].
Due to the nature of working with live animals in a stressful environment, we do have an age limit and cannot authorize children 11 and under to volunteer – though we do appreciate their philanthropic spirit! Children 12-15 years of age must volunteer with their oriented parent or legal guardian. Children 16-17 years of age may volunteer on their own once completing the full volunteer onboarding process.
We do not offer this type of opportunity to un-oriented volunteers. The shelter can be a stressful place for animals, offering the potential for an animal to act out in a manner that could be unsafe for a person, the animal, or both. Our volunteers are trained on the proper way to handle animals in this environment, and because our first priority is to keep these animals safe, we do require each volunteer to go through orientation.
Absolutely! On any given day, we need roughly 300 volunteers so we can meet our animals’ most basic needs. While we do have staff, volunteers are the lifeblood of this organization. With hundreds of animals in our care, via onsite and in foster, along with fundraising efforts, fostering needs, and a plethora of other needs, there is never a shortage of things we can use help with.
The majority of our volunteer opportunities fall within the areas listed below:
Adoption and Foster Support: Help get out animals into foster or adoptive homes. There are various remote and in-person opportunities available, including finding a perfect match for a foster, following up with adopters, and assisting potential adopters.
Cat Program: From cat care to cat enrichment all the way to canoodling our little neonates, all activities working directly with our cats and neonates can be found in our Cat Program Category!
Community Support: Our Community Support department involves several programs, including working with our Foster Village internship program, supporting our volunteer group program, and working closely with our Positive Alternative to Shelter Surrender program.
Dog Program: From dog walking to dog enrichment all activities working directly with dogs can be found in our Dog Program Category!
Events: Do enjoy helping and interacting with people? Do you like advocating for a cause? Promote APA!’s mission, raise donations, and recruit volunteers, fosters, adopters, and donors at special events around town. Work at info tables and booths, and hang out with adoptable animals while representing Austin Pets Alive!.
National Animal Support: There are two areas, HASS, Human Animal Support Services, and American Pets Alive!. AmPA! is our annual national conference that takes place in early Spring. Individuals and shelters can come and learn from Austin’s no-kill leaders how to implement innovative, lifesaving programs in their communities or shelters. We need volunteers for registration, tabling, retail sales, etc.
Medical: Sign up for medical tasks in our Parvo ICU, Medical Clinic, or our Foster Wellness Clinic. You can help with basic tasks like laundry and cleaning or learn and perform the medical care that it takes to treat our little patients. You don't need any previous medical experience, but if you have human or animal medical experience that's great too!
Shelter Operations: Support our development, volunteer facility, or transport team with various ongoing or one-time projects.
Thrift: Help out at one of our 3 Thrift Stores! APA! Thrift stores are boutique-style, selling high-quality new and gently used items for very low prices. All net proceeds directly support the innovative life-saving programs of Austin Pets Alive!. We utilize volunteers in every aspect of store operations. Volunteers help with sorting clothes and other donations, pricing items, and organizing the store.
You can! Most of our events are off-site and held at fun venues around the Austin area. We also offer plenty of from-home volunteer opportunities.
We do not offer hours to those seeking community service hours for a pending or completed court case.
If you are seeking community service hours for school, an organization, or personal pleasure, please follow the steps under the FAQ: How do I become an APA! Volunteer? You will be in charge of any documentation, including tracking your volunteer hours. Should you need a signature to verify your volunteer hours please email [email protected] to coordinate.
We ask that all volunteers commit to at least monthly service. However, volunteers who have not volunteered within the last 6 months may need to re-complete some of the on-boarding and program specific training prior to regaining full volunteer access. Those who have not volunteered within the last year will be asked to re-complete the orientation and onboarding process.
Additionally, we require all volunteers to adhere to the APA! Volunteer Policies which you can find on your volunteer profile once you had filled out your application.
Any questions or concerns about the policies may be directed to [email protected].
Fostering saves lives! Many shelters still kill perfectly healthy pets because they run out of space. Finding a foster home for them is sometimes the only way to save them. Because shelters have limited capacity, the number of lives they save depends entirely on the number of fosters willing to open their homes to them.
In addition to increasing a shelter’s lifesaving capacity, fostering improves the quality of life for each homeless pet. A home environment transforms pets for the better, significantly improving their mental and physical wellbeing. Put simply, fostering saves lives and makes those lives better.
Fostering is also an important step on a pet’s journey to their forever home. Fostering provides pets with the best environment for their wellbeing while waiting for their adopter and allows them to practice forming bonds with humans and potentially other animals. Fostering also provides pets with the best possible advocate for their adoption - their foster parent.
A foster home is an extension of a shelter’s lifesaving capacity made possible through partnerships with the public. Through fostering, members of the public provide temporary shelter, care, and love for pets in need and serve as their bridge to a forever home.
We ask that you keep your foster dog until adoption, but we require a minimum two week commitment (although there are frequently shorter-term options available). We are unable to predict how long it will take for your foster dog to be adopted as it is case specific. Young puppies are typically adopted very quickly, while adult dogs can take a few weeks and sometimes longer.
Our fosters need to be at least 18 years old. However, we do have a Teen Foster Program. Get in touch with us at [email protected] to learn more.
All dogs who have not yet found a forever home need a foster home! We have the young, fluffy cuties, but we have the most foster need for pregnant dogs, moms with newborns, orphaned puppies, parvo survivors, senior dogs, dogs needing medical care, dogs needing more active behavior management, dogs needing a break from the shelter, and dogs at risk in other shelters for which there is no kennel space. Basically, foster care is for all homeless dogs, especially those that need a little extra TLC!
Beyond providing plenty of love, fosters are responsible for:
Yes! For some of our dogs needing a foster home, we will have information on how they have interacted with kids or dogs in the home environment or at our shelter. However, APA! cannot guarantee the temperament, behavior, or health of any animal.
We do our best to provide our fosters with as much information as possible before they bring a foster dog into their homes and then work with our fosters to learn more about the dog and their in-home behaviors.
Fosters must live within 60 miles of APA!’s Town Lake Animal Center in downtown Austin because fosters generally pick up their foster dog in the Austin area, medical care is provided at our clinic, many of our potential adopters live in the Austin area, and adoption events are in the Austin area. Generally, as a foster, you are responsible for transporting your foster dog to and from APA! for any necessary appointments and, in some cases, to and from adoption events. Fosters are also responsible for working with anyone who is taking custody of their foster dog (a sitter, a new foster, or an adopter) on transporting their foster dog to them This is especially true the farther a foster lives from Austin. Fosters do not need to own their own car, but they are responsible for arranging this required transportation.
A virtual foster offers love, care, and support from near and far. They won't always have their VF dog in their home with them, like a foster home provides. The VF role is more of an advocacy role.
Like a physical foster home, a Virtual Foster knows their dog better than anyone! They know their individual personalities, their quirks, and their favorite things to do. They're able to communicate all that, as well as what kind of home would be most successful for the dogs, to someone who is considering adoption.
Virtual Fosters offer as much continued support as they can after the dog leaves the shelter! They can help find sitters, guide adopters on how to maintain the skills and obedience that the dog has, but most importantly, they continue to share in the progress and happiness both the dog and the adopter have moving forward.
To become a virtual foster, you must first become an active member of our dog walking program. To start this process, please reach out to [email protected]
Yes! Help us spread the word that fostering saves lives! One of the most effective ways to recruit new fosters is by word of mouth. Please tell your community about fostering and ask them to email us for more information. Adopt. Volunteer. Donate.
A foster home is a temporary living situation for pets in our program while they are awaiting placement in a permanent home or to move into one of our onsite adoption programs. Foster families provide shelter, food, care, and love. The number of animals we can save depends entirely on the number of people who open their homes and hearts to foster them.
It really just depends on what type of cat you are looking to foster! We have cats that can work with anyone's schedule, from tiny bottle babies who need to be fed every 2 hours to adult cats who get stressed in the shelter and don't mind at all if you are gone all day for work, as long as you leave them some food.
It really depends on what type of cat you are looking to foster and how involved you are in trying to find them a home. Our hope is that you will foster the kitty until adoption as that is what is best for the cat since our feline friends do not handle frequent environmental changes well. We definitely have shorter-term opportunities which we would be happy to discuss with you though! Young, healthy cats and kittens whose fosters submit photos and bios for the APA! website and take them to adoption events are usually adopted pretty quickly. Older cats or ones with medical issues can take a bit longer to find their purr-fect forever home
Our fosters need to be at least 18 years old. However, we do have a Teen Foster Program. Get in touch with us at [email protected] to learn more.
You can find all sorts of helpful tips and tricks for getting your foster cat adopted on our Cat Foster Resource website.
Yes, all APA! cats and kittens are tested for FeLV at intake. Cats who test positive for FeLV are separated from those that test negative. Only foster homes with either no other cats or resident FeLV+ cats are able to foster FeLV+ cats or kittens.
Yes! Most of our fosters have resident pets.
Yes! All cats who come to APA! receive a routine medical examination for common feline illnesses, as well as flea preventatives, dewormers, and other medications or tests as determined by the medical clinic. However, no test is 100% accurate, and the isolation period helps to make sure that your foster kitty is not carrying any hidden germs from the shelter that they might share with resident pets. It also helps with giving the foster kitty and your resident pets a chance to get acclimated to each other with a slow introduction, using scent first as outlined in our behavior guides. Plus, it lets your foster kitty have a small, safe space to decompress after all the changes they've been through, which can be pretty overwhelming to a kitty. A bathroom or spare room works great for this isolation period!
Since the kitty you're fostering is still an APA! cat, we cover any medical care or diagnostics prescribed and provided by our clinic, advertise your kitty on our website, host adoption events where your cat can go to be seen by potential adopters, and are here to assist with behavioral questions before and after adoption! You help us by providing your foster with food, water, shelter, and lots of love. Your foster kitty reaps all the benefits!
Ringworm is the common name for the skin infection caused by a group of fungi; it is not caused by a worm at all. Most often it will cause a circular area of furloss that is red and may be slightly raised. Ringworm can also have other characteristics but these circular, hairless lesions are the most common symptom. Ringworm is closely related to athlete’s foot in people, and it is contagious to us; the young, old, and immunocompromised are more likely to get it. Ringworm is also very contagious to other animals including dogs, other cats, guinea pigs, etc.
It is possible for you and anybody in your living space to get ringworm from your foster cat, but there are things you can do to limit the risk! Washing your hands after handling the cat, keeping up with their bath treatments and oral medicine, and keeping them isolated to a bathroom for the length of their treatment can all help reduce the chances of transmission. Some people may be at greater risk than others, including young animals and children, elderly people and pets, those who are HIV+, people on chemotherapy or taking medication after a transfusion or organ transplant, and highly stressed people and animals.
We recommend that you see a physician. While ringworm is a curable, self-limiting ailment in healthy adults, and while effective over-the-counter treatments are available, we always recommend getting professional advice to resolve it in a timely manner.
In order to keep your other pets from getting ringworm, we recommend that you keep your cat isolated in a room that is easy to clean, such as a bathroom. Washing your hands and changing your clothes in between your ringworm kitty and other animals can reduce the chance of spreading the fungus as well. Remember, your shoes can also be a carrier of the spores, so a pair of slip-on shoes also helps!
If you keep your cat in a bathroom or other confined, tiled area, it’s simple to clean the space! After a basic cleaning with your usual mopping and scrubbing products, ringworm is killed using a bleach dilution of 16 parts water to 1 part bleach. Let the solution sit for approximately 10 minutes for maximum efficacy. Combining a once-weekly deep-cleaning with freshly-washed towels and bedding can significantly reduce the risk of spores hanging around in your home!
Your cat may be prescribed a once daily oral medication (if they are at least 8 weeks old, weigh at least two pounds, and are otherwise healthy) in conjunction with lime sulfur baths once or twice weekly. We’re happy to walk you through the dipping process, and are always available for advice and support! Still have Questions? Please email [email protected].
Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious, life-threatening virus that rapidly infects the dividing cells in a dog’s body, most severely in the intestinal tract. The virus is highly resistant and can survive in the ground for up to a year, being transmitted primarily through contact with an infected dog’s feces. Anyone who comes into contact with an infected dog’s feces (a trace on the bottom of someone’s shoe as they walk along an outdoor trail, for instance) can pass the virus on to other dogs. Symptoms of parvovirus are lethargy, vomiting, loss of appetite, and diarrhea. All of these can lead to life-threatening dehydration. The disease takes about one week to treat and once the puppies are free of parvo, these amazing young dogs go on to lead normal, healthy lives!
Vaccinate! Young puppies are the most susceptible to parvo. Puppies can be given a 5-in-1 vaccine called DHLPP (which protects the puppy from distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza) or a 4-in-1 DAPP (which protects against canine distemper, adenovirus type 2, parainfluenza, and the parvovirus) at their local vet. The first vaccine is ideally given between 6 and 8 weeks of age, with boosters given at 3-week intervals until the puppy is at least 4 months old (the series is not complete for ages younger than this). Until the vaccination series is complete, puppies should stay away from all potentially infected public ground (where other dogs have walked and fecal matter may be present) like dog parks, hike and bike trails, and sidewalks.
If you have a sick puppy, one of our veterinarians will come out to your vehicle and assess how ill the puppy is. It is very important that your puppy stays in your vehicle while at APA! to prevent the potential spread of the disease. If the vet is confident the pup isn't in critical condition, they usually sign off on at-home treatment. A vet tech will then prepare the treatment and give a tutorial on administration by doing the first treatment with you. The treatment consists of three days of twice daily SQ fluids, twice daily anti-nausea injection, and twice daily antibiotics (two different kinds). You will be asked to reach out to us for further treatment if the pup is still symptomatic after three days of treatment. You can always decide to surrender the puppy if they continue to decline, or you can purchase more treatment if needed ($50/day of treatment provided).
If the pup is critically ill and vets do not think they will survive in a home, the only option is to surrender your puppy to our Parvo Puppy ICU where they will be treated by our experienced team.
Austin Pets Alive! considers kittens under six weeks of age or under 1.5 pounds part of our neonatal kitten program.
At APA! we feed our neonatal kittens, lovingly referred to as bottle babies, every 2-3 hours during the day and every 5-6 hours overnight. Kittens that are old enough to be syringe fed gruel are fed every 4-5 hours and can go 8 hours overnight between feedings.
No, APA!'s Neonatal Kitten Nursery does not take kittens directly from the public. Instead, we work with the City of Austin’s municipal shelter, Austin Animal Center, to bring neonatal kittens into our care. Each kitten season, between March and October, Austin Pets Alive! takes in anywhere from 1,500-2,000+ kittens, as part of our Neonatal Kitten Nursery. You can find more information on what to do if you find a neonatal kitten here.
Over the years our Neonatal Kitten Nursery has found that our innovative weigh-feed-weigh system has increased the survival rate for kittens in our care. When kittens are due to be fed we weigh them before feeding and after feeding to ensure they have gained 5% of their body weight at each feeding.
Pets who enter our program are immediately examined in our medical clinic. They are tested and treated for common medical issues, given any needed vaccinations and prevention medicines (flea prevention, heartworm prevention, etc) and micro-chipped. Animals continue to receive routine medical care and monthly preventatives from the clinic as long as they stay at APA!. We aim to provide the same standard of care for all of our animals as a pet owner of average means.
Unfortunately, no. Because there are still countless animals being euthanized in Texas that we are trying to save, we need to make sure that our limited resources are focused on bringing in and helping as many animals as possible. We trust that our adopters will be able to provide the lifelong care that their animals deserve, allowing us to save our resources for those animals that haven’t found their forever home yet.
Yes. If a pet we take in has not been spayed/neutered yet, we complete that procedure. All animals are spayed/neutered before ownership is transferred to their adopter.
Unfortunately, no. As a shelter, APA! can only legally provide veterinary care for the animals that we own. This means we can’t diagnose, treat, or provide suggestions for any privately owned animals.
Like any field, veterinarians do not agree on all things. APA! is on the leading edge of treating diseases that used to be considered a death sentence, and have significant experience successfully treating things like feline leukemia, parvo, and distemper. Many private vets who have never been exposed to these diseases are unaware of the positive outcomes that we are seeing. Although we respect your right to consult for a second opinion, we stand behind our extensive experience in the field of shelter medicine and our advanced understanding of these diseases.
FeLV, or Feline Leukemia Virus, is a virus that attacks the immune system of a cat. It isn't a form of cancer but is actually a virus that weakens the immune system. Cats with FeLV can live normal, happy lives — they just have a shorter life expectancy than FeLV negative cats. Historically, cats with this disease have been euthanized the minute they are diagnosed. Austin Pets Alive! has taken a different stance, allowing FeLV cats to live with dignity and be adopted into loving homes—however, we can only continue to save these cats if people are willing to foster and adopt them.
Only to other cats. For this reason it is required that FeLV+ cats are kept indoors only. They can only cohabitate with other FeLV+ cats as it is spread from cat to cat via prolonged, direct contact with an infected cat’s saliva (sharing food bowls, grooming each other, etc.), urine, blood, and from mother cat to kittens during pregnancy. Feline leukemia is species specific, so other animals such as dogs cannot contract the virus. The virus itself is not airborne and dies rapidly in the environment, so you won't have to worry about carrying the virus on clothes when you leave the house or have friends over.
No. The FeLV+ cats appear and act just as healthy as the other cats we have available for adoption. They do, however, have an increased risk of getting sick. This makes protecting them from stress, feeding a high quality diet, and addressing health problems as soon as they arise absolutely critical. You wouldn't know a cat had FeLV by just looking at it, and many people have FeLV+ cats in their home and don't even know it because they never got them tested.
Not while they are healthy. If/when they do eventually get sick they will usually get very sick quickly and may need more care than a normal cat since their immune system doesn't work as well. This is why APA! offers to take care of any illnesses that may arise due to a cat’s feline leukemia status free of charge.
There are many myths out there about feline leukemia. As a result, it is can be challenging to find people willing to adopt or foster FeLV+ cats. Some organizations feel this is more than they can handle or that they do not have the resources to shelter these cats.
Yes!! We would be more than happy to talk to you about the FeLV+ cats in our program and about the virus. If you would like more information please email [email protected] and let them know you are interested in more information on FeLV+ cats.
Every year thousands of at-risk animals come into our care from within the City of Austin and surrounding areas, many which have been deemed "unadoptable" due to behavioral issues. The Behavior Department at Austin Pets Alive! carefully evaluates each of these dogs and utilizes our network of staff and volunteers to provide them with the care and training necessary to place them back out into the community safely. In addition to our in-shelter behavior programs, we also provide lifetime behavior support to all of our dogs once they are placed in a foster or adoptive home. While we have found that these programs are successful for a vast majority of the dogs in our care, APA! also recognizes that there will always be the rare exceptions that are indeed unsafe to place in the community. You can learn more about the 3 specific behaviors that APA! does not place in the community here.
If you are an adopter of an Austin Pets Alive! animal and are experiencing issues in the home that might prevent a successful long-term adoption, please contact our behavior team. Our adoption follow-up team has experience with a wide range of behavioral issues and is committed to trying all possible solutions in order to keep a dog safely in their home. We also understand that some circumstances are beyond our control, and we are available to counsel our adopters when we truly believe a dog is no longer a good match for your home. If all reasonable training options have been exhausted we will help facilitate the return of your dog into our care and continue to search for a more appropriate placement.
There are a number of ways to get involved with the Behavior Department at Austin Pets Alive!. While we always need volunteers, fosters, and adopters, we are also in need of short-term training space outside of the shelter environment to give our dogs an opportunity to decompress and practice their skills in a more real-life setting with our trained staff. Interested in learning more about how to donate your space? Email [email protected].
The adoption fee is waived. You will be responsible for ongoing veterinary care (as necessary), food, water, and shelter.
When you bring the new cats home, they will need to be confined to an escape-proof room or enclosure like a tack room, garage, coop, or XXL dog crate for 2-4 weeks while they acclimate to their new surroundings. You will feed/water and clean the litter pan daily during the confinement period. After this period of confinement, the cats will usually accept their new home and may be released. You will continue to provide daily food and water and allow them access to shelter such as your barn or garage.
Yes. All barn cats come spayed or neutered, current on vaccinations, microchipped, treated for worms and fleas, and tested for feline leukemia.
Any cat you adopt from APA! will be current on vaccinations. Following adoption, you will be responsible for keeping the animals’ vaccinations up to date. The best way to have feral cats vaccinated is with the use of a live humane trap, such as a Havahart. Emancipet offers low-cost vaccinations and is experienced in safely vaccinating feral cats who arrive in humane traps.
No; the cats in the barn cat program are not social, friendly cats or suited to be pets. They have no desire to be “lap cats” and cannot be touched, or may take a very long time to trust enough to pet. We strongly encourage adopters to offer cats in this program an independent outdoor life complemented by appropriate care and shelter like a barn or garage.
The youngest cats in the Barn Cat Program are approximately six months old. APA! will not adopt younger kittens as barn cats, as they don’t yet have the knowledge, size, or skills to remain safe outdoors. Most cats in the barn program are young adults between one and five years of age, though we do have younger and older cats available occasionally. If you have an age preference, just let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you!
The cats require shelter in a permanent building or structure like a barn, shed, stable, or garage in a suitable rural area where they will be safe. The property should be at least .5 miles away from busy roads. Daily food and water must be provided, as well as any future medical care needed. The cats must also be kept confined for the initial 2-4 week relocation period to ensure a successful transition to their new home.
The APA! barn cats have several large outdoor habitats which are not accessible to visitors for safety reasons. When you are scheduled to adopt, APA! will select barn cats for you based on which cats are the most eager to enter a cat carrier for us. If you have a color, age, or gender preference, we will do our best to accommodate you, though we’re not able to make any promises! All barn cat adoptions are scheduled by appointment since it can take some time and extra staff to round the kitties up.