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 Welcome to our special

"Home for the Holidays" page





Welcome to our special "Home for the Holidays" home page. We are so glad to be sharing news with you about our organization, some of the great people in it and, of course, the cats we all love and care for. Our website is growing and filled with lots of great information we hope you will enjoy. Look for  some holiday hints to help you have a fun, safe holiday season with your feline friends. We will also be showcasing a very special cat, Molley, one of many we have looking for their own loving "Home for the Holidays". To learn more about Molley, click here.

Holiday Safety for Your Pets


The joy of holidays is enhanced by the participation of our beloved pets.  Thought and care must be taken, however, to avoid dangerous situations and items that can harm or even kill your cat.  Beautiful Christmas trees can present a climbing adventure to an energetic cat, resulting in a toppled tree and broken ornaments.  Trees may need to be secured to the wall to keep them steady.  Water kept at the base of a live tree may seem like an extra drinking bowl, but that water can contain dangerous fertilizers or sprays applied to the trees when they were growing.  Use netting over the opening of the tree stand to keep pets out.  Citrus sprays or peelings left at the base of the tree can also deter cats. 

Extension cords should be pet-proof and well-concealed.  Wires and batteries should be kept away from pets so that electrical shock is prevented.  Drooping or dangling Christmas lights on the tree could be an irresistible temptation leading to an accident.  Tinsel is especially dangerous to pets, as is any kind of loose string or ribbon.   If swallowed, these items can lodge in the intestinal tract causing sickness and even death.


Appropriate gifts and treats to distract your cat from other temptations include balls they can   snag with their claws and simple catnip-filled toys such as those made by Sheltering Hands volunteers to raise money for our organization.  A sure-fire toy guaranteed to excite any cat is the wand with flying feathers attached.  This is where string can enter play in a safe manner when the toy is manipulated by the cat’s best friend - you.

Gifts such as these can divert cats from begging for holiday food.  Play it safe and don’t give people food or drink to cats.  Grapes, raisins, onions, spices, alcohol, and coffee are harmful, but chocolate is probably the most tempting and dangerous food to pets.  They like the taste, but consuming chocolate can lead to feline death.  So keep the chocolate Santa Claus and the Hanukkah gelt safely concealed.  Also, many plants such as mistletoe, holly, poinsettias, lilies, and amaryllis are toxic if eaten by cats. 

But perhaps the reward for all this peril comes to the cat when the gifts are unwrapped, the wrapping paper scrunched into balls and thrown for the cat to chase, and all those shiny empty boxes are left  for him or her to luxuriate in.  Here your fatigued feline can curl up and rest, happily excluded from the chatter and safe in this hideaway for another holiday.

Gifts at Brick City

Play is an important part of a kitten’s life, and remains vital when the cat matures.  Vigorous play keeps a cat alert, stimulates circulation, and lets them exercise their need to hunt.  Time and energy expended in play can also reduce destructive behavior around the home and toward other animals in the household. 

   The first consideration in a toy is safety.  A cat will play with almost anything that catches its interest –a plastic ring from a milk container, a cork or a bottle cap.  They enjoy playing with small light objects that they can bat across the floor easily or catch on a claw and flip.  However, very small objects like beads and sequins, even if attached to a bigger toy, should be avoided.  These can chewed off and swallowed.  Also, threads and strings that may come loose can endanger a cat’s life if ingested.  Battery-powered toys moving around the floor may seem threatening to less aggressive cats and scare them away.  But non-threatening interactive toys such as a ball that can be chased around a track can become a favorite toy.  A toy does not have to be fancy to capture the cat’s imagination.  A scratching post is a MUST for every cat.  A tall post covered with sisal allows a cat to get a good stretch while digging in his claws.  Paper grocery bags and boxes of all sizes seem to hold great appeal for cats to hide in and spring out at family members.  They also offer shelter for a short nap.  Catnip in a soft toy can excite and stimulate your cat without causing harm or being addictive.  

However, the cat’s play will always be enriched when you are a playmate, tossing a ball the cat might fetch, enticing runs and jumps by dangling and waving a wand toy, and praising a skillful move. 
Your company helps socialize your cat and strengthens the bond between you. 

   Safe, inexpensive and pleasing cat toys can be purchased through Amazon Smile to benefit Sheltering Hands and at Brick City Cat Hospital in Ocala.  Check out the colorful assortment and help support our efforts to save cats.

Speaking of gifts, we have a very special one of a kind Christmas Cat statue up for auction. All proceeds benefit Sheltering Hands. To see additional pictures of the statue and learn more about it, please go to our Auction page under How Can I Help.

The current bid is $50.00. Bidding will be updated as bids are received. Bidding closes on December 1st. Good Luck!  


Do you love cats and enjoy working with people? We are looking for a part time Adoptions Supervisor. Get the details and application forms under the employment tab to the left.


Special Fundraising Events in Cedar Key!

From our friends at Faraway Inn

Book Sales to benefit TNR/Sheltering Hands- click here

Want to learn how to better communicate with your dog (yes, we love them too!)- click here to learn how you can communicate more effectively with your dog AND benefit Sheltering Hands at the same time.



Our Spay/Neuter Voucher Program is now available! In addition to spay/neuter, we have a variety of low-cost services. Please check out our "Voucher Information" page for more details.




Welcome to the online home of Sheltering Hands, Inc.

We are delighted that you have stopped by to visit with us and we hope that you will come back often. On our site you will find information about our organization's activities and lots of information on cats. Our "Prior Headlines" page will take you to great information we showcased in the past. Please click here to visit our Prior Headlines page. To  find  resources about cats, please click here or in our sidebar to the left.

If you are looking to add a feline member to your home, we have many wonderful cats to choose from. Pet adoptions take place at PetSmart on State Road 200 just east of I-75. You will find a friendly adoption specialist there Wednesday from 11-2, Thursday and Friday from 12-3, Saturday from 11-3 and Sunday from 12-3. We are not open on Mondays and Tuesdays. In addition to the cats we have at PetSmart, we also have many other cats available who are being fostered in local homes. Please ask if you are looking for a specific type of cat.

We have lots of information for families who are considering adopting a cat. Click here to go to our "Adoption Resources" page to help you both before and after you adopt. Want to know how to introduce a new pet to your other companion animals? We have some suggestions. What can I expect when I bring my new cat home? We share some insights.


Not ready to adopt? We have several special needs cats who would love to have a sponsor! Please see our sponsorship page for further information.

In addition to adoptions, we offer the Sheltering Hands Community Cats Program. This is a TNR (trap-neuter-return) program for homeless feral and stray cats in Marion and Levy counties. For further information, please see our section on TNR.

Lost your cat or want to help prevent them getting lost? Visit our new page- Lost Cat Tips.

Have you found a cat you are unable to keep or do you possibly need to rehome your cat? Please check out our newest page, Re-homing Your Cat for help and suggestions.


When can my cat get pregnant? Four months of age!!! Check out the informative site Fix By 4 for more information. Click on "Get My Fix" for a search feature that will help you locate low cost spay/neuter options in your area.



New Phone Number- 352-840-0663

To better serve you and get your call to the most helpful volunteer, we have implemented an auto redirect system. When you call our shelter headquarters number- 352-840-0663- you will hear a series of options to choose from. Please select the option you need and your call will be routed to the person best able to handle your question. This will allow for a more timely response. Our old number, 352-817-0663, will direct you to call our new number. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to better serve you and your cats.


We would love to have you join our group of dedicated volunteers. There are many ways you can help. Please visit our "how can I help" page for more information. We look forward to working with you to help our community cats. Thanks for caring.


How about a "no-work" fundraiser? It's true. If you shop online at Amazon, you can help Sheltering Hands EVERY time. Log on through Amazon Smile and they will make a donation of .05% of your purchases to Sheltering Hands. You don't have to do anything and there is no additional cost to you. For more information, please click here. All your Amazon info carries over-wish lists, addresses, etc. Just use Amazon Smile as your bookmark after you first log in and you are set.


Help "fix" our companion animal overpopulation. When you purchase this specialty license plate, funds go to help spay/neuter companion animals in Florida. Please consider purchasing one of these plates. You can click here  for more information about these license plates.



Sheltering Hands, Inc. is a volunteer based, limited intake, live release rescue formed in 2007. Our mission is to help stray, homeless and relinquished pets to find loving, permanent homes and medication attention when needed. A network of foster homes and residence facilities provide the care until a home is found. Sheltering Hands also participates in education progams about responsible pet  care as well as conducting programs and assistance for spay/neuter and injured animal needs. Sheltering Hands, Inc. is a 501c3 corporation.