Animal Safe Haven & Adoptions, Inc.

No-Kill foster system working to rescue abandoned, homeless and abused animals from our local MD communities. 
Registered 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Rescue. EIN # 46-4251348. Established in 2013.

FAQ's: Frequently Asked Questions

Hopefully the information you are searching for can be found here. If not; Please feel free to email us directly at [email protected]  Remember: The Information on this website is updated as needed and as such the information on this website is not guaranteed. Please check back for updates or changes and feel free to send us an email with any questions.

  • Advice on How to introduce my new kitty to its new forever home and family:

Remember the first place your new pet should go is to the designated area for introduction. This should be a smaller room with less traffic such as, your bedroom, a spare bedroom, the office, or laundry room. His/her water, food, litter, bed, toys  and scratching post should all be located in this room for the time being. Place the food and water as far away from the litter box as possible.
~ Keep him/her in only this room until they are completely comfortable with you and their new area. This will help relieve your cat’s stress and help ease the transition from being in a rescue. Give them time to adjust as some may take only a few days while others may take several weeks. Try to be calm, quiet and gentle and your pet will quickly grow to love and trust you.

~ Keep other pets at a distance for at least a few days to over a week and let small children get to know your pet gradually and only under adult supervision.

~ Only after your new pet is used to their first room should you let them out to adventure and only let them do this on their own terms.

~ Teach your pet the house rules and routines from the beginning let your cat know what is expected and what to expect from you and others. Be consistent and firm but never yell at or hit your pet. Above all, be patient! It usually takes 2-4 weeks for a new pet to adjust to your home and family. 

Remember, yummy can food is the quickest way to create a bond! Try providing them a small set amount of dry and/or wet food 2-3 times a day as meals instead of leaving a large bowl of food out for them to graze. This will train the kitty to relate you to food and they will quickly start looking out for you and searching you out for food.

Advice on how to find your kitty the perfect place to rest:

Provide a heated blanket, mat or bed for your kitty to cuddle with. It gives them the perfect spot to call their own and you wont have to worry as much about your furry friend sleeping at unwanted locations. Try to pick a spot that is above waist level so they feel that they have a vantage point for watching. A spot by the window with sunshine is always a favorite!

Information on Flea and Tick preventative:

Fleas can spread disease and cause medical problems such as tapeworms, so it is very important that you start using a preventative immediately. Vets recommends using a monthly flea and tick medication all year round to prevent flea and tick infestation. There are many different types of flea and tick medications so it is best to check with your vet to see which type and brand would be recommended.

Information on Spaying & Neutering:

It is imperative that your pets be spayed or neutered for many reasons. Most of our adoptable pets have already been spayed or neutered. However, if you have adopted a kitten or an unaltered adult cat, we have indicated on your adoption contract the date, time period or age by which the procedure must be done. We take this very seriously. Failure to abide by this requirement will result in legal action and you will be responsible for attorney’s fees and court costs. If it is your responsibility to have the kitten or cat spayed or neutered you must have records sent to us from the vet documenting that the animal has been spayed or neutered.

One highly controversial topic we hear a lot about and discuss frequently is pediatric spaying and neutering. This is fixing cats and kittens at a young age, usually around 6-10 weeks old. Many studies show that this procedure is safe and the animals do fine, but yet there are still many studies that show that this procedure has risks and negative consequences. Risk and consequences such as: life long incontinence; severe cases of E Coli because their bladder sphincter was never able to mature and close enough to keep out bacteria; missing necessary hormones resulting in the cat needing to be on both a sulfa-based antibiotic, and estrogen for the remainder of their life; hooded vulva which may need corrective surgery; recurring urinary infections and even death! Any one of these health problems would make the kitten/cat virtually un-adoptable since its only the rare family that will willingly adopt a pet with a known health problem that will cost them virtually thousands of dollars. Plus why would we subject a healthy loving kitty to the chance of a life full of health problems, frequent vet visits and stuck living in a cage at a rescue, all because their spay/neuter couldn't wait till they were a little older! 

Information on medical necessity to use a special kitty litter:

From time to time it may be necessary to use a dustless, odorless and all natural type of litter. After a surgery or if they have an injury your vet may advise you to use such litter to protect your pet from possible risks of infection and more. Check your local stores to find a brand or type that your vet suggests using. These special litter types may be more costly than typical litter, but the use of it can help with a quicker recovery.
For kitties under 6 months of age it is necessary to provide them with NON-CLUMPING litter. The glue that creates the clumping action can cause blockage of the intestines causing illness and even death.

Advice on introducing your new kitty to a multi-cat household:

First impressions are very important  to cats. Initial introduction that are stressful or unpleasant may cause long term negative consequences. Do NOT let a new cat move in to your house and let them attempt to 'just work it out' with your other cat(s) on their own.
Instead follow these steps:

~ Place your new cat in a separate room. Prevent your cats from meeting until they are perfectly comfortable with their current area and each other's odors and sounds on either side of a closed door.

~ Place beds, blankets or towels with the scent of one cat by the food dish or the bed of the other cat. This is to familiarize the cat with each other's scents.

~ Allow your new cat some free time to explore your home while you confine your existing cat. This helps the resident cat learn to tolerate a new cat in its territory, while your new cat becomes familiar with your home without being threatened.

~ Set up brief and positive encounter between the cats. Let your cats see each other but do not let them touch. Put them in carriers or on harnesses that you have control of with leashes. But, give each of them treats, pet them, and talk to them. Make it an enjoyable experience for each cat.

~ Go slowly. End each encounter before either cat becomes uncomfortable, afraid or aggressive. Gradually allow the cats to get closer together and you should be able to relax in your supervising as their interactions continue to go well.

How to make a doorway feline friendly:

Have a young child or naughty dog in your home?

This is a great idea to allow your feline family member special access to a room without keeping the door wide open. Safely limit your child, dog or even guests access with this simple tool. It will only cost a couple dollars, takes a few minutes to install and can save lives!!


Perfect for a multi animal and/or age family and home:

  • Keep your dog or child out of the litter box or cat food.
  • Give your kitty a 'Cat Only' room.
  • Keep your dog or child contained to one area of the house while allowing your cat easy access to more areas.
  • Restrict your young child from dangerous areas such as the laundry room, basement, office, bathroom or more while allowing the cat to still have access.


What you will need:

  • A Drill 
  • A Drill bit that is slightly smaller than the threads on the 'screw' of the Eyes (I used a 5/32 bit) 
  • Hook & Eye (I used a 4 inch latch) 
  • Pen, Pencil or Marker (Used to mark where to drill)


You can purchase a simple and cheap set (Latch & Eye Hook) at your local hardware store for a few dollars. I went to Homedepot and purchased a packet of two 4 inch Hook & Eyes for about $3. If wanted or needed you can purchase and use a bigger latch to allow more room for the animals’ passage; may be necessary if you’re using it for a small dog or large cat.

I placed mine just under the door handle as my need is to keep my dogs away from the cat's litter box. If you are using this as a child safety feature or for smart but naughty dogs that may try to undo the latch, place the latch up higher at the top of the door. Placing it up high also will keep it out of sight and reduce the risk of children, pets or yourself from catching your body, clothes or other items on the latch as you/it/they pass through the doorway. (The second one I do will be placed at the top for the out of sight and safety benefits).

I placed the Latch part on the inside of the room (photo above is from the hall side) so as one walks by if the door is closed the latch is hidden from general sight. To find where I needed to drill I took the latch & eyes out of the package and measured exactly how far it is from the base of one eye to the base of the other when hooked together. It was about 6 inches. In order to get the maximum space out of the 4 inch latch I needed to place the eyes carefully so they line up, were level and not in the way when the door closed. On the door (hall side) I placed the Eye about a inch in from the edge. On the door frame (inside of the room) I placed the latch also about an inch from the edge. 

It took me only 5 minutes and cost only $1.50 for each door!

What is the difference between Indoor & Outdoor cats?

We deal primarily with feral & stray finds. Kittens & cats caught off the streets, out of the woods, sewers and more. Coming from a life of survival they are mostly feral, however young cats and kittens quickly come around. Many adults do too, it just takes time. The cats and kittens that come around and want to be loved, get attention and be spoiled by people will then need to be Indoor Cats & Kittens. However there are always a few cats that don't come around and just don't want to have anything to do with people or inside. These cats thrive outside in an area that is safe for them. Barns, farms, rural areas and such are always best. We never want to put them back into a dangerous situation.

Keep your new kitty entertained!

Play with and entertain your new kitty cat. Cats are very sufficient but if they become bored they may become destructive and unwanted scratching, digging or rough play may occur. Mental stimulation is very important! Keeping any animal mentally active keeps them mentally healthy and happy! 

Nail Clipping: Do it regularly!

Clip your animals nails on a weekly basis, you do not need to trim them much. Regularly trimming their nails will keep them short and rounded so they can not cause much damage, harm or destruction. It is also a great training aid to teach your pet to become comfortable with you handling them. Use lots of treats, keep calm and make it a positive experience.

How to change your animals food from what they were fed at ASHA to the brand you pick:

While the animals are with us they are given some can food twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. They always have a fresh bowl of dry food to eat at their leisure. (This feeding schedule may vary from animal to animal depending on age and diet restrictions.) Using the bag of dry food we provided you with to switch your pet's food gradually to your new food over the course of 7-10 days. For example, make a mixture that contains 25% of the new food and 75% of the old food and feed that for three days. Then make it 50-50 for three more days, then 75% new food and 25% old food for three more days. If your pet seems comfortable with this progression, you can start feeding 100% new food. 

How to obtain a license for your new pet:

You will need to register your cat in the county you reside. Typically you will need to complete a standardized form, pay a small fee, and provide copies of your adoption contract and a rabies vaccination certificate if applicable.
Howard County Maryland residents can go to www.myHoward.info to create a user account. Once an account has been established residents can request a new license or renew an expiring one.

How to show your cat that the litter box is a great place to be:

Call your cat to the litter box from a variety of places around the house. When your cat gets to the box scratch the litter to get her/him interested. Encourage your cat to hop into a little box and praise her/him when he/she does so. Even if your new pet does not potty, she/he is learning that the litter box is a great and clean place to be. Praise your cat if your cat does potty. Cats want to keep clean so litter training should be easy. However cats do have preferences. Some may not like covered litter boxes or scented litter, or perhaps the dust is too much for them. Try a few different brands to see if one works better then the others for you and your kitty. Having a litter box that has high walls to keep the litter in will help keep you happy too. So when choosing your litter box, remember to think about the many aspects of the box, and your kitties litter box habits too.

Litter Choices:

As mentioned before: Kittens should NEVER have clumping litter. When they clean themselves they may ingest some which can clog up their digestive track. Many times proving deadly. Kittens should use a clay based non clumping litter. Adolescents and adult cats can use clumping litter. Also be aware that many days can be sensitive to litters that have a scent, the smell being too strong, resulting in them not using the litter box. There are MANY different types of litter (dust free, multi-cat, clumping, cat nip infused, pine, walnut, shredded newspaper...) so try some variety before getting frustrated!

Keep your cat's litter box clean:

Your cat doesn't just need a litter box - he/she needs a clean litter box. Your cat will not want to use the box if it smells of urine or feces, so the box must be cleaned daily. On a weekly basis you will need to empty the litter box and clean it with soap and water. Then refill it with a fresh pan of litter. Remember to always have 2-3 inches of litter in the box at all times.

You can't use punishment for animal behavior modification:

Scolding your cat and then taking her to the litter box after she's already partied teaches her to associate the litter box with punishment. Prevention and praise for getting it right are the keys to training.

Where to put the litter box:

Cats do not like to spoil the areas close to there sleeping or eating areas, so place the litter box some distance away. Choose a private, quiet and easily accessible spot with plenty of head room for them to stand up in their box. HINT: Don't place the litter box near any vents! You don't want to have the smell travel every time the AC/Heat kicks on.

Types of litter boxes:

There are many different types of litter boxes, tall, long, big, wide, small, round, square, enclosed, open and more! Choose one large enough for the cat to walk in to, stretch out, turn around and stand up in. They should not feel trapped or crowded, unable to scratch freely. Some cats may not use a litter box that is enclosed with a lid. Try providing several types of litter boxes and litter if necessary to find out which type your cat prefers. Cats are creatures of habit. Once you find the kind of litter, type of box, and location in your home that your cat likes, stick with it! As mentioned before, also remember to take your cats habits in mind. Tall sided litter boxes are preferred since they help keep the litter in better, preventing a mess for you to need to clean up.

Food Choices:

  • Choose a mid-priced food that lists meat as it's first ingredient. Check out www.cat-food.petharbor.com to compare, sort, filter and find the best food for you and your cat.
  • Low brand dry foods that are most likely multi-colored and lists corn, corn meal or animal by-products as their first ingredients. Brands such as 9Lives, Meow Mix, Purina, Royal Canin Eukanuba/Iams, Hill's Science Diet and Nutro.
  • High brand dry foods will be solid colors, their first ingredient will be either Chicken, Turkey, Salmon, Beef, and so forth. No by-product or meal.
  • Wet vs Dry. A cat needs more moisture than a strictly dry food diet can provide, giving canned food at least twice a day will help provide the necessary moisture and additional nutrition. However, providing a moving water fountain can also help with encouraging your cat to drink more too!
  • Always throw away a meal that is not finished and be sure to clean their bowls. Keep their water bowl clean and filled with clean water. Never add water to dry food or mix wet and dry foods. Use ceramic or metal dishes if possible. They are easier to clean, dishwasher safe and much more sturdy than traditional plastic.

Feral Kittens

Kittens are the inevitable result of not spaying a female cat. In Maryland we typically see litters first appearing around early April or May with about 3-5 kittens per litter. If the kittens are born early in the season, removed from the litter or die, the unspayed cat will likely produce another litter before the end of the year. A female cat can become pregnant at as early as 4 months of age and produce kittens at 6 months. Gestation is only 2 months long.


The sad truth of the matter is that there are not a lot of ideal solutions for feral kittens. Most public shelters will simply kill kittens younger than 8 weeks of age and believe that kittens older than 8 weeks of age are too old to be socialized. Volunteers and fosters in no kill shelters willing to bottle feed and socialize young kittens are few and generally full during kitten season. Kittens that are brought into these programs and bottle fed have a lower survival rate than those fed by their mother.


This is where ASHA has been able to make a difference. We believe that the feral kittens older than 8 weeks ARE still able to be worked with and socialized. We have seen it work, we do it every year, and we have saved hundreds of kittens. Catching the mom while still pregnant is ideal, but being able to catch the kittens after they ‘leave the nest’ is still better then waiting for them to start early making the next generation. Kittens around 6 months old and younger have a great chance of becoming friendly indoor happy, well adjusted and socialized house cats. We see it happen time after time. It just takes patience, love, time, lots of positive interactions and lots of yummy food!


Have you contacted a rescue or shelter that says the kittens are too old if they are over 8 weeks? Have they tell you to just vet them and let them go back outside? If they tell you it’s a lost cause. Tell them to shove it… well we can’t say it here. But you understand our sentiment. To us hearing this is like hearing that a child is not adoptable after infancy, that they are a lost cause. Its heartbreaking, it’s setting them up for failure and it’s just not true.


If you have some feral kittens are older than 8 weeks and you do not have time to socialize them, we recommend contacting us ASAP! We have limited fostering resources though so if wish for help rehoming kittens or cats you find, you will likely need to socialize the kittens yourself. Once you have fully socialized them we will work with you to rehome the kittens through ASHA’s adoption process.


Do you have the mom, or access to her? Then we do expect you to be the responsible party when it comes to trapping her, then getting her spayed and vetted. We also can assist with this if needed, as well as the rehoming of her if needed, but please make sure to help out with the process as much as you can. One of the worst things that you can do with kittens is separate them from their mother and then not spay her. Not only will you incur the problems listed above but she will go into heat prematurely producing even more kittens. We regularly hear horror stories about neighborhoods being swamped by dozens of kittens each year from a single mother cat who was not spayed but regularly had her kittens removed.  Please, whatever you decide, make sure to spay the mother cat.


Please keep in mind that ALL city and county run shelters in our area euthanize excess cats. Avoid taking cats and kittens to county run shelters whenever possible. Call or email ahead to any rescue or shelter to find out if they are a no-kill shelter.

Boarding is now available!

We are now able to offer $10/day (24 hours) per cat, boarding to our previously adopted pets if (or when) necessary, to help keep them in their forever families. This low cost fee will help cover the housing and care while with us. We require the animals to be current on Rabies, Bordatella and Distemper vaccines, as well as free from any internal or external parasites. When staying with us you will need to provide us with the food you are currently feeding them and their bed, blanket, toys and feeding/water bowls; it will help keep them feeling comfy and cozy. Boarding is provided in-home with a volunteer, but we also offer stay-at-home pet sitting too! Email for info.

We are not yet able to offer boarding to the public but will be able to soon! We will be offering boarding for $20/day (24 hours) per cat (cats only).

Cat got the couch?!

Or maybe the dog? When we got out new couch several years ago we started out with a “no animals on the couch” rule, well that didn't last long… I then had to clean the couch every other day to keep it in its “new” condition… and that quickly became time consuming! Even with it Scotch Guarded hair, dirt and grime was discoloring it. I have never liked the fact that getting a slipcover sounded like something only your grandparents did, but I was thinking it may be time. That’s when I learned how expensive they are, and how many different types of couches there are, I couldn’t find one that was the right shape and size so I was on the verge of giving up when I learned about the many different uses of Drop Cloths!


Drop cloths have great qualities and are a fraction of the price of other fabrics. They are hardy, water proof or resistant, machine washable, hide the grime and come in a variety of sizes, shapes and even a few different textures.

I went to my local hardware store (Homedepot) and purchased several 9 ft x 12 ft (about $22 each) two were for the couch, a few are later to be made into curtains and one to cover the dog bed!

Save your furniture and your sanity!

Info on TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return)

First thing first: Check with neighbors, business owners, local Animal Control and the local community to see if the cat or cats are missing, owned or already managed. You will want to identify any neighbors who may already be feeding and caring for the cats or have indoor/outdoor house cats that you will not want to accidentally trap. While talking to the neighbors and local area, make sure to contact the property owner to obtain permission to trap cats on the property where the cats have been sighted.


Ensure that this conversation covers the end plan; will the cats be returned, or are they just being removed? Talk to the neighbors to see what they think and feel. You will also need to take into account: Is the area safe for the cats to continue living there? Is there any negative community outlash that could harm the cats? Are there any high traffic roads nearby that would be a danger? If they return, who will be the caretakers? Who will provide food and housing for the cats? Who will ensure the cats are vetted yearly and as needed?

These are just a few of the questions you will need to address before actually trapping the cats. If the cats are in a dangerous situation due to highways or unruly neighbors, then getting the cats trapped, vetted and relocated is necessary.


If you find the kitties are not cared for, not already TNR’ed, and in need of care, your next step should be to talk to the neighbors (aka: local businesses, residents and community) about the need. Address their concerns, ask for support and educate them on the reasons why getting one cat spayed or neutered can save hundreds of future little lives. Reducing the unwanted cat population in their neighborhood should be a great reason to get their support.  


Trapping is not an overnight event. It takes time. Set up an established feeding schedule at least 1-2 weeks before you plan to trap. Keep the food in a location close to where the cats have been spotted, and in a location where it’s not easily seen by the public. Keeping the food out of the weather is preferred, but not required. The cats need to be fed at about the same time everyday and food should not be left out for more than one hour at a time. Never leave the feeding area dirty, you don’t want to attract rats, raccoons, or other unwanted wildlife. You also will need to be respectful of the property since it is not yours. Keeping the area clean also keeps it from being obvious to passerbyers and the public, helping ensure the safety of the cats from unwanted negative attention.


Start keeping track of the cats you see in the area. Keep the neighbors informed with details and even photos of the cats incase any of the cats are escaped house cats or lost. For record keeping purposes, including at the vet's office, give each cat a name.  This can be as simple as "Brown tabby with white on chin." Keeping a description of each cat will also help ensure that if a cat does not show up on trapping day, you will know who is missing.


Plan your transportation to and from the vet.  Be sure your car can fit as many traps in it as you plan to use. Do NOT use a closed trunk or open truck-bed.  (You should try to trap all of the cats at once. Trapping cat by cat is MUCH more difficult.) Line your car with puppy pads, or a tarp with news paper, for easy clean-up. Be sure you know when the drop off and pick up windows at the vet are, especially if you plan to make more than one trip.


Schedule your appointment at the vet.  We recommend Spay Now in Laurel as they are local, reasonably priced, manage a trap bank to borrow your traps from and will provide overnight recovery space for your cats upon request if you drop them off Mon-Wed. If you use a different clinic services provided should be: spay/neuter, rabies and distemper vaccinations, ear-tipping (removal of tip of left ear to mark it as sterilized), pain medication and FIV/FELV testing. Deworming, flea treatment, and ear cleaning are also provided by many TNR clinics.


If you plan to trap in the evening, prepare a warm and predator free place to keep the cats overnight.  We recommend covering the floor of your holding space with puppy pads for easy cleanup. If you do not use Spay Now for overnight recovery, this place will also double as your recovery spot. Females should be given 3-5 days minimum for recovery before returning and releasing. Males can be returned and released next day.


When you pick up your traps you'll also need old newspapers and canned tuna or really yummy canned food (fresh chicken and sardines can be helpful too). 24 hours before trapping, withhold food. Water should still be provided. Be sure the neighbors are withholding food at this time as well. Line the traps with newspaper, bait them, and set the traps out about 1 hour before normal feeding time. Monitor traps through duration of trapping and fully cover traps once a cat has been trapped. Place cats someplace climate controlled and safe until their trip to the vet.


When you drop the cats off at the vet for surgery ensure that you have provided the vet with a contact number they can reach you at incase they will need to ask questions. They may find a cat that is pregnant, already spayed/neutered, FIV/FeLV positive or such and need to get to a hold of you. If you pick them up same day as the surgery you will need to provide overnight recovery space to your cats in a climate controlled environment. They need 24 hours to work the anesthesia out of their system. The cats should remain covered in their traps during this time. They should also be provided food and water during recovery. If the vet found that any of the females were lactating, those cats should be released immediately and not held overnight. They may have kittens hiding somewhere waiting for mom to come back. If you have decided to return the cats to their original location for release, make sure you do so at the same exact place they trap was set. Try to point the door of the trap towards a safe, quiet area to direct the cat to run off that way, and not straight towards the buildings or roads. Keep the feeding schedule they are used to, though they may not come back for a few days but they will soon return.


For the cats that are in dangerous situations, and can not be returned, then relocating them to a safe area, such as a barn, farm or another colony is required for their safety.


Notes about Safety Concerns

~While not common, rabies is present in any area.  Avoid going near any cat that is acting strangely including signs of aggression (when not caged or cornered) or paralysis. Educate yourself about the signs of rabies prior to trapping. Ask for professional trapping, and contact the local animal control for help if you have concerns.

~Always keep the trapped cat in the live trap and never try to move it to to a cage or carrier. Transport them to the vet in the trap. NEVER try to stuff an unsocialized cat into a carrier or trap by hand. This can result in you getting bitten or scratched and if the cat does not have a rabies certificate the cat is put in danger of being euthanized by local animal control due to the law.

~To avoid an escaped kitty, use a double ended hook clasp, zip tie or bungee cord to tie or lash the door of the live trap closed. The last thing you want is an escaped angry kitty.

~Avoid feeding and trapping alone, especially after dark.  Always use the buddy system and think about safety first.  Contact us if you need a helper.