Hi, I’m Homie! A two-year-old male cat, ID#A06329! An alley cat through and through, I earned my cred on the streets of Santa Monica. Life on the streets could be destitute at times and a fight to survive. Nights were for hunting, days were for hiding, and territory needed protecting. My battle wounds tell the tale of throwdowns with feline ferals, to which I always prevailed. 

Even though mine was a rough life, I’m not bitter. The hustle made me wise and never hardened my ability to be kind. One day I stumbled upon some nice folks at the Salvation Army who were so charmed by my swagger, I came to be known as their “Homie,” the warehouse cat! And so began my story with a new life with humans, leaving the streets behind. 

In pursuit of a home of my own, I’ve authorized the availability of my adoption. A self-appointed, Head of the Cat Council at the Santa Monica Animal Shelter, opinionated and assertive, I’m relentlessly loud and chatty. Always one to start the talk, my discussions provoke intrigue and explore the merits of street life vs. a domesticated one. 

I’m still apprehensive of why toys should be more exciting than chasing a mouthwatering, warm-blooded mouse. I’ll nonetheless amuse you by giving them a good pounce. I’m open to swatting a feather pole toy, even though a succulent bird isn’t at the end of it. Lap and cuddles aren’t my thing, and I’m demanding of your petting to exhaustion. And while humans have proven to be cool big cats, I take pride in my independence and prefer things to be on my terms. Located in Santa Monica at 1640 9th Street, adoptions at Santa Monica Animal Shelter are by appointment only by calling (310) 458-8595, Tuesday through Saturday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. For a full list of their adoptables, and more information about the shelter and animal control, visit santamonica.gov, and search Animal Services. 


It’s that time of the year for fun in the summer sun for all! But with it comes higher risks to safety and heatstroke in dogs and cats. But there are many ways to keep them safe, healthy, comfortable, and provide them with tons of fun! 

 Bathe your dogs more often. Brush your cats frequently as matted hair can trap heat. Use damp towels to pet your dog and cat on their tummies, paws, armpits, chin, ears, and other areas with little to no fur. 

Choose cool hours. The sun is at its most intense during the midday and afternoon hours. Modify your dog walks and cat’s outdoor schedules to the morning and evening. If your schedules do not permit these times, keep dog walks short, slow, take breaks frequently, and favor the shade. Make shaded rest areas outside for cats such as cardboard boxes on their side, and cat tents. Sunscreen formulated for dogs and cats can prevent sun burn to noses, ears and paws, or areas in the body with little to no fur. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations. 

Outside surfaces like pavement, wooden decks, gravel, and sand can burn paws. Place your hands down on the ground and if within ten seconds it is too hot for you, it’s too hot for them! Booties for dogs, and paw wax can protect paws for both dog and cats. 

Keep them hydrated! Have easy access to water while outside, and inside of your home. Carrying a dog water bottle with a rubber bowl attached can offer you convenient access to water quickly, and frequently on walks. Place water bowls in the shade, and all areas your dogs and cats have access to.  Since cats are known to enjoy moving water, a water fountain can encourage them to drink.  Cats and dogs are not attracted to warm water, which may deter them from drinking.  Change the water frequently, and add ice cubes to the water to keep it cool.  As an added source of hydration, add wet food to their meals, or water to kibble.  Frozen carrots, pumpkin, and fruits are appetizing to dogs. 

 Dogs and cats do not sweat and can overheat easily!  Be vigilant and look for signs that your dog and cat may be in distress which may require immediate veterinarian attention. For dogs these symptoms may include panting, excessive drooling, lethargy, difficulty breathing, pale appearance, blood shot eyes, dizziness, lack of coordination, unusual agitation, vomiting, and diarrhea.  Heatstroke in cats can present as agitation, stretching out, breathing rapidly, lethargy, skin hot to the touch, glazed eyes, vomiting, drooling, and slow bounce back of skin.   

Keep them indoors when it’s too hot outside!  Close areas like conservatories, greenhouses, sheds, and garages as they trap heat. Keep the shades closed and the air circulating by using an air conditioner and bladeless fans to prevent injury if they are knocked over.  Dogs can stay cool by sprawling out on a cool mat, damp towels, tile, and hardwood floors.  Cats can rule a cool realm in empty bathtubs, showers, sinks, dark rooms, under chairs, and like dogs, they enjoy a good cool floor too. 

Plenty of fun can be had inside! Pet pools in shaded areas can be all the rave for dogs. Provide them with high value toys, chews, cognitive activities like hide-and-seek games, board games that reveal treats, games that they can play with you, and practice obedience cues.  Cats can swat ice cubes, catnip filled mice and fish pole toys can create opportunities for a fun prey and pounce, a laser toy can make way for an exciting chase, brushing sessions can be purr-worthy, and experts at relaxation, naturally breaks for naps are added satisfaction. 

Keeping dogs and cats cool, safe, and entertained on hot days does a fun summer make

Pet of the Week is provided by Carmen Molinari, a long-time volunteer at the Santa Monica Animal Shelter and founder and CEO of Love At First Sit®, a pet care and dog behavior & training company in Santa Monica. Learn about her, pet tips, and Love At First Sit® services at loveatfirstsit.net, and on Instagram at @loveatifirstsit.