Make it a meowy Christmas and a happy howliday for animals at the Iowa City shelter

Holiday with the Hounds

Iowa City Animal Care & Adoption Center — Saturday, Dec. 14 at 11 a.m.

Nanook waits patiently for Christmas. Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Reindeer are better than people, and so are cats and dogs. And in the season of giving, they deserve to be rewarded for their goodness.

Once again, the Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center is inviting the public to meet their residents and shower them with gifts at the Holiday with the Hounds open house, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. this Saturday. Free snacks and hot chocolate will be served, and each shelter animal — every cat, dog, rabbit, guinea pig and ferret — will have a stocking hung outside their enclosure, in which generous guests may drop donations (see the shelter wish lists at the bottom of the page).

And if you’re interested in getting yourself the ultimate gift this season, Saturday’s open house is also a great time to find a potential new family member. Here are four lovely candidates for your heart, all in need of a home for the holidays.


Fuego savored his playtime with shelter volunteer Mary Kundert. Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

It’s chilly outside; why not bring a bit of warmth into your home? Fuego is fired-up to meet his future playmates, whether they be human or cat. A 1-year-old ginger tabby, Fuego is going on three months in the shelter and can’t wait to bust out. He loves to rub on your leg, bat around toys, eat treats and accept plenty of scritches on the chin.

Gift option: Cat scratcher (rope or sisal are best)


A curious Kickstand roams the cat colony room at the Iowa City Animal Center. Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

This 6-month-old ginger cat had two broken legs when he arrived at the shelter, with one fracture so severe staff thought it may need to be amputated. But Kickstand made a full recovery, and became quite playful while living at his foster mother’s house. Now back at the Iowa City Animal Center, Kickstand’s looking for a home where he can play, nap, race around and, most of all, snuggle — he loves to be held. His adoptees should be aware that he is likely to develop arthritis in his leg in the future.

Gift option: Good old-fashioned cash (or check)! Donations to the Friends of the Animal Center Foundation support a range of shelter needs, perhaps most importantly life-saving medical care for animals such as Kickstand.


McRib plays with his favorite dangly toy. Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

This McRib won’t come and go — he’ll be there for you every day. A 1-year-old black floof, McRib was brought into the shelter as a stray in early October, and is more than ready to go home. He is kind, gentle and loves to play. A bit shy, he may take a bit of time before he’s ready for cuddles, but will no-doubt melt into the perfect combination of playful and loving before long!

Gift option: SmartyKat soft mice toys


Nanook, a 4-year-old husky at the Iowa City Animal Center. Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Whether you’re a snow bunny or a humbug about the cold, Nanook will bring oodles of joy to your winter months. As a husky, she has plenty of energy and a high tolerance for cold — she could spend all day romping around in the snow, and her enthusiasm is infectious. About 4 years old, Nanook was brought to the shelter as a stray, but knows how to sit, shake and lay down. She is very food-motivated, meaning she’d likely be easy to teach new tricks. On top of it all, she is absolutely gorgeous, from nose to tail.

Gift option: Dog treats (Wellness’ Soft WellBites are a good option)

There are dozens of other animals decking the halls of the Iowa City Animal Center in addition to Fuego, Kickstand, McRib and Nanook, from myriad kittens to a guinea pig named Gladys. To learn more about adoption, visit the shelter website. The animal center has also posted wish lists full of gift ideas for Holiday with the Hounds.

  • Clean small blankets and large bath towels/wash cloths
  • Dog toys — all sizes and very durable (Benebones, Nylabones)
  • Fromm Classic Chicken and Rice dry dog food
  • High-quality canned dog and puppy food
  • Large and extra-large soft dog toys
  • Cardboard scratching pads — small- and medium-sized ones, various shapes
  • Food and water crocks (must be heavy; deep, round shape is best as less likely to chip/crack)
  • Forti Flora for cats (available at your veterinarian)
  • Gift cards to local pet supply stores, or VISA/Mastercard, for all those last-minute specialty kitten needs
  • High-quality patte style canned kitten food
  • Miracle brand nipple (mini or regular size)
  • Non-scented clay litter
  • Nutri-Cal for kittens
  • NutriSource Cat/Kitten Chicken and Rice – wet and dry
  • Pedialyte unflavored (Good Sense Pedialyte electrolyte liquid)
  • Pet Ag brand nursing kit
  • Plastic flea combs
  • Royal Caninn Baby Cat and Kitten food — Chicken and Rice recipe
  • Kitten-appropriate small toys (Little fuzzy mice!)
Small animals
  • Chew sticks and toys for rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs and rats
  • OxBow rabbit food
  • Small mammal bedding (no wood or cedar shavings, please)
  • Small but deep water crocks
  • Timothy hay
  • Bleach
  • Dawn dishwashing liquid
  • Frontline, Advantage and Revolution treatment for fleas and ticks
  • Heating pads (no auto shut-offs, please)
  • Paper towels
  • Wash cloths and towels