The Scratching Post is a weekly newsletter from pets columnist Kate Karp, bringing you all the latest news on pet adoptions, animal welfare and ways to get involved.

It’s hotter than Hades, which can be dangerous for your pet. Be sure they have water, walk them in the evenings and early mornings so they don’t scorch their paws, and provide a shady place outdoors for refuge, particularly if they have dark fur.

Most importantly, do not leave them in the car, even with a window cracked open, while you shop, visit, or grab lunch. The temperature will rise to unbearable temperatures, and your pooch will poach.

It’s nothing to joke about, really. Leaving an animal shut in a car in summer heat can cause heatstroke, brain damage or death.

On an 85 degree day, it only takes 10 minutes for the inside of your car to reach 102 degrees, even when the windows have been left open an inch or two, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

Leaving the air conditioner on while you take a couple of minutes to grab your mail or an iced latte is fine, but waiting in a long line at the Post Office or Starbucks is not. The air conditioner could conk out, or the dog could jostle it off. Even the Tesla Dog Mode, the only dedicated pet vehicular climate control, comes with a warning: “This setting is not intended for people, and should only be used for short periods of time while you stay in close proximity should you need to return to the vehicle in situations where the temperature can no longer be maintained.”

It’s illegal in some states to leave a pet in a car on hot days. California’s Penal Code Section 597.7 identifies this as animal cruelty and details fines and terms of imprisonment for the action. 

The safety of your pet, of course, supersedes law, but not everyone’s aware of this. If you do see an animal locked in a car on a hot day, call animal control and the police. 

David Linn, field operations director of Long Beach Animal Control, noted that depending on the vehicle’s location, either service could arrive more quickly than the other, so call both. Print out this graphic and stick it somewhere in your car where you won’t spill the latte on it so you’ll have the penal code number handy if the dispatcher seems unfamiliar with the law (as once happened to me).

Alyssa Baeza, spokesperson for the Long Beach Police Department, cited a corresponding good Samaritan Civil Code law (CIV Section 43.100) that states that a person spotting an animal in a vehicle on a hot day “can determine if the animal is in danger and call 9-1-1 or non-emergency dispatch, 562-435-6711. According to the good Samaritan law, a person can remove an animal under the circumstances if the animal is in danger.” The law gives legal immunity to anyone breaking into a vehicle to save a pet’s life.

 A dear friend carries a little emergency safety hammer for this purpose and used it at least once.

“I happened to hear a dog barking, so I went back to my car, got a towel and my safety hammer, and broke open the window—this, of course, after my calling both the police and security,” my friend said. ”Both told me they would ‘somewhere, sometime today get to the parking lot.’ Once a few minutes had gone by, the temperature was 81 degrees outside. I then placed the towel over the window and proceeded to break it.”

Sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do. If you plan to save a pet’s life yourself, be sure you call the police and animal control first and take photos of the animal and the vehicle’s license plate. Then, act in the best interest of that animal. 

If you find an animal in a vehicle on a hot day, dial 911 and animal control. Animal control for Long Beach, Signal Hill, Cerritos and Los Alamitos can be reached at 562-570-7387; for Seal Beach, call the police department at 562-799-4100 and ask for animal control.

Pets to adopt or foster

David Markland, co-founder and executive director of the funfest of fright, gave a word-perfect conflation of coal-color kitties and the geeks of the gruesome and eldritch.

“We love the black cat—it’s a black sheep, like all of us!” he said in a previous article about the Midsummer Scream festival taking place this weekend, July 28–30.

All cats, whatever the color, are odd in one degree or other, but black cats—dogs, too—get the short stick when adopters come around, sometimes because of superstition but more frequently because they don’t stand out the way more colorful cats do.

When they close their eyes, their faces disappear. But they’re as wonderful as every cat. Find out for yourself at the Black Cat Lounge at Midsummer Scream, where you can watch and play with little black cats.

Fill out an application with Lounge host Kitten Rescue LA (read their adoption policies and fees here). All cats have been fixed, vaxxed, treated for worms and fleas, and microchipped. Some little acolytes:

Galadriel is as sweet as she is gorgeous. She and her two siblings were brought into a shelter in danger of euthanasia because of a minor eye infection. Her foster mom received the plea for help and rushed over and swooped up all three siblings. Galadriel loves cuddling and gets along with all creatures big or small. Galadriel will need to be adopted along with a young kitty friend or go into a home where a young, active cat is already present. She would love to be adopted with her sister, Arwen, or Aragorn.

 And here’s Aragorn, pictured here with his buddy, a white cat named Legolas, who is deaf. Aragorn is small in stature but has a bigger-than-life personality. In the afternoons, you can find Aragorn chasing his foster sisters through the cat tube, and at night, he’s cuddling in his foster mom’s lap. Aragorn was a singleton kitty brought into a shelter and, like Galadriel, had an eye infection. He, too, went home with Galadriel’s foster mom. Aragorn is incredibly curious, affectionate and the ultimate snuggle buddy. Because of his young age and activity level, Aragorn does need to be adopted with a young kitty friend—Arwen and Legolas are his besties—or go into a home where a young, active cat is already present.

Of course, there has to be a cat named Ted Lasso! This fella is an incredible 2-year-old boy who started his journey as a stray with a severely injured leg. He was trapped by a community cat caretaker and neutered. He needed a leg amputation, which the trappers couldn’t afford, so Kitten Rescue was called to take him in and help him, which they did. Although Ted was a trapped cat, he turned out to be tame. He has adapted to losing a leg with incredible grace. He is loving and affectionate to humans and gets along well with other cats. Ted has tested positive for FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus), but FIV cats can have a normal life span, and Ted’s very healthy. His gratitude is boundless, and he’ll bring immeasurable joy to the fortunate family that opens their hearts to him.

Sweet as pie is Daisy Bee! She loves people, her foster siblings and mealtime—in that order. She had a rough start in her little life when her sister got a nasty disease and Daisy Bee had to go into isolation for a month all by herself. She was a trooper, though, and never let it get her down. She is exceptionally loving and active, enjoys cuddling in bed, and is easy to handle and even easier to love. She absolutely must have another kitty in the household to live her best life.

Pet events

3rd annual Long Beach Burger Week, with dining for doggies: July 23–30, find participating restaurants and details here.

A Hot Paw’gust Night: Friday, Aug. 18, EXPO Arts Center, 4321 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach, begins 6:30 p.m., $25, tickets available here. Friends of Long Beach Animals, Long Beach’s most venerable animal organization, is throwing a big bash to benefit some the great animal rescues in Long Beach.

Benny’s 6th Birthday Party: Saturday, Aug. 26, 11 a.m.–3 p.m., Marina Community Center, 151 Marina Way, Seal Beach, $20, kids 10 and under free, tickets available here. Benny is a little cat who suffered horrible abuse when he was a kitten. After one of CatPAWS’ board members fell in love with him at the shelter, had him stitched up with the help of CatPAWS and the medical team at Long Beach Animal Care Services, he’s been living the life.

To see a list of local animal rescue groups, click here.