13 Things You Can Do to Make Veterinary Visits Better for Everyone

  1. Accustom your cat to a carrier and to traveling in the car.
  2. If your veterinarian doesn’t already have your cat’s medical record on file, bring it with you or have your previous veterinary hospital send or fax the records. Also bring your own notes on your cat’s health and medical history. Don’t send your cat with a person who doesn’t have the information the vet will need to help your cat – or if you must do this, thoroughly document your cat’s current condition on paper and make sure you’re available by phone to answer questions that may come up.
  3. Arrive on time or a few minutes early for your appointment.
  4. Unless children can sit quietly without distracting you or interfering with your veterinary team’s ability to examine or treat your cat or talk to you about your cat, consider leaving your children with a babysitter while you take your cat to the veterinarian.
  5. Turn your cell phone off while you are in the exam room.
  6. Know what medications your cat is receiving (including supplements), as well as how much, how often and how long it is given. Better yet, bring them with you.
  7. Don’t be shy about sharing your observations and concerns with your veterinarian – after all, you know your cat better than anyone else does.
  8. Ask questions. Ask until you understand the answers. Often vets forget that we don’t have a medical degree.
  9. Take notes! Don’t expect to remember everything. While you are taking your notes, you may think of additional questions which you should write down and ask before you leave.
  10. Ask for handouts and brochures. Ask if there are reputable online sources of information about your cat’s condition.
  11. Follow your veterinarian’s recommendations. They’re given for one very important reason – to keep your cat healthy.
  12. Arrange for a follow phone call to review how the cat is doing.
  13. And our Lucky 13 thing to do: Check the name or names of medication. Check the dosage and instructions on the bottle/s of medication and compare them to what the veterinarian wrote down. Show it to the office manager to verify. Mistakes can happen and in the case of drugs – they can be fatal. Never take anything for granted, a cat-parent cannot be too fussy!

 
 
 
 

Your old mascara wand can help your cat (seriously!)

Two weeks ago, we told you that you can brush your cat with a toothbrush when applying Convivial House Cat or a few drops of one of our flower essences. The reason is that the bristles mimic the feel of a cat mother’s sandpapery tongue with the familiar sensation they loved as kittens, which is still very soothing to adult cats. We feel this maternal sensation benefits the usage of our products from the loving touch of something bristly like a toothbrush, and we just learned that a cleaned/bleached mascara wand has the same feel and purpose!

And because we are zero-wasters (or try to be!) and hope you are too we knew you’d be excited to know that your old mascara wands not only have benefits for your cat, but you can also be a wildlife hero! Wildlife rescue organizations and rehabilitation professionals use them to remove all sort of icky things like oil on a bird’s feathers or fur after a spill, mites, fly eggs and larvae. They love mascara wands for their small size and that the bristles are so close together. And yes, you can follow their lead and use one to remove similar debris from your cat’s fur.

We’d read that mascara wands were ok to use to clean around wounds, but wondered if that information was unsafe so we asked a favorite Friend of Cat Faeries, veterinarian and animal communicator Joy Mason (www.joymason.com) what she thought about using mascara wands to wound clean. This is what she said: “I have been thinking about the mascara brush and cleaning a wound. I would recommend it for brushing the cat, but not for cleaning a wound. If the cat has a wound, I would recommend cleaning it with Chlorhexidene and warm water, put some coconut oil on it or if it is really bad then use a high-quality honey to help it heal.”

Always wash and bleach the mascara wand when it’s time to get a new tube and send the old wand onto its new home! By the way for the health of your eyes, mascara should be discarded every 2 months, 3 months at the most.

Save one or two old mascara wands for your own use and mail the rest after you’ve washed and bleached them. How much bleach? Dr. Mason, also known as Auntie Joy tells us the Clorox bleach needs to be diluted with water. This is how her clinic dilutes it for dogs to prevent Parvo: “In the clinic we recommend that people use a 4:1 dilution of water to Clorox if they want to put a foot bath at their front door to prevent Parvo virus from being spread if there is an outbreak in their neighborhood “ The same dilution would be good for the mascara wand.

How to clean a mascara wand without making a huge mess!

As you might imagine cleaning off a mascara wand is messy! Auntie Cat Faerie using her Virgo logic came up with this easy method! While she hates throwing things away she hates wasting water more so grab some paper towels. While wearing disposable gloves use your paper towels to wipe off as much mascara as you can, otherwise your hands will be very stained. Using a few damp Qtips scoop out as much mascara as you can from where the wand in attached to the cap. An empty narrow glass jam jar the height of your wand with 1 part Clorox and 4 parts water will allow the wand to stand up straight making removing it easy for you. The bleach will most likely remove any traces of mascara that you couldn’t rub off. Rinse in hot water when finished.

If you don’t have a wildlife group near you here are organizations that want them:

Wildlife Wands
PO Box 1586
Southwick MA 01077
https://www.facebook.com/wildlifewands/

Appalachian Wildlife Refuge
P.O. Box 1211
Skyland, NC 28776
https://www.appalachianwild.org/wands-for-wildlife.html

Here’s a video from Appalachian Wildlife Refuge where you can see the wands in action (grab a hanky!)

Mascara wands can also “go where no brush has gone before” for use around the house in any small crevice where dust and gunk settles. Use one on your sewing machine, your computer keyboard, clean jewelry, clearing the lint catcher in your blow-dryer, even the little oxygenating vent in your faucet tap where the water passes through and gunk can build up (let the floodgates open!). They also gently clean off mushrooms!
 
 
 
 

How to make shelters for feral cats in freezing weather

Weather.com is predicting the “Coldest Arctic Outbreak in at Least Two Decades” will hit the Midwest this week, so we wanted to send out this special edition of the Cat Faeries Newsletter because saving the lives of feral/community cats is critical. We did not include our usual photos of customer’s cats (which this month are calicos and torties) as we wanted to get this important message out right away. We’ll send another newsletter later this week with our usual “cute video” and the cat of the month… plus a sale!

We asked A Friend of Cat Faeries who is a good researcher and a great friend to all cats including the ferals and community cats what she does in her super cold upper Mid West Winters. Here’s her report on REALLY easy to make shelters with lots of links to which she’s made her comments. She also gives us her own personal instructions which have been tested and perfected over many years.


To make a cat shelter

An outdoor cat shelter can be easily made in several ways. What works very well are those knee-high Rubbermaid tubs with the snap on lids or a large Styrofoam cooler. I’ve done both. The Rubbermaid tubs do weather over time, becoming brittle after 3 years or so, but they’re very sturdy and cats do use them easily.

Rubbermaid Tub – I use the Rubbermaid Roughneck 25 gallon storage container. They cost around $6 each, generally come in blue or gray and are knee high. You can find them your local hardware store or a big box store.
http://www.rubbermaid.com/en-US/roughneck-storage-box

You will need to cut a 4 or 5” circle into the side of the tub about 4” above ground level, to avoid splash back with rain or snow burying the entrance. You can cut with a box cutter, but make sure you don’t have the blade slide unexpectedly, be careful. The plastic is fairly thick. I used a saw to do it. Use a file to smooth down the rough edges as much as you can.

Find a cardboard box that will fit into the Rubbermaid bin snugly, set it inside with open end up and put a pad of folded newspapers under the cardboard box. Draw a circle on I where the side meets the hole you just cut. Cut out the circle on the cardboard. Slide more folded newspapers in around the box on three sides which provides excellent insulation. You can use straw instead of newspapers if you have it.

Inside the cardboard box put a layer of straw or a folded blanket. Straw is usually recommended but I’ve had cats pee in it and it’s easy to remove and start over – if there is urine present, they don’t want to use the shelter afterwards. If you use a folded/rumpled blanket inside, you’ll need to check it once a week to make sure moisture wasn’t tracked in and cause the blanket to freeze. The blanket will need to be washed at least every few weeks as well in fragrance free soap and dried in a dry sheet free drier.

I really love the outdoor farm animal heating pads that can be plugged into an outdoor outlet or garage outlet. They cost in the range of $40 from a farm store and has worked fine for 5 years now. It’s only plugged in during winter but left inside the shelter year-round. It has a fleece covering on it which definitely needs to be washed every two months or so. To allow for the cord to be used, you’ll need to cut a 1 ½” wide hole at the bottom of the bin and cardboard box to feed the electrical cord through. The wattage used by the heating pad is minimal, it never overheats and it provides a lot of warmth for the cat WITHOUT requiring the use of straw or a blanket in the box. In fact, the instructions on the pad is that it not be covered by anything or have anything other than a bare surface under it.

If the cardboard box has flaps on the top, fold them closed and add more newspapers on top. If there are no flaps, set a piece of cardboard over the top and add the newspapers. Snap the Rubbermaid lid back on and set a brick or something weighty on top to avoid wind from lifting the lid off.

Placement of the shelter should be near a garage or under bushes with the hole facing away from the main wind direction. One too close to a door of a house may spook the cats so the garage area is often going to feel safer for the cats. I’ve noticed that the shelter near my side door isn’t used anywhere near as often as the one in the back.

Styrofoam Container – I found a pair of knee high flat sided coolers at Goodwill for $3 each. They were square which is what you want, you do not want one with slanted sides. This link shows the type similar to the ones I found (though it’s rectangular). https://www.indiamart.com/proddetail/foam-corrugated-box-7986443148.html

Slant sided coolers have less interior space so try to find one that’s vertical sided. Look for coolers that are 16 – 20 inches tall. When I cut a small hole in mine, I first made it 3” wide but didn’t think a cat could get into that. My Siamese didn’t even hesitate, she took one look and snaked into it in three seconds. Given that she’s a small cat and the outdoor ones are generally larger, I made the hole a bit larger, at 4 ½” and that works fine for any adult cat I’ve seen outside.

If you use this type for a shelter, the Styrofoam is very easily cut with a steak knife. Place the hole above ground level. A 4 or 5” round hole is easily sawed in and large enough for an adult cat (but not a raccoon and generally not an adult opossum to get in). I made mine wider by taking two of the knee-high coolers and cutting out one side of each and duct taping them together to make an extended shelter. The lids were duct taped too, and to avoid any rain seeping into the shelter from the top I set a wide plastic sheet over it and anchored it down with two bricks. Coolers are generally white, which blends well with white siding or white walls on structures. You can put a tarp over the container if you wish, also, for coverage, anchoring the sides down with a weight of some sort.

You won’t need to use a cardboard box inside these because Styrofoam is an excellent insulator by itself. Adding a heating pad, blanket or straw inside is going to work just fine. Make sure to place the opening AWAY from the major wind direction.

For a cat to feel even safer, a second hole can be cut for a quick exit, but I’ve found that heat doesn’t stay in the shelter as well when you do that UNLESS you hang a towel over that second hole, attaching it to the outside of the shelter. If it’s inside it’s not going to stay in place, so outside is the only way. It can be glued or have a weight on it, but it should be done in such a way as to keep the wind from blowing it off kilter. You don’t want wind to howl through from hole to hole, that reduces the ability of the cat to stay warm inside.

My Rubbermaid shelter lasted 3 years before the plastic cracked due to weathering and I had to replace it. My Styrofoam shelter has been in use for almost 7 years with no damage.

Links and my notes

Humane society Rubbermaid bins using a Styrofoam box inside instead of cardboard.

https://jeffersoncountyhumanesociety.net/easy-build-shelter-outdoor-cats/

One using TWO Rubbermaid bins, nestled together.

https://wreg.com/2015/01/07/easy-to-make-shelter-for-outdoor-animals/

Styrofoam shelter raised up on wood chocks to avoid rain splash back.

https://www.aspcapro.org/resource/spayneuter-feral-cats/winter-shelter-bins-community-cats-faq

Styrofoam shelter (hole is TOO big on the left one, right one should not have the cover on the bottom, it can shift off its foundation.

https://www.instructables.com/id/Easy-Winter-Cat-Shelter/

From the UK which also discusses hedgehogs!

https://www.jbpackaging.co.uk/blog/homemade-hedgehog-house.html

Bottom picture (hole is still too big)

http://www.carolsferals.org/how-you-can-help-feral-and-stray-cats-in-your-neighborhood/

https://www.catsinmyyard.com/quick-and-easy-ideas-for-low-cost-outdoor-cat-shelters-1843

Fresh snow is helpful as it shows fresh paw prints, so you know if a cat came in or out for shelter. It also tells you if they are not using it which would indicate something inside needs cleaning. Look for urine, feces and vomit. If you find feces that do not resemble a cat’s it could be from an Opossum. The hole is usually too small for a raccoon.
 
 
 
 

Newton’s Purrspective: Climate Change – We cannot pussyfoot around any longer!

Sir Isaac Newton is our Feline Editor At Large (just how large, he’s not saying) who writes very brainy and very well researched articles for us. Newton lives in the North East and is fond of storms, our catnip toys, a soft bed, sunbeams, and naps. He has an ongoing email flirtation with our Daphne. This is his current, and as always, very well done article.


If you are a cat who lives indoors you have probably not considered how climate change could affect you. On those days when it is too hot or rainy to relax in a CATtio you can retreat to a cozy climate-controlled environment provided by your humans. That is all well and good, but I have something important to say. I know it is difficult, but we cats must start thinking outside our cardboard boxes! It is high time we speak out about important life-threatening environmental concerns. For example, have you considered how climate change is affecting catnip in its natural environment? Ah ha! I see I’ve gotten your attention!




Isaac Newton

Cat Faeries Catnip is ethically wildcrafted by our beloved Cat Toy Elves. This means they find it growing in open wild spaces and harvest it in a sustainable manner where some plants are left to go to seed to ensure a healthy new crop the next year.

Recently we asked the Cat Toy Elves if they had noticed any changes in the wild catnip crops over the past few years. I am sad to say the news was disheartening, to say the least. They saw two major problems: 1) destruction of open space to build silly things like condos and 2) extreme weather changes causing conditions that make it difficult for Catnip to grow.

Remember, this is Wild Catnip. It occurs naturally and does not rely on fertilizer, irrigation or the controlled environment of a greenhouse. Unusually heavy winter rains may rot the seeds, or simply wash them into areas where they cannot germinate and grow. Searing heat and drought in summer burn up the leaves, buds and stems giving us less to harvest, and eventually killing the plants. Of course, we all know dead plants produce no seeds. The Elves fear a Wild Catnip shortage as early as late spring 2019!

Getting your humans to recycle and walk to work or for errands is a start. But scientists say this is simply not enough. Our poor abused planet cannot take much more – in fact they are giving us and it 12 years before things get irreversibly and life threateningly worse. Cats may have nine lives, but our planet does not! Perhaps you haven’t noticed, but sea levels are already rising. Do you read the news? The recent severe rain and drought events have been tied to climate change.

What can be done? People need to do their part by driving less and refusing to eat processed food and factory farmed meats. Organic food may cost a little more, but it tastes better and is much healthier! Refuse to buy products from China – consider the massive amount of fossil fuel it takes to ship them here as well as the atrocious labor and environmental policies of that country. Have you ever looked at photos of the air pollution in Beijing? That foul toxic air doesn’t just stay there – it blows all over the globe.

I have never been in a big box store, but people tell me they are filled with very strange smells that would certainly irritate a cat’s delicate nostrils. These smells are the result of toxic chemicals impregnated in clothing and all soft goods (e.g. sheets and towels). These chemicals not only pollute our air, but also our water supply when these goods are washed.

PLASTIC – use of that stuff must be halted, in particular “single use plastic.” Experts say soon there will be more plastic in the oceans than there are fish! Fish and other sea life are eating plastic or getting tangled up in it, and it’s killing them. (You may have seen some of the horrific examples online.)

National Geographic tells us that micro plastics are being found in human feces! One way plastic enters their bodies is from swallowing the contents in plastic water bottles! Tell your people that they can easily fill washable glass or copper bottles with their own filtered water. Read about plastic and people-poop here: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/10/news-plastics-microplastics-human-feces/

Most important: Get Your Humans To VOTE. Make sure they refuse to vote for anyone who is not actively trying to reverse climate change and/or endorse renewable energy. No exceptions.

Click on this link then forward it to 50 human friends and acquaintances. Knowledge is power and I know that your people are caring and will pounce into action. Your catnip depends upon it!

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/climate/what-is-climate-change.html?smid=fb-share&fbclid=IwAR10vD3ec9CqUNcaeeotM7txpoTac3P8rbX3YQAKDQ4fprCtl-iX1qZdhII

This year Cat Faeries will be joining 1% For the Planet.
 
 
 

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month – Cat Faeries has flower essences & crystals that can help your cat!

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. Cat Faeries has flower essences and crystals that can help your cat with this serious disease.

Many of our customers tell us that their cat has both diabetes and kidney disease so we thought we do a little bit of research and see how we could improve two of our flower essence formulas, Kidney Kitty and Elder Support. This month we made them better than ever to cover more related conditions.

Elder Support now has extra diabetes, thyroid, and brain supportive essences. Kidney Kitty has a few new discoveries to support the function of a cat’s kidneys and urinary tract. We also changed the crystals that accompany your order to Amethyst, Citrine, and Tangerine Quartz which we feel will be of great benefit. These three crystals help support the kidneys, pancreas and so much more for cats at any age! A few drops of the formula on the crystals placed in the cat’s food and water area is all you need to do – more detail comes with your order.

Amethyst ~ For protection, purification and Divine connection… For stability, peace, calm, courage and inner strength as well as strengthening the immune system and any imbalances within the body. It can also purge illness and kinks in the DNA, cells and genes – more and more books and articles discuss how we are not slaves to or bound to our genes and genetic traits. It’s exciting to know that Amethyst can help any being – cat or human to be free of what was once thought to be fixed, predetermined and unchangeable. Amethyst creates the feeling of being a bubble of Light. Activate your higher mind your body’s own ability to purify, cleanse, release and regenerate. Excellent for brain health, cognition, and mentation and the overall function of every system in the body including the kidneys. (Cat Faeries also offers Amethyst Cats – One-Of-A-Kind Hand Carved Cat Shapes and Cat Faces From Uruguay)

Citrine ~ Bright and sunshiny Citrine carries a warm vibration that cannot hold any form of negativity! It’s hard to feel the blahs with Citrine around! This very same vibration and sunny outlook of the stone promotes the healthy function of metabolism, pancreas, spleen, liver and the organs of elimination which would also include the skin. Citrine has the ability to repel and transmute illnesses involving the thyroid, kidneys, bladder, eyes and thymus making it a helpful crystal for those conditions as well as diabetes. It’s an anti-aging, uplifting and organ supportive! Citrine also emits healthful negative ions!

Tangerine Quartz ~ Like a Golden Healer from Arkansas, a Tangerine Quartz Crystal from Uruguay is a master healer for any condition and also it’s an excellent receptor for programming your intentions and wishes. Its lovely orange is the color of joy and friendship. Older or ailing cats and people who might be cranky remember their zest for life and the excitement of new adventures and ideas! Learn to give and take with love and compassion. It can bring anyone inspiration and motivation. It is said that it can correct cellular memory to bring a body into balance. It can stimulate the immune system, remove free radicals and assist with exhaustion or depletion. It inspires love and compassion, curiosity and play as it is a happy stone that helps with creative energies

A very short note about cat food – research tells us that years of high carb grain laden cat food, just like years or decades of people overdoing it with carbs and grains, can lead to diabetes. The good news for both species is that it can be controlled with diet and a calm lifestyle for a healthy long life. Recently we learned that Weruva’s “Paw Lickin’ Chicken” is often recommended for cats with kidney disease which might slow its progression and possibly to even prevent it. The brand BFF cat foods contain only .05% carbohydrate which seems to be lower than most and could be ideal for diabetic cats. In addition, we learned that both brands of cat food are flaked or processed by hand to remove all bones and particles of bone. Why get rid of bone? Bone has a lot of phosphorus and that mineral leads to Struvite crystals in cat’s urinary tract or kidney stones, both of which are painful and in some cases can be fatal. Talk to your veterinarian about this as it promises to be a very interesting conversation! By the way we have zero affiliation with Weruva or BFF we just happened to learn a few points about their food and wanted to pass them on to you. If you know of other cat foods that you feel are suitable – tell us!
 
 
 
 

Catnip, it’s not just for cats! It’s easy to grow your own too!

Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a perennial herb of the mint family native to Europe, Africa and Asia. Legend has it that Captain John Mason introduced catnip to Newfoundland around 1620 as an essential plant for settlers’ gardens. https://www.motherearthliving.com/plant-profile/catnip-and-cousins Catnip enjoys a long history worldwide as an important herb with both culinary and medicinal uses. Although undocumented, the Egyptians, known for their love of cats, may have been the first to discover catnip’s recreational aspect by providing the herb to felines in their care. http://catniptoy.co.uk/the-history-of-catnip/




Isaac Newton

Have you ever wondered who put the “cat” in catnip? Catnip has long been a mainstay of herbal medicine, but it is taken orally for its calming effect and to soothe digestive upsets. The ingredient that makes kitties leap for joy is nepetalactone, a volatile oil. Although many cats enjoy nibbling on catnip, the euphoria (and downright silly behavior, if I do say so myself) comes from sniffing the nepetalactone. Due to our special nasal receptors cats (as well as our wild cousins: leopards, lynxes, lions and tigers) are the only mammals who can enjoy the delightful sensations. http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/motm/nepetalactone/nepetalactoneh.htm

Do all cats love catnip? As a matter of fact, no. Sensitivity is genetically controlled so not every cat will feel the effects. It is commonly thought that 10-30% show no interest at all as they did not get the “catnip gene.” In general, kittens are not affected until they are three months old.

Fresh catnip is the best (especially just before flowering), but it is hard to grow if you can’t keep the local cats away from your garden. If you must buy the dried variety consider quality. The active ingredient is highest in flower buds and leaves, but inferior commercial blends may be 80% stems. https://www.motherearthliving.com/plant-profile/catnip-and-cousins

Wanting to grow your own? The seeds have a rather poor germination rate, so plant lots! Also plant them away from your house or every cat in town will be loitering and rolling around crushing the plants! Some parts of the US produce very good catnip and other parts produce catnip that’s not so potent – it’s all about soil and weather.

All of the cats at my house enjoy catnip to varying degrees. I have to admit that I am a bit of a “nip head” and am a little down if I don’t get my daily dose. I positively adore it! Fortunately it is nontoxic and non-habit forming. We cats know when we’ve had enough. Some people don’t want to give catnip to their cats because the crazy behavior makes them uncomfortable. However, a little catnip can encourage play (especially in older cats), elevate moods and ultimately act as a mild sedative facilitating the all-important ritual of cat napping. A little loose catnip on the scratching post can also encourage proper manners around furniture.

Cat Faeries Legendary Catnip Toys are my favorite way to enjoy catnip. The catnip is wildcrafted from catnip which grows in a secret place in the US where, due to soil and weather conditions, the level of nepetalactone is the highest on the planet! The smell is irresistible right through the box and the toys are adorable and are very durable. I know mine get a lot of use. Of course, if you’re not a cat you may prefer a soothing cup of catnip tea while you watch Kitty enjoys her new toys. Just keep in mind that a big cup of catnip tea can cause you to doze off to slumberland!

Catnip has some surprising health benefits for people including: sleep aid, menstrual cramp killer, hot flash cool down, and upset tummy settler! For cats it’s great for their immune system.