Microgreens to boost your cat’s food bowl! Grow them, it’s easy! They are food of the future, so start NOW!

Since the beginning of Cat Faeries time I’ve always promoted “Healthy and Pretty things for cats and the people who love them.” In so many instances an idea, substance or a practice that’s good for you is also good for your cat. Giving a food to your cat the same meal as yours is a huge time saver which boosts the health of both of you. A few weeks ago, our lead article was about pumpkin seeds as a great de-wormer and anti parasitic which benefit both species. This week we teach you about micro greens which you can grow yourself right on your kitchen countertop or a shelving unit, a bedroom dresser and if you have the space you can devote a room to a mini-microgreens farm! Ours is in the garage.

Why Microgreens? NASA Grows Them in Space Stations!

Microgreens have 9 to 30 times (depends on the report that you read) the nutrients as their fully grown and matured counterparts. How’s that for impressive! If people grew and then ate one cup of microgreens a day and their cats got ¼ cup a day health and vitality would be overflowing and you would not be wrestling with big heads of lettuce or broccoli in your refrigerator. Your food bill will go away down. The desire for plastic bags to store vegetables in will completely go away – you’ll snip as needed.

When you grow your own you know everything detail about your food. You know what kind of water was used, you know that the seeds were organic/GMO-free, you know that the growing medium was clean and pristine, you know that your food did not come in contact with pesticides, herbicides, or other toxins, you know that there were zero labor abuses involved, and you get to have fun! You get to watch them germinate, watch them grow, visit with them every day which they love and respond to!

Iggy the cat taking a snooze under the LED lights and with the microgreens at a small farm. Cats and plants love LED lights!

The Best Microgreens for Cats:

We spoke with our longtime friend and wholistic veterinarian Dr. Cheryl Schwartz about which micro greens are suited for a cat and which are not well suited. She tells us how they benefit the bodies of your cat and you.

Cheryl tells us “Most micro greens are safe and good for cats and are known for immune system balancing. Stay away from cabbages and radishes which are not well suited for cats as they are gassy or the flavor is too spicy and too strong.”

  • Broccoli is helpful to clean the liver and blood, good for lungs
  • Fenugreek is old ancient Ayurvedic herb Diabetes because it stabilizes blood sugar
  • Kale is helpful to clean liver and blood
  • Lettuces of all kinds are cooling to the system
  • Pak Choy is cooling
  • Pea shoots builds muscle in cats of any age or state of health
  • Perilla/Red Shiso is for the lungs
  • Sunflower shoots* builds muscle in cats of any age or state of health

* Sunflower seeds require pre-soaking in water but it’s easy!

Where to Grow:

The indoor possibilities are endless. You need a flat surface where they won’t be disturbed. You need a dark area for the “black out phase” when the seeds are germinating. And you need to install an overhead LED grow light for each shelf.

Growing Mediums and Other Supplies:

Seeds! There are so many and it’s really fun and exciting to experiment. Organic – always! Non-GMO – always!

Growing mediums:

  • Coir (pronounced “core”) is from coconut hulls. You’ll find it in large bags which is the most economical. You’ll find it in discs which you add water to, but they are pricey.
  • Hemp mats – people love them.
  • Potting soil – many love it
  • Backyard dirt – don’t use it – you’ll get weeds and it’s not the most favorable to indoor growing.

All of these mediums are compostable!

You’ll need LED grow lights which you can suspend on a metal baker’s shelving unit (which is the most recommended) or which you can somehow suspend over the tabletop or countertop you are using.

You’ll akso need a spray bottle for your SEA90 mineralized water plus a ceramic scissor or knife, scissors or paring knife with a round tip to harvest your greens.

Sunflower greens outgrowing their humidity dome! The dome is from from Bootstrap.

Kohlrabi microgreens in their self-watering tray from True Leaf. These small trays are perfect for beginners!

Time to Harvest

Use your harvested microgreens right away for best flavor and the most vitality or life force in the greens. If you cut off too much don’t worry – place them between damp paper towels, place that on a plate and pop into the fridge. Try to eat/use that day.

For your cat: Snip just above the soil medium with ceramic scissors or a ceramic knife, or a sharp knife that has a rounded tip to prevent damage to the greens you aren’t cutting off. Rinse, mince and stir them into homemade cat food or canned cat food. Some cats might eat them without mixing them into food. Cats should not graze out of the trays because the roots are not deep and they’ll make a huge mess.

Harvest for you: with the same clean scissors that you use just for your microgreens cut off as much as you like, usually an inch or two per person. There is no need to rinse. We prefer them in their raw state as toppers for pizza, egg-based dishes, baked or roasted potatoes, in salads, on top of cooked or raw vegetable dishes, on top of meats or poultry. They are great in a wrap or in a sandwich. Minced they make a wonderful addition to a chopped nut filling for a pitted date. You could even chop them and put them in bread or cookie batter then bake however we prefer them raw. They look beautiful when not minced and left whole, then artfully placed upon slices of cheese or vegan cheeze, charcuterie, fruit slices. Since they are so colorful you can really let your kitchen-creativity shine!

Toss your spent growing medium pads into the compost bin to begin the cycle of life again!

“Snip, Rinse, Mince”

Once the darlings are grown, and believe me they are darling, which is just a few inches tall (see photos) preparing them is easy. Snip some off. Give them a quick rinse under filtered water, and mince. For cats mincing is ideal for you to incorporate into their food. For you either leave them long/whole or mince which would depend upon how you are going to eat them. Mincing is a sneaky way to get them into a cat, a child, or a vegetable hating grown up. I put them along the outer edges of Uncle Cat Faeries oatmeal (one of those vegetable hating grownups) and I’ve even seen him take his first mouthful loaded with them!

  • Snip – ideally ceramic scissors or a knife are best to prevent oxidation along the line where you cut. If you don’t have one use a sharp paring knife or your kitchen scissors.
  • Rinse – Ours are grown in the garage so we rinse off any dust. If you are growing in the house rinsing may not be necessary
  • Mince – For cats, children and finicky adults mincing is great because the greens can be stirred into many foods, placed in sandwiches. Just keep them raw, don’t stir them into hot food instead place them around the food.

Cats can freely graze on wheat grass / cat grass because the root systems are long and complex. Microgreens have simple humble roots and a cat would create a huge mess if allowed to graze. Snipping and mincing is best.

Supplies

Your local hydroponics store should have everything you need, but if you don’t have one here are some online sources:

  • Bootstrap Farmer: trays, lights, growing mediums and much more
  • True Leaf Market: trays lights, and seeds and much more
  • Boogie Brew (Josh: 707-992-05172): for SEA90 which is indispensable for your growing water. It’s loaded with minerals which will, as Josh the owner says, “Make your plants dance!” Your crops will be very robust!

We HIGHLY recommend that review all websites and then call with questions. It’s a bit confusing in the beginning.

How to videos:
I admit that there is a bit of a learning curve and you need to get your own system down – examples: it’s easy to overwater, hard to figure out how much seed to use, and mold can be a problem. I have found that some seeds don’t do well in my climate and but that others thrive. Experiment! You Tube videos are your friend!

Why are they the food of future?

With our waters being wantonly poisoned, weather crisis with flooding and extreme heat and fires are eroding top soil and destroying farm lands and habitats, soils that are being sprayed with poison killing its life force and its microbes and nutrients, factory farming practices that pollute, poison and abuse the animals raised there, food that is raised only with profit in mind rather than our health or the health of our planet means that growing microgreens at home is a great idea. Too many people are eating food that is dead, processed in laboratories, manipulated to taste good. While you might love these foods, they do not love you back. We should really only trust food that was raised or grown with love, compassion, integrity and with healthful farming practices. This circles back to the benefits we’ve described about YOU growing some of your own food. Growing microgreens allows US to control the quality of the soil/growing medium, the water used, and the seeds we buy, and we can do this indoors in little space. You don’t need land or a garden. I love that it’s vertical on shelves and that I can stand up straight and tall to face my little microgreens farm with no back or knee aches and minimal water usage and maximum nutrition.

Has this idea sparked something within you? A new career awaits!

If this article has sparked something inside of you, and after you work out the bugs and quirks consider is growing microgreens for profit. You’ll find plenty of You Tube videos that talk about how to set up, what the start-up costs are, how and where to sell, and possible profits to be made! I’ve read that a person can make $100,000 to $200,000 annually selling to restaurants and at farmer’s markets! It takes motivation and networking if you are willing. The old article for Tiger Tribe that I wrote about wheat grass/cat grass in 1993 lead to a lot of plagiarizing by thieves (curse you!) but what makes me very happy is that it also led to many start up home businesses of wheat grass/cat grass.
 
 
 
 

Pumpkin seeds – your cat’s new friend and a tapeworm’s worst enemy!

 

Pumpkins are in season right now and their seasonal yumminess has me not only eating them but thinking about their miraculous seeds and how they benefit both your cat and you!

Pumpkin seeds are a good friend to any animal – such as your cat or you – who might have parasites! Yes, face it, we all have them to some degree and they lead to many big health problems. Regular eating of ground pumpkin seeds will paralyze them so that they will lose their grip on the intestine wall. Once these uninvited residents have been loosened, they will be pooped out! Keep eating those seeds because there will be unhatched eggs which will grow up and we want to keep the flow of parasite removal going!

Parasites that cats can get:
Tapeworms
Roundworms
Hookworms
Flukes

How do pumpkin seeds work to kill parasites?

Pumpkin seeds contain cucurbitacin which is an amino acid that paralyzes leeching worms which causes them to lose their grip on the walls of your or your cat’s intestines. When they lose their grip, they are easily pooped out with no further intervention of your part. People can chew the seeds. Grind them for your cat’s food or to toss in your salad or sprinkle on other foods that you like.

How much ground pumpkin seeds is needed?
Cats – 1 teaspoon per day
You – ½ to 1 cup per day

Most cats do not mind the flavor of ground pumpkin seeds.
Always tell your veterinarian that you are giving your cat pumpkin seed powder.

Pumpkin seed pesto in your blender – your cat’s and yours:
Put in the blender…
½ cup of raw pumpkin seeds
1/8 cup good olive oil or coconut oil
BLEND AND STOP – Put a teaspoon in your cat’s food

Continuing for your meal add this…
A pinch of cayenne pepper
Lemon juice
Fresh US grown organic garlic
Greens such as parsley, cilantro, kale, spinach
Blend and eat

There are a few products for cats and dogs on the market which are pumpkin seed based. We checked and learned that the pumpkin seeds were grown in China. Do we, yet again, need say how bad it is getting food items from China? Aside from buying your own pumpkins right now (the edible kind, not jack-a-lanterns), scooping out the seeds, soaking them, dehydrating them, and then using a Vita Mix or other high powered blender to create powder) you can buy certified organic, grown in Oregon, pumpkin seeds. Our source of choice for US grown pumpkin seeds is Living Tree Community (https://www.livingtreecommunityfoods.com/product/pumpkin-seeds-american-family-farmers-grown-alive-organic/) who have dried them at 95* thus keeping them in a raw state, rich with enzymes and nutrients!

All you need is a coffee grinder and you can grind up enough to last your cat and you several days. We recommend that you do not use the same grinder to grind up coffee or hot spices. Many people have 2 or 3 grinders reserved for specific types foods to grind. Coffee grinders are easy to use and generally cost around $20.

Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds:

  • Good fiber – helps regularity
  • Loaded with nutrients including magnesium,
  • Prevents certain cancers including stomach, lung and colon cancers
  • Good for the heart
  • Contains antioxidants which reduces inflammation
  • Lowers blood sugar
  • Omega 3 fats
  • Anti parasitic
  • Tasty!

 
 
 
 

Why October is a great time to take your cat for a checkup! 13 Things You Can Do to Make Veterinary Visits Better for Everyone With 13 Great Tips!

With the holidays rapidly approaching, a busy time for everyone, we thought that we might urge you to take your cats to the see the veterinarian now for a checkup before holiday animal (and human family) emergencies might crop up creating additional stresses. Statistics tell us the emergency room trips increase on holidays for a variety of reasons! Here’s an older newsletter/blog posting of ours with a check list of what to do to make trips to the vet easier for you and for your cat! It will help you organize and plan before you get there. And once you are there double check and question everything – we’ve seen where a doctor mis-prescribed a medication or got the dosage wrong – you have the right to go over every detail without getting push back.

  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!

How to Keep Your Cat From Biting

Every now and then we hear from people who ask what products we might have for cats who bite. They often bite during play or while being petted. The good news is that you don’t need to spend a dime on a product BUT you do need to change behavior, yours, not the cat’s!

There are many cats who get “overly stimulated” and it can happen fast. Even a few brisk strokes on a cat’s fur can be too overly stimulating and trigger than same excitement of an outside cat when prey is in sight – attack and bite! This harkens back to their early primitive years in forests and jungles when survival depended upon great hunting skills.

If you have such a cat here’s what you should do. Beginning right now No More Petting! Give this a few weeks to a few months. I know – it’s hard! Really hard, but you must. Don’t think about how soft and plush your cat is, resisting isn’t easy! But resist you must. Even if the cat begs for it, rubs on your legs or body, don’t do it. Play hard to get! If you can’t resist some fur-contact do a few strokes, soft strokes on the tippy tips of fur, then stop. Walk away if you need to.

The other thing you must stop doing right is no more playing finger-mice with your hands. You must restrict play by allowing the cat to only play with floor toys (like our Catnip toys) rather than interactive toys. We want to give the cat some time to disassociate you with play, chasing and hunting that your cat might be more genetically prone to than other house cats

You can make this stop and allow your cat to be calmer and less likely to channel their hunter ancestors!

One last thought. Sometimes a cat will bite because of a tooth ache so have your vet check out your cat’s mouth to see if this is the root cause.
 
 
 
 

A better way to get a “difficult” cat into a carrier!

Here’s a better way to get a “difficult” cat into a carrier with less stress for the cat and less chance of scratched up arms and hands for you!

Is your cat one of those who when you need to place your furry friend into a carrier, their legs flare out and it’s a battle to get the cat inside without them panicking and you becoming a bloody mess of scratches? Our brainy veterinarian, Dr. Debra Scheenstra, showed us a trick and now we share that with you!

  • Place a hard plastic carrier on the floor with the door open and the opening facing up to the ceiling. Dr. Scheenstra recommends using a carrier with at least a 8″ x 7″ door opening (a bigger door is even easier).
  • Place a dish towel over the opening. We recommend a large potato sack-like towel – a bath towel is too thick and won’t work.
  • The carrier is now at an angle that the cat won’t recognize and the potato sack towel makes the opening invisible to the cat.
  • QUICKLY pick up the cat and drop the cat on top of the towel where it and the cat will drop down into the carrier before they know what’s happening!
  • Quickly shut the door and lock it!

Mr. Cat Faerie recommends you also wear thick leather gauntlet-style gloves when handling difficult cats to protect against scratches and bites. Animal professionals use “animal handling gloves.” Some can be quite expensive, but some are in the $20-$30 range. Other similar gloves are sold as welding gloves, BBQ/fireplace gloves or rose pruning gloves. One more tip – put aside a pair of gloves just for handling your cat. You don’t want to smudge up your kitty with a used pair of fireplace gloves.

 
 
 
 

“The Cat Rescuers” documentary film

The Cat Rescuers is a new documentary film about the volunteer heroes in New York City who are trying to make a dent in the 500,000+ population of New York’s street cats, because as we know, the humane societies nationwide cannot do it all themselves.

See the 2 minute trailer!

http://catrescuersfilm.com/

Meet some of the city’s rescuers:

http://catrescuersfilm.com/the-rescuers/

Schedule of upcoming screenings:

http://catrescuersfilm.com/screenings/

Learn how you can host a screening in your community:

http://catrescuersfilm.com/host-a-screening/

The film isn’t available on DVD yet, but it will be available for purchase later this year! We’ll put a notice in our newsletter when it’s available (if you aren’t signed up for our newsletter, you can sign up here).