Summertime – time for travel, changes & moves – tips to help kitty

This is the time of year when some people move to a new home. Or they get the travel bug and go on trips – either short ones or long ones. When people move to a home or leave their exciting home these changes can be very stressful for a cat who simply does not understand what is going one. If they take their cats on the road with them this can add to the stress of many cats (however, and we’ll talk about this to, some cats relish travel and a good hike!)

Naturally Cat Faeries has the products and advice! Moving? Going on a trip and leaving your feline friends at home? Considering taking a cat on vacation? We’ve got products and advice for all of it.


Dear Cat Faeries

My son, wife & 2 children (3 & 6) sold their house, moved in with us for 4 1/2 months and left yesterday for their new home in NH, 1800 miles North. They took their 3 kitties which were mine for the first 7 years of their life and had only been in a car twice. I bought him a bottle of moves & changes (Moves and Changes Flower Essence Formula) and they are half way there and all 3 are doing awesome he said. They are traveling in a huge cage in the back of their Suburban and staying in pet friendly hotels. He was thrilled and amazed at the results of your drops (I told him he would be) and I again thank you for all you do for all the kitties out there. Gave him your website and he said he will be ordering other drops & toys. His name is Michael. Your drops are the best and so are you and your staff!!!

Love as always, Julie & all the brats


Moving to a new home:

Congratulations to Julie’s son and family and the rest of you moving this Summer – we wish you much love and happiness in your new residences! For your cats we know that many of them really hate this sort of change so here is a guide to what you can do to ease the transition:

  • As you pack boxes give each box one spritz of Convivial House Cat, daily. This will make those boxes friendly, they will be less of a threat to your cats.
  • Begin giving them Convivial House Cat, and our flower essence formula Moves and Changes. These can be put in food, water, and sprayed around the house. Both are calming and will ease your cat’s fragile nerves during this time of packing and preparing for a new life.
  • If this is a road trip find all of the animal friendly hotels on the route. Yelp is a great way to find such lodging. At the hotel ALWAYS keep the Do Not Disturb sign on the door as you don’t want housekeeping staff to let the cats out by mistake.
  • Next, set up their water bowls, food bowls, and litter boxes. Add Convivial House Cat and the flower essences you are using to food/water. Also spray them around the house. If you use Comfort Zone with Feliway diffusers, install them.
  • Let the cats out first in a bedroom where there will be familiar smells and allow them to hide or explore as they wish. Don’t force them to acclimate, they will do this in their own time. Keep using Convivial House Cat and flower essences, they’ll come around soon!

Vacation time! Leaving the cats at home and in good hands:

YAY, time for a long overdue vay-cay! But what of the cats? Don’t kennel them, they will hate it, its stressful, they can come home sick or have fleas. Leaving them at home with a qualified cat sitter who comes once a day is ideal. Actually what’s the most ideal is to have someone actually stay overnight at your house but that’s rather difficult to find.

The best ways to find a reliable and competent cat sitter is to call every vet in town, every groomer in the area and ask for references. We prefer a cat sitter who only tends to cats, someone who doesn’t walk dogs because the smell of dogs can be very upsetting to cats who are not exposed to them. Also, a dog walker can bring in fleas as they love to hitch a ride on socks.

The duties of your dream cat sitter:

  • Wash and refresh water and food bowls daily
  • Clean up any little messes like an up-chucked fur ball
  • Scoop litter boxes daily. Replenish the litter daily or every other day.
  • Empty the trash
  • Bring in mail, newspapers, and move drapes around so it looks like someone is home
  • Follow your instructions for lighting (best to leave kitchen lights on, this tells the prowlers that someone is home and cooking)
  • Spend one full hour at your home doing the daily duties, as well as talking to the cats, playing with them, and just being there
  • When Auntie Cat Faerie cat sits she sends the owner/family photos of the cat via her iPhone every day

What you need to do for your cat sitter:

  • Together the two of you must test the key to the front door to make sure it’s not tricky or sticky
  • Leave her/him your cell phone number and itinerary with hotel phone numbers and flight information
  • Call the vet in advance with your credit card number and the name of the person tending to the cats in case there is an emergency
  • Leave a carrier by the front door
  • Have broom, vacuum, and other cleaning supplies in a good location, maybe on or near the kitchen table
  • Make sure you have a large stash of food and litter
  • In case your cat sitter loses the house key leave a duplicate with a neighbor, friend, or at your vet’s office
  • Don’t quibble over the fee
  • Don’t cut corners by having the person come by every other day – that’s not enough, it really should be daily and for one full hour

Might your cat groove on the great outdoors?

Well, frankly most cats would hate it, they’d be terrified, it could be disastrous and risky as frightened cats can bolt away from you and get lost, or be attacked by a bigger animal. But if you’ve got that special cat who’s got nerves of steel, is daring, and would love to conquer mountain tops or sail the seven seas there is a fun book that will inspire you and prepare you with stories and photos of cats who love camping, hiking, exploring, and more!

Adventure Cats by Laura J. Moss (subtitled: Living Nine Lives To The Fullest) not only has wonderful stories and photos but the book is very responsible with guidelines for safety and transporting your cat. We highly recommend this book even if your cat’s only trip out of the house is to the veterinarian once a year you’ll enjoy the lively read. It would also make a great gift. It’s published by Workman Publishing and your local independent bookshop would love to order it for you.

Here are a few minutes of one of the best songs ever written about travel, and it’s by an American treasure, Willie Nelson. Yes, it’s On The Road Again and it’s a live version! – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gdlyi5mckg0
 
 
 
 

Is “Whisker Fatigue” something to worry about?

Here’s an informative article from Cat Faeries’ Feline Editor at Large, Issac Newton, who happens to know a few things about cats and their food bowls.


Newton’s Purrspective – The Importance of Dishware

Lately I’ve been seeing references to something called “Whisker Fatigue” which claims that when a cat’s whiskers touches or rubs against the sides of a food or water bowl it creates an unpleasant sensation. True, a cat’s whiskers are so sensitive that we can detect even the slightest change in air currents around objects (such as furniture). This is one of the reasons blind cats can get around so well. http://animals.howstuffworks.com/pets/question592.htm Some people believe that this ultra-sensitivity can cause sensory overload when cat whiskers brush against the sides of a food dish.

We have read that symptoms of Whisker Fatigue include refusal to eat, food scattering, feline acne and even attacks on other cats in the home. The proposed solution is a flattened dish that doesn’t rub sensitive whiskers. Could this be true, is it truly “a thing” to be concerned about?




Isaac Newton

To date I can find no scientific evidence to support Whisker Fatigue as a clinical problem. There are far more likely explanations for the symptoms. However, the choice of food dishes is important to health and happiness for you and Kitty. Things to consider include:

  • Size and age of cat
  • Type of food
  • Personality
  • Dental or other mouth problems
  • Location of food bowls

Despite the numerous internet photos of cats wedging themselves into tight places we cats prefer our food be easily accessible and located in a quiet place far from smelly litter boxes. Common sense says that the dish should be the appropriate size for the cat. For example, if you give a little kitten canned food on a large plate he will certainly walk all over it during the meal. If a bowl has high sides the kitten is likely to tip it and spill dinner all over the room.

In general the dish should have the appropriate height sides to keep the food in place. Otherwise some pieces will inevitably end up on the floor. Many cats lick, rather than bite, canned food, pushing it around and flicking it onto the floor as they eat. Whether you feed canned, homemade or kibble the angle of the sides is important. A rounded shape is better than perpendicular vertical sides that can trap food and lead to feline frustration. (They are also easier for you to clean.)

For those of us in touch with our wild side mealtime behavioral quirks can result in a less than tidy dining area. Many cats just have to “kill” their food. Some cats pick up a piece of kibble and shake it as they would if it were freshly caught. Other cats scoop food out of the bowl as if they were fishing for salmon in a stream.

If Kitty is not eating, a medical problem is more likely the reason than the wrong china pattern. Make sure your cat does not have dental conditions such as loose teeth or infected gums. Even if your cat is hungry, pain may cause food avoidance. Dropping food, especially from one side of the mouth, is a symptom of dental pain. A sore mouth is sure to lead to general grumpiness, so it’s no surprise that tempers are short particularly with other cats in the house. If you can’t look inside Kitty’s mouth at least smell her breath. Bad breath is another indicator of problems. Please see your vet if you suspect dental disease. Catching it early will prevent more serious problems later.

Older cats may have arthritis or other conditions which make it more challenging to eat from a high sided dish. They are also more likely to have lost teeth and consequently be on a diet of soft food. Senior cats tend to be less fastidious about grooming. If Kitty doesn’t clean all the food off his chin use a damp washcloth to gently remove it. Feline acne occurs when food and debris clog pores and lead to skin infections. If you think the dish shape is a problem then experiment until you find one Kitty likes. And putting a placemat underneath helps with spill cleanup.

Overall the material and cleanliness of the dish are far more important than the shape. Plastic dishes scratch easily leaving crevices that harbor bacteria. Harmful chemicals can also leach out of plastic. Plastic dishes should be avoided or at least replaced as soon as they show any sign of wear.

Ceramic bowls are popular because of the bright colors, designs and varied shapes. Although safer than plastic they can still chip or develop micro fractures where bacteria hide. You would also need to test the piece for lead – do not assume that because the maker said they used a lead free glaze, as you read in a previous article (Is that cute cat food bowl really lead safe? (maybe not!)) if the kiln is old and ever fired pieces with lead based glazes cross contamination will occur.

Stainless steel is popular with veterinarians and kennels since it is unbreakable and does not harbor bacteria if cleaned with nonabrasive cleanser. However, it lacks the charm of ceramic or glass so few people use it at home for their feline friends.

Daily cleaning is essential no matter what type of dish you choose. Biofilm, sometimes referred to as slime, can accumulate even if you are only feeding dry food. The moisture comes from Kitty’s saliva and brews up a mixture that attracts nasty bacteria that could be life threatening in some situations. http://www.catfaeries.com/blog/your-cats-water-bowl-do-you-know-about-biofilm/ A second set of dishes that can be rotated daily will simplify the clean dish routine. Use a good quality nonabrasive cleanser and be sure to rinse thoroughly with hot water. Or put in the dishwasher.

You can’t be too careful when it comes to feline health. We recommend dishes made from high quality materials, always manufactured in the USA. Pyrex is always a good choice and the bowls come a huge variety of sizes suitable for food and water.

In closing since we didn’t find any medical articles to validate the term “whisker fatigue” we think it’s a good marketing ploy. Also, the bowls we found were rather expensive ($45 and beyond!) and were usually not made in the US or they wouldn’t tell us where they were made.