Petting shelter cats might be better than therapy!

Many years ago I decided it might be fun and rewarding to volunteer at a local shelter as a “cat socializer.” The job of a cat socializer is to spend time with a cat one-on-one. Sometimes the cats just sleep when you sit with them. Some of them try to hide. Sometimes your visit prompts them to groom or eat. Some cats want to be brushed, some don’t. Some cats love being petted and some need you to back off and let them come to you. Some of those cats don’t trust humans so this quiet and gentle time is vital and allows them to overcome fear, adapt to people, heal from emotional abuse, and become friendly towards people. I saw most of the cats come out of their shell and shine.

During our orientation the leader said that working with cats can be like therapy. She related a story of a lonely and mistreated teenage girl who reported that she could tell the cats all of her problems and worries. She could cry into their fur. They’d look her in the eye and give love right back to her. Eventually she felt that everything would be ok and she overcame her past. She was as much a therapist for the cats as they were for her.

Being a cat socializer was truly rewarding, and certainly more fun than therapy! Just stroking them, talking to them about nothing in particular, feeling protective of them, and watching them blossom was doing me as much good as I was doing for the cats. It was almost meditative and Zen like sitting on the floor while letting a cat take all the time needed to approach me. They’d slowly check me out, sniff at my shoes, purr at me, meow at me, rub against me, all those darling things that cats do. There were no rules about how much time I could spend with each cat and I loved that. The quiet time was priceless for me. I found that hanging out and being silent was very meditative and problem solving. I left floating on air, my troubles dissolved, and I was ready to face anything.

When you look for a shelter talk to other volunteers and ask if the shelter’s paid staff treat their volunteers like the pieces of gold that they are, or if they are treated like they are a dime a dozen. Sadly I found that many of the volunteers, myself included, seemed to threaten the status quo with our enthusiasm and new ideas. This shelter was highly political with much game playing, back stabbing, and broken promises. They had a total disregard for the volunteer’s enthusiasm and time.

But don’t let that stop you because great shelters are there, and they want and need you. Once you find the right one dive right in. The time and effort that you generously give will come back to you in the form of peace and courage, as well as a deep satisfaction. You’ll see cat after cat find a good home. I still remember the names and faces of my favorite shelter cats just as I remember some of the beautiful people who adopted them.

Pet cats. Feel good. Get perspective on your troubles and cares. Let the love inside of you flow to the lucky felines who get to have you in their presence. They’ll become your feline therapists.

 
 

Do You Have a Healing Kitty in Your House?

by Alison W. – Certified Veterinary Technician

It was the final hot summer before the shelter in Florida closed. The adoption area was filled with adult cats and the unavailable kittens were in a separate building not open to the public. The one room building also housed the washers and dryers for the entire shelter. As you might imagine, the A/C couldn’t keep up. Two walls of cages were full. The remaining kittens lived in plastic carriers stacked on top of each other. Most of them just had numbers on their tags. They didn’t get names until they were moved to the adoption area. But one crate near the washers held a black and white kitten with a name – “Weety”. He was an owner surrender and had probably been named by a child in the family. Whenever I went to do laundry I looked for him and said “Hi Weety”.



Weety and me summer 2008

 

One day I went to check laundry and Weety was gone! There was only one possible reason. He was sick and had been transferred to the hospital area. The Green Room (named for the color of the walls) was even smaller than the holding area. Most kittens who were sent there had upper respiratory infections. They were treated with antibiotics and, if they survived, sent back to the holding area.

When I found him he was so dehydrated he didn’t have enough moisture in his body to sneeze. Luckily, the surgery/clinic area was closed that week. Normally sick animals were not allowed there. I gave him SQ fluids, canned food and a towel lined bed made from a plastic hospital basin. He was SO HAPPY to be in a clean, comfortable place. I’ve never seen a sick cat react with such intense affection. At the end of the week I took him home to finish antibiotics and make sure he didn’t have a relapse. Of course, by then I was totally in love so I formally adopted him.

Later that summer I had a respiratory infection myself. Whenever I was lying down Weety would sit on my chest and purr. (He still does this whenever I am sick.) I don’t think there is any more relaxing sound than a cat purr. But, it is a misconception that cats purr only when they are happy. They also purr when stressed (e.g. visiting the vet) and when they are sick. This is not surprising since the 26 Hertz range of a cat purr promotes tissue regeneration. It may even heal and strengthen bones.

Weety is very sensitive and always seems to know when I need some healing kitty energy. I like to think he is returning my earlier kindness to him.

He was my final rescue from Florida and has remained my designated Healing Kitty. He also does a great Cheshire Cat impression. =^..^=


How music affects our cats

By Cheryl Christine (composer of the CD Mood Music for Cats (and Cat Lovers): A Ball of Twine sold on Cat Faeries)

I recently read an article by Charles Snowden, a professor of clinical psychology at UW Madison, and the lead author on a new study of the effect of music on cats. He took his music and his team to homes with cats to test their reactions to the ranges, tempos and sounds. Then he played classical music, and found the felines responded more favorably to his specialized cat music.

Snowden seemed to suggest in his article that it’s “us” humans who pick out the music for our pets and assume they are going to like it. He states most studies don’t offer any concrete evidence as to what the effects of music are on animals and hopes to close the gap with more facts through his research.

I am a professional singer, songwriter and performer for over forty years – and I love animals! I have also done a study on the effect of music on cats – at a local animal shelter. I composed music of different instruments, ranges, tempos and sounds. I played my music in the cat room where 15 to 20 cats awaited adoption. (These were abandoned, or abused cats.) I also played classical and country music to see if there was a difference in the response from the cats. The study went on almost daily over a three year period and I found the felines responded more positively toward the music I composed. They actually gathered near the speaker!

I agree with professor Snowden that more research on the effects of music on animals needs to be done. I also know this…music has profound effects on the brain which in turn affects mood and behavior. We humans place a lot of our own emotions onto our beloved pets, which is why we think they’ll love a certain kind of music when we leave the house. That’s understandable. Mood Music for Cats (and Cat Lovers) isn’t “clinical” research music, however it offers specific benefits for calming and relaxing through ranges of tones and instruments that are pleasing to the ear for both humans and felines. Sure, I use catchy song titles such as “Tuna Sonata” or “Catatonia” because I like to keep things light and fun! But the music has been tried and true and cats seem to love it!


Here’s what a Cat Faeries customer told us about the music from Mood Music for Cats (and Cat Lovers): A Ball of Twine.

Dear Cat Faeries,

I recently adopted a shelter cat who had been mistreated. My new cat had been hiding in the closet, terrified of her new surroundings. The closet is in the same room that my computer is in. I found your website and I found A Ball of Twine, and saw that I could press a key to listen to a sample. I kept hitting the key and playing the sample over and over. After a few minutes my new cat ventured out of the closet ready to explore her new home! Thank you!

Your cat’s sensitive whiskers and “whisker stress”

A food bowl that’s too small for a cat’s face to fit in could be breaking off whiskers or causing facial discomfort. Before you dismiss this as nutty consider the millions of women who sleep on silk pillowcases which they feel protects their hair from breakage which cotton or flannel pillowcases could cause.

The authors of this story point out that if we notice our cats scooping their food from the bowl on to the floor to eat it’s because the bowl is too small to comfortably accommodate whiskers. The sensation of feline whiskers against a small bowl could be very unpleasant and lead to stress, and maybe even fighting among cats. Isn’t this interesting!

http://consciouscompanion2012.com/2013/01/10/whisker-stress/

Yes, Madame Cat Faerie has a silk pillowcase! If we’ve tickled your curiosity about them here’s where she bought hers:

https://www.energeticnutrition.com/silk-lady/organic-silk-pillowcase.html

A question from a customer about Convivial House Cat and a cat with cancer

Hi Cat Faeries,

I have a question about your new product Convivial House Cat. We have two cats Woody and Cleo.. Woody lately has been more aggressive towards Cleo, especially around feeding time. He keeps jumping on her, etc. Cleo is also being treated for Cancer (doing very well right now) and is taking the chemo drug Chlorambucil and also Prednisolone by pill. My question: Is there any active ingredient in Convivial which might cause any adverse effects on Cleo?

L. and T.


Dear L. and T.

Thank you for writing! I’m sorry you are dealing with a cancer – not easy. But it sounds like she is doing well and we are very happy to know that.

There isn’t anything about Convivial House Cat that could or would conflict. If anything, everyone will be happier and that means everyone is healthier. It should help Woody not be so panicked about Cleo being sick.

Convivial House Cat is versatile . . . you can add it their food/water, but if you have any hesitation, spray it around the house.

I’m thinking that Woody is responding to Cleo’s health. You’ve probably read about those cancer sniffing dogs. Cats also smell things like cancer or other illnesses. Have you noticed that when you are on medication, especially if it’s strong, or you are around a person who’s on medication, you can smell something unusual? I think he’s smelling things which he doesn’t understand and he’s responding in a negative way – which is understandable.

Why not feed one of them in a separate room, with the door shut. Let them eat (give them 30 minutes or so) then collect the food bowls. Feeding them separately brings down the tension level, dramatically. If that’s not practical for your home then move the bowls as far apart as you can.

Wiping Cleo down with baby wipes might help move some of the odor Woody could be smelling.

I’m working on tomorrow’s newsletter which is about feeding our cats coconut oil. One of its benefits is that it can prevent some cancers. I hope you enjoy the article. Keep me posted about how the cats do, especially if you decide to try a bottle of Convivial House Cat.

Best wishes to all !!

Cat Faeries

When Should Your Cat See an Eye Doctor?

A cat’s eyes view the world with razor sharp detail and precision, and generally a healthy cat will have good vision for all 9 lives. But things can cause loss of vision and it’s best to know what can go wrong, how it can go wrong, and where to seek out the best help. A veterinary eye specialist who has extra diagnostic skills would be your cat’s new best friend.

Cat Faeries trusty feline friend Newton gives us the cat’s eye view of feline vision health, and the medical conditions which can affect it.


Newton’s Purrspective – When Should Your Cat See an Eye Doctor?

Have you ever taken your cat to an eye doctor?

Most people assume cats have nearly perfect vision. In reality their visual acuity is in the range of 20/100 to 20/200. This means that what a cat can see at 20 feet a person can see at 100-200 feet. Of course, we do excel at night vision, needing only 1/6 the amount of light a human would need. http://www.businessinsider.com/pictures-of-how-cats-see-the-world-2013-10 Being nearsighted is no handicap for us at all. The real problem is the eye diseases cats get, some of which can lead to permanent blindness.


Isaac Newton

The most frequently diagnosed ailment is conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the mucous membranes around the eye. It is highly contagious, but curable if treated promptly. Your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointment. In addition, you may wish to supplement this with a holistic remedy such as Colloidal Defense, which has many immune system benefits beyond helping eyes heal. Cats also need a calm environment to recover from any illness and to remain healthy. I have four feline siblings and I don’t know what we would do without Convivial Housecat and the Ball of Twine CD. (People enjoy this music too!)

More serious eye conditions include:

An ocular discharge or pawing at the eye are clear signs that professional help is needed as soon as possible. A scratched cornea from rough play is very painful! However, some problems have no obvious symptoms and can only be diagnosed with special instruments such as an ophthalmoscope. When Kitty has an exam your vet will evaluate both eye condition and overall health. (An eye problem can be related to other health issues.) You may then be referred to a veterinary ophthalmologist for additional diagnostics and care.

Cataracts are visible as a cloudiness in the center of the eye. Left untreated they can lead to glaucoma. http://www.veterinaryeyeinstitute.com/cataract-surgery/

Symptoms of glaucoma include pain and swelling of the eyeball. Blindness occurs rapidly if the pressure inside the eye is not reduced. Medications to relieve pain and reduce pressure will be prescribed, but in some cases surgery may be needed. http://www.vcahospitals.com/main/pet-health-information/article/animal-health/glaucoma-in-cats/3938

Uveitis has variable symptoms including squinting, light sensitivity, tearing and discoloration of the eye. http://animaleyecare.net/diseases/uveitis/ The cause, though often difficult to determine, is usually trauma, infection or cancer. The chosen treatment will depend on the probable cause. If glaucoma is also present this MUST be treated as well. Immune system support is vital. (Colloidal Defense helps support the immune system.)

Melanomas are the most common eye tumors in cats. Usually areas of increased pigmentation are visible. However, please note that not all increased pigmentation is pathological – discoloration is often benign. My sister, Tommy Lee Jones, has “iris freckles” in one eye. Don’t take chances with your cat’s eyes. Only a trained professional can make a diagnosis. http://veterinaryvision.com/for-veterinarians/clinical-forum/specific-disease-topics/feline-ophthalmology/

The most common diseases leading to blindness are:

  • uveitis (may be associated with infection or trauma)
  • retinal detachment (often associated with high blood pressure due to hyperthyroidism)
  • trauma (provide a safe environment and trim toenails to decrease risk)

http://www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/health_information/vision.cfm

An eye exam should be part of your cat’s regular veterinary checkup, as well as blood tests for hyperthyroidism in senior cats. However, if you suspect any problems with your cat’s eyes please seek professional help as soon as possible. Prompt treatment may save Kitty’s sight.