Cats on walks with harness and leash… a good idea?

Lately you may have seen all over social media photos and videos of cats being taken on walks with a harness and leash. Or maybe you bumped into the book “Adventure Cats, Living Nine Lives to the Fullest” which we reviewed on 6/19/17 (see the review here at the Cat Faeries Blog).

Before we go any further we must state loud and clear that this is not for every cat, and in fact probably only a small minority of cats will like this or have the right personality for it. If after 2 months of indoor practice with your patient big heart, along with a proper harness and leash, and you see that your cat isn’t taking to it, then give up trying.

Here is a training video that our dear friend and Feline Editor at Large, Newton found for us: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qSMk8tJB20

WARNING – Robert Dollwet, the Australian cat trainer who produced this video learned the hard way that cats belong indoors unless protected by carriers or proper leashes (very sad – of course the servant had to fetch a box of Kleenex – couldn’t even stand to see the dedication to his poor cat at the start of the video)

While it’s a good video with some very good instruction there are a few things that we feel are missing and we’d like to share that with you before you enjoy the video.

  • When you put a harness on 99.9% of all cats they will promptly lay down and play dead! They don’t understand this new “thing” on their body. Take the advice from the video and start with a collar, then lead up to a harness. And remember those food treats! Be patient!
  • A 6-foot leash is mandatory – do not get a longer one or a FlexiLead – you must be in control at all times and keep the cat close to you.
  • The video implies that a cat can be used to the harness and leash in a few days – we could not disagree more. In our opinion it should take a minimum of 2 months of acclimating the cat to wearing the harness, and walks about the house indoors before even consider going outside.
  • Your first venture outside should be in your own backyard and for just a few minutes. You need to build up your cat’s interest and comfort in being out of the house.
  • Have a cat carrier with you in case a dog crosses your path or something causes the cat to freak out. You don’t want to end up scratched or have a traumatized (or worse) cat. Keep your wallet and house keys in the carrier and think of it as a purse!
  • Notice that the cat in this video is very young and more adapt to a harness and its adventures. This is likely to be very difficult for many older cats.
  • Remember, personality is everything. Not every cat wants to traverse the great outdoors, just like some people, many cats prefer the gracious and safe indoors!

The harness we recommend is a step-in product from Cetacea located in Foster City, California where they also manufacture them. Many harnesses are not engineered correctly for a cat, who can easily “back out of it” and disaster could happen. We know this product extremely well, and completely endorse it as we once sold them when we first started Cat Faeries in the early 1990’s.

Most cats will take a small-dog-size S but to ensure the correct fit you should measure your cat first and read the sizing guidelines. But if you need assistance don’t hesitate to call Cetacea’s owner, Victor Nayyar. He will make sure that you get the right fit for a custom order. Interestingly, Martha Stewart’s cats wear Cetacea’s harnesses and of course, Martha being Martha, they are in a custom color!

Visit: http://www.cetaceacorp.com/s-step-in-pet-dog-harness.html

Call: 800-223-2833 and speak to Victor
 
 
 
 

Cats and the Solar Eclipse

Here’s an article about cats and the upcoming solar eclipse from our resident feline expert (who is a feline) – Issac Newton.


Newton’s Purrspective – The Great American Solar Eclipse

In ancient times a solar eclipse was a frightening event often attributed to powerful animals. Ancient Chinese believed a dragon was swallowing the Sun. Medieval Vikings blamed wolves wandering in the sky for the loss of light. Potential consequences of an eclipse were always tragic: plague, blindness, and political upheaval, to name but a few. Change in the established order has always been feared. https://qz.com/1015987/solar-eclipse-myths-persist-despite-scientific-evidence-disproving-them/

On August 21st the United States will experience its first coast to coast total solar eclipse since 1918. Naturally, this rare event has generated a lot of excitement, though not of the ancient variety. People plan to travel to areas where the eclipse will be most spectacular (the path of totality, where the sun will be totally blocked by the moon) and are purchasing special glasses to protect their eyes while observing.




Isaac Newton

But what about animals? Should cats be wearing protective goggles? Will the eclipse alter their behavior? Will they be frightened? All of these are valid concerns so let’s look at what is going to happen on the 21st.

The total eclipse will be visible in a narrow band across the US. (Adjacent areas will witness a partial eclipse which can still be dramatic.) https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/solar/2017-august-21 It will last less than 3 minutes, but the skies will darken for approximately 90 minutes. Wildlife may be confused by the “short day”. For example, birds could start roosting, a natural behavior at dusk or when a storm is approaching.

The total eclipse will first be visible in Oregon near 10:15 am local time. It will end in South Carolina around 2:50 pm local time.

Despite centuries of living with humans cats have not lost the sleep patterns that are essential to survival. They sleep many hours to conserve energy and are most active at dawn and dusk when their natural prey is foraging for food. They also sleep lightly and wake up frequently (the origin of the term “cat nap”).

The middle of the day is prime naptime for cats. They may miss those rays of sun on the floor but it’s not likely to be cause for alarm. The biggest potential stressor is for outdoor cats disturbed by crowds of people and their dogs jostling for the best viewpoint.

Cats do pick up on the moods of their people. So if there is a lot of excitement and activity at your house during the eclipse Kitty might choose to hide. Cat Faeries mood music and flower essences can be helpful, not just during the eclipse, but in any stressful situation.

NOTE: Protective glasses for cats are not needed. Cats love to sleep in the sunlight, but they have no incentive to look directly at the Sun. In fact, when outside cats are focused on the environment around and below them — they rarely look up. Cats may be known for their curiosity, but I know I won’t be wondering where the Sun went. I’ll be napping!

 
 
 
 

Crystals and flower essences, pairing two powerful and effective modalities!

Many years ago, a few of us flower essence visionaries did an experiment. We wanted to see if we could beam or transmit the vibration from our flower essences to another person or animal by using crystals. We thought that in theory it would work, but we wanted to thoroughly test it out to make certain. We gathered our own single essences and several of Cat Faeries formulas for cats which feature the vibrations of flowers, trees, mushrooms, and gemstones. We selected a few people who had cats or other animals who agreed to be part of an experiment but who didn’t know the details therefore we could conduct a “blind test” with zero influence from our test subjects. To create a “double blind” test we covered over the name of the essence on the bottle, and shuffled them around so we would not know which we were applying to our crystals.

With giddy joy, we found that putting a few drops of a flower essence on a crystal, then following with the power of our minds and the intention of our spoken words asking the crystal to transmit the energy to the person or animal that it had worked. When we checked in with our subjects and asked if they felt or noticed changes either for themselves or their furry friends every answer was yes! Some people told us they actually preferred the use of crystals as it felt more powerful, but still gentle, to the traditional methods which include people taking drops in a glass of water or under the tongue, and for cats and other animals, putting drops in a cat’s food or water, anointing a cat’s fur, paws, ears or back.

Wondering if our success was serendipitous we did this 5 times over the course of a few months and each time with different subjects. The results were the same, we always got positive feedback and lots of YES! This new amplified way of using flower essences on crystals was working and we couldn’t have been happier!

Getting to know Cat Faeries crystals – new specimens have just arrived!

There is a very special mine where our crystals come from where the stones are mined with integrity and care. The quality is superb. The vibration of these crystals is pure and they await YOU to clear them and to set your intentions so that they may serve you, your cats, and all of those who you love and care for.

We are fortunate to have crystals called Golden Healers which are a quartz crystal that grew on or near Iron Hydrate and gives them a wonderful golden color, a golden glow, or a wash a golden yellow. This golden color adds to the healing power of quartz crystal. Golden Healers are rather hard to come by, and healers collect them and cherish them. They are for anyone who’s intrigued by crystals and likes having them around for their beauty, or who is serious about crystal healing and wishes to elevate their work with crystals we are honored to offer you Golden Healer Quartz.


 
 

In Vedic astrology, this color represents the planet Jupiter, it’s day of the week is Thursday which would be the ideal day to do your crystal healing. Thursday is a positive day, a day to wear yellows and oranges, to feel grateful and to be productive, and to take care of our health and the health of those we love. This is a good time to expand your consciousness and to learn something new or elevate what you already know, and crystal work will compliment this perfectly. Gazing upon a golden healer for 3 minutes on a Thursday will soothe the eyes.

Currently in our collection we have two categories of specimens of Golden Healers: 1) Chubby or Pointed which are more the usual crystal shape with a point that is either pointy or rounded, or which might be an irregular shape. These are sold individually and we select them for you based on your name or the name of the cat who needs crystal healing. 2) Grab Bags which contain a mix of what we call “pin needle” crystals that are long, narrow and have a point or are smaller irregular shapes. There are 5 to a grab bag. When you order you’ll use the COMMENTS area to tell us who the crystals are for and its ok to tell us the condition you are hoping to correct.

Coming later this month we will offer a few larger specimens sold individually, which were weighed and photographed so you can purchase the one that speaks to you.

If you like your crystal “water clear” we also have beautiful AAA grade quartz which is may have some cloudy elements, something that healer love too. They have points and are sized around 2 inches in length.

When you order flower essences from Cat Faeries we include our lavender color handout which will have the various ways you can use flower essences including how to work with crystals.

From our website:

Golden Healers are themselves master healers, therefore they will help you master your own healing work. They will help you access The Gold Ray. They will help you transform, transmute, grow, change, evolve, find and feel joy, blossom and flourish. They assist you when you need to dissolve negativity and release it. Access your own Christ consciousness, Angelic and Devic energies, and the Goddess within. Golden Healers have a very high vibration or frequency and are very well suited to flower essence work. Welcome to a special clan of healers who work with Golden Healers. Join us in doing your own healing work to benefit those you love and care for, and those in your unique community.

Quartz Crystals are powerful and beautiful and will boost the effectiveness of flower essences and of Convivial House Cat. All you need to do is place a few drops of either (or both) products on your crystal and it will beam the vibration to where you’ve directed it. So simple! Detailed instruction will be found in your hand out for Convivial House Cat and our flower essence formulas.
 
 
 
 

Are solid white cats rare?

When a dear friend decided it was time for 2 kittens she had her heart set on a solid black kitten, and a solid white kitten. She’d even picked out their names: Pyewacket and Carnac the Magnificent (trivia quiz, what movie and what TV show are those to names from?)

Our friend Angela Giannini who’s opening up her own cat shelter this Summer: Cats Valley in Redwood City, CA, knows a lot about cat colors and patterns from the perspective of a shelter’s director and told us that solid white kittens or cats are rather rare. This was news to us! Auntie Cat Faeries’ first cat was solid white female named Abra Cadabra. So we thought that our Feline Editor at Large should tell us if this is true and a bit about why it’s.

Our friend Jan didn’t get her solid white kitten, instead she adopted two solid black brothers, two mischief makers who got the names Pyewacket and Carnac. One day she hopes that a solid white kitten will join them whose name might end up being Endora! (More trivia, who would the kitten be named after?)

This month we feature tuxedo cats who are a mix of white with black, gray, or occasionally brown.


Newton’s Purrspective – White Cats

Cats come in a multitude of colors and patterns. So having a color preference is perfectly natural. Perhaps you want a cat that reminds you of one you had as a child. You may believe a certain color embodies all the qualities you are seeking in a feline companion. Or maybe you dream of two kittens, one black and one white, curled into a perfect Yin Yang symbol.




Isaac Newton

When you start your search keep in mind that some colors are far more common than others. For example, let’s say you have your heart set on a white kitten. Unfortunately, your quest may take a bit longer than expected. Only five percent of the general cat population is white (dominant white, not to be confused with albino, which is the absence of color). Feline genetics are complex and often unpredictable. Fun fact: The white allele is actually a mask that hides a black or red cat underneath!

Of these white cats, 15-40 percent will have at least one blue eye. Blue or bi-colored eyes are striking and can be an additional attraction that makes them even less available in shelters. However, in this case beauty does come with a price. 60-80 percent of these cats are born deaf. In odd eyed cats deafness may only be associated with the ear on the side of the blue eye. http://messybeast.com/whitecat.htm But if you have finally found your special white kitten do not let this deter you from adoption. A deaf cat can lead a normal happy life with a few precautions.

Of course, deaf cats must never be allowed outside. Also keep in mind that they can’t hear you or other animals approaching. Your primary communication with Kitty will be through sight and touch.

Another reason to keep white cats inside (even if they can hear) is their susceptibility to skin cancer. White cats lack pigment to protect them from damaging rays of the sun and squamous cell carcinoma may occur on ear tips, eyelids and the nose. Unfortunately, there is no feline sunscreen so the only prevention is avoidance. This skin cancer can be treated if caught early, but why take the chance? https://www.oncolink.org/frequently-asked-questions/cancers/vet/veterinary-oncology/treatment-and-prevention-of-skin-cancer-in-white-cats

Appearance may be the initial attraction when adopting a kitten, but personality is the key to success. Personality conflicts with people or other cats account for 25 percent of the return rate to shelters. http://news.berkeley.edu/2012/10/23/cat-color/ If your veterinarian says Kitty’s behavior is not due to a health issue please look at other options such as environment enrichment or Cat Faeries flower essences.

Some people choose kittens based on a belief that certain colors are associated with specific traits. Does this mean you should you judge a cat by its color? In most cases the answer is no. Unrealistic expectations are a setup for failure. There is no scientific evidence to link personality with color but folklore and cat food commercials will continue to perpetuate stereotypes.
 
 
 
 

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.