Why do cats like to sneak into attics or basements and spray? Our advice & products to the rescue!

Dear Cat Faeries,

We have been letting our cats “play” in the attic area (for some reason, they really want to be in there), and have just discovered they have been doing more than playing in there.
:( Nasty!


Those naughty kitties! This isn’t surprising, but don’t be angry with them – get your hands on a few bottles of our Anti Icky Poo urine cleaner (on sale now) which will get rid of the urine and odor.

I feel the reason they do this is that the smells up there are intriguing, and they know you don’t go up there often. It’s similar with basements or garages, or crawl spaces. Also those rooms don’t always have the insulation that other rooms of your house have so smells from outside waft in. Sometimes what your cat smells are from animals who are traveling through your yard or garden (and doing their business there too).

Another reason they suddenly want to go into your attic is that you’ve got mice or rats. You’ve either got them now or you recently had them. The smells of their little bodies and nests, plus their droppings can lure cats to such rooms or spaces in the house. When your cat can access where mice or rats have been they like to pee on top of those odors.

You might set rodent traps. What will dictate the type of trap you buy will depend on your view of trapping mice. Some people like what’s known as a humane trap so they release the mice to a field. Other people want The Terminator Method. Because the Hanta Virus carried by mice scares me, we like The Rat Zapper which your local hardware store probably carries or can order for you. The Rat Zapper can be used indoors and outdoors.

When you set any type of traps make sure that the room/area is completely closed off to your cats, dogs, and children.

Here’s Cat Faeries fail-safe bait recipe for any type of trap:

1 cookie (it can be stale)
1 bit of peanut butter (“the glue” for the next two crucial components)
1 Macadamia nut (mice and rats cannot resist them)
1 small piece of black licorice (they adore this too)

Have you ever noticed your cats staring at heater vents? Or worse, peeing on them? The heat ducts in your home are highways for mice! And yes, you may pour Anti Icky Poo down a heater vent – it’s not flammable. Just turn off the heat for the day or few days you are treating it with Anti Icky Poo.

So now we have yet another reason to have Anti Icky Poo always on hand. If you don’t have any more why not order a few fresh bottles?

How to talk to your vet about tough subjects, part two of two

In part two we give you some phrases that you can use to approach your doctors with intelligence and a firm hand, while remaining respectful. It’s a tricky juggling act, but it can be done with great results for everyone including a doctor who could learn a new trick, from you! (If you didn’t see the first part here’s How to talk to your vet about tough subjects, part one of two)

I just read a book…
“I just read a really interesting book about _____________. I learned many fascinating things which I think will really help me/my cat. I bought you a copy which is yours to keep and make notes in. If we don’t have time today to discuss some of the key points I’d like to set up an appointment or phone time. Would you have your front desk contact me when you’ve had a chance to read the book?”

Requesting tests
“I’ve read that sometimes basic testing isn’t enough to get to the root cause of many illnesses or diseases. After doing a bit of research I learned that testing for _____________ can be beneficial and shed light. Would you please order this test for me/my cat.”

If the doctor balks at about ordering the tests, don’t give up.
“Would you explain to me is detail why you feel it’s not valuable to test for ________?” I found many references between _______ and _____ so I’d really like to pursue advance testing, this week.”

If the doctor says “We only test for conditions that we can fix.”
Yes, that was once said to your cat faerie. Her comeback was:
“Well, I enjoy hunting for treatments and resources, I love turning over rocks and seeing what’s under them. So let’s go ahead and run the test, see some numbers, and I can do some research. Even if I come up with nothing at least we tried. I am paying for the test after all.”

The doctor does not know about alternative therapies, or thinks they are weird or don’t work.
We saved the toughest for last. Doctors paid a premium for their training and it’s very dear to them. So anything that wasn’t in their curriculum is often mysterious, threatening, and viewed as weird, not effective, or maybe even dangerous. They could have had instructors who warned them that alternative treatments are bad.

“I know that __________ isn’t your thing, but I’ve read good things about it, and I have a friend who used ___________________ and it worked out really well. Would you consider:

  • Reading this book
  • Reading this website or forum
  • Reading this report
  • Calling this clinic/specialist (provide name and phone number, or email) for some advice
  • Transfer a copy of my/my cat’s file to a practitioner that I found so they can review the history. I’ll have you copied on results.

If you seek the advice of another doctor or specialist, keep your vet in the loop by forwarding test results, treatment and progress for the file. If you doctor or vet knows you’ve sought out other directions, but kept him/her informed they won’t feel slighted, and everyone will benefit. It’s very possible that your doctor/vet will be impressed and learn a new modality. We’ve seen this happen first hand! We let a very skeptical, eye rolling veterinarian sit in on a session with an animal chiropractor. He was so impressed that not only did he study veterinary chiropractic he went on to become an instructor!

We often get emails from people who say: “My vet is really great. I wish I could find an MD as wonderful of my vet!” Cat Faeries is always here to help your cat AND you. Your cat faerie recently stuck gold here when she found her new MD from this list. You can search by state for doctors who are hip to diet + health which is hard to find: http://lowcarbdoctors.blogspot.com

Coming soon! Food allergy testing for cats and dogs! It’s easy! It’s effective and affordable.

How to talk to your vet about tough subjects, part one of two

In the first part of this article we’ll talk about what to look for in a veterinarian, and your own personal MD. We need doctors who listen, who take notes, who do not condescend to you, who do not roll eyes or huff and puff, and who truly care.

In part two we’ll give you actual scripted dialogue to help you articulate your thoughts, ideas, and concerns, and to bring up possibly touchy subjects.

This is particularly helpful when you want the doctor to explore alternative or uncommon methods to treat your cats or yourself, particularly if it’s something you discovered online. Doctors often cringe when we say “I read about blah-blah-blah online.”

We’ll help you approach your doctors with intelligence and a firm hand, while remaining respectful. It’s a tricky juggling act, but it can be done with great results for everyone including a doctor who could learn a new trick, from you!

Check List So You Can Evaluate Any Vet or Doctor:

  • Is this person a really good listener, who makes eye contact with you, seems present, not bored or annoyed? Let’s you speak and say what you want to say without interruption. Does this person save questions for when you are finished?
  • Ask the doctor if they stay current on professional bulletins, newsletters. Does the doctor go to conferences? If so, which ones, and how often?
  • Ask the doctor what advanced training they have taken, or what interesting fields they have studied beyond their university training. Ask if the doctor has considered modalities that are not taught in colleges.
  • Does the doctor confer with colleagues via Skype or email for tough cases?
  • Does this doctor seem rushed for time and make you feel there isn’t ample time for you to speak? Have your concerns been addressed and questions answered?
  • Did the doctor take notes, either handwritten in your file or typed into the computer?
  • Is their equipment state-of-the-art and replaced every few years? (This is important, we know of a vet clinic which used a very old X-ray machine that had belonged to a podiatrist who retired.)
  • Will they let you see “behind the scenes” for a glimpse at treatment, surgery and kennel areas. Be on the lookout for icky smells and cleanliness. Are these areas tidy and quiet?
  • Does this doctor volunteer time helping those in need? We know one veterinarian who plans vacations around going to exotic places performing surgeries on orangutans and big cats.
  • You may not be a stand-up comic, but if you said something funny or light hearted did this person show some degree of a sense of humor?
  • Are the nurses and front desk staff friendly, intelligent sounding, compassionate. Do they also listen to you without giving you’re The Bum’s Rush?
  • Does this doctor have a cell phone or email for after hours emergencies? That’s not mandatory, and of course the doctor needs personal down-time, but it sure is nice to be able to reach someone.

Part Two will be actual dialogue or a script that you can use when bringing up something touchy or something which might make the doctor feel challenged or threatened. In particular if you want to discuss alternative treatments and therapies, ideas which might be new to the doctor. Or worse, that the doctor thinks is weird. Diplomacy works wonders and it’s helpful to have a guide so you can find the words when you might feel intimidated.

We often get emails from people who say: “My vet is really great. I wish I could find an MD as wonderful of my vet!” Cat Faeries is always here to help your cat AND you. Your cat faerie recently stuck gold here when she found her new MD from this list. You can search by state for doctors who are hip to diet + health which is hard to find: http://lowcarbdoctors.blogspot.com

Cats often need baby food, learn which is using GMO’s!

From time to time your vet will recommend that your cat be fed baby food for a period of time. Usually the cat has been sick and is vulnerable to toxins and stresses to the body.

Gerber is using GMO ingredients, and ingredients doused with the herbicide Roundup. If these ingredients harm babies they are likely to harm our cats.

Our sources tell us that Beechnut is not using GMO’s or ingredients which have had Roundup (or similar) applied to them. At this time Beechnut would be the ideal choice for any cat who is sick or being fussy.

One of the many reasons to avoid feeding cats GMO food is that these modified foods have shown to compromise kidneys. I don’t think we need to point out that renal failure is a common occurrence in cats. It’s something we cat lovers try to prevent. GMO’s also harm the liver.

Note: Both brands removed onion powder from their foods a long time ago in response to mothers protesting that if it’s bad for cats, it would be bad for babies.

CALL Gerber and give them an earful. Available 24/7: 800-284-9488

Here is a really good article about GMO’s and why they are so bad:

http://melisann.hubpages.com/hub/What-Genetically-Modified-Foods-Do-to-Our-Bodies

Facts about Cat Urination! And a revealing article.

Grab the kids. Grab every know-it-all you know or live with. Then take our test. The science will amaze you!

How long does it take your cat to “empty the tank” of urine?

A) 60 seconds
B) 21 seconds
C) 2 minutes

How long does it take an elephant to empty the tank?

A) 2 minutes
B) 5 minutes
C) 21 seconds

How long does it take YOU dear reader to empty the tank?

A) 21 seconds
B) 2 minutes
C) 60 seconds

The correct answer to all 3 questions: 21 seconds!

While the volume of urine will vary dramatically from species to species it’s the length of the urethra and the time it take for urine to pass through it is what’s identical in just about every species of mammal.

Of particular interest to our customers who have a cat or two showing “litter box aversion” no wonder we can’t always catch them in the act to tell who’s doing it! With just 21 seconds for a cat to do their business surely can make it tough to figure out which in your multi cat household is doing it – no wonder, we often don’t know! They are quick so much so that we often don’t catch them in action.

Read more here. Fascinating facts about how much urine comes out of various species of mammals!

http://www.livescience.com/46625-most-mammals-take-21-seconds-to-pee.html

Hey kids and mothers – won’t this make a great science report for next year? Conduct your own experiments and present them to your class. You’ll get a lot of ooo’s and ah’s, and a lot of laughs! And probably a straight A for creativity and good science.

FIP: new hope for lethal feline disease

The following article on new developments for the dreaded disease Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) was posted to a Siamese cat group online earlier this year. What you’ll learn is that cats can get this disease when their immunity is compromised.

Cat Faeries offers two great products to naturally boost immunity:


http://www.catchannel.com/cat-health-news/hope-for-nearly-fatal-cat-disease.aspx

New Hope for Lethal Cat Disease

FIP has meant death sentences for many cats. Now there’s hope for this diagnosis.

By Fran Pennock Shaw

If a Dr. Jekyll-and-Mr. Hyde type of disease in cats ever existed, it’s feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), a deadly mutation of the benign feline enteric coronavirus (FECV). FIP is difficult to diagnose, rarely treatable and nearly always fatal.

FIP takes two forms: a fast-progressing wet form, causing fluid accumulation in the abdomen or chest, and a non-effusive dry form in which inflammatory lesions develop on major organs. Dry FIP progresses slower and is especially difficult to diagnose; signs include neurological, eye, kidney and liver disorders. Traditionally, treatment for either form is merely supportive.

But FIP researchers are pressing forward, investigating ways to block FECV from mutating, improve feline immune responses and find genetic clues in cats or in the viruses that will enable earlier diagnosis. One previously experimental medication is now used off-label by veterinarians to treat non-effusive FIP. Other researchers are studying immunosuppressive and antiviral drugs.

“It’s a very emotional disease,” says Alfred Legendre, DVM, professor of medicine at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine in Knoxville. “Affected are young cats, adorable and loving cats. People have a very hard time dealing with the fact that it’s almost 100% fatal.”

The biggest FIP research success comes from Legendre’s study of polyprenyl immunostimulant (PI), a drug that has controlled the dry form of FIP for one year or longer in approximately 30 cats. In his three-year clinical study, Legendre treated 58 cats diagnosed with non-effusive FIP, and, subsequently, he has consulted with veterinarians to treat many more patients. One of the cats in Legendre’s pilot study is still healthy after eight years on PI. (See sidebar.) Once started, PI treatment must continue or the disease will return. Inadequate Immunity Intestinal FECV is common in cats, especially in multi-cat environments, and causes only mild illness. But laboratory studies suggest that in an estimated 20% of infected cats, FECV transforms into its evil alter ego, the malevolent FIP virus (FIPV). Researchers now believe that cats with healthy, strong immune systems can fight off FIPV, but cats with impaired immune responses cannot.

“Even though almost all cats will be exposed to coronavirus [FECV] during their lifetime, most will lose the infection,” says Niels Pedersen, DVM, PhD, who has studied FIP since 1964 and is the director of the Center for Companion Animal Health at University of California-Davis. “FIP is mainly a disease of young cats, with the highest incidence between 4 and 18 months of age,” he says, when immune systems are still developing.

“Those that get sick with FIP are only a fraction of those exposed to the mutant [FIP virus], and they are the ones that fail to mount a sufficient immune response to contain the virus. In effect, by the time they show clinical signs, they have already lost the battle.”

Only some cats have the genetic traits and immune deficiencies that allow FIP virus to develop and spread. In those cats, FIPV hijacks the immune system’s white blood cells, turning them into virus factories and causing deadly inflammatory responses. “Lots of animals have their own coronaviruses, but FIP only affects felines and ferrets,” says Gary Whittaker, PhD, professor of virology at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. “Some cats’ immune systems fight it off, but some cats can’t, especially younger cats or ones who are immune compromised.” Boosting Immunity Legendre says cats with FIP have poor cell-mediated immunity – they lack enough T-lymphocytes, super-killer immune cells that are necessary to fight viruses that invade cells and replicate within them.

“Antibodies can’t attack a virus in cells,” he says. “You need cell-mediated immunity – other cells that recognize and destroy the infected cells.”

PI boosts cell-mediated immunity, increasing the survival time and quality of life of treated cats, he says, although “the more advanced the disease, the less likely PI is to get a response.”

Legendre presented his research at veterinary conferences in 2012 and 2013, and expects to publish a paper this year. His studies report no benefit using PI for wet FIP. But PI also treats viral rhinotracheitis, for which the USDA granted it conditional licensing in October 2012. PI is now available to veterinarians through VetImmune.com.

Legendre thinks a cat develops the dry or wet form of FIP because of the individual’s immune system. “The cat’s immune system is functioning poorly in cats with the effusive form. In the dry form, the cat’s immune system has a better handle on the disease,” he says. “Cats with effusive FIP are usually dead or euthanized in a couple of weeks after diagnosis. The cats with dry form of FIP tend to live longer.”

Attacking the Virus Enhancing a cat’s cell-mediated immunity is just one strategy in a two-pronged approach, Legendre adds. “To fight FIP, we need to shift the odds in favor of the cat’s body, instead of in favor of the virus. You can never wipe out all the virus, but any approach that reduces virus levels would be helpful.”

UTK researcher Rebecca Wilkes, DVM, PhD, has cut FIPV reproduction by 97 to 98% in laboratory cultures using five specially-designed, small interfering RNA (siRNA). “These are small pieces of RNA that guide the cell’s own machinery to inhibit coronavirus replication,” she says. “We’re trying to find a way to limit viral replication to an amount where the cat’s immune system can take over.”

When cells produce protein, necessary for the growth and functioning of all cells, they copy that protein’s DNA onto a messenger RNA molecule. Not all proteins are needed all the time, however. The body naturally stops protein production with microRNAs, smaller molecules that can target specific messenger RNA for destruction. SiRNAs work like microRNAs.

“We are redirecting the cellular machinery to specifically attack the virus,” Wilkes says. “Normally this machinery is functioning to turn off and on the cell’s own protein production.” Her next goal is to genetically alter blood stem cells so they manufacture siRNAs internally. Someday, she hopes siRNAs will travel the blood system fighting FIPV. A Highly Mutable Virus FIP is not considered transmittable, but FECV is highly contagious and prone to mutation. At Cornell, Whittaker is studying the molecular structure of the FIP virus to uncover genetic differences between FIPV and FECV. He hopes to eventually develop a diagnostic blood test and ultimately, perhaps, an effective FIP vaccine. “Now, because FIP is being diagnosed late, even if you had a good therapy, it wouldn’t have time to work,” he says.

His research focuses on proteases, protein enzymes on cell surfaces, which may allow FIPV to penetrate white blood cells and spread systemic infection. He believes FIPV is constantly changing, related to an individual cat’s genetic and immune traits.

“We now have FIPV [samples] from 69 different cats, and there are 40 unique mutation combinations in these cats,” he says. “It’s almost a different mutation every time in every cat. I’ve been studying viruses for a long time, and this is one of the most complicated viruses around. There’s something unique about this virus in a cat. It’s like the perfect storm.”

Another possibility is that an as-yet unidentified type of FECV might be more prone to mutating into FIPV than others. “That may explain the outbreaks of FIP that we see, but it’s just one idea,” Whittaker says. Identifying Genetic Causes At UC Davis, Pedersen is studying the DNA of cats to identify the multiple genes affecting a cat’s resistance or susceptibility to FIPV. His ongoing research with Birman cats suggests that genes in at least five regions of the genome may influence disease resistance in that breed. But finding the precise, causative genes is a long way off.

“Our study was an initial attempt to push into the area of complex genetic traits,” he says. “What we found for Birmans, even if it can be confirmed, may not apply to other breeds or to random-bred cats.” No one knows how many or which cats exposed to FECV will develop FIP, he adds, because in addition to genetic factors, susceptibility to FIP infection depends on the cat’s age, level of exposure, health, diet and stress, such as living in a shelter environment.

“What we can say is that the FIP mutation is very common – maybe it even occurs in 20% or more of FECV infected cats – but if the cats are normal, very few of them will actually get sick,” he theorizes. In 1971, Pedersen received the first FIP-related research grant given by the Winn Feline Foundation, of Hillsborough, N.J. But today, his work is only one of many FIP studies funded by organizations, corporations and individuals supporting research to prevent and treat this tragic disease. Fran Pennock Shaw is a multi-award winning freelance writer from Lancaster, Pa. She is past president and past treasurer of the international Cat Writers’ Association and author of Gotta Love Cats, published by Barron’s Educational Series Inc.