How to safely travel in a car with your cat – crash test dummy videos will reveal the dangers

This is an Encore Article from our blog and newsletter! How to safely transport your cat in the car. New videos!

We posted this warning and a video 5 years ago. Recently we found more videos of crash tests with stuffed animals in various harnesses and carriers.

It’s Summer and we are in cars and going places more than usual. And sometimes we are transporting our cats. Think that buckling your cat’s carrier handle with your seat belt is safe? We did until we researched it many years ago. The best place for your cat’s carrier is on the floor of the back seat, behind the passenger side with just enough space between the front seat and the back seat so that the carrier is snuggly tucked in place. If there’s a collision the carrier won’t go flying.

Here are videos of crash test dummies – very very scary and everything you thought you knew about safety for cats and dogs in cars will literally fly out the window!

How plastic and cloth carriers and harnesses do in crash tests from Subaru America and The Center for Pet Safety

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIHrDdu_bVE

You can see the individual test videos for the carriers, crates, and harnesses from the above tests here.

Most dog harnesses fail miserably in these crash tests from Australia – worth watching even you have cats.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxR4HltkwUA

This video is in German but you don’t need to understand it to see what happens in crash tests, the visuals say it all.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iptBky_g3H4
 
 
 
 

Newton’s Purrspective: Climate Change and the Half Full Cat Food Bowl

Sir Isaac Newton is our Feline Editor At Large (just how large, he’s not saying) who writes very brainy and very well researched articles for us. Newton lives in the North East and is fond of storms, our catnip toys, a soft bed, sunbeams, and naps. He has an ongoing email flirtation with our Daphne. This is his current, and as always, very well done article.


Fellow cats! With all the crazy things going on in the world today I have to admit it is very tempting to curl up in my Cat Faerie bed and ignore it all. But it is time for everyone to step up and act responsibly for the good of our health and that of our planet. Remember – “There is no Planet B” as seen on a T-shirt! Another t-shirt points out – “Save The Earth, It’s the Only Planet With Cats!”

I know I got your attention when I recently talked about the dangers to our beloved sacred wild herb from screwy weather conditions, our beloved Catnip could be in peril. But I am sorry to be the bearer of more bad news. The situation is much worse than even I imagined. Climate change is also threatening our food supply! Yep, that’s CAT FOOD!

If you did not rise up and speak to your maids and butlers (perhaps by doing a little discrete nail sharpening on their shins) it is not too late to start your campaign. Climate change is here. And as they said in the 1960’s: “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”




Isaac Newton

The central part of the US has experienced extreme weather conditions this past year. Of course, the most obvious adverse effect of too much rain is flooding. Property, lives and infrastructure have all been impacted. Our hearts go out to all the people and animals who lost homes, or more. The huge amount of flooding also affects agriculture, though the precise mechanism may not be so obvious. The good news is that the recent flooding did not happen during the growing season, so crops may still be planted and harvested on the normal schedule. The bad news is that any crop stored in barns or silos is at risk for water damage. Dampness can lead to mold, of course, rendering the crops unsuitable for food. Also, flood waters also carry dangerous contaminants such as pathogenic organisms, pesticides and other toxic substances.

Toxins could also remain in the soil after floodwaters abate. And as you know, everything is connected to everything else. The FDA has already issued warnings to farmers. https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/cvm-updates/resources-animal-food-producers-flooded-central-southern-plains-us

Although this is a proactive gesture it reminds me that not all quality regulations are equal. Standards for human consumption are generally higher than those for nonhumans. In fact, the FDA report alludes to the fact that contaminated feed may be somehow permissible for domestic animals. I, of course, am outraged! Why should we dear animals eat food considered unfit for humans?

I’ve been talking about the effects of floods on crops. Are cats affected by the quality of silage? They certainly could be. We just don’t know all the potential pathways for toxins to move into our food.

As obligate carnivores we cats cannot be complacent about the quality of our food. Cat food can, and does, contain a variety of fruits and vegetables. You unknowing felines could be eating lettuce, blackberries and… yuck: artichokes! I kid you not. http://vetnutrition.tufts.edu/2017/07/research-update-new-insight-into-grain-free-cat-diets/ There is nothing wrong with a little vegetable or herb matter in the high-end cat food that was studied and I don’t even want to think what might be in bargain brands.

I will be 12 years old in August and I’ve lost my kittenish naïveté (though not the desire to play with bottle tops). I have definitely become more cynical about our government. The “Green New Deal” has lots of ideas to improve life for all in America. But, as with anything that originates in DC it will cost a lot money, and just as bad, it will take a long time, time which we don’t have. We cannot rely on THEM to fix the messes we are in, but must step up and WE must fix impending disasters that have already begun to befall this planet!

Frustrated individuals and communities are taking things into their own hands. Strategies range from youth educating older generations, to planning boards changing local building codes to towns filing suits against companies that threaten community resources. We have to demonstrate what we really want and need because those lazy-bones, bribe taking politicians rarely do the job they were elected to and paid to do.

As always, I urge you to make sure your servants get the facts and then get out and vote. In fact, don’t wait for November. Call or write NOW! I know most of us are frustrated, but we must not let apathy rule us. If I had opposable thumbs I would be calling my government representatives. Because your cat depends on YOU here are a few phrases, articles and videos that you should become familiar with we cats and our beloved people can live long and prosper.

Your friend,
Sir Isaac Newton, Feline Boy Genius and Cat Faeries Editor At Large

 
 
 
 

When cats are naughty or loud at night and what it can mean!

When cats fight at night or pee outside of the litter box at night this tells Auntie Cat Faerie that most likely you’ve got feral cats coming around!

The neighborhood ferals, also called Community Cats, are active at night when it’s safer for them to prowl and hunt outside. Since it’s the middle of the night when we are sleep, we have no idea they are there and we might even tell people “we don’t have ferals in our neighborhood.” Surprise!

Your inside cats hear them, see them, and if they are spraying urine or peeing outside your house, your kitties smell them. All of which upsets your cats. Many cats don’t care about the presence of outside cats but for the indoor cats who do care it will cause them to fight – or worse – pee in retaliation! Still not convinced that some of the behaviors your cat is exhibiting is caused by ferals, answer this: 1) do you find that your cat peed or pooped by a window or door? 2) do your cats only do this in the middle of the night and rarely during the day? A yes to either question is evidence that you have outside cats annoying your indoor cats. And until you keep those cats away from your home stopping the problems for your indoor cats may never stop 100%.

  • To keep outside cats away don’t feed them, look at installing Spray Away or The Water Scarecrow which use water to chase them away, hang up put shiny objects near your doors such as old CD’s or DVD’s (and keep the porch light on to reflect)
  • Give your cats our Territorial Rescue once or twice a day in food/water. You can also spray it around the house, and near the doors and windows.
  • Give your cats our Convivial House Cat who behaves in a manner similar to Feliway but is 100% natural and edible! It can go into food and water, as well as sprayed on objects or near the doors and windows.
  • Our Beneficial Crystals truly do boost effectiveness of both products when drops are applied.
  • Clean the outside of your doors with our Anti Icky Poo to remove any traces or urine and its smells. If you see a water mark at cat-butt-height that’s evidence of your doors being sprayed. Also check flower pots, chairs, and your car’s tires.
  • After you’ve cleaned the door off apply some of our Convivial House Cat or Territorial Rescue to the outside of the door and repeat as often as you can – this is going to help chill out the ferals!
  • We have customers who installed a Feliway diffuser on their porch and liked the results! You just need an outlet.

Another cause for fighting in the middle of the night is if one of the cats is getting old and kidneys are failing – perhaps one cat is yowling and this is upsetting the other cats (and disturbing your sleep)? If yes, this is a sign of kidney failure (and deafness which causes the yowling go hand in hand with kidney failure) Get to the vet this week!

  • Before you go to bed, go around the house and give a few random “here and there” sprays of Convivial House Cat or Multi Cat Household to a few objects per room.
  • A bedtime snack might help them stay calm – most cats will be happy with a tablespoon of a “mid-night snack.”
  • Feliway diffusers help too. We suggest 1 or 2 per room concentrating on the rooms where they spend the most time and/or near doors/windows.

 
 
 
 

Springtime Flowers That Are Toxic to Cats: Banish the Bulbs! And Toxic flowers!

We are so in love with this time of year because everywhere you look wildflowers are popping up to say hello. Vendors at the farmer’s market are starting to bring in flowers. Nurseries have fantastic offerings too. But what rains on my flowery parade is when I ask a flower vendor if they know if a particular plant or flower is toxic to cats and they say they have no idea. Nor do they seem to care! Don’t you agree that if they are selling something they should know such details? I keep copies of this list of toxic flowering plants in my car to enlighten stores and other vendors. Here’s the Cat Faeries list of flowers to avoid in Spring along with what will happen to a cat if one is eaten, or the water they sit in is licked. Copy and paste, then distribute!

(copy and paste to word processing, print and take it with you when you buy flowers or plants)


Cat Faeries Guide to Spring Flowers Which are Poisonous To Cats

  • Azalea – heart failure and death
  • Clematis – vomiting, diarrhea, mouth ulcers
  • Crocus – severe vomiting and diarrhea, liver and kidney damage, respiratory failure, seizures
  • Daffodils – any part of the flower, stem, leaves can cause vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea
  • Delphinium – death
  • Easter Cactus – vomiting and diarrhea
  • Foxglove – vomiting, diarrhea, cardiac failure, death
  • Gladiolas – vomiting, diarrhea
  • Hyacinths – heart problems, tremors, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, breathing difficulty
  • Larkspur – constipation, drooling, convulsions
  • Lilies – All of them, any time of the year, absolutely all of them can kill your cat! Seizures are just the start! Flower, bulb and pollen are deadly.
  • Narcissus – shivering, convulsions, tremors, cardiac arrhythmia and heart failure
  • Rhododendron – Vomiting, diarrhea, coma, cardiovascular failure, death
  • Tulips – heart problems, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, breathing difficulty
  • Wisteria – vomiting, diarrhea, could be fatal


At our house about the only flowers you’ll ever see are fair trade/organically grown roses. You cannot go wrong with a nice bunch of organic roses – they cannot make a cat sick. But you do need to make sure that they are organic and fair trade – many roses are sprayed heavily with pesticides and are shipped to the US from other countries which is so cray-cray to us when they grow well here. Demand locally grown pesticide free roses.

Besides roses we love Lilacs, another safe flower. Sadly their season is short so enjoy them while you can. Other cat-safe flowers include: African violets, Alyssum, Calendula, Bachelor’s Buttons, Begonias, Columbine, Coneflowers, Gerber Daisies, Hollyhocks, Impatiens, Nasturtium, Orchids, Petunias, Snapdragons, Sunflowers, Violets, and Zinnias.

If you are like me and love flowering herbs these make very sweet little rustic bouquets, darling in Mason jars: Basil, Bee Balm, Cilantro or Coriander, Chamomile, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Lovage, all of the Mints, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Tarragon, Thyme.

We also love giving and receiving flowers at other times of the year. This page will give you a pretty good overview of plants and flowers to avoid all year round:

http://www.1stinflowers.com/articles/poisonous-plants-for-cats.html
 
 
 
 

13 Things You Can Do to Make Veterinary Visits Better for Everyone

  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!

 
 
 
 

Your old mascara wand can help your cat (seriously!)

Two weeks ago, we told you that you can brush your cat with a toothbrush when applying Convivial House Cat or a few drops of one of our flower essences. The reason is that the bristles mimic the feel of a cat mother’s sandpapery tongue with the familiar sensation they loved as kittens, which is still very soothing to adult cats. We feel this maternal sensation benefits the usage of our products from the loving touch of something bristly like a toothbrush, and we just learned that a cleaned/bleached mascara wand has the same feel and purpose!

And because we are zero-wasters (or try to be!) and hope you are too we knew you’d be excited to know that your old mascara wands not only have benefits for your cat, but you can also be a wildlife hero! Wildlife rescue organizations and rehabilitation professionals use them to remove all sort of icky things like oil on a bird’s feathers or fur after a spill, mites, fly eggs and larvae. They love mascara wands for their small size and that the bristles are so close together. And yes, you can follow their lead and use one to remove similar debris from your cat’s fur.

We’d read that mascara wands were ok to use to clean around wounds, but wondered if that information was unsafe so we asked a favorite Friend of Cat Faeries, veterinarian and animal communicator Joy Mason (www.joymason.com) what she thought about using mascara wands to wound clean. This is what she said: “I have been thinking about the mascara brush and cleaning a wound. I would recommend it for brushing the cat, but not for cleaning a wound. If the cat has a wound, I would recommend cleaning it with Chlorhexidene and warm water, put some coconut oil on it or if it is really bad then use a high-quality honey to help it heal.”

Always wash and bleach the mascara wand when it’s time to get a new tube and send the old wand onto its new home! By the way for the health of your eyes, mascara should be discarded every 2 months, 3 months at the most.

Save one or two old mascara wands for your own use and mail the rest after you’ve washed and bleached them. How much bleach? Dr. Mason, also known as Auntie Joy tells us the Clorox bleach needs to be diluted with water. This is how her clinic dilutes it for dogs to prevent Parvo: “In the clinic we recommend that people use a 4:1 dilution of water to Clorox if they want to put a foot bath at their front door to prevent Parvo virus from being spread if there is an outbreak in their neighborhood “ The same dilution would be good for the mascara wand.

How to clean a mascara wand without making a huge mess!

As you might imagine cleaning off a mascara wand is messy! Auntie Cat Faerie using her Virgo logic came up with this easy method! While she hates throwing things away she hates wasting water more so grab some paper towels. While wearing disposable gloves use your paper towels to wipe off as much mascara as you can, otherwise your hands will be very stained. Using a few damp Qtips scoop out as much mascara as you can from where the wand in attached to the cap. An empty narrow glass jam jar the height of your wand with 1 part Clorox and 4 parts water will allow the wand to stand up straight making removing it easy for you. The bleach will most likely remove any traces of mascara that you couldn’t rub off. Rinse in hot water when finished.

If you don’t have a wildlife group near you here are organizations that want them:

Wildlife Wands
PO Box 1586
Southwick MA 01077
https://www.facebook.com/wildlifewands/

Appalachian Wildlife Refuge
P.O. Box 1211
Skyland, NC 28776
https://www.appalachianwild.org/wands-for-wildlife.html

Here’s a video from Appalachian Wildlife Refuge where you can see the wands in action (grab a hanky!)

Mascara wands can also “go where no brush has gone before” for use around the house in any small crevice where dust and gunk settles. Use one on your sewing machine, your computer keyboard, clean jewelry, clearing the lint catcher in your blow-dryer, even the little oxygenating vent in your faucet tap where the water passes through and gunk can build up (let the floodgates open!). They also gently clean off mushrooms!