Newton’s Perspective: How to Choose a Vet

Here’s an article by guest cat-tributor Issac Newton:




Issac Newton

How many of you cats out there enjoy going to the vet? Raise your paws. That’s what I thought. Just thinking of a car ride sends shivers up my spine! However, we all know that regular visits to the vet are essential for maintaining good health, so I’m going to give your people some hints on choosing a good doctor for their favorite felines. We deserve quality care with minimal stress!

Have you noticed that some clinics now specialize in cats only? This is worth considering, especially if there are no dogs in your family. It suggests the vet and staff are attuned to the particular needs of cats. However, there is no reason a cat can’t be treated properly in a mixed practice.

If you are looking for a new veterinarian don’t pick a clinic just because it is close to you. Few vets handle their own after hours emergencies these days, so saving a couple of miles driving shouldn’t be the most important factor. Find out where the Emergency Clinic is or how local vets rotate emergency responsibilities.

The following is a true story. When Mrs. S. moved to a new state she took her chronically ill cat to the closest vet. She explained Kitty’s medical history and was expecting blood to be drawn to assess her current condition. Dr. X. laughed and said he didn’t think blood work was necessary since he didn’t have a big car payment that month. Apparently he thought she would appreciate the humor and his “client friendly” views on charging for unnecessary services. However, she was horrified by his insensitivity and never went there again.

If possible try to get references from friends who have pets. Who is their vet and why do they continue to go there? Are they thinking of changing? If so, where else might they go and why?

The ASPCA has published a guide for choosing a veterinarian (general practice), http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/choosing_a_veterinarian.html, but YOU must decide what is most important to you.

My special person’s list includes respect, trust and patience:

1. Respect for me as my cat’s caretaker
2. Respect for my cat
3. Trust that includes vet, client and cat
4. Patience and willingness to explain what is recommended and why

The example of Dr X. illustrates the importance of good rapport between client and vet. If you don’t feel comfortable with the doctor how can you trust that your cat will be treated appropriately and with compassion?

Most cats will be shy or fearful in a clinic setting. Does the vet talk softly and treat your cat as gently as possible? Are you allowed to be present when blood is drawn or vaccinations are given? If the staff insists that these things must be done in “the back” a red flag should immediately appear. What don’t they want you to see?

Does the doctor explain procedures, diagnoses and recommendations in language that you can understand (without talking down to you)? Are you given options for treatments? Are the possible outcomes of different tests/procedures and medications explained? Does he answer questions to your satisfaction?

Overall, do you and your cat feel comfortable with the person you are literally trusting with your cats life? If not, don’t be afraid to look elsewhere. However, if you are happy overall and concerns are minor try to work out solutions. A good relationship takes effort from both sides.

I hope these guidelines will help people to make informed decisions when choosing a vet for their special cat companions. (By the way, my person trusts my doctor completely and she has known a lot of veterinarians!) Next time I plan to talk about the cat vaccination controversy.

How To Help Feral Cats This Winter

Winter is a cold and potentially dangerous time of year for feral and homeless cats, whether or not a polar vortex is pushing arctic air into your neighborhood. Here’s some ways to help.

Alley Cat Allies is a national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of feral cats (www.alleycat.org). You may have seen their “I’m an alley cat ally” ads featuring Hollywood personalities including Portia De Rossi. Alley Cat Allies has posted a good article on how to help feral cats during the winter at www.alleycat.org/WinterWeather.

Another way to help is to contact one of your local feral cat organizations. Alley Cat Allies has a posted a contact form at www.alleycat.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=1452 so they can connect you with an organization in your area that is a member of their Feral Friends Network. They also have a National Cat Help Desk that you can contact via www.alleycat.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=1453.

You can also find local feral cat assistance groups by doing search via Google for “feral cat (insert your city or area).” Contact your local group and ask how you can help.

One of the best ways to help feral and homeless cats during the winter is to provide shelters to keep them warm and out of the weather. Here’s a great video on how to make a simple low cost shelter from a plastic tote box. It even includes a cute cat helper providing supervision.

Everyone loved the article we posted about the Boy Scout who built winterized boxes to house feral cats in his community. You liked it so much that we searched for blueprints for something similar you crafty folks could make your own. Here are some plans for a larger “Feral Cat Condo” from a Michigan animal rescue group – www.voiceless-mi.org/plans/

So get out there and help feral cats this winter. You may make some new friends – both human and feline.

Are squirrels driving your cat crazy?

Are squirrels driving your cat crazy? at CatFaeries.com

In 1997 when we shifted our focus to Feliway and helping cats get back to the litter box we quickly realized that one of the key triggers that caused stress for many indoor cats which can lead to litter box avoidance was the pesky presence of those cute bushy tailed rodents: squirrels. Squirrels running around outside have sent many a cat over the emotional edge.

Most cats find them to be cheap entertainment. But many cats find squirrels to be very annoying or threats to territory and this can lead to retaliation: peeing outside of the litter box, often right under a window. Even if a sensitive cat never sets foot outside (which is good, keep em indoors!) squirrels run along window sills, up and down trees, they get into bird feeders, and other antics all under the watchful eyes of our indoor cats.

We have long suspected that the quick ways squirrels zip around can really annoy and taunt cats. The defiant flicks of squirrel tails agitates many cats. And then there is that chittering sound they make. Traits that might seem cute to us often really irk and threaten even the most mellow feline.

A very easy solution to help steady your cats’ nerves is the feed squirrels (and birds) out of view from windows and at the farthest place on your property.

You can also install one or two Comfort Zone with Feliway diffusers in the rooms where your cats squirrel-watch. This will do two things:

1) The pheromone is calming to your cat, less fighting among your feline family.

2) The pheromone sends the message: “I don’t pee in this room.”

99 Reasons to not give or receive perfume this season (or use scented cat litter)

During this time of year perfume and fragrance sales soar. We have those manipulative Mad Men on Madison Avenue to thank for planting the seeds that giving and receiving perfume is synonymous with the holidays. And then there are those awful and toxic chemically scented plug-ins and “air fresheners.” In more recent years chemically scented candles have been choking the air out of homes worldwide.

Eco-writer Jill Ettinger is allowing us to re-print her article that gives you 99 reasons to stop using fragrance now. It’s a quick read with bulleted points about the dangers of perfume and other fragrances. Cat Faeries has been talking about the many reasons to not use scented kitty litter since our beginning, just over 20 years ago and every chance we get we talk about how bad fragrance is for cats, people and everything else.



Artificial Fragrances are Poison: 99 Reasons to Stop Wearing Perfume

by Jill Ettinger

We have a body odor problem in this country. But it’s not what you probably think. Yes, some of us stink pretty badly (thanks, Standard American Diet), but that’s not the problem. The issue is our relentless pursuit to cover up our body odor with artificial fragrances and perfumes.

Somewhere down the line we decided that detergents and chemicals smell more pleasant than our armpits. We traded in natural botanicals for hazardous materials. We let celebrities sell us perfumes because we think that’s what they must smell like all the time, and if we use their perfume, we’ll smell like a celebrity too.

While we’re now protected in most every public place from cigarette smoke’s hazardous effects, we have no protection against toxic fragrances. If you asked a flight attendant to reseat you because the person seated next to you reeked like Hannah Montana perfume, they’d smile apologetically. Yet fragrances pose serious health risks on par with cigarette smoke.

Think your Axe Body Spray is doing us all a favor? Think again. Here are 99 reasons to stop wearing artificial fragrances and perfumes.

  1. A single perfumed product can contain thousands of fragrances.
  2. And none of them have to come from a natural botanical source.
  3. So can: laundry detergent
  4. Antiperspirant
  5. Deodorant
  6. Shampoo
  7. Conditioner
  8. Lotion
  9. Soap
  10. Candles
  11. Skin care products
  12. Cleaning products
  13. Makeup
  14. And feminine hygiene products
  15. A self-regulated industry, manufacturers do not need to disclose these ingredients (they’re “trade secrets”).
  16. Fragrances contain phthalates.
  17. Phthalates have been linked to reproductive issues
  18. Early puberty in girls
  19. Organ damage
  20. Birth defects
  21. Immune response issues
  22. Endocrine disruption.
  23. Fragrances can cause headaches
  24. Mood swings
  25. Depression
  26. Anxiety
  27. Hyperactivity
  28. Brain fog
  29. Allergies
  30. Sore throat
  31. Watery eyes
  32. Eczema
  33. Rashes
  34. Coughing
  35. Asthma
  36. Erratic blood pressure
  37. Nausea
  38. Vomiting
  39. Abdominal pain
  40. And cancer.
  41. According to Dr. Mercola, synthetic musk, which is widely used in fragrances, can contain several harmful chemicals including:
  42. Xylene
  43. Ketone
  44. HHCB
  45. HHCB-lactone (the oxidation product of HHCB)
  46. AHTN
  47. Tonalide
  48. And galaxolide.
  49. Fragrances contain benzene.
  50. The American Cancer Society considers it a cancer risk.
  51. According to safe cosmetics, “one in every 50 people may suffer immune system damage from fragrance.”
  52. And “once sensitized to an ingredient, a person can remain so for a lifetime, enduring allergic reactions with every subsequent exposure.”
  53. Many fragrance ingredients are considered neurotoxins (damaging to the brain).
  54. Where there’s artificial fragrance, there are also parabens.
  55. Parabens can interfere with hormonal functions.
  56. They’re linked to cancer.
  57. And they may actually make your skin look older, faster.
  58. Dioxane is a common ingredient in detergents.
  59. Tests done on the popular Tide brand of detergent, showed that it contained 55 parts per million of dioxane.
  60. Levels as low as 5 to 10 parts per million have been shown to pose health risks.
  61. Dioxane even appears in some products labeled as “organic” or “natural.”
  62. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), short for sodium lauryl ether sulfate, are common in fragranced products.
  63. More than 16,000 studies show that SLS in any form causes eye and skin irritation.
  64. And organ toxicity
  65. And neurotoxicity
  66. And developmental toxicity
  67. And reproductive issues
  68. And endocrine disruption
  69. And mutations
  70. …And cancer.
  71. NPE (nonylphenol ethoxylate) found in fragranced products has been linked to kidney damage.
  72. And liver damage
  73. And growth issues
  74. And metabolic issues
  75. And underdeveloped testicles
  76. And low sperm count.
  77. Fragrance-containing products are often tested on rabbits.
  78. And mice
  79. And rats
  80. And monkeys
  81. And cats.
  82. Our love for fragrances has an impact on the environment as well.
  83. Synthetic musk is accumulating in wild animals in toxic levels.
  84. Water filtration systems can’t remove some of the more toxic fragrance ingredients from our water supply.
  85. Some fragrances come from animals, taken in harmful ways.
  86. Amebergris comes from sperm whales.
  87. African Stone or Hyraceum comes from the hyrax (a very small, cute cousin to the elephant).
  88. Deer musk and civet cats are also exploited for their fragrance.
  89. Castoreum comes from the anal gland of a beaver.
  90. Fragrances don’t actually relieve your body odor problems anyway.
  91. They just mask it.
  92. Temporarily.
  93. Sometimes they just co-mingle with your body odor, making for very strange smells.
  94. Fragranced products cost you more money,
  95. While putting your health at risk.
  96. Fragranced products are often used to attract people, but the toxins can have the opposite effect…
  97. Repelling love interests.
  98. Making them feel sick. Literally.
  99. Even if they truly want to feel otherwise.

 Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

Resources

http://safecosmetics.org/article.php?id=222

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/07/22/the-reckless-selfinterest-of-the-fragrance-industry.aspx

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/01/12/paraben-chemical-linked-to-breast-cancer_n_1202144.html

http://functionaldiagnosticnutrition.com/laundry-detergents-pose-serious-health-risks/

http://davidsuzuki.org/issues/health/science/toxics/fragrance-and-parfum/

Why cat beds are important to a cat

Why cat beds are important to a cat at CatFaeries.com

Your cat will sleep absolutely any place they wish. They look for places which are soft and warm, comfortable and in a safe place. And a safe place can be on a high surface like your bed or a dresser, or on the floor nestled in a pile of clothes.

But those places get moved according to your whim, and they are washed or cleaned frequently. Most cats like a cat bed because they can arrange it to their liking and also that their fur clings to the fibers of a cat bed and their scent both of which are soothing to your cat – much like snuggling into their mother’s tummy to nurse and sleep.

Yes, you will want to wash your Cat Faeries cat beds from time to time! We give you the instructions with your order. Don’t worry if all of the cat fur doesn’t wash out – kitty prefers it that way!

Cats and Sleep (It’s Primal)

Cats and Sleep (It’s Primal) at CatFaeries.com

Adult cats tend to sleep 15 to 17 hours and in intervals during a 24 hour period. Some cats, particularly elderly cats and kittens, can sleep 20 hours a day. All cat lovers joke about this, and wonder – why do they sleep so much? Is it that our modern housecats are overly pampered, perhaps even lazy?

Not at all! They are sleeping to conserve their energy. All cats, including the big cats, are predators and they are hardwired to leap into action, to chase their prey (or toys) and hunt for suitable food which is what they do mainly at night (which is why they see so well in darkness). Cats are the most active at twilight: dusk and dawn, which is when prey animals such as rodents, birds, and bugs are the most active. Therefore a lot of sleep is required even if the ability to spring into action from sleeping isn’t necessary for survival.

Cats spend so many hours sleeping to store energy reserves and allow their bodies to detox and stay strong for the hunt, even if it’s to stalk a catnip toy. Unlike most humans cats have the ability to spring into action from a light or deep sleep. Hunting takes a massive amount of energy and the best way to nurture energy is through sleep or rest. A dozing cat is conserving energy for future activities.

We’ve heard cats referred to as being nocturnal, but that’s incorrect, they are crepuscular. These are animals that are active during the twilight hours of dusk and dawn when they seek out food and water. Our modern housecats do best with being fed two meals a day, one in the morning and the other in the evening.

Cats aren’t the only crepuscular animals: dogs, nighthawks, moose, rabbits, ferrets, hamsters, guinea pigs, bears, ocelots, deer, moose, squirrels, mice, rats, chinchillas, skunks, wombats, wallabies, possums, spotted hyenas, bobcats, and mosquitoes.

A few interesting and important Notes:

1) Cats being very individual creatures often develop their own sleep patterns, this is normal. Sometimes they mimic our sleep patterns. If you notice a change in your cat’s sleep pattern this could be a sign of illness, especially for older cats. Call your veterinarian.

2) A cat responds to sunlight for waking up. If your cat sleeps with you and your drapes or curtains allow sunlight in the early morning this could explain why your cat wakes you up before you are ready. We recently found a company which makes very interesting inserts for windows which can black out light and sound: http://www.indowwindows.com/

3) Yes, they do dream! And they do have an REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM phases just like we do. Don’t you love it when you cat appears to be dreaming of running through a field and moving their mouth like they are chewing, or chomping on a plump bird?