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.
 
 
 
 

Are essential oils safe for your cat?

Cat Faeries gets about 30 emails a week asking if we carry essential oils, and if we don’t, they want to know why. We also hear from people who have essential oils confused with flower essences, which are what Cat Faeries specializes in and are two very different things. And these are great questions! One is a volatile plant oil, and the other is purely vibrational, the vibration of a plant or flower, not actual plant material.

In 1982 Auntie Cat Faerie got her first certification as an aromatherapist and believe me when I tell you, in 1982 NO ONE knew what on earth that was, the word actually scared them! Auntie Cat Faerie went on to get 4 more certifications during the 1980’s. (just a little obsessed are we?!) But by the early 1990’s the term aromatherapy was being misused and overused so she got out of that field not wanting to be associated with a modality that had corporations who make those toxic “air fresheners” but began to call them aromatherapy, or with people who had zero training or background who got involved in multi level marketing selling essential oils to friends and co-workers. Also, aromatherapy was never a good term for essential oil usage as the smell is only one part of the benefits of this healing modality – Essential Oil Therapy would have been better. Anyway, the oils penetrate skin, enter the blood stream, and can affect all vital organs, therefore on must be highly trained to recommend or administer them. And understand the species they wish to work with.

Sir Issac Newton our “feline editor at-large” wanted to give our readers the scoop on essential oils and their use for cats. Before you pounce on that story I’m going to tell you about a use for one essential oil, oregano oil, which will prove how effective the oils can be – as well as – how strong these volatile compounds are.

You’ve heard about “oil pulling” with coconut oil? If not, you would take a spoonful of coconut oil, and add ONE drop of oregano oil to it, put it in your mouth and swish for 15 to 20 minutes, first thing in the morning, before eating or drinking anything, to remove toxins and freshen the mouth. Yes, 15 or 20 minutes seems like an eternity to swish something in your mouth so to distract myself I feed the cats and check email – the time flies. When the time is up spit it out in the trash (not the sink) and rinse with water or use a dedicated toothbrush. My dentist is blown away by my progress because I had a history of gum disease which is 100% resolved from the swishing. I try to swish again before bed, after flossing, and interestingly the two oils always seem to find and dislodge a particle or two that I missed flossing! Now this is where essential oil therapy comes into play and its truly fascinating – the added oregano oil is so potent that it literally has kept me from accumulating any tartar. As you know tartar is so rock hard at the gum line or clinging to teeth needs to be chiseled off by a dentist. Well, if oil swishing with one drop of oregano oil has keep Auntie Cat Faerie tartar-free (truly, my mouth is a tartar producing factory) you can imagine what too much could do if ingested by a person and small animal like a cat. The best of the holistic veterinarians we know, like Cheryl Schwartz, says NO to essential oils for cats. Many cats have died or ended up in the Kitty ER from essential oils.

As a side note, our Catnip Meow Mist is a hydrosol which is the watery run off during the process of making essential oils. Catnip doesn’t yield much in the way of essential oil (don’t trust anyone who says that it does, it will be fake if they are selling it) but it makes a divine hydrosol and it’s perfectly safe for a cat, baby, or any being to come in contact with. Can this be said about other hydrosols? Maybe yes, maybe no – it would depend upon the plant used.


Newton’s Purrspective – Essential Oils – Should They be Used on Cats?

Essential oils are all the rage for people these days. Uses range from plain enjoyment of the fragrance to treatment of actual physical ailments. The oils can have therapeutic value, but many factors determine the quality of the extracted plant oils.

These include:

  • The plant itself and what part is used
  • Climate and cultivation methods
  • Timing and method of harvest
  • How the oil is produced and stored




Isaac Newton

How many people do the research to determine if the essential oils they purchase are high quality? Are they likely to do what the company claims? Do they contain impurities which could be harmful? To date, there is no regulation.

That said, I’m not surprised that the use of essential oils for cats remains highly controversial. One of the attractions of the oils for people is the scent. Cinnamon! Eucalyptus! Lavender! Cats’ noses are very sensitive (one of the reasons we prefer unscented cat litter) and we are unlikely to find enjoyment in such concentrated perfume.

Some people use the oils for perfume as well as therapy. A drop or two of lavender is said to be calming for people. However, it is unlikely to have the same effect on Kitty. Also, remember that anything you apply topically to a cat is likely to be licked off in minutes. Oils may be safe for humans to ingest, but cats have a different metabolism and sensitivities to chemical compounds.

Essential oils are highly concentrated. Some, such as the popular Tea Tree Oil, can cause serious skin irritation if not diluted. This, of course, is a danger in applying any oil directly to a cat’s skin. Also remember that oils are fat soluble. They cannot be simply rinsed off. And, once absorbed by the skin they can travel to any part of the body containing fat.

Most oils can be distributed into the air using a nebulizing diffuser. Although much less concentrated than direct inhalation the mist could still be an irritant to Kitty’s delicate nostrils. For safety’s sake some recommend using a diffuser only in a part of the house with no cat access.

The bottom line is I could find no evidence that essential oils should ever be used on cats. The potential hazards are far too great.

However, cats can still enjoy the benefits of plant compounds. Hydrosols come from steam distillation of plants used for aromatherapy. The result is a much less concentrated plant essence. Auntie Cat Faerie explained to me that this is the process used to produce Catnip Meow Mist. I love this for freshening up my Cat Faeries toys. I didn’t mind pieces of dried catnip all over the floor, but it triggers the need to vacuum in some people.

Flower essences are the safest product available for your cat. They are generally made from an infusion of plants and flowers picked at their peak. However, Cat Faeries is one of the few companies using a special process that is in harmony with the natural and healing spirit worlds.

Unlike oils, flower essences have no scent. Cat Faeries flower essences also lack alcohol, vinegar or anything else that would taste bad. They can be sprayed on furniture, added to food or water, and even applied directly to Kitty. The Flower Essence section lists more than a dozen scenarios and directs you to the appropriate product for your cat or cats. If you are unsure, send an email to Auntie Cat Faerie. She will be happy to answer your questions.
 
 
 
 

Are You Overloaded by Internet Cat Information?

Newton’s Purrspective – Information Overload!

I enjoy clicking a mouse as much as any other cat. However, when I am looking for answers the vast amount of information available on the internet is overwhelming. How can one possibly sort it all out? Internet content is rarely regulated or reviewed for accuracy and credibility. For example, a search for solutions to elimination outside the litter box could lead you to everything from scientific studies by well-known cat behaviorists to a blog by someone who may never have shared a home with a cat.




Isaac Newton

Of course, most of us are not qualified to read and interpret the results of studies published in specialized scientific journals. We must trust others to do that for us. Let’s look at the litterbox question. You may come across a blog that claims to know all the answers. Perhaps they say “if you notice that Kitty has peed outside the box rub her nose in it while repeating ‘bad! bad!’” Another blog may discuss cat litter or appropriate cat box size and location. The first answer seems cruel and demeaning to Kitty, while the second suggests some environmental factors under the person’s control. Please don’t stop with one blog. Read on and read critically. Just because it is on the internet does not mean it is true.

Behaviorists have long known that litterbox issues can be complex, particularly in multi cat households. Punishment will not solve the problem and will almost certainly result in other undesirable behaviors. If there is no medical problem, such as a bladder infection, then other causes must be investigated. Products such as Anti Icky Poo, Convivial House Cat, Cat Faeries Flower Essences, and Feliway could be part of the solution.

So, as you continue your search, how can you tell if a website should be trusted? Credentials are important. The Cornell University Feline Health Center is a recognized authority. However, it is not the only source of reliable information. Veterinarians may write blogs in the interest of public education. Organizations dedicated to cat welfare also offer advice based on sound veterinary practices.

In addition to credentials I always want to know:

  • Why certain advice is offered (motive)
  • The source of information (e.g. references to persons or studies)
  • Comments from customers (if it is a retail site)

 

Motive could be something as simple as the desire to educate the public about cat health. On the other hand, a site’s purpose may be difficult to determine. If it is not immediately obvious I quickly move on. I don’t want to waste my nine lives trying to figure out what they want and why.

A reputable site does not proclaim “THIS is the answer!” without telling you why they believe so. This backup may be their own research, studies done by others, or extensive client feedback.

The internet has been called the information super highway. Drive carefully.
 
 
 
 

How to De-Skunk a Cat (or You) with Anti Icky Poo

Recently a customer wrote to ask if Anti Icky Poo would remove skunk musk from her cat’s fur. The cat probably wasn’t actually sprayed by the skunk, instead kitty probably rubbed up against a plant or bush that the skunk sprayed during a mating ritual to mark territory (sound familiar?) or to appear sexy. We at Cat Faeries adore skunks, in particular we love Skunkie who lives below ground in our front garden! And as you might expect every night we leave food and water for our gorgeous fluffy friend – did you know they are fond of cat food? Skunks are not particularly fussy eaters (cats, take note and learn from this!) however our dear Skunkie does not like rice but enjoys everything else we set out. We often see Skunkie and an outside cat sitting near each other in complete harmony. More on that below.

Since we are FOS (friends of skunks) we wanted to give our customer and you the best answer and solutions to this smelly problem.

But before we tell you how to de-skunk cat fur, dog fur, or you and you clothes let us tell you a few things about skunks. They are shy and very passive, and like cats, they are curious. They don’t seek to spray anyone and only do so when provoked or frightened – this is truly a last resort and if they fear they might be killed. They are solitary animals who would prefer peacefully keeping your garden free of small rodents, and harmful insects, worms and grub worms which might be in your soil eating away your greens and vegetables. Skunks are a healthy garden’s friend who come out to visit and hunt at dawn and dusk. If you are lucky you might see a mama skunk with babies in Spring. After the baby skunks are grown they leave their mother to strike out on their own, again, as solitary animals. Baby skunks are called kits… baby cats are called kittens… the similarities continue!

So far it seems that skunks and cats are compatible, or least they can co-exist well. We are told that skunks and outside cats will share a food bowl! We’ve observed Skunkie and a lovely pastel tortoiseshell cat sitting about 7 feet apart in the evening. Here’s a video of a cat and skunk caught on surveillance camera with infra-red. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFz7Na_G9Pw

Skunks are most active at dusk and dawn. Is it coincidence that your cat wants to eat at dusk and dawn too and run around like a crazy person?

How do you know if you are about to be “skunked?” Simultaneously the skunk’s back will be towards you and his head turned looking over his shoulder so he can see you (for good aim!) You might see red anal scent glands depending upon how light it is. With excellent aim and propulsion of up to 10 feet – BAM! – you’ve been skunked!

Here is how to de-skunk using Anti Icky Poo:

1) DO NOT PRE RINSE THE CAT! This spreads the oily skunk spray. Tomato juice will not work… you’ll have a cat that smells of tomatoes and skunk spray

2) Soak a large rag with Anti Icky Poo so that it’s very wet. Wipe down the cat (or dog) and allow to dry. Of you could take the cat’s brush which you’ve soaked in Anti Icky Poo then brush it through the fur. With either method you’ll re-apply in 2 hours. This should take care of it, if not, apply a third time. Rinse with another water soaked rag or a fresh brush to finish the treatment. Discard the rags and brushes. Please only use the unscented version as the fragrance can be irritating to skin, lungs, and eyes.

3) If it’s you who got skunked, soak your clothes in the washing machine with ½ cup of Anti Icky Poo and cold or warm water for a few hours or overnight. After you soak and rinse, wash the clothes with clothe soap and ¼ cup more of Anti Icky Poo. You could even wash your hair with Anti Icky Poo if you wish.

Here you can see a mama skunk and her adorable progeny approaching a man who stopped his bicycle to watch and video them. He’s perfectly respectful and quiet therefore there is no spraying of skunk musk proving that skunks would rather not spray. Also, aren’t their squeaks beyond cute? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WINFNvPjbG4

 
 
 

Another great use for Anti Icky Poo! Removing Ring Around the Collar!

Who’s old enough to remember those catchy commercials from the 1970’s? And who of us teased co-workers, parents, teachers, and class mates for their rings around their collars? And who is plagued with ring around the collar today? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3N_skYSGoY

Madam Cat Faerie for one! She’s one of those unfortunate people who makes a vivid ring on her collars even minutes after putting one on and on a stone-cold day no less! The oils of the ring become one with the fabric which nothing seems to remove completely – always remaining are streaks of yellow or traces. Madam Cat Faerie is also not willing to use toxic methods to clean up anything.

Recently I bought a divine long soft cotton button down white shirt and wore it Saturday. And of course it grew quite a ring despite having exfoliated my neck to a pink glow earlier! I would never use a potentially toxic cleaning agent like bleach (which doesn’t work anyway) so the bright idea of a soak in Anti Icky Poo was worth an experiment. We’ve told you that Anti Icky Poo removes oils from clothing (found this out when I spilled olive oil on a cotton dress). Mr. Cat Faerie, a car hobbyist, does similar soaks to remove auto grease from his clothes.

How to do it: Put ½ cup of unscented Anti Icky Poo in a tub with another ½ cup of cold or cool water. Place the soiled shirt with the collar going into the soaking solution first, then allow the rest of the garment to rest on top – all of it will get a nice stain removing soak. The first 24 hours removed most of it, but not enough, so the soaking went for 32 hours. SUCCESS! Every speck of yellow was gone baby gone! The shirt went into the machine for a quick wash in Seventh Generation – Free and Clear liquid clothes soap to remove the Anti Icky Poo. After drying overnight I’ll fearlessly wear that shirt over and over!