Your cat’s water bowl – do you know about biofilm?

Have you ever rubbed your fingers on the inside of your cat’s water bowl and felt a bit of goo or slime on the sides? What you are feeling is called biofilm.

Biofilm provides a cozy environment for organisms including E. coli, listeria, and legionella. When biofilm is not removed on a daily basis biofilm acts as an attractant for all kinds of bacteria and provides a nice comfy home for them to breed and multiply, and cause weakened immunity and disease. Think of biofilm as a living entity waiting to wreak havoc.

Keep biofilm out of your cat’s water and food bowls – wash them daily.

For water bowls:

Dump the left over water into a bucket for your garden along with other reusable water from the kitchen. Wash the bowl with hot water and a few drops of mild dish soap. Rinse and refill with filtered water.

For food bowls:

Even if you feed your cat dry crunchies don’t keep refilling the bowl. You must use a fresh clean bowl for each meal time because the oils from the food and saliva mix together to create a particularly nasty bio film and the oils go rancid (rancid oil is a cancer cell’s friend – cancer feeds on rancid oil and sugars). Keep a rotation of cat food bowls handy so that the time spent preparing their food is shortened for you. Soiled bowls go in the dishwasher or are washed by hand in hot soapy water.

We have 4 cats and we have 12 Pyrex bowls which we rotate at each meal. They are either washed by hand or go in the dishwasher at night.

The bowls we recommend for both food and water – clear Pyrex glass which allows you to see food particles, and they are very easy to clean. We love that they are dishwasher safe. You do not need to worry about the glass being toxic because Pyrex is made in the US.

Does your cat (or you!) have a chronic infection? Is your cat prone to bladder infection, urinary tract infections, ear infections, and other microbial / bacterial conditions? Biofilm in the water and food bowl could be the cause. By simply washing thoroughly you’ll save money on vet bills and you’ll keep your cat healthy for a long happy life with you.

More reading about biofilm:

A good definition: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biofilm

About biofilm and infections: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23635385

Keeping your home biofilm free (as much as possible given that few of us are perfect little housekeepers!)

Biofilm also clings to our walls and items in our homes. Before it sounds like we are paranoid neat-freaks (which we are not, Madam Cat Faerie did not get the Martha Stewart gene) let us say that it’s good to be exposed to a certain amount of dirt and other crud. It’s good for the immunity and microbiome of any species. But we don’t’ want to be living in an environment that compromises anyone’s health.

One area of the house where we all should be concerned about is where the litter boxes are. That’s why we like keeping litter boxes in one area to create a cat-friendly litter box latrine area. The powders and dusts from cat litter can cling to the walls and other surfaces around the litter boxes. It’s important to wash down those walls. How often? If there are unhealthy people and animals in your home: weekly. Otherwise every 2 to 4 weeks will help tremendously.

Hot water and a washable terrycloth rag work wonders! They are free of cost and non-toxic.

Cats and Water (this isn’t what you think)

The theme of this week’s newsletter is all about water. We’ve dug up some information which might be surprising to you. It will certainly be interesting, and it could improve the health of all who dwell in your home.


Newton’s Purrspective – Cats in Formal Attire

Although dogs have been domesticated for 30,000 years cats took much longer to make that leap. (In fact, some researchers consider us “semi-domesticated”. Our genetic divergence from our desert dwelling ancestors is relatively recent. http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/genome-comparison-shows-how-wildcats-became-housecats) We joined humans a little over 9,000 years ago when agriculture fostered:

  1. a change from the previous nomadic lifestyle and
  2. a concentration of rodents! http://www.livescience.com/7299-house-cats-wild-ancestor.html


Isaac Newton

Domestic felines are genetically close to our wild counterparts (in fact, at my house we are called “fe-lions”). Having evolved in the desert we are meant to get water with our food. Are we getting enough? http://pets.webmd.com/cats/guide/mistakes-people-make-feeding-cats?page=2

Here is a breakdown for water content of food:

  1. mice 70%
  2. canned food 78%
  3. dry food 5-10%

We should always have access to water, but with just a dry diet we need to drink more. How can you be sure Kitty will drink what she needs?

Everyone agrees that food and water should be placed as far as possible from the litter box area. That’s one even humans appreciate, aesthetically as well as to avoid bacterial contamination. However, does it make a difference if food and water are side by side? Some cats do prefer separation. Our wild relatives often capture prey at watering holes and would want clean water some distance from the kill.

Any stagnant water is likely to contain bacteria or other harmful organisms. Kitty’s attraction to running water (and hence, the popularity of cat fountains) may be instinctual.

All water is not created equal. The four basic types are:

  1. municipal tap water
  2. well water
  3. distilled water
  4. spring water

Please keep in mind that any water can be filtered to remove harmful contaminants.

Municipal water may contain chlorine by-products, fluoride, bacteria, arsenic, toxic pesticide residues, heavy metals, and even rocket fuel. (yikes!) http://www.littlebigcat.com/health/water-water-everywhere-but-whats-a-cat-to-drink/ Compared to this, the three others seem like ambrosia. However, depending on your location even well water may have contamination. The only way to know for sure is to have it tested by a reliable laboratory. (This should be a concern for the whole family.)

Does that mean distilled water is the answer? Absolutely not! It is so pure it is tasteless and contains none of the molecules and particles needed for health. Drinking only distilled water can lead to deficiencies in sodium, potassium and vital trace minerals. People who drink distilled water exclusively may suffer from high blood pressure and irregular heartbeats.

The best option, for cats and their people) is spring water, assuming it is from a good quality natural spring. (Some bottled water is known to be simply tap water in a bottle.)

Water is good and necessary for life. However, too much or too little are signs of potential illness requiring veterinary advice. A dehydrated cat will lose skin elasticity (noticeable at the scruff on the back of the neck). Drinking excessive water (is Kitty always at the water bowl?) may be an indication of problems such as kidney disease, hyperthyroidism or diabetes.

How coconut oil will help your cat’s health.

If you are using coconut oil for your health and cooking then you know already know about many of its benefits for people. You’ll be happy to know that your cat will benefit from coconut oil too.

Among the reasons to add ½ to 1 teaspoon to your cat’s food every day:

  • Coconut oil provides the much needed “medium chain fatty acids.”
  • It is 90% saturated fat which is vital for brain health and can stave off dementia and Alzheimer’s
  • Boosts the immune system.
  • Coconut oil is about 40% lauric acid which has been shown to be a preventative of some cancers.
  • Improved digestion, say goodbye to constipation and finding hard cats poops on the floor.
  • Improves thyroid function
  • Antimicrobial
  • Anti bacterial
  • Anti fungal
  • Full of antioxidants
  • Helps prevent the parasite: Giardia
  • Helps the cat absorb more minerals and other nutrients from food.
  • Has been found to fight staph infection better than antibiotics.
  • Immune system boosting.
  • Prevents fur balls
  • Clear up rashes by applying it directly.
  • Heal wounds fast by applying it directly.

Adding coconut oil to cat food:

It’s easy to mix ½ to 1 teaspoon in canned cat food or homemade cat food. Start with a small amount and work up to ½ to 1 teaspoon per day. If you live in a hot climate your coconut oil is probably liquefied so spooning it out is easy. If your climate or house is cool to cold it will be solid – in that case spoon it out, put in a bowl and with your spoon press to soften, then add the food and mix. If you feed crunchies/kibble do your best to mix the two together. Most cats like the taste of coconut oil – we even have a video for you at the end of this newsletter with a cat eating coconut from the shell!

People: improve you oral health and detoxify

The humans at Cat Faeries are big users of coconut oil and in particular we love the Ayurvedic therapy of “oil pulling” or “oil swishing” for our mouths. The oil “pulls” toxins which are spat out after 15 minutes of swishing. Tartar melts away before it can harden which means better gum health and fewer trips to the dentist. It is said that medical conditions such as diabetes improve. Floss first, then swish – we can almost guarantee that a few sneaky food particles hid and will be dislodged by the oil – surprise! Daily swishing means your teeth will be whiter, your gums stronger, and your breath will be fresher. Your mouth will feel sparkling clean for hours after.

Alas, cats can’t swish oil in their mouths, but because you add it to their food they will be happy with improved digestion and to have fur worthy of flaunting! Not to mention your cat is going to feel healthier, younger, and have more bounce to their pounce – the oil will improve their joints!

Here’s one of many articles on coconut oil for swishing.

http://www.saragottfriedmd.com/oil-pulling-whiten-your-teeth-detoxify-your-body-and-prevent-cavities/

Here’s a great article about medium chain fatty acids:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/10/22/coconut-oil-and-saturated-fats-can-make-you-healthy.aspx

Why Sprouts Are Good for Cats: Make healthful Kitty Spaghetti from red clover seeds

We’ve always been fans of wheat grass for cats, having written what could have been the first article ever on the benefits of wheat grass for cats in Tiger Tribe magazine back in 1993.

Yaelle is a Cat Faeries customer and for over 20 years she’s made what she calls Kitty Spaghetti or Cat Salad from sprouted red clover seeds. She has tended to countless cats from her own, as well as ferals and fosters. A true cat whisperer! Here’s what she has to say about red clover sprouts.


Yaelle’s Healthy “Cat Salad” or “Kitty Spaghetti”

This is my simple “cat salad/kitty spaghetti” recipe that I feed my cats, to all my rescues/fosters, too. In over 20 years only 3 cats have refused this delicious and nutritious dish. Kitties gobble this up faster than I’ve seen cats eat any other kind of food.

What you need:

  • red clover seeds
  • A clean 1 quart Mason jar
  • Something mesh like: panty hose, cheese cloth.
  • A rubber band
  • Filtered water
  • Alternatively you could be a special sprouting jar at your local health food store, but truly a Mason jar is just as good and it’s practically free!

HERE’S A BASIC HOW-TO-SPROUT RECIPE:
1: Take red clover seeds and put them in your clean quart-sized jar. For one or two cats: 1 to 2 tablespoons. For more cats and yourself add 4 to 6 tablespoons of seeds.

2: Add purified or filtered water enough that the water is several inches above the seeds. The seeds will expand, so make sure you have enough water covering them.

3: Soak overnight.

4: In the morning pour off water. Then add more water through the pantyhose or cheesecloth and rinse the seeds well. Do this a couple of times. Once you’ve done your final rinse place mouth of jar down at 45 degree angle for drainage and ventilation. There are several ways you can tilt the jars at a 45 degree angle. You can use a dish drainer or prop the jar up at the correct angle with dish towels and something to lean the jar against.

5: Rinse twice a day with fresh cool water.

6: After 4 or 5 days you’ve got mature sprouts. Don’t let them go longer, they’ll get bigger and tough. It’s now time to start using them. Your sprouts are fresh for almost one week stored in a glass jar in the fridge.

Once you get the hang of this you can keep a jar or two in rotation so that you don’t run out of sprouts. It’s a bit tricky at first to get the rhythm down, and for a long time I found that either I had too many sprouts or I was running out. Eventually with practice, you develop a system that works optimally for you, your cats and your schedule. This delicate sprouting process doesn’t have to be a perfect science. Even if the sprouts are not fully grown, as long as they have sprouted, they are a “living food” and what’s essential for this healthful recipe!

I have 3 quart-sized glass jars “going” at all times:

  • One jar has seeds that are soaking. I soak my seeds about every 3 or 4 days.
  • The 2nd jar has sprouts that are in the growing stage.
  • The 3rd jar has the sprouts that are ready to harvest.

Time to add sprouts to your cat’s food!

After your sprouts are ready, you take your preferred moist cat food. I recommend Primal Freeze-Dried Formula for Cats It comes in little “bricks” or nuggets. It’s frozen 100% human-grade raw organic food full of wonderful things such as coconut oil. It’s a bit expensive but worth it if you can afford it.

Here’s where to find this cat food: http://www.primalpetfoods.com/locator/index.php

(Cat Faeries recommends the turkey flavor as we do not trust fish from any source at this time. This is what we feed our own cats, and only the turkey flavor.)

Put the cat’s food in a bowl and add sprouts, mixing with a fork. You might give the sprouts a rough chop first.

In addition you could add a little cod liver oil for skin and fur. It has lots of vitamin A and D and tastes fishy so cats really go for it! Kitties (and humans) really need their healthy fats.

Finally, to “spice” things up, I always sprinkle some spirulina into my cat salad/kitty spaghetti.

I only have known 3 cats who would not eat the “cat salad/kitty spaghetti” from the very first serving. For those cats you could add a few of your kitty’s favorite and healthful kibble just like “meatballs” on top of spaghetti or salad “croutons”!

BON APPETIT

With all my love,
Yaelle


Here’s a picture of Yaelle’s Cassie…

Shocking Tests Reveal Toxins in Cat & Dog Food

For several months we’ve been on pins and needles awaiting the results of the findings from 12 very well known brands of cat and dog foods, including a few so-called prescription foods. These are all brands you’ve heard of, and some of them are brands many assume are the good ones for our cats.

The testing was sponsored by and paid for by the members of the Association for Truth in Pet Food (ATPF), in other words, concerned consumers like you and me who donated money to fund this project. ATPF was founded by pet food advocate Susan Thixton.

The qualifications of the people running the tests include: veterinary nutritionists and forensic scientists.

Does the word “Mycotoxin” scare you? Us too! The foods tested had varying levels of Mycotoxins in them.

Have you heard of group of bacteria called Acinetobacter? We learned that this bacteria is responsible for approximately 500 human deaths a year. You will see that this bacteria was found in 8 of the 12 pet foods tested! And it gets worse: for humans Acinetobacter is 63% multi drug resistant. We are going to wonder out loud for a moment: could some of these human deaths be linked to the handling or eating tainted cat/dog food?

If it’s a threat to human health then why are these toxins ending up in cat and dog food?

Read more:

http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/46/8/1254.full

http://www.cdc.gov/HAI/organisms/acinetobacter.html

We are paying the FDA and state department of agriculture One Billion Dollars annually nationwide to conduct testing yet they claim they don’t have enough money to test for toxins in cat and dog food!

Susan Thixton from ATPF will attempt to meet with the FDA in a week to challenge them on these topics and more. If she’s successful we’ll report back to you with the outcome.

Angry? Here’s what you can do today. Call and write to your Congresspersons. Call and write to officials at the local level. If we do not demand change, insist that laws be put in place, and force better enforcement of those laws nothing will improve. Don’t just contact the manufacturers – they may only change if laws which make this illegal are in place.

The test results which you are going to see should embarrass the regulatory officials because it proves that they are not doing their jobs.

This link will take you the very lengthy and disturbing test results.

http://truthaboutpetfood.com/the-pet-food-test-results/

Important article from the The Truth About Pet Food about Purina food possibly linked to pet illness/deaths

Below is an article from The Truth About Pet Food that came out today regarding reports of Purina food possibly linked to cat and dog illnesses/deaths over the last two months. If any of your cats or dogs have mysteriously gotten sick or worse please read this article and then report it to the FDA. You can go here to file a report.


Report it! – Please!

By Susan Thixton

http://truthaboutpetfood.com/report-it-please/

November 13, 2014

I’ve heard from many readers concerned of the recent Internet reports of sick and dying pets linked to a Purina Pet Food. I turned to FDA asking if the agency has received complaints on the Purina foods.

When an Examiner.com story was published highlighting several recent pet deaths linked to a Purina pet food, I started hearing from many readers. Everyone had similar concerns – is there going to be a recall? The amazing thing is – no one that wrote me provides their pet a Purina product. Everyone’s concern was for other pets – other pet owners. Everyone that contacted me was wanting to help – wanting to prevent pet illness and death.

The Examiner.com story was based on pet food consumer reports of sick or dead pets on the ConsumerAffairs.com website. The posts from consumers were heartbreaking and concerning. I turned to FDA, asking if they could tell me if any Purina pet food was under investigation and asking how many adverse event reports the agency has received over the past two months.
FDA promptly replied:

In the past two months (9/12/2014 to 11/12/2014), the agency has received 14 reports about Purina dry food products (this includes for both dogs and cats). Three were adverse event reports for cat food products, 10 were adverse event reports for dog food products (one of these included a product defect report as well), and 1 was a product defect report for a dog food product. Here is a breakdown of the reports:

Purina Cat Chow: 0
Purina Dog Chow: 1 product report
Purina Puppy Chow: 2 (1 product defect, 1 product defect/adverse event report)
Beneful: 8 reports, 1 included another Purina product as well
Purina ONE: 1 cat product report, 1 dog product report
Purina ProPlan: 1 cat product report

The Food and Drug Administration welcomes reports from consumers alerting the agency to problems with products regulated by the agency. These reports help the FDA ensure that products on the market are safe and properly manufactured, labeled and stored. FDA encourages those with concerns about a particular pet food product to submit a report to the Safety Reporting Portal: https://www.safetyreporting.hhs.gov/fpsr/WorkflowLoginIO.aspx?metinstance=B4B8DBDBB6CD79D2ED83195A812D1E7D9C329501.

Reports of adverse events do not necessarily mean that the product caused the event. Other factors, such as existing disease, exposure to chemicals or contaminants, foods, or other medications may have triggered or contributed to the cause of the event. The FDA takes all of these factors into consideration when reviewing adverse drug event reports.

In general, the agency does not discuss its enforcement activities, and any investigation findings would be shared directly with the company.

From the ConsumerAffairs.com website – in the approximate same time frame there are the following complaints filed by consumers…

Alpo – sick dog
Beyond Lamb and Rice Dog Food – sick dog
Purina One Cat Food – sick cat.
Purina Kit & Kaboodle – 10 cats died.
Pro Plan – worms in pet food.
Kit & Kaboodle – one cat died.
Purina Kitten Chow – one kitten died.
Purina Lamb and Rice – sick dog.
Pro Plan Dog Food – seizure.
Purina One cat food – diminished motor control.
Friskies – 2 sick cats.
Purina One Hairball – two sick cats.
Purina Cat Chow – sick cats and one died.
Purina Dog Chow – sick dog.
Purina Dog Chow – sick dog.
Purina Kitten Chow – 2 kittens died.
Purina Cat Food – bugs in food.
Purina Pro Plan Puppy – bugs in food.
Puppy Chow – puppy died.
Purina One Lamb and Rice – bugs in food.
Friskies – sick cats.
Friskies can – ‘grey’ on top wet food.
Purina Beyond – sick dog.
Purina Cat Chow – sick cat.
Purina One Smart Blend – sick dogs.
Purina Dog Chow – dog died, another dog died too.
Purina One – sick cat.
Purina Cat Chow – cat died.

In the above list – consumers have reported 19 animals have died. These numbers or reports of sick pets (naming a food) do not agree with what FDA shared. What is going on?

The answer is – we don’t know. What we do know is that we need every incident of a sick pet, every pet that has died, and every bugs in a pet food reported to FDA. Every incident needs to be reported.

Needless to say, I am not the FDA’s biggest fan. But – the ONLY way for a suspect pet food to be recalled is through FDA and your State Department of Agriculture. If – we consumers – can be pro-active in helping save the lives of pets, this is one way we can help.

If you or anyone you know has a pet they believe was sickened or killed linked to a pet food or treat –

1. Seek veterinary care for your pet. Share your concern that you believe the pet food or treat might be the cause. Ask your veterinarian to give their opinion if the food could be related to the illness or death – this is significant information for FDA and other investigators. We need our veterinarians to stand with us. If the pet dies – as difficult as this might be – ask your veterinarian to perform a necropsy. This is evidence. In the midst of your grief, if you believe the food or treat was the cause, you need this evidence to hold the manufacturer accountable. You will need this evidence to possibly save the lives of other pets. If you cannot afford the cost of a necropsy, ask you veterinarian to hold the pets body while you report the issue to regulatory authorities.
In some cases authorities will perform the necropsy for you. Make certain to tell regulatory authorities you are holding the pet’s body for this reason.

2. When time allows – document everything. Where and when you purchased the food (keep all food and packaging), when you first noticed symptoms and what those symptoms are/were. Document everything you can recall. DO NOT return the food to the retail outlet for a refund. No investigation can occur without the food/treat and the packaging.

3. File a complaint with the FDA and your State Department of Agriculture (ask to speak to the pet food investigator). Bookmark this page on the FDA website. This is the instructions on how to report the sick pet.

4. Report the incident to the pet food manufacturer. Note: seek veterinary treatment first, document everything, report to FDA before you report to the manufacturer.

5. You can have the food tested yourself at an independent lab or a veterinary school lab. Ask your veterinarian to provide you with what food toxins could cause the symptoms seen in your pet (example: mycotoxins, vitamin toxicity).

6. If you wish to share your story with other websites – share. We all want to warn other consumers when we suspect a problem with a pet food or treat. But please – report the incident to regulatory authorities first, Facebook second.

My heart goes out to all those that have lost a pet due to a pet food or treat – I began my path of pet food consumer advocacy because 20+ years ago a dog food killed my beloved dog. I still grieve her death – I still feel responsible. I didn’t know then what I know now, but I bought her this pet food and placed it in her bowl. Something I’ll never forget.

Report it – please.

Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
TruthaboutPetFood.com
Association for Truth in Pet Food