We cringe every time we hear that another cat has lost a home because of bad and incorrect warnings from doctors directed at pregnant women.
We finally found a really good article that clears the air about cats, toxoplasmosis and pregnant or nursing women.
Far too many obstetricians attempting to sound smart have given women bad and very wrong advice: “Get rid of your cat to protect your child.”
If your cat stays inside and has never eaten a rodent the chances of your cat carrying this parasite are remote. Concerned about your cat? Have the cat tested!
From the article we’ve linked to below:
Question: Do I have to give up my cat if I’m pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant?
Answer: No. You should follow these helpful tips to reduce your risk of environmental exposure to Toxoplasma.
- Avoid changing cat litter if possible. If no one else can perform the task, wear disposable gloves and wash your hands with soap and warm water afterwards.
- Ensure that the cat litter box is changed daily. The Toxoplasma parasite does not become infectious until 1 to 5 days after it is shed in a cat’s feces.
- Feed your cat commercial dry or canned food, not raw or undercooked meats.
- Keep cats indoors.
- Avoid stray cats, especially kittens. Do not get a new cat while you are pregnant.
- Keep outdoor sandboxes covered.
- Wear gloves when gardening and during contact with soil or sand because it might be contaminated with cat feces that contain Toxoplasma. Wash hands with soap and warm water after gardening or contact with soil or sand.
Read the entire article: http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/toxoplasmosis/gen_info/pregnant.html
The ASPCA has a good page about Toxoplasmosis and cats. Here’s something they say:
If you suspect your cat is carrying the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, it’s time to get him tested by your veterinarian. If he tests positive, it means he has been exposed to the disease but is unlikely to be shedding oocysts after an initial two-week period. If he tests negative, it means he has not been exposed and could still become infected and shed oocysts — but again only for two weeks.
Read more from the ASPCA: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/toxoplasmosis
From a new mother’s forum, moms and a vet student speak:
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.
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.
- A single perfumed product can contain thousands of fragrances.
- And none of them have to come from a natural botanical source.
- So can: laundry detergent
- Skin care products
- Cleaning products
- And feminine hygiene products
- A self-regulated industry, manufacturers do not need to disclose these ingredients (they’re “trade secrets”).
- Fragrances contain phthalates.
- Phthalates have been linked to reproductive issues
- Early puberty in girls
- Organ damage
- Birth defects
- Immune response issues
- Endocrine disruption.
- Fragrances can cause headaches
- Mood swings
- Brain fog
- Sore throat
- Watery eyes
- Erratic blood pressure
- Abdominal pain
- And cancer.
- According to Dr. Mercola, synthetic musk, which is widely used in fragrances, can contain several harmful chemicals including:
- HHCB-lactone (the oxidation product of HHCB)
- And galaxolide.
- Fragrances contain benzene.
- The American Cancer Society considers it a cancer risk.
- According to safe cosmetics, “one in every 50 people may suffer immune system damage from fragrance.”
- And “once sensitized to an ingredient, a person can remain so for a lifetime, enduring allergic reactions with every subsequent exposure.”
- Many fragrance ingredients are considered neurotoxins (damaging to the brain).
- Where there’s artificial fragrance, there are also parabens.
- Parabens can interfere with hormonal functions.
- They’re linked to cancer.
- And they may actually make your skin look older, faster.
- Dioxane is a common ingredient in detergents.
- Tests done on the popular Tide brand of detergent, showed that it contained 55 parts per million of dioxane.
- Levels as low as 5 to 10 parts per million have been shown to pose health risks.
- Dioxane even appears in some products labeled as “organic” or “natural.”
- Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), short for sodium lauryl ether sulfate, are common in fragranced products.
- More than 16,000 studies show that SLS in any form causes eye and skin irritation.
- And organ toxicity
- And neurotoxicity
- And developmental toxicity
- And reproductive issues
- And endocrine disruption
- And mutations
- …And cancer.
- NPE (nonylphenol ethoxylate) found in fragranced products has been linked to kidney damage.
- And liver damage
- And growth issues
- And metabolic issues
- And underdeveloped testicles
- And low sperm count.
- Fragrance-containing products are often tested on rabbits.
- And mice
- And rats
- And monkeys
- And cats.
- Our love for fragrances has an impact on the environment as well.
- Synthetic musk is accumulating in wild animals in toxic levels.
- Water filtration systems can’t remove some of the more toxic fragrance ingredients from our water supply.
- Some fragrances come from animals, taken in harmful ways.
- Amebergris comes from sperm whales.
- African Stone or Hyraceum comes from the hyrax (a very small, cute cousin to the elephant).
- Deer musk and civet cats are also exploited for their fragrance.
- Castoreum comes from the anal gland of a beaver.
- Fragrances don’t actually relieve your body odor problems anyway.
- They just mask it.
- Sometimes they just co-mingle with your body odor, making for very strange smells.
- Fragranced products cost you more money,
- While putting your health at risk.
- Fragranced products are often used to attract people, but the toxins can have the opposite effect…
- Repelling love interests.
- Making them feel sick. Literally.
- Even if they truly want to feel otherwise.
Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger
When using Anti Icky Poo urine cleaner, a black light is handy for finding places your cat has sprayed with urine or peed on. They are also helpful if you are considering buying a new home to find out if there are any urine stains.
But they are not fail safe – they are not accurate on all surfaces. They are most accurate on smooth surfaces like a painted wall or very low pile carpet. They don’t reveal urine in kitty litter or on carpets with a deep pile.
And you must use them in total darkness.
Recently we got this email from a customer:
Dear Cat Faeries
After treatment with Anti-Icky-Poo will spots still fluoresce under UV / Blacklight? I understand this is not as important as removal of the smell / pheromones is the most important, but still I’m just wondering, especially in terms of being able to identify a ‘new’ spot vs on previously treated other than intensity of the fluorescing.
Great question. The spots could still how under your black light. Here is why you may still see discoloration after using a round of Anti Icky Poo:
- Staining or spots could remain if they have been there a very long time
- The urine could have stripped the dyes from the carpet
- The naturally occurring dyes in urine could still be in the fibers
- Believe it or not, sometimes the dye you see is from the cat’s food!
- Once you are confident that Anti Icky Poo completely got rid of the urine smells and gases, you might consider having a professional carpet cleaning service come in will help to remove the traces of urine dye
This week we also heard from another person who wondered if Anti Icky Poo is safe to use after her cat urinated in a house plant. It is totally safe – it won’t hurt the plant or taint the soil!
As you said and it’s also on our website, smell is the way to know that the urine proteins and gases are gone. Further evidence is observing your cats – do they hover around those spots you treated? If not, then Anti Icky Poo was completely successful!
As for knowing if those are old spots or new ones: You might keep a sheet a paper and list the locations and size of the stains you treated. If you use a black light every month or so this will help you know if the spots are old ones or new ones.
Dear Cat Faeries,
Bart’s inappropriate elimination ramped up. He is now 16 and hasn’t used a litter box for the past month. I don’t want to put him down for this! He is such a lover boy!
Diane in Minnesota
Sometimes when a cat gets to be Bart’s age the kidneys are starting to shrink and not function as they once had. Shrinking kidneys lead to various stages of renal failure, and it’s time to begin diet changes, and often sub-cutaneous fluids. But what we often aren’t told is that it can lead to behavior changes including avoiding the litter box. So have your vet examine Bart and run some blood work.
A few other medical conditions come into play as well. Arthritis is another big one for many cats as their back legs and lower backs become stiff and sore so that getting in and out of a little box can be painful – when that happens your cat might pee next to the box or on a surface like a bathmat. Or they can enter the box but they don’t squat – the urine flies out their back end and hits the wall or spills over the sides of the box.
The solution for this is easy pie: a box that’s shallower for easy in/out access. Or even better, get a large storage container and cut out an opening that’s low enough for easy entry. The high sides are tall enough to contain urine that might be sprayed out. See below – that’s some of our washable waterproof pads in front of the box opening. This box is from Rubbermaid. Another option is a semi-transparent box such as those from Sterilite – some cats may feel less closed in that way.
Another factor in renal failure is that cats often lose some or all of their hearing. This can lead to loud caterwauling both in the middle of the night and during the day. When a cat goes deaf their world can shatter and this can affect their behavior and out of panic or not understanding what’s going on with their body the cat could stop using the litter box. But the cat’s sense of smell is still very much intact, one of the many reasons we love Comfort Zone with Feliway so much. It works with your cat’s sense of smell. If your cat is feeling rotten from malfunctioning kidneys (it will feel like a hangover to your cat) or scared from not hearing well, Feliway will be soothing and comforting and allows that the negative behaviors can be corrected. You and your cat will be much happier with the smell of the Feliway pheromone wafting through the house. But don’t be concerned about the smell, only your cat can detect it.