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/

Anti Icky Poo (the urine cleaner that works) and using a black light

Anti Icky Poo urine cleaner from CatFaeries.com

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.

Thanks,


Chuck

Dear Chuck,

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.

Advice on older cats who stop using the litter box

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

—————————————————-

Dear Diane,

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.

Advice on older cats who stop using the litter box
(click image to see it larger)

 

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.

What to do with old litter boxes – clever ideas from our readers!

We are big on urging people to replace litter boxes annually for two big reasons. No matter how much you scoop and clean, even use Anti Icky Poo cleaner once or twice a month to help with litter odor control they still get stinky after awhile and this can bother the cat. And goodness knows we don’t want to do anything to cause a cat to develop “litter box aversion.” Another plus to replacing boxes annually, we help to ensure a nice neutral smelling home for all who enter it.

But, we also detest land fill and waste. So what to do with those old litter boxes? We posed this question to our Face Book fans and here are the replies. If you have a clever idea, email us and we’ll include it in a future newsletter. Please put “uses for old litter boxes” in the subject line.

Debra: “Use to establish seedlings.”

Tara: “A flower box”

Patricia: “Planters”

Jody: “My partner uses them to store messy garage stuff”

Sandi: “I knew a man who used one when changing the oil in his car”

Brenda: “I use aluminum roasting pans, cheap. Dump out soiled litter, put pan in the recycling bin”

Our favorite litter box isn’t a litter box!

We wrote about this a few years ago. The other day a customer wrote to say that her cat sprays urine while in the litter box. We decided it was time to resurrect the photo of what we use for litter boxes.

When our cats started getting really old and unable to squat to urinate their pee would fly over the walls of standard pet shop litter boxes. So we bought two plastic storage boxes and cut out an opening (you can cut the opening low for cats with poor mobility as we did here or higher for younger cats). The sides are very high which prevents urine from hitting the floor. And the box’s depth is great, the cat get step inside, easily turn around and get in a good position to do their business.

The high sides are also great for cats who like to dig their way to China and who scatter litter everywhere.

These storage boxes will save your walls, floors, and your sanity!