Feline Toxoplasmosis and human babies – blasting the lies, myths, and unfounded fears

Don’t you just cringe when you hear “I’m pregnant and my doctor told me to get rid of my cats to protect my baby’s brain.” Haven’t you wondered if the fear of brain damage from exposure to toxoplasmosis was a bunch of hooey from doctors who feel they need to dish out caution to nervous expectant mothers to make themselves look smart? Us too! We found some statistics that shoot that antiquated theory out of the sky and asked our Feline Contributing Editor At Large, Sir Isaac Newton, to chime in with the facts and figures to spill the beans on this situation. Spoiler alert: the studies were seriously flawed, babies are safe!

Speaking of babies – in a few weeks Auntie Cat Faerie will be visiting the ASPCA in New York City to see, in particular, their stellar Kitten Rehab. It’s where abandoned kittens, kitten literally found on the streets, hundreds of them per year, are bottle fed and taught proper toilet habits by loving and caring saintly humans. They are willing to keep these kitten’s cute baby butts nice and clean while they grow and learn to do it themselves. Stay tuned for the story!


Newton’s Purrspective – Toxoplasmosis

Cats have not always been popular house pets. Perhaps you’ve heard the old wives’ tale that cats smother babies or suck the air out of their lungs. Today few believe in this witchery. It is far more likely that cats in a baby’s crib are seeking warmth or are attracted to the scent of milk. However, some doctors still tell expectant mothers that they should get rid of their beloved pets as a health precaution. The fear today is not focused on a devilish feline behavior, but on a single celled parasite Toxoplasma gondii (the cause of Toxoplasmosis) carried by cats.




Isaac Newton

But cats are not alone. Toxoplasmosis is one of the most common parasitic diseases, affecting nearly all warm blooded animals, including humans. The CDC estimates that as many as 60 million Americans carry this parasite, but few show signs of clinical disease. A healthy immune system is able to prevent illness due to the presence of Toxoplasma.

Most people who are infected are unaware. Some may have flu like symptoms such as swollen lymph glands accompanied by muscle aches. Severe Toxoplasmosis (usually found only in people with immune deficiency) can cause damage to the eyes or brain. Treatment is available and is patient specific.
https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/toxoplasmosis/gen_info/faqs.html

Early in the 1950’s scientists started looking at the potential relationship between Toxoplasmosis and psychotic symptoms such as those seen in schizophrenia. They hypothesized that owning a cat could increase the risk of mental disorders. We now know that the early studies were flawed. Controls were inadequate and alternate explanations were not considered. Although in rare cases Toxoplasmosis can damage the brain, current investigations reveal no higher risk of psychosis for those who share their homes with cats. http://www.livescience.com/57978-cats-psychosis.html

Cats are singled out because they are the only definitive hosts for Toxoplasma gondii. The parasite completes its life cycle inside a cat’s intestines and eggs are shed in the feces for up to two weeks. Most cats will not show symptoms unless their immune system is compromised due to age or diseases such as Feline Leukemia or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. Cats are not routinely tested for Toxoplasmosis and the only prevention is to avoid ingesting the parasite. http://www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/Health_Information/brochure_toxo.cfm

Toxoplasma must be ingested or transferred directly. It cannot be absorbed through intact skin or inhaled. According to the CDC there are a number of ways for this to occur in humans.

  • Eating undercooked meat (especially pork, lamb, and venison) contaminated with Toxoplasma.
  • Not thoroughly washing hands after contact with infected meat and accidentally ingesting the parasite.
  • Eating food contaminated by utensils, etc. have been in contact with raw, contaminated meat.
  • Drinking water contaminated with Toxoplasma.
  • Accidental ingestion due to not thoroughly washing hands after:
    • cleaning a litter box used by a cat that has shed Toxoplasma
    • gardening without wearing gloves
  • Eating unwashed garden fruits or vegetables
  • Mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/toxoplasmosis/gen_info/faqs.html

Pregnant women, or people with weak immune systems need not worry that they will be forced to part with their beloved cats. Indoor only cats pose a smaller risk since they are less likely to come in contact with Toxoplasma. However, use common sense and avoid cleaning the litter box or, if you must, wear gloves. Always wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.

There is actually a benefit to keeping Kitty when you are pregnant. Cats can improve health in young children. The chief of the allergic mechanisms section at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Marshall Plaut, MD says “high pet exposure early in life appears to protect against not only pet allergy but also other types of common allergies, such as allergy to dust mites, ragweed, and grass.” http://mentalfloss.com/article/51154/10-scientific-benefits-being-cat-owner

 
 
 
 

Scented kitty litter: Possible cause of litter box avoidance, obesity, and feline diabetes.

If you use scented cat litter do you notice that your cat is in and out of the box with lightening speed, often not sticking around long enough to bury?

Cats hate artificial smells in litter especially if the litter box has a hood which holds in all smells creating a hostile peeing/pooping environment! We know from our customers that many of their cats refuse to use scented litters and will do their business outside of the box. Naughty Kitty? Or is your cat telling you something? Perhaps something like this: “Fake fragrance stinks, it’s not a bed of roses and it’s not good for my health or yours!” Smart Kitty!

Since we began Cat Faeries in 1993 we have been on a crusade to not only better the lives of cats, but for all, and that includes our crusade against toxic “parfum” and “fragrance.” Artificial fragrance is not a single ingredient, rather it’s a brew of often hundreds of chemicals, the names of which are not required by law to be listed by the manufacturer. Many of the man-made chemicals used in fragrance or perfume are known carcinogens.

Most perfumes hawked by celebrities and cosmetic companies do not contain any real flower aromas and probably have not since the 1920’s, when chemists figured out how to mimic the scent of flowers synthetically. Your brain is tricked into thinking these chemicals smell pretty. Or if you are like a growing number of people who are so chemical intolerant that rather than smell a pretty scent they, like me, only smell the chemicals. Your cat also smells just the chemicals.

Do perfumes give you a headache? Make your lips and tongue swell? Leave a bad taste in your mouth that takes hours to go away? Burn your eyes or make eyes water? Do you experience brain fog? Does perfume make you cough? Trigger asthma? Does your cat have a persistent cough or asthma? Does your cat sneeze after a trip to the litter box? Does your cat steer clear of scented candles and plug-ins that give off fragrance? If your cat has breathing difficulties it’s very possible that the root cause is at least partly from fragrance.

Some of the diseases or conditions linked to fragrance:

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Autism in humans
  • Hormone disruption
  • Obesity
  • Brain fog
  • Respiratory difficulty
  • Asthma
  • And it’s downright dictatorial – why should anyone be subjected to inhaling and smelling something they didn’t ask for or that they don’t like?

“Stink! The Movie!”

Video on Demand beginning today, February 16, 2016

When former virtual reality techie turned filmmaker Jon J. Whelan brought home new pajamas for his kids and noticed they smelled weird he began to investigate what the smell was and why it was there. You might say that when he asked questions he smelled a rat! His digging and frustration lead to “Stink! The Movie,” his award winning expose’ about fragrance and the complex insidiously scented rabbit hole chemical companies created. And that the government allows us to be exposed to.

Watch the trailer here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICN52Uzoo0I

This will take you to the director’s blog for some really good articles.

https://stinkmovie.com/news/

This will take you to his Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/StinkMovie/

Perfume – The New Second Hand Smoke

About 20 years ago we began hearing people say that fragrance is the new second hand smoke and that like cigarettes perfume should be banned in all work places and public places. This may seem extreme, but it really isn’t when you become aware of how it affects you, your cat, and other people. Here blogger Danny Seo discusses this topic.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/danny-seo/is-perfume-the-new-second_b_503114.html

Can I find a safe or natural perfume?

Sure, if you look hard enough you can find natural perfumers. You can go to France and buy perfumes that might be closer to nature. But even these scents can cause illness or other reactions to other people (and your cats, they just can’t tell you). It’s hard for anyone to know just how “natural” is natural. Remember when great great grandma put a drop of vanilla extract behind her ears? Not a bad idea! Smelling like a cookie is far better than smelling like chemicals!

What is Cat Faeries favorite kitty litter?

We currently use OKO Cat clumping wood based cat litter. Our 4 cats love it. We love it because it does not have toxic chemical smell, and it holds in the smells of cat urine quite nicely. It’s easy to scoop too.

Your local independent cat supply shop can order it for you. Read about it here: https://www.healthy-pet.com/okocat

 
 

It’s not a dream, cats can get along!

Sometimes we get lucky and have a multi cat household of cohesive convivial cats who get along, even adore each other often laying in piles grooming each other into a blissful state. Then there’s everyone else! For those homes which aren’t so lucky we’ve got the goods to calm down those feisty felines or that one cat who thinks that the others are worthy of their wrath! We’ll help you create or restore peace and harmony.

Little things you can do:

  • Space food bowls far apart. Carnivores can get territorial and possessive over their food bowls
  • If you can, allow individual cats to have their own room (like a bedroom) to dine in. This works when you feed two meals a day with the door closed for a half hour.
  • Soft music and other noises in the home work wonders. While you are gone during the day classical music soothes the nerves and activates parts of the brain which calm body, mind and spirit.
  • When you see a fight or tiff about to begin – no yelling, simply distract them. You might pick one up and move to another room, you might walk between them, you might engage them in play.
  • Keeping a clean litter box is vital. When the smells of urine or feces get too strong feline fighting can break out.
  • Have enough toys so that the more assertive cats don’t hog them all!

It’s not a dream beyond your reach. Convivial house cats are in your near future because you’ve got Cat Faeries in your back pocket. We’ve spent many years crafting just the right products to turn cats into buddies and besties!

Convivial House Cat is something we are extremely proud of. The customer feedback often moves us to tears because they are so delighted about what it’s done for their cats and their home.

Convivial House Cat is totally versatile – it can go into food and water. It can be sprayed around the house.

To compliment Convivial House Cat by fine tuning and zeroing in on specific problems or difficulties you are seeing with your cats we have our famous flower essence formulas crafted for the psyche and emotions of the modern house cat.

Multi Cat Household – helps pull the cats together to experience the family bond, the friendship bond. Lessens tensions in homes that might not be big and spacious. They’ll even like their human housemates better!

From Bully to Buddy – some cats just love to boss everyone else around. They might pick on a cat (or other animal) whose personality and temperament is soft, gentle and timid. There’s not much worse than seeing one cat stalk another. Let’s take that bully cat and see a new cat that’s at least tolerant and friendly!

Territorial Rescue – ok kitty, you will soon discover that not everything is “MINE MINE MINE”! Share! Don’t be so hot and bothered because there are others around in the house and outside of the house!

Calm and Serene – it’s like a yoga session in a bottle!

Crystals – placed around the house, by the food and water bowls, in and around beds spread around happy vibes! And that’s not all, you can spray Convivial House Cat on them, you can put drops of a flower essence formula on them and they’ll beam the healing energy to where it needs to go – right to those testy or nervous pocket tigers!

A Ball of Twine – original compositions and melodies created to soothe a cat’s nerves – and yours. Lovely music, lullabies for the brain and soul.

Anti Icky Poo Spring Cleaning Tips!

Here are some creative Spring Cleaning methods you can use Anti Icky Poo for:


Dump the litter in the litter boxes, pour in ¼ to ½ cup of Anti Icky Poo and enough cool water to cover the bottom. Let the enzymes and specially bred bacteria gobble up the icky crud at the bottom of the box and in its corners. Spray Anti Icky Poo on the sides of the box and the floor beneath it. You might also spray some on the walls around the litter box to remove dust and powders and any “back splash.” Your cats will be ecstatic with everything so sparkling clean.


If you have soiled gym clothes, play or work clothes that you thought might be past the point of no return, Anti Icky Poo renews their life by getting the funky stains and odors out. Put ¼ to 1/2 cup of Anti Icky Poo in a washing machine half way full of cold water (remember to test for color safety in a small unseen spot first). For small pieces (like a dress) you might want to soak overnight in a tub. Soaking your clothes for 12 hours or overnight will work miracles!


Recently Madam Cat Faerie spilled melted butter and pan drippings all down a fragile cotton dress. There were countless spots and the oils saturated the dress to the point where she thought it was hopeless. Soaking it in a tub over night with Anti Icky Poo and enough water to spread the cleaner enough to penetrate the fibers took every last trace of it out. Not one brown or yellow spot can be found!


Even if your cat has never peed on a pillow our evening sweat and body odors can make a pillow not so pleasant. First thing in a morning when you’ll be home all day remove and wash the pillow case. Hang up the pillow on a clothes rack or line with clothes pins. Give the pillow a light misting of Anti Icky Poo on all sides. Repeat this every hour for about 6 hours. Then allow to dry.


You can also do this with your mattress and sofa cushions. Remove the mattress and cushions, then tilt them against a wall. Spray it on all sides lightly once an hour for 6 hours. Then allow it to dry before replacing it to the bed.


Is the carpet feeling and smelling a bit funky? Anti Icky Poo works great in a carpet cleaning machine (which you can rent if you don’t own one). You can also give the give your rugs a light misting, hourly, over the course of a few hours.


Take a fresh quart of Anti Icky Poo and go to every room with a drain. Pour ¼ to ½ cup down each drain. Let it be for at least one hour. The enzymes are going to eat up the soap scum and grease! Chomp Chomp! It can’t eat through hair, but the other crud will be gone and that will save you oodles of money on plumbers! We don’t even remember the last time we needed to call in a plumber because of Anti Icky Poo’s safe, nontoxic, non-corrosive, and totally natural drain cleaning abilities!

A spraying cat: possible warning that another cat is sick.

Recently we heard from a long time customer who told us that one of her cats will spray urine when another furry family member is sick.

Changes in cat behavior around others’ illness have been reported in the press. This link is to an article that talks about how cats can behave when another is sick or dying, and how they sometimes behave quite differently when another cat has cancer.

http://www.petsadviser.com/behaviors/can-cats-tell-when-another-cat-is-dying/

Scientific studies have shown that dogs can detect cancer in people at very early stages using their sense of smell. They can also predict seizures and sense low blood pressure, vitally important for their diabetic human companions. Here’s a link to more information.

http://pets.webmd.com/features/pets-amazing-abilities

It can be quite interesting when a cat sprays or pees out of the box – sometimes it’s our first warning that another animal in the house is sick or is getting sick. It can also happen when an animal comes home from the vet, or crosses the bridge. They can sense it or smell it, and they’ll worry “I might be next!” so they’ll spray or pee out of fear or nerves. These cats are particularly sensitive, almost like those cancer smelling dogs we read about!

Convivial House Cat Spray and Feliway can really help steady the nerves of such a sensitive cat!

You can’t know too much about Anti Icky Poo! A Q&A.

Here is an interesting Q & A between Cat Faeries and a customer which we think you’d like to read. We’ve edited it a bit here and there.

Question: For clean up, I have used vinegar with water spray. A “natural” spray cleaner from a conglomerate chain store. I’ve also used ammonia in a spray bottle.

Answer: OH NO! Ammonia is the worst! And this is why: Cat urine, in fact all urine from any species, has an ammonia like quality. Our housecats instinctively seek out the smell of ammonia, which ideally is only detected in the litter boxes. This tells the cat: “it’s ok to pee here! This is where we cats are to urinate.”

What you accidently did was spread the smell of ammonia around your home! But don’t feel bad or beat yourself up, today is a new day, we begin anew! We will conquer this problem together!

Vinegar does nothing other than in the short run it’s nice to clean up a fresh puddle. But it will not eradicate the smell or the urine proteins and gases, or that ammonia.

That’s why it’s imperative to use a product like Anti Icky Poo which does not mask the odor, but actually eats urine’s proteins and gases, thus eradicating it completely.

Q: The peeing and spraying is happening in living room, kitchen, dining area, pantry, and porch. A few spots in each room- example, the fire hearth, in front of refrigerator door, by dog treat bin in pantry, on treadmill. Since I’ve got cat urine all over my home, and I’ve probably put the smell of ammonia throughout my house too, what can I do?

A: Do you recall how in your Feliway handout we talk about using it in each room “here and there”?
You are going to do something similar with Anti Icky Poo – PLUS – use it on the spots that you know have been hit. These are methods that we created based on our many years of experience.

The reason for Here and There with Anti Icky Poo is that when we suspect that there is urine in places you don’t know about we want to cover our bases.

When a cat sprays they do one of two things:

  • They empty their tank on one surface or wall
  • They can spray little drops or a fine mist on multiple things to claim the entire house or garden as IT”S MINE! Therefore it could be worse than your nose tells you.

Go through your home with your bottle of Anti Icky Poo with the sprayer intact. Approach a variety of surfaces and objects and give a fine baby misting of Anti Icky Poo “here and there.” Do this for a few days. After a few days this should de-stink and allow you to reclaim your home!

Q: They both used the litter boxes until old cat passed, and now young female won’t always let other old male on the porch to use litter boxes.

A: When an older cat dies it’s always best to get new litter boxes. There could be lingering smells. A good example is the awful smell of impending death when an old cat is ready to pass. This can freak out any remaining animals “I could be next!” And this can be the trigger for spraying or not urinating in a litter box.

A point we always like to make about why we don’t like having multiple litter boxes throughout a house, particularly a smaller house. When boxes are scattered throughout a house the smell of ammonia is in every room that a box is in. This tells the cat it’s ok to deposit urine in multiple rooms, and the sight of litter boxes everywhere and the odor cannot be pleasant for you! Cats don’t avoid their litter box because they are too lazy to walk over to where the boxes are.

Q: The flooring of our home is completely tiled and they have urinated on it.

A: You are very lucky to have such wonderful floors! My dad was a tile setter so I grew up with tile floors. Urine can penetrate the grout especially if it’s modern grout as opposed to 1960’s grout which was indestructible. Probably a few days of treating the tile with Anti Icky Poo will eradicate any urine which may have penetrated the tiles or grout.

Q: I was confusing the flower essences for essential oils – sorry! How many drops per gallon of water? We change the water twice a day, but we need to use big water bowl because big dog drinks a lot.

A: Most people have smaller water bowls and we suggest 3 to 5 drops. For your big bowl start with 5 drops for the gallon. You may need a few more drops. In addition to adding drops to the water bowl rub some on her head, ears, back when you have the time.