Cat and Dog-Safe Ways to Keep Your Christmas Tree Fresh

Commercial Christmas tree preservatives which are added to the water in a tree stand can be toxic to a cat or dog who might drink the water. We found a lot of DIY recipes for preservatives but they aren’t much better – you do not want your cat drinking sugar and bleach, or water that has copper pennies in it.

Penn State College of Agriculture has this to say about keeping your Christmas tree fresh – they tell us what works and what doesn’t.
http://ento.psu.edu/extension/christmas-trees/cultural-information/caring-for-your-cut-christmas-tree

 
 

Cats Go Bionic with Prosthetics

Newton’s Purrspective – Bionic Cats

Although it was before my time, some of you humans may remember the $6 Million Dollar Man (Steve Austin) and the Bionic Woman (Jaime Sommers) on TV. Both these characters had serious injuries and science turned them into super heroes. In the real world, however, people who lose arms or legs may get prosthetics which, at most, restore their independence. Until recently cats have not been so lucky. If we lose one leg in an accident we can still get by quite well with three. The loss of two legs is much more challenging, but some cats do adapt to wheelchairs. http://www.lifewithcats.tv/tag/wheeled-cart/

Cats have a terrific sense of balance so kittens born without front or even back legs can adapt to the disability. But could their lives be improved by prosthetic limbs?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/pets/11635624/How-an-adorable-bunny-cat-with-only-two-legs-became-an-Instagram-celebrity.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GZw3nugUJU


Isaac Newton

Learning to use a prosthetic is not easy for a person, so imagine trying to explain to Kitty why you are strapping on a set of mechanical legs. When Oscar the cat lost both back feet in a 2009 farming accident his family feared there was no hope for him. Fortunately, a vet in England was willing to try a pioneering surgery. Oscar became famous as the first animal in the world to receive surgically implanted prosthetic feet. Titanium rods were inserted into his bones and are kept in place by the tissue growing around them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqUEraHGHvI The feet can be detached (they wear out since he is very active) and over the years have been modified to achieve more natural mobility. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUhOKRKksCU

More recently a similar surgery was done on a cat in Iowa. Vincent, who was likely born without complete hind legs, was rescued by a shelter worker. Staff at Iowa State University Veterinary Hospital did implant surgery similar to Oscar’s. http://amestrib.com/news/cat-walking-prosthetic-legs-after-isu-veterinary-hospital-treatment Despite the risk of infection inherent in the surgery his prognosis is good.

The procedure is still uncommon, partially due to the cost. However, the success with animals is paving the way for US approval of bone anchored prosthetics for humans.

And this brings me back to the TV science fiction bionics. Did you know there was a bionic dog on the show? His experimental bionic surgery was the basis for using the techniques on Steve and Jaime! When Max becomes ill Jaime saves his life and adopts him. I love happy endings, don’t you?

 
 

Do You Have a Healing Kitty in Your House?

by Alison W. – Certified Veterinary Technician

It was the final hot summer before the shelter in Florida closed. The adoption area was filled with adult cats and the unavailable kittens were in a separate building not open to the public. The one room building also housed the washers and dryers for the entire shelter. As you might imagine, the A/C couldn’t keep up. Two walls of cages were full. The remaining kittens lived in plastic carriers stacked on top of each other. Most of them just had numbers on their tags. They didn’t get names until they were moved to the adoption area. But one crate near the washers held a black and white kitten with a name – “Weety”. He was an owner surrender and had probably been named by a child in the family. Whenever I went to do laundry I looked for him and said “Hi Weety”.



Weety and me summer 2008

 

One day I went to check laundry and Weety was gone! There was only one possible reason. He was sick and had been transferred to the hospital area. The Green Room (named for the color of the walls) was even smaller than the holding area. Most kittens who were sent there had upper respiratory infections. They were treated with antibiotics and, if they survived, sent back to the holding area.

When I found him he was so dehydrated he didn’t have enough moisture in his body to sneeze. Luckily, the surgery/clinic area was closed that week. Normally sick animals were not allowed there. I gave him SQ fluids, canned food and a towel lined bed made from a plastic hospital basin. He was SO HAPPY to be in a clean, comfortable place. I’ve never seen a sick cat react with such intense affection. At the end of the week I took him home to finish antibiotics and make sure he didn’t have a relapse. Of course, by then I was totally in love so I formally adopted him.

Later that summer I had a respiratory infection myself. Whenever I was lying down Weety would sit on my chest and purr. (He still does this whenever I am sick.) I don’t think there is any more relaxing sound than a cat purr. But, it is a misconception that cats purr only when they are happy. They also purr when stressed (e.g. visiting the vet) and when they are sick. This is not surprising since the 26 Hertz range of a cat purr promotes tissue regeneration. It may even heal and strengthen bones.

Weety is very sensitive and always seems to know when I need some healing kitty energy. I like to think he is returning my earlier kindness to him.

He was my final rescue from Florida and has remained my designated Healing Kitty. He also does a great Cheshire Cat impression. =^..^=


How music affects our cats

By Cheryl Christine (composer of the CD Mood Music for Cats (and Cat Lovers): A Ball of Twine sold on Cat Faeries)

I recently read an article by Charles Snowden, a professor of clinical psychology at UW Madison, and the lead author on a new study of the effect of music on cats. He took his music and his team to homes with cats to test their reactions to the ranges, tempos and sounds. Then he played classical music, and found the felines responded more favorably to his specialized cat music.

Snowden seemed to suggest in his article that it’s “us” humans who pick out the music for our pets and assume they are going to like it. He states most studies don’t offer any concrete evidence as to what the effects of music are on animals and hopes to close the gap with more facts through his research.

I am a professional singer, songwriter and performer for over forty years – and I love animals! I have also done a study on the effect of music on cats – at a local animal shelter. I composed music of different instruments, ranges, tempos and sounds. I played my music in the cat room where 15 to 20 cats awaited adoption. (These were abandoned, or abused cats.) I also played classical and country music to see if there was a difference in the response from the cats. The study went on almost daily over a three year period and I found the felines responded more positively toward the music I composed. They actually gathered near the speaker!

I agree with professor Snowden that more research on the effects of music on animals needs to be done. I also know this…music has profound effects on the brain which in turn affects mood and behavior. We humans place a lot of our own emotions onto our beloved pets, which is why we think they’ll love a certain kind of music when we leave the house. That’s understandable. Mood Music for Cats (and Cat Lovers) isn’t “clinical” research music, however it offers specific benefits for calming and relaxing through ranges of tones and instruments that are pleasing to the ear for both humans and felines. Sure, I use catchy song titles such as “Tuna Sonata” or “Catatonia” because I like to keep things light and fun! But the music has been tried and true and cats seem to love it!


Here’s what a Cat Faeries customer told us about the music from Mood Music for Cats (and Cat Lovers): A Ball of Twine.

Dear Cat Faeries,

I recently adopted a shelter cat who had been mistreated. My new cat had been hiding in the closet, terrified of her new surroundings. The closet is in the same room that my computer is in. I found your website and I found A Ball of Twine, and saw that I could press a key to listen to a sample. I kept hitting the key and playing the sample over and over. After a few minutes my new cat ventured out of the closet ready to explore her new home! Thank you!

Updated – Revealing crash test video shows what happens to animals being transported incorrectly

(Updated)

At one time I would put the carrier either on the front seat of the Cat Faerie Mobile (a 2006 Prius) or the back seat and thread the seat belt through the handle of the carrier and lock it thinking that if I was in an accident the cat in the carrier would be perfectly safe. I assumed that it would not jerk or fly, that it would stay in place. It seemed so logical! But was I ever wrong! In these videos and photos you’ll see what happens to the seat belt at the moment of impact! It is shocking.

One video is in German but you don’t need to understand it to see what happens in crash tests, the visuals say it all. The other is in English. Both also cover transporting dogs safely.

As you will learn the best way to transport your cat is in a carrier placed on the floor of the back seat wedged between the back seat and front seat. This video is suitable for people of all ages, there isn’t anything scary or tragic, it’s 100% crash tests with dummies and mannequins.

You can see the individual test videos for the carriers, crates, and harnesses from the above tests here.

Is it Stressful to be an Indoor Cat?

Newton’s Purrspective – Is it Stressful to be an Indoor Cat?

“Indoor only” cats have an average life span of 12 – 20 years. This is significantly reduced (1-5 years) for cats who spend a large amount of time alone outdoors. But is staying safe inside unnatural and stressful for Kitty? Is it enough to provide food, shelter and affection? What does a cat really need to be happy indoors?

Although we’ve lived with humans for 9,000 years we are still predators at heart. Our ancestors lived in complex environments and were constantly challenged intellectually in order to survive. So, I have to admit we do get bored without physical and mental exercise. But we can solve that problem.


Isaac Newton

You want Kitty to be safe, but you don’t want her literally pulling her fur out from stress. What can you do to “catify” your indoor environment? You don’t need a large area, but you may need to rethink how that area is used.

Cats need a variety of indoor terrain. This satisfies their need to run, climb and safely curl up for a nap. In a multi-cat household it also provides a setting for games of hide-and-seek as well as a chance for solitude when you just don’t want to play anymore. Windows are important for both relaxing sunbaths and the stimulation of observing nature outside.

Furniture arrangement can satisfy this need for variety, but the addition of “cat furniture” helps to limit the wear and tear on upholstery. Cat trees are popular since they provide climbing opportunities and perches for overlooking the “catdom”. Some cats enjoy window perches, but please be sure they are stable. At my “castle” we have a special table next to a window that is reserved exclusively for cats. It has a small piece of cat furniture called a “curl” which is a great seat for relaxing or observing. For serious power naps we all love our Faerie Cat Beds.



My friend Purricane on his “curl.”

Cat trees and scratchers can be purchased or built. Although formaldehyde has been banned for over 10 years in the U.S. there are still potential toxins in carpet. Whether you are buying, or building cat furniture, look for natural fibers without toxic dyes or glue. http://pets.thenest.com/nontoxic-green-materials-use-building-cat-trees-12212.html Should there happen to be any accidents on the carpet I recommend a non-chemical cleaner, Anti Icky Poo.

Convivial House Cat or flower essences such as Calm and Serene can work wonders for reducing stress. Mood music for cats is known to be soothing. “A Ball of Twine” is at the top of my playlist.

Of course, exercise (which releases endorphins) is always more fun when it involves catnip toys. My favorites are the Cat Faeries Legendary Cat Toys. They bring out my wild side and are sturdy enough for “bunny kicks” and occasional dips in the water dish. I’ve had some of mine for years. (The boxes are fun to play with too.)