The Power of the Purr

Are you or your cat under stress now or occasionally? Having a hard time sleeping? (you that is, cats don’t have insomnia) Are you or your cat sick and recovering? Do both of you find the sound of a cat’s purr soothing? We say yes to all the above and we’ve found something you are going to love.

Purrli is the brainchild of, research engineer & sound designer Dr. Ir. Stephane Pigeon and it’s non-stop soothing feline purring right on the internet available to you whenever you want to hear it!

Calm your nerves, heal your body, and your mind, and your spirit starting RIGHT NOW! Note that this website is funded by donations – please make one, no matter how small. It’s good cat-karma! https://purrli.com/

Lately, we’ve been playing this in our work room where we pack and ship your orders. We’ve noticed it’s very calming to everyone here, including our house rabbits who share half of the workspace. We find it quite impressive that another species, besides humans, find the sound of a purring cat to be relaxing.


Newton’s Purrspective – The Power of the Purr

How cats purr was a mystery for many years. Scientists now believe special muscles cause the vocal chords to vibrate at a certain frequency resulting in that lovely soothing sound. Purring is the first sound a newborn kitten feels. Kittens are born deaf and their ear canals don’t start to open for two weeks. However, they can feel the purring vibrations from their mother and siblings (yes, newborn kittens purr!). This serves as a survival mechanism to keep the family together and safe.




Isaac Newton

We generally associate purring with happy, relaxed cats – and this is usually the case. The soothing sound is also relaxing to humans. In fact, there is increasing evidence that stroking a pet can significantly reduce blood pressure and elevate mood.

Cats also purr when stressed or sick. The purr occurs in a consistent pattern during both inhalation and exhalation and stays in the range of 25 – 150 Hz. This frequency has been shown to promote healing and even increase bone density. So, when your ill cat is purring the cat is self-medicating, and when you are sick the cat is helping you. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-do-cats-purr/ This healing power extends to Kitty’s human family too!

 
 
 
 

How nature restores and maintains health – discovering Vitamin “G.”

Several times a year we like to devote a newsletter to you, the person who is the caregiver, the Maid or Butler, the guardian, the Cat Mom or Cat Dad – whatever ways you refer to yourself as a lover of cats and all animals who lives and cares for cats, or who wishes they could. It’s important to us that YOU are as happy and healthy we wish to see your cats be!

The Japanese term Shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing” was coined in Japan decades ago, and the practice has spread globally. In Japan people would walk slowly, bathing in the sights, sounds, smells and energy of the forest. They found that they felt better, got healthier, and diseases would reverse. This is not macho hiking with a pedometer! It’s done slowly and purposely with intention and an open heart and mind. It has been so successful that since 1982 it’s been part of the Japanese national health care program. No water is involved! And you keep your clothes on, unless of course you know you are alone and are brave!

Earthing one’s feet is equally beneficial and you can do both practices at the time of any outing into nature. Earthing, sometimes called grounding, connects you with the electrical charges of the earth, directly from the earth. Since many of us are indoors most of the time we have lost this vital health restoring and maintaining connection. Think of this earth as a giant-sized battery which can in turn charge your cells, your organs and every system in the body.

Dr. Josh Axe tells us: “Because of our modern way of living — for example, always wearing shoes and living most of our lives above ground in our homes or offices that are located several floors up in tall buildings, we’re losing touch with the earth’s natural “electrical” force. It is an established, though not widely appreciated fact, that the Earth’s surface possesses a limitless and continuously renewed supply of free or mobile electrons. The Earth’s negative charges can create a stable internal bioelectrical environment for the normal functioning of all body systems which may be important for setting the biological clock, regulating circadian rhythms, and balancing cortisol levels.”

When one is electrically grounded to the earth you should immediately feel:

  • Centered
  • Solid
  • Strong
  • Balanced
  • Less tense
  • Less stressed

If you do this on a regular basis, you’ll see that inflammation goes down dramatically. Other benefits are:

  • Better sleep
  • Less Anxiety
  • Better Circulation
  • Less Pain
  • Less stiffness and soreness
  • Improves autoimmune disease such as Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Irritable Bowl, and Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Lowers free-radicals and oxidative stress

Dr. Josh Axe goes on to tell us that he and his friends have discovered a new vitamin – they humorously refer to earthing or grounding as Vitamin G, as in grounding! So, go outside, get barefoot and absorb some Vitamin G – it does not come in a bottle and its free!

One last thought about earthing/grounding, it has been proven by scientists and veterinarians that when a cat or other animal is sick they seek out soft earth to lay upon to get well. We found many articles about this and we encourage you to read a few of them. And you thought this story was just about people!

Worried about cooties in the dirt on your bare feet? Us too, so we apply one drop of Oregano Oil to each foot will kill any parasites lurking in the soil. Make sure that the earth you stand on is free of herbicides like Round Up which your feet could absorb. To find out if the area you want to earth in has been sprayed with herbicides ask a ranger if one is available ask them, or before you go seek out maps that would have this information. When you return home soak your feet in cool water with a bit of Epsom salt or apple cider vinegar for 20 minutes. Worried about cooties in the dirt getting on your bare feet? Us too, so we apply one drop of Oregano Oil to each foot which repels parasites and other unwelcome critters.

Using www.meetup.com I found a forest bathing group in my city which is a group activity. I think doing it solo and with a group can both be beneficial. If you don’t have a Meet Up group near you, start one. All you need is some sort of forest or woods, and a bit of reading up in advance on how to instruct your fellow forest bathers.

Using Flower Essences in Nature

While taking a leisurely “forest bath” Sunday, then stopping to earth my feet, (this is also known as grounding) on a bench surrounded by 3 ancient trees I noticed that one of my favorite wildflowers was growing nearby: Forget-Me-Not. These small plants with small blue flowers were pushing themselves up through a large area of non-native and invasive ivy. Their message was loud and clear – remember the love of nature you had as a child or a youth, or during periods of time in your adult life when you could go out into nature to refresh and renew yourself and push through all barriers!

To deepen your forest bathing and earthing experience we highly recommend using flower essences during that time you are surrounded by the plants, trees, birds and the general vibe of the place. Cat Faeries Single Flower Essences can be mixed ahead of time or you can pop a few of them in your bag or pack and take them under the tongue when you arrive. You can create your very own I Love Nature formula! Instructions come with your order!

Are Forest Bathing and Earthing Two Activities that are Appropriate for Your Cat?

I think we all wonder if our house cats are missing out on the joys and health benefits of their feet touching dirt like we do. That’s one of the many reasons we like and have written about CATtios which are outdoor enclosed patios just for your cats where they can bird watch and roll around on grasses and dirt. If your cat has at least one year’s experience on a leash and harness, consider taking your cat on your forest bathing and earthing outing! But remember, it can be risky, so only use a 6-foot leash – never a retractable leash, and be ready for anything which could spook the cat.

The only harness that we recommend is the step in harness from our buddies at Cetacea: http://www.cetaceacorp.com/pets/step-in-harness.html They are made in the US and when fastened correctly your cat cannot back out of it like they can with collars and many other harnesses.

If you take your harness experienced cat be prepared for dogs and cyclists and the need to grab the cat quickly to get out of their way.

Or build a CATtio in your own backyard that your cat can enter and exit as they wish. They will be safe from predators and cars. Stray cats can’t get inside the CATtio to fight with or bother them. And because it’s your own backyard you know exactly what is in your own soil.

Now that Spring is popping up in many parts of the country it’s a great time to get ready for some forest bathing and earthing. When you come home you’ll energized, happier and healthier. Your cats and other beloveds will love to be around the energized you!

A short video about Forest Bathing:

http://www.shinrin-yoku.org/shinrin-yoku.html

Do you want to run off to a forest or woods right now, but can’t? Enjoy the sights and sounds from these videos. Just watching, listening and imagining that you are there can work wonders! This video lasts 8 hours! Seriously! Turn it on and go about your day listening to the chirping birds which will also entertain your cats!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2G8LAiHSCAs

Usi the cat on his first hike in nature! Notice the short leash – this is so his person can keep control of the cat for the cat’s safety. We recommend walking much slower than the man is and stopping to breathe deeply, gaze upon, and touch the sights of the forest, park or woods.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmmyGo8eZnk

 
 
 
 

Caticons, a gorgeous book that celebrates “4,000 years of Art Imitating Cats”

Sometime in 1996 I discovered a new renegade lipstick company called Urban Decay whose motto was: “Does pink make you puke?” I immediately snapped up tubes in colors called Bruise, Smog, Roach, Plague, and Asphyxia and wore them boldly to cat shows and on the streets of San Francisco while wondering who might be behind this maverick company.

When the San Francisco Chronicle had an article about Sandy Lerner I learned that she was the person who created Urban Decay after she’d co-founded, then sold, Cisco. The article had a photo of Sandy, a top a regal horse, dressed in armor! Turns out that this woman jousts. Totally impressed by this inspiring woman with her horses, cool outfits, brains, and joyful eccentricity I can honestly say she’s been a muse of mine since founding Cat Faeries in 1993. Fast forward to 2017 and we learn that she’s a serious cat-woman with a collection of astonishing museum-quality collection of art pieces from centuries back to modern which depict cats, and a new book to showcase them in. She’s also a major philanthropist who donates heavily to cat welfare and rescue.

There are absolutely no mundane or common objects photographed in Caticons. Every single object photographed is a new experience to the senses. Look at this book time and time again to find overlooked details or grasp something new in Sandy’s writings about a particular piece or era. Caticons a beautiful text book of sorts on the history of cats in art, literature and poetry, music, and culture that does not exist elsewhere. Caticons should be required reading for any student of art and history, and school children everywhere. Sit a child down at a table with this book and watch their eyes and hearts open to the wonders of cats and art – what a great way to study history.

A massive amount of work went into creating this book. It was very intensive and therefore very expensive to produce. It was a true labor of love. The miniscule amount of profit from sales of Caticons are personally guaranteed by Sandy to go directly to her ongoing donations to cat and animal welfare.

Sandy still jousts and raises those beautiful shire horses she rides when jousting. She practices this intriguing sport at her ranch in Upperville, Virginia. Urban Decay and Cisco are memories now as her thoughts and work are 100% devoted to organic, stewardship and regenerative based farming, and to cats. Her philanthropy ranges far and wide. Her heart is generous and kind. Sandy Lerner has many irons in the fire, always creating new and exciting projects, often involving the betterment of cats, other animals like horses, environment, and promoting land stewardship, regenerative farming, and preserving our food supply.

If you are stumped about what to give to a dear cat loving friend, or what to reward yourself for being a good cat-parent this year we’ve found the ideal gift, “Caticons, 4,000 Years of Art Imitating Cats”. A few of Cat Faeries catnip toys or an Amethyst cat shaped crystal will make the season even merrier!

A few of Cat Faeries’ favorite pages:

  • Page 14 is her first mention of her fixation on all things blue, including blue porcelain cats.
  • Page 17, Sandy tells us what the word Caticons means and how it originated
  • Page 171 has a cat chess set
  • Page 200 has a yummy double scent bottle with a cat’s head on each end from 1880
  • Page 203 shows “Purple Princess Flats” divine ladies’ footwear from Spain, a stunning cat on each foot
  • Page 212 and 213 show portraits two regal ladies each with her cat
  • Page 216 begins a few pages of cat themed sewing implements
  • Page 240 for an ink, pastel and watercolor on paper called A Study of Kittens by Henriette Rozner-Knip circa 1896
  • Page 251 has a porcelain Meiseen from 1730 or so of a cat carrying her kitten
  • Page 296 is the last page before the Endnotes with a painting of Sandy and her cat Ratty (on roller skates!) painted by Carolina Gronholm in 2016.
  • Lastly, Page 288 has a Georgian era brooch of a cat. Such jewelry from the Georgian and Victorian eras with cats are extremely rare – dogs are more common. Should you ever stumble upon one like it notify Auntie Cat Faerie immediately!

 
 
 
 

Cats on walks with harness and leash… a good idea?

Lately you may have seen all over social media photos and videos of cats being taken on walks with a harness and leash. Or maybe you bumped into the book “Adventure Cats, Living Nine Lives to the Fullest” which we reviewed on 6/19/17 (see the review here at the Cat Faeries Blog).

Before we go any further we must state loud and clear that this is not for every cat, and in fact probably only a small minority of cats will like this or have the right personality for it. If after 2 months of indoor practice with your patient big heart, along with a proper harness and leash, and you see that your cat isn’t taking to it, then give up trying.

Here is a training video that our dear friend and Feline Editor at Large, Newton found for us: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qSMk8tJB20

WARNING – Robert Dollwet, the Australian cat trainer who produced this video learned the hard way that cats belong indoors unless protected by carriers or proper leashes (very sad – of course the servant had to fetch a box of Kleenex – couldn’t even stand to see the dedication to his poor cat at the start of the video)

While it’s a good video with some very good instruction there are a few things that we feel are missing and we’d like to share that with you before you enjoy the video.

  • When you put a harness on 99.9% of all cats they will promptly lay down and play dead! They don’t understand this new “thing” on their body. Take the advice from the video and start with a collar, then lead up to a harness. And remember those food treats! Be patient!
  • A 6-foot leash is mandatory – do not get a longer one or a FlexiLead – you must be in control at all times and keep the cat close to you.
  • The video implies that a cat can be used to the harness and leash in a few days – we could not disagree more. In our opinion it should take a minimum of 2 months of acclimating the cat to wearing the harness, and walks about the house indoors before even consider going outside.
  • Your first venture outside should be in your own backyard and for just a few minutes. You need to build up your cat’s interest and comfort in being out of the house.
  • Have a cat carrier with you in case a dog crosses your path or something causes the cat to freak out. You don’t want to end up scratched or have a traumatized (or worse) cat. Keep your wallet and house keys in the carrier and think of it as a purse!
  • Notice that the cat in this video is very young and more adapt to a harness and its adventures. This is likely to be very difficult for many older cats.
  • Remember, personality is everything. Not every cat wants to traverse the great outdoors, just like some people, many cats prefer the gracious and safe indoors!

The harness we recommend is a step-in product from Cetacea located in Foster City, California where they also manufacture them. Many harnesses are not engineered correctly for a cat, who can easily “back out of it” and disaster could happen. We know this product extremely well, and completely endorse it as we once sold them when we first started Cat Faeries in the early 1990’s.

Most cats will take a small-dog-size S but to ensure the correct fit you should measure your cat first and read the sizing guidelines. But if you need assistance don’t hesitate to call Cetacea’s owner, Victor Nayyar. He will make sure that you get the right fit for a custom order. Interestingly, Martha Stewart’s cats wear Cetacea’s harnesses and of course, Martha being Martha, they are in a custom color!

Visit: http://www.cetaceacorp.com/s-step-in-pet-dog-harness.html

Call: 800-223-2833 and speak to Victor
 
 
 
 

How Hemingway’s six-toed cats in Key West survived Irma unscathed

When Hurricane Irma did a direct hit on the Florida keys last weekend, it could have been very dangerous for the colony of 54 cats that live at the Hemingway House and Museum in Key West. Many of the cats have six toes and are reportedly descendants of Snowball, a six-toed white cat given to Hemingway by a ship’s captain in the 1930’s.

But as you know, cats are very smart. The Hemingway cats knew when it was time to take shelter in the museum, along with 10 people. All the cats and people made it through Irma unhurt.

You can find out more and see more pictures in the article at the Washington Post website – Hemingway’s six-toed cats survive Irma, still have nine lives

 

 

 
 
 
 

Cats and the Solar Eclipse

Here’s an article about cats and the upcoming solar eclipse from our resident feline expert (who is a feline) – Issac Newton.


Newton’s Purrspective – The Great American Solar Eclipse

In ancient times a solar eclipse was a frightening event often attributed to powerful animals. Ancient Chinese believed a dragon was swallowing the Sun. Medieval Vikings blamed wolves wandering in the sky for the loss of light. Potential consequences of an eclipse were always tragic: plague, blindness, and political upheaval, to name but a few. Change in the established order has always been feared. https://qz.com/1015987/solar-eclipse-myths-persist-despite-scientific-evidence-disproving-them/

On August 21st the United States will experience its first coast to coast total solar eclipse since 1918. Naturally, this rare event has generated a lot of excitement, though not of the ancient variety. People plan to travel to areas where the eclipse will be most spectacular (the path of totality, where the sun will be totally blocked by the moon) and are purchasing special glasses to protect their eyes while observing.




Isaac Newton

But what about animals? Should cats be wearing protective goggles? Will the eclipse alter their behavior? Will they be frightened? All of these are valid concerns so let’s look at what is going to happen on the 21st.

The total eclipse will be visible in a narrow band across the US. (Adjacent areas will witness a partial eclipse which can still be dramatic.) https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/solar/2017-august-21 It will last less than 3 minutes, but the skies will darken for approximately 90 minutes. Wildlife may be confused by the “short day”. For example, birds could start roosting, a natural behavior at dusk or when a storm is approaching.

The total eclipse will first be visible in Oregon near 10:15 am local time. It will end in South Carolina around 2:50 pm local time.

Despite centuries of living with humans cats have not lost the sleep patterns that are essential to survival. They sleep many hours to conserve energy and are most active at dawn and dusk when their natural prey is foraging for food. They also sleep lightly and wake up frequently (the origin of the term “cat nap”).

The middle of the day is prime naptime for cats. They may miss those rays of sun on the floor but it’s not likely to be cause for alarm. The biggest potential stressor is for outdoor cats disturbed by crowds of people and their dogs jostling for the best viewpoint.

Cats do pick up on the moods of their people. So if there is a lot of excitement and activity at your house during the eclipse Kitty might choose to hide. Cat Faeries mood music and flower essences can be helpful, not just during the eclipse, but in any stressful situation.

NOTE: Protective glasses for cats are not needed. Cats love to sleep in the sunlight, but they have no incentive to look directly at the Sun. In fact, when outside cats are focused on the environment around and below them — they rarely look up. Cats may be known for their curiosity, but I know I won’t be wondering where the Sun went. I’ll be napping!