Your cat’s water bowl – do you know about biofilm?

Have you ever rubbed your fingers on the inside of your cat’s water bowl and felt a bit of goo or slime on the sides? What you are feeling is called biofilm.

Biofilm provides a cozy environment for organisms including E. coli, listeria, and legionella. When biofilm is not removed on a daily basis biofilm acts as an attractant for all kinds of bacteria and provides a nice comfy home for them to breed and multiply, and cause weakened immunity and disease. Think of biofilm as a living entity waiting to wreak havoc.

Keep biofilm out of your cat’s water and food bowls – wash them daily.

For water bowls:

Dump the left over water into a bucket for your garden along with other reusable water from the kitchen. Wash the bowl with hot water and a few drops of mild dish soap. Rinse and refill with filtered water.

For food bowls:

Even if you feed your cat dry crunchies don’t keep refilling the bowl. You must use a fresh clean bowl for each meal time because the oils from the food and saliva mix together to create a particularly nasty bio film and the oils go rancid (rancid oil is a cancer cell’s friend – cancer feeds on rancid oil and sugars). Keep a rotation of cat food bowls handy so that the time spent preparing their food is shortened for you. Soiled bowls go in the dishwasher or are washed by hand in hot soapy water.

We have 4 cats and we have 12 Pyrex bowls which we rotate at each meal. They are either washed by hand or go in the dishwasher at night.

The bowls we recommend for both food and water – clear Pyrex glass which allows you to see food particles, and they are very easy to clean. We love that they are dishwasher safe. You do not need to worry about the glass being toxic because Pyrex is made in the US.

Does your cat (or you!) have a chronic infection? Is your cat prone to bladder infection, urinary tract infections, ear infections, and other microbial / bacterial conditions? Biofilm in the water and food bowl could be the cause. By simply washing thoroughly you’ll save money on vet bills and you’ll keep your cat healthy for a long happy life with you.

More reading about biofilm:

A good definition:

About biofilm and infections:

Keeping your home biofilm free (as much as possible given that few of us are perfect little housekeepers!)

Biofilm also clings to our walls and items in our homes. Before it sounds like we are paranoid neat-freaks (which we are not, Madam Cat Faerie did not get the Martha Stewart gene) let us say that it’s good to be exposed to a certain amount of dirt and other crud. It’s good for the immunity and microbiome of any species. But we don’t’ want to be living in an environment that compromises anyone’s health.

One area of the house where we all should be concerned about is where the litter boxes are. That’s why we like keeping litter boxes in one area to create a cat-friendly litter box latrine area. The powders and dusts from cat litter can cling to the walls and other surfaces around the litter boxes. It’s important to wash down those walls. How often? If there are unhealthy people and animals in your home: weekly. Otherwise every 2 to 4 weeks will help tremendously.

Hot water and a washable terrycloth rag work wonders! They are free of cost and non-toxic.

Cats and Water (this isn’t what you think)

The theme of this week’s newsletter is all about water. We’ve dug up some information which might be surprising to you. It will certainly be interesting, and it could improve the health of all who dwell in your home.

Newton’s Purrspective – Cats in Formal Attire

Although dogs have been domesticated for 30,000 years cats took much longer to make that leap. (In fact, some researchers consider us “semi-domesticated”. Our genetic divergence from our desert dwelling ancestors is relatively recent. We joined humans a little over 9,000 years ago when agriculture fostered:

  1. a change from the previous nomadic lifestyle and
  2. a concentration of rodents!

Isaac Newton

Domestic felines are genetically close to our wild counterparts (in fact, at my house we are called “fe-lions”). Having evolved in the desert we are meant to get water with our food. Are we getting enough?

Here is a breakdown for water content of food:

  1. mice 70%
  2. canned food 78%
  3. dry food 5-10%

We should always have access to water, but with just a dry diet we need to drink more. How can you be sure Kitty will drink what she needs?

Everyone agrees that food and water should be placed as far as possible from the litter box area. That’s one even humans appreciate, aesthetically as well as to avoid bacterial contamination. However, does it make a difference if food and water are side by side? Some cats do prefer separation. Our wild relatives often capture prey at watering holes and would want clean water some distance from the kill.

Any stagnant water is likely to contain bacteria or other harmful organisms. Kitty’s attraction to running water (and hence, the popularity of cat fountains) may be instinctual.

All water is not created equal. The four basic types are:

  1. municipal tap water
  2. well water
  3. distilled water
  4. spring water

Please keep in mind that any water can be filtered to remove harmful contaminants.

Municipal water may contain chlorine by-products, fluoride, bacteria, arsenic, toxic pesticide residues, heavy metals, and even rocket fuel. (yikes!) Compared to this, the three others seem like ambrosia. However, depending on your location even well water may have contamination. The only way to know for sure is to have it tested by a reliable laboratory. (This should be a concern for the whole family.)

Does that mean distilled water is the answer? Absolutely not! It is so pure it is tasteless and contains none of the molecules and particles needed for health. Drinking only distilled water can lead to deficiencies in sodium, potassium and vital trace minerals. People who drink distilled water exclusively may suffer from high blood pressure and irregular heartbeats.

The best option, for cats and their people) is spring water, assuming it is from a good quality natural spring. (Some bottled water is known to be simply tap water in a bottle.)

Water is good and necessary for life. However, too much or too little are signs of potential illness requiring veterinary advice. A dehydrated cat will lose skin elasticity (noticeable at the scruff on the back of the neck). Drinking excessive water (is Kitty always at the water bowl?) may be an indication of problems such as kidney disease, hyperthyroidism or diabetes.

Cats and Lyme Disease – Birds can be carriers of ticks

We’ve all heard of the zillions of reasons to keep cats inside a loving home as a means of protecting them from various feline specific diseases and assaults from humans, cars, and bikes. But here’s another very important reason for keeping our cats indoors: Lyme Disease.

Outside cats often catch birds. Recently we learned that birds can be carriers for ticks and Lyme Disease. The bird that Fluffy proudly drops on your pillow or on the doorstep could have multiple ticks. Those loathsome parasites look for a new host when the bird dies. This host could be your cat, it could be you.

How many readers suffer from Lyme disease or know people who are? And how many of those people showed horrible symptoms before the disease was diagnosed and treated? We won’t go into that aspect we just want you to be aware that if your cat goes outside Lyme Disease is added to the list of reasons to keep kitty inside.

Ticks are not just found on deer. Lyme disease carrying ticks can be found on other animals including:

  • Dogs
  • Other Cats
  • Birds
  • Mice and other wild rodents
  • Rabbits
  • Possums
  • Raccoons
  • Horses
  • Cattle

Ticks are spreading like wildfire and so is Lyme disease. This article talks about how Climate Change is a tick’s best friend and another reason why global heating is our enemy.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease for cats:

  • Many cats do not show symptoms – a vet’s exam would detect ticks on the cat’s body
  • Lameness of the limbs from inflammation
  • Acute lameness which lasts for a few days, generally three or four days, but can reoccur
  • The lameness can show up in one leg, then move to another leg
  • Kidney problems: be on the lookout for vomiting, less appetite, diarrhea, weight loss, increased urination, thirst, and bloating of the stomach area
  • Stiff walk with an arched back
  • Sensitive to touch
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Rare: heart abnormalities and nervous system complications

If your cat or you develop Lyme disease you’ll want a protocol from the veterinarian or MD. Along with their treatment Colloidal Defense can be an ally in killing Lyme Disease. You would use it 3 or 4 times per day. We are told that the most important time of day is to take it at night, right before bed. It’s also important to take it on an empty stomach. You may also apply it topically.

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.

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.

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!

Is buying “pet insurance” worth the cost?

Nearly every vet’s office has an application at the front desk for some sort of “pet insurance” health policy. We’ve noticed there are quite a few different companies which offer animal health insurance which has us wondering which might be the best one to buy. A better question, is it even worth it? After all, this is a monthly fee for a service that you may never need, or may never use up what you put into it.

We found this objective article. The author makes a very good point that it’s a good idea to create a savings account to put aside money for the feline health version of “for a rainy day.”

Next we also asked our good friend, Newton who’s one smart feline cookie to give us his purrspective, which we know is always a good one. He did some digging and not in the cat box! Interestingly, Newton tells us that: “I couldn’t find anyone recommending it (except the insurance companies). I tried to find out some background on the industry worldwide – not much out there.”

Newton’s Purrspective – Should you buy “pet insurance” for your cat’s possible health concerns?

Isaac Newton

We all know that keeping your cat healthy requires a certain level of financial commitment. However, most family budgets don’t include the costs for non-routine surgery, hospitalization for life threatening disease, or treatment by a specialist. Is health insurance for Kitty the answer?

Insurance is all about risk management. What are the chances your cat will need expensive veterinary care? Accidents can happen at any age. Senior cats are more likely to develop conditions such as diabetes (treated with insulin) or chronic kidney failure (requiring fluids either at home or during hospitalization). There is no way to predict what might happen or exactly what it will cost.

What is best for you may be a combination of these ways to plan ahead:

1. pet insurance
2. savings or credit options
3. regular veterinary care to detect problems early
4. a cat safe environment

Is pet insurance worth the cost?

Those monthly payments may not seem so bad if Kitty does require expensive surgery. But everybody hopes they will never need the insurance and are often paying for peace of mind.

If you decide to buy pet insurance do the research to find a plan that is right for you. Questions to ask include:

1. What are the deductibles?
2. Are there treatment exclusions?

3. Is there a lifetime cap on benefits?

Another option is to have savings set aside for emergencies (i.e. pay yourself the insurance premium). There is also a health care credit card called Care Credit. The online application can be done at home or right in your veterinarian’s office (online or by phone). You choose the amount you need (e.g. estimated cost of procedure) and you get the decision instantly.

Potential costs can be minimized with regular exams for early disease detection. Also make your home as cat safe as possible. Eliminate poisonous plants ([0]=02&&page=2) and dangerous toys (e.g. anything easily broken or small enough to swallow). I love my Legendary Cat Toys ( because they are large and can take a lot of rough play.

One final caution: Like most cats I can’t resist chasing yarn. It’s lots of fun until I catch it and it gets stuck to the little barbs on my tongue! Should this happen, my staff is always there to make sure I don’t swallow it. Thread is even more dangerous since it is often attached to a sewing needle. Yikes!

A cat safe environment is insurance everyone can afford.

On Newton’s advice to keep your cat’s home environment safe: Cat Faeries chimes in with a few favorites of our own. We’re pretty obsessively green around here as you probably have noticed from our articles!

  • Keep your home free of scented/fragranced products – artificial fragrances are carcinogenic, cause respiratory distress, and brain damage in some cases. Also, scent, whether or not it smell good is very subjective – not everyone likes the same smells. People who have chemical intolerance only smell the chemicals which aren’t pretty.
  • Hardwood floors or natural linoleum rather than carpet or laminate. 60 Minutes recently did an expose’ about toxic laminate from China:
  • The microwave makes a good cabinet to store things! Don’t nuke your food or your cat’s food.
  • Glass bowls for the cat’s food and water – never plastic. Wash them with a simple soap and water, daily.
  • Filter the water that you drink and that you serve to your cat. Filter your cooking and coffee water too.
  • Take your filtered water to a higher level when you Vitalize the drinking water for everyone in your home with our VitaJuwel gemstone vial/wands!
  • Don’t buy furniture make from particle board. The glues and adhesives off gas and are carcinogenic. It horrifies us to see that particle board is used to build new homes, schools, and cat condos.