Is that cute cat food bowl really lead safe? (maybe not!)

Recently Madam Cat Faerie began to see a Naturopathic doctor who ordered all kinds of detailed tests to delve very deeply for root causes of various conditions that regular doctors either don’t know about, or don’t put much thought into, or even think are not needed. One test panel was for heavy metals which revealed that my blood has a high level of lead, in fact, the highest level this doctor has seen in any of her patients. How on green-earth did this happen to someone who’s been obsessively organic, and really careful about everything, and for decades? I asked Dr. Diane Angela Fong what she thought the top culprits might be and she narrowed her eyes at me and said “red lipstick is notorious.” GASP! I’m notorious for wearing it and thought I was buying the lead free brands! But more on that later in this article. Let’s talk about ceramics.

I spent the entire drive home thinking about possible lead exposures. Topping my list of potential trouble was my collection of vintage restaurant ware dishes. I wondered about my “good china” which was made years after it was mandated the glazes be lead free.

Well guess what dear readers; what we learned about “lead free glazes” will have your head spinning.

3M makes a kit called LeadCheck which is an accurate way to test for lead at home; in fact it’s actually a product that professionals use. Each package contains special “swabs.” They come 2 to a package or 8 to a package. They are expensive ranging from $4 to $6 per swab, but are easy to find in paint stores and hardware stores. There’s another brand called First Alert but we didn’t use those. We bought 3 packages of 8 swabs giving me 24 swabs to test with. Party time – nothing was safe for my test swabs! On a rainy Saturday afternoon of lead testing I was both relieved and horrified by the results.

What failed my swab tests:

A cute new lead-free tea cup

A new casserole (it has the bare clay areas where the lid meets the pot which were tainted during firing in an old kiln)

My French made enamel Dutch oven

“The good china” which was made 5 years after laws for lead free glazes went into effect

A cute new treat dish for the furry ones

Lead free glazes – why you can’t assume it’s all ok.

I called one of the largest glaze companies in the US the one that most potters and ceramists buy from. They gave me the usual song and dance that the glazes come to them with a guarantee. When I asked if they randomly check just to make sure about the lead, they got hissy and said “No, not anymore, we used to test but stopped, we trust our supplier.” I didn’t like that answer and they didn’t like that I pressed harder and that I wanted to know why they just accepted what they were told without randomly testing.

This conversation did not end well, but before they hung up on me, I did learn something very scary:

If the kiln is an old one and if that kiln ever fired pieces with leaded glazes the lead remains and will cross contaminate anything fired in the future.

Interestingly, when this glaze company did test for lead they used the 3M swabs.

As our long time readers have read in the past our cats have always had their food and water in clear glass Pyrex but for fun we have a few “cute” treat bowls for the cats and bunnies. One of them tested positive for lead.

Red Lipstick

A few years ago Mother Jones printed a very shocking article about lead in lipstick. I read it with horror that one of the top offenders was Nars which for years had been my “gluten free” lipstick of choice and the redder the better. I was so angry that I reprinted the article in Cat Faeries newsletter since many of you wear make-up, and who among us does not kiss their cat on the head? Dr. Fong tells me that very often the colorants that make lipstick red are lead based. Want to know if yours is safe?

Rub some lipstick on the back of your hand. Take a piece of gold jewelry, a ring is ideal, that is at least 14 karat gold (have it tested even if it’s marked 14K as it may be a much lower percentage of gold) and rub it into the lipstick. If it turns black – it’s got lead.

Here’s the Mother Jones article: http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/05/study-lead-metals-lipstick-top-20

I hope that your take away is that we cannot be too cautious or trusting. Testing for potential lead in your cat’s food, water, and treat bowls as well as your own dishes is something to consider. Getting the lead of my body is going to be long and unpleasant. I hope that Cat Faeries has spared you and your cats from a toxic lead load. You can’t go wrong with American made clear glass Pyrex!
 
 
 

How to De-Skunk a Cat (or You) with Anti Icky Poo

Recently a customer wrote to ask if Anti Icky Poo would remove skunk musk from her cat’s fur. The cat probably wasn’t actually sprayed by the skunk, instead kitty probably rubbed up against a plant or bush that the skunk sprayed during a mating ritual to mark territory (sound familiar?) or to appear sexy. We at Cat Faeries adore skunks, in particular we love Skunkie who lives below ground in our front garden! And as you might expect every night we leave food and water for our gorgeous fluffy friend – did you know they are fond of cat food? Skunks are not particularly fussy eaters (cats, take note and learn from this!) however our dear Skunkie does not like rice but enjoys everything else we set out. We often see Skunkie and an outside cat sitting near each other in complete harmony. More on that below.

Since we are FOS (friends of skunks) we wanted to give our customer and you the best answer and solutions to this smelly problem.

But before we tell you how to de-skunk cat fur, dog fur, or you and you clothes let us tell you a few things about skunks. They are shy and very passive, and like cats, they are curious. They don’t seek to spray anyone and only do so when provoked or frightened – this is truly a last resort and if they fear they might be killed. They are solitary animals who would prefer peacefully keeping your garden free of small rodents, and harmful insects, worms and grub worms which might be in your soil eating away your greens and vegetables. Skunks are a healthy garden’s friend who come out to visit and hunt at dawn and dusk. If you are lucky you might see a mama skunk with babies in Spring. After the baby skunks are grown they leave their mother to strike out on their own, again, as solitary animals. Baby skunks are called kits… baby cats are called kittens… the similarities continue!

So far it seems that skunks and cats are compatible, or least they can co-exist well. We are told that skunks and outside cats will share a food bowl! We’ve observed Skunkie and a lovely pastel tortoiseshell cat sitting about 7 feet apart in the evening. Here’s a video of a cat and skunk caught on surveillance camera with infra-red. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFz7Na_G9Pw

Skunks are most active at dusk and dawn. Is it coincidence that your cat wants to eat at dusk and dawn too and run around like a crazy person?

How do you know if you are about to be “skunked?” Simultaneously the skunk’s back will be towards you and his head turned looking over his shoulder so he can see you (for good aim!) You might see red anal scent glands depending upon how light it is. With excellent aim and propulsion of up to 10 feet – BAM! – you’ve been skunked!

Here is how to de-skunk using Anti Icky Poo:

1) DO NOT PRE RINSE THE CAT! This spreads the oily skunk spray. Tomato juice will not work… you’ll have a cat that smells of tomatoes and skunk spray

2) Soak a large rag with Anti Icky Poo so that it’s very wet. Wipe down the cat (or dog) and allow to dry. Of you could take the cat’s brush which you’ve soaked in Anti Icky Poo then brush it through the fur. With either method you’ll re-apply in 2 hours. This should take care of it, if not, apply a third time. Rinse with another water soaked rag or a fresh brush to finish the treatment. Discard the rags and brushes. Please only use the unscented version as the fragrance can be irritating to skin, lungs, and eyes.

3) If it’s you who got skunked, soak your clothes in the washing machine with ½ cup of Anti Icky Poo and cold or warm water for a few hours or overnight. After you soak and rinse, wash the clothes with clothe soap and ¼ cup more of Anti Icky Poo. You could even wash your hair with Anti Icky Poo if you wish.

Here you can see a mama skunk and her adorable progeny approaching a man who stopped his bicycle to watch and video them. He’s perfectly respectful and quiet therefore there is no spraying of skunk musk proving that skunks would rather not spray. Also, aren’t their squeaks beyond cute? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WINFNvPjbG4

 
 
 

Another great use for Anti Icky Poo! Removing Ring Around the Collar!

Who’s old enough to remember those catchy commercials from the 1970’s? And who of us teased co-workers, parents, teachers, and class mates for their rings around their collars? And who is plagued with ring around the collar today? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3N_skYSGoY

Madam Cat Faerie for one! She’s one of those unfortunate people who makes a vivid ring on her collars even minutes after putting one on and on a stone-cold day no less! The oils of the ring become one with the fabric which nothing seems to remove completely – always remaining are streaks of yellow or traces. Madam Cat Faerie is also not willing to use toxic methods to clean up anything.

Recently I bought a divine long soft cotton button down white shirt and wore it Saturday. And of course it grew quite a ring despite having exfoliated my neck to a pink glow earlier! I would never use a potentially toxic cleaning agent like bleach (which doesn’t work anyway) so the bright idea of a soak in Anti Icky Poo was worth an experiment. We’ve told you that Anti Icky Poo removes oils from clothing (found this out when I spilled olive oil on a cotton dress). Mr. Cat Faerie, a car hobbyist, does similar soaks to remove auto grease from his clothes.

How to do it: Put ½ cup of unscented Anti Icky Poo in a tub with another ½ cup of cold or cool water. Place the soiled shirt with the collar going into the soaking solution first, then allow the rest of the garment to rest on top – all of it will get a nice stain removing soak. The first 24 hours removed most of it, but not enough, so the soaking went for 32 hours. SUCCESS! Every speck of yellow was gone baby gone! The shirt went into the machine for a quick wash in Seventh Generation – Free and Clear liquid clothes soap to remove the Anti Icky Poo. After drying overnight I’ll fearlessly wear that shirt over and over!

 
 

Do you know who makes your cat toys and cat beds?

There’s a slogan going around social media: “Do you know who made your clothes?” It’s to ask you to consider your clothes – who makes them, how they are made, under what conditions are they made, are people dying for your clothes, are you wearing toxic clothing. Fast-fashion has a high price to pay ethically, environmentally, socially and so on. The same question can be asked of cat toys and cat beds: “Do you know who made them?”

At Cat Faeries we can tell you exactly who made our beds and cat toys. For multiple reasons we do not support manufacture in China, including that items are loaded with pesticides from being fumigated on the ship and possibly treated with formaldehyde in the factory, not to mention near slave conditions at many facilities.

Our beds are made in a small factory in California by workers who have worked there and participated in decision making for years. Our toys are made by the person we lovingly refer to as The Toy Elf. The toys and beds are cut and sewn by hand. Everyone works in conditions that are either in their home or in a well-lit and ventilated factory with normal business hours. Everyone makes a living wage. Everyone cares about your cats and cares about you.

This video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHS5zafY0NY) is about clothing and was produced by model and activist Amber Valletta and she gives the opening introduction to set the mood for what’s to come. Christie Turlington Burns, another model and activist also speaks, as do some pioneers in the world of fashion who are saying no to horrific working conditions for clothing. If you wear clothes (and we think that you do!) you need to watch this and share it with friends and children.

We were sent the story of a rescued cat named Hailey submitted by her Foster Cat Mommy, Kim who certainly knows who made their cat toys and their cat beds! We have hidden the photo behind a link because it might be upsetting to sensitive adults and children (link to photo – http://www.catfaeries.com/images/newsletter/2016-04-26/hailey-800.jpg).

Hailey the cat is recovering from a severe burn from the hands of abusers and you can see in the photo the very long wound on her back. She’s shown inside a cat crate for quiet and privacy while she recovers and gets used to her new forever-home in the comfort of one of our beds and with a catnip mouse nearby.

Here’s the story sent to us about Hailey:

I just wanted to send you this pic and thank you for your marvelous beds. Hailey is a feral that someone abused and burned with what the vet thinks may have been hot oil. I am providing her care and know that I will end up adding her to our kitty family as she cannot be returned. She was so frightened when I brought her home but instantly found comfort in the cat faeries’ bed.

Today I put a Cat Faeries mouse in her crate. Hopefully it will be a little treat for her. Also using a bit of the Convivial House Cat Spray around her crate which is still covered.

Thanks again for your products.

Kim in Indiana
 
 
 
 

Spring Cleaning Tips Using Anti Icky Poo

Spring makes us think about deep cleaning and out with the old! Well maybe not out with the old, but we can certainly bring new life to many things by freshening with Anti Icky Poo, the urine cleaner we recommend because it actually works! Its enzymes literally eat the urine particles. (Anti Icky Poo’s enzymes work on any organic mess. We use it for many things and we’ve put some of our Anti Icky Poo cleaning tips below.)

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!

 
 

Cat Video: Clever Commercial About Cats and Second Hand Smoke

This could be the best cat video ever because it’s ultra-creative and has a very powerful message. It’s hard to believe that people still smoke cigarettes. Stinky poo! And it’s hurting cats! If you smoke around your cats please stop – save the money you spend for cat toys and supporting cat shelters! Cats everywhere will thank you!

Over two million views!