How to Prevent Feline Calicivirus (FCV) Infection

Here’s an article from our resident smart kitty Issac Newton about Feline Calicivirus (FCV). It’s a particularly nasty virus that is one of the leading causes of feline upper respiratory infections and can cause painful ulcers on the nose, eyes and mouth.


We’ve seen Colloidal Defense help cats get through a bout of Calicivirus much more quickly. If your cats have ever had Calicivirus it’s a good idea to put Colloidal Defense in either their food or water daily as a prevention.


To see just how nasty the painful oowies that accompany this disease can be, one of the links below has photos which show what can happen to a cat’s nose, mouth and eyes (there is a warning with the link). These are graphic and not suitable for children or sensitive adults. Fortunately, not every outbreak of Calicivirus is as dramatic as shown in these photos.


Newton’s Purrspective – Calicivirus

Because their immune systems are not well developed kittens everywhere are at high risk for the most common feline viral diseases (upper respiratory disease and distemper). The stress of living in a shelter makes them even more susceptible and the proximity of other cats almost guarantees that they will get sick. The most common causes of upper respiratory infections in cats and kittens are herpesvirus and calicivirus. I was once a shelter kitten and I am a calicivirus survivor.


Isaac Newton

Calicivirus is highly contagious and can be spread through direct contact with infectious secretions (did you know a cat sneeze can travel 9 feet?) or by exposure to objects that have been contaminated (dishes, bedding etc.). The virus can survive a week or more in the environment so a person can spread the virus simply by touching these objects before handling a cat. (http://www.vcahospitals.com/main/pet-health-information/article/animal-health/feline-calicivirus-infection/4132)

Typically the incubation period is 2-6 days. However, a cat may infect others even before the disease is apparent! Symptoms are variable and depend on the age of the cat as well as the presence of other viruses, such as herpesvirus or distemper. These include:

  • Limping due to tenderness in the joints or muscles (most common in kittens)
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sneezing and Discharge from the eyes and nose
  • Ulcerations (pus-filled sores) inside the mouth or on the lips, or tip of the nose
  • Ulcerations on the toes and bottom of the feet

(http://www.healthcommunities.com/calicivirus/symptoms.shtml)

The ulcers are very painful so drooling or pawing at the mouth may indicate their presence before they are readily visible.

Vaccination against calicivirus does not provide immunity, but it can decrease the severity of symptoms. (http://www.sheltermedicine.com/node/38#vacswarning – graphic pictures on this page of nose, eye and mouth ulcers – not suitable for children or sensitive adults) Since upper respiratory diseases are viral support therapy is used until the body can fight off the illness. Cats are typically treated with antibiotics to prevent pneumonia and other secondary bacterial infections. In severe cases fluids may be required. Fortunately, my symptoms were not severe and I had a foster mom to take care of me away from the shelter.

Calicivirus can be very serious, especially in kittens. It is important to get veterinary help as soon as possible. Traditional vets will use oral antibiotics and fluid therapy for rehydration if needed. Antibiotic eye ointment may also be prescribed to prevent ulceration and possible blindness.

Homeopathic vets will offer different treatment options. These include vitamins, herbs and nutraceuticals (http://www.news-medical.net/health/What-are-Nutraceuticals.aspx) to help support the immune system. “Colloidal Defense”, in particular, can stimulate the immune system and speed healing. A vaporizer may ease breathing difficulties and appetite stimulants can help if the patient is reluctant to eat. (http://allnaturalpetcare.com/blog/2014/03/21/natural-treatment-feline-upper-respiratory-tract-infection/). A nosode (homeopathic vaccine) may also be recommended. (http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/veterinary-nosodes/)

In all cases good nursing (e.g. cleaning discharge from eyes and nose, providing fresh food/water and a warm safe place to sleep) is essential.

Although calicivirus outbreaks are most common in crowded situations, such as shelters or catteries, an indoor cat at home can still get the disease. Hand washing is an important precaution both for humans and their kitties! In the case of known infections it is best not to visit homes with sick cats for at least 2-3 weeks after they have recovered. Caretakers of sick cats should not visit other homes with cats.

After I finished my antibiotics I went in for my final exam at the shelter. I felt pretty good, but the veterinarian said I was unadoptable! Why?!? Some cats become carriers after recovering from the disease. (http://www.sheltermedicine.com/node/38#disinfectwarning – graphic pictures on this page of nose, eye and mouth ulcers – not suitable for children or sensitive adults) This means they could still potentially infect others. The virus is most likely to become active under stressful situations. Fortunately for me, my foster mom was willing to take the risk. At home we have minimal stress thanks to “Multi Cat Household Harmony Flower Essences” and “Convivial House Cat” spray. We have all remained healthy since my adoption over 7 years ago.

You can see why my mom fell in love with me.


Baby Newton Jan 2008

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!

Cat Safe & Cat Poisonous Spring Flowers

How many of you cat lovers were given lilies this past weekend? Who among us gave someone with cats lilies or are about to?
Go this article with a short one minute video about the dangers of lilies for cats then throw them into the compost bin!

Paws on Safety: 1 Min Pet Clinic – Lily Toxicity

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are both coming up and that means gifts of pretty spring time flowers – but many of them are poisonous to cats and shouldn’t be anywhere inside the home of a cat. Among them are tulips, daffodils, and crocus. Did you know that baby’s breath is toxic to cats? We think you’ll enjoy this short article.

http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owners/seasons/spring/

While we don’t endorse Teleflora (personally, we like to shop locally and put together our own flower arrangements) they do have a very good page on their website with safe Spring time flowers and pretty photos of bouquet ideas.

http://www.teleflora.com/nontoxic-pet-friendly-flowers-plants.asp


Pretty kittens with pretty cat-safe lilacs

At our house about the only flowers you’ll ever see are fair trade roses. You cannot go wrong with a nice bunch of roses! Or Lilacs! We adore lilacs during their all too short season. Other cat-safe flowers include: African violets, Alyssium, Calendula, Bachelor’s Buttons, Begonias, Columbine, Coneflowers, Gerber Daisies, Hollyhocks, Impatiens, Nasturtium, Orchids, Petunias, Snapdragons, Sunflowers, Violets, Zinnias.

If you are like me and love flowering herbs these make very sweet little rustic bouquets, darling in Mason jars: Basil, Bee Balm, Cilantro or Coriander, Chamomile, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Lovage, All of the Mints, Oregan, Rosemary, Sage, Tarragon, Thyme.

Why Sprouts Are Good for Cats: Make healthful Kitty Spaghetti from red clover seeds

We’ve always been fans of wheat grass for cats, having written what could have been the first article ever on the benefits of wheat grass for cats in Tiger Tribe magazine back in 1993.

Yaelle is a Cat Faeries customer and for over 20 years she’s made what she calls Kitty Spaghetti or Cat Salad from sprouted red clover seeds. She has tended to countless cats from her own, as well as ferals and fosters. A true cat whisperer! Here’s what she has to say about red clover sprouts.


Yaelle’s Healthy “Cat Salad” or “Kitty Spaghetti”

This is my simple “cat salad/kitty spaghetti” recipe that I feed my cats, to all my rescues/fosters, too. In over 20 years only 3 cats have refused this delicious and nutritious dish. Kitties gobble this up faster than I’ve seen cats eat any other kind of food.

What you need:

  • red clover seeds
  • A clean 1 quart Mason jar
  • Something mesh like: panty hose, cheese cloth.
  • A rubber band
  • Filtered water
  • Alternatively you could be a special sprouting jar at your local health food store, but truly a Mason jar is just as good and it’s practically free!

HERE’S A BASIC HOW-TO-SPROUT RECIPE:
1: Take red clover seeds and put them in your clean quart-sized jar. For one or two cats: 1 to 2 tablespoons. For more cats and yourself add 4 to 6 tablespoons of seeds.

2: Add purified or filtered water enough that the water is several inches above the seeds. The seeds will expand, so make sure you have enough water covering them.

3: Soak overnight.

4: In the morning pour off water. Then add more water through the pantyhose or cheesecloth and rinse the seeds well. Do this a couple of times. Once you’ve done your final rinse place mouth of jar down at 45 degree angle for drainage and ventilation. There are several ways you can tilt the jars at a 45 degree angle. You can use a dish drainer or prop the jar up at the correct angle with dish towels and something to lean the jar against.

5: Rinse twice a day with fresh cool water.

6: After 4 or 5 days you’ve got mature sprouts. Don’t let them go longer, they’ll get bigger and tough. It’s now time to start using them. Your sprouts are fresh for almost one week stored in a glass jar in the fridge.

Once you get the hang of this you can keep a jar or two in rotation so that you don’t run out of sprouts. It’s a bit tricky at first to get the rhythm down, and for a long time I found that either I had too many sprouts or I was running out. Eventually with practice, you develop a system that works optimally for you, your cats and your schedule. This delicate sprouting process doesn’t have to be a perfect science. Even if the sprouts are not fully grown, as long as they have sprouted, they are a “living food” and what’s essential for this healthful recipe!

I have 3 quart-sized glass jars “going” at all times:

  • One jar has seeds that are soaking. I soak my seeds about every 3 or 4 days.
  • The 2nd jar has sprouts that are in the growing stage.
  • The 3rd jar has the sprouts that are ready to harvest.

Time to add sprouts to your cat’s food!

After your sprouts are ready, you take your preferred moist cat food. I recommend Primal Freeze-Dried Formula for Cats It comes in little “bricks” or nuggets. It’s frozen 100% human-grade raw organic food full of wonderful things such as coconut oil. It’s a bit expensive but worth it if you can afford it.

Here’s where to find this cat food: http://www.primalpetfoods.com/locator/index.php

(Cat Faeries recommends the turkey flavor as we do not trust fish from any source at this time. This is what we feed our own cats, and only the turkey flavor.)

Put the cat’s food in a bowl and add sprouts, mixing with a fork. You might give the sprouts a rough chop first.

In addition you could add a little cod liver oil for skin and fur. It has lots of vitamin A and D and tastes fishy so cats really go for it! Kitties (and humans) really need their healthy fats.

Finally, to “spice” things up, I always sprinkle some spirulina into my cat salad/kitty spaghetti.

I only have known 3 cats who would not eat the “cat salad/kitty spaghetti” from the very first serving. For those cats you could add a few of your kitty’s favorite and healthful kibble just like “meatballs” on top of spaghetti or salad “croutons”!

BON APPETIT

With all my love,
Yaelle


Here’s a picture of Yaelle’s Cassie…

102 year old lady proves you’re never too old to adopt a cat

102-year-old Iona L. and 2-year-old Edward at the Montgomery County Animal Shelter

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/22/102-year-old-woman-adopts-cat_n_6524804.html – This Photo Captures The Tender Moment A 102-Year-Old Woman Fell In Love With A Shelter Cat

Do you ever feel like you are too old to do something? Often that’s so not the case especially in matters of love! Here you will read about a lady who’s 102 years on this planet and she’s fallen in love with a special cat – and it’s mutual. Neither are concerned with how long the other might be around – they just went for it and it’s beautiful. We love that old saying “it’s never too late.” This woman and her cat prove that it’s true. There’s nothing like the love of a furry friend to make one feel young, vital and needed.

Meet a Roman Cat!

Mimi sent us this picture of Aka…

“This is Aka, my beautiful almost 15 year old Roman cat. She is the Queen of Piazza Mazzini here in Rome, which she watches over from our 5th floor balcony. She is on her window perch; outside the window in the background you can see the top of St. Peter’s dome. She is quite a lady and doesn’t have a wrinkle on her. She loves relaxing on her favorite armchair or gazing out the window, looking at the streets of Rome. We met when she was 5 days old and left her mom to waddle over to my hand. 2 months later she moved in with us. She’s my gattissima bellissima!!!”

We wrote her…

“We are located in San Francisco and there is an organization here called Friends of Roman Cats – they raise money for Italian cat shelters and rescue! One of the groups is called Torre Argentina. They have an annual fund raiser here which we’ve donated to in the past.”

“I’ve had many interactions with Italian cats! My favorite, the funniest: I was in Verona (one of my favorite places) and walked past an alley. There were a lot of street cats eating. I looked up and sitting in a window about 4 floors up was a woman, something right out of Fellini… Harsh looking face with garish makeup, buxom figure, sleeveless dress with bra straps hanging down, a cigarette dangling from her lips, throwing pieces of fish out of her window the cats below. I watched for awhile. Then she saw me and threw fish at me and yelled something in Italian at me. Pretty funny! I once helped the old ladies feed the cats who live on the grounds of a museum in Milano.”

“Thank you so much, it gave me a few minutes to think of the cats I saw and met in Italy!”

Mimi wrote back…

“Thanks so much for the interesting information on the “Friends of Roman Cats”. Everyone here knows the cats of Torre Argentina. They are very famous and inhabit some very important architectural digs. In fact they have recently “discovered” or “uncovered” the exact location where Julius Caesar was assassinated there. I work near an area that is a crossroads between the Aventine hill, Testaccio and the Pyramid and there is a colony of cats there too. In fact many cats (lovely black ones) live in the garden/parking lot of the pool/Gym where I work. They are well cared for by the volunteers from the Piramide cat colony.”

If you ever come to Rome, I’ll take you to visit the Piramide cat colony!!! I’ll look forward to seeing Aka in an upcoming newsletter.

Thanks and baci.
Mimi