Springtime Flowers That Are Toxic to Cats: Banish the Bulbs! And Toxic flowers!

We are so in love with this time of year because everywhere you look wildflowers are popping up to say hello. Vendors at the farmer’s market are starting to bring in flowers. Nurseries have fantastic offerings too. But what rains on my flowery parade is when I ask a flower vendor if they know if a particular plant or flower is toxic to cats and they say they have no idea. Nor do they seem to care! Don’t you agree that if they are selling something they should know such details? I keep copies of this list of toxic flowering plants in my car to enlighten stores and other vendors. Here’s the Cat Faeries list of flowers to avoid in Spring along with what will happen to a cat if one is eaten, or the water they sit in is licked. Copy and paste, then distribute!

(copy and paste to word processing, print and take it with you when you buy flowers or plants)


Cat Faeries Guide to Spring Flowers Which are Poisonous To Cats

  • Azalea – heart failure and death
  • Clematis – vomiting, diarrhea, mouth ulcers
  • Crocus – severe vomiting and diarrhea, liver and kidney damage, respiratory failure, seizures
  • Daffodils – any part of the flower, stem, leaves can cause vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea
  • Delphinium – death
  • Easter Cactus – vomiting and diarrhea
  • Foxglove – vomiting, diarrhea, cardiac failure, death
  • Gladiolas – vomiting, diarrhea
  • Hyacinths – heart problems, tremors, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, breathing difficulty
  • Larkspur – constipation, drooling, convulsions
  • Lilies – All of them, any time of the year, absolutely all of them can kill your cat! Seizures are just the start! Flower, bulb and pollen are deadly.
  • Narcissus – shivering, convulsions, tremors, cardiac arrhythmia and heart failure
  • Rhododendron – Vomiting, diarrhea, coma, cardiovascular failure, death
  • Tulips – heart problems, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, breathing difficulty
  • Wisteria – vomiting, diarrhea, could be fatal


At our house about the only flowers you’ll ever see are fair trade/organically grown roses. You cannot go wrong with a nice bunch of organic roses – they cannot make a cat sick. But you do need to make sure that they are organic and fair trade – many roses are sprayed heavily with pesticides and are shipped to the US from other countries which is so cray-cray to us when they grow well here. Demand locally grown pesticide free roses.

Besides roses we love Lilacs, another safe flower. Sadly their season is short so enjoy them while you can. Other cat-safe flowers include: African violets, Alyssum, Calendula, Bachelor’s Buttons, Begonias, Columbine, Coneflowers, Gerber Daisies, Hollyhocks, Impatiens, Nasturtium, Orchids, Petunias, Snapdragons, Sunflowers, Violets, and 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, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Tarragon, Thyme.

We also love giving and receiving flowers at other times of the year. This page will give you a pretty good overview of plants and flowers to avoid all year round:

http://www.1stinflowers.com/articles/poisonous-plants-for-cats.html
 
 
 
 

Your old mascara wand can help your cat (seriously!)

Two weeks ago, we told you that you can brush your cat with a toothbrush when applying Convivial House Cat or a few drops of one of our flower essences. The reason is that the bristles mimic the feel of a cat mother’s sandpapery tongue with the familiar sensation they loved as kittens, which is still very soothing to adult cats. We feel this maternal sensation benefits the usage of our products from the loving touch of something bristly like a toothbrush, and we just learned that a cleaned/bleached mascara wand has the same feel and purpose!

And because we are zero-wasters (or try to be!) and hope you are too we knew you’d be excited to know that your old mascara wands not only have benefits for your cat, but you can also be a wildlife hero! Wildlife rescue organizations and rehabilitation professionals use them to remove all sort of icky things like oil on a bird’s feathers or fur after a spill, mites, fly eggs and larvae. They love mascara wands for their small size and that the bristles are so close together. And yes, you can follow their lead and use one to remove similar debris from your cat’s fur.

We’d read that mascara wands were ok to use to clean around wounds, but wondered if that information was unsafe so we asked a favorite Friend of Cat Faeries, veterinarian and animal communicator Joy Mason (www.joymason.com) what she thought about using mascara wands to wound clean. This is what she said: “I have been thinking about the mascara brush and cleaning a wound. I would recommend it for brushing the cat, but not for cleaning a wound. If the cat has a wound, I would recommend cleaning it with Chlorhexidene and warm water, put some coconut oil on it or if it is really bad then use a high-quality honey to help it heal.”

Always wash and bleach the mascara wand when it’s time to get a new tube and send the old wand onto its new home! By the way for the health of your eyes, mascara should be discarded every 2 months, 3 months at the most.

Save one or two old mascara wands for your own use and mail the rest after you’ve washed and bleached them. How much bleach? Dr. Mason, also known as Auntie Joy tells us the Clorox bleach needs to be diluted with water. This is how her clinic dilutes it for dogs to prevent Parvo: “In the clinic we recommend that people use a 4:1 dilution of water to Clorox if they want to put a foot bath at their front door to prevent Parvo virus from being spread if there is an outbreak in their neighborhood “ The same dilution would be good for the mascara wand.

How to clean a mascara wand without making a huge mess!

As you might imagine cleaning off a mascara wand is messy! Auntie Cat Faerie using her Virgo logic came up with this easy method! While she hates throwing things away she hates wasting water more so grab some paper towels. While wearing disposable gloves use your paper towels to wipe off as much mascara as you can, otherwise your hands will be very stained. Using a few damp Qtips scoop out as much mascara as you can from where the wand in attached to the cap. An empty narrow glass jam jar the height of your wand with 1 part Clorox and 4 parts water will allow the wand to stand up straight making removing it easy for you. The bleach will most likely remove any traces of mascara that you couldn’t rub off. Rinse in hot water when finished.

If you don’t have a wildlife group near you here are organizations that want them:

Wildlife Wands
PO Box 1586
Southwick MA 01077
https://www.facebook.com/wildlifewands/

Appalachian Wildlife Refuge
P.O. Box 1211
Skyland, NC 28776
https://www.appalachianwild.org/wands-for-wildlife.html

Here’s a video from Appalachian Wildlife Refuge where you can see the wands in action (grab a hanky!)

Mascara wands can also “go where no brush has gone before” for use around the house in any small crevice where dust and gunk settles. Use one on your sewing machine, your computer keyboard, clean jewelry, clearing the lint catcher in your blow-dryer, even the little oxygenating vent in your faucet tap where the water passes through and gunk can build up (let the floodgates open!). They also gently clean off mushrooms!
 
 
 
 

Newton’s Purrspective: Climate Change – We cannot pussyfoot around any longer!

Sir Isaac Newton is our Feline Editor At Large (just how large, he’s not saying) who writes very brainy and very well researched articles for us. Newton lives in the North East and is fond of storms, our catnip toys, a soft bed, sunbeams, and naps. He has an ongoing email flirtation with our Daphne. This is his current, and as always, very well done article.


If you are a cat who lives indoors you have probably not considered how climate change could affect you. On those days when it is too hot or rainy to relax in a CATtio you can retreat to a cozy climate-controlled environment provided by your humans. That is all well and good, but I have something important to say. I know it is difficult, but we cats must start thinking outside our cardboard boxes! It is high time we speak out about important life-threatening environmental concerns. For example, have you considered how climate change is affecting catnip in its natural environment? Ah ha! I see I’ve gotten your attention!




Isaac Newton

Cat Faeries Catnip is ethically wildcrafted by our beloved Cat Toy Elves. This means they find it growing in open wild spaces and harvest it in a sustainable manner where some plants are left to go to seed to ensure a healthy new crop the next year.

Recently we asked the Cat Toy Elves if they had noticed any changes in the wild catnip crops over the past few years. I am sad to say the news was disheartening, to say the least. They saw two major problems: 1) destruction of open space to build silly things like condos and 2) extreme weather changes causing conditions that make it difficult for Catnip to grow.

Remember, this is Wild Catnip. It occurs naturally and does not rely on fertilizer, irrigation or the controlled environment of a greenhouse. Unusually heavy winter rains may rot the seeds, or simply wash them into areas where they cannot germinate and grow. Searing heat and drought in summer burn up the leaves, buds and stems giving us less to harvest, and eventually killing the plants. Of course, we all know dead plants produce no seeds. The Elves fear a Wild Catnip shortage as early as late spring 2019!

Getting your humans to recycle and walk to work or for errands is a start. But scientists say this is simply not enough. Our poor abused planet cannot take much more – in fact they are giving us and it 12 years before things get irreversibly and life threateningly worse. Cats may have nine lives, but our planet does not! Perhaps you haven’t noticed, but sea levels are already rising. Do you read the news? The recent severe rain and drought events have been tied to climate change.

What can be done? People need to do their part by driving less and refusing to eat processed food and factory farmed meats. Organic food may cost a little more, but it tastes better and is much healthier! Refuse to buy products from China – consider the massive amount of fossil fuel it takes to ship them here as well as the atrocious labor and environmental policies of that country. Have you ever looked at photos of the air pollution in Beijing? That foul toxic air doesn’t just stay there – it blows all over the globe.

I have never been in a big box store, but people tell me they are filled with very strange smells that would certainly irritate a cat’s delicate nostrils. These smells are the result of toxic chemicals impregnated in clothing and all soft goods (e.g. sheets and towels). These chemicals not only pollute our air, but also our water supply when these goods are washed.

PLASTIC – use of that stuff must be halted, in particular “single use plastic.” Experts say soon there will be more plastic in the oceans than there are fish! Fish and other sea life are eating plastic or getting tangled up in it, and it’s killing them. (You may have seen some of the horrific examples online.)

National Geographic tells us that micro plastics are being found in human feces! One way plastic enters their bodies is from swallowing the contents in plastic water bottles! Tell your people that they can easily fill washable glass or copper bottles with their own filtered water. Read about plastic and people-poop here: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/10/news-plastics-microplastics-human-feces/

Most important: Get Your Humans To VOTE. Make sure they refuse to vote for anyone who is not actively trying to reverse climate change and/or endorse renewable energy. No exceptions.

Click on this link then forward it to 50 human friends and acquaintances. Knowledge is power and I know that your people are caring and will pounce into action. Your catnip depends upon it!

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/climate/what-is-climate-change.html?smid=fb-share&fbclid=IwAR10vD3ec9CqUNcaeeotM7txpoTac3P8rbX3YQAKDQ4fprCtl-iX1qZdhII

This year Cat Faeries will be joining 1% For the Planet.
 
 
 

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

 
 
 
 

Are essential oils safe for your cat?

Cat Faeries gets about 30 emails a week asking if we carry essential oils, and if we don’t, they want to know why. We also hear from people who have essential oils confused with flower essences, which are what Cat Faeries specializes in and are two very different things. And these are great questions! One is a volatile plant oil, and the other is purely vibrational, the vibration of a plant or flower, not actual plant material.

In 1982 Auntie Cat Faerie got her first certification as an aromatherapist and believe me when I tell you, in 1982 NO ONE knew what on earth that was, the word actually scared them! Auntie Cat Faerie went on to get 4 more certifications during the 1980’s. (just a little obsessed are we?!) But by the early 1990’s the term aromatherapy was being misused and overused so she got out of that field not wanting to be associated with a modality that had corporations who make those toxic “air fresheners” but began to call them aromatherapy, or with people who had zero training or background who got involved in multi level marketing selling essential oils to friends and co-workers. Also, aromatherapy was never a good term for essential oil usage as the smell is only one part of the benefits of this healing modality – Essential Oil Therapy would have been better. Anyway, the oils penetrate skin, enter the blood stream, and can affect all vital organs, therefore on must be highly trained to recommend or administer them. And understand the species they wish to work with.

Sir Issac Newton our “feline editor at-large” wanted to give our readers the scoop on essential oils and their use for cats. Before you pounce on that story I’m going to tell you about a use for one essential oil, oregano oil, which will prove how effective the oils can be – as well as – how strong these volatile compounds are.

You’ve heard about “oil pulling” with coconut oil? If not, you would take a spoonful of coconut oil, and add ONE drop of oregano oil to it, put it in your mouth and swish for 15 to 20 minutes, first thing in the morning, before eating or drinking anything, to remove toxins and freshen the mouth. Yes, 15 or 20 minutes seems like an eternity to swish something in your mouth so to distract myself I feed the cats and check email – the time flies. When the time is up spit it out in the trash (not the sink) and rinse with water or use a dedicated toothbrush. My dentist is blown away by my progress because I had a history of gum disease which is 100% resolved from the swishing. I try to swish again before bed, after flossing, and interestingly the two oils always seem to find and dislodge a particle or two that I missed flossing! Now this is where essential oil therapy comes into play and its truly fascinating – the added oregano oil is so potent that it literally has kept me from accumulating any tartar. As you know tartar is so rock hard at the gum line or clinging to teeth needs to be chiseled off by a dentist. Well, if oil swishing with one drop of oregano oil has keep Auntie Cat Faerie tartar-free (truly, my mouth is a tartar producing factory) you can imagine what too much could do if ingested by a person and small animal like a cat. The best of the holistic veterinarians we know, like Cheryl Schwartz, says NO to essential oils for cats. Many cats have died or ended up in the Kitty ER from essential oils.

As a side note, our Catnip Meow Mist is a hydrosol which is the watery run off during the process of making essential oils. Catnip doesn’t yield much in the way of essential oil (don’t trust anyone who says that it does, it will be fake if they are selling it) but it makes a divine hydrosol and it’s perfectly safe for a cat, baby, or any being to come in contact with. Can this be said about other hydrosols? Maybe yes, maybe no – it would depend upon the plant used.


Newton’s Purrspective – Essential Oils – Should They be Used on Cats?

Essential oils are all the rage for people these days. Uses range from plain enjoyment of the fragrance to treatment of actual physical ailments. The oils can have therapeutic value, but many factors determine the quality of the extracted plant oils.

These include:

  • The plant itself and what part is used
  • Climate and cultivation methods
  • Timing and method of harvest
  • How the oil is produced and stored




Isaac Newton

How many people do the research to determine if the essential oils they purchase are high quality? Are they likely to do what the company claims? Do they contain impurities which could be harmful? To date, there is no regulation.

That said, I’m not surprised that the use of essential oils for cats remains highly controversial. One of the attractions of the oils for people is the scent. Cinnamon! Eucalyptus! Lavender! Cats’ noses are very sensitive (one of the reasons we prefer unscented cat litter) and we are unlikely to find enjoyment in such concentrated perfume.

Some people use the oils for perfume as well as therapy. A drop or two of lavender is said to be calming for people. However, it is unlikely to have the same effect on Kitty. Also, remember that anything you apply topically to a cat is likely to be licked off in minutes. Oils may be safe for humans to ingest, but cats have a different metabolism and sensitivities to chemical compounds.

Essential oils are highly concentrated. Some, such as the popular Tea Tree Oil, can cause serious skin irritation if not diluted. This, of course, is a danger in applying any oil directly to a cat’s skin. Also remember that oils are fat soluble. They cannot be simply rinsed off. And, once absorbed by the skin they can travel to any part of the body containing fat.

Most oils can be distributed into the air using a nebulizing diffuser. Although much less concentrated than direct inhalation the mist could still be an irritant to Kitty’s delicate nostrils. For safety’s sake some recommend using a diffuser only in a part of the house with no cat access.

The bottom line is I could find no evidence that essential oils should ever be used on cats. The potential hazards are far too great.

However, cats can still enjoy the benefits of plant compounds. Hydrosols come from steam distillation of plants used for aromatherapy. The result is a much less concentrated plant essence. Auntie Cat Faerie explained to me that this is the process used to produce Catnip Meow Mist. I love this for freshening up my Cat Faeries toys. I didn’t mind pieces of dried catnip all over the floor, but it triggers the need to vacuum in some people.

Flower essences are the safest product available for your cat. They are generally made from an infusion of plants and flowers picked at their peak. However, Cat Faeries is one of the few companies using a special process that is in harmony with the natural and healing spirit worlds.

Unlike oils, flower essences have no scent. Cat Faeries flower essences also lack alcohol, vinegar or anything else that would taste bad. They can be sprayed on furniture, added to food or water, and even applied directly to Kitty. The Flower Essence section lists more than a dozen scenarios and directs you to the appropriate product for your cat or cats. If you are unsure, send an email to Auntie Cat Faerie. She will be happy to answer your questions.
 
 
 
 

Giving Homeless Cats Jobs: City Rat Catcher!

Over 100 years ago many American cities and rural communities kept cats for rodent control. The cats had some sort of housing and usually a human caretaker who would let them out at night to prowl for their prey. This was a practice that went out of favor when the chemical companies upped their greedy game, saw major profits in poison, and began to push their agenda for toxic chemicals to control rodents, and sadly people fell for this ruse and seemingly easy way out, and stopped using cats. Must we tell you that poison kills more than rodents? It can wipe out an entire family of owls if they eat poisoned rodents (which tells us that owls and other wild life are also good for rodent control)

Fast forward to now. Rescue groups in various US cities have decided it’s high time to give homeless cats a job: Rat and Mouse Abatement! This is a win-win for all especially done in our more modern way with shelters being in charge which ensures that the cats are suited for the job, spayed/neutered, and well cared for. It sure beats euthanasia for the scores of homeless and feral cats! For sure we’ll see rodent populations go down as well as less poison in the environment!

Here’s how two cities are doing it:

In Washington, DC…

http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/news/2017/03/20/rodent-problems-d-c-rescue-group-will-give-you-a.html

http://www.humanerescuealliance.org/blog/posts/humane-rescue-alliance-announces-launch-of-blue-collar-cats-program

In San Francisco…

http://ecosalon.com/working-cats-rodent-control/

Here’s how Barn Buddies does it by providing cats for barns, stables, farm land, and rural businesses:

https://www.heartforanimals.org/barn-buddy-program.php3