Lilies – Fleur Fatal for cats! And other toxic Spring flowers.

Spring is all about flowers and to most of us we look forward to seeing the flowers from bulbs. Tulips, daffodils, lilies. But if you live with cats Do Not Buy Them or bring them into your home. One tiny nibble on any part of the plant (leaves, flowers, pollen) can mean sudden death to a cat. Even drinking the water in the vase holding the flowers can cause death or serious illness.

This article talks about how sensitive cats are to all parts of lilies – not just the flowers and leaves, but the water they sit in, and pollen too if the particles get on your cat’s whiskers, feet or fur (this can be fatal).

http://www.noliliesforcats.com/site/view/169876_FAQ.pml

This a very sad but very informative story from the Daily Mail about what happens when a cat eats any part of a lily: The Valentine bouquet that killed my cats: Mother’s Day warning on lethal lilies

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2289569/The-Valentine-bouquet-killed-cats-Mothers-Day-warning-lethal-lilies.html#ixzz2uHABGTRC

This website has a very good list of plants which are toxic to cats.

http://www.earthclinic.com/Pets/poisonous_pla

How Torti became known as Torti Narcissus – The Miracle Cat

One Christmas a customer gave us some bulbs which she said to put in a vase with pebbles and water (very Martha Stewart!). The window sill in the bathroom seemed like the perfect place to put them.

One night Torti, our feisty little tortoiseshell, was sitting on the back of the sofa when she fell over as if fainting. Cats don’t “faint” like we can. We knew this was very serious so we rushed her to the emergency vet hospital.

An hour later she went into cardiac arrest 5 times, and 5 times the doctor defibrillated her. Mystified as why this was happening the vet contacting a colleague, a veterinary heart specialist in another state. The tension was intense. The attending nurses were crying because they had never seen a cat survive more than one episode of cardiac arrest let alone five in quick succession.

Torti survived a case of arrhythmia where something causes the heart to slow to a dangerous level which can lead to failure and death.

When things settled down the vet and the out of state specialist asked us if she could have ingested anything toxic in our home. Since we are greener than green and obsessed with being as toxin free as possible we were stumped. But we questioned everything in the house and office, and of course felt horribly guilty that we’d done something wrong. The next days were spent agonizing over what could have caused the arrhythmia.

Four days later when Torti was discharged and came home the first thing she did was trot into the bathroom, leap on top the sink, and make a bee-line for that vase. It was beginning to flower and we recognized them as Narcissus. I grabbed Torti and shut the door to keep her out. Using Google and the words: cats narcissus heart – there it was! That’s what caused Torti’s near death experience! Torti became known far and wide as Torti Narcissus – The Miracle Cat! Her photo is still on the refrigerator of one of the nurses who tended to her that night. The out of state specialist was so impressed with Torti’s survival and recovery that he flew in to meet her and examine her himself.

Torti had no lingering effects from her ordeal and she lived another 10 very happy years. Every time she went to the vet everyone wanted to see Torti Narcissus – The Miracle Cat.

Giving and Receiving Flowers

It sounds like we’ve put the kibosh on giving and receiving pretty flowers! It may feel like there isn’t much left. Don’t despair! Roses – you can’t go wrong with roses, especially when they are locally grown and not sprayed with pesticides.

Feline Genetics – Mapping Cats’ Genome Project

(What is a genome? A genome is an organism’s complete set of DNA, including all of its genes. Each genome contains all of the information needed to build and maintain that organism. In humans, a copy of the entire genome—more than 3 billion DNA base pairs—is contained in all cells that have a nucleus.)

Did you know there are 12 cat racial groups around the world?

Here’s a fascinating article from the San Francisco Chronicle on a project to map the genome of the house cat. The scientists are mapping the DNA of 99 cats from all over the world.

Once they’ve mapped the cat genome, the full database will be posted on the Internet. Researchers will be able to use the information to research cat health links to genetics and cat ancestry. This may someday lead to DNA testing for cats being available to vets to help in maintaining our kitty’s health. It can also help humans, by aiding research for diseases that affect both cats and people.

Someday, we may even have a DNA testing service like 23andme for our kitties!


Scientists set out to map whole genome of cats – 99 of them

Stephanie M. Lee

Cats may not have nine lives, as the myth goes, but they do have 38 chromosomes.

And a team led by a former UC Davis professor is trying to understand those genes by sequencing a lot of cats – 99 cats, to be precise.

Leslie Lyons is fond of cats – she is the proud owner of two – but that’s not why she is pursuing this project. As sequencing technology grows faster, more comprehensive and more precise, scientists in general are mapping the genomes of humans, dogs, cows and other mammals.

But Lyons, who now works at the University of Missouri, says the cat genome remains relatively un-deciphered. A full mapping of those 20,000 genes in various breeds could help pinpoint the genetic cause of distinguishing marks, like fur and eye colors, but also of cat health problems, she says. It could even shed light on diseases that can occur in cats and humans alike.

“When a sick cat comes along, you could genetically sequence it and say, ‘Hey, look, this has a variation we’ve never seen before,’ ” said Lyons, who is collaborating on the project with San Mateo company Maverix Biomics. “It might give us clues very quickly as to what genes to focus on for this cat’s health care.”

Right now, it’s too early to tell whether protective pet owners or veterinarians would be willing to fork over the cash to sequence their cats’ genomes, said David Kirkpatrick, a spokesman for the American Veterinary Medical Association.

But pet owners in the United States do go to great lengths to take care of their animals, spending $26 billion on supplies, over-the-counter medicine and veterinary care in 2012, according to the American Pet Production Association.

In the not-too-distant future, perhaps, a trip to the vet could include a DNA test.

“We want to bring the health care standards of our pets to a comparable standard for humans,” Lyons said.

From 9 cats to 99

The project, called the 99 Lives Cat Whole Genome Sequencing Initiative, grew out of an original plan to sequence just nine cats. But Lyon and her colleagues decided that nine lives were not enough to build a truly complete genetic portrait, so they upped the sample size.

The work requires samples from kitties that are spayed and neutered. The cats’ leftover ovaries, uteruses and testicles contain DNA that can be easily extracted.

So the scientists are seeking cat samples from Greece, India, China, Russia, the Galapagos and Madagascar, to name a few. They want all kinds of breeds: the silky-haired Maine Coon and the American shorthair, the spotted Egyptian Mau and the blue-eyed Siamese. They want both purebreds and housecats that are a little bit of everything.

12 racial groups of cats

Like humans, cats belong to different racial populations, Lyons said. Felines from the United States, Britain and Canada tend to match up genetically with each other – not surprising, because most share a fluffy ancestry that originated in Western Europe.

Their genetic profile differs from that of cats in Egypt, which in turn are distinct from their counterparts in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. All in all, there are about 12 racial groups, Lyons said.

“What (humans) really want to do is figure out all the genetic variations in our genomes,” she said. “It varies with where you live in the world and what ethnic group you are, and that’s true with cats, too.”

Assisting in the sequencing are the University of Missouri, Cornell University, Texas A&M University and UC Davis. Funding also comes from Zoetis, an animal health company; the Winn Feline Foundation, a cat health nonprofit; and Procter and Gamble, which makes cat and dog food.

An Abyssinian named Cinnamon was the first cat to be genetically sequenced in 2007, but the technology then was more primitive and only picked up about 60 percent of her total DNA.

The technology Lyons uses now will pick up virtually all of it, but mapping each genome will take weeks or months and cost about $8,000. Sequencing all 99 whiskered creatures will generate a huge amount of data – 168 terabytes. (A typical desktop computer has 1 terabyte of capacity.)

All that data will be uploaded into a cloud-based website that will allow anyone to view, search and annotate it.

“They can share that information very easily among researchers, rather than having to ship it around to researchers from lab to lab,” said Dave Mandelkern, president and co-founder of Maverix Biomics, which is operating the website.

Implications for humans

The data could have implications for humans who suffer from illnesses such as polycystic kidney disease and spinal muscular atrophy – diseases that also affect cats.

More immediately, the project could help researchers like Niels Pedersen, a UC Davis professor emeritus who helped with the sequencing. Pedersen, for example, is trying to better understand the genetic causes of feline infectious peritonitis, a fatal illness in cats.

“Using the tools we had at the time, we can see that there are some genetic factors that might be important,” he said. “To really define them … we really need to move to the whole genome sequencing.


Intriguing, isn’t it?


Everyone at Cat Faeries, and many friends, have done 23 and Me to learn about our individual genetics.

Here’s something fun to know about our founder, Mrs. Cat Faerie – she has 3% Neanderthal DNA. This is .8% higher than average and puts her in the 94th percentile (if only she did so well in school!) Mr. Cat Faerie has some Neanderthal DNA too, his is 3.1%. And you may have some too. This is why a service like 23 and Me, and all the genome research that’s being done, is so fascinating – and fun! And you might learn about some health predispositions.

What did our ancestor’s sleep patterns have in common with your cat?

You’ll be fascinated to learn that our ancestors did sleep, wake up, and then sleep again. A bit like cats, but not all day long, rather overnight.

Long before the Industrial Revolution and the invention of electricity people went “early to bed and early to rise”. And what exactly does that mean? Did they really go to bed early and sleep for hours on end? No.

Our ancestors did not sleep straight through the night, rather they had two nightly sleeps. They would go to bed early and sleep for a few hours, and then they would wake up. Which we modern humans often do, probably our Circadian Rhythms trying to tell us something. So we toss and turn, and feel guilt or anger for not falling back to sleep, they got up and did things, generally quiet things like meditate, pray or read. A few hours later they’d fall back to sleep again for the duration of the night.

Also before the invention of electricity our ancestors slept in complete darkness other than some light from a full moon. There was no light to disturb their sleep or rest. There was no artificial street light or light from electronics to disturb their sleep or rest.

Our cats have their own Circadian Rhythms which are: Sleep. Wake up. Sleep. They do this throughout the day. What’s similar between us and cats is that we aren’t meant to sleep for hours on end.

Doing what you can to flow with human Circadian Rhythm will keep us youthful and disease free. And probably even as agile as a cat.

The article on this link will explain how our ancestors used to sleep. Do read it, it contains a lot of fascinating details about what people did during those wakeful hours at night.

http://disinfo.com/2013/08/how-our-ancestors-used-to-sleep-twice-a-night-and-highlighting-the-problem-of-present-shock/

Learn about Circadian Rhythm

This is one of hundreds of websites that talk about how Circadian Rhythm affects everything from sleep, weight gain and loss, our moods, our aging process, and overall health:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/c/circadian_rhythm.htm

Mark’s Daily Apple tells us how to get great sleep:

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-manufacture-the-best-night-of-sleep-in-your-life/#axzz2sIGszEcr

Why the blue light glare is absolutely horrible for us:

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-light-affects-our-sleep/#axzz26gx2mK1P

Are squirrels driving your cat crazy?

Are squirrels driving your cat crazy? at CatFaeries.com

In 1997 when we shifted our focus to Feliway and helping cats get back to the litter box we quickly realized that one of the key triggers that caused stress for many indoor cats which can lead to litter box avoidance was the pesky presence of those cute bushy tailed rodents: squirrels. Squirrels running around outside have sent many a cat over the emotional edge.

Most cats find them to be cheap entertainment. But many cats find squirrels to be very annoying or threats to territory and this can lead to retaliation: peeing outside of the litter box, often right under a window. Even if a sensitive cat never sets foot outside (which is good, keep em indoors!) squirrels run along window sills, up and down trees, they get into bird feeders, and other antics all under the watchful eyes of our indoor cats.

We have long suspected that the quick ways squirrels zip around can really annoy and taunt cats. The defiant flicks of squirrel tails agitates many cats. And then there is that chittering sound they make. Traits that might seem cute to us often really irk and threaten even the most mellow feline.

A very easy solution to help steady your cats’ nerves is the feed squirrels (and birds) out of view from windows and at the farthest place on your property.

You can also install one or two Comfort Zone with Feliway diffusers in the rooms where your cats squirrel-watch. This will do two things:

1) The pheromone is calming to your cat, less fighting among your feline family.

2) The pheromone sends the message: “I don’t pee in this room.”