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!

 
 

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

We are so in love with this time of year! The wildflowers and flowers at the farmers market make us so happy. It really annoys me when I ask a flower vendor if they know if a plant or flower is toxic to cats and they say they have no idea. I think if you sell something you should know about it. But that said, here’s a list of many of the flowers to avoid bringing home this time of year, as well as their effects on 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!
  • 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 roses. You cannot go wrong with a nice bunch of roses! But make sure they are organic and fair trade – many roses are sprayed heavily with pesticides. Demand organic roses. We love Lilacs which are safe. We adore lilacs during their all too short season. 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, 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.

This page will give you a pretty good overview of plants and flowers to avoid year round:

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

 
 

Hyperthyroidism and Your Cat

Newton’s Purrspective – Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is a common disease in older cats ( > 10 years). Enlarged thyroid glands produce too much hormone (T3 and T4) causing a metabolic imbalance which leads to severe health issues if untreated. Cornell Feline Health Center – Hyperthyroidism in Cats

Symptoms often include:

  • Increased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Increased water consumption and urination


Isaac Newton

 

Thyroid hormones affect nearly all the organs so these secondary problems are common:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Enlargement of the heart (and heart disease)
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Kidney disease (due to the kidneys working overtime as the blood rapidly circulates)

Diagnosis involves feeling Kitty’s throat for enlargement of the thyroid glands and a blood test for thyroid hormone levels. (Please note these symptoms could also indicate diabetes or other problems. That is why the bloodwork is so important.)

The good news is that hyperthyroid disease responds well to current medications. Medications – easier said than done, right? Compounding pharmacies now make tastier pills and chewables. A gel that is applied to the inside of Kitty’s ear has been a lifesaver for cats that hate ALL oral medications (you know who you are).

The two alternative treatments are:

  • Removal of the thyroid glands (which carries a surgical risk)
  • Treatment with radioactive iodine to destroy the abnormal tissue

The latter is quite safe and effective, but may be out of range in most cat lovers’ budgets.

Now that you know the basics about hyperthyroidism symptoms and treatments you are probably wondering how cats get it in the first place. We know that the incidence of feline thyroid disease has increased in the last 30 years. This is likely a combination of awareness and of increased longevity in general. Remember this is a disease of older cats. But can a direct cause be determined? Is it genetic? Is it environmental?

Some researchers are looking at environmental toxins that may also be incorporated into cat foods. Research is just starting to be published. http://www.chicagonow.com/steve-dales-pet-world/2016/01/could-some-cat-food-be-causing-hyperthyroid-disease/ One study found chemicals known to potentially harm humans in certain fish based cat foods. However, to date there is no demonstrated link to feline hyperthyroidism. Additional research is clearly needed.

Environmental toxins are a concern for all of us. You may remember the classic “Silent Spring” which led to banning the poison DDT. A less familiar book “Our Stolen Future” describes how chemicals can mimic hormones in the body. When we discover what causes hyperthyroidism in cats we will also better understand thyroid issues in other species, including humans. Until then our best defense is a good offense.

All cats should have regular checkups. If Kitty has any of the symptoms listed above please see your vet as soon as possible. Catching and treating thyroid problems early can minimize the damage to other organs.

 
 

Healthy Feline Weight and How to Achieve It

Newton’s Purrspective – Healthy Feline Weight

People often complain that they put on extra pounds during the winter. Indoor cats may have the same problem – too many treats and not enough exercise. Although we do not have any incentive to prepare for swimsuit season, being overweight is a problem and can be a serious health concern. Feline obesity can lead to:

  • Diabetes
  • Liver disease
  • Joint disease
  • Skin problems
  • Shorter life


Isaac Newton

 

The demands of increased body mass may exceed the body’s ability to produce insulin. Obese cats are 2-4 times more likely to develop diabetes.

The liver is a vital organ that supports nearly every other organ in the body. Excess fat stored in the liver (hepatic lipidosis) decreases liver function and can be life threatening.

Of course, excess weight puts stress on joints. If movement is painful Kitty is even less likely to play and burn off calories.

Overweight cats cannot groom themselves properly. The extra weight makes us less flexible and we just can’t reach all the places that need attention. Consequently we may have dry flaky skin and dull fur, even if we have a high quality diet.

Before starting a weight loss program Kitty should have a complete exam. Weight needs to be taken off slowly and should be done through a combination of diet and exercise. The body can’t cope with rapid release of toxins and certain vitamins stored in fat.

FUN FACT – Did you know that, unlike people, cats must get all their vitamin D from food? It is stored in fat, and blood concentrations of vitamin D can be a predictor of feline health.

Your vet may suggest a special weight loss diet or simply smaller portions of Kitty’s regular high protein food. (Obesity in Cats… and What to do About an Overweight Cat – PetMD) Cats are obligate carnivores. We just don’t have the ability to digest carbohydrates the way people and dogs do. We need protein. Under natural conditions our meals would be small and unpredictable.

In fact – one mouse is the perfect meal for an average sized cat! A typical mouse is made of 20 percent protein, 9 percent fat and lots of moisture.

This is a difficult concept for many humans. Food is equated with love and cats have a way of looking “so hungry” we must need at least a small treat. Free feeding (leaving a full food dish out all day) is the human equivalent of sitting next to a large bag of snack food. Kitty may be eating more due to boredom than because she is hungry. Feeding small meals throughout the day has an added advantage of showing exactly how much is eaten (or not).

Follow your vet’s recommendations for portions and number of feedings per day. Weight should be checked at monthly intervals. Toys are a great way to increase activity — everyone in my family loves Cat Faeries toys. But some cats just aren’t interested in catnip. (It is genetically determined and does not mean anything is wrong.) In that case interactive toys (e.g. feathers on a wand), cat furniture for climbing, or even a playmate may help.

Once Kitty has reached a healthy weight follow your vet’s recommendations for maintenance. (Remember, being too thin is also unhealthy. If your cat is losing weight despite eating normally or has stopped eating do not delay in seeking professional help.) Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the ways to increase the chance of a long and happy life for your cat.


Some advice from your Cat Faerie – how to help a chubby cat in a multi cat household lose weight.

First, free feeding is never a good idea. To prevent over eating cats should have two meals a day. Breakfast and dinner. Each cat should have their own food bowl spread out to allow for space between the cats.

Tell your vet how much the plump cat weighs. Ask what the ideal weight for that particular cat is. Ask the vet how many calories a day the cat needs to slowly (and we do mean slowly, quick weight loss leads to liver failure in cats) drop the weight. Ask your vet for a realistic time frame for the weight to come off safely. Call the cat food company and ask how many calories are in the food, so you know exactly how much to measure.

For a chubby cat who needs to lose a few pounds we’ve created a very successful method ~ you will feed that cat in a room separately from the other cats with the door shut. To make this even better – split that cat’s food portion into TWO BOWLS! The cat will be overjoyed first because of the special room but also thinking it’s twice as much food because it’s in two bowls! Allow 20 minutes for all of the cats to eat. Collect the food bowls of the cats in the kitchen first, then the bowl of the cat who’s behind a closed door and let the cat out. Wash in hot soapy water to remove food bits and bio film.

 
 
 

Celebrate Japan’s Annual “Cat Day”

Yesterday February 22, 2016 the Japanese celebrated the 27th annual Cat Day, an informal holiday dedicated to cats, an animal they adore and are obsessed with! As much as we Americans love our cats the Japanese might be even more loopy for them than we are! We don’t have a cat holiday in the US, but they have one in Japan! Did you know that Japan has one of the highest number of cats per capita in the world? We’ve told you about the cat cafes in Japan, and about Cat Island Aoshima where thousands of well fed and cared for cats roam and the feline residents outnumber the human residents. People worldwide plan entire vacations around visiting the island to experience so many cats at one time and just hang out with them. And then there is the maneki-neko, the beckoning cat, a common Japanese talisman that is believed to bring good luck.

No wonder the nation that loves cats so much has a special holiday dedicated to them.

Cat Day in Japan is known alternatively as “Nyan Nyan Nyan Day”. “Nyan” is the Japanese equivalent of “meow”, the noise made by cats, and “ni” is the Japanese word for number two. February 22 (written 22/2) is pronounced “ni ni ni”, which apparently resembles “nyan nyan nyan” and is likely why they chose February 22 to become a cat holiday.

We did some research and found mention of the holiday in 1987, Japan Celebrates Annual Cat Day although Cat Day could have begun much earlier among cat fanciers. Throughout Japan special events are held at shops which cater to cats and their needs, cat cafes, and cat fancier clubs. And since the Japanese could have been responsible for the first cat video they are posting thousands of photos of their cats online to celebrate Cat Day. We found some of the best… including cat shaped donuts!

Aoshima Island cats…

From Happy “Nyan Nyan Nyan” Day on the Google Asia Pacific Blog – “First, we turn to Street View for a glimpse of the Station Master of Kichigahara Station in Okayama prefecture. It’s not uncommon in Japan for cats to be appointed as honorary Station Masters. Here our Street View camera caught Kotora (“small tiger”) taking a quick nap after a fierce morning of making sure the trains ran on time.”

At Tashirojima Island, another cat island in the Sendai Bay in Tohoku, tourists can stay in cat-themed cottages designed by famous manga artist Machiko Satonaka.

You can have cat-shaped doughnuts.