Tax Time Deductions for Fostering Cats!

While we cannot claim our cats for a tax deduction the Tax Men will allow expenditures for fostering cats. This will be great news for many of you for this year, and something to consider for next year.


Newton’s Purrspective – Tax Time

Yes, my friends – once again it is that time of year. Spring is in the air, but now people are stressed out over tax time. If only they could relax with some Cat Faeries toys and chill out in a Cat Faeries bed. Perhaps there is a human equivalent for “Calm and Serene Flower Essence”?

I know many wonder (only half in jest) if they can use Fluffy as a deduction. After all, you provide food, housing, and medical care (though there is little need for clothing or a college fund). And cats are family! Sadly, the IRS only accepts humans as deductions.




Isaac Newton

However, there is good news for cat foster parents. http://catingtonpost.com/if-you-foster-a-cat-you-can-claim-it-on-your-taxes/ You may be able to deduct expenses incurred fostering cats. Of course, there are a few rules you must follow.

Here are the two most important ones.

  • First, you must file Form 1040 and itemize deductions.
  • Second, the organization you foster for must be recognized by the IRS 501(c)(3) designation as a Not-for-Profit organization.

You may already know that you can deduct contributions to a qualified not-for-profit if you receive no services or merchandise in return. For example, donating money or a bag of cat food can be deducted. But, if you donate the same things and receive a t shirt in return you can no longer use the deduction. You bought the t shirt so it has become a business transaction.

You will need to keep your receipts and have documentation from the not-for-profit if your contribution is greater than $250.00. To avoid misunderstandings and other problems I recommend checking the IRS rules https://www.irs.gov/uac/top-eight-tax-tips-about-deducting-charitable-contributions and consulting with a tax expert. Sure, you can tell them (the tax experts, not the IRS) that a cat sent you.

Here is the basic situation. Let’s say you are fostering kittens for a properly registered not-for-profit shelter. Let’s also assume they do not provide any money or supplies.

You may be able to deduct the cost of carriers, food, kitty litter, veterinary bills etc. If you have a special area of your house used only for foster kittens you might even be able to deduct a portion of utilities. I know there are many good hearted people spending their own money to take care of kittens and cats in a home environment. Kittens, especially, are vulnerable to life threatening diseases when in stressful environments like shelters. As a former shelter kitten I want to thank all the foster parents out there. Your foster felines appreciate your efforts and we all hope you can get a little credit from the IRS.

 
 
 

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

 
 
 
 

Feline Toxoplasmosis and human babies – blasting the lies, myths, and unfounded fears

Don’t you just cringe when you hear “I’m pregnant and my doctor told me to get rid of my cats to protect my baby’s brain.” Haven’t you wondered if the fear of brain damage from exposure to toxoplasmosis was a bunch of hooey from doctors who feel they need to dish out caution to nervous expectant mothers to make themselves look smart? Us too! We found some statistics that shoot that antiquated theory out of the sky and asked our Feline Contributing Editor At Large, Sir Isaac Newton, to chime in with the facts and figures to spill the beans on this situation. Spoiler alert: the studies were seriously flawed, babies are safe!

Speaking of babies – in a few weeks Auntie Cat Faerie will be visiting the ASPCA in New York City to see, in particular, their stellar Kitten Rehab. It’s where abandoned kittens, kitten literally found on the streets, hundreds of them per year, are bottle fed and taught proper toilet habits by loving and caring saintly humans. They are willing to keep these kitten’s cute baby butts nice and clean while they grow and learn to do it themselves. Stay tuned for the story!


Newton’s Purrspective – Toxoplasmosis

Cats have not always been popular house pets. Perhaps you’ve heard the old wives’ tale that cats smother babies or suck the air out of their lungs. Today few believe in this witchery. It is far more likely that cats in a baby’s crib are seeking warmth or are attracted to the scent of milk. However, some doctors still tell expectant mothers that they should get rid of their beloved pets as a health precaution. The fear today is not focused on a devilish feline behavior, but on a single celled parasite Toxoplasma gondii (the cause of Toxoplasmosis) carried by cats.




Isaac Newton

But cats are not alone. Toxoplasmosis is one of the most common parasitic diseases, affecting nearly all warm blooded animals, including humans. The CDC estimates that as many as 60 million Americans carry this parasite, but few show signs of clinical disease. A healthy immune system is able to prevent illness due to the presence of Toxoplasma.

Most people who are infected are unaware. Some may have flu like symptoms such as swollen lymph glands accompanied by muscle aches. Severe Toxoplasmosis (usually found only in people with immune deficiency) can cause damage to the eyes or brain. Treatment is available and is patient specific.
https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/toxoplasmosis/gen_info/faqs.html

Early in the 1950’s scientists started looking at the potential relationship between Toxoplasmosis and psychotic symptoms such as those seen in schizophrenia. They hypothesized that owning a cat could increase the risk of mental disorders. We now know that the early studies were flawed. Controls were inadequate and alternate explanations were not considered. Although in rare cases Toxoplasmosis can damage the brain, current investigations reveal no higher risk of psychosis for those who share their homes with cats. http://www.livescience.com/57978-cats-psychosis.html

Cats are singled out because they are the only definitive hosts for Toxoplasma gondii. The parasite completes its life cycle inside a cat’s intestines and eggs are shed in the feces for up to two weeks. Most cats will not show symptoms unless their immune system is compromised due to age or diseases such as Feline Leukemia or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. Cats are not routinely tested for Toxoplasmosis and the only prevention is to avoid ingesting the parasite. http://www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/Health_Information/brochure_toxo.cfm

Toxoplasma must be ingested or transferred directly. It cannot be absorbed through intact skin or inhaled. According to the CDC there are a number of ways for this to occur in humans.

  • Eating undercooked meat (especially pork, lamb, and venison) contaminated with Toxoplasma.
  • Not thoroughly washing hands after contact with infected meat and accidentally ingesting the parasite.
  • Eating food contaminated by utensils, etc. have been in contact with raw, contaminated meat.
  • Drinking water contaminated with Toxoplasma.
  • Accidental ingestion due to not thoroughly washing hands after:
    • cleaning a litter box used by a cat that has shed Toxoplasma
    • gardening without wearing gloves
  • Eating unwashed garden fruits or vegetables
  • Mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/toxoplasmosis/gen_info/faqs.html

Pregnant women, or people with weak immune systems need not worry that they will be forced to part with their beloved cats. Indoor only cats pose a smaller risk since they are less likely to come in contact with Toxoplasma. However, use common sense and avoid cleaning the litter box or, if you must, wear gloves. Always wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.

There is actually a benefit to keeping Kitty when you are pregnant. Cats can improve health in young children. The chief of the allergic mechanisms section at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Marshall Plaut, MD says “high pet exposure early in life appears to protect against not only pet allergy but also other types of common allergies, such as allergy to dust mites, ragweed, and grass.” http://mentalfloss.com/article/51154/10-scientific-benefits-being-cat-owner

 
 
 
 

Circadian Clock for Cancer Reduction: What time to eat and “restricted feeding” according to The Circadian Clock.

Last week’s newsletter was all about proper nighttime lighting and how it’s reducing disease in cats and people – did you order your blue blocking eyeglasses and computer screen covers from www.lowbluelights.com yet? If you missed that article, click here. This week let’s look at mealtime, in particular dinner, your cat’s and yours and what time to dine.

The body of every animal has a circadian clock. Within each body we know that every organ has its own unique circadian clock, which means every organ is active or resting at a specific time of day or night. It has been scientifically proven that when one eats their last meal of the day at or before sunset that the body will function at its best. To support those organs and their inner clock we should follow the rules that govern when to eat at the end of the day so that those internal organ clocks will function properly and disease reduction occurs. Ideally we restrict our eating to day time and day light hours.

Eating the last meal rather early, specifically at sunset, will boost the metabolism, deepen sleep, support brain function and strengthen all of the body’s cycles in people, cats, and effectively all animals unless they are nocturnal like bats, or crepuscular like rabbits and skunks. If one consumes their nighttime meal before sunset they will be in sync with natural rythyms of light and dark. Eating after sunset, or later into the night, interferes with serotonin production because the body is busy digesting food.

Eating later than sunset upsets the circadian clock of all animals including people and cats. When mice were fed during a short window of daylight, with the last of their food at sunset, cancer rates decreased dramatically, and their internal organs functioned better than those mice who eat at night. They also produced more growth hormone which lead to an increase in muscle mass and stamina which we feel would be a strong benefit to elder cats or sickly cats – for younger cats it will set the stage for healthful aging because their internal organs are functioning optimally. Could it be that we see so much kidney failure in cats because so many of them are allowed to free-feed, including all night long?

Here’s why eating early will benefit everyone in your home:

The #1 reason that everyone can relate to – prevents obesity! And what person or cat doesn’t want to be more svelte? As the natural sunlight part of the day comes to a close your body’s functions and metabolism slow down. If you eat during this slow down phase you aren’t burning off your calories for energy and that food can turn to fat and weight goes up.

And #2 is its anti-aging. Who doesn’t want a frisky cat or to feel and look youthful themselves!

3) Eating the last meal of the day early also prevents glycation which is important to avoid for diabetics or anyone who is concerned with diabetes. Diabetes and elevated blood sugar and triglycerides are often thought of as the root of much disease so keeping blood sugar in a good range is vital for robust health for any species.

4) Promotes good, deep, uninterrupted sleep because your serotonin will because your serotonin will be at an optimum level, and you won’t feel like you are lying on a bloated ball (your tummy!) because your food isn’t digesting properly. Slow and sluggish digestion will stimulate your brain making sleep elusive. It will fill your bladder which means many trips to the bathroom. Eating late could cause heart burn, acid reflux or coughing. And, if you drank water, tea, wine/beer late at night you’ll wake up often to urinate and it can be tricky to fall back to sleep.

5) If you and your cats eat before sunset your organs can revitalize because the body is not busy with late night digestion. Revitalizing all our organs allows them to do their job and function properly preventing illness and disease – including cancer.

6) You’ll be smarter and more productive during the day because you’ll wake up feeling fresh as a daisy from a biological clock that has been re-programmed based on sunrise and sunset patterns. Your body’s systems will work as they were meant to work, your cells will be repairing and cleaning. You won’t be tired or lethargic and you’ll likely become a perky morning person who’s not dependent on coffee.

Since sunset and sunrise occur at different times during the year but our work schedules don’t change accordingly at Cat Faeries we have found that eating around 5pm year round is easiest. If you can’t be home that early consider having your big meal at midday, and a light easy to digest meal when you get home. Your cats should be on a similar schedule. Before you wash your evening dishes collect the cat food bowls and wash them for the next day.

Get yourself on a good dinner schedule and change the evening lighting in your home. Cat Faeries wants you and your cats to be healthy so please consider: no more free feeding cats into the night and no more late night snacks for you. If you continue to free feed your cats during the day simply collect the food bowls at sunset and replace them when you get up in the morning. At night, after dinner be sure to switch off the computers etc. and wear the orange eye wear from www.lowbluelights.com. Also replace full spectrum light bulbs with blue blocking bulbs. Sorry, but as cute as we imagine them to be, there no such glasses for cats so it’s important to swap out the lights plus block the blues coming from your TV and computer so your furry friends can produce their own melatonin to fight disease and serotonin for good sleep!

Do you want to know more? We love the work of Satchin Panda, Ph.D. which you’ll find in abundance online. Here’s a podcast that we like:

https://www.acast.com/foundmyfitness/dr-satchin-panda-on-time-restricted-feeding-and-its-effects-on-obesity-muscle-mass-heart-health

 
 
 
 

Reduce disease in cats with proper light and Circadian Rhythms

Recently Cat Faeries talked about how our modern house cats live in artificial light which causes them to shed year round. This week we will learn how to get our and our cat’s bodies to produce disease fighting melatonin using color and light.

This topic is very important to us because in 2016 we lost two dear Cat Faeries customers to cancer. Cancer among all species is on the rise and rather than talk about causes which we cannot stop or which will take serious collective effort to halt (Fukushima’s ongoing radiation spill into the oceans, and deregulation of US environmental, health and safety laws among them) we will talk about Circadian Rhythm, that 24 hour clock which signals sleep, brain alertness, and melatonin production.

If we follow nature’s rhythms which say when one should be in light, what kind of light, and even when to eat, the tools to reduce disease will be right inside every home! Dedicated to Linda and to Judy.

About Circadian Rhythms and how they affect your cats (and you)

Before the invention of artificial light and the industrial revolution, our ancestors and their animals lived in natural light centering their lives around sunrise and sunset. They got up early, were productive, ate dinner early and went to bed early – their evening light was candle light. Most did not die from cancer or other of our common modern diseases.

Researchers and doctors have told Cat Faeries that if you don’t eat and sleep as nature intended and follow the cycles of light and dark, we could be courting cancer and other illness. Our feline family members should follow the same laws of nature but they need your help as you control meal times and lighting.

What is The Circadian Rhythm?

The Circadian Rhythm is often called the “body clock” because it tells our bodies when to sleep, to rise, and to eat as well as regulating many of the body’s functions. This internal body “clock” is affected by many cues including environmental, such as sunlight and temperature. If a person’s or cat’s circadian rhythm is disrupted, eating and sleeping patterns are thrown off and chaos in the body results. Research is being done on adverse health effects to these disruptions which include heart attack, Diabetes, cancer, obesity, psychological problems like aggression, depression, bipolar disorder, psychosis, and other mental diseases.


 
 

Reducing cancer with sleep and the role of light

Our bodies need the two extremes of time spent in light and time spent in dark to be healthy and disease free.

We need the bright light of daylight hours which naturally contains all of the colors of the spectrum to give us the energy and brain power needed for the day. Our brains are awakened by this light which supports specific body functions. The light from the sun has a full color spectrum which includes blue.

In contrast, darkness contains the full color spectrum with the omission of blue. The absence of blue around us at night triggers the person’s or a cat’s body to manufacture its own melatonin which is our body’s main and natural anti oxidant – a crucial disease and rapid aging fighter. When the sun sets the darkness with its absence of the color blue activates melatonin which begins to flood the blood stream. If we turn on artificial lights which contain the daytime color spectrum, which includes blue, or we stare at computer screens, we prevent our bodies from producing cancer reducing melatonin. Blue light also causes insomnia as melatonin is a sleep hormone produced by the pineal gland in people and felines.

We need to produce melatonin, not suppress it as proven by science happens when we are surrounded by blue containing lights at night. If we compare the high rates of cancer, diabetes and other diseases of today to those of the distant past the numbers make a profound statement. Since your cat lives with you and is bound by your schedule you could be inadvertently harming your cat.

Melatonin reduces the four most common diseases affecting our modern house cats: kidney failure, hyperthyroid, cancer, and diabetes.

Don’t we all joke about how much our cats sleep? But what if we didn’t realize that our modern habits disrupt our modern house cat’s true sleep cycles to the degree that they are now not as nature intended. And what if our artificial lights at night are causing the four most common diseases in cats?

Much research and documentation is to be found about the positive healthful and even curative effects of melatonin on the four most common diseases which affect our cats. Cat Faeries feels after reading countless studies that it’s because of blue emitting artificial light at nighttime. You’ll see in this article this is very easy to correct.

We wondered about a cat’s eye which has an inner eye lid, and if it might act as a screen for blue light, but not enough tests have been done. It’s important to note that light is also absorbed through skin so our house cats could be absorbing blue light at night time when the cat isn’t sleeping with closed eyes.

Examples of melatonin’s effects on people and animals:

  • At Washington University rats with tumors were injected with melatonin rich blood. The tumors shrunk.
  • A group of nurses were studied for 20 years. Half of them worked daytime shifts, and the other half worked the night shifts. Far more of the graveyard shift nurses got breast and other cancers than the nurses who worked day because the night shift nurses body’s could not produce the protective melatonin they others did.

Blocking the color blue at LowBlueLights.com

Dr. Vilnis E. Kubulins is a “light physicist” at John Carroll University in Ohio, who with his associates highly decorated scientists Richard Hansler, Ph.D. and Edward Carome, Ph.D., founded LowBlueLights.com which manufactures computer screen covers, mobile device covers, and special eye glasses to block out blue light. Dr. Kubulins discussed the role of beneficial blue light in daytime hours and how that same light is harming us in nighttime hours.

Dr. Kubulins tells Cat Faeries: “All standard light bulbs, computer monitors, cell phones and TV screens emit blue light which halts nighttime melatonin production. Orange is opposite blue on the color spectrum, so orange neutralizes blue.”

LowBlueLights.com produces special blue light filters for laptop and computer screens, and mobile devices. They make special orange color eye glasses which you simply wear at night to block the blue, and they have developed blue-free LED light bulbs. The screens attach and detach easily, the eyeglasses can fit over prescription glasses, and each clean up quickly with soap and water.

Each of their items have been thoroughly tested and proven to completely block blue which is why we endorse these doctors for their extremely high standards and who have the same ethics that Cat Faeries has.

When it’s time to turn out the lights and remove the glasses you need to sleep in a completely dark room with heavy drapery as street lights emit blue and can disturb sleep.

Will everything be orange when I wear my blue-blocking glasses at night?

Dr. Vilnis told us that all of the colors of the spectrum come through the lenses except blue. Yellow will look yellow, red will look red, but the blue will look black or gray because you’ve blocked it out. Interestingly white will look amber because white contains all of the colors, but now it won’t contain blue. You’ll quickly get used to this just like you got used to sunglasses during the day.

Wouldn’t it be easier for me and my cat to pop a melatonin pill?

You could and your veterinarian can provide the dosage for your cat, but the tablets will not do the same as allowing your body or your cat’s body to produce melatonin imprinted with its own DNA which is far more effective and curative than a pill. It is unknown how long the melatonin from a pill would stay active in the body, but it is known that you and your cat will continually produce melatonin as long as you are not exposed to blue light at night. Your body and your cat’s body know exactly how much melatonin to produce – free of charge!

 
 
 
 

Shedding and the indoor cat

Our roving (within the confines of his loving home) feline reporter, Isaac Newton gives us his purrspective on shedding and the indoor cat.

This is part one of a four part study about how to being indoors all of the time can be healthier and more in sync with nature. And this isn’t just for your cats, but for you too! This week we talk about feline shedding. Stay tuned for next three newsletters when we talk about Circadian Rhythm, light and lighting, and intermittent fasting. This could be the healthiest year for your cats and you yet!


Newton’s Purrspective – Living the Indoor Life

The outdoors can be a scary place for a cat. Sure, it seems like fun running around (in nice weather) living the ancestral dream of being a Saber Toothed Tiger. Housecats have retained the predatory instinct but, I have to admit, we’re a lot smaller than those tigers. This limits our prey to rodents, birds, small reptiles and insects. Natural foods provide nutrients that are often not found in commercial diets and catching our own food provides good exercise as well as entertainment.




Isaac Newton

But let’s look at the importance of keeping kitty safe. Although some outdoor cats live long lives (perhaps using up all 9 of them), in general “indoor only” cats live 3-4 times longer. Outdoor cats have a much higher risk of disease and parasites. They are also at the mercy of the environment, particularly predators and cars. Cats just don’t understand that they could become prey themselves.

A kitten kept inside from day one easily adapts to the indoors, especially if the environment is enriched with Cat Faeries toys and lots of places to explore and hide. Catios are also becoming popular as a safe way to let kitty have a bit of fresh air without worry.

Unfortunately, there is a downside to living totally indoors. Some indoor cats don’t get enough exercise and can become dangerously overweight. Measuring food and having a playmate can help. I have 3 siblings (the oldest is 12 and the youngest 9) and we all still play like kittens.

Living inside can lead to another problem. The controlled environment (constant temperature and artificial light beyond normal daylight hours) could disrupt would should be a natural shedding cycle. Instead of seasonal shedding we are in CONSTANT fur dispersal mode. And it doesn’t just end up on your furniture!

Cats are “self-cleaning” so we ingest a lot of this fur when grooming. Those little barbs on a cat’s tongue face backwards, so once the fur attaches we have no choice but to swallow it. In small amounts the fur passes through the digestive system without problems. However, when a lot of fur is present in the stomach it rolls up into a ball which we cough back up – voila – the “hairball”.

What can be done to prevent excess fur in the tummy?

  1. Brush or comb kitty daily*
  2. Make it easier for the ingested hair to pass through freely
    • Make fiber available – Cats are obligate carnivores so they are unlikely to crave a salad. However, they do tend to nibble on plant material if they are experiencing hairball problems. Having something safe like wheatgrass accessible could help.
    • Increase hydration – Drinking adequate water is important for proper functioning of the digestive system and is also good for kidney health. Always provide clean fresh water, preferably in a glass bowl. Believe it or not, some ceramic bowls still contain lead. Yikes! Many cats prefer running water, so a cat fountain could also be helpful.
    • Add a fish oil supplement such as ProNova Fish Oil, which is free of mercury and other toxic metals. In addition to aiding digestion it can reduce flaky skin and brittle fur.

Anyone who shares their home with a cat knows that felines actively seek out the sunny spots – all the better if it happens to be in a favorite chair or a comfy Cat Faerie bed. We don’t know if cats suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in the dark months. However, full spectrum lighting (which mimics natural sunlight) is known to decrease cortisol (a stress hormone), increase serotonin (a mood stabilizer), and regulate circadian rhythms (the sleep cycle). Its effect on shedding is not known, but providing full spectrum lighting can make kitty, and you, more relaxed and happy.

* I would be remiss if I failed to mention that brushing a cat is far more challenging than brushing a dog. We tend to be very sensitive and although brushing may feel good initially it can lead to over stimulation. Everything seems fine until suddenly we are in touch with our inner tiger. So start slowly and learn how much kitty can tolerate. Several short sessions may be the best option. Grooming is also a bonding ritual between cats. Why not use it to show kitty how much you care and strengthen your bond?