Is it Stressful to be an Indoor Cat?

Newton’s Purrspective – Is it Stressful to be an Indoor Cat?

“Indoor only” cats have an average life span of 12 – 20 years. This is significantly reduced (1-5 years) for cats who spend a large amount of time alone outdoors. But is staying safe inside unnatural and stressful for Kitty? Is it enough to provide food, shelter and affection? What does a cat really need to be happy indoors?

Although we’ve lived with humans for 9,000 years we are still predators at heart. Our ancestors lived in complex environments and were constantly challenged intellectually in order to survive. So, I have to admit we do get bored without physical and mental exercise. But we can solve that problem.


Isaac Newton

You want Kitty to be safe, but you don’t want her literally pulling her fur out from stress. What can you do to “catify” your indoor environment? You don’t need a large area, but you may need to rethink how that area is used.

Cats need a variety of indoor terrain. This satisfies their need to run, climb and safely curl up for a nap. In a multi-cat household it also provides a setting for games of hide-and-seek as well as a chance for solitude when you just don’t want to play anymore. Windows are important for both relaxing sunbaths and the stimulation of observing nature outside.

Furniture arrangement can satisfy this need for variety, but the addition of “cat furniture” helps to limit the wear and tear on upholstery. Cat trees are popular since they provide climbing opportunities and perches for overlooking the “catdom”. Some cats enjoy window perches, but please be sure they are stable. At my “castle” we have a special table next to a window that is reserved exclusively for cats. It has a small piece of cat furniture called a “curl” which is a great seat for relaxing or observing. For serious power naps we all love our Faerie Cat Beds.



My friend Purricane on his “curl.”

Cat trees and scratchers can be purchased or built. Although formaldehyde has been banned for over 10 years in the U.S. there are still potential toxins in carpet. Whether you are buying, or building cat furniture, look for natural fibers without toxic dyes or glue. http://pets.thenest.com/nontoxic-green-materials-use-building-cat-trees-12212.html Should there happen to be any accidents on the carpet I recommend a non-chemical cleaner, Anti Icky Poo.

Convivial House Cat or flower essences such as Calm and Serene can work wonders for reducing stress. Mood music for cats is known to be soothing. “A Ball of Twine” is at the top of my playlist.

Of course, exercise (which releases endorphins) is always more fun when it involves catnip toys. My favorites are the Cat Faeries Legendary Cat Toys. They bring out my wild side and are sturdy enough for “bunny kicks” and occasional dips in the water dish. I’ve had some of mine for years. (The boxes are fun to play with too.)

A Remarkable Story About a Cat Victim of the Lake County Fire

You probably know that Cat Faeries is located in San Francisco and that currently in Northern California there are two major fires which are destroying thousands of acres of land, burning homes and businesses, and displacing or injuring many animals. These animals range from cats, dogs and other domestics, to horses, cattle, and wild animals. One of the two California fires is in Lake County which is about 2 hours north of us – Lake County is the poorest County in the state.

While we were looking into where we can donate items and money we heard a remarkable story from Sebastopol based photographer Heather Wakefield about a severely burnt cat who was rescued by firefighters. The cat was found in the driveway at 19554 Highway 175, in Middleton, and was taken to Wasson Memorial Hospital. When the cat first arrived it appeared that the cat might lose his eyes but with treatment and round the clock care he’s improving daily and he’s begun to purr and rub his chin for the techs and doctors.

You might wonder why one of the places we are donating to is a for-profit vet hospital. Wasson Memorial is a very unique. They will not let the extreme poverty level keep locals from getting their animal’s medical care. They don’t turn away people who can’t pay; they believe that it can be worked out somehow. Dr. Cannon and Dr. Holmes are deeply committed to their community and created a special fund for the animals at their local Animal Control. You can read about the fund here: http://www.wassonmemorialvetclinic.com/donationfunds.html

We are very impressed that Wasson Memorial is boarding cats who have lost their homes from the fire or who have been found wandering, and they are doing this free of charge. They know that the people in their community who had very little to begin with now have nothing, including their homes which could mean they will never be with their beloved animals again. We are donating to Wasson Memorial because we believe that compassion before cash deserves to be supported.

As of today the fire is only 15% contained. Over 65,000 acres have burnt in that one fire alone. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed leaving thousands of people and their animal homeless. The town of Middleton is completely gone, every structure burnt to the ground.

If you have any information about the owners of this cat call 707-263-5380.

At Cat Faeries we feel very blessed – we’ve got the best customers! And we believe in philanthropy. We are in the process of getting more supplies to help cats and other animals (and people too!) where they are needed most – this is why you shop with Cat Faeries: 1% of our sales go to rescue efforts. In time of disasters like the two fires we order and pay for various supplies to feed and care for cats and other animals.

We’ve hidden the photos of one burnt cat behind this link to the Wasson Memorial Facebook page so that our readers who are children or very sensitive adults won’t have to see them unless they choose too. The photos are dramatic, but the good news is that the cat is getting better every day.

The Rescue Dogs of 9/11: only one is still living. See her today and how the last 12 looked in 2012.

(Update for 2015 – Sweet and brave Bretagne is now 16 and still helping kids learn to read.)

Look at those sweet gray muzzles! What cuties! And so very brave. These hero dogs helped search for people in the rubble following 9/11. In 2012 when we first posted this story there were 12.

Only one of these dogs is still alive. Bretagne, a 15 year old golden retriever, still works as a service dog helping special needs kids by listening to them read out loud. For more on Bretagne here’s an excellent article on the Today Show site – “Last known 9/11 Ground Zero search dog still lends a helping paw”. Here’s a current picture taken by her 9/11 handler and current companion, Denise Corliss.

Her she is with Denise working at the World Trade Center site in 2001.

In 2012, Dutch photographer Charlotte Dumas traveled to nine states to photograph the 12 remaining dogs, then in their golden years, at their homes. She produced a book of the photographs titled “Retrieved.”

Here is the story and their photos. These are from a wonderful article written by Charles Mayfield. Unfortunately, even after much Google searching, we can’t find the original source. Below is the article that includes pictures of 2012’s 12 surviving dogs.

Wishing you a day of reflection on the lives lost, the hearts broken, but the spirit of everyone who was touched by the events on September 11, 2001 remains strong. The rescue dogs who have crossed The Rainbow Bridge are surely held in the highest esteem, and we like to imagine that they are being given lots of love and treats by those who perished on that horrible day.


Nearly 100 dogs worked at the trade center ten years ago; only 12 are left. THESE OLD WONDERFUL FACES SAY IT ALL… These are the surviving dogs that worked the trade center that are still alive but retired, they are heroes too.

Their eyes say everything you need to know about them. Just amazing creatures. True heroes of 9/11 still with us today.

 

Moxie, 13, from Winthrop , Massachusetts , arrived with her handler, Mark Aliberti, at the World Trade Center on the evening of September 11 and searched the site for eight days.

 

Tara, 16, from Ipswich, Massachusetts, arrived at the World Trade Center on the night of the 11th. The dog and her handler Lee Prentiss were there for eight
days.

 

Kaiser, 12, pictured at home in Indianapolis, Indiana, was deployed to the World Trade Center on September 11 and searched tirelessly for people in the rubble.

 

 

Bretagne and his owner Denise Corliss from Cypress, Texas, arrived at the site in New York on September 17, remaining there for ten days.

 

Guinness, 15, from Highland, California, started work at the sitewith Sheila McKee on the morning of September 13 and was deployed at the site for 11 days.

 

Merlyn and his handler Matt Claussen were deployed to Ground Zero on September 24, working the night shift for five days.

 

Red, 11, from Annapolis, Maryland, went with Heather Roche to the Pentagon from September 16 until the 27 as part of the Bay Area Recovery Canines.

 

 

Abigail, above, was deployed on the evening of September 17, searching for 10 days while Tuff arrived in New York at 11:00 pm onthe day of attack to start working early the next day.

 

Handler Julie Noyes and Hoke were deployed to the World Trade Center from their home in Denver on September 24 and searched for five days.

 

Scout and another unknown dog lie among the rubble at Ground Zero, just two of nearly 100 search and rescue animals who helped to search for survivors.

During the chaos of the 9/11 attacks, where almost 3,000 people died, nearly 100 loyal search and rescue dogs and their brave owners scoured Ground Zero for survivors. Now, ten years on, just 12 of these heroic canines survive, and they have been commemorated in a touching series of portraits entitled Retrieved.

The dogs worked tirelessly to search for anyone trapped alive in the rubble, along with countless emergency service workers and members of the public.

Traveling across nine states in the U.S. from Texas to Maryland, Dutch photographer Charlotte Dumas, 34, captured the remaining dogs in their twilight days in their twilight years in their homes where they still live with their handlers, a full decade on from 9/11. Their stories have now been compiled in a book, called Retrieved, which was published on the tenth anniversary of the attacks. Noted for her touching portraits of animals, especially dogs, Charlotte wanted Retrieved to mark not only the anniversary of the September 2001 attacks, but also as recognition for some of the first responders and their dogs. “I felt this was a turning point, especially for the dogs, who although are not forgotten, are not as prominent as the human stories involved, “explained Charlotte, who splits her time between New York and Amsterdam .” They speak to us as a different species, and animals are greatly important for our sense of empathy and to put things into perspective.”

Charles Mayfield

Your cat’s water bowl – do you know about biofilm?

Have you ever rubbed your fingers on the inside of your cat’s water bowl and felt a bit of goo or slime on the sides? What you are feeling is called biofilm.

Biofilm provides a cozy environment for organisms including E. coli, listeria, and legionella. When biofilm is not removed on a daily basis biofilm acts as an attractant for all kinds of bacteria and provides a nice comfy home for them to breed and multiply, and cause weakened immunity and disease. Think of biofilm as a living entity waiting to wreak havoc.

Keep biofilm out of your cat’s water and food bowls – wash them daily.

For water bowls:

Dump the left over water into a bucket for your garden along with other reusable water from the kitchen. Wash the bowl with hot water and a few drops of mild dish soap. Rinse and refill with filtered water.

For food bowls:

Even if you feed your cat dry crunchies don’t keep refilling the bowl. You must use a fresh clean bowl for each meal time because the oils from the food and saliva mix together to create a particularly nasty bio film and the oils go rancid (rancid oil is a cancer cell’s friend – cancer feeds on rancid oil and sugars). Keep a rotation of cat food bowls handy so that the time spent preparing their food is shortened for you. Soiled bowls go in the dishwasher or are washed by hand in hot soapy water.

We have 4 cats and we have 12 Pyrex bowls which we rotate at each meal. They are either washed by hand or go in the dishwasher at night.

The bowls we recommend for both food and water – clear Pyrex glass which allows you to see food particles, and they are very easy to clean. We love that they are dishwasher safe. You do not need to worry about the glass being toxic because Pyrex is made in the US.

Does your cat (or you!) have a chronic infection? Is your cat prone to bladder infection, urinary tract infections, ear infections, and other microbial / bacterial conditions? Biofilm in the water and food bowl could be the cause. By simply washing thoroughly you’ll save money on vet bills and you’ll keep your cat healthy for a long happy life with you.

More reading about biofilm:

A good definition: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biofilm

About biofilm and infections: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23635385

Keeping your home biofilm free (as much as possible given that few of us are perfect little housekeepers!)

Biofilm also clings to our walls and items in our homes. Before it sounds like we are paranoid neat-freaks (which we are not, Madam Cat Faerie did not get the Martha Stewart gene) let us say that it’s good to be exposed to a certain amount of dirt and other crud. It’s good for the immunity and microbiome of any species. But we don’t’ want to be living in an environment that compromises anyone’s health.

One area of the house where we all should be concerned about is where the litter boxes are. That’s why we like keeping litter boxes in one area to create a cat-friendly litter box latrine area. The powders and dusts from cat litter can cling to the walls and other surfaces around the litter boxes. It’s important to wash down those walls. How often? If there are unhealthy people and animals in your home: weekly. Otherwise every 2 to 4 weeks will help tremendously.

Hot water and a washable terrycloth rag work wonders! They are free of cost and non-toxic.

Cats and Water (this isn’t what you think)

The theme of this week’s newsletter is all about water. We’ve dug up some information which might be surprising to you. It will certainly be interesting, and it could improve the health of all who dwell in your home.


Newton’s Purrspective – Cats in Formal Attire

Although dogs have been domesticated for 30,000 years cats took much longer to make that leap. (In fact, some researchers consider us “semi-domesticated”. Our genetic divergence from our desert dwelling ancestors is relatively recent. http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/genome-comparison-shows-how-wildcats-became-housecats) We joined humans a little over 9,000 years ago when agriculture fostered:

  1. a change from the previous nomadic lifestyle and
  2. a concentration of rodents! http://www.livescience.com/7299-house-cats-wild-ancestor.html


Isaac Newton

Domestic felines are genetically close to our wild counterparts (in fact, at my house we are called “fe-lions”). Having evolved in the desert we are meant to get water with our food. Are we getting enough? http://pets.webmd.com/cats/guide/mistakes-people-make-feeding-cats?page=2

Here is a breakdown for water content of food:

  1. mice 70%
  2. canned food 78%
  3. dry food 5-10%

We should always have access to water, but with just a dry diet we need to drink more. How can you be sure Kitty will drink what she needs?

Everyone agrees that food and water should be placed as far as possible from the litter box area. That’s one even humans appreciate, aesthetically as well as to avoid bacterial contamination. However, does it make a difference if food and water are side by side? Some cats do prefer separation. Our wild relatives often capture prey at watering holes and would want clean water some distance from the kill.

Any stagnant water is likely to contain bacteria or other harmful organisms. Kitty’s attraction to running water (and hence, the popularity of cat fountains) may be instinctual.

All water is not created equal. The four basic types are:

  1. municipal tap water
  2. well water
  3. distilled water
  4. spring water

Please keep in mind that any water can be filtered to remove harmful contaminants.

Municipal water may contain chlorine by-products, fluoride, bacteria, arsenic, toxic pesticide residues, heavy metals, and even rocket fuel. (yikes!) http://www.littlebigcat.com/health/water-water-everywhere-but-whats-a-cat-to-drink/ Compared to this, the three others seem like ambrosia. However, depending on your location even well water may have contamination. The only way to know for sure is to have it tested by a reliable laboratory. (This should be a concern for the whole family.)

Does that mean distilled water is the answer? Absolutely not! It is so pure it is tasteless and contains none of the molecules and particles needed for health. Drinking only distilled water can lead to deficiencies in sodium, potassium and vital trace minerals. People who drink distilled water exclusively may suffer from high blood pressure and irregular heartbeats.

The best option, for cats and their people) is spring water, assuming it is from a good quality natural spring. (Some bottled water is known to be simply tap water in a bottle.)

Water is good and necessary for life. However, too much or too little are signs of potential illness requiring veterinary advice. A dehydrated cat will lose skin elasticity (noticeable at the scruff on the back of the neck). Drinking excessive water (is Kitty always at the water bowl?) may be an indication of problems such as kidney disease, hyperthyroidism or diabetes.

August is Tuxedo cat month at Cat Faeries and smart cat Issac Newton wants to tell you about them

All dressed up with everywhere to go is the gorgeous tuxedo cat. Many of them have white spats, slippers, socks, or little shoes on their feet (even after Labor Day!). They have a wide variety of patterns on their bodies and faces, always with a lot of white with black, or gray, or other colors to create a very regal, elegant formal looking feline!

Some people feel their temperaments are particularly pleasing – would you agree?

We asked our good friend Sir Issac Newton, who’s one smart cat and always has a very unique purrrspective, to tell us about the origins of these delightfully marked cats.


Newton’s Purrspective – Cats in Formal Attire

Who are all these cats dressed in tuxedos and where are they going? They go everywhere, of course! “Tuxedo” describes a particular color pattern in a bi-colored cat that gives them the appearance of dressing for a black tie event. Although feline color genetics are sometimes a mystery we do know that the gene for white spotting is dominant. It masks the cat’s true color in the areas where white occurs. So a tuxedo cat has one gene for solid color and one gene for white spotting. If the white spotting gene wasn’t there the cat would be one solid color.


Isaac Newton

Traditionally, Tuxedos are mostly black with white trim on the face, chest and feet. But let’s not be stuffy! Some of us are fashion trend setters and wear grey or orange tuxes. Although it is not obvious in my photo, I have the white bib and feet, but I also have stripes. So I like to think of myself as the “cat in the pinstripe suit”.

Virtually any breed can wear a tuxedo since it is a color pattern, not a breed characteristic. Although there is no scientific evidence linking Tuxies with personality traits, I think they all know they possess a certain elegance.

People seem to agree. Some of the most famous cat characters are tuxedos. For example:

  1. Felix the cat (cartoon from the silent film era)
  2. Sylvester (Looney Tunes cartoon)
  3. The Magical Mr. Mistoffeles from the musical “Cats”

It is said that Shakespeare and Beethoven both had tuxedo cats – always dressed for the theater, no doubt.