Its gift giving season – could gift wrap harm cats and the planet?

Ho Ho Ho, its that time of year again. So many holidays to celebrate including Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, Winter Solstice, Kwanza, and New Year’s. Did we forget a holiday or festival day? If so, tell us, we don’t want to miss out on anything FUN! This time of year there are oodles of chances for festivities and giving sweet little gifts to those you adore.

But all that paper gift wrap. What a waste of paper. This year Cat Faeries behaviorist dusted off her sewing machine and put her very limited sewing skills to good use by making up lots of re-usable gift bags which are super easy to cut out and sew. She’s using a mix of old sheets, a few old dresses, hubby’s old shirts, and some new fabric (particularly yummy Japanese cotton in bold prints, or organic untreated cotton).

The gift bags are in lots of sizes to accommodate a wide range of gifts. In fact an assortment of bags make a great gift themselves. Here are some bag size ideas for you:

* very small – ideal size for an engagement ring or pretty earrings, or one cat toy,

* rectangular – for a bottle of wine or olive oil,

* square – to hold a book or two,

* medium – to hold an a bunch of cat toys, a few jars of homemade jam, a big jar of homemade bath salts,

* really big – for a hemp bathrobe. This size is probably big enough to use later for grocery shopping,

* super big – for really big gifts like a new computer. This size would be wonderful for future shopping trips when big items are bought or for packing clothes for a weekday getaway.

One of the reasons we like re-usable cloth gift bags is that many of our feline friends are tempted to chew on ribbons and bows. If swallowed they usually get barfed up, but that makes a huge mess for you to clean, and can scare the cat. But if chewed ribbon or bits of a bow do not get thrown up by the cat and starts to be digested serious or life threatening health problems can arise. There’s nothing festive about THAT!

So now we have two reasons to stop using all that paper, tape, and ribbon. You’ll cut down on waste and you’ll keep your cats healthy so that we all can enjoy another holiday season with fewer worries. Be happy knowing we have made one more step to green up our world and not be slaves to creeping consumerism. Ho Ho Ho – indeed!

Sudden changes in behavior – could be illness lurking?

Here are a handful of sudden behavior changes in multi cat households which could be a signal that one of your cats is in the early stages of a serious illness.

* sudden fighting

* one cat is singled out and picked on

* new alliances are formed, old alliances end

* change in hierarchy

* blood in the litter box (get to the vet – QUICK!)

* eating less or eating much more

* vomiting after eating

* coughing, sneezing, wheezing

* sudden dislike of a once favorite food or treat

* withdrawing from affection

* hiding in closets

* sleeping longer hours, sleeping deeper

Sometimes it seems hard to keep on top of everything we want to be observant of. Its so important to slow down, do less, and spend more time with our furry loved ones. Serious illness can sometimes come from nowhere. But if you think back, there were probably signs, subtle for sure, but there were signs that something was going on. A shift. A change. Behavior changes which have little to do with personalities but all to do with health should be carefully examined and acted upon with the help of your veterinarian. If need be, consult with a veterinary internist.

In loving memory of Jacques Frost, September 18, 1994 – November 25, 2007.

Autumn and another little furry 4 footed friend

As we get further into Autumn and the weather gets colder we may find another furry 4 footed creature in our homes seeking warmth.

If you see your cats staring at heater vents or closet doors, or if you see them going in and out of closets more often than usual betcha 10 catnip cupcakes that you’ve got mice either setting up residence or using your home as a highway from point A to point B. You could even have a rat or two.

A mouse in the house can cause

* sudden and unexplained fighting among cats.

* sudden and unexplained urinating or spraying near closets or heater vents by your cats.

* health worries of contracting the Hanta Virus from rodent droppings

There are many traps for mice available. We like the idea of “trap and release” using a humane trap – a great brand is Havahart. A good supplier of cat goods should have them, sometimes they’ll loan you one. For trapping rats . . .well, its tough and probably not safe to be so kind hearted – this is up to you. There’s a trap for rats which quickly and humanely electricutes them called The Rat Zapper.

Here’s a bait recipe that a friend who is a professional exterminator gave us for trapping rats. Rats are hip to the peanut butter thing so if that’s failed you in the past its because rats are very smart and evolve! (probably faster than some humans, but that’s another blog posting!)

Take a cookie and put a glob of peanut butter on it – think of the peanut butter as the glue which will hold the next two ingriedents: 1 macadamia nut and 1 small piece of black licorice. Rats may now be ho hum about peanut butter but the darlings cannot resist a mac nut or a piece of black licorice, so why not use both together! Insert this gourmet bait in the trap and voila, you’ve got em!

Warm wishes to all!