Shedding and the Indoor Cat (updated)

Sir Isaac Newton is our Feline Editor At Large (just how large, he’s not saying) who writes very brainy and very well researched articles for us. Newton lives in the North East and is fond of storms, our catnip toys, a soft bed, sunbeams, and naps. He has an ongoing email flirtation with our Daphne. This is his current, and as always, very well done article.

This is part one of our 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 upcoming 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!


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 including a new kitten for me to keep in line 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 the 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?
 
 
 
 

Anti Icky Poo to de-skunk your cat, you, or your dog. Cats and skunks – learn about their many similarities.

Anti Icky Poo never ceases to amaze us with its many inventive uses. It’s Spring and this time of year our skunk friends are very active, and animals and people can get sprayed. As FOS: Friends of Skunks – we want to help you get skunk spray out of cat fur, clothing, and make you understand and love skunks as much as we do who happen to have interesting commonalities with cats.

Removing Skunk musk with Anti Icky Poo to de-skunk cats, dogs, people, clothing and outdoor objects

The cat might not have actually been sprayed by the skunk because these two species tend to get along very well. Cats are usually too smart to provoke a skunk. Instead, kitty probably rubbed up against a plant or bush that the skunk sprayed during a mating ritual to appear sexy and to mark territory (sound familiar?).

  1. Soaking a cat or dog in tomato juice is outdated and it will not work… you’ll have a cat that smells of rotting tomatoes and skunk spray. Also, DO NOT PRE-RINSE THE CAT with water! Rinsing with water spreads the oily skunk spray deeper into fur. You need something to de-grease and that’s where Anti Icky Poo comes in.
  2. Drench/soak a large rag with Anti Icky Poo so that it’s very wet. Wipe down the cat (or dog) and allow to dry. Of you could take the cat’s brush which you’ve soaked in Anti Icky Poo then brush it through the fur. With either method you’ll re-apply in 2 hours. This should take care of it, if not, apply a third time. Rinse with another water-soaked rag or a fresh brush to finish the treatment. Discard the rags and brushes. Our unscented Anti Icky Poo is perfect because fragrance can be irritating to skin, lungs, and eyes.
  3. If it’s you who got skunked, soak your clothes in the washing machine with at least a ½ cup of Anti Icky Poo mixed with cold or warm water for a few hours or overnight. After you soak and rinse wash the clothes with clothe soap and ¼ cup more of Anti Icky Poo. Repeat if needed. You can wash your hair with Anti Icky Poo or add some to shampoo.
  4. If there is skunk scent on outdoor planters etc. spray the object every few hours over the course of a day. Repeat the next day as needed.

How do you know if you are about to be “skunked?”

The skunk will turn its back towards you and simultaneously turn his head to look over his shoulder so he can see you (for good aim!) You might see red anal scent glands depending upon how light it is. This is how they warn you and if the threat doesn’t halt immediately, with excellent aim and propulsion of up to 10 feet – BAM! – you’ve been skunked!

Cats and Skunks have a lot in common but also have some big differences

  • Skunks are very shy and very passive. Like cats, they are curious.
  • They don’t seek to spray anyone and only do so when provoked or frightened and as truly a last resort if they fear they will be killed. Heed their warning and back off.
  • As solitary animals they prefer peacefully going about the business which is keeping your garden free of small rodents – some cats are like this.
  • Baby skunks are called kits or kittens. Baby cats are called kittens.
  • Both species give birth to 4 – 6 kittens.
  • Both species are very curious.
  • Both species have excellent hygiene.
  • Skunks are most active at dusk and dawn. Is it coincidence that your cat wants to eat at dusk and dawn too and run around like a crazy person?
  • Skunks are insectivores. Cats are carnivores. Skunks prefer insects but will eat small rodents.
  • Both species can suffer from kidney failure from too much protein in the form of animal protein (don’t leave cat food outside!)
  • Skunk fur feels like dog fur or of a few long-haired cats with dense fur.
  • Cats have excellent vision. Skunks do not, they are near sighted. But both see better at night than we do.
  • Skunks and cats get along well. They can often be seen sharing a food bowl. They are often spotted resting next to each other or roaming together.
  • Mating season is February and March for both species. During those months skunks give off mate attracting scent and cats make a lot of noise!
  • Skunk kits are born in Spring the same as feline kitten season.
  • Skunks eat worms and grub worms in your soil they very same insects which eat your greens and vegetables.
  • Skunks are a healthy garden’s friend who come out to visit and hunt at dawn and dusk.
  • If you are lucky you might see a mama skunk with babies in Spring. After the kits are grown, they leave their mother to strike out on their own, again, as solitary animals establishing their own territory.
  • If you are kind and well known to your neighborhood skunk you might be rewarded with her showing off to you her latest brood of kits in Spring! My neighborhood skunk, known as Skunkie, has introduced us to many generations of her babies. She has proudly come down our driveway or stood in front of the house and shown them to us!

This video shows us a mama skunk and her adorable kittens approaching a man who stopped his bicycle to watch and video them. He’s perfectly respectful and quiet therefore there is no spraying of skunk musk proving that skunks would rather not spray. Turn up the sound so you can hear their adorable squeaks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WINFNvPjbG4
 
 

Longevity (create it) and Boredom (fix it) and your cat.

I’ve been feeling like a housecat all these months since March with a shrinking territory! Being housebound makes me wonder if our housecats are ever bored. Every day before I arise, I think of how during the day I will alleviate my boredom and anxiety which is important for robust health. I ask myself “What am I looking forward to today.” Then I think about new, enriching, and interesting acts of love for myself, my husband, my cats and bunnies, and for Cat Faeries. I think of how I can create beauty, excitement and happiness. All these ideas and daily plans circle back to me which give me plenty to do allaying any boredom and which benefits others, including our 4 cats. By thinking about and planning thoughtful gestures I elevate good health and longevity for all of us!

Let me be your Feline Party Planner with easy and cheap things to do for boredom and to keep it interesting for them and for you.

Shut doors for a few hours then open them. Could there be a Surprise? Something new to explore and chin-mark?
Having your cat spirited away in a room with the door shut for a few hours peeks a cat’s curiosity. They wonder: “What’s going on beyond the door!” When you finally open the door, the cat will likely race out to see what wonderful things there are to explore or what might be new and different. Even if you didn’t change one thing, the cat will be curious and will check it out. An adventure!

Is your cat’s curiosity on over drive? Is your cat the first to check out a new piece of furniture? Don’t shop, just move something!
Not all cats like fresh and new and in fact bringing in a new piece of furniture or rearranging what you have can be stressful to a minority of cats. But if your cat is one who’s curiosity is off the charts then start moving stuff around to create the feeling and flow of new and different. It can be the most simple thing like moving a chair or two. And you will bask in the refreshing newness yourself. Just like bringing in a fresh bouquet of flowers which I also highly recommend for YOU!

Bring the outdoors in
This is so simple, and it will have major sensory and entertaining impact for cats of all ages! Just a branch from a tree or a bush placed on the floor with a towel or mat under it can give your cat something new to sniff, chin mark and explore. You cat might even take a snooze under it or near (like they often do with a Christmas tree). This entertainment powerhouse didn’t cost you a penny. Keep it there until the cat becomes bored with it or it sheds leaves. Thank it for its service and in the compost or your city’s green bin.

An edible treasure hunt
Our prey animal friends love to forage and to a good hunt. Put a treat or a snack in a dish and hide it. Good choices are things that smell strong to lure your cat to find the smelly treasure. It could be the water from a can of tuna fish (a rare treat ONLY), a small piece of boneless cooked chicken or other meat, a spoonful of pumpkin/squash, or chicken baby food, bonito fish flakes.

Let’s take the edible treasure hunt further
Measure your cat’s allotted meal portion and divide it up into several dishes, then hide them in easy to find places! Let the cat prowl, hunt, and eat like a cat in the wild! A sprinkle of bonita fish flakes or nutritional yeast helps boost the scent. You can also spray our Catnip Meow Mist on the food for the ultimate in feline aromatherapy. And it’s good for their digestion and immunity!

Hide a toy or a few toys which you sprayed with our Catnip Meow Mist
Another great hunting expedition is when you cat sniffs out a fresh blast of their favorite scent – catnip. Any favorite toy sprayed with our Catnip Meow Mist hydrosol and hidden behind a chair or in a corner will entire kitty to find it and play with it.

Create an art gallery for your cats
Affix photos of birds, mice, and your cat’s baby pictures placed at feline eye level on the wall at the food bowl area!
 
 
 
 

Reader’s tips on how to lure a feral cat into your heart and into your home!

 

From Rosalinda: “This little stray showed up in our backyard, we feed it but once it eats it runs and hides.”


When we posted this story and photo from Rosalinda of her little backyard stray kitten she told us that the kitten runs and hides after feeding time. We have some pretty smart and experienced with feral cats readers on our Facebook page, and if you’ve got a feral cat or kitten who you’d love to bring into your home here are some of their tips!


Deborah V tells us: I had a little cat that I was feeding and she was very shy (and careful, I must say). But, after about 6 months, she started to come up to me and let me touch her. Then after a while, I got her to come inside. She stayed with me inside (never going outside again).

Patricia C. has stellar advice: If you lay down she may not be as frightened. Also sing a soft little song. Some cats love music.

Donna I. reminds us of this great trip, which works wonders! Give the kitty the trust blink. you look it in the face and slowly close your eyes and open them, if you wear glasses take them off so it can see your eyes. blink slowly and wait to see if they blink back. if you do this for a few days it’s ok, if they blink back then they trust you. maybe you can put the food in the bowl and sit there on the steps, not in the chair. he/she will learn your scent, maybe even rub up against you. just be patient

Diane McG suggests: Beautiful kitty. Please try to rescue it because it’s very dangerous outside. You could probably borrow a live trap from the Humane Society.

Wendy R says: Just keep feeding her. I’m sure eventually she’ll venture inside and stay. Just show kitty love.

Colleen D has encouraging words: She will come around!

Robin P. has words of wisdom: Doesn’t trust yet…please be patient..God Bless you!

Norma Jean TS wants you to know: Soon it will be friendly

Cathy MS wants you to know: I’ve been feeding a stray cat for a year on my front porch. Iv only recently been able to scratch her back a little.

Andrea Lee B: tells us: It is wonderful you are feeding the baby but please… when you do catch… get her/him neutered.

Millie C has a good tip: Every time you put food out keep bringing it closer and closer to your home and the kitten has to claim you. Thank u so much you have a great heart

Elizabeth W has this to say: Be patient. Little by little she’ll feel safer. Just keep it up. Don’t make fast moves or loud noises around her.

Phyllis L speaks from experience: Try to get a have a heart trap and catch it to get it spayed or neutered. Alley Cat organization will help with that. Took me over a year to get the last of 4 ferals to come in my house. That was 10 yrs ago!

Patricia K has good advice: Move the bowls further away from the chair. You are BIG… sit down, but not too close. Sweet talk very softly while the kit is eating. You will have her in your lap in about a week, maybe two.

Sina T is encouraging: I am hoping that she will come around for you.

Connie H tips her hat to Rosalinda: Love that you are feeding. Just be very patient.

Linda M has good things to say: It looks like a young cat, if your willing to take care of this beauty be gentle and keep feeding on a regular basis it takes time for them to trust and they choose.

Pamela M. is cheering you on: The girl says just keep at it and be patient she’ll come around. Has to learn to trust first and foremost

Joan F. is optimistic: Be patient, trust will come…this little cutie needs your love & help!!!


When you feed your feral cat, or cats, sit with them. Being closer to their level makes you less scary, more friendly. Cats and other animals communicate telepathically – they see images of what we are thinking (like when you are looking for the cat carrier for a vet appointment, they “see” the image of the carrier in your mind and run!) What you want to do is free your mind of the usual chatter, worries, and thoughts and images of chores we are bombarded with. This technique is good for you and the cat as it’s a nice time to meditate. Imagine your thoughts on the 12th floor of a building, in an elevator, which is holding all the chatter and thoughts in your mind. Now, bring the elevator down to the 11th floor with less chatter and thoughts. Then to the 10th floor with even less chatter and thoughts. Keep going. The goal is to reach the ground floor in a paradise where you’ll be free of chatter and thoughts and be in a state of quietude which is going to feel very safe to the feral cat and be healthful for you too. If the cat wants to approach you let it happen BUT do not reach out. Play hard to get! Make the cat want your attention! You might see the cat lay down, sit down, or clean a paw or face. This is what we want. Keep practicing. Eventually the cat will trust you and you can try to stroke the cat (start with the aura, then then fur once the cat is ok with your reach) and at that time you can decide what’s next for you and the cat!

While you are descending down the Meditation Elevator you might picture your thoughts and chatter being swept away by a broom, perhaps blown away be a breeze, or encased in a cloud or a rose bud where the breeze with take it away, or place those thoughts in a sail boat and allow them to sail away.
 
 
 

When cats are naughty or loud at night and what it can mean!

When cats fight at night or pee outside of the litter box at night this tells Auntie Cat Faerie that most likely you’ve got feral cats coming around!

The neighborhood ferals, also called Community Cats, are active at night when it’s safer for them to prowl and hunt outside. Since it’s the middle of the night when we are sleep, we have no idea they are there and we might even tell people “we don’t have ferals in our neighborhood.” Surprise!

Your inside cats hear them, see them, and if they are spraying urine or peeing outside your house, your kitties smell them. All of which upsets your cats. Many cats don’t care about the presence of outside cats but for the indoor cats who do care it will cause them to fight – or worse – pee in retaliation! Still not convinced that some of the behaviors your cat is exhibiting is caused by ferals, answer this: 1) do you find that your cat peed or pooped by a window or door? 2) do your cats only do this in the middle of the night and rarely during the day? A yes to either question is evidence that you have outside cats annoying your indoor cats. And until you keep those cats away from your home stopping the problems for your indoor cats may never stop 100%.

  • To keep outside cats away don’t feed them, look at installing Spray Away or The Water Scarecrow which use water to chase them away, hang up put shiny objects near your doors such as old CD’s or DVD’s (and keep the porch light on to reflect)
  • Give your cats our Territorial Rescue once or twice a day in food/water. You can also spray it around the house, and near the doors and windows.
  • Give your cats our Convivial House Cat. It is 100% natural and edible! It can go into food and water, as well as sprayed on objects or near the doors and windows.
  • Our Beneficial Crystals truly do boost effectiveness of both products when drops are applied.
  • Clean the outside of your doors with our Anti Icky Poo to remove any traces or urine and its smells. If you see a water mark at cat-butt-height that’s evidence of your doors being sprayed. Also check flower pots, chairs, and your car’s tires.
  • After you’ve cleaned the door off apply some of our Convivial House Cat or Territorial Rescue to the outside of the door and repeat as often as you can – this is going to help chill out the ferals!

Another cause for fighting in the middle of the night is if one of the cats is getting old and kidneys are failing – perhaps one cat is yowling and this is upsetting the other cats (and disturbing your sleep)? If yes, this is a sign of kidney failure (and deafness which causes the yowling go hand in hand with kidney failure) Get to the vet this week!

  • Before you go to bed, go around the house and give a few random “here and there” sprays of Convivial House Cat.
  • A bedtime snack might help them stay calm – most cats will be happy with a tablespoon of a “mid-night snack.”

 
 
 
 

Your old mascara wand can help your cat (seriously!)

Two weeks ago, we told you that you can brush your cat with a toothbrush when applying Convivial House Cat or a few drops of one of our flower essences. The reason is that the bristles mimic the feel of a cat mother’s sandpapery tongue with the familiar sensation they loved as kittens, which is still very soothing to adult cats. We feel this maternal sensation benefits the usage of our products from the loving touch of something bristly like a toothbrush, and we just learned that a cleaned/bleached mascara wand has the same feel and purpose!

And because we are zero-wasters (or try to be!) and hope you are too we knew you’d be excited to know that your old mascara wands not only have benefits for your cat, but you can also be a wildlife hero! Wildlife rescue organizations and rehabilitation professionals use them to remove all sort of icky things like oil on a bird’s feathers or fur after a spill, mites, fly eggs and larvae. They love mascara wands for their small size and that the bristles are so close together. And yes, you can follow their lead and use one to remove similar debris from your cat’s fur.

We’d read that mascara wands were ok to use to clean around wounds, but wondered if that information was unsafe so we asked a favorite Friend of Cat Faeries, veterinarian and animal communicator Joy Mason (www.joymason.com) what she thought about using mascara wands to wound clean. This is what she said: “I have been thinking about the mascara brush and cleaning a wound. I would recommend it for brushing the cat, but not for cleaning a wound. If the cat has a wound, I would recommend cleaning it with Chlorhexidene and warm water, put some coconut oil on it or if it is really bad then use a high-quality honey to help it heal.”

Always wash and bleach the mascara wand when it’s time to get a new tube and send the old wand onto its new home! By the way for the health of your eyes, mascara should be discarded every 2 months, 3 months at the most.

Save one or two old mascara wands for your own use and mail the rest after you’ve washed and bleached them. How much bleach? Dr. Mason, also known as Auntie Joy tells us the Clorox bleach needs to be diluted with water. This is how her clinic dilutes it for dogs to prevent Parvo: “In the clinic we recommend that people use a 4:1 dilution of water to Clorox if they want to put a foot bath at their front door to prevent Parvo virus from being spread if there is an outbreak in their neighborhood “ The same dilution would be good for the mascara wand.

How to clean a mascara wand without making a huge mess!

As you might imagine cleaning off a mascara wand is messy! Auntie Cat Faerie using her Virgo logic came up with this easy method! While she hates throwing things away she hates wasting water more so grab some paper towels. While wearing disposable gloves use your paper towels to wipe off as much mascara as you can, otherwise your hands will be very stained. Using a few damp Qtips scoop out as much mascara as you can from where the wand in attached to the cap. An empty narrow glass jam jar the height of your wand with 1 part Clorox and 4 parts water will allow the wand to stand up straight making removing it easy for you. The bleach will most likely remove any traces of mascara that you couldn’t rub off. Rinse in hot water when finished.

If you don’t have a wildlife group near you here are organizations that want them:

Wildlife Wands
PO Box 1586
Southwick MA 01077
https://www.facebook.com/wildlifewands/

Appalachian Wildlife Refuge
P.O. Box 1211
Skyland, NC 28776
https://www.appalachianwild.org/wands-for-wildlife.html

Here’s a video from Appalachian Wildlife Refuge where you can see the wands in action (grab a hanky!)

Mascara wands can also “go where no brush has gone before” for use around the house in any small crevice where dust and gunk settles. Use one on your sewing machine, your computer keyboard, clean jewelry, clearing the lint catcher in your blow-dryer, even the little oxygenating vent in your faucet tap where the water passes through and gunk can build up (let the floodgates open!). They also gently clean off mushrooms!