Finding a safe and lead-free cat water fountain or dish


The other day a customer emailed to say that she always trusts my opinion (aw, shucks!) and wanted to know if I had a favorite cat water fountain. I told her that I do not, but that it would be fun for us both to check Etsy, eBay, and other online sources as well as the local pet shops to see what creative and pretty options exist.

I did caution her to not buy a plastic one. Plastic is bad for many reasons including that it can cause “rodent ulcers” on a cat’s lips. Also, it’s very hard to clean plastic and remove it of bio films which are the saliva slime that accumulates, and which harbors many forms of bacteria, bad bacteria. Also, plastic contains cancer causing chemicals which leach into food and water, and heck – it’s plastic and we want to stop using it for a million health and environmental reasons.

After a quick perusal on Etsy, we both found a few fountains that appealed to us. But me being me, she who asks tough questions, I messaged several sellers: “Do you test for lead?” I’m sad to say that none of them knew what I was talking about! How can you sell or make something ceramic and not know about lead especially when many states have banned lead in glazes! When I wrote back, I dumbed it down: “Many ceramics and their glazes contain lead. Lead is toxic, exposures can lead to lead poisoning which is particularly harmful, even lethal, to children and small animals. You can purchase lead test kits for dishes and ceramics.”

One of the sellers said that her products contained “an acceptable level of lead.” At this point I gave up! There is no acceptable level of lead!

Several years ago, when Mister Cat Faerie was out of town for the weekend, and I knew I was free to make a big mess and have fun with a science project, I bought several boxes of lead test kits for ceramics and dishes. Then I hauled into the kitchen every vintage piece, every modern piece, every vintage planter, etc. that I could find. If it was ceramic, it was being tested. I cleared space on the countertop for two piles: Safe. Not Safe. Was I in for a shocker!

The hand painted fine bone china from the late 1970’s tested positive! Many of my adorable vintage planters tested positive. Antique teacups and saucers that my great grandmother gave me tested positive. Odds and ends that Mister Cat Faerie inherited from his family tested positive. And most horrifying was a new “lead free” cache pot that was glazed tested negative but the surface where the lid fit on to the bowl, which was unglazed, tested positive! I wondered how this could be! I knew the potter, I knew she’d been using lead free everything for years. More investigating.

I learned that if a kiln ever in its history fired pieces which contained lead, the lead lingered, and in the future would contaminate the unglazed surfaces of a ceramic! Possible contaminating the glaze itself. YIKES!

If you want to conduct a similar science project with your own ceramics this website lists and reviews lead test kits. It turns out that their first choice is the brand that I used. It does a great job and it’s easy to use once you get the hang of it. https://romanceuniversity.org/deals/lead-test-kit-for-dishes/

So, what plates and bowls do Auntie Cat Faeries’ own cats and bunnies drink from and eat from? Pyrex, you cannot go wrong with Pyrex. And for splashes of uplifting color, I have bowls and small plates from Fiesta Ware (modern Fiesta Ware, NOT vintage). At this time, I won’t be buying a water fountain. I will continue to use my Pyrex and Fiesta Ware. The water I give my fur children (and myself and Mister Cat Faerie) is filtered at the kitchen sink or Castle Rock from Mt Shasta which is spring water bottled in glass bottles.

After you’ve done your own lead testing tell me what you discovered!

Love,
Auntie Cat Faerie
 
 
 

Cats Need to Eat 15% More Food During Winter

We people know that chilly weather makes us hungry for more food. This time of year we begin to crave roasted vegetables and meats, and we hunt for new recipes for stews and soups. Hot food warms our bones and hearts!

Often we don’t realize that our cats respond to weather changes like we do. During Summer while we are eating salad our carnivore friends might leave food behind in the bowl. But in Winter the bowl is licked clean and they meow for more.

How much more? A study that we found told us that in Winter cats will eat about 15% more food than during the rest of the year.

Be a rock star Feline Chef and don’t grab food for your cat from the fridge and serve it cold. Steam it for a minute or two, or warm it up in a pan with a bit of water so it won’t stick.

Warming up or steaming cat food does some nice things for your cats:

  • If the cat has a cold or a respiratory problem warming the food brings out the aroma. Cats only eat what they can smell.
  • Increases digestibility especially for older cats with slower digestive systems
  • Nice for cats who are missing teeth
  • Kittens and cats of any age will be reminded of warm mother’s milk. The food will be much more appealing and soothing to any cat.

Four years and 38 cats later a study by the University of Liverpool School of Veterinary Science revealed some interesting things about cats.

Veterinarian and study author, Dr Alex German, said: “Cats, like many humans are more inclined to comfort eat when it’s cold outside but, in their case, it’s likely to be due to the extra energy they need to keep warm when out and about.”

Seasonal food intake has been examined in the past on farm animals, such as dairy cows, to establish new ways of increasing milk production, but this is the largest study that has yet taken place with domestic cats.
Dr German said: “People should consider the amount of food their cats need at different times of year as this can be part of helping them to maintain a healthy weight.”

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-05-cats-winter.html#jCp

Irritable Bowel Syndrome and your cat – a potential easy fix

While we are not veterinarians and never pretend to be, we’d like to share something that one of our veterinarians told us about for this rather common problem known as Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Our dear cat Madeline was flip flopping between the two conditions. Her digestion was never good, possibly from having been an abused young cat before she found us. When she was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome our vet told us about Psyllium Husk Powder which has been a miracle. Whatever the cause of your cat’s pooping woes Organic Psyllium Husk Powder may help your cat as it did for our Madeline.

About Psylliium Husk Powder and why it works so well for that flip flop between Constipation and Diarrhea (and yes, for you too!)

Psyllium husk powder is a form of fiber which comes from the Plantago ovata plant. It is actually the husk from the plant’s seed. Interestingly it’s a bulk-forming laxative so it can correct or stabilize both conditions. As a soluble fiber it helps soak up water in the gut to improve regularity and make bowel movements easier, faster, and much more gentle. Many cats with IBS or any other digestive disorders are often seen straining in the litter box. For constipation episodes your cat might “scoot” their butt across the floor to remove a stuck piece.

Giving a cat a small amount of psyllium husk powder on a twice daily basis, mixed into canned or homemade cat food, can help improve overall digestion. Our veterinarian recommended we start Madeline with ¼ teaspoon twice a day and build up to ½ teaspoon twice a day. This took about 2 weeks.

For fun and to satisfy a curious science-y brain put a ½ teaspoon of Organic Psyllium Husk Powder in a bowl and add a few drops of water and watch the gel-magic appear right before your eyes! The liquid from canned or homemade cat food will create this healing gel.

The Great Benefits of Psyllium Husk Powder

Promotes easy regularity because it relieves both constipation and diarrhea so your cat can eliminate daily without discomfort. It improves digestion so that nutrients are properly absorbed and therefore your cat’s health and fur condition will dramatically improve. If your cat is pooping outside of the box, the cause could be IBS or discomfort while pooping and correcting the problem should stop these incidents.

Lipid levels improve for cats who might be prone to Diabetes or have it already. Check with your veterinarian first.

Weight loss because psyllium absorbs liquid in your gut, it can help give your cat (or you) the feeling of being full. This can help control the amount of food one wants to eat which can aid in weight loss.

Taste is quite bland. Your cat probably won’t notice it or may even like it.

Easily available in bulk at your local independent health organic food store. We also like the brand NOW which comes in a recyclable jar.

 
 
 
 

Cat Food Recall For Potentially Fatal Toxicity – Natural Balance

Recall For Potentially Fatal Toxicity – Natural Balance Ultra Premium Chicken & Liver Paté Formula in Cans

Initially we learned of the recall in this article then did further digging including how to contact the manufacturer and information about J. M. Smucker and its other brands.

https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2020/07/04/j-m-smucker-company-recalls-canned-cat-food-causing-potentially-deadly-side-effects/


On July 3, 2020 the J.M. Smucker company issued a voluntary recall of a Natural Balance canned cat food produced by Big Heart Pet Brands a subsidiary of J. M. Smucker. Reports have been received of cats having adverse reactions to due to elevated levels of choline chloride.

Among the health concerns: Nausea with excessive salivation. Constricted pupils and poor vision. Diarrhea or vomiting. Other and more severe symptoms like difficulty walking, muscle shaking, tremors, irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing. Possible cardiac or respiratory failure which could lead to death.

(Cat Faeries’ note: Choline chloride is commonly used to supplement choline in commerical animal food including cat and dog food. Choline is an essential nutrient for animals and humans. Good naturally occurring sources of choline include egg yolks, organ meats and some vegatables. However, the supplement choline chloide is toxic and can be fatal to cats if there is too much in cat food. (from https://www.darwinspet.com/steve-brown-focus-on-nutrients-part2-choline/ and https://www.dsm.com/markets/anh/en_US/Compendium/companion_animals/choline.html))

  • Product Name: Natural Balance Ultra Premium Chicken & Liver Paté Formula canned cat food
    5.5 oz can
  • Retail UPC Code: 2363353227
  • Lot Code: 9217803
  • Best If Used By Date: 08 04 2021

Company Contact Information

Consumers:
888-569-6828
info@naturalbalanceinc.com

 
 

April Fools Fun!

Let’s have some silly fun on April Fools Day! The first prank comes from cat loving – and very handsome – George Vezilic. In his own words: “ I am a blogger, photographer and cat enthusiast, owner of lifewithcatman.com. Writing about cats and taking photographs of them is something that I am most passionate about. My biggest goal is to show the world what divine creatures the cats are and make them feel appreciated.”

April Fools Prank For your Cat – Create a Maze From Cardboard Boxes, by George Vezilic

Here’s a prank that your cat will actually love because it involves one of their favorite things (besides you of course) and you’ll have fun setting it up! Sequester the cats in another room while you set up your prank Get 10 to 20 cardboard boxes and set them up haphazardly or in a pattern in your living room. Bonus points for putting Cat Faeries toys inside some of them! Once you’ve created your maze let the cats out. Your maze could confuse them at first, but once they figure out that this is a kitty-wonderland of boxes they won’t know which to try first! Perhaps the best of the prank isn’t that you goofed on the cats but when your housemates see your creation they’ll think you’ve gone bonkers and need an intervention!

April Fools Prank for the human cat lover in your home. Yes, Auntie Cat Faerie really did this to Mr. Cat Faerie many years ago!

  • On your best platter serve a sandwich filled with canned cat food. Surround sandwich with cat toys.
  • Quench their thirst: 1 tablespoon of dried Catnip with 1 cup of boiling water poured over it. Let your tea steep 5 minutes. Cool it down then pour it into a wine glass and add some ice. Honey, sugar or vodka are optional.
  • There’s always room for dessert so take two cookies and spread a layer of cat food in between them to create what looks like an ice cream sandwich. Spread a thin layer of more canned cat food and sprinkle kibble on it.
  • Clean the hair out of your hairbrush and wad it up. Dampen with water and leave it on their pillow so they know how much you love them.

 
 
 
 

Cats and Winter – Fast Facts

Cats can get seasonal depression or mood changes similar that that of we humans. Here’s what you can do to help, which will help you too:

  • Run the heater at a temperature you can afford to pay for
  • Place the cat’s bed near a heater vent
  • Move cat beds from anywhere drafty. The window with sunbeams in Summer can be chilly this time of year
  • Take a look at where litter boxes are – is it drafty there? Try to block the breezes with heavy tarps, a drape, or a rolled up “draft dodger”
  • When you are away leave a light on. Even though cats can see very well in the dark a bit of bright LED light will chase away the blues
  • Watch how your older cats walk for signs of arthritis. Note if your cat isn’t jumping on top of the sofa or the bed – another sign of stiff joints.

Believe it or not, cats do not sleep more in the Winter! Healthy cats sleep the same amount of hours year-round which is 15 to 20 hours a day! Cats do not hibernate.

Cats need a few extra calories in Winter so provide an extra bit of food. A nice thing to do for your cat is warm up food in the oven for a few minutes. Even a vegetable steamer for a minute is nice. Food from the fridge is very unpleasant for anyone, including your cat. In Winter even room temperature food is nicer warmed up just a bit. It also mimics the warm body of recently caught prey!

Is the food bowl in a sunny or bright place? Open the curtain and let as much brightness come in as the weather provides.