Newton’s Purrspective – Ticks and Cats, Part 2: Protect and Repel

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.


In Part 1 I presented the perils awaiting cats outdoors – particularly those involving ticks. In Part 2 I will give you some suggestions on how to fight back to protect yourself and your beloved cats.

Scientists are discovering more diseases that can be carried by ticks. Symptoms vary widely which is one of the reasons it took so long to diagnose Lyme disease. Symptoms usually don’t show up immediately after a bite. If you find a tick on Fluffy put it in a tightly sealed glass jar and take it to your veterinarian. Live ticks can be stored in the refrigerator for 10 days. Dead ticks can be frozen. If Fluffy shows any signs she may be sick be sure to mention if she has, or may have, been exposed to ticks.




Isaac Newton

I hesitate to recommend any particular flea or tick repellant. Natural products may not be strong enough and chemicals have their own host of health hazards. The best defense is to keep Kitty inside.

But then again, staying inside is not a 100% guarantee. Humans or dogs can carry ticks into the house requiring a thorough inspection after spending time outdoors. Then there are CATios. Fleas and ticks could certainly invade them. Careful CATio construction and the local incidence of these pests are helpful. Landscaping with plants that ticks don’t like near your CATio would be helpful.

Plants with strong scents can act as flea and tick repellants. The following is a list of such plants that could be planted outside a screened CATio (note planting zones) All of these are pet safe. https://www.organiclesson.com/plants-repel-fleas-ticks/ :

Garden SageUSDA Hardiness Zone: 5 – 8

Rosemary USDA Hardiness Zone: 7 – 10

Sweet Basil USDA Hardiness Zone: 10 – 11

Thyme USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 – 9

Marigold USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 – 10

Another option is spraying the ground and vegetation with cedar oil. Perhaps you recall when cedar chips used to be a common stuffing for pet beds. If you choose to apply cedar oil around the CATio be sure to use a brand that does not contain phenolic compounds. Cats are very sensitive to phenols and they can cause severe illness and even death. In addition, do not let Kitty near the area until it has completely dried.

Checking for fleas and ticks while grooming or petting is a good idea no matter what comprises Kitty’s home environment. Better safe than sorry.

I know many of you may be squeamish about ticks and I don’t blame you. The CDC has excellent directions on how to properly remove a tick. https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/removal/index.html However, if you are uncomfortable with the process, or Kitty refuses to cooperate, do not hesitate to seek help from your veterinarian. The sooner a tick is removed the better since that decreases the likelihood of diseases being transmitted through saliva as it feeds.

Now perhaps you are wondering if ticks have any natural predators. The answer is yes! You may be surprised to learn it is the opossum. North America’s only marsupial has been given a bad reputation most likely since it is nocturnal and only encountered when you take out the trash at night. They show their teeth and hiss when surprised simply because they are afraid of you.

Despite the pointed noses and rounded ears, they are not related to rats and nor do they carry diseases harmful to humans and cats. In fact, they help prevent human disease by eating garden pests, rodents and even poisonous snakes! https://vetmed.illinois.edu/wildlife/2019/06/05/the-helpful-opossum-2/ And here’s the best part. They eat 95% of the ticks they encounter! A single opossum could eat as many as 5,000 ticks in a season. https://opossumsocietyus.org/general-opossum-information/

Attracting opossums to your yard is easy! And it produces a win-win situation. All you need to do is provide an environmentally friendly environment for them. This includes researching what the native plants are to your specific region and planting them, using only organic permaculture methods and planting a dense variety of plants which become cozy nesting places. Please never buy plants from big box chain stores as they are often treated with neonicotinoids. While this toxin has been approved by the FDA it is banned in Europe because when bees take tainted pollen to their hives it kills off their colony. https://www.hunker.com/13425595/how-to-attract-a-possum-to-my-yard

Having tick eating opossums in your garden is coexistence at its finest! If there is one thing that I learned in 2020 it is that we have to take very good care of ourselves and each other.

If this article has kicked in your “cat’s curiosity” about ticks and tick-borne diseases, you may want to peruse the book “Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons” by Kris Newby. This is not an easy read, but this is information that everyone should know about and tell others about.
 
 
 
 

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!
 
 
 
 

COVID-19/Coronavirus and Cats. Coronavirus And YOU. We’ve got precautions.

So far cats and other animals are not getting this latest Corona Virus: COVID-19. But as we know, viruses can mutate so we are monitoring this closely and if conditions change and if cats are getting it, we’ll notify you immediately.

But then there is you dear reader, human customers who we care about greatly. After all, you are your cat’s caregiver, Maid or Butler, Litter Box Attendant, and personal Chef so it’s mandatory that you stay healthy to perform these duties! This article was compiled by Jeff Nobbs, a buddy of Auntie Cat Faerie. He’s smart. He’s practical. And he’s got a very cool head which is so refreshing right now. So. with permission from San Francisco blogger and co-owner of Kivava restaurant, Jeff Nobbs we present to you The Coronavirus Diet – supplements, dietary changes, and easy to do precautions that everyone can/should being doing now and in the future which go way beyond washing your hands for 20 seconds. (This is from Jeff’s blog that you can subscribe to.)



The Coronavirus Diet

by Jeff Nobbs

Part of what makes coronavirus so scary for some people is the feeling of helplessness. There’s no vaccine and no cure. We simply have to sit and wait and hope.

Maybe we’re not totally helpless though. Just like hand washing can help lower our chances of getting the virus, a healthy diet may aid us in fighting it off. If you contract COVID-19, you’re relying on your body’s immune system to recognize the enemy and create antibodies to defeat it.

If this were an actual war between humans, and there was an enemy at the gates, wouldn’t we want our army to be strong, well-fed, and ready for battle? The same logic can be used when we’re thinking about our immune system. We want our white blood cells warriors to be capable of swiftly defeating the enemy.

Just as human warriors who are starving, nearsighted, hard of hearing, or disabled would have a harder time defeating an enemy, our immune system has a harder time defeating viruses when it’s handicapped by a lack of nutrients.

You won’t hear this advice from most medical professionals. Nutrition is not well-studied by most doctors. Their continued education is often facilitated by pharmaceutical companies, not the kiwi fruit coalition. As a result, “natural” medical interventions are often used as last resorts, instead of our first line of defense.

Let’s take a look at what we can do to train our army of immune cells and prepare for battle with coronavirus:

Selenium

Eat a couple Brazil nuts every day.

Coronavirus seems to steal from your body’s selenium reserves. In addition, for immune cells to have a high killing capability, they need antioxidants to protect themselves, which are supported partly by selenium.

It would be smart to start eating foods high in selenium, including oysters, liver, and sardines. Shrimp, eggs, and salmon are all good sources of selenium as well. If you’re vegan or looking for the easiest solution, have a couple Brazil nuts every day and you’ll be getting all the selenium your body needs. Don’t overdo it on the Brazil nuts though–ten is not better than two in this case.

Vitamin C

Pop a Vitamin C tablet every day, 500–1,000 mg.

Vitamin C is helpful against many viral infections, but vitamin C deficiency is widespread. 31% of Americans have inadequate intakes of vitamin C. Vitamin C is needed to maintain levels of glutathione, the immune system’s primary antioxidant and a key component of being able to fight off pathogens.

Vitamin C is one of the safest nutrients. While many nutrients are actually toxic at megadoses, vitamin C has been found to be safe at almost any dose. It’s one of the most well-studied supplements, and certainly safe to supplement at doses of a few grams per day. Some doctors have suggested that megadoses of vitamin C are an effective treatment against coronavirus, but the jury is still out on those claims].

It is possible to get enough vitamin C from food, but you’ll have to eat a lot of citrus fruits, bell peppers, kiwis, broccoli, and kale. To be safe, it’s probably best to supplement with 500 mg of vitamin C per day.

Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Water

Get plenty of sunshine, drink enough water, and eat orange foods.

Wherever coronavirus might enter your body–mouth, nose, and eyes–you have compounds that kill pathogenic microbes. Secreting enough of these compounds is dependent on having enough vitamin D, vitamin A, and water.

The best source of vitamin D is the sun. The UV rays in sunlight also happen to kill viruses and give you an attractive tan. Triple win. If you don’t get much sun, consider supplementing with vitamin D3.

Eat foods rich in vitamin A, including liver and egg yolks. While the form of vitamin A found in plant foods is not as bioavailable, it is still helpful. Carotenoids like beta-carotene in sweet potatoes, carrots, and squash and lycopene in tomatoes are what give those foods their orange and red colors. Dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, and chard are also good sources of vitamin A precursors.

For water, you don’t need to overdo it. Just don’t be dehydrated. Listen to your body; if you’re thirsty, drink water.

Iron

If you eat red meat, don’t supplement iron.

Iron is a tricky one. While your body’s immune system needs iron to be most effective against pathogens, too much iron can also feed the pathogens themselves. Iron is an essential mineral for nearly all life, including coronavirus. Not enough iron and your immune system is limited; too much iron and your body can’t starve pathogens of this key mineral.

If you’re eating a real food diet that includes red meat, you’re probably getting enough iron from food. To prevent iron overload, avoid iron supplementation and give blood regularly (for men and post-menopausal women). If you don’t eat meat or shellfish, your risk of having excessive iron levels is low.

Vitamin C also enhances iron absorption, so there’s more for you and less for unwelcome pathogenic visitors.

Zinc and Copper

Enjoy oysters and dark chocolate.

Just like with vitamin C and iron, it’s important to get enough zinc and copper to give your immune cells the best chance of success in battle against coronavirus. Fortunately, the foods highest in zinc and copper are also delicious.

Shellfish and especially oysters are by far the best source of zinc, with a half dozen oysters per week mostly satisfying your zinc requirements. Chocolate is an excellent source of copper, with just a few squares of dark chocolate (85% or above) per day satisfying your copper requirements.

Cashews are also a good source of both zinc and copper.

Iodine

Eat stuff from the sea.

Iodine is an extremely effective mineral employed by our body for immune killing. Like with vitamin C, high dose iodine treatment has been used to cure some infectious conditions.

To keep your immune warriors strong, feed them a few hundred micrograms of iodine daily. You can supplement with iodine, or simply eat foods from the sea. On days you eat seafood, shellfish, or sea vegetables, there is no need to supplement.

My favorite form of iodine “supplementation” is to eat seaweed snacks.

Smoking and Air Pollution

Don’t smoke.

Coronavirus started in Wuhan, China, where air pollution is a major problem and a high percentage of the male population smokes. Whereas only 3% of Chinese women have smoked, 62% of Chinese men have been smokers at some point. The coronavirus death rate among men in China is 2.8% compared to 1.7% for women, and some point the finger at smoking rates to explain the difference [https://fortune.com/2020/02/19/coronavirus-china-smoking-rate-men/].

Coronavirus seems to work by binding to the ACE2 receptor in the lungs. One study found that cigarette smokers have a higher density of ACE2 receptors. If that relationship is causal, lung health may play a major role in fighting the virus, and air quality would play a role as well. While there’s not much you can do if you live in an extremely polluted city, you can certainly refrain from intentionally sucking down smoke in the form of cigarettes.

Summing it up, in order to boost your immune system in preparation for battle with coronavirus, you may want to get more of the following:

Brazil nuts, bell peppers, kale, kiwis, broccoli, liver, egg yolks, sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, oysters, dark chocolate, cashews, shellfish, seaweed, clean air, water, and sunshine.

Even if/when coronavirus is no longer a threat, we want our immune systems to be strong, healthy, and able to easily fight off infection.

Our immune system is not just sitting around waiting for the next outbreak; with every breath of outdoor air, we take in 50,000 germs]. While most of these germs do not cause us to get sick, they do keep our immune system busy, regardless of coronavirus.


To Jeff’s great blog piece Auntie Cat Faerie would like to add a few of her favorites:

  • Colloidal Silver – make your own for pennies. All you need is distilled water, a big glass jar to “cook it” in for 4 hours, and glass bottles to store it. Drink it. Wash hands with it. Clean your house with it. Spray it in your mouth and near your nose and eyes. Keep a bottle in your bag to spray your hands. The machine is easy to use and it’s American made: The Silver Edge.
  • Elderberry syrup – apparently it has to ability to bind with flu and cold bugs to purge them from the body. Two that I like: 1) Whitney’s Best which is Elderberry with honey and other herbs – very tasty; and 2) less tasty but powerful is undiluted Elderberry syrup from Western Botanical Medicine. It’s pretty intense and you don’t need much of it. Mix either into bubbly water for a refreshing and healthful mock-tail.
  • Microgreens. Did you read our article from a few weeks ago? If you are now growing your own double the amount you are eating every day. If you normally eat one cup of them, double it to two cups. One that is great for people (but NOT for cats) is leek micro greens which bind to microbes and viruses. You only need a little of this highly powerful and fragrant allium to battle the bugs and feel like Wonder Person.
  • My favorite Vitamin C is a powder from Marcus Rothkranz a well known raw fooder and plant expert. Just mix it with water for a nice tangy flavor. Add some Elderberry syrup to give it an extra boost. You can’t over-dose on this powder Vitamin C because it’s powdered plants – no rushing to the toilet!
  • And BE HAPPY. Really. It’s the best medicine. Laugh in the face of evil to disarm it. Laugh. Smile. Play with your cat. Be kind to others. Don’t shut down.

 
 
 
 

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.

 
 
 
 

How to Keep Your Cat From Biting

Every now and then we hear from people who ask what products we might have for cats who bite. They often bite during play or while being petted. The good news is that you don’t need to spend a dime on a product BUT you do need to change behavior, yours, not the cat’s!

There are many cats who get “overly stimulated” and it can happen fast. Even a few brisk strokes on a cat’s fur can be too overly stimulating and trigger than same excitement of an outside cat when prey is in sight – attack and bite! This harkens back to their early primitive years in forests and jungles when survival depended upon great hunting skills.

If you have such a cat here’s what you should do. Beginning right now No More Petting! Give this a few weeks to a few months. I know – it’s hard! Really hard, but you must. Don’t think about how soft and plush your cat is, resisting isn’t easy! But resist you must. Even if the cat begs for it, rubs on your legs or body, don’t do it. Play hard to get! If you can’t resist some fur-contact do a few strokes, soft strokes on the tippy tips of fur, then stop. Walk away if you need to.

The other thing you must stop doing right is no more playing finger-mice with your hands. You must restrict play by allowing the cat to only play with floor toys (like our Catnip toys) rather than interactive toys. We want to give the cat some time to disassociate you with play, chasing and hunting that your cat might be more genetically prone to than other house cats

You can make this stop and allow your cat to be calmer and less likely to channel their hunter ancestors!

One last thought. Sometimes a cat will bite because of a tooth ache so have your vet check out your cat’s mouth to see if this is the root cause.
 
 
 
 

“The Cat Rescuers” documentary film

The Cat Rescuers is a new documentary film about the volunteer heroes in New York City who are trying to make a dent in the 500,000+ population of New York’s street cats, because as we know, the humane societies nationwide cannot do it all themselves.

See the 2 minute trailer!

http://catrescuersfilm.com/

Meet some of the city’s rescuers:

http://catrescuersfilm.com/the-rescuers/

Schedule of upcoming screenings:

http://catrescuersfilm.com/screenings/

Learn how you can host a screening in your community:

http://catrescuersfilm.com/host-a-screening/

The film isn’t available on DVD yet, but it will be available for purchase later this year! We’ll put a notice in our newsletter when it’s available (if you aren’t signed up for our newsletter, you can sign up here).