Saturday, January 17, 2009

Flea Products, Toxicity & Health

Flea Products, Household Products, Pet Products and Toys all have the potential to harm you, your animals and your kids. Many people do not realize that dozens of cleaning and personal care products they purchase at their local grocery store contain harmful chemical ingredients. Or, how toxic flea collars and pet products can be and they can effect not just the animal but you and your family. Animals are more sensitive to hazardous chemicals for a number of reasons. Most volatile chemicals eventually end up on the floor - that means they breathe them, absorb them through their paws and skin and they ingest them every time they groom themselves. Like people, cancer rates among cats and dogs is rising - 47% of all cats and dogs now die of cancer. Below is an article about household toxins - it addresses people but can be applied to your pets. Below that is a link specific to the hazards of flea collars. At CatVando, we take care to use safe products, not only for the animals temporarily within our care but for all critters and life everywhere. Unfortunately, we do have to use bleach in some cases but are searching for a safe alternative. To support environmental safety one of our fundraisers is marketing wellness products - it's a fundraiser that benefits everyone. or We also take care with what we feed our kittens and cats. We believe that good nutrition and using supplementing for specific issues when necessary, is the best way to insure the healthiest cat possible. Most of our kitty food is from Sirius Cooks in Oak Park. We'd love to use Orijen, a wonderful grain free food, which is what we feed our 3 house cats, but we use Burns, also a good food. We often use probiotics after spay/neuter surgery or a round of antibiotics to regain natural flora to enhance the digestive and immune system. For allergies or skin problems, we might use EFA's and/or grapeseed extract, depending on the issue - all high quality. We always work with agreement from our vets and try to prevent health issues and work towards building health not masking problems. And now for the article: Most Common Household Toxins By Dr. Ben Kim on May 28, 2006 yahooBuzzArticleHeadline = "Most Common Household Toxins"; yahooBuzzArticleCategory = "Health"; yahooBuzzArticleId = window.location.href; --> Exposure to household toxins is linked to just about every disease that we know of, most notably cancer. Numerous animal studies have linked many of the more than 24,000 toxins that exist in our environment to negative health effects on the following systems: Cardiovascular Nervous Endocrine Respiratory Reproductive Immune Many household toxins have also been linked to mental and physical developmental problems in children. Because we are unable to feel, see, smell, or taste many household toxins at first contact, it is important to be aware of the most common household toxins and to proactively take measures to prevent or reduce our exposure to them. The most common household toxins are as follows: Triclosan: an antibacterial agent that is chemically similar to the dioxin class of compounds. Linked to: immune system and endocrine system dysfunction. Most commonly found in: many liquid soaps and in some deodorants, toothpastes, cosmetics, kitchenware, and children's toys. Phthalates: large phthalates are chemicals that are added to plastics to impart resilience and flexibility. Smaller phthalates are used to prolong the length of time that a scented product maintains its fragrance. Linked to: endocrine, reproductive, and developmental problems. Most commonly found in: vinyl flooring, plastic food packaging, plastic bags, plastic clothing, detergents, children's toys, shower curtains, and personal care products like soap, shampoo, nail polish, and hair spray. Bisphenol A: used in epoxy resins that line some metal cans, and to make polycarbonate plastics utilized in a variety of food containers and baby products. Linked to: endocrine problems. Most commonly found in: food and drink containers, baby bottles, teethers, toys, metal food cans, and dental sealants used to prevent cavities. Carbon monoxide: formed from incomplete combustion of fuel. Carbon monoxide decreases delivery of oxygen to cells. Linked to: cardiovascular and nervous system failure. Most commonly produced by: leaking furnaces and chimneys, gas stoves, wood stoves and fireplaces, back-drafting from gas water heaters, and auto exhaust from an attached garage or nearby traffic. Perfluorinated chemicals: used to make stain-repellents and non-stick surfaces. Linked to: many different types of cancer and developmental problems in children. Most commonly found in: teflon-coated cookware, microwave popcorn bags, and stain-guarded clothing, furniture, and carpets. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs): chemicals that are released into the air as gases. Linked to: reproductive, respiratory, neurological, and developmental problems. Also linked to different types of cancer. Most commonly found in: air fresheners, hair spray, perfumes, cleaning products, paints, carpets, and furniture made out of pressed wood. Radon: odorless gas that forms as uranium in rocks and soil breaks down. Linked to: lung cancer. Most commonly found in: confined spaces, the most common of which are poorly ventilated basements that have cracked walls and/or floors. Lead: a heavy metal that can build up in our tissues. Linked to: cancer, neurological dysfunction, hormonal imbalances, reproductive problems, and developmental problems in children. Most commonly found in: lead plumbing pipes found in older homes, lead-based paint, crystal tableware, and some varieties of imported mini-blinds. Pesticides and herbicides: linked to problems with the nervous system, and possibly a risk factor for cancer, developmental challenges, and reproductive problems. Most commonly found in: non-organic food supply, non-organic farming regions, and non-organic landscaped areas that are well maintained. Although we are all at risk of experiencing health problems due to exposure to the household toxins listed above, particularly worrisome are the effects that these toxins may have on babies growing in their mothers' wombs. A study conducted in 2004 by the Environmental Working Group found that umbilical cord blood from 10 newborns contained chemicals used in consumer products, pesticides, and by-products from gasoline, garbage, and the burning of coal. On average, the blood from each newborn contained 200 industrial pollutants and chemicals. Of the 287 toxins that were found in the newborns' blood, 180 are known to cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are known to be toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 are known to cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests. I think it's important not to become obsessed with living in a way that minimizes exposure to household and other toxins. I firmly believe that such an obsession can quite possibly become an emotional stressor that creates more of a negative impact on our health than toxins themselves. Still, within the context of living emotionally balanced lives, we can significantly lower our risk of developing many different types of chronic disease by doing our best to avoid the most common sources of the toxins listed in this article. A link to toxin levels found in pets higher than in humans The link to the hazards of flea products on pets and people Next time you wash your floor or spray that freshner - think - there may be a healthier alternative, and if you choose our fundraising alternative, it could even be cheaper!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Our kittens are ready to go!!!! We need to clear space for the next batch and we need a break to regroup before spring TNR starts. We are mainly a TNR group, after all......
Our wonderful kitties all come spayed or neutered, with vaccinations & a microchip. They're flea and parasite free. They're all dog and cat friendly. They all purr with glee, play and cuddle - each has a wonderful, unique personality.
Alice & Archie 2 cutie patooties. Sweet, playful, affectionate. Both born in September in Berwyn, been here since about 7 weeks old. Dependent and independent. They love human affection and play but are comfortable playing and hanging together. Wonderful companions for you and for each other.

Pecko & Earline Grey

These babies came from the yard of a wonderful caregiver. A couple in their '80's feed a colony and have devoted their enclosed patio to their cats, who are free to go in and out but have canned and kibble 2x a day. We met them this summer when we TNR'd their colony - lovely people who take really good care of their 'yard cats'.

Both females, born in June, are wonderfully friendly. And, of course, very cuddly, affectionate and playful. Sisters, they're being adopted as a pair.

Then There's Vito!!!! Everybody that meets him falls in love with him. He is incredibly engaging. Absolutely gorgeous with a wonderful personality. Vito gets along great with other cats but he's primarily a 'people' cat. One of 3 that could be 'circus cats' they're so smart. (His brother, Hustus and sister, Margo, were recently adopted into a wonderful new home) Vito naturally gravitates to shoulders where he's learning to balance quite well during walking. He's looking for a home where he'll get to give and get a lot of love. Someplace where someones around about 75% of the time. He looks like a Maine Coon and feels like a Chinchilla.

To inquire about any of these kitties for adoption please comment and we'll get back to you. We're located in Maywood, IL, near Chicago.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

TNR in the Winter

We don't do TNR during the Winter Months unless it's for inside ferals or male cats. A term we'll define at another date but for now, I'll explain why we don't do winter TNR. It's a matter of choice, some groups do, we've chosen not to. When spaying a female, their bellies are shaved. We usually hold her for 2 days after surgery for aftercare then return her to her home territory. During winter months, those shaved bellies expose bare skin to snow and the elements, leaving the cat more susceptible to the cold and illness without their usual fur for insulation. It usually takes 2-3 months for the hair to return. Much as we want to avoid spring kittens, our concern for the welfare of the female takes precedence. If you do have yard cats that are in need of TNR, and are in our area (within about 10 miles of Maywood IL) email us at, to make arrangements for when the weather permits - usually very early spring. If you're outside our area, just google TNR in your area or ask your local shelters for a reference.

Check Your Salt!

Use Safe Salt rather than the usual type Sold under many brands, safe salt is salt that will melt the ice without drying up cats tender paws during the winter months. It's more expensive but you don't use as much. Regular salt harms the cats paws. They dry out, then crack and become infected and very painful! Bad enough that most people use the regular stuff but if you have yard cats, switch to the safe stuff. I get it at Walgreens for about $8. I've seen the same size at a local pet chain for $16