Can my cat or dog get the swine flu?

There is plenty of information in the media about how to protect yourself and your family against the swine flu, but very little has been said about whether it can affect our pets.  While there is no absolute answer, I found this article by Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM helpful and wanted to pass it on.

On a slightly different note but on the same topic – I highly suggest that you turn off the news.   The media has a never ending propensity to report bad news and to try and put its audience into a fearful state of mind about the swine flu, or anything else for that matter.  Fear and bad news sell advertising – it’s as simple as that.    Worry is a waste of energy and a sure fire way to attract what you don’t want into your life.    For more on why not watching the news is good for you, refer to “Go on a news diet“, posted in March.

EPA increases scrutiny of flea and tick products for pets

It’s flea and tick season in much of the country, and pet owners are beginning to use products such as Frontline or Advantage to combat these pests on their pets.  While these products are effective, please be aware that they are also loaded with chemicals.

Last week, the EPA issued a cautionary statement about these products and their safety, and began investigating the recent increase in reports of adverse reactions. 

For a more indepth look of what this means, Dr. Patty Khuly, a small animal veterinarian in Miami, FL and founder of the veterinary blog Dolittler, posted an excellent article on her blog.

I’ve been researching natural alternatives to chemical flea and tick products for the past few weeks.  I’m trying to find products to recommend to you that are both effective and safe.  Not everything that’s natural is safe for your pets, and until I’m sure that the products I’m looking at meet both requirements, I won’t recommend them to you.   I’ll share what I find with you as soon as I can.

Animal communication

I came across this utterly cute video of two cats communicating with each other:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHD0halWkFU

I can’t say that I’ve ever seen cats communicate out loud with this level of intensity, but cats do communicate in many different ways – from “verbal” communication ranging from purring to hissing to telepathic communication.   This made me think about animal communication in general. 

How do pets communicate?  Amber is the “purringest” cat ever (and yes, I created this word just for her, there’s just no better way to describe  her!).  She purrs if you so much as look at her.  She is one of the most content beings I have ever come in contact with.   She can, however, be quite vocal when she wants a treat – especially lately, since she’s been on her diet.  Like all cats, she also communicates with her tail – from straight up in the air to indicate happy and friendly to bushy and puffed up to indicate either excited or scared.  

In addition to these behavioral ways of communication, many of  Amber’s, and all animals’, communications are done telepathically.  Research has long suggested evidence of telepathic communication.  If we accept that animals are thinking, feeling, sentient beings, it’s not much of a leap to accept the concept of interspecies communication.  Communicating with species other than human is not a new idea.  It is interwoven into many of the worlds’ tribal communities.  Individuals such as St. Francis of Assisi and Jane Goodall have demonstrated it in various ways.   We all have this telepathic ability, especially as children.  It is often expressed through imaginary friends or by reporting what the family pet “said.”  Sadly, as we grow up and are told by our parents and society that these abilities are not normal, we tend to block out this natural way of being.   Professional animal communicators have never lost this natural ability, or have trained themselves into recovering it.  They connect with the animals’ unique energy and they may receive information in pictures, or simply as a sense of intuitive knowing.  They can then “translate” what they receive into words the pet’s parent can understand.

What are your views on animal communication?

The joy of reading

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I’ve been an avid reader as far back as I can remember.  My parents started reading to me as a very young child, and I surprised them by reading on my own long before it was taught in school (at first, they thaught I was faking it and only repeating the words from memory).  Through all the changes I’ve gone through in my life, good and not so good, books have always been there to provide entertainment, counsel, escape, advice and so much more.  Reading is as essential as breathing to me.

It should come as no surprise that I particulary enjoy books about animals, and I offer a wide selection of recent favorites on the Reading List on my website.  In the animal book category, some recent favorites are “Merle’s Door” by Ted Kerasote and “The Daily Coyote” by Shreve Stockton.  Longterm favorites are “The Cat Who Came for Christmas” by Cleveland Armory and “A Snowflake in My Hand” by Samantha Mooney.

For pure entertainment, I enjoy authors like Luanne Rice, Dorothea Benton Frank and Sue Monk Kidd to name just a few.  A particular enjoyable genre in the entertainment category for me are animal-themed murder mysteries, favorite authors in that category are Rita Mae Brown, Clea Simon and Blaize Clement.

When it comes to inspirational reading, the book that has influenced me the most over the last few years is “Ask and It Is Given” by Esther Hicks.  Others in that category are Wayne Dyer’s “Power of Intention” and Christine Kloser’s “The Freedom Formula“.

Why do you read?  What are some of your favorite books and authors and why?  Share your stories!

How are you celebrating Earth Day?

Earth Day was designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for our planet.  Living our lives in ways that honor and cherish Planet Earth is a key part of conscious living.   What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day?  Share your stories!

Happy Earth Day!  I hope you enjoy this video, created by the producers of The Secret, featuring our beautiful planet:

Flower power

Flowers make us happy.  It’s impossible to look at flowers and not feel good, or at least better. 

Feeling good is a choice.  We can choose what we focus on.  One of the best things we can do for ourselves is to make a conscious choice that no matter what we do each day, we’re going to look for things that make us feel good.  Once we make that commitment to be in charge of our own well-being, our energy shifts, we feel happier and lighter, and our lives flow better. 

There are a lot of tools to help us feel better, flowers are just one of them.  Others are spending time with our pets, being out in nature, or listening to a favorite piece of music.
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On this rainy Monday, I decided to bring nature inside and treated myself to a bouquet of beautiful tulips.  They make me feel lighter every time I look at them.  And beyond the window, I can see the Dogwood tree in my yard just waiting for the sun to come out before bursting into full bloom.   Life is good.

Brighten your life or someone else’s with some flowers today!

Allergy Relief from a Neti pot

Spring brings flowers and trees and newly growing grass.  Unfortunately, for many people, these joyful harbingers of warmer weather and longer days also mean the beginning of allergy season.  Allergy medications relieve symptoms, but often come with unpleasant side effects.  A natural alternative that has been helpful for many allergy sufferers is the regular practice of a nasal wash by using a Neti pot.

The nasal passages are lined with a thin layer of mucus that is one of our body’s first lines of defense against disease.  A nasal wash keeps this layer of mucus moist, clean and healthy.  And compared to other nasal wash techniques, using a Neti pot is easy.  A nasal wash can be as routine as brushing your teeth.

Rinsing with saline solution is a time-honored practice in the Orient.  Here in the West, the nasal wash has been used for decades as a means of treating sinus problems, colds, allergies, and post-nasal drip and to counteract the effect of environmental pollution.

Breathing through the nose filters and conditions the incoming air. The nasal passages are lined with a thin layer of mucus that traps dirt, dust, and pollen and moves steadily to the rear of the nasal cavity and settles in the throat, where it is swallowed.  Saline nasal rinses carry some of these impurities out of the body before they reach your stomach.

They also keep this protective layer of mucus functioning properly.  If the mucus becomes too thick and dry or too thin and runny, it is easier for bacteria and viruses to penetrate the nasal lining and cause the swelling and excess discharge of mucus we call a “cold.”  That’s why gargling or sniffing a little salt water at the first sign of a cold is a staple of folk medicine.  The Neti pot continues these time-tested traditions of hygiene.

For some people, the nasal wash is as routine as brushing their teeth. Others use it for specific purposes. Suggested uses:

  • Do the nasal wash to wake up, clear your nostrils, and start the day breathing freely.
  • Use it to remove excess mucus when you are experiencing nasal congestion.
  • Do it several times a day during the allergy season to rid the nostrils of pollen and other allergens.
  • Use the nasal wash when you’ve been exposed to soot, dust, smoke, or other airborne contaminants.
  • Use it to dissolve mucus build-up in dry climates or in air-conditioned or heated rooms, or after air travel.

I’ve been using a Neti pot regularly for several years, and I rarely get a cold, nor do I have allergy problems.

A nasal wash is not a substitute for medical treatment. Anyone with chronic inflammation of the nasal passages or other ear, nose, or throat disorders should seek medical attention.

Neti Pot can be purchased online or at Whole Foods grocery stores and other health food stores.

Your pets can contribute to your pollen allergy.  If your pets go outside, they’ll inevitably end up attracting pollen to their fur.  Wipe them down with a damp towel when they come inside – that way, when you cuddle with them, you won’t breathe in a concentrated dose of pollen!

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Amber prefers to enjoy spring from inside.

Never give up on your dream

I have always been a dreamer. As far back as I can remember, I’ve created an alternate life in my dreams. As a kid, I was going to be a big Hollywood star. As a teenager, I dreamed of dating Paul Stanley and living in the United States (I was born and grew up in Germany). A lifelong dream has been to write and publish a book.

The Hollywood star thing hasn’t happened (yet?), and Paul Stanley married someone else. I moved to the US twenty-five years ago. My book is about to go to the editor, so that dream has been partially realized already and will come to full fruition in a few months’ time. Two out of three ain’t bad – especially considering that the Hollywood/Paul Stanley dream kind of died when I hit my 20’s anyway.

My book tells the story of a little cat who had a dream and who made it come true. In “Buckley’s Story – Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher”, Buckley shows us how to hang on to a dream even when it looks like it may never come true.

One example of what can happen if you never give up on your dream is Susan Boyle, the woman who recently sang on “Britain’s Got Talent”. If you’re not already one of the more than 20 million who’ve watched her performance on YouTube, take a few minutes to watch the video – you won’t regret it. What a testament to never giving up on your dream!

Click on the link below to view the video (embedding has been disabled):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lp0IWv8QZY&feature=related

Taxes and gratitude

Over the last few days leading up to Tax Day, I’ve been hearing a lot of people complain about having to write a check to the IRS, about how much they have to pay in taxes, and about how everything just keeps getting more and more expensive.  This seems to be the prevailing “story” and it makes for good conversation around the water cooler and in social situations, because it’s something everybody can agree on, right?

Well, maybe you should rethink how you think and talk about taxes and money in general.  Thoughts and words carry energy and send a vibration into the world.  The vibration you send out guides what you attract into your life, so by thinking and talking about money from a place of lack and scarcity, you will only attract more of the same into your life.

Why not change your story and think about money from a place of gratitude?  If you didn’t have to pay taxes, it would mean you’re not making any money.  Write that check to the IRS from a place of appreciation!  I know – it’s a leap in consciousness, but shifting how you view money really works.

The following is an excerpt from an Abraham Hicks workshop set to beautiful music and lovely images from nature.  It’s a wonderful explanation of how your money situation can’t change unless you change your vibration.  The music and images enhance the message by reinforcing Abraham’s core teachings of allowing things into your life by being in a state of appreciation.

Eating gluten free

I recently read an excellent book on the topic of eating gluten free:

glutenfreeIn Eating Gluten Free, Shreve Stockton, author of “The Daily Coyote” and a professional photographer, presents a unique blend of information and recipes, including helpful cooking and preparation hints.   Stockton was diagnosed with gluten intolerance in 2003 and has devoted herself to sharing all that she has learned about living well, and eating well, with this prevalent condition.

 

From the book:

“The wheat-free/gluten-free diet is one of the fastest growing nutritional trends in this country. …  Gluten intolerance causes an auto-immune reaction in the body, which means that the body basically attacks itself.  … The resulting damage can be physical or neurological, and symptoms can range from gastrointestinal distress to depression, anxiety and fatigue.  …  In its most severe form, celiac disease, damage shows up in the small intestine.  When even the smallest amount of gluten is ingested, it triggers the body to attack itself, a process that inflames the lining of the small intestine, which makes it impossible to absorb nutrients.  … Gluten intolerance is frequently misdiagnosed and symptoms are often ascribed to numerous other conditions.”

“Many people who are not gluten intolerant are nevertheless discovering the health benefits of a wheat-free/gluten free diet.  …  Grains containing gluten are difficult to digest, they compromise the body’s ability to maintain maximum health, and they can even have an adverse effect on brain chemistry.”

While I’m not gluten intolerant, I found the book inspirational in general as far as healthy eating and making changes to one’s eating habits is concerned.  I’m intrigued with the health benefits a diet lower in or free of wheat and other harmful grains and plan to investigate further.  The book may even get me to start cooking, since the author makes getting started sound fairly manageable.  As a confirmed non-cook (my stove currently serves as an extra desk ….), that’s saying something! 

Many of the recipes sound absolutely delicious, from the hot cakes made with sorghum flour and applesauce to the buckwheat banana bread to the creamy cauliflower soup to the hippie bars (part cookie, part cake).  A wide variety of smoothie recipes is already getting me out of my protein powder/banana smoothie rut.

Humans are not the only species who can have problems with digesting grains.  Our pets also do better on grain-free diets.  See my previous posts “Amber is on a diet”  and “How to choose healthy foods for your pet” for more information about healthy and grain-free diets for your pets.

Grape and raisin toxicity in dogs

The Conscious Cat cares about all animals, not just those of her own species, so this is a post about a dog health issue that keeps popping up in e-mails forwarded by concerned pet owners with considerable frequency.  Some pet owners think it’s true, others disregard it as yet another internet hoax.  Are grapes and raisins really toxic for dogs?

Miami veterinarian Patty Khuly, VMD, is the author of a veterinary blog titled “Dolittler” which contains a wealth of pet health information you can trust.  Dr. Khuly also writes a weekly pet health column for The Miami Herald and serves as regular contributor to Veterinary Economics, The Bark and Veterinary Product News in addition to her role as reporter for the Veterinary News Network.

Her blog post “Beware the Wrath of Grapes” provides accurate information on something every dog owner should be aware of.

Amber thinks dogs should know better than to want to eat grapes.

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