Human Health

Branch Basics: Cleaning Products That Are Safe for Cats and Humans

branch-basics-cleaning-products

Did you know that many commercial cleaning products can be extremely toxic, and even deadly, to your pets?  Cats are especially susceptible since they groom themselves by licking and as a result ingest anything that comes in contact with their feet or fur.Continue Reading

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The Cat’s Purr: A Biomechanical Healing Mechanism?

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We all know how wonderful it is to be around a purring cat. If there’s anything more soothing than to be lulled to sleep or woken up by the sound of purring, I don’ t know what it is. But a cat’s purr is not only calming and relaxing: research shows that the cat’s purr has healing properties and can actually heal bones, muscles and tendons.Continue Reading

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New Study Busts Myth About Cats and Mental Health Problems

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After years of misinformation spread in the mainstream press and prior research suggesting that people infected with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii are at an increased risk of developing schizophrenia, a new study finally confirms that cats do not pose a risk to anyone’s mental health.

Of course, we’ve known all along that not only do cats not pose a threat to our mental health, they actually help improve it. After all, that’s what our Sunday columns, Conscious Cat Sunday and Sunday Purrs of Wisdom, are all about! But it’s still nice to see that there’s finally research that debunks all the ridiculous and plain wrong information that’s been circulating.Continue Reading

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Living With Cats When You’re Immunocompromised

cat-immunocompromised

Millions of Americans have conditions that compromise their immune system, including diabetes, kidney failure, HIV, autoimmune disease, organ transplants, and cancer. An immunocompromised patient’s immune system is weakened either by the disease, or by the drugs used to treat the disease. As a result, these individuals have a reduced ability to fight off opportunistic infections which would normally not affect a healthy person.

Numerous studies have shown that pets have a beneficial effect on human health, most physicians now agree that by following simple, common sense guidelines, immunocompromised patients can minimize the risk of infection without having to give up their feline family members.Continue Reading

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Living With Cat Allergies

living-with-cat-allergies

When someone is allergic to cats, the most common advice given by physicians is to get rid of the cat. Allergies are also one of the top five reasons why cats are returned to shelters. However, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, nearly 10 million people choose to share their homes with cats and dogs despite being allergic.Continue Reading

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Cat Bites: Don’t Take Them Lightly (Info & Treatment)

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The information in this post is not a substitute for medical care. If you have been bitten by a cat, see your doctor or visit an urgent care facility. We cannot answer questions about whether your bite needs medical attention in the comments section. 

It can happen even with the most loving, docile cat: an overexcited cat nips her guardian while playing, or accidentally bites her guardian’s finger while accepting a treat. In more extreme cases, redirected aggression can cause a cat to lash out at her guardian and cause severe damage. And of course, most of us will pet stray cats we meet along the way, but not all seemingly friendly cats remain friendly after being approached by strangers. Regardless of how a cat bite happens, it is not something to take lightly.

Why cat bites can be dangerous

Cat bites only account for 10-15% of animal bites reported by emergency rooms, but they pose a much greater risk of infection. Continue Reading

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5 Health Tips from Your Cat

Reiki_cat

Cats are good for your health. The Chicago Tribune recently reported that a 10-year study at the University of Minnesota Stroke Center found that cat owners were 40 percent less likely to have heart attacks than non-cat owners. According to research discussed in this news report, people with pets save the Australian health service about $880 million per year and save Germany about $6.6 billion per year.

There is much information out there about how to live healthier on the internet, in books and on television, but you may have one source of healthier living much closer than you think: your cat. I’m all about learning from our cats when it comes to living a conscious, happy life, so why not learn from them when it comes to our physical health?Continue Reading

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Can you give your cat the flu?

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With flu season upon us, it’s time to think about boosting your immune system so you don’t get sick. And if you need even more incentive to stay healthy this winter, consider this: it turns out that humans can give the flu to cats.

The first case of a cat getting the flu from humans was identified in 2009, when the H1N1 (swine flu) strain was identified in a cat in Iowa. Since then, there have been a handful of other cases of the flu being passed from humans to cats, dogs or ferrets. Veterinary researchers at Oregon State University and Iowa State University are working to find more cases of this type of disease transmission and better understand any risks they pose to people and pets.

Even though this phenomenon appears to be rare, it’s something to be aware of if you get sick this winter.

If your cat were to get the flu, Continue Reading

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Cats are good for your health

 cat at window

In recent weeks, there have been numerous reports of cats who could detect serious illness in their humans, and who even saved their humans’ lives. There’s a cat in England who “diagnosed” her human’s breast cancer before doctors found it, and a cat in Virginia who saved her human from dying from a brain aneurism.

Several studies have shown dogs’ ability to distinguish people with both early and late cancers from healthy controls. It is believed that dogs can identify VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) that are present in a person’s breath who has cancer. Seizure dogs alert their owners to an impending epileptic seizure; how dogs do this is a mystery, but some trainers and researchers think they detect subtle changes in human behavior or scent before an episode occurs. I have not found any research done with cats, but I don’t think it’s too much of a leap to assume that cats would be as sensitive to changes in a human’s body chemistry as dogs – if not more so.

Cats and their humans often mirror each others’ physical and emotional states.Continue Reading

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Do Cats Have Healing Powers? What the Research Says

tabby cat sunset

Guest post by Liz Eastwood

Believe it or not, our sweet-bundles-of-fur are probably saving us a bundle in medical bills.

This is another reason I’m into natural cat care—not only is it more ecological and vet-bill preventative, but our cats contribute so much to our well-being that we want to give them more life-extending love. Wait til you hear all this!

While cats in particular have healing powers, research on pet companionship in general is also impressive.

According to research discussed in this news report, people with pets save the Australian health service about $880 million per year and save Germany about $6.6 billion per year. The research found that people with pets:

  • need fewer visits to their doctor each year
  • have fewer sleeping difficulties
  • are less likely to need heart condition medicine

I was really excited about some research I found on cats in particular.

Cats may reduce heart attack risk by 40%

While a study showed that both cats and dogs  reduced stress-related blood pressure more than ace inhibitor medication, a study at the University of Minnesota found that cats in particular may reduce your chances of a heart attack by 40%.

The study, which looked at 4,435 Americans aged 30 to 75, showed that those who did not have a cat had a 40% higher risk of having a heart attack and a 30% greater risk of dying from other heart diseases than those who have or have had a cat.

I was diagnosed with a heart arrhythmia many years ago. That’s a crazy erratic, racing heartbeat that happens periodically in varying degrees of intensity and threat.

I did not have a cat at the time. A bit later I lived with cats again and a bit later I stopped having arrhythmia. Didn’t think much of it.

Fast forward many years to when my only cat, Bastet, was dying. I started having bouts of terrible heart arrhythmia symptoms. After she died it got worse–and by worse I mean nearly constant.

It stopped the day we brought home two new purring youngsters named Phil and Joel. The arrhythmia disappeared that day and hasn’t returned since. Were there other factors that may have affected my heart arrhythmia in these cases? Probably. But the timing of the healing was uncanny.

What’s at the root of a cat’s healing power?

There’s certainly some mystery as to exactly how cats and dogs manage to be good for our health. So far my investigation has uncovered these research nuggets about the healing power of kitty cats:

  • Stress symptoms are lowest in people with cats

In a study by Dr. June McNicholas, stress symptoms were lowest in cat owners, second lowest in dog owners, and highest in people without pets.

  • Purring heals—a lot of things!

The Fauna Communications Research Institute found that every cat in their study created purr vibrations within the range that is medically therapeutic (20-140 Hz) for:

  • bone growth and healing
  • pain relief
  • swelling reduction
  • wound healing
  • muscle growth and repair
  • tendon repair
  • joint mobility
  • dyspnea (shortness of breath) relief

Wow!

Other good news about having an animal friend at home

Well, this has been humbling!

Excuse me while I go see what Phil and Joel are up to.

Liz Eastwood is a writer and holistic nutritionist and the author of the Natural Cat Care Blog where she shares tips, insights and the joy of soul companion cats.

Image: Morguefile

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