toxic chemicals

Why You Shouldn’t Wear Shoes Inside the House

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I keep my house clean, but I’m by no means a germophobe or a neat freak. I vacuum twice a week, and do a more thorough cleaning once a week that includes bathrooms, dusting and washing hard floors. I’m also pretty tolerant of other peoples’ habits. But when it comes to wearing street shoes inside my house, there is no grey zone for me: I don’t allow it. And the main reason for this is that I don’t want to expose Allegra and Ruby to all the bacteria and toxins that live on the bottom of the average shoe.Continue Reading

E-Cigarettes Are Toxic to Cats

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We’ve previously covered the dangers of secondhand smoke for cats: cats living with smokers are twice as likely to develop malignant lymphoma than those in non-smoking households. Cats with five or more years of exposure to tobacco smoke were at more than three times greater risk of developing lymphoma. Studies also suggest a link between oral cancer in cats and exposure to tobacco smoke. Some smokers are now using electronic, or e-cigarettes, and it turns out that the vapor from these devices is highly toxic to cats as well, and can even be fatal.Continue Reading

How Lawn Chemicals Affect Your Cats – Even Indoor Cats

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When I go for my daily walks in my suburban neighborhood this time of year, not a day goes by that someone hasn’t just fertilized their lawn. I can see the granules on the sidewalk, and sometimes, I can even smell the chemicals. I am strongly opposed to the use of chemical fertilizers, and I don’t understand the obsession with flawless green lawns. But mostly, I worry about the effect lawn chemicals have on the cats who come in contact with them – and that can happen even if your cats never leave the house.

There is no question that lawn fertilizers and pesticides are hazardous to pets and humans.  Pets especially can absorb pesticides through their paws or lick them offContinue Reading

Review: Unique Natural Products Carpet Shampoo

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My entire house is carpeted (with the exception of the kitchen and bathrooms.) The carpet in my living room, hallway, and upstairs bedrooms is off white. And it’s the original carpet, so it’s almost 40 years old. Between the home’s original owners and me, my carpets have dealt with a total of seven cats so far. Nobody who walks into my house believes me that the carpet is that old.

How I care for my carpet

I vacuum weekly, and for the first 20+ years that I’ve lived in this house, I’ve had my carpets professionally cleaned. I discontinued the professional cleanings a few years ago. Between Buckley’s heart disease, and Amber getting older, I didn’t want to stress them out by having to lock them into a bathroom for the time it would take to get the whole house cleaned. Allegra hates being locked up so much that she actually starts trying to dig her way out from under the door, and Ruby is terrified of the sound of the vacuum cleaner, so professional cleanings weren’t going to be happening any time soon at my house.Continue Reading

Detox Your Cat

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Many health problems, in both cats and humans, chronic or otherwise, are caused by day-to-day exposure to toxic substances such as chemicals and other molecules that are foreign to the body. These toxins accumulate in the body over a period of time, often over many years. Research on the human side suggests that more than 75% of cancers are caused by diet and environmental factors. In addition, toxic exposure is a contributing factor to cardiovascular diseases, strokes, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Environmental pollutants stockpile in the body contributing to the chronic diseases.

Now consider how much smaller our cats are. It most likely takes a much smaller load of toxins for our pets to cause problems. Additionally, as cats groom themselves, it’s easy for them to ingest any environmental toxins they may have accidentally come in contact with on their fur and paws.Continue Reading

Cat safe cleaning tips

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Cats are self-cleaning, as Allegra demonstrates in this photo. Unfortunately, our houses aren’t, so we have to use cleaning products to get the job done. Many commercial cleaning products are not safe to use around cats.  The chemicals in these products can be extremely toxic, and even deadly. 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.

Thankfully, there are many options for cat-safe, chemical-free and green cleaning products available. I particularly like the Method and Seventh Generation lines of products.

Some of my favorite cleaners, and also the safest and least expensive, are baking soda and white distilled vinegar.  Some suggestions for use are:Continue Reading

Pet-Friendly Cleaning Tips

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.

Dangers of Chemical-based Household Cleaners

Many household cleaners contain contain hazardous ingredients such as organic solvents and petroleum based chemicals which can release volatile organic compounds  into your indoor air. Some ingredients in household cleaners are known to cause cancer in animals and are suspected human carcinogens. Inappropriate use, storage and disposal of these hazardous household substances may impact your personal health and the health of our environment.  Lysol, Pine-sol and other products containing phenols are deadly to cats as they can cause serious liver damage.  Chlorox bleach, especially when concentrated, can cause chemical burns when it comes in contact with sensitive pet paws.

Non-toxic Cleaning Products

With the wide variety of naturally based and non-toxic cleaners available, there is no need to continue to use unsafe, toxic products.  Brands such as Seventh Generation and Method offer every type of cleaner imaginable and are available in all major grocery stores.  If you have cats, try to steer clear of natural products containing essential oils.  Even though many manufacturers of essential oils claim that they are safe to use around cats, this is not always the case.  Tea tree oil in particular can be deadly to cats.

Some of the safest and least expensive cleaners are baking soda and white distilled vinegar.  Some suggestions for use are:

Baking Soda:

  • Pour a layer in the litterbox before adding fresh litter to quell odors.
  • Add 1/2 cup to the laundry to freshen pet bedding.
  • Use as an abrasive cleaner for sinks, bowls, and non-porous surfaces.

White Distilled Vinegar:

  • Use to disinfect feeding dishes, the litterbox, and non-porous toys.
  • Add 1 cup to the wash cycle to freshen and soften pet bedding.
  • Apply a diluted solution (one part vinegar and one part water) to help remove the appearance and odor of urine stains from carpets.
  • Baking soda and white vinegar combined make a great non-toxic drain cleaner – pour some baking soda down the drain, follow with a cup or so of vinegar.  The mixture will foam, and the foaming action will clear your drain.  Repeat if necessary.  For tough drains, follow with hot water.

If your pet does come into contact with toxic chemicals, contact the Animal Poison Control Center for help.

Photo source: Miele USA website