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June 2010 Newsletter

Is Cat Poop Killing Sea Otters?
by Lalinda De La Fuente

My Fav Pet Sitter


Ok, maybe cat poop is not the only thing killing sea otters but it’s definitely one of the things, believe it or not. I ran across some interesting information put together by a University of California Davis research team about sea otters concerning toxic cat poop and sea otter mortality. So here’s the skinny and some important tips according to the team from UC Davis.

The Disease

Toxoplasma, short for Toxoplasma gondii, is a very tiny parasite that resides in the bodies of animals and people. Toxoplasma is a tricky infection though. Many people that have Toxoplasma may never display any symptoms of the illness, which can include a two week bout with fever, head and muscle aches, sore throat, a swollen neck and difficulty seeing. Furthermore, cats, which seem to be a primary carrier for the disease, never show any symptoms but are the ones that spread it.

How do cats catch it?

The UC Davis Web site states that many animals, including birds and other small animals, have Toxoplasma. It’s only cats though that shed Toxoplasma “eggs” in their feces. Cats, both feral and house, often pick this up when they hunt and eat small wild animals such as birds and rodents. The Toxoplasma “eggs” typically live in water and soil and are spread by earthworms, flies and beetles. These parasites will them spread throughout the body to areas such as the lungs, eyes, and even brain, remaining in the system for a long period of time.

So how does this affect sea otters?

Researchers know that Toxoplasma “eggs” are somehow making their way into the ocean and sea otters are becoming infected. And although they do not know exactly how this is occurring, they do know that the reduction of cat poop in the environment would help significantly.

I own a cat. What can I do?

Keeping your indoor a cat as just that will prevent them from hunting and eating small wild animals that could be infected. Being careful and mindful of what you feed them is also a great way to prevent illness of any sort in your pet.

Never flush cat poop. Never throw it in a river, stream or canal. Your best bet is to dispose of cat waste in the garbage along with your old litter. Cleaning your cat box daily will also help prevent infection. Cleanliness when it comes to cat waste is key.

Can I get Toxoplamsa and what can I do to prevent it?

Yes you can get Toxoplasma. If you’re immune system is compromised due to another illness, you are definitely more susceptible to this illness. Because your body may not be able to ward it off, the chance of the parasites infecting your brain is greater.

And you know how they tell pregnant women to avoid such tasks as taking out the garbage, doing the dishes or cleaning the litter box? Toxoplasma is the reason. Infection of an unborn child can cause birth defects or brain damage. This is a great excuse for mothers-to-be to make their husbands do a few chores!

Do not despair though. Keeping your feline inside and keeping clean should do the job. Remember to wash your hands with warm, soapy water after you clean the litter box or consider wearing gloves.

Here are a few other ways to help prevent Toxoplasma:
• Avoid drinking water from rivers or stream
• Use hot, soapy water to clean cutting boards and knifes after preparing meat
• Wash all produce well before using (make sure all dirt is off)
• Wash your hands well after gardening. Make sure to get dirt out from under nails.

Pets of the Month

Congratulations to June’s pets of the month: Princess and Rosie! They are a sweet yellow lab and a frisky tabby cat. They were recently interviewed by their mom, Sandy, our very own pet sitter, and had this to say.

Princess

Princess

RosieRosie

How we met our family:

We met Princess through the Lab rescue group and fell in love with her right away.

We met Rosie through Folsom Feline rescue. We were fostering her and her two sisters when they were just 7 weeks old. We were originally not planning on keeping any of the kittens, but when it was time for them to go up for adoption, my kids started crying and begging me to keep one. that's how Rosie ended up in our lives.

What we have to say about the companion human(s) we share our home with:

Princess: My kids love me. They play hide and seek with me and tug of war. I love sharing a home with 3 kids because they drop lots of food on the floor and I am always there to vacuum it up with my mouth! I like to give my mom lots of hugs (I can stand up and give hugs) and she takes me for walks and gives me treats.

Rosie: I love when my mom sits at her computer because that's my time to sit on her lap and block the computer screen so she has to give me attention.

Our favorite hobbies:

Princess:  Fetching the ball, over and over, swimming and chasing Rosie around the house.

Rosie: Chasing the laser light and retrieving my crinkle toy.

Our favorite foods:

Princess:  Anything that drops on the floor or I can steal from one of the kids.

Rosie:  Treats

Our favorite toys:

Princess: My ball.

Gerry: Crinkle toy.

Our most exciting adventures:

Princess: The time I went to Folsom Lake and swam all day. I retrieved my water toy all day and never got tired.

Rosie:  Spying on Princess

Our idea of a perfect day:

Princess:  The perfect day would be going for a long walk with my family, playing fetch for hours and then ending the day with a nice blow dry with my mom’s hair dryer.

Rosie: Playing with the laser light and then sleeping on my mom’s lap the rest of the day.

Secret skills or abilities that few people know about us

Princess: I can catch flies with my mouth (and I always get them)

Rosie:  I can walk on ledges without falling.

Service Announcements

Summer is almost here and many of our clients are going on vacation. If you have a vacation planned, please let us know!

Fourth of July falls on a Sunday this year so you may want to get away for that weekend. Please keep in mind that visits on that day are billed at the holiday rate.

One of our pet sitters, Linda, will be moving away in July and will be missed! We are looking for a replacement pet sitter / dog walker for weekday midday walks in case you or anyone you know is interested.

Pet Humor

Half-time at the dog show…

Half Time Dog Show

Intimidation

Newest Virus

High Kick

Unimpressed

The Real Reason You Are Late For Work

   
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