The Big Move

Hello Friends!

Sorry we have been absent lately, but we have been organizing a change of scenery! Loki and I have decided to move to Denver, CO to explore new opportunities (but really, mountains)!

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And I’m sure you’re wondering, how well did a sensitive siamese home body do on a plane ride across the country?

Well…

I knew that Loki, as like many house cats, is not the best with traveling. You can imagine being placed in a small box for several hours not knowing where you’re going, what the noises mean, or how long this confusion will last would be very stressful. Of course, I was nervous for my travel, but let’s be honest, most of it was directly related to his welfare and stress. Every outcome that is any outcome ran through my head multiple times a day leading up to it. As a naturally anxious person, you could see how blogging was one of the last things on my list.

If you’re interested in traveling with a cat, I have a couple of suggestions based off my own experience and of course, talk to your vet as they will also have helpful solutions for this stressful time.

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When I decided to fly instead of drive, I knew that decision would be way less stressful. Even then, I wanted to try to get his anxiety under control while I started to pack up my things, etc. The more nervous I get, the more nervous he gets, I’m sure any pet owner is familiar with this!

Holistic Hound  tests all of their products and makes them available to the public so you know exactly what is in each tincture.

Holistic Hound tests all of their products and makes them available to the public so you know exactly what is in each tincture.

CBD

Working at a holistic pet store, I have sold a ridiculous amount of CBD and have ALWAYS had great feedback so I started giving Loki one dose a day with his food 30 days out.

The endocannabinoid system in the brain binds to the hundreds of types of cannabinoids contained within a CBD oil. This system influences many processes related to pain, mood, immune function and much more.

Although I did not notice a drastic difference in his mood, I do think it helped with some of the changes happening around the house and after only 4 weeks, his upper respiratory wheezes have cut in half.


This one is  Mr. Peanuts brand  that is airline approved for under the seat transfer.

This one is Mr. Peanuts brand that is airline approved for under the seat transfer.

The Right Carrier

We had a hard shell carrier for years, but only bad memories have been made in those (V. E. T.). There are a couple of things to look for in a carrier:

  1. Size Matters: Cats should be able to stand up, turn around, and lay down comfortably within the carrier. This is extremely important as it makes them know they have their own safe space and are not inhibited in any way which could exacerbate anxiety.

  2. Ventilation: Make sure your carrier has mesh or holes in it not only for air, but for light. One thing I noticed is that he felt more comfortable when he could check things out a bit from all angles instead of being cuccooned.

  3. Comfort: Throughout our travel, what made Loki calm down is his interactions with me and familiar smells, sounds, etc. Placing a small piece of your clothing or a blanket in the carrier will ease this anxiety. A month out, I let the carrier sit in my house so that he could go in and out on his own time, getting used to it for the big day


1 Day Out

I covered him with a towel during busy parts like the Denver International Airport terminal (so overstimulating!) and this carrier fits perfectly on top of my  Away  suitcase!

I covered him with a towel during busy parts like the Denver International Airport terminal (so overstimulating!) and this carrier fits perfectly on top of my Away suitcase!

A Little Extra Help (In Our Case)

I knew what I was getting myself in to. Loki can barely go to the vet without a hassle.

This was not just a car ride, this was an endeavor for him and with my anxiety at an all time high, I knew it would just get worse. That is why we used 100 mg of Gabapentin a couple of hours before the flight. Gabapentin is used in animals as an anti-anxiety and anti-seizure medication. We laid out our options and figured that it is better to be overprepared than a disaster at 30,000 feet.

Gabapentin isi not a tranquilizer. It helps to calm nerves and inhibit anxiety.

The most important thing in all of this…


Know your animal

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Look at that little bean.

As his mom, I know how much he can handle and I knew that using Gabapentin was the best solution.

If you think your cat would do alright with a more natural approach, I’d recommend Rescue Remedy as I have heard good things about its effects on anxiety. I would be cautious of mixing Eastern and Western medicines as the effects of both combined has not been completely explored.

Taken 2 days after his arrival. We got a package of food from  Steve’s Real Food  and just HAD to make it ours

Taken 2 days after his arrival. We got a package of food from Steve’s Real Food and just HAD to make it ours

The plane ride was way less scary than I thought it would be. There were a couple of meows and scratches to get out on the departure and arrival, but other than that he was calm the entire ride. Even when I accidentally spilled my water on him and the man next to me.

He settled in right away and is coping very well! We have been adding extra water to his raw to compensate for the altitude and he has been loving the sunny warm air.

We will be trying to get him outside more this summer so look forward to some trail pics!

A Convo With Organically Becca

Did you know that Milwaukee is a gold mine for beautiful blogs and natural living advocates?

Because WOW. Today I was graced with the presence of the lovely Becca from Organically Becca!

PC: @marissabiesephoto

PC: @marissabiesephoto

Becca is a blogger, dog mom, environmentalist, and natural beauty enthusiast living in Milwaukee, WI. After doing research on the products she puts in and on her body, she adopted a natural lifestyle and has been living her best life ever since. From skin care to dog care, she is a great resource for those willing to adapt a natural lifestyle and an advocate for sustainable living. So naturally, I had to know her secrets! Check out our interview below:

 

1.     Tell us a little about your fur baby!

My pleasure! His name is Dexter and he is a 4-year-old mutt. My husband and I adopted him from the Wisconsin Humane Society when he was about 4 months old. He was brought up from Mississippi along with a few of his siblings. We did a DNA test to find out his breed, and he is a mix of Border Collie, Lab, Flat-Coated Retriever, Rottweiler, and Sheltie. I usually just tell people he’s a Lab/Border Collie mix cause it’s easier!

Look at this cutie! (PC: @DogsofMKE)

Look at this cutie! (PC: @DogsofMKE)

We also like to call him “Nubby” because he has a really short nub tail. He’s a little shy when you first meet him, and sometimes scary things like bikes or vacuum cleaners upset him, but at the end of the day he just wants to snuggle and lick your face (especially if you give him popcorn, coconut oil, or peanut butter). He’s definitely my baby!

 

2.     How would you describe the importance of a non-toxic lifestyle for our pets? Has your experience with your dog changed as you switched to a more natural lifestyle?

It’s so important! A lot of products out there for pets are really cheaply made and have some really horrible ingredients. Sure, they aren’t humans, but they are still our babies and deserve the best! It’s not fun to hear, but the rate of cancers in dogs is rising, and there are a lot less regulations for pet products (like food) compared to products for us humans. So you might have to take extra steps to do what’s best for your pup. I’m always learning new things and making changes to do what’s best for Dexter!

 

 
 

3.     What are some of your favorite natural pet products that you have been obsessed with lately? (Food, treats, toys, etc)

Dexter loves Stella & Chewy’s freeze-dried food (well, he loves anything you will feed him, really). I also like the little Zuke’s training treats to take on walks. We also got Dexter a Savvy Rest dog bed. It’s made with all natural materials like organic cotton and is made sustainably. Bully sticks are really gross but Dexter also loves those (we get them from Raw Paws pet food). It’s so cool that there are so many options out there for dog parents that want to make better choices for their pets!

Stella & Chewy’s  is local to Oak Creek, WI and provides cat and dog products

Stella & Chewy’s is local to Oak Creek, WI and provides cat and dog products

 

 4.     Have you had experience with frustration/confusion with the pet food industry being a person who is an advocate for transparency and environmental responsibility?

Of course. Like I mentioned earlier, there are just so many products on the market that might be cheaply priced but aren’t necessarily helping your pet’s health. A lot of conventional dog foods and kibbles use by-products or leftover meats from places like China. It’s just crazy the lengths businesses will go to just to make money! Once I started learning about conventional foods and all of the additives and ingredients, it was shocking! If you compare some of those ingredients to what a dog would naturally eat in the wild (like grains, corn, and soy compared to raw meats and organs), it’s no wonder there are so many health issues arising in pets these days!

 

5.     A lot of people I know are very adamant about natural living with themselves but often disregard their pets. What made you start to think about this lifestyle for your animal?

I’ve always been kind of aware of more natural alternatives for Dexter, but the big tipping point was about a year ago when he had two lumps removed surgically. Thankfully they weren’t cancerous, but it freaked me out! I did a complete overhaul and tried to incorporate more holistic and natural things for him. For example, we switched him off conventional flea + tick medication to an essential oil-based one. And I switched him from kibble (which can have a lot of filler ingredients and is usually extruded at high temps) to freeze-dried raw food. Occasionally I even make homemade treats and crock pot meals for Dexter too (spoiled, I know!).


Unfortunately, many pet parents have a scare like Becca did. 1 out of 2 dogs will develop cancer by the age of 10.

PC: @DogsofMKE

PC: @DogsofMKE

 6.     Let’s talk about greenwashing. In natural beauty, this is a growing concern. It is also prevalent in the pet food industry when it comes to “natural” ingredients. Can you define greenwashing in your own words and talk about how it can mislead a consumer?

Totally, greenwashing is so easy to fall victim to and it really upsets me! Basically, it’s when companies make claims that they are “natural” or use clean ingredients but they really don’t. It’s SO misleading and unfair to consumers that are trying to do better for their health or for the environment. It all comes down to the fact that there are not a ton of regulations in place for certain terminology or ingredient safety so companies can get away with a lot. You always have to research ingredients and learn about them for yourself. I tell people to never trust labels blindly without reading ingredients! And try to do as much research about a company to see if you are willing to support them and their practices.

 

7.     What are some tips for someone who wants to start living clean? Specifically, what are some things that any budget can do to increase their sustainability and decrease toxicity in their lives?

The key is just to start small and to just START! It’s easy to feel like you have to completely overhaul your life and the products you use. It’s just not feasible or attainable and you will drive yourself crazy if you try to be perfect! It took me at least 2 years to totally clean up the products I use and I’m still definitely not perfect. The main thing is to learn and educate yourself and get yourself to a place that you are comfortable, don’t try to live up to someone else’s standards. Once a product is used up, for example, swap it out with something better! Look for sales. Buy products that can be reused instead of single-use items. Sometimes living more naturally can be expensive, yes, but try to think of it as investing in your health long-term vs. spending money!


We cannot agree more. Rather than thinking about the up-front cost, I like to think about the money saved in the long run and more importantly, the investment in health. Preventative care is lacking in our current healthcare system and encouraging wellness at a young age is important for keeping you out of the vet’s office!


 8.     We love that you promote local businesses and brands in Wisconsin! What are some of your favorites, human or non-human?

Yes there are so many awesome businesses in Wisconsin! First of all we feed Dexter “Stella & Chewy’s” food which is made here in Milwaukee. I also love what “Lost & Hound” is doing, which is a local company that makes accessories like bandanas and bowties for dogs and donates a toy to shelter dogs for each purchase. Another I can think of is “Gracie’s Doggie Delights” which are freeze-dried dog treats made by a young woman with Down Syndrome out of Watertown, WI. And I can’t forget “Dogs of MKE” which is an account that showcases all of the dogs here in Milwaukee and their stories!

Lost & Hound  is a socially conscious brand dedicated to giving back and improving the welfare of rescued shelter dogs transitioning out of homelessness. PC: (@lostandhoundmke)

Lost & Hound is a socially conscious brand dedicated to giving back and improving the welfare of rescued shelter dogs transitioning out of homelessness. PC: (@lostandhoundmke)

And I don’t think it’s local to Wisconsin, but we live near a Bentley’s pet store. They are great because they have high standards for the products they carry and also have a lot of awesome “green” practices!

Bentley’s Pet Stuff  has a food promise consisting of food free of by-products, corn, wheat, soy & chemical preservatives. Their staff is also trained in nutrition! Ask away! (PC: @bentleyspetstuffshorewood)

Bentley’s Pet Stuff has a food promise consisting of food free of by-products, corn, wheat, soy & chemical preservatives. Their staff is also trained in nutrition! Ask away! (PC: @bentleyspetstuffshorewood)

Thank you Becca for taking the time to talk with me and the Cat Mom Club! Follow Becca on her blog and social media platforms listed below!

Organically Becca Blog

Instagram: @OrganicallyBecca

Twitter: @OrganicBecca

Pinterest: Organically Becca [green beauty + holistic health]

Get Snuggly, It's Finally Fall!

It’s that time of year. My favorite, your sister’s favorite, the Internet’s favorite… Fall!

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While the leaves change and the temperature drops, we close our windows and get #festive. I absolutely love the fall ambiance of pumpkin candles, warm tea, and a heated blanket, or as i like to call it, Loki-attractor.


But while we close our windows for the imminent ice age (seriously winter lasts 9 months in Wisconsin) we have to keep a couple of things in mind when we light up a candle, plug in an air freshener, and mop the floor.

Before you light that wick, consider these:

  1. Cats spend all of their time indoors: Unlike you, fresh air isn’t an option (for most!)

  2. Cats are frequently in direct contact with the ground and countertops

  3. Their sense of smell is 14 times stronger than humans

  4. They groom themselves very frequently

  5. They are small!

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Unlike humans, cats are at a higher risk of propagating the effects of synthetic chemicals and fragrances used in common household cleaners, candles, and air fresheners. Their livers cannot break down the substances that are ingested which can cause a toxic buildup.

Paraffin wax candles, when burned, create many chemicals that have a harmful effect on humans and pet health. Those chemicals include several volatile organic compounds that produce carcinogenic substances. For example, certain VOCs created when burning a candle can form formaldehyde when combined with ozone in the air. Cheaply made candles create more soot when burned and collect on surfaces that increase your cats risk of ingestion and inhalation.  


Toxins can build up very fast during the winter months. Especially if artificial products are used on a daily basis. But this doesn’t mean you need to live in a stinky cat box! You and your kitty can live out your wildest #fallgoals without these dangerous chemicals!

Here are a couple of tips to get you and kitty through the winter months:

  1. Use high quality beeswax candles

  2. Use an essential oil diffuser with high quality, therapeutic grade oils

  3. Cat-safe air purifying plants like a Spider Plant or Sword Fern

  4. Use natural cleaning products. You can make your own using water, vinegar, and your favorite essential oil, or use some of my favorites here and here!

  5. Crack a window every now and again!

Along with these tips, another rule of thumb is to keep a door cracked for rooms you are diffusing any type of scent in. This way, it diffuses throughout the house (and hopefully not on to your pet!).

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Its time to ring in the new season feeling cozy, healthy, and happy knowing we can enjoy our fall aesthetic without harmful chemicals!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to go watch the Great British Baking Show under a plush blanket (topped with kitty) with pumpkin bread in one hand and hot cider in another.

Happy October Cat Moms!