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ForestWind Siberian Cat Blog

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Allergy Friendly Home Care Strategies

Posted on October 1, 2019 at 2:00 PM

Fel d1 is a tiny protein expressed in saliva, skin oils, and via the anal glands. Salivary Fel d1 is spread through the fur during grooming, and sebaceous FEL d1 also spreads through the fur through expression. The FEL d-1 enters the atmosphere via loose hair, dander, and the litter box.. The allergen is very stable and can remain active in the environment for over a year. Anally expressed FEL d1 ends up in the litter box, of course, which is why Unfair Rule # 1 for allergy households exists: Allergic persons should not scoop litter boxes. If you are the allergic party and live alone, consider investing in an automatic litter box. Then use a mask to protect you when emptying the container or washing out the unit.

 

Using an electrostatic air filter on your furnace, and adding a HEPA filter helps to remove the floating hairs and dusts that carry the dander and allergen proteins about your home. If you have radiators or electric baseboard heat, invest in high quality room air filtration units.

 

When selecting furniture, opt for leather and hard surfaces. Use blinds or shades that can be wiped, instead of curtains.

 

Use glass enclosed display areas to keep treasured items from becoming catch alls for dander.

 

Be sure to select a low dust, non scented litter. If you can't find any, consider using play box sand which is fine grained and very dust free. The downside is you will absolutely need to dump this litter every day or so, as the urine will not clump in it. Adding baking soda to the litter box helps neutralize urine odor in between dumpings. An additional benefit to dumping frequently and then washing / disinfecting the litter box is that it is a very good way to maintain cat health, especially if you have two or more cats.

 

Keeping your Siberian groomed reduces loose hair in the environment. Use Allerpet C before grooming to prevent the allergen from becoming airborne during daily brushing or combing. Washing your cat weekly removes the dander and protein from the body. You can simply use tap water or a mild shampoo. It is simply the act of thoroughly wetting the coat, rubbing it, and then rinsing thoroughly that mechanically removes the dander and deposited fel d 1. We use one cup of white vinegar in a bucket of warm tap water as our final rinse (or second to final - you may want to use a neutral smelling conditioner after the rinse if a vinegar scent bothers you!!).

 

Bathing cats with shampoos or grooming solutions which contain tannins or borates deactivates many allergens. Normal levels of the allergen deposits return within a week. Routine bathing of your Siberian, combined with vacuuming rugs, mopping floors, and wiping off surfaces, reduces the allergen buildup in your home.

 

In homes with some allergic and some non allergic individuals, it is realistic to declare certain areas "off limits" to your cat. Bedrooms are top priority. Next is a family room or other area that the allergic person(s) spends a lot of time. Even installing doors to provide a "cat free zone" is a realistic step.

 

Speaking of bedrooms, use the "Transition Room" as a permanent bedroom /retreat for your Siberian. When you go to bed, so does kitty - in his or her own bedroom. Keep the HEPA filter running at all times in there. Also HEPA vacuum daily, and open your Siberian's bedroom window for at least one hour a day. The hours your kitty is in her room are hours that dander is not distributed throughout the house. It is also a great safety measure: you can Siberian proof her bedroom area and not worry about her biting through light cords, or getting into cleaners or medications while you are sleeping. Finally, in cases of emergency, you know where your cat is. With a carry crate in that room, you can easily get your cat safely confined and removed from the house, or let rescue people know where to find your beloved pet, instead of having her terrified and hiding in the house "somewhere."

 

Consider implementing as many of these steps as you can if you are cat allergic and would like to ensure that both you and your Siberian are comfortable at home!

 

Warmly,

 

Kate Stryker

ForestWind Siberians... pure, healthy kittens since 2005

Environmental Enrichment

Posted on August 16, 2019 at 3:35 PM

ENVIRONMENTAL ENRICHMENT

 

# 1 strategy for a physically and emotionally healthy feline: a best friend. It is simplest to provide that best friend from the beginning / early on. There are a few Siberians who prefer solo life / king or queen of the castlehood, and we make that clear at kitten selection time.

 

#2 providing activities and enrichment for your Siberians to involve them in activities and interests while you are gone.

bird feeders hanging outside, or attached to windows;

bird baths in yard;

to cat videos (portraying fish, birds, small mammals, insects, etc in natural settings);

to soothing music, such as Harp for Hope ; or soothing piano music;

to interactive and safe toys Kong, Catit Play Circuit; sturdy and safe bell balls, crinkle tunnels for playing chase; turbo scratchers - which have both cardboard scratcher inserts as well as grass inserts; eight track ball toy;

providing a variety of cat scratchers in different locations in your home;

providing several different ways for your Siberian to be "up:" shelves, poles, climbers,  leaping stations, cardboard creations, snugglers, lotus shelving;

supplying catnip or organic grass stations;

and

placing cosy cuddlers throughout your home. 

 

#3 engaging in person:cat play sessions of at least 10 minutes in length twice daily, ideally these sessions are at least morning and late evening right before bed time. Teasers, https://www.chewy.com/s?query=laser%20toyss&nav-submit-button=" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">laser lights, balls to throw, any toy that involves you, your Siberians, and lots of running are ideal.

 

#4 grooming and snuggling kitty daily. Cats groom each other both out of necessity (parts of body they can't reach easily - back of head, jaws, etc), and also to bond and reenforce affiliation. Combing, brushing, stroking, and talking with your kitties provides this same type of sensation and well being to them, as well as allows you to know their healthy bodies well and therefor to be aware of early changes if your cat is not feeling well or is in ill health for some reason.

Interactive Play

Posted on August 2, 2019 at 2:30 PM

#FridayFYI two 15 minute daily sessions of interactive play with your Siberian cat are essential for physical and mental well being of your pet. 

Multiple Cats Need Multiple Scratchers

Posted on August 2, 2019 at 2:00 PM

Multiple Siberian cats at home? You need multiple scratching posts!

 

Why? It reduces Cat: Cat tensions, and increases liklihood of using proper scratching surfaces

 

Remember to offer tall, sturdy posts in a variety material (sisal, cardboard, wood), and a variety of locations.

 

Learn more from Pam Johnson-Bennett, a Cat Behaviouralist in her post Multiple Cat Homes Need Multiple Scratchers. 

Pet Health Insurance: What's It All About?

Posted on July 11, 2019 at 5:10 PM

Pet Insurance is not right for everyone. It is both an emotional and financial decision specific to each pet owner. We strongly urge you to research pet insurance to decide if it’s right for your family. Prior to making any commitment with a company, ask every question you can until you hear the right answer for your family, read the entire contract to the end, and pay very close attention to the fine print. If you don’t understand what your contract says, inquire to its meaning.

 Here are some broad points we’d like you to consider when beginning your research: 

 

Coverage

1) Comprehensive covers both accidents and illnesses - from broken bones, swallowing a foreign object, to diabetes and cancer

2) Wellness or Preventative Care covers basic veterinarian appointments handling vaccinations and annual visits.

3) Accidents is exactly what it sounds like - basically any problems your animal gets into which isn’t illness or disease related.

 

Deductibles: A deductible is your personal payment prior to the pet insurance company covering the bill. Pet Insurance has changed drastically over the past decade. One major change many companies are now offering is customizing your reimbursement and deductible percentages. This ranges between 50% to 100% depending on the insurance company. Generally speaking, the less you pay monthly to the insurance company the more you pay at the vet and vice versa.

 

Benefit Limits

1) Lifetime Benefits - No ceiling on coverage after original deductible is paid.

2) Per Incident Annual - Usually regarding an illness or disease, companies creates a cap in how much they’re willing to cover.

3) Maximum Annual - Some companies create a set amount as to how much they’re willing to pay out annually

4) Lifetime Maximum - A company sets a cap as to how much they’re willing to pay regarding an individual pet.

 

Other Points to Consider:

-Many insurance plans range from $38 - $70, depending on your choice of coverage, reimbursement, deductibles, and benefits. Unfortunately, to receive a personalized quote, you must enter your email for each insurance company.

-It is very rare for pet insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions. Should you choose to get pet insurance, the earlier the better.

-Most pet insurance companies require you to pay the veterinarian bill out of pocket, reimbursing you at a later time.

-Different insurance companies have better track records when it comes to reimbursement time and communication. If this is important to you, read multiple customer reviews from multiple sources before deciding.

-Many insurance companies include medication and treatment within plans - but not all.

-Most insurance companies do not cover dental unless the dental issue is accidental.

To explore Pet Insurance Options, check out this helpful page: 


www.consumersadvocate.org/pet-insurance/a/best-pet-insurance?


[ Editor's note: that many companies require you to register to get quotes. You may want to create an email address specifically for this purpose to keep your inbox from being flooded].


Shannon O'Keefe

ConsumersAdvocate.org

Lots 81-82, Street C

Dorado, PR, 00646


FYI Allergy & Asthma Homes

Posted on May 23, 2019 at 11:30 AM

We place most of our kittens into cat allergic and / or asthmatic homes. 2019 is our 15th year in Siberian Cat breeding. During these years we have only needed to rehome three (3) kittens who were placed into allergy or asthma homes.

We believe a large part of our success rate is our careful screening and support of prospective Kitten Families. (To define "Kitten Family:" it can be one person + a ForestWind kitten, or multiple people living together as a family + a ForestWind kitten). ForestWind Siberians is not focused on kitten sales, but rather on making successful kitten placements. By successful, we mean we want to ensure - cat allergy family or not - that there is a proper fit between our kitten and your home.

We want to also be sure there is a comfortable fit between you as the buyer and us as the breeder. Making the decision to purchase your Siberian kitten from a breeder one is not "in synch with" results in not asking for help with any questions or problems that arise. It means that one might make unnecessary expenditures at the Vet's when other advice fits the situation better, or that one is not armed with the knowledge one needs to be comfortable asking a Veterinarian for the proper testing and treatment of your Siberian.

We help our prospective Kitten Families consider the strategies and routines they will want to inplace when bringing their Siberian home. These steps go from the early transition period; to proper nutrition for your Siberian (which even impacts allergy levels and temperament!); to keeping your Siberian emotionally and physically healthy - unstressed cats produce less allergens; to cleaning strategies for the home to ensure the majority of any allergens produced are removed; to our step by step support on allergy friendly bathing and grooming routines for your Siberian.

We have allergy assessment strategies for pre-approval that may involve a fur sample challenge or an in-person allergy challenge. These challenges help one assess the level of reactivity the cat allergic or asthmatic person(s) may experience.

We ask allergy / asthma questions to provide us with information about the home / allergy - asthma situation that allows us to provide targeted, situation specific information on the chances of a successful purchase, as well as steps to take to ensure one’s purchase decision is an informed, effective one.

We do *not* approve every home. In situations where it is clear that a kitten purchase would not be successful for you, we explain why. In some cases, we are able to make alternative suggestions - such as buying a kitten from a cattery that allergy tests its kittens. Fel d 1 tested kittens are normally $2800 – to $3500+, dependent on Fel d 1 level and the length of breeder’s health warranty. In seriously impacted allergy / asthma situations this option is safest and best.

We place each kitten intending the home is permanent (not “try it and see”;). To that end, we require a Safe Home. This is a non-asthmatic, non-cat allergic person who co-signs the purchase contract agreeing to provide a forever home for the ForestWind kitten should issues around allergy / asthma arise that necessitate re-homing. We find that this requirement weeds out people who want to use a Siberian kitten purchase as either a magic bullet (no work necessary on their part), or as a "try it and see" situation - either of which is terribly unfair to the kitten, and heartbreaking to family members.

By supporting our Kitten Families with information, advice, and care strategies, we ensure that those families who bring home a ForestWind Siberian kitten are ready to enjoy many years of happiness and comfort with their sweet pet.

Introducing a Second Cat

Posted on April 26, 2019 at 2:00 PM

Don't be afraid to introduce a second cat

By Pam Johnson-Bennett, CABC | Pets – Thu, Feb 26, 2009 10:38 PM EST

"You want your cat to have a feline companion but you're terrified at the thought of attempting to get Fluffy to play nice with a new roommate. Does that mean she's doomed to live a lonely life without a feline friend? Certainly not. The biggest mistake owners make is that they do the wrong introduction. Cats aren't dogs so you can't do the same type of introduction. You also can't put the cats together assuming they'll "work it out." That approach is dangerous and puts tremendous stress on everyone.

 

The proper introduction centers around creating security for both cats.

 

Set up a room to be used as a sanctuary for the newcomer. This gives him an opportunity to get his bearings while feeling safe. If you simply let him loose in the house he'll feel stressed in the unfamiliar environment and once he encounters your resident cat he'll feel as if he has been dropped over enemy lines.

 

The sanctuary room should have a litter box, food/water, a few cozy hiding places, a scratching post, and toys. If you use a carrier to bring the cat into the house, leave the carrier out and open so the cat can use that as a hideaway.

 

Set up a Feliway Comfort Zone diffuser in the sanctuary room if the newcomer is an adult. This product contains synthetic feline facial pheromones. You can also set up a diffuser in your resident cat's main area.

 

Even though your resident cat can't see the newcomer on the other side of the sanctuary door, she'll likely express displeasure with the situation. Don't worry. Cats are territorial so it's natural that she might not view this as positive. Confining the newcomer to the sanctuary room shows your resident cat that only a portion of territory has changed - not the entire home.

 

Place a clean sock over your hand and gently rub the new cat around the face to collect some facial pheromones. Then spray the sock with one squirt of Feliway Comfort Zone spray. Place the scented sock in your resident cat's area. This will give her an opportunity to begin investigating the new cat's scent. The pheromones in the Feliway can help create a feeling of calm. Take another clean sock and gently rub your resident cat. Add a squirt of Feliway to that sock and place it in the sanctuary room. Do this sock exchange a few times.

 

The key to cat to cat introductions is to give them a reason to like each other. Show them that positive things occur in each other's presence. Open the sanctuary door, set up a baby gate across the doorway (yes, the cats could jump it but the gate provides somewhat of a barrier during these sessions) and feed the cats in sight of each other. Only leave the gate up while you're there to supervise during feeding sessions. Feed the cats within sight of each other but far enough apart so they don't feel threatened.

 

Periodically put your resident cat into a separate room so the newcomer can have an opportunity to roam around the house and get to know the turf. This will also help distribute his scent.

 

Keep doing sessions where the cats see each other while eating or getting treats. Gradually increase the exposure time."

 

For more step by step help, check out the book https://www.amazon.com/Cat-vs-Keeping-Peace-When/dp/0142004758/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Cat vs Cat

Supporting your Siberian After a Loss

Posted on April 19, 2019 at 2:35 PM

Pam Johnson-Bennett's helpful article, Do Cats Grieve? is full of support on helping your Siberian cat heal after the loss of another pet. 

"Many people don’t realize animals grieve the loss of companions and family members. Even if companion cats had a hostile relationship, the surviving cat may still grieve the loss. There’s confusion about where the other cat has gone. The cat, regardless of whether they were close or not, had negotiated territories within the household and now the surviving cat has to figure out whether to risk crossing onto that cat’s turf."

https://www.catbehaviorassociates.com/do-cats-grieve/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Click here to learn what to look for, how to act, strategies to help calm and soothe your bereaved pet all the while grieving yourself. 

Pam's book, https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0143119796/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Think Like a Cat  can be very helpful in understanding your Siberian cat. 


10 Allergy Rules

Posted on April 12, 2019 at 2:30 PM

Did you know that one of the most common questions we receive  "Why do some people react to one cat with known low Fel d 1 levels and not to another cat with known low fel d 1 levels?"

 

And the very simple answer most often is, "Because the humans with the reactive cat are not following ForestWind Siberian's allergy care strategies." What are those easy to implement steps? Read on...


 

ForestWind Siberian's Ten Allergy Rules

 

1. Bathe your Siberian cat weekly.

 

2. Feed your Siberian cat a nutritious, high protein diet.

 

* Surprisingly, Royal Canin, Iams and Science Diet foods, are often Vet recommended, yet each is prepared using nutritionally poor ingredients.

 

* ForestWind Siberians provides Kitten Families with specific information on what commercial foods to buy, and provides recipes and support for the healthiest diet: raw feeding.

 

3. Prepare your home before bringing home your Siberian kitten: remove carpeting, eliminate dust-collecting clutter, take off shoes when entering the home; replace non washable window dressings with washable ones; etc.

 

4. Give your kitten his or her own bedroom: keep your Siberian's Welcoming Room as his or her permanent bedroom. This keeps any fel d 1 produced plus any loose fur in one easy to vacuum location for the hours of sleeping and when you are away from home. It also keeps your Siberian in a safe, Siberian-proofed room while she is alone.

 

5. Exclude cats (and pets of any kind), from the bedroom.

 

6. Install and maintain effective air filtration devices for their home - high quality room filters for homes with electric baseboard, hot water baseboard, or radiator heat, and Electrostatic + a HEPA filter in the furnace duct work for those with forced air systems.

 

7. Use non-scented, clumping cat litter. Look for litter that is as dust free as possible. Avoid all "natural" litters as they are typically ineffective, smell badly, and are uncomfortable on the cat's paws.

 

8. Always shower before bed.

 

9. Wipe off your Siberian's coat daily. Easily done with a dampened terry wash cloth.

 

10. Wash one's hands after playing with or grooming your Siberian, and keep your hands out of your eyes and away from your nose (helps with preventing colds, too!). 

 

That's it - easy as pie!!

 

How to Allergy-Proof Your Bedroom

Posted on April 4, 2019 at 5:30 PM

How to Allergy-Proof Your Bedroom

by Linnea Lundgren and Jeff Wald, MD

The average person spends about eight hours a night in their bedroom. Whether you sleep alone or with a significant other, you always have unwanted company in the form of dust mites, mold spores, and possibly animal dander. Microscopic mites, in particular, love lounging in your bed, your pillows, and your comforter, feasting away on dead skin flakes. You can't help shedding your skin, but you can put the "No Vacancy" sign out for the mites.

Here's how to make your bedroom inhospitable to allergens:

Using a damp rag, once a month wipe down the bed frame and other wood or metal parts that are covered with dust.

Enclose the mattress and box spring in zippered allergen-impermeable, mite-proof covers, which can be purchased at some department stores or through mail-order companies that sell allergy-related products. Make sure the encasing permits perspiration-vapor-transmission: technical talk for "breathability." A washable mattress pad can go atop the allergen-impermeable coverings for added comfort.

 

Did You Know?

House - dust mites want a warm bedroom, particularly one that's about 70 degrees Fahrenheit with enough humidity (over 50 percent) to keep them well hydrated.

 

Each week, wash all linens in hot water. Wash the mattress pad and blankets every two to four weeks in hot water. Wash the mite-proof encasings as recommended by the manufacturer or every three months.

Encase pillows in allergen-impermeable covers. If you have synthetic pillows, wash them monthly in very hot water and chuck out any pillows of dubious age or origin.

Avoid wool blankets and mold-attracting foam-rubber cushions, pillows, and mattresses.

Encase comforters in allergen-impermeable material.

Avoid cushioned headboards, billowing canopies, cute ruffles, flowing bed skirts (unless washed regularly with the linen), upholstered furniture, and accent pillows.

If possible, remove all carpeting. If that's impossible, low pile is preferable to shag carpeting. Have a non-allergic person vacuum twice weekly. Remove all boxes, old shoes, knickknacks, and junk hidden underneath the bed, all of which collect dust and make regular cleaning more of a chore.

A bed can contain more than 10,000 mites and more than two million fecal particles (that's the unpleasant stuff that causes allergies). Dust mites are so small that 7,000 can fit on a dime.

 

Blinds and heavy curtains help keep daylight out but dust mites in. Try installing window shades instead. If the curtain is not coming down, at least launder it in hot water once a month. The same is true for blinds: If you don't replace them with shades, take them down and wash them.

 

If the bathroom is attached to the bedroom, keep humidity down by closing the bathroom door when you take a shower. Just be sure to keep the bathroom's exhaust fan running or the window open to allow moisture an easy escape outside.

Dust mites don't care if their dander dinner comes from a two-legged or four-legged restaurant. Reduce dander by keeping pets out of the bedroom. Always shut the bedroom door to prevent pets from making a sneaky entrance. Remember, your pet is a walking dust mop and can quickly undermine your best efforts at environmental control.

Set a schedule for regular cleaning and washing of linens. Then stick to it! Real improvements may not be noticeable for several months because it takes several washings to get rid of the mite infestation. And if you slack off, a whole new crop will move in. Washing linens regularly not only kills dust mites, it also reduces their food source (i.e.,dead skin flakes). Washing only kills the adult mites, however, not their larvae. That's why it's important to wash linens weekly -- every week there's a new crop of critters.

Don't eat in bed. Cockroaches are attracted to food and will join you in the bedroom if that's where the feast is. If you have roaches, don't bring food into the bedroom.

Don't place your bed over a heating vent because that just invites a dust gathering. Being inaccessible, the vent won't be cleaned regularly. Dust will develop, and once the heat is turned on after a seasonal recess, a volcanic eruption of dust particles will fly into your mattress.

Remove candles from the bedroom, especially the scented variety, which can release irritating or harmful substances.

Keep bookcases away from the bed, or move them out of the bedroom.

Cooking and Freezing Mites

Why the need to cook laundry in hot water? Because dust mites love warm temperatures, even warm baths. Warm washing temperatures don't kill them; they just think it's a pool party. Only hot, and we mean 130 degrees Fahrenheit/54 degrees Celsius, water does the job. If you have young children at home and want to keep the water heater at a lower setting, take your linens to a commercial laundromat. Call first, though, to make sure the laundromat keeps temperature settings above 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

If cooking your linens will ruin them, consider the opposite strategy: Put them in the freezer for 24 hours and then wash them in warm water. There are no guarantees about the scientific validity of this tactic, however. The deep freeze should kill the mites, but it won't eliminate their droppings.


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