How many members of your sign does it take to change a light bulb?

How many members of your sign does it take to change a light bulb?

Aries: Just one. You want to make something of it?

Taurus: One, but just “try” to convince them that the burned-out bulb is useless and should be thrown away.

Gemini: Two, but the job never gets done — they just keep arguing about who is supposed to do it and how it’s supposed to be done.

Cancer: Just one. But it takes a therapist three years to help them through the grief process.

Leo: Leo’s don’t change light bulbs, although sometimes their agent will get a Virgo in to do the job for them while they’re out.

Virgo: Approximately 1.000000000000000000 with an error of 1 millionth.

Libra: Er, two. Or maybe one. No — on second thought, make that two. Is that okay with you?

Scorpio: That information is strictly secret and shared only with the Enlightened Ones in the Star Chamber of the Ancient Hierarchical Order.

Sagittarius: The sun in shining, the day is young, we’ve got our whole lives ahead of us, and you’re inside worrying about a stupid burned-out light bulb?

Capricorn: I don’t waste my time with these childish jokes.

Aquarius: Well, you have to remember that everything is energy, so…..

Pisces: Light bulb? What light bulb?


The Ultra-Sensitive Person: Staying Centered and Feeling Safe when the World Overwhelms You

The Ultra-Sensitive Person: Staying Centered and Feeling Safe when the World Overwhelms You
by Roger Easterbrooks

Do you experience a heightened sensitivity to certain noises, light, foods, groups of people, other people’s edges or emotions, or does everyday life feel like just too much stimulus? Do you have frequent feelings of overwhelm and panic? If you experience any one (or more) of the preceding or following indicators then you are likely an Ultra-Sensitive Person (USP):

easily tired
panic/anxiety attacks
labeled as to “sensitive” or “thin skinned” or “emotional”
overwhelmed by being “out in the world”
overly attentive to what is going on all around you
urge to hide in a quiet, sometimes dark, room when things are too much
cancel or don’t make plans with others
affected by other people’s moods
highly allergic to foods and environmental conditions
exceptionally intuitive and artistic

Being ultra-sensitive means you pick up on most of the subtleties around you, no matter what they are. This is because you are “deeply tuned-in”. When the stimuli from these many levels begins to feel too much, a state of overwhelm can happen. You start to operate from a “survival” mode. For example, to cope with the situation you may retreat to be alone in a quiet and darkened room. This is a place where you can regroup and calm down an over-activated nervous system.

Ultra-Sensitive People are neither better nor more conscious than anyone else. They do experience things more intensely and are aware of more of the subtleties in the environment than non- USP’s. Some people are ultra-sensitive in only a few areas of their life, like flying in an airplane, or being in a small cramped space. Others are ultra-sensitive in most or all areas of their lives. This is, I believe, based on your birth (karmic as well as physical), developmental growth and life experiences.

Being Ultra-sensitive is actually a gift, although it does not always feel that way. You have probably been criticized and shamed, for the way you have lived or not lived your life. You may have been called too sensitive, emotional, thin-skinned, a complainer, or one who is never satisfied. The story of The Princess and the Pea mirrors an ultra-sensitive’s character (most often related to women). For men, especially, the title may be “cry baby”. These shame-laden labels can tarnish one’s life. Yet the biggest tragedy comes when you hide or suppress your awareness of the information that this gift reveals to you.

So lets spend some time inside such a person, which is rich and bountiful. Remember you need not have all these indicators be true to be ultra-sensitive. There is a heightened sensitivity to the environment. It is challenging to be in the outside world where your input sensors can be easily over stimulated. You are very intuitive, even prophetic. You know what other people are feeling; your interpretations of such messages are not always accurate, but you know when something is up. Other’s moods affect you. You love very deeply and fully. You can be overly conscientious. When you reach the overwhelm stage you usually retreat into a dark room or any place away from the situation that has pushed you over the line. You can be sensitive to light, noise, and foods. If you go to the mall on a busy shopping day, you feel it as a massive input of stimuli where others may only be mildly distracted. When you get overwhelmed you respond as if your survival is at stake. In fact, panic/anxiety attacks are a common response to the overwhelm situation. Then it is “run for cover”, or for some of us it may even be “go, go, go, do, do, do” even more and try to kill the sensations in that manner. Addictions are born from not being able to tolerate these overwhelmed feelings.

How does one get to be this sensitive? Some of us are born this way – we come in with a different neurological perspective. Some of us are traumatized in the early stages of development and become sensitive, example sexual abuse, or later in life such as fighting in a war (Post-Traumatic Stress). Others get these sensitivities from a skip in their central nervous system, such as a physical abnormality (Mitral Valve Prolaspe) or chemical and food allergies. Whether you are ultra sensitive in certain areas of your life or in all areas isn’t the only point, for the area you are ultra sensitive in is the place where overwhelm is possible, unless you learn to put a dimmer switch on your central nervous system and sensory awareness. How is it for an Ultra-Sensitive on the job? It is best to find a work environment where you can have your own space to operate. You will not be the most social one at the company water cooler and will tend to shy away from a lot of contact in large groups. You are very good at what you do the more you are left alone. But this also can bring in the feeling of loneliness. Do you make contact – jump into the game – and risk having to cut out early or have a panic attack? It is hard to make good decisions if you are busy dealing with staying alive from having too much input. Because you tend to be very good at what you do, people will come to you for assistance and in that case you will receive the acknowledgment you want but at the possible high cost of having too much contact. Any job where your co-workers can have free access to you will be very challenging. You may not feel like you can escape if the need arises. Here again is the basic challenge for the Ultra-Sensitive person; which is when things get to be too much and you need to withdraw will you have the ok-ness within yourself to do what you need. Of course your responsibility is to develop skills that will help you tolerate the sensations of overwhelm. It is also helpful to learn how much and what types of information you can take in before overwhelm happens. In that way you will be able to take a break and in that way reduce the possibility of over stimulation.

Your social and intimate relationships provide you with a great opportunity to enjoy the richness of you sensitivities. They also provide you with situations where you can become even more easily over stimulated. Your ability to tune in to what others are feeling and what they need can be a great asset in any relationship. But this gift must be used wisely. The down side is that you can give yourself away or be intrusive on another’s space. Clear communication as to what is happening for us is most helpful. For when you go into overwhelm others may see you as being narcissistic. But what is actually happening is that you have gone into survival mode and that means by its very nature that you can only pay attention to yourself. At these times it may be necessary to take time alone away from as much external stimuli as possible. This needs to be presented as a way of taking care of yourself so that you can come to terms with exactly want your overwhelm is about. Once you are out of overwhelm then you can return to your regular mode of making contact and interacting.

Boundaries are also very different for Ultra-Sensitive People. Even when you are clear as to where the other person is and you know what your stand is, you can usually still feel the other almost like it is yourself anyway. That means you have a very unique opportunity to learn about how to stay with yourself as well as to be deeply connected with another. This line is a thin one, between you and another, and it is easy to cross over and believe that you have lost yourself. Sometimes it is true you do lose yourself and at other times that is not. You are totally with yourself but still acutely aware of the other as well. I feel this may be a slightly different perspective on boundaries that many psychological therapies don’t acknowledge.

There are several basic approaches to the question “How can I turn down my overly sensitive nature?”. I offer consultation on all the levels of attention needed in this experience physical, emotional, and spiritual as well how to find the appropriate practitioners in your area.

Roger Easterbrooks M.B.A., Registered Movement Therapist, is an ultra-sensitive. He is trained in intuitive and traditional techniques of healing. Some of the methods he uses are movement education, breath and emotional release work, and compassionate conversation. He is the creator of the Heart of Intimacy Relationship Intensive. He can be reached at (206) 264-5066,, or

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Aromatherapy in the Kitchen

Aromatherapy in the Kitchen

With so many essential oils having powerful antibacterial and
antiseptic qualities, use in the kitchen seems a very “natural” thing
to do! The scent from these natural cleaners is also a bonus, as we
don’t have to contend with the chemicals wafting around our
environment. We use these oils to wash down countertops after
cooking, chopping boards after cutting up meats, in the wash water
when washing the floor, walls or cupboards, cleaning the fridge or
freezer, its amazing!

When we cook, rising up in the steam are those tiny little molecules
of fat, which carry the scent of the food you are cooking. While this
is appetizing at the time, we don’t really want these smells to
linger by attaching themselves to our curtains, our clothing and our
furniture and carpeting. Blending essential oils of rosemary,
eucalyptus, lime, lavender or lemon (use one or all!) into a spray
bottle with a little alcohol and water makes a wonderfully air
cleansing room spray. The aromatic molecules of the essential oils
actually surround and deodorize those smelly little fat molecules,
rather then just covering them up like so many commercial, chemically
based synthetic sprays do. All the while these essential oils are
also helping to destroy any airborne bacteria that may have been
tracked home from school or the office, and are just waiting for
someone’s immune system to drop down so they can attack!!!

In the final rinse water for the cleaning of the refrigerator, a
drop or 2 of any of the citrus essential oils (orange, lemon,
grapefruit) will help to deodorize without permeating your food.

Washing down the counters and cupboards requires some serious
bacteria fighters, to make sure there are no surprises lingering on
your cooking and preparation surfaces. The following oils can be
dropped directly onto your cloth or combined to make 7-8 drops into
your rinse water (this is our favorite, as you get to enjoy the scent
of the molecules rising on the steam from the hot water!). Again, the
citrus oils are wonderful as well as thyme, pine, lavender and
eucalyptus (these can also calm you down and clear your nose if you
have a cold!).

Even doing dishes can be a little more fun (can we say those two
words in relation to one another?) when you add 10 drops of lemon,
grapefruit or bitter orange to your dish soap. You may not want to
sing and dance upon completion, but at least your psyche will be
suitably calmed and rejuvenated!

With so many essential oils having powerful antibacterial and
antiseptic qualities, use in the kitchen seems a very “natural” thing
to do! The scent from these natural cleaners is also a bonus, as we
don’t have to contend with the chemicals wafting around our
environment. We use these oils to wash down countertops after
cooking, chopping boards after cutting up meats, in the wash water
when washing the floor, walls or cupboards, cleaning the fridge or
freezer, its amazing!

From thymeforherbsandaromatherepy group

Today We Honor The Goddess Danu

The Goddess Danu

As the mother of the gods, Danu has strong parallels with the Welsh literary figure (or goddess) Dôn, who is the mother figure of the medieval tales in the Mabinogion.

Danu was considered as the mythic mother goddess of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the Celtic tribes that first invaded Ireland. The Celts, also on the continent, had several goddesses, also of war. “Apart from these goddesses of war, there were other Amazonian figures who led armies into battle. Often they were also endowed with legendary sexual prowess…” “The Celts included the cult of the mother goddess in their rites, as archeological evidence testifies. Indeed, the Tuatha Dé were the descendants of the goddess Danu, and in some local instances, the ruler of the otherworld was a goddess, rather than a god, just as some folktales represented the otherworld as ‘the Land of Women’. Danu may be connected with Bridget, daughter of Kildare and of learning, culture and skills. She was known as Brigantia in northern England, and survived as St Bride in Christianity”

Test Your Cat Knowledge

Test Your Cat Knowledge

  • Cherise Udell

Feline Muse by Cherise Udell

Since so many people enjoyed my first Cat Quiz in “What Is Your Cat IQ?” I thought I’d put forth round two of quizzing your cat knowledge. So, invite a purring pussy cat onto your lap and take this informative quiz together.


1. All cats have retractable claws. True or False?

False. Cheetahs do not retract their claws.


2. Myth, legend, and folklore surround the Maine Coon Cat. One legend claims these cats are the descendants of a cat belonging to Marie Antoinette. True or False?

True. According to legend, a ship captain named Samuel Clough attempted to help Marie Antoinette escape France, but was only able to save her cats. He sailed to America and left the kitties in Maine.


3. One cat can give birth to over 400 kittens in her lifetime. True of False?

True. A tabby named Dusty delivered 420 documented kittens in her lifetime. Hopefully, Dusty didn’t have to name them all!


4. Ailurophobia means “fear of cats.” True or False?


5. Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Benito Mussolini and Adolph Hilter all hated cats. True or False?

True All of these men, who sought to dominate the world, did share a hatred of felines. Hmmmmm….


6. Feeding dog food to a cat on a regular basis can cause blindness in the cat. True or False?

True. Dog food typically lacks taurine, a nutrient essential for cat eye and heart health.


7. Carrots are toxic to cats. True or false?

False. But onions, green tomatoes, raw egg yolk, raw potatoes, grapes, raisins, poinsettias, philodendrons, dental floss, and aspirin can all cause havoc on a cat’s digestive system and health.

8. A group of kittens is called a litter. True or False?

False. Everyone I know refers to a group of kittens as a “litter,” however the proper term is “kindle.”

9. The world’s largest feral cat population is in Egypt. True or False?

False. The largest feral cat population is in Rome. Over 300,000 feral cats call famous Roman landmarks such as the Coliseum and Vatican City, home.

10. An ancient Chinese legend maintains that the cat is the result of a romantic tryst between a lioness and a monkey. True or False?

True. The legend suggests that the lioness endowed her offspring with dignity, while the monkey passed on curiosity and playfulness. I would have never thought that one up myself, but now that the Chinese mention it, it makes lots of sense!


How did you do? Did any of these answers surprise you? Have you ever heard the term “kindle” used to refer to a group of kittens? I am sure with a little creativity, we all could come up with a significantly more descriptive and endearing term to describe such cuteness!

Can You Have Too Many Cats?

Can You Have Too Many Cats?

  • Nicolas, selected from petMD

By Dr. Justine Lee, PetMD

Do I really need to answer this question? (And yes, I realize this blog will piss off people who own more than 6 cats!)

Unfortunately, I do.

Years ago, I had two women who brought their cat into the emergency room at the University of Pennsylvania. Both women reeked so badly of cat urine, I couldn’t even close the exam door due to my eyes burning from the ammonia smell. When I asked these women some questions about the cat’s environment, they couldn’t answer how many cats they had. I asked, “10? 20? 60? 100?” Their reply? “Over 100.”

These two women, who were cat hoarders, didn’t notice that their cat was ill until it was on death’s door, since they had so many in their “environment.” This cat was severely dehydrated, emaciated, and had a body condition score of 1 out of 9. This cat weighed just under five pounds (instead of nine), and was so lethargic it couldn’t even lift its head. (It ultimately died despite several days of hospitalization and life-saving care.)

So, can you imagine having so many cats that it prevents you from adequately being able to care for your pets?


You may hear of the occasional crazy “hoarder” revealed on the news — people with underlying mental disorders who live with a hundred cats hidden in their house (hopefully nowhere near your neighborhood). Sadly for the cats, the m.o. of your cat lovin’, urine-smelling, disheveled animal hoarder is quite sad. Most hoarders are unmarried and live alone (and you thought it was hard to find a date with just two cats…). Hoarders also come from all different socioeconomic backgrounds and typically are over sixty years of age. To top it off, over three-fourths of hoarders are females, once again giving the single white female a bad rap. Some more scary numbers?

  • In 69% percent of hoarding cases, animal urine and feces was found accumulated in living areas.
  • More than one in four (> 25%) of hoarders’ beds are soiled with animal feces.
  • 80% of reported cases had dead or sick animals present in the house.
  • 60% of hoarders didn’t acknowledge that they had dead or sick animals in the house.
  • Over 65% of hoarding cases involve cats (although some also hoard small dogs and rabbits).

While most hoarders don’t read my blog, my general advice to any cat owner is this: I usually recommend no more than four to five cats total. Sometimes I offend my fellow veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and friends when I tell them my cut-off for crazy is six cats. After that, I think it’s medically unhealthy.

If this pisses you off, I’m sorry, but I’m looking out for the welfare of the cats and dogs here. Try finding a veterinarian who has that many. It’s rare — we know that having this many cats can result in severe behavioral problems. Of course, if you ask ten different vets, you may get ten different answers. That said, until those nine other vets write an opinionated blog about it, I still recommend no more than four or five cats per household.

So what’s the problem with having so many cats? Animal behavior specialists often see more problems in multicat households. Having too many cats may result in urination problems (i.e., not in the litter box!), intercat fighting and attacking, and difficulty in monitoring general health. For example, checking the litter box to see if one cat has a urinary tract infection is more difficult when you have six cats.

So how many cats should you get? I have to say that I initially enjoyed having a one cat household. That is, until I experienced a two-cat household. Now I’m a firm believer in having two cats together. Seamus, my 13-year old, grey and white tabby, was more friendly and affectionate to humans (more to the point — me!) as an only child. When I adopted Echo (who sadly, passed away in April from severe heart disease), I got less “loving” from Seamus. He wanted to spend all his time playing with Echo instead. Echo and Seamus played together (constantly), slept together, wrestled together, and loved each other up. Once Seamus and Echo befriended each other, I was officially demoted to the source of food and to litter box duty. Seamus’ quality of life, social skills, and exercise level definitely improved while he had Echo in his life. After seeing this, I do firmly believe that cats do benefit from having a companion to play with. *Note, a companion or two — not six or one hundred.

I’ve been fortunate to have cats that get along (despite the first few tumultuous days of hissing and cat introductions). For that reason, yes, I support having afew feline friends together.

What is Really in Your Pet’s Commercial Food?

What is Really in Your Pet’s Commercial Food?

  • Eden, selected from

Love ‘Em Like Family, Feed ‘Em Like Family: What is Really in Your Pet’s Commercial Food?
by Jonathan Reynolds, Contributor to Animals & Pets on All Things Healing

If dogs and cats were capable of visiting the places where commercial pet food comes from, would they still want to eat it? It’s perhaps an interesting question, but realistically, most dogs and cats will never visit a factory farm over the course of their lives. They rely entirely on their human caretakers to research, understand, and decide what’s best for them.

Ingredients on pet food containers are listed in decreasing order according to weight. Meats which tend to sponge up water, such as chicken, are usually higher on the list when it comes to canned foods, even though the actual amount of meat may be less. Wet foods are especially beneficial to cats for this reason, as they have a tendency to not realize when they become dehydrated. Dry food generally has less water, more plant material, and more calories for energy. Wet food tends to have more protein, but it is also usually more expensive and must be refrigerated after opening.

One ingredient typically found in commercial pet food for both dogs and cats, known as “meat by-products”, consists of dead animal pieces mostly deemed unfit for human consumption. According to, “about 50% of every food animal does not get used in human foods. Whatever remains of the carcass — heads, feet, bones, blood, intestines, lungs, spleens, livers, ligaments, fat trimmings, unborn babies, and other parts not generally consumed by humans — is used in pet food, animal feed, fertilizer, industrial lubricants, soap, rubber, and other products.”

Meat meals, poultry meals, by-product meals, and meat-and-bone meal are also common ingredients in dry pet foods. Meals go through a “rendering” process which requires the dead carcasses to be boiled for several hours to separate fat and proteins. Because rendering must be gentle enough to remove the valuable nutrients intact, there is the possibility that the end-product might carry biological pathogens.

Some preservatives used in dry pet food are worth avoiding, such as butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), propyl gallate, propylene glycol, and ethoxyquin (pdf), all of which are used frequently.

Animals living on factory farms are regularly injected with antibiotics. The FDA estimates that in 2009, around 29 million pounds of antibiotics were pumped into farm animals by the meat industry.

Pet food is frequently the target of recalls (pdf). Between 2006 and 2007, 60 million containers of 180 different brands of pet food and treats, produced by 12 different manufacturers, were recalled due to the intentional contamination of wheat gluten and rice protein imported from two Chinese companies. This recall is considered to be the largest in US history.

Taking all of this into consideration, combined with our knowledge of what regularly goes on in factory farms, what options do vegetarians and vegans have if they want happiness and health for their non-human companions, but also want to avoid supporting the meat industry? Meatless alternatives exist for both cats and dogs, but both animals and their specific dietary requirements differ greatly.

Dogs are technically classified as carnivores; however, they do exceedingly well as omnivores too, and there are many examples of dogs living long, healthy lives as vegetarians.

An adult dog needs fats (energy and vitamins), carbohydrates (energy), vitamins, and proteins, all of which should be found in any quality vegetarian pet food. Protein is made up of amino acids, of which there are 23 different kinds (pdf), 13 that a dog can create, 10 which the dog needs added to his/her diet. Milk, fish, soy, eggs, beans, legumes, and nut butters are all adequate sources for many of these proteins.

Dogs can eat a variety of vegetables. However, because of their small digestive tracts, steaming vegetables to soften them, or putting them into a liquid form, makes digestion easier. One study (pdf) showed that textured vegetable protein (“soy meat”) is only slightly less digestible in dogs than beef. Veggies that dogs can eat include: broccoli, carrots, cabbage, cucumber, celery, green beans, kale, squash, and spinach. As for fruits, apples, bananas, and watermelon are a good place to start.

Canned vegetarian dog food can be found at most pet stores. Perhaps surprising, it’s not much more expensive than regular food (I purchased a 13 oz. can for only $2 in NY). Some brands of canned vegetarian dog food may be sufficient on their own for maintaining a dog’s health. Try researching different brands via the internet to find the best product for your dog.

There is perhaps more research into homemade and non-commercial vegetarian/vegan dog food than there is of the commercially-produced kind. For example, CNN reported the story of 4-year-old Cleo, who switched to a vegan diet after her caretaker’s vet recommended it to fight an ear infection. Cleo was fed beans, rice, and sweet potatoes for five months. Afterwards, not only was her ear infection gone, but so was her dandruff and bad breath. She also had a shiner coat. Caretakers of vegetarian dogs shared their experiences in James Peden’s 1999 book, “Vegetarian Cats & Dogs”. The health benefits they reported include decreased ectoparasites (fleas, ticks, lice and mites), improved coat condition, allergy control, weight control, decreased arthritis, improved vitality, improved stool odor, and cataract resolution. A two-year study (pdf) conducted by university researchers in 2002 placed young and aging Beagles on a diet of regular dog food, or a fortified diet consisting of d,l-alpha-tocopherol acetate (vitamin E), l-carnitine, d,l-alpha-lipoic acid, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and 1% inclusions of spinach flakes, tomato pomace, grape pomace, carrot granules, and citrus pulp. The study concluded that such a fortified diet has the potential to drastically reduce cognitive decline in aging animals.

Donna Spector, a veterinary internal medicine specialist who runs SpectorDVM (an animal nutrition consultancy), and six other pet experts who spoke with CNN conceded — some more reluctantly than others — that “most dogs could biologically live on a vegan diet. But doing so requires substantial attention to creating a balanced diet that makes up for the loss of animal protein with substitutions of beans, soy and, to a lesser extent, vegetables and grains.”

Even if one chooses to not make such a dietary change for their companion, at least incorporating more vegetables into meals along with meat and fish can substantially alter their health for the better.

But what about cats?

Cats are obligate carnivores. Because of this, they rely on nutrients typically found in animals: high protein, moderate fat, and minimal carbohydrates. Animal-based proteins also contain taurine, arginine, cysteine, and methionine, all of which are key ingredients for cat nutrition. Lack of taurine can lead a cat to experience heart or respiratory problems, blindness, and even death.

Armaiti May, a certified veterinarian, elaborates on in further detail where research currently stands on cats and vegetarian/vegan food:

“Cats on a vegan diet can develop abnormally alkaline (high pH) urine due to the more alkaline pH of plant based proteins in comparison to the acidic pH of meat-based foods which cats have evolved to eat. When the urine pH becomes too alkaline, there is an increased risk of formation of struvite (also known as magnesium ammonium phosphate) bladder crystals and/or stones. Calcium oxalate stones can also occur, but these do not occur if the urine is too alkaline, but rather if it is too acidic. Such stones can create irritation and infection of the urinary tract and require veterinary treatment. In male cats who form such crystals or stones, they can suffer more severe consequences than simply irritation or infection of the urinary tract because the stones can actually cause an obstruction of the urethra so the cat cannot urinate. This is a life-threatening emergency requiring immediate veterinary care; this involves passing a urinary catheter to relieve the obstruction, placing an indwelling urinary catheter, and starting supportive intravenous fluid therapy, along with appropriate pain management and antibiotics if indicated. These “blocked” cats frequently need to be hospitalized and monitored closely for several days before they can go home and the associated veterinary fees can easily be between $1000-$1200. The sooner a problem is identified and the cat is treated, the better the prognosis for recovery. Some cats who get blocked repeatedly require a highly specialized (and expensive, ~$2000) surgery called a perineal urethrostomy (PU).

Cat guardians who put their cat on a vegan diet should have their veterinarian check the cat’s urine pH 1-2 weeks after switching them to a vegan diet and then once a month for the first several months to ensure the pH remains stable. If the pH is too high, urinary acidifiers may help the urine pH to become more acidic. Urinary acidifiers that may be used include methionine, vitamin C, and sodium bisulfate. James Peden, author of Vegetarian Cats and Dogs states there are natural urinary acidifiers, including asparagus, peas, brown rice, oats, lentils, garbanzos, corn, Brussels sprouts, lamb’s quarters (the herb Chenopodium album, also known as pigweed), most nuts (except almonds and coconut), grains (not millet), and wheat gluten (used in kibble recipes). Once the pH is regulated, the urine pH should be checked at least twice a year. If a cat shows signs of pain or straining while using the litter box, immediate veterinary attention should be sought. It is important to not supplement the cat’s diet with urinary acidifiers unless it is actually needed because a too acidic pH can cause a different kind of stone to form (calcium oxalate stones). While many cats appear to thrive on a vegan diet, there are also anecdotal reports of cats with recurring urinary tract problems, including infections associated with previous urethral obstructions caused by urinary crystals.

For cat guardians who find it too tedious to monitor their cat’s urine pH, they should perhaps consider feeding a non-vegetarian cat food or not keeping a cat as a companion. […]

Many cats are very picky eaters. Although adding vegan mock meats and nutritional yeast to flavor vegan cat food will encourage many cats to eat it, there may be many cats who still refuse to eat, especially if they are sick. Cats who are anorectic for a prolonged period are at high risk for developing hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver syndrome), a serious condition that requires extensive veterinary care. Some cats may require more patience and a gradual transition from a meat-based diet to a vegan diet if they are accustomed to eating a meat-based diet. Most commercial pet foods contain “digest” which consists of partially digested chicken entrails, that makes the food more palatable.”

Caring for a cat through a vegetarian/vegan diet requires a lot of time and work. The possible health implications could also be fatal if carried out improperly.

In an article posted on the ABC News website in 2009, Eric Weisman, CEO of Evolution Diet Pet Food Corp., a manufacturer of vegan cat and dog food, said in an interview that his company has been in business more than 20 years. “We have dogs over 19 years old in good health. We have cats over 22 years in good health. Our food is 100 percent complete according to state requirements. We have all the proteins and all the fatty acids found in meat-based [foods] but without the cruelty and destruction of the environment.”

If you’re skeptical of a vegetarian/vegan diet for your cat, yet remain concerned about the health effects of commercial pet food, there are still options. If you buy canned meat for your cat, try looking for brands without “meat by-products” added. This may be a bit more expensive (depending), but the long-term health benefits should be worth the investment. Cats also like fish, which is good (in moderation) because it contains beneficial fatty acids.

Take note of your companion’s health before any new diet is introduced, and after a few weeks of the new food, check it again to determine the nutritional impact. Make sure to gradually phase out the old food instead of making a sudden change. Both of the former points apply to cat and dog diet modifications.

Vegetarian/vegan diets cannot be considered healthy without exercise. Always have a dish of fresh water available for dogs and cats. Adequate hydration is critical for the maintenance of good overall health.

Some vegetarian dog and cat food companies also produce canned meat pet food, so if your objective has anything to do with a desire to economically starve the meat industry, keep this in mind. Some pet food companies also test their products on animals, another point worth consideration.

Always consult a veterinarian if you are even the slightest bit unsure of anything regarding your companion’s diet. If possible, ask multiple vets to get a more varied opinion.

And lastly, be sure to do your own research. Vegetarian/vegan pet food is relatively new in the market, at least in a commercial sense. But its presence is a sign that a demand exists, which is definitely a good sign. Hopefully, research will continue and more effective brands will be created and released in the future.

Cosmic Calendar for Tuesday, January 24th

It may be difficult to get your bearings on the first day after Mars has turned retrograde. The fact is that Mars isn’t truly retrograding at all; it is virtually motionless and on the verge of reversing direction. The great reality is that when any celestial body is retrograde, it is moving in counterpoint to the motion of the Sun and Moon – which, from our vantage point, always appear to be moving forward in the zodiac. Therefore, Mars becomes somewhat of a maverick, outlaw, rebel or rabble-rouser when viewed from the solar, lunar and earthly perspectives now that it is no longer direct in motion. Thus, acting in an unruly fashion and calling undue attention to yourself are out-of-bounds – unless you are deliberately looking for trouble. Intensity and shock waves are still on center stage because the Sun parallels distant Pluto (1:22AM PST) while Ceres unites with Uranus in Aries (3:08AM PST). The unknown may temporarily be in the catbird seat and circumstances beyond your control are running the show. Hope that you can somehow be an expert problem-solver and strategist when the Moon in Aquarius unites with Pallas (2:03PM PST). Strive for a loving and peaceful interaction with a significant other this evening during the Moon-Venus parallel (8:31PM PST).

Calendar of the Moon for Jan. 24th

Calendar of the Moon

Rowan Tree Moon

Color: Orange-red
Element: Fire
Altar: Upon a cloth of orange-red set a row of red candles, Brigid’s cross, and a bell.
Offerings: Votive candles. Quicken a newborn idea into birth.
Daily Meal: Hot drinks with every meal. Keep food warm.

Luis/Gamelion Invocation

Call: Now is the quickening of the year.
Response: Now is the time of the first movement.
Call: Now the child stirs in the womb.
Response: Now the seed stirs in the earth.
Call: Now the plains flood and our fire is threatened.
Response: Now the cold water drowns our spark.
Call: Now is the time of the hard struggle.
Response: Now is the month of desperation.
Call: Now is the time of desperation to live.
Response: Now is the time of desperation to be born.
Call: We turn in our sleep as the earth turns.
Response: We dream with the sleeping earth.
Call: Each of our dreams is a lit candle in the dark.
Response: Each of our dreams is a single point of hope.
Call: They shine faint and alone in the night of struggle.
Response: They are alone as we are alone.
Call: Yet we are not alone in our dreams.
Response: We are not alone!
Call: We will keep our fires burning.
Response: We will burn against the night!
Call: We will warm our dreams with the force of life.
Response: We will not die alone in the cold!
Call: We will ward off all evil.
Response: Only good shall pass our gates.
Call: We will care for each other.
Response: We will never cease to care!
Call: We will survive the winter.
Response: We will survive!
(Repeat last two lines twice more.)

Protect the flame that warms your dreams
And dreams shall never die.