Pawsitively Humane

Monday, August 27, 2012

Preventing and Managing Pet Allergies

by Deb Barnes

Our goal at PHI is to increase the number of cats adopted in shelters and to keep them from being brought to shelters in the first place. One of the biggest culprits as to why people don’t adopt cats, or why they bring them to a shelter, is allergies. The good news is, in many instances with perseverance and preventative measures, you CAN co-exist peacefully with a cat in your house and manage those irritating symptoms rather than giving up your cat or deciding not to adopt one altogether.

Allergens are caused by proteins in a cat's saliva, urine, and dander (dried flakes of skin) that become airborne. When a cat washes itself, saliva is deposited on its fur (or skin in the case of hairless cats). The saliva dries into dust (dander) which is released when a cat scratches or moves and when humans stroke or brush a cat. An allergy occurs when the body over-reacts to this substance  and produces excessive amounts of histamine. Excessive histamine production leads to the irritating symptoms associated with cat-allergies - itchy eyes, sneezing, skin rash, etc.  While for some, the symptoms can be severe, for most, the allergies can be controlled.

What is critical to understanding these allergic reactions, is that it is not actually always the cat that is the root cause, as you may first assume.  Outside cats can bring in pollen, mold, and other allergens on their fur or there may actually be airborne house-dust mites, furniture polish, dust from a carpet, mold spores, or pollen and chemicals in the environment that trigger allergies. To avoid re-homing, or worse yet, euthanizing the cat, check that the cat is actually the source of the allergen. It is possible to have a skin test done by an allergist to see whether the cat is the cause of the allergy. Some sufferers are successfully treated for the symptoms with allergy shots or over the counter antihistamine tablets (such as Claritin), nasal sprays or homeopathic remedies.

Many times, the shot or medication will do the trick, but here are some other recommended steps to  reducing or eliminating allergy symptoms:
  1.  Since cleaning the home of dander is the first priority in reducing allergens, the best place to start is the air itself. Strategically placed ionizers and HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) purifying systems can work wonders to keep the air fresh and pure. These units come in a variety of sizes, prices, and styles to suit your needs, budget,  and square footage. 
  2.  Depending on who has the allergy, don’t  let your cat sleep on that bed. Whether it be your bed, a child’s bed, or a guest bedroom when you are having company and the guest is allergic, the best way to avoid an allergy attack is to keep the dander off of your bedding.
  3. In conjunction with above point,  keep cat out of any bedroom where the person is allergic. Provide other comfortable sleeping areas for the cat to nap during the day and bedtime at night.
  4.  If you do allow your cat to sleep on your bed (for some of us cat lovers, it is impossible to say no to them), wash all bedding in 140 degree hot water at least twice monthly. This will eliminate both dust mites and cat allergens and there are actually products available, such as “DeMite,” that you put in with the laundry detergent to kill these harmful particles.
  5.  Keep towels and throw blankets on couches and furniture where the cat might nap so that you can wash the linens frequently, while keeping the furniture protected.
  6. Carpeting is a huge collector of allergens, so vacuum frequently with a  high-grade HEPA  vacuum.  Use the hand tools on the vacuum to get into hard to reach spaces  - cat allergen particles are very small and invasive, so you have to do a thorough job. That includes furniture, throw rugs, drapery, walls, under furniture, and anywhere else you can think of.  
  7. Hardwood and tile floors, especially in corners where cat hair tends to drift, should be swept frequently. If you find during vacuuming and sweeping, that your allergies are being triggered, wear a protective mask to cover your nose while doing these tasks. Damp mopping these surfaces also helps to keep dander under control.
  8. Air conditioning filters catch a large amount of cat hair – clean and replace them frequently.
  9. For extra cleaning, use  a vapor steam cleaner to help kill off the cat danders/proteins. These cleaners have been proven an extremely effective way to provide a chemical-free way of cleaning and killing dust mites, bacteria, mold spores, and cat allergens. 
  10. Wash your hands after petting your cat and avoid rubbing your eyes. Rubbing your eyes can result in itchy eyes for hours and a strong anti-bacterial soap should be used to avoid this problem.
  11. Avoid excessive hugging and snuggling with your cat (this is not an easy task to accomplish at all).
  12. This is also not always easy, but in extreme circumstances, confine your cats to one area of the house so that you can concentrate your air purifier and cleaning efforts.
  13.  Clean your cat. Some people bathe their cats to reduce the amount of dander that is released from their cat into the air, but research seems to be conflicting about its effectiveness and most cats would prefer NOT to be bathed anyhow. Keep in mind as well, that tap water leaves a residue on the cat’s fur, so it would be better advised to rinses your cat with distilled water. As an alternative, Allerpet, a well-known brand of liquid that reduces cat allergens, can be applied to your cat’s coat and is available from your local veterinarian or online at such sites as (click on the banner ad to the right and Amazon makes a small donation to Pawsitively Humane for your purchase). The reviews are fantastic and it is worth a try! You can also try a micro fiber cloth and just damp rub down the cat’s coat to rid it of visible dander.
  14. Use a de-shedding tool like the FURminator to regularly brush and groom your cat. This highly effective tool gets deep into the undercoat of the cat fur and significantly reduces shedding. Groom in a well-ventilated area so that the dust dissipates.
  15. Dust from cleaning litter boxes can trigger allergy attacks. Either find someone else who is not allergic to the cat to do this task, or use a protective nose mask while cleaning the box to reduce the chances of allergens entering your body.
1    ALL cats produce dandruff, though some cats produce less than others. No cat is allergen-free, not even hairless cats, although there are some studies that conclude a few breed of cats are less likely to cause allergies than others.  These breeds would be:
 Rex Cats - they have a very fine, short coat which tends not to hold dander as much as other cats.   
Sphynx Cats – even though they are described as being hairless, they actually do have a very fine down, which almost feels like suede when stroked. Sphynx cats DO produce dander, but if rubbed down frequently, its presence can be minimized.
Siberian Cats -   There has been some evidence that Siberian cats produce relatively little of the Feld1 allergen as compared to other cats. This has not been scientifically proven, but it is believed because of the tight, thick undercoat and oily top coat, that the skin stays well hydrated, thereby reducing dander production and distribution.

One, some, or all of the above methods might be needed to keep your allergies under control. But with time, effort, and experimenting, chances are that you and your cat can co-exist  peacefully together in your home and you can enjoy a long and happy relationship with your cat. Or, now that you know some tips to making your house allergen-free, you can  take that plunge and adopt that cat that you always wanted, but didn’t think you could have, knowing that there are effective ways to manage the symptoms.     

Deborah Barnes resides locally in South Florida with her fiancĂ© and gang of seven cats. She is the author of the book, The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey – A Journey of the Extraordinarily Ordinary, that was inspired by the relationship she shared with her cats and lessons learned from them after a life changing event in 2009. She is also the creator and author of the popular blog, Zee & Zoey’s Chronicle Connection, that not only continues to follow the everyday journey she shares with her cats, but covers topics from the humorous behaviors of cats to very serious subjects on the misconceptions of feral cats and the critical need to create public awareness on pet responsibility. 

Deborah has had cats her whole life, as well as allergies. She is quite happy to say that she rarely has an allergy attack any longer and can enjoy all of her cats with peace of mind!


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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hurricane Pets Rescue needs your help!

We just received this email a couple of hours ago! This organization helps rescue pets after a hurricane but we need to help them PREPARE for the hurricane. If anyone in Miami can install plywood or donate sand bags, they need it now!  If you read this after Isaac passes, please consider donating supplies for the next hurricane or tropical storm. Many thanks! 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Dear members and friends:
Well, is beginning to look a lot like Isaac!
Yes, it is coming our way and we need to be ready.
Our shelter is on a low lying area, therefore it floods.
We found this out after a time of crazy rain, when it rained for a whole week last year, as a result we ended up with quite a few inches of rain water inside the shelter.
Actually it flooded twice, the second time was not long ago.
Since then we were forced to install gutters and we asphalted the floor line where water was coming in.
Having said that, all the weather advisories are calling for flood and gusty winds.
We know that weather people can be a little off at times, regardless we need to be prepare to ensure the safety of the animals.
Better to be safe, than sorry right.
Our funding does not allow us to go out and buy hurricane supplies right now, unfortunately these extra expenses are not in the budget, we  therefore urgently need your help before tomorrow.

So, what is needed:

1- A couple of volunteers to help us board the windows and french doors.
Please note that all of our walls in the back of the shelter are glass, not cool for a hurricane or tropical storm with gusty winds.

2- Donated plywood, preferably the three quarter inch thickness, but any plywood that is in good shape will do.We are not picky and neither are the animals.

3- Sand bags, we need lots of these because of the flood issue.

4- Empty clean plastic containers (the bigger the better) and empty plastic water bottles to store water for cleaning and so forth.

5 - Bottle water, for the animals to drink.

6- Batteries, all sizes.

7- Stand by, temporary foster homes in case we need to move the animals, if things get bad.
Please note that:
If you volunteer to be a disaster relief foster parent, you will be sent a screening application to fill out, please take the time to send it back to us.
If you are already a disaster relief foster parent with HPR, please confirm that you are on stand by and have space to take in in a kitty or 2.

8-Paper plates.

9- Plastic spoons and forks

10- Paper Towels

11- Dry and Wet food.
We feed Kirkland dry food from Costco and Friskies wet NO fish, please.
Please note that Turkey and Giblets has fish in it.

12- Flashlights

13- Monetary contributions.
We have created an Isaac Fund as we may have no other choice but to go out and buy the supplies.
Main reason we might not get items donated as people have to prepare their own homes and time is really a constrain, since this will be hitting us tomorrow.
CLICK HERE to donate via Paypal. (phone: 786-999-8239)

14- Wine and beer for the worker's and volunteers!
JUST KIDDING, in this business you have got to have a sense of humor or else you loose brain.:)
Like we never have enough to deal with, now Isaac, guess is one of the perks of living in South Florida right!

Anyway, THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts for anything you can do to help, if you are in the path of the storm BE SAFE AND TAKE YOUR PETS WITH YOU WHEREEVER YOU GO.
You will be in our prayers.

I will like to take this opportunity to include the link below in this e-mail:

Please e-mail us @ if you can help with anything in the above list so we can give you the address to where drop of the items off.
Do not call us please because we are not going to be anywhere near the telephone line.
God Bless always and forever.

Celene Albano
HPR Rescue CEO
501c3 Non-Profit.
Tax ID # 42-169-3737
 phone: 786-999-8239


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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

How to Handle a Cat that Scratches or Bites


When a cat starts to immediately scratch or bite the second you pet it, it usually means the cat is overstimulated and/or  has a lot of energy. The biting and scratching  we are referring to is more like rough play, not a sign of attack. 

If the cat is in a shelter and confined to small space or in a home setting and sleeps a lot, the biting and scratching  normally means the cat is lacking exercise and stimulation release and will need some encouragement to initiate the exercise.  Use a toy like a feather or wand with dangling item to play with the cat so it runs around and releases that energy. Once the cat shows signs that he/she is getting tired and starts to relax, then you may attempt to pet it. If the cat still shows signs of hissing or negative behavior, set the toy down,  then walk away. If the cat starts napping a few minutes later, try again. Once the cat allows the petting without biting or scratching, reward the cat with praise in soft pleasant voice. A treat is an excellent idea to reward good behavior. It is recommended to exercise and play with the cat at least twice a day for several minutes especially for young adults to learn good habits early. Repetition and consistency are key to any training. Good luck!

If you have a success story, please share with us and we'll post it here for others to learn. Email us at


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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Our First Giveaway!

Here it is! Our very first giveaway as our way to thank you for supporting our efforts.  In this prize pack are:

Update Aug 20: 

A Natural Balance reusable shopping bag
A Pet Smart eco-friendly reusable shopping bag
A frisbee
A squeaky tennis ball
A measuring cup for pet food
A dispenser for pooper scooper bags
A coupon for free exam at any Banfield vet clinic (for first time clients)
Two blue Natural Balance handkerchiefs
Many pet food coupons ...AND
A handsome, modern, white food and water bowl set!

Will ship this for FREE to any US or Canadian address!

Use it for your dogs or cats or both, or feel free to regift it or repackage to donate to a nonprofit-we won't tell! 

Thank you supporting education efforts to reverse homeless pet population!

Ways to win: Contest ends at midnight August 19. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Sunday, August 12, 2012

100 neglected animals rescued from hoarding home

An extreme case of animal hoarding was uncovered in Hialeah (an area in Miami, FL). Over 100 dogs, cats, birds, a hedge hog, goats, and more were uncovered in this 1,100 square foot home. Both the husband and wife were arrested. The 26 year old son remains in the home after a team of animal welfare organizations rescued the neglected animals.

Thankfully, most of the pets appear socialized which means they will be up for adoption next week after finished veterinary treatment and monitoring. 

Click here to view the video news report on local Channel 10.

Many of these pets are small, cute dogs like Yorkies. Even the cats are friendly and sociable.

We will keep you posted on the upcoming adoption events. Be sure to register your email, follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Want to make a difference in animal welfare? Stay informed! Register your email. We don't bite, scratch or share your email! CLICK HERE.


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Runaway Camel

How often do you find a stray camel? Here's one running down the highway in ....


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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Shop Online & Help Homeless Pets

"I need new shades. Amazon has great selection"

As a nonprofit rescue, you can imagine the vet bills are always piled up and screaming "PAY ME!" 100% of donations go toward the care and medical treatment for rescued pets. But we really don't like asking for money all the time. Most of us are on a budget or have limited income and demanding schedules. So then you wonder, how can you possibly help homeless pets with limited funds and no spare time to volunteer? THERE IS A SOLUTION!  Just by shopping for your regular pet food, pet meds, and your other shopping needs online, a percentage automatically goes to Pawsitively Humane!

For your first time purchase only on Mr. Chewy, they will donate $20 to our Riverfront Cats! As a nonprofit we did our homework and shopped around for the best prices.  Mr. Chewy was equal to or less than places like PetSmart. Even better, we saved money in time and gas by not having to drive to local pet store.  Mr. Chewy offers FREE SHIPPING for orders over $50.  But you have to click on the banner ad to the right on this website. Please share this with other pet owners!

No matter whether you have an indoor or outdoor pet, vitamins and medicines and prevention applications are important for a  healthy pet.  Whether you give your pet daily vitamins, or specific medicine a health condition or need to resupply flea/tick solution, by clicking on PetCareRx to the right and ordering from the site, Pawsitively Humane, Inc. will automatically receive a small percentage for every order! They also offer  free shipping on orders over $49.

Take care of your pet's health with the quality products at

Amazon is the largest online retailer for everything from electronics, to home furnishings, to movies/music and DVDs to beauty and fashion must haves to pet supplies. Anytime you shop on Amazon for ANYTHING YOU NEED, by clicking on our Amazon link to the right and making that purchase, Pawsitively Humane, Inc. automatically receives a small percentage of your purchase every time!

 Remember to click on the links 
on this website to order. 
~ ~ ~
Be sure to bookmark this website.
~ ~ ~
Thank you for shopping here, 
thank you for caring! 

"Thankfully mum and dad left the computer on. Now I can order my favorite treats"


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