Saturday, March 1, 2014

Toxoplasmosis: Don't give up your cat!


In the many years I've worked in rescue, I have encountered people giving up their cats, or being told by their doctors to do so, due to toxoplasmosis risk. It's unfortunate since not only is this unnecessary according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), it's not even the most common way to contract the disease.

Oddly, while it seems everyone thinks of cats when they think of toxoplasmosis, the far more likely culprit is handling raw or undercooked meat, since meats are very likely fecally contaminated. The CDC classifies toxoplasmosis as a food borne illness, not a zoonosis (a disease that can be transmitted directly from non-human-animal to human). Fully cooked to the recommended temperature, the fecal bacteria in meat is rendered inactive, but pregnant women and the immunocompromised should never handle raw or undercooked meat.  I get annoyed that doctors tell people to dump their beloved pets (even strictly indoor cats who are very unlikely to be carriers), yet don't tell them to have someone else cook any meat for them (or not to eat meat at all), since that's actually a far a bigger concern. 

 Gardening is another way that humans can contract Toxoplasmosis. Wildlife feces is prominent in soil, and the CDC cites this as another risk factor, yet I haven't heard of a rush of pregnant women being told to fear their gardens the way doctors tell them to freak out about their cats. 

Toxoplasmosis is a relatively minor infection provided you aren't pregnant or immune compromised, but if you are, it can cause serious illness. You have to actually ingest infected feces to get it, and so does your cat, so you can help prevent exposure by keeping cats indoors so they don't eat wildlife and their feces-filled innards. Another way to avoid it? Clean the litterbox daily since the Toxoplasmosis parasite does not become active and transmissible for 24 hrs to 5 days after being shed. It doesn't hurt to wear gloves and a mask, and use basic sanitation skills when scooping the litterbox, and ideally, if you are in the high-risk group and want to be super duper absolutely careful (and why not?) you can have someone else scoop the box.

I think doctors get overexcited sometimes about things pets can transmit, despite those diseases being extremely few compared to what humans transmit to each other. They also seem more worried about what you can get from the living animals on our sofas, than the dead ones in the kitchen. You're *far* more likely to become extremely ill from exposure to food borne illness, your toddler or small child, his friends, and your co-workers, than get sick from anything our pets are likely to carry, particularly when our pets are kept healthy, vetted, vaccinated, clean and indoors. 

It seems people are much more likely to believe that their pets are dangerous to their health than any of the things that *really* risky in our surroundings. I suppose it's because people still, sadly, see pets as disposable, making it easy believe we can get rid of the risk by getting rid of the pet. I'd love to see the concept of disposable, "give-away" pets come to an end. It would make rescue so much easier and allow shelters to cut their "euthanasia" rates dramatically.

 In the mean time, when you hear someone spreading the idea that cats are dirty animals that need to be tossed aside out of fear of Toxoplasmosis, please set them straight. Send them to the CDC website, and make sure they know they shouldn't fear their feline.

Monday, January 6, 2014

A Cherry On Top

A Cherry on Top, or ACOT, is the online scrapbooking supply store who hosts the message board where I've been hanging out lately. It's a fun group of people, with lots of challenges, and this weekend they hosted a special event in anticipation of CHA, the Craft and Hobby Association convention where all the new releases for spring.

So...here's my first challenge entry, making a birthday card. Not overly complicated, but I love that funny little egg-headed kitty and the teensy hearts by the "happy birthday" message.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Gift Basket Reveal for A New Leash on Life

I get a lot of requests from animal rescue and advocacy groups for donations from my shop and while I don't have time to make things for them all, I do my best to be able to help as many groups' requests as I possibly can. So, when I was contacted by the fabulous people at A New Leash On Life rescue, I got to work. There are actually several groups with that same name, but this is the one in northeast Ohio. Click here to give their webpage a look.

Here's a look at some of the cards included in the basket. I wanted to include something that would help spread the rescue message and I think these came out really cute. Moonlight Journey is the producer of the collage sheet featuring the kitty cone images that got my creativity jump started, and the cats you see are actual shelter kitties.Then I added all sorts of papers, ribbons, fussy cut bits, chipboard, itty bitty sticky letters, veneers, punches, and more. Check out that beautiful coral lace on the top right card. It's even prettier in person.

Here's the other set of cards. Super sparkly with lots of bright details. I love that argyle one and the little bird with the word bubble in the upper left corner. Cuteness!

Cards are fun, but I felt the basket needed something more to mix things up, so here's the bookmark I made. It's a little hard to see all the details, like the itty bitty kitten punches, below. Those kinds of things are what make it all so much fun. The kitty veneers are pretty darn cool additions, too!
So, how can you make this basket yours and have all of the proceeds go to A New Leash on Life? The auction will be on their Facebook page, plus you can have fun reading more about the animals they're helping. Don't miss it!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October's Charity of the Month: Alley Cat Allies



Am I cheating today? Meh, a little. I was going to do a posting here about this month's Etsy for Animals Charity of the Month, the charity that will be receiving at minimum of 10% of my proceeds from the sales in my shop in the month of October. That's just the bare minimum donation, though, since there are plenty of items in my shop that are designated as 100% donation items. All of the proceeds from those items will go to help out the Charity of the Month, so the donations add up quickly when these items sell.




So I was going to post that a few months ago I nominated Alley Cat Allies because of the outstanding work they do for stray and feral cats. I was also going to mention that I'm super psyched that they have been selected this month because October 16 is Feral Cat Day. Stay tuned regarding that part. I'm mulling over a few ideas that I'm hoping might get my teammates interested in helping out with our own little event that day for our team.


I had planned to write all kinds of things about how Alley Cat Allies works and so on, but here's the cheating part: I already wrote all those things in a blog post for the Etsy for Animals' site. Instead of repeating the whole thing, here's think link to the post I wrote. Happy reading!
http://etsyforanimals.blogspot.com/2013/10/octobers-cotm-is-alley-cat-allies-by.html

Please come give my shop a look and do some shopping to help out the needs of feral kitties. And check out the other shops on my team. They will be hosting their own donation programs, benefitting Alley Cat Allies, too, so don't hesitate to visit their shops, too. Now's the time to get your holiday shopping going!


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Ferrets and Greyhounds and Cute Halloween Cards

Hand Watercolored Halloween Kitten, Bunny, and Ferret Cards, Set Currently Available at Scrappy Rat Designs!

Ferrets are great little critters, but like any pet sold in our country, a whole lot of them are ending up in shelters and rescues. The rescue I foster for is always replete with these little fuzzies, or just about to be inundated. If you are considering adding a ferret to your family, please choose rescue, and if you're in the NC triangle area, check out Carolina Pet Rescue's ferrets:
 http://www.cpr-nc.org/component/petfinderconnect/type/Ferret
and don't forget your own local shelter. Ferrets are left behind there all the time. 

Anyway, it's one of my teammates over at the All Pets All the Time Etsy team that got me going on the subject of ferrets today. She has started a petition to ask the state of California to reverse the ban on ferrets.
The ban is based on bad science, and rescues need all the adopters they can get. What rescued ferrets don't need is for people moving to California to leave their ferrets behind due to a ban that just doesn't make sense. Please visit the petition. I hope you'll choose to sign, too!
http://www.change.org/petitions/governor-jerry-brown-of-california-legalize-ferrets-once-and-for-all-in-california

 Ferret Fantasy, Made-to-Order, Set of 5 Cards and Envelopes. Request yours today!

Need a bit more information on the issue before you sign? Read more about the science and studies that support an end to the ban here: http://www.netnewspublisher.com/past-time-to-legalize-ferrets-in-california-says-legalizeferrets-org/

One more important note today! Only one day left to shop to benefit the Etsy for Animals Charity of the Month, Grey2K! I love this organization for the hard work and devotion they put into ending the horrors of the greyhound racing industry. Greyhounds are loving companions who want nothing more than what other dogs are given--a loving human, daily playtime, a comfy couch to cuddle on, and to be a true member of the family. Racing greyhounds aren't so lucky. They spend most of their time in little cages, alone, treated like little more than a money-making tool to be thrown away as soon as their ability to bring in cash wanes. Not all of these animals make it into rescue, and even when they do, they're entering an already strained rescue system that can't handle the number of animals coming into shelters alone, let alone these dogs used and disposed of as a byproduct of the racing industry. Grey2K is working to stem the flow of homeless greyhounds by cutting off the source--closing down the industry that treats these dogs like disposable objects.
Greyhound Halloween, Request your Made-to-Order Set NOW to get them in time! 10% goes to Grey2K if you order now.

Grey2K is a group I support regularly. All of the proceeds from the sale of my handmade greyhound rescue advocacy pins goes to Grey2K, no matter what the month. They're an organization that gives back so much for just a little support. I'm so glad EFA chose to have them as our Charity of the Month, and that my teammates stood up to the racing industry bullies who targeted our little group of artists. Sometimes, when you stand up for animals, you aren't popular with the people who make money off of the suffering of these magnificent dogs. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Keeping You Posted on Scrappy Rat Designs

Greetings to my new viewers (er...readers) who are visiting via my Etsy shop, Scrappy Rat Designs. I've started giving out my blog address to my shoppers and clients so they can keep up with what's going on behind the scenes. It's also a way for those of you who have placed special orders to keep up with progress, as well as seeing what I'm working on for rescue. So, tune in. I think we'll have some fun.

So, I was out of town for about a week, which yes, is why I'm still behind on updating my shop listings. Anyway, while I was gone, apparently someone decided to do a bit of redecorating to make our guestroom a little brighter, and our curb appeal, oh so much classier:


So, who was it who thought they'd surprise us Trading Spaces-style? May I introduce you to my foster rats, Mongo (in the front) and Jerry, peeking from behind. If it weren't for those sweet curly whiskers, I might actually be able to stay mad at them. (Note that Mongo is *standing* on a hunk of my curtains in the photo. Rats have no shame. Though I suppose you'd better not have any shame when you're a naked hairless rat, come to think of it.)

Well, it is my own fault, after all. I did *abandon* them with nothing but a fantastic pet sitter and a slew of new treats so they could have a little yummy each day. Maybe I can blame my husband, Scott, since he picked up the wrong kind of rat food that's rather icky, too late to get more before we had to leave. As an added bonus, Scott's a lot more likely to replace the curtains for me than these little guys are.

So, be a little patient with me as I recover, physically, from my trip. I'm doing my best to shake the spine pain that's doing its best to keep me from getting my work done. The last 3 days have been particularly rough. I'm trying to get your orders completed, and completed in a way I hope you'll really be excited about when you get them. Progress reports will be upcoming.

One last note, though I imagine showing the damage they've done to my home probably isn't the best way to generate interest in my foster ratties, they are some pretty darn wonderful boys. They're neutered, they're less than 6 months old, they're hairless with those curly rex whiskers, plus they're patient, playful, and sweet. Want to learn more? Visit the rescue I foster for: http://www.cpr-nc.org 
These boys would love a forever home!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Check out those calves!

How about this little baby calf for a dose of total sweetness? There's simply nothing about this little guy that isn't squeal worthy. He's my entry in the "monochrome challenge" at A Day for Daisies, the digi stamp company that created him. I think the pink upon pink upon pink upon pink (that last one's for the bit of pink twinkling twine tied around the card's spine) made a really cool effect, and the green base makes that eensie weensie bit of clover pop.

If you still drink animal's milk, think about this little guy before you purchase your next quart. The mothers cry all night long when the farmers take their calves away while still in infancy. They can't have milk "wasted" on the babies when they can sell it to humans. The calves are either designated for the same fate as their mothers, destined for the "rape rack" as soon as they are old enough to become pregnant, or they are crated for veal, fed a nutrient-deficient diet to induce anemia for a light-colored flesh that fetches a higher price. They're denied hay and grass without which they suffer terrible digestive pain and diarrhea. It's not pretty. Soy milk, rice milk and almond milk don't suffer.

Well, enough PSA today. :) I've got work to do to fill an order for some pet sympathy cards and a collage display or two. Have a great week!