I’ve Moved On and Adopted a Cat

I never posted this, because I’m trying to protect my privacy. However, reading back over some of my posts, it’s clear that I never said here that I was able to move out of the subsidized housing system, and into a place of my own. Yipee!  Things are better.

I adopted a cat, too! She was at the shelter for two years.

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Meow.  Thanks for reading.

Pet Insurance and Some of My Story (It Gets Emotional)

I’ve been considering pet insurance when I adopt.  Yes, it’s true.  I find myself currently catless.  I want to be in the position to take care of any emergencies when they arise. And they shall arise. Right now I am not in that position.

I’m doing my research, however. I’ve come across various pros and cons.  One of the biggest pros is that it seems that most insurance plans will reimburse you for most visits and costly treatments and procedures.  Here’s a comparison of some plans. Scroll down and look at the left sidebar – it lists a number of pet insurance companies.

This is an interesting perspective from a veterinarian.  Anecdotally, I’ve heard from a trained vet tech that pet insurance is a scam (taken from a Facebook pet group discussion), and I’ve also heard that it made a costly procedure possible for a fur buddy’s human (taken from the same Facebook thread).

From what I’ve read, it does seem that one must come up with the payment to the vet up front, and then submit the claim for reimbursement.  For someone with, say, a huge student loan debt, or someone whose credit has been damaged by a large medical bill, coming up with the up-front payment could pose a problem. Personally, I’ve been lucky enough to find some very special vets (including Dr. Fabiano in Brooklyn) who were willing to work with me financially.  But I defaulted on student loans long ago, and have never qualified for a credit card, including, unfortunately, the pet credit card.

Looking forward, however, and being a little older and wiser, I would much, much rather be able to pay the bill without having to worry about it too much.  Of course, I’ve always made sacrifices for the cats who’ve found their ways into my life, and I always will.  It just seems safer and less stressful to have some money socked away for ERs.

Me, I’m covered.  I qualify for Medicaid, and it feels like a huge luxury.  That is something that makes me really sad about the US: that good, affordable treatment is a luxury.  We’re talking cats, though, and they don’t qualify for free public health insurance just by being homeless or low-income.

I have come across some resources that are worth looking into (the article’s title says “…for dogs,” but it includes information regarding cats, too).  This organization, Alleycats.org, has links for everything from pet food from food banks, to financial help for emergency care.  It’s a very good compilation of resources.  Me, personally, I had success setting up a gofundme.com page for my IMG_0679 16-year-old’s treatment in 2013. Ultimately, the vet and I decided that she was really suffering, and that putting her through a painful, protracted treatment that had potentially poor odds wasn’t worth it.  It tore me apart.  RIP, little one.  The generosity of strangers amazed me, though, I have to say.  Coming from a well-to-do, but unbelievably cruel family and background, I could hardly believe peoples’ kindnesses.  Incredible.

I think my kitty’s death, 2 years ago, and my desperate race to keep up with my rent and food and her care after finding myself jobless, prompted some profound introspection.  I’ll share this with you, readers:  I recently moved into housing after a year and a half of living in the NYC shelter system.  I’ve got a nice little subsidized apartment that comes with a lot of hoops to jump through, and lacks a certain amount of privacy and dignity. But I’m here.  I think Manchitas (“Munch”) – up there in the photo – was with me the whole time.  I lost her just weeks before I had to leave my apartment.  I miss her every day.  I don’t ever want to find myself struggling to pay cat health care again.  So, even though it’s painful to wait, I’m waiting til I’m in a good  place financially to adopt.  I’m waiting to find that place that feels like home, too.  This place does not.

To the future, and to cats, dogs, bunnies, horses, gerbils, guinea pigs, and all the companions who make our lives better.  And to Munch and Seamus before her, who look out for me every day.

Take care, readers.

The Benefits of Essential Oils

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“Essential oils are extracted from certain varieties of trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses and flowers.”  (Worwood, Valerie Ann. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. Novato:  New World Library, 1991. Print.)

They are produced using steam distillation, carbon dioxide extraction, cold press extraction, or by using solvents.

My hands down favorite is the hard working lavender oil.  It contains anti-microbial properties, making it a natural partner to cleaning solutions.  I use it for calming myself, and in perfumes and room/body sprays, even on my toothbrush (yeah, I do).  I put a few drops on a votive candle to scent and create atmosphere in a room.  It repels insects, so I sprinkle droplets in the corners of kitchen countertops, and in places where ants or cockroaches enter.  It’s a workhorse that smells pretty.  (Worwood, Valerie Ann. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. pp. 52-54; pp. 19-20. Novato:  New World Library, 1991. Print.)

Tea tree oil contains naturally occurring antifungal properties.  (Worwood, Valerie Ann. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. p. 20. Novato:  New World Library, 1991. Print.)  I frequently use it in conjunction with lavender for cleaning, and applying to superficial wounds and burns. <<<Be very careful about applying any essential oil directly to your skin before you know how your system will react to it.>>>   This cannot be overstated.  If the scent repels you, then listen to your body.  Everyone’s chemistry is different.

For example, I found a Red Thyme oil from Aura Cacia (great company – a coop) on sale, and decided to self-treat my itchy toes with it.  Within minutes of putting on my shoes and heading to my massage job, my feet were burning up.  I had to turn back around, Road Runner style, and wash it off.  Tea tree, however, worked just great for me.

As a matter of fact, I made a solution of hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil, lavender oil and white distilled vinegar (all products I use regularly in cleaning and personal care) to treat my foot fungus.  Sorry for the TMI, but it was effective when I applied it to the toes of white cotton socks and wore them for an hour or so each day.  Jojoba oil, by the way, also acts as a natural antifungal, as well as being a good carrier oil with which to dilute essential oils before application.

As a flea and tick repellent for my cat, I soaked a collar in a mixture of garlic oil, thyme, lavender, cedarwood, and citronella in alcohol.  (Worwood, Valerie Ann. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. p. 361. Novato:  New World Library, 1991. Print.)  The collar worked well during Texas winters when the flea population dwindled by about half.  (I preferred to keep her inside, but she wouldn’t stop with the meowing –  hours on end  –  and I think she wanted her space.  Oy.  A cat’s gotta do what a cat’s gotta do).

This seems like a good time to say “Be careful using essential oils with animal care!”  I took the flea collar recipe from Ms. Worwood, cited above, and therefore felt confident using it.  However, while I do experiment frequently on myself, I would never do the same with any fur buddy.

Start Making Your Holiday Plans!

IMG_0675Good morning! I know, it’s 96 degrees out and it’s not even close to Halloween. Yet you might be thinking about whether or not you’ll be going away for Thanksgiving, the High Holy Days, or the winter holidays. I bet you’d love to take your critter(s) with you. However, if that’s out of the question, katclean is here!

I provide overnight cat care, once or twice-daily visits, and even day-long visits! Where else will you find that?

I clean the litter box. I wash and freshen the water bowl during each visit. I feed according to your instructions. I snuggle and play. I give cats their space, if that’s what they prefer. I also arrange pre-visits so I can hang with your little one(s) while you’re there, and get them comfortable with me.

I understand tight budgets: I can tailor the visiting schedule according to your needs. If your buddy likes the time alone – hey, I get it. I can stop by once a day for 15-30 minutes and charge you accordingly. Rates typically start at $25 per 1-hour visit. However, if that is out of your reach, please do not hesitate to contact me. We can work something out. I’m very amenable to bartering. My aim is to serve animals and animal-lovers, period.

Don’t worry! I provide references. Have your holiday stress eased a little by knowing that someone who truly cares is caring for your loved one.

Now traffic – I can’t do anything about that. Sorry. Meow.

A la carte, darlings

Did you know that I offer a la carte services like cleaning only a bathroom, or only a stove, or coming over once a day to scoop litter?

work it out, girl.  stretch them paws

work it out, girl. stretch them paws

Get in touch and we’ll talk about your specific needs. Relax. I gots your back.

Welcome to katclean!

Hello!  How are you?  I provide loving cat care and non-toxic cleaning.  Please read about my cat experience here: https://katclean.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/how-i-sit-on-cats/

And please read about my green cleaning services here: http://wp.me/P6y25Z-1

Take care!

Edit: How I Sit on Cats (Originally Published August 7, 2015)

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So, I graduated from a lovely little massage school in Wisconsin.  There are all different kinds of schools and bodyworkers.

At my school, we practiced a lot of energy work.  We talked about honing our intuitions in service of ourselves and our clients and healing the world.  I used some of it, and rejected some of it.  What I loved was when we talked about intuiting what our be-furred loved ones were communicating to us.

Unconventional, a little too much at times…for sure.  Yet, I actually did start communicating more effectively with my kitty cat.  Turns out she wasn’t too happy with me at the time.  So, I started a long path of transformation.

It turns out that our fur buddies have a lot to tell us.  And that they are really good at assisting us in our transformative experiences – guiding us, even.

I lost my little baby bear when she was 16, just two weeks before I became homeless.  I veered through an exhausting and bewildering path in the NYC shelter system, but ended up in a (mostly) liveable apartment. (It’s New York – this is what we expect, even when it’s not so great.  Different topic for a different day).  Point is, I think my kitty was guiding me the whole time.  You may find it hokey, but it’s how I see it.

So, I believe I have this gift for reading cats and people.  Cat care involves people care.  I take care of your cat.  I take care of you.  I take care of your home.

Edit,  January 31, 2017:

This was my ideal.  This was how I could package myself, I thought.  Now I think I can’t work in service, care or hospitality.  It got to be too much for me.  I just have to move on.  Ok.  Thanks.