DEAR DR. FOX: My daughter is expecting her first child in December, and I am concerned as to the impact it may have on her two cats (both 4 years old). They were very, very young kittens she found on the street while living in India. She moved them to Europe with her and then to two different locations in San Francisco, where she has bought a home and is now residing. So the kitties have had serious "travel turmoil" throughout their lives, and the moves were massively stressful for them.
They are settling nicely into her new home and no further upheaval to their lives is planned -- with the exception of bringing this newborn home in December, which greatly concerns me inasmuch as the cats are both very playful and initially stranger shy. Any suggestions as to how she might prepare these guys for this life-changing event? -- G.R.R. Washington, D.C.
DEAR G.R.R.: Your daughter should buy a baby doll that cries and get the two cats used to seeing her hold the swaddled doll, pretending to nurse and hearing it cry. Let them sniff the doll and become habituated to the routine that she will adopt with her new baby. Your daughter's hormonal state affects her body odor (pheromones), which may have some effect on the cats. She should stick to the daily feeding, grooming and play routines with the cats when the baby comes into the home. Let them see and smell the baby up close. They may be afraid initially, but they should quickly habituate. They should be given extra TLC and reassurance. Someone else in the home should clean out the litter box during the pregnancy for health reasons. Have you daughter check with a pediatrician about possibly putting a net over the crib. Cats may want to sleep with the baby, and may see flailing arms and legs as an invitation to play and accidentally scratch the babe. Close proximity, and later, physical contact when the baby is older, should be monitored at all times until the infant learns not to grab and pull. Exposure to the cats should help boost the infant's immune system, and at a later age, appreciation for their sublime and playful presence.
DEAR DR. FOX: I read your recent column concerning the near complete absence of insects of all varieties, and I would like to share some of my insights and thoughts on the matter with you. Over the last few years, I noticed an activity overhead with ever-increasing frequency. High-flying aircraft, seemingly military, C-130 types I think, spraying directly from their wings, causing a dispersion of aerosol matter, crisscrossing the sky from horizon to horizon. I found many others out in the world were watching and investigating this same thing, with these results. The material is aluminum in a solution, mixed with other toxic metals, and with a substance size at micro levels, possibly nano-size, reported to pass the blood barrier with inhalation. Aluminum is a known destroyer of brain function and thought process. Medical evaluations from many years have published papers on the use of this most common metal in the Earth's crust and its toxic effects.
A recent paper published by biologists at the University of Keele and the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom on the huge loss of bees found levels of aluminum in bee pupae that "might be considered as pathological with possible contributions toward neuro-degenerative disease, including Alzheimer's." Simply said, the bees have Alzheimer's and cannot function as bees.
"Aluminum Toxicity" by C.A. Shaw and L. Tomljenovic from the University of British Columbia is an exhaustive study detailing the problem with aluminum on human systems. There is much more out there on this subject. -- T.P., Arnold, Missouri
DEAR T.P.: I appreciate your letter regarding possible factors in the "near complete absence of insects" that we are witness to today; this comes along with the decline of insectivorous birds, reptiles and amphibians. While the deliberate discharging of potentially toxic chemicals -- including aluminum -- in the exhaust vapors of high-altitude jet planes ("chemtrails") is being dismissed as yet another conspiracy theory, there is clear evidence of agricultural pesticides being present in rainwater. This, I believe, is a major factor in insect declines, along with loss of plant diversity.
Certainly, aluminum has been shown to harm the nervous systems of bees and may affect our own brains. So we should avoid using aluminum cooking utensils, toiletries, medications and supplements, such as antacids. Municipal waste incinerators may be a major source of aluminum and other airborne toxins. Aluminum (and mercury) is widely used as an adjuvant in vaccines and is being questioned by many health experts, especially in the genesis of autoimmune diseases.
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