DEAR READERS: If you have a cat and want to follow my advice to keep him/her indoors for health and safety reasons and to protect wildlife, you will also want to provide an enriching, physically and mentally stimulating environment. Consider the following elements: A tall and sturdy scratch post is a must, along with a cat tower or elevated platform in the home and a bird feeder by the window.
Adopt an easygoing second cat (see how to introduce them on my website: drfoxonehealth.com/post/introducing-a-new-cat). If you do not yet have a cat and are wanting to get one, consider adopting two, such as littermates or a mother and kitten. Do some research and get creative setting up an outdoor enclosure or "catio." For ideas, visit these websites: catiospaces.com, catioworld.com and adventurecats.org.
DEAR DR. FOX: I enjoyed your article about our fate and the fate of the insects. Check out the website geoengineeringwatch.org, because I think that is also one of the big harms to insects and other creatures.
I have a garden and pond, and I see very few bees. I have almost no frogs, dragonflies or other insects, and there used to be plenty. -- M.G., Anderson, California
DEAR M.G.: Thanks for sending me the information about atmospheric geoengineering in response to my column about the plight of insects.
Humans have been "geoengineering" since the beginning of agriculture with irrigation, plowing the grasslands and felling forests with ever increasing expansion and harm.
I have mentioned this issue of atmospheric geoengineering in earlier columns. I share the concerns of many over the lack of transparency by the agencies spreading various particulate materials, including aluminum, in the upper atmosphere to "shade" the Earth and slow global warming. This could reduce our exposure to beneficial sun rays that boost our immune systems with vitamin D and also kill viruses and other potentially harmful microorganisms on exposed surfaces. Ultraviolet light is recognized as an excellent sterilant. This practice may also reduce crop yields.
Some aerial spraying at much lower altitudes is used to spread pesticides over various crops, and the documented "drift" onto private property and organic farms is a continuing concern.
I am also concerned that this atmospheric geoengineering, which some technophiles like Bill Gates are advocating and funding, could harm the atmospheric microbiome of bacteria and viruses that encircles the Earth, about which we know little. This microbiome could have ecological and potentially life-sustaining and renewing properties.
ANIMAL-ASSISTED THERAPY HAS DEEP ROOTS
Both Sigmund Freud and child psychologist Boris Levinson saw the benefits of bringing their dogs to psychotherapy sessions to calm and build rapport with patients. Samuel and Elizabeth Corson published research on how dogs can enhance psychiatric care. Even Hippocrates promoted horseback riding for mental health. The benefits of therapy assisted by dogs, horses and other animals are now widely accepted. "It is interesting to note that (animal-assisted therapy) can be used multiculturally without the need to adjust how it is applied to different ethnic groups," writes counselor Cody Zaiontz. (Full story: Psychiatric Times, Oct. 12)
I knew the Corsons and consulted with them many years ago, publishing Levinson's review "Interpersonal Relationships Between Pets and Human Beings" in my 1968 book "Abnormal Behavior in Animals." This collection of articles by several experts helped establish recognition and treatment of emotional/behavioral problems in animals and documented their benefits to us along with the ethical obligation of humane treatment and duty to care.
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