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Another Use for Catnip

An oil extracted from catnip appears to be 10 times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than the more commonly used pesticide DEET.

That’s according to scientists led by Iowa State University’s Joel Coats, who discovered an essential oil in catnip called nepatalactone — found abundantly in the plant’s leaves — outperformed DEET at keeping the yellow fever mosquito at bay. They said it only takes about one-tenth as much of the catnip extract as DEET to produce the same repellent effect.

However, whether people ever will rub catnip oil on themselves when they go camping or on a picnic remains to be seen, Coats said.

Don't Forget to Plan for Your Companions

Who would care for your pet if you were suddenly unable to do so yourself?

An even tougher issue to tackle is long-term care for your pet in the event of your death. These aren’t questions anyone wants to think about, but avoiding them could have devastating consequences for the family pet.

To help pet owners make contingency plans for the care of their pets should the unexpected occur, The HSUS is offering a free kit containing materials to help plan for a variety of emergency situations. Included in the kit are a Wallet Alert Card, forms to give to potential emergency caregivers in case of your absence, a static-cling window decal alerting emergency personnel to the presence of animals inside your residence, and a fact sheet on “Planning for Your Pet’s Future without You.”

Get your free kit today (limit one per household) by calling the HSUS at (202) 452-1100, or by sending an email message to

ASPCA/APCC's Five Commandments of Pet Poison Prevention


Accidents happen–and despite your best efforts, your animal companion can come into contact with a potentially poisonous substance. Are you prepared in case of emergency? Dr. Jill A. Richardson of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) offers sage advice that could save your pet’s life:

  • Maintain your animal’s overall health with regular visits to your local veterinarian. Make sure you know his or her procedures for emergencies. And keep the telephone numbers of your veterinarian, a local emergency vet service and the APCC in a convenient location, easily accessible by all members of the household.
  • Put together a pet safety kit. Richardson suggests including the following items:
    • can of soft pet food
    • turkey baster, bulb syringe or large medicine syringe
    • saline eye solution for flushing out eye contaminants and artificial tear gel for lubricating eyes
    • mild grease-cutting dishwashing liquid and rubber gloves for bathing
    • forceps to remove stingers
    • muzzle to keep animal from hurting you while he is excited or in pain
    • pet carrier for trips to your local vet

If you suspect that your pet has been exposed to a poison, don’t panic!  “Rapid response is important,” says Richardson, “but panicking generally interferes with the process of helping your animal.”

For round-the-clock emergency assistance, call the APCC’s hotline at 1-888-4ANI-HELP. Be ready to provide your name, address and phone number; information concerning the poison your pet was exposed to, such as the amount ingested, if known, and the time since exposure; your pet’s species, breed, age, sex and weight; and the problems your pet is experiencing.

However, if your pet is seizuring, unconscious or losing consciousness, or having difficulty breathing, contact your veterinarian immediately. Most vets are familiar with the APCC’s consulting services; depending on the situation, your vet may want to contact the APCC personally while you bring your pet to the animal hospital. Do not attempt any therapy without contacting the APCC or your vet.

Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, the APCC’s veterinarians are on call to quickly answer your questions about toxic chemicals, dangerous plants and substances commonly found in our homes or the environment that can be poisonous to animals. For more information, visit

Common-Cents: Cautions for Pet Owners

The following is copied from an ASPCA News Alert. Please read, especially if you tend to leave loose change around your home or apartment. As many people tend to do this, it’s also something I think potential adopters should be warned about.

Humans aren’t the only species with money troubles–did you know that pennies can be hazardous to your animal companion’s health? One-cent coins minted after 1982 are made of copper plating around a core of potentially toxic zinc, which can cause kidney failure and damage red blood cells.

And, reports the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), zinc poisoning in pets can occur with the ingestion of a single penny.

In one such case, a dog had been vomiting for 3 days and was suffering from anemia and elevated kidney values when his regular veterinarian called the APCC for help. His owner had no idea if he’d eaten anything out of the ordinary, but the APCC suspected zinc toxicosis. Sure enough, x-rays revealed a metallic object in the stomach. Unfortunately, the penny had corroded and was embedded in the dog’s stomach lining–and surgery was the only way to remove it. Reports APCC’s Jill A. Richardson, DVM, “He recovered slowly, but totally, about ten days later. And now the owner is very cautious about dropping pennies in the house!”

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