See this cat?
This is my cat. Her name is Rosie.
Look at that face. It will not be denied.
Rosie is the sweetest, roundest, gentlest, cuddliest, cartooniest kitty; the living embodiment of those old instructional pictures on “how to draw a cat using only circles”. I’m under her paw, just as any true cat servant should be.
Rosie is a simple cat of very small ambitions, but I believe in only the finest organic this, fresh that, grain-free everything for her. (You know cats are obligate carnivores, right?)
I bet you’re wondering why the everliving fuck I’m writing about this on a blog devoted to skin stuff.
I’m gluten-free, I have to be. I don’t eat gluten, I don’t put gluteny products on my skin. Gluten is not my friend. Gluten makes my skin go crazy, it gives me a rash that is so gnarly it’s called “dermatitis herpetiformis“. Picture something called “herpetiformis.” Trust me, it’s gross. Follow the link, if you dare. Gluten gives me pimples, weird eruptions on my scalp, and bizarre itchy patches on my hipbones. Basically, gluten is why my teen years were full of humiliations like cystic acne and dandruff. No wonder I became obsessed with makeup and skin products.
What does that have to do with this adorable furball?
Years ago, as I was making better health choices for myself, I also made changes for my pets. As my choices evolved, so did everything for the critters. Actually, it was the birds that did it for me. Would I have ever started down this rabbit hole if I hadn’t owned birds? Because of the birds, I changed everything about how I cleaned my house*. Household maintenance led to awareness about how I was feeding my skin from inside and out. Well, obviously that segued into what the cats and hedgehog were eating and drinking.
Naturally, changing the kitty litter from clumping clay to something safer was the next step.
I went with the wheat kind.
The thing is, I wasn’t yet aware of my gluten problem. I mean, I knew that something was giving my skin fits, I just hadn’t figured out it was gluten yet.
Picture me a couple months ago in the pet store buying kitty litter. I’ve been consciously gluten-free for five years. I start to pick up the usual bag of litter I’ve bought for maybe 8 years. Suddenly a word on the label catches my eye. Oh no! Sweet mother of pearl! For fuck’s sake, it’s made out of wheat! Damnit! For five years I’ve banned gluten from my home, only to poison myself every damn time I’ve scooped the kitty litter. Well, that sure explains some things.
Anyway, Rosie’s on the walnut litter now, and I’ve learned a valuable lesson: shopping on automatic pilot is a bad idea.
Let my folly be a lesson to you. If you are having some skin/health issue (they’re the same thing), and you think you’re doing absolutely every possible thing to remedy the issue, think again. Examine everything. Read labels. Look in odd and unexpected places, your solution could be off the wall and unexpected.
Yeah, I know she’s fat, I also know it’s not good for her. She is on a reduction diet, and she probably eats more healthfully than you do, so keep your fat cat comments to yourself. Rosie is very sensitive, and she doesn’t appreciate your fat shaming.
PS There are other alternatives to clay litter out there like the corn-based litters that have become very popular. Just be aware that if you are sensitive to gluten, you may have cross-reactivity to corn and other grains. Cross reactions are not uncommon, so be careful out there.
*There’s a good reason for that canary in the coal mine.