NORMAN — Dear Dr. Fox: Today’s Palm Beach Post has an article about a study of the effects of mixing chlorine with pee in pools.
As it turns out, many people urinate in pools. Apparently, the combination of uric acid and chlorine causes a chemical reaction. The dangerous gas cyanogen chloride is the result, which can harm the central nervous system, heart and lungs.
I thought of cat and dog owners who clean up accidents and litter boxes with bleach. I use white vinegar to clean up after my cats and used club soda as the immediate cleaner after my dogs’ accidents. Perhaps you could give a warning to all your readers.
— B.C., Palm Beach, Fla.
Dear B.C.: I never suggest using bleach to clean things around the house, and especially for disinfecting various dog and cat urine and fecal deposits in and around the home.
This fairly new information about the interaction of urine with chlorine in swimming pools underscores the hazardous nature of chlorine bleach products, which are also implicated in ozone layer destruction and endocrine system disruption. Safer enzyme cleaners, white vinegar and baking soda should be used in the home. Many people have died from inhaling mixtures of cleaning and disinfecting agents such as bleach with ammonia.
Dear Dr. Fox: I have two 10-year-old Devon rex altered female cats. They were born on the same day, but they are not littermates. They are very different in looks, size and temperament, but they get along well. They have always been very affectionate with us and others. They are indoor-only cats, have no fleas and are fed both wet and dry food.
Several months ago, the usually outgoing tortie began to groom her lower back a lot and would warn you if you tried to touch it. The vet said that many cats do not like to have their lower backs and tail area touched, but she had never minded before. Last week, she actually bit my husband while in her frantic grooming.