My Corner of the World

My Corner of the World -

Information At Last

I had a phone conversation with the owner of Regionex. He was very nice and was sorry to hear about my cat dying. He had never heard of
a cat dying from boric acid before but after talking about the nature of cats being clean and grooming themselves often, the powder on
my balcony floor, he could understand why I would link her death to it. He also mentioned the possibility of her being stung since the
wasps (or bees whichever) would have been in an agitated state and her possibly having an allergic reaction to the venom in the sting.
Although technically plausible, I'm not convinced that is likely given the fact that there was a substantial amount of white powder
on my balcony and Markie used to lie there a lot.

I had told him that I was wanting all exterminators to warn clients about the dangers posed to pets when they apply these products. I
told him about me not even thinking of the pesticides when I had let my cat out and that things might have been different had I been
reminded that morning that there was a danger. I also said that it could save some of his clients some grief, he understood that.

I let him know that I planned on reporting this incident to the manufacturer of the product. He encouraged me to do so since there is
nothing on the label that indicates a danger to them, it does however say to keep out of reach of children. Since a cat is smaller than
a child, why is it not there? He told me that he would let his contact at the supplier know about it as well. When I contacted Nugro and
the woman told me that it said to keep out of reach of children, I pointed out to her that typically pets are smaller than children and
there should be something there about it. I reported the incident with them, now I will be sending the report off to Health Canada this
evening and after that, M.A.P.A.Q. I imagine M.A.P.A.Q. will be the hardest part. Trying to get them to make it mandatory for
exterminators to provide written warnings about the pesticides they're using will probably be the most difficult part of all this.

Regionex And Unanswered Email

I emailed Regionex September 12th and suggested they tell their customers of the dangers Boradust (the name of boric acid that was used
to kill the bees nest) poses to pets and told them what had happened to Markie. I sent another email asking them for the name of the
manufacturer of Boradust and contact information for them. I hadn't received a reply by yesterday (the 23rd) so I sent them another
asking them to acknowledge receipt of it and again asking for the contact information. I'm still waiting…

I need the manufacturer's information to tell them about Markie's death and would like to tell them about it before sending the
report to Health Canada's P.M.R.A. Health Canada asks if it's been reported to the manufacturer because when it is, the
manufacturer is required to report it to Health Canada. I want to make sure they do so. So, I haven't stopped following up on
things, I've just been waiting. If I hear nothing by Monday, I'll be calling Regionex and asking them what's going on. As
soon as I hear something, I'll post it.

Response From Health Canada

I received a response from Health Canada's PMRA this afternoon. As for the warnings I'm wanting the exterminators to provide to
clients, I was told it was a provincial matter and I should contact MAPAQ. For a listing of provincial contacts concerning this matter,
go to http://www.pmra-arla.gc.ca/english/main/linksfpt-e.html.

There is one way however that Health Canada can be involved. From the email:

"As for your message, we encourage people to report any incidents of this kind to the manufacturer
of the pest control product that has been applied (do you have any additional information regarding the product: name or

registration number?). We also gather this type of information under our Pesticide Incident Reporting Program (see below for further
information).

http://www.pmra-arla.gc.ca/english/legis/aer-e.html "

If anyone reading this in Canada has had any incidents whatsoever regarding pesticides, that link describes what can be done by
reporting them. The following is from their site:

Incidents are classified into six major categories:

* effects on humans;

* effects on domestic animals;

* effects on the environment (i.e.: plants and wildlife);

* residues in food;

* packaging failure; and

* effects identified in scientific studies.

The more people use their voices, the better the chance we can make everything safer. Next up, emailing MAPAQ. Their site is only in
French so it might take a couple of days since I'll have to sift through it looking for the right email addy. I'll keep everyone
posted.

Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency

I sent an email to Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency tonight about Markie. I explained what had happened to her and
about Regionex and Nature saying it's safe for pets while the vet says it can kill them if ingested. I told them that I was wanting
to know what can be done to make it mandatory for these companies to issue warnings to clients when these substances are used. I guess
I'll see what happens.

I still have to email MAPAQ, but I'll see what Health Canada's PMRA says. I'm of the mindset that someone has to do
something about this. If it takes nagging the Prime Minister about it, I'm prepared to do that. God help him if I start nagging him
;-)

So Many Phone Calls

Wednesday afternoon, I was told by the condo corporation that it was Nature in Gatineau that removed the bees nest, however I later
found out that it was Regionex. I called Nature Wednesday afternoon and the woman I was talking to really took the cake. She was going
to call me back after talking to her husband (who is the exterminator) to find out what the substance was that they used and if it was
safe for cats, which was fine.

In the meantime, I had called Markie's vet and asked if boric acid would kill a cat. When the woman called me to confirm that boric
acid is what they use, she also said "It is safe for pets". I then informed her about my vet's office telling me that it
can kill them. The woman had the nerve to say, "Well… My husband went to college for this kind of thing, he would know."
What the hell??? My response, "Well my vet would know more!" Unbelievable. Hmmm who will I believe? Someone who tries to save
life, or someone who tries to get rid of it? Tough choice, NOT.

When I got home Wednesday night, I had a message from my condo corporation. It was Annie telling me that she spoke with Regionex (the
extermination company that killed the bees nest in my balcony ceiling) and they had told her that the substance was safe for pets. After
hearing from my vet, researching on the net about boric acid since it's a common white powder used to kill bees, my findings tell me
differently.

Someone called me from the condo board since there was confusion as to who ordered the exterminator to begin with. The woman called to
find out what happened since she hadn't been left much information on her voicemail from the condo corp. She apologized for what
happened and told me that she also has cats and was very sorry for my loss. After that, she said "I don't know what else to
say". Since I was upset, I could only reply, "OK… thank you, bye."

I had called the Humane Society in Ottawa, then they told me to call their Investigations Unit, and then they told me to contact the
S.P.C.A. in Gatineau. After explaining everything to a woman at the S.P.C.A., I found out that there is nothing they can do but she gave
me a phone number for M.A.P.A.Q. which is a Quebec government department that looks after agriculture, fisheries and food (loosely
translated).

Currently I'm waiting to hear back from Regionex to get a definite answer on what the white powdery substance was that they used. I
will call M.A.P.A.Q. after that and have also found a number for Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency.

I'll keep everyone posted, however crazy this ride gets.

Boric Acid And Cats

Since there was no apparent physical trauma to Markie’s body, it isn’t probable that she was hit by a car or attacked by a person or animal. Since she was only 4 years old, had her shots, had a clean bill of health 1 month before her death, had a healthy appetite and was in good spirits the day of her death, it’s not likely that an illness killed her.

Saturday morning an exterminator came to my place to remove a bees nest that was in my balcony ceiling. There was no warning about it as far as pets, children, or adults were concerned. I never even thought about the bees being a possible issue and hadn’t been on my balcony. I noticed after Markie was buried that there was a white powder on my balcony floor that had fallen from the ceiling. I found out that it was boric acid which is a common substance that exterminators use to get rid of bees. I called the vet’s office to ask them if boric acid was ingested by a cat if it would kill it. The answer I got was that it could. My theory of her death, which is probably a fairly sound one, is this:

I think Markie was on my balcony, as she often was. I think she got the boric acid on her paws and in her hair when she was lying on it. Once she would have groomed herself, she would have ingested the boric acid and it later killed her.

Although it’s possible she came into contact with another substance, it’s not likely. My advice to anyone with pets is if you’re going to let them out (I will no longer let any of my cats out unsupervised), if you’ve had a pest control substance used on your property, do not let the cat out until the substance has been removed. On Monday after noticing the white powder, I vacuumed it up since other people’s cats do occasionally visit and I would not want the same fate for them.

I will be looking into seeking action to make it mandatory for extermination companies to provide warnings (preferably in written format) to clients about the possible threat that’s posed to pets (even if it’s minute) of the substances they use to get rid of the pests. I’ve shed many tears over this whole ordeal and feel a big loss to my family. Taking such action will not bring my wonderful little cat back to me but it might save the lives of others.

Action With Exterminators

I would like to have it so that exterminators must provide a leaflet or some form of documentation to clients, explaining the risks
associated with substances that are used for pest removal. It doesn't have to be very in depth, but even if it's just a warning
on a leaflet, no matter how small the threat may be, of the dangers associated with these substances as far as pets are concerned.
I've contacted the Humane Society of Ottawa (even though I'm living in Gatineau) to see where I could start this kind of
movement. Their investigations unit gave me the number for the S.P.C.A. in Gatineau. I called them and explained the situation. The
woman I was talking to will discuss it with her supervisor tomorrow and they will get back to me.

I'm not sure if I'll get anywhere with this but the least I can do is try.

This Is Markie’s Story

Markie was an affectionate, active, lively 4 year old cat. She was a very small cat but had a personality that was larger than life. She was loved very much and was part of my family.  I got her in July of 2004 when she was a very inquisitive kitten. My sister and I were driving to my home and Markie was in the cat carrier on my back seat meowing like she was asking questions. Since calling her Question Mark was a little silly, Markie it was. I last saw her Saturday, August 23, 2008 at 8:00 pm lying on my steps outside when I was going out for dinner. I wanted her to come in the house but she didn’t want to. Instead, she went over to the tree and sharpened her claws. Everything seemed fine and I thought she’d be ready to come in when I returned home. By Sunday afternoon when she hadn’t returned, I knew something was dreadfully wrong. Monday morning I had received a phone call from the veterinary clinic. Someone had called them because they found Markie (who was wearing her rabies tag with the vet’s number on it). She was dead.
I contacted the man who had found her so I could make arrangements to pick her up. I met him and his wife at his place Monday at 5:30pm. He said when he and his wife backed their car out Sunday morning when they were going out, that’s when he saw her lying in his driveway. She had gone under his car during the night and had died there. Her body was already stiff. He removed her tags to call the number on the back of them. He had put her little body in a bag and placed her under his porch until I was notified. I asked him if she had been hit by a car, he said he didn’t think so since she looked fine and there was no blood or anything on her. I brought her to my farm which is out of town and buried her in a beautiful place (at the oak tree; picture below) where I’m sure if she was still alive, she’d absolutely love.

The oak tree - Markie's final resting place

I’ve created this blog in her memory. I will be posting memories of her along with pictures and updates to the action I would like to take as far as the extermination companies are concerned.