In case you missed any, here are the stories we discussed in March (to join in the discussions, click “like” on CatCentric’s Facebook page!):
Another great article by Dr. Becker!
“As pets keep getting fatter, pet food companies get ever more creative developing ‘weight management’ formulas to peddle to uninformed consumers.
It’s a discouraging trend, since most of these special formulas consist of the same inappropriate, low quality ingredients that contribute to pet obesity in the first place.
And in fact, these foods actually contain more of exactly the wrong type of nutrition for overweight pets … or any pet.”
Here’s a progress report on the WINN Feline Foundation’s study, “Nutritional adequacy and performance of raw food diets in kittens.”
So far, digestibility of the raw diets (one commercial, one home-made) are comparing favorably against the commercial kitten diet. Some kittens experienced pathogenic-induced diarrhea, but it looks like these issues may have resolved on their own and the reports states, “Innate immunity appeared to function at a higher level in the kittens fed a raw diet.”
So heartening to see raw foods being studied without bias! I can’t wait until the full report is available.
“If pet owners prefer, they may consider a homemade diet during the elimination trial. Owners should be cautioned that in addition to utilizing a novel protein and limited ingredients, preparing a diet that provides complete and balanced nutrition is necessary.”
On the one hand, it’s mind-boggling that the establishment continues to utterly and completely ignore the role that cooking (or denaturing) these proteins plays in the cats’ physiological reaction to commercial products. I’ve seen and read of case after case in which the cat’s symptoms completely disappear once that animal is put on a raw diet – even when that diet includes the same proteins to which the cat was previously deemed “reactive”.
On the other hand, WOW!!, a home-made diet is mentioned in positive terms! It’s only a single paragraph, but *every* paradigm change starts with such small steps. This is totally worth cheering!!!
How exciting!!! Yet another reference to home-made diets as a viable and healthy alternative… this time for overweight pets. (For the record, however, home-made diets are almost invariably *less* expensive, not more, than commercial.)
“So what are the perfect diet foods for pets? For a serious weight loss program there are only two quality alternatives.
The second is a homemade diet that is specially formulated to meet these same demands. Although more expensive and less convenient, homemade diets are tastier and more satisfying than their commercial counterparts….”
Slowly but surely, the common-sense logic behind feeding a carnivore the food its body naturally craves is winning over converts!
9 March: Detox your cat
Although the title is “*Detox* your cat”, this article is really about *lowering* your cat’s exposure to chemicals and other toxins. A must-read for every cat owner!
A well-written, comprehensive discussion of feline hyperthyroidism, including preventive steps and treatment options. With Hyper-T one of the most common reasons for feline vet visits, this is well worth the read.
“To decrease the threat of feline hyperthyroidism, here’s what we do:
We buy only BPA-free canned cat food. … If you just avoid cans larger than 5.5.oz from the list, you are avoiding BPA. Also, all the frozen and raw packages are BPA-free …
To avoid PBDEs, we feed “large fish” cat food no more than 1 -2 times per week on average…”
9 March: Check Your Cat’s Vital Signs at Home
A good primer on three basic cat care steps: taking temps, and checking heart and respiratory rates.
10 March: Why Vets Are Getting Away With Murder
This article is written from the perspective of dog owners, but it applies equally to cats – and it is one of the most thorough discussions on the topic of over-vaccination that I’ve read in some time.
Annual feline vaccinations are unnecessary and dangerous! Stand your ground and don’t get bullied into taking chances with your beloved kitty’s health!!
10 March: Vet 101: Safe Spring Cleaning
March is Pet Poison Awareness month, and it’s also when many of us start anticipating spring; opening windows, airing out rooms and doing that “all-important” spring cleaning. ;-}
Cat Wisdom 101 has some tips on getting that done when you’ve got four-footed furries running around…
11 March: Response to FDA Pet Food Video
Short, outstanding video that succinctly and clearly explains why we need to pay attention to the foods we’re purchasing for our beloved pets.
As CatCentric fans, you’re most likely already home-preparing your furriest family member’s meals, but this video is perfect for sharing with those of your friends who haven’t quite gotten there yet! ♥
Dr. Hofve, of LittleBigCat.com, has written a companion article to this video, outlining ways each of us can help effect a change in pet food industry culture and practices.
Pick at least one thing on her list and make it a point to follow through with it this week. And – of course! – share the list and encourage your cat-owning friends to pick an action, too! As the good Doctor states, the only way we’ll be provided with healthier pet food is if enough of us demand it.
An exceptionally thorough look at IBD – its symptoms (primarily diarrhea and vomiting), causes (overly-processed foods, toxic additives, and species-inappropriate ingredients) and treatments (feed the kitty what she *should* be eating)!!!
Inflammatory bowel issues are one of the most common reasons cat owners turn to raw feeding. Sadly, the disease is becoming endemic, with no relief in sight.
Please share this with all your cat-owning friends and ask them to share, too. I’ve seen cat after cat healed by the switch to raw food, but there are far more still suffering; if we can reach their owners, we can help them! ♥
13 March: Why Do Cats Constantly Groom Themselves?
We all know cats groom themselves, but did you ever wonder why? Read this article find out!
Subcutaneous (also known as sub-q) fluids can have an incredibly positive impact on the health of an ill cat. Watch Dr. J.C. Burcham to learn how to administer these fluids at home!
Knowing when to take the chance a problem will resolve independently, and knowing when it’s time to rush to the ER Vet is vital knowledge we hope we’ll never need.
Here, Dr. Justine Lee outlines what to watch for, what to act on immediately, and who to contact when you’re just not sure.
She also touches on a topic near and dear to my heart, one she calls “slowly suffering”. It is unacceptable and inhumane to blithely ignore injuries or illness in your cat. If you think there’s something wrong, there probably is! Cats instinctively hide their pain and by the time you recognize it, your kitty has probably been hurting for awhile. That’s not the time to dither about a vet visit; that’s when you pick up the phone and make the call. ♥
Digging through studies tonight and came across this one. The data is from 1994, but, unfortunately, remains accurate to this day:
“Progress in companion animal nutrition requires more precise information on requirements for various life stages (especially reproduction and maintenance), along with values for the bioavailability of nutrients in dietary ingredients. There is virtually no information on the bioavailability of nutrients for companion animals in many of the common dietary ingredients used in pet foods. These ingredients are generally byproducts of the meat, poultry and fishing industries, with the potential for wide variation in nutrient composition. Claims of nutritional adequacy of pet foods based on the current Association of American Feed Control Official(AAFCO) nutrient allowances (“profiles”) do not give assurances of nutritional adequacy and will not until ingredients are analyzed and bioavailability values are incorporated.”
As my hero Mulder would say, “The truth is out there.” :-}
I’ll expand on this thoroughly at some point, but this study illustrates just one of the reasons I’m so reluctant to agree that canned foods are an acceptable food source for our beloved kitties.
“There were significant ( P < .05) changes in the true ileal digestibility of all amino acids and amino acid nitrogen, and the digestibility of most amino acids decreased with increasing heat treatment."
19 March: Preventive Healthcare Guidelines: Part I
Interesting article by a vet, interpreting into layman’s terms the American Animal Hospital Association and American Veterinary Medical Association’s jointly published Feline Preventive Healthcare Guidelines (you can find the guidelines here ).
Another reason (just in case you should need one) to keep cats inside.
“VandeWoude and Crooks say that the results don’t necessarily mean that all domestic cats that are allowed to roam outdoors are at a high level of risk. They plan further studies to better assess that risk.
It does mean that domestic cats and wild cats who share the same environment–even if they do not come into contact with each other–also can share diseases.”
With all the ridiculous but sensational “Toxoplasmosis from your cat will make you crazy” stories circulating lately, the discovery by researchers from Boston College of a protein that plays an important role in the spread of toxoplasmosis and malaria – and that could be could be genetically blocked – is especially pertinent.
19 March: Cat Training for A Better Life
A great article on the benefits of training your cat by Darlene Arden, a friend and my sponsor into the Cat Writers Association (hint – it’s good for you both and will deepen the bond between you)!
Yet another veterinarian speaks out against the pet food industry’s (PFI) unhealthy and potentially dangerous ingredient sourcing practices.
I’m sharing this with you *not* because I think any of you need to hear it – you wouldn’t be a CatCentric fan if you weren’t already on the raw-feeding bandwagon – but so that you may share it with your cat-loving but still PFI-trusting friends.
“In commemoration of National Animal Poison Prevention Week, please consider that you may be involuntarily providing a daily dose of toxins in your pet’s “nutritionally complete and balanced” dry or canned food.”
Dr. Becker is officially my hero.
Not only does she review a study I briefed you about a short time ago, she provides us with a whole list of studies all underscoring the same irrefutable fact; cats obtain more nutrition and are therefore healthier and enjoy stronger immune systems when they are fed the diet their bodies are designed to process – raw meat, bones and organs!!
She then goes on to explain why a raw meat-based diet is the most appropriate and nutritious, and describes how standard commercial diets not only fail to provide adequate nutrition, but actively harm our pets.
This is one of those posts that should be shared with your cat-loving friends… and ask them to share, too! With all the proof that’s available today, the only action left for us to do is get the information into the hands of those who need it most. ♥
Sharing a two-part article on poison prevention. Because it’s that important!
Here is another great article by Dr. Becker! (I promise, I’m really not getting paid to promote her work!)
This time, she discusses the American Association of Feline Practitioners’ roll-out of their “Cat Friendly Practice” program (similar to the Catalyst Council’s ‘Cat Friendly Practice Makeover’ initiative I discussed in February), explains why she believes biannual vet visits are important for the health of America’s cats, and then talks about ways to make your kitty’s vet visits a little less traumatic.
The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) is working on the fourth revision of its feline vaccine guidelines, and they are due out this year. I’m looking forward to seeing the new recommendations, with the hope that they’ll reflect the growing evidence these vaccines are good for years beyond their current re-vaccination schedule!
25 March: Development of new therapies for FIP
An FIP diagnosis is basically a death knell at this time. However, the WINN Feline Foundation has brought us some positive news that it may not be so in the future. Read on!
“… investigators have focused on testing cathepsin B as an effective anti-viral treatment for FIPV. The researchers developed a mouse model for FIP development and tested the new therapeutic using that model. They utilized two different types of the virus inhibitor, and found that the second one tried, known as MDL21870, worked well in the mouse model. This is an important first step in development of effective FIP therapeutics.”
If you are one of the many cat owners who offer their pets a combination of raw and canned diets, please read Dr. Becker’s detailed essay on soy protein, how it affects our pets’ bodies, and why any cat food containing it should be avoided at all costs.
And, of course!, share this with all your cat-loving friends! ♥
I don’t get to read it as often as I once did, but ‘The Conscious Cat’ is one of my favorite blogs. Ingrid King advocates home-prepared raw diets, just as I do, and strongly counsels against feeding kibble, as I definitely do, but is not quite as anti-canned as I tend to be.
So if you’re still feeding canned foods and you’d like some recommendations on which are the better options, here’s another post just for you. :-}
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