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Elisa's 1st stop motion animation movie.
Click image to watch.
An Unexpected Friend Silent Movie

Vol. 1, No. 32

Table of Contents
Assist Feeding - Update on Niles
Feline Nutrition - Feeding Multiple Cats
Pro-Active Cat Care - Here's what you gotta do
Feline Obesity - Low-Fat Diets - YUK!
Kitty Potpourri - Too Many Mouths to Feed!



Assist Feeding -
Update on Niles!
by Rachel Garb

Last week we met Niles...
a beautiful kitty who developed Feline Hepatic Lipidosis because of a stressful event. A feeding tube was inserted and Rachel was going through the ups and downs of this serious illness... and Niles wasn't feeling much better himself!

Let's check in to see how they are doing...

I'm happy to report that Niles is doing much, much better. His liver numbers are back to normal, his mood is back to normal, and - most importantly - he's eating on his own. In fact, he is constantly asking me for food. Today is the first day I didn't feed him through the tube at all, and the doctor feels his tube can be removed at his next appointment on Wednesday morning.

Here's my advice to anyone about to nurse an FHL cat back to health:

  • Keep a journal of all the feedings. I created a form for myself where I could easily record the time of the feeding, amount fed, and any comments (e.g. vomiting, mood, etc.). I also included a checklist of all the medicines that would need to be given each day and recorded the time each was given.

  • Don't worry about feeding around the clock. Get some sleep, because you'll need it. The cat isn't hungry, so he's not going to bother you.

  • If you work outside the home, see if the vet's office will board the cat during the day. My vet charged $20/day (cheap compared to everything else!). This was worth it for me, because I didn't put my job in jeopardy, and it gave me piece of mind to know Niles was in good hands.

  • When you feed through the tube, pause every few seconds to avoid overwhelming the system and causing vomiting.

  • When pushing food into the tube, firmly grip the portion of the tube when the syringe is inserted. This prevents the stuff from exploding all over the place and startling both you and your cat. (This lesson took me a long time to discover.)

  • Start with lots of very small tube feedings. I started with 20 a day, 12 ccs at a time.

  • Gradually work up to less frequent, larger feedings. After about 3 weeks, I could give Niles 48ccs at a time, which meant only 6 feedings a day.

  • Once that routine is working with no vomiting incidents, offer regular food before each tube feeding. Regular food could be wet food, dry food, pieces of chicken, cat treats, whatever works for your cat.

  • If you have other cats in the house, it's good to isolate him so other cats don't try to eat his food before he does.

  • Don't be discouraged if he doesn't eat much on his own at first. But keep offering.

  • If he eats a little, reduce the amount of the tube feeding a little. Otherwise, he might vomit. For example, I'd take away 1 syringe for every teaspoon Niles ate on his own. (I don't know if that actually is the equivalent in food, but it seemed to work for us.)

  • If he's able to eat an amount successfully, challenge him to eat a little more than that at the next feeding. If he walks away from the food after eating a portion of it, wait a minute, then put the dish in front of him again to see if maybe he'll eat just a few more bites. He just might.

  • From the time Niles started nibbling a tiny amount (1/2 teaspoon three times a day) to now (1 tablespoon three times a day, plus some nibbling on dry food and treats) was about 2 weeks.

  • Be prepared for the possibility that the tube might accidentally come out. It happened to Niles because was scratching a lot in that area. So the next time the tube went in, he got a bandage. That prevented the tube from coming out, but the bandage got grungy after a while and had to be replaced.

  • This was not a fun 5 weeks. It cost me a lot of money in vet bills, and kept me stuck at home most of the time. What kept me going is knowing that FHL is not a terminal disease, is fully curable, and likely not to strike again. My cat is not yet 10, so he could have many years ahead of him. So for me, these 5 weeks were worth it.

Rachel



Feline Nutrition - Feeding Multiple Cats
by Garry White

We get sporadic requests for help from folks with multi-cat households, and I thought we'd cover some of that ground. Most commonly, the situation involves cats in various health stages, but sometimes it's simply a matter of personalities and attitudes. Let's start with the first issue: We have five cats; Fluffy stopped eating recently, and was diagnosed with an ailment that requires special feeding arrangements. But I work every day, I feed them in the morning before I leave, and again at night when I get home. Fluffy, being ill, isn't getting the food she needs, and I can't change my lifestyle. What can I do? Change your lifestyle, or at least your routine! Perhaps have a neighbor drop in and feed her during the day, maybe hire a neighbor's kid to help out. You may have to get up earlier and feed her away from the others. Maybe separate her during the day, with her own food/water. The bottom line is two-sided: She has to have proper nutrition, and she cannot stand up to the other, healthy cats and their voracious appetites. Remember.Fluffy didn't choose to be ill, and she relies on us for everything. So the ball is in our lap, and there just is no easy, convenient solution to this problem.

Situation #2: We have four cats, ranging in age from kitten to Grandpa. All are healthy, but obviously we have four different personalities flying around.especially at feeding time. Also, we know their personalities will change with age, so don't be surprised if that sweet, docile kitten turns into King o' the Kitchen one day! Conversely, old Grandpa has mellowed out, and would rather just wait for the leftovers.too old to fight for his grub. Plus, we have meek-mannered little Tinkerbell who would never force an issue.so she just sits on the sidelines and watches the others eat. And there's big Benji, who eats everything that doesn't eat him first. Yes indeed, a mixed bag we have, but oh, so normal! Oh yes, I nearly forgot: Let's make this situation even worse.they don't all like the same food. Expect for Benji who'll eat anything. There are a few things we can do, but let's start with a reality-check: This situation didn't arise between Tuesday and Wednesday. In fact, it didn't arise at all, it developed from habits and routines that we allowed, and now it seems to be out of hand. First thing we might do is gradually try to get them eating the same foods, or as closely as possible. This will help, if you can make it happen. But still we're faced with Tinkerbell-the-sissy and Benji-the-Aardvark at mealtime. You might try feeding just Benji before feeding the others, so that he's at least somewhat sated when the rest of the food is set out. If it works, Yippee! And if not, then you might consider a bigger house with lots of rooms. Again that bottom line: As caregivers, we're responsible for assuring they all get proper nutrition, and it will no doubt require some adjustment in our routines.

Or... you could just rent Clarkie and Wilbur for a few days. For training sessions. They seem to have the eating business pretty well figured out.



ProActive Cat Care -
"Here's what you gotta do…"
by Garry White

How often do we toss our lifeline onto a sinking boat? Well, if your initials are Garry White, then the answer is.plenty of times! In doing research for this Newsletter, it's necessary that I scour a multitude of websites and group-lists routinely, and what I sometimes see is frightening and potentially disastrous for our kitties. On a group-list a few months ago, I followed some dialogue where an old-time member declared that worrying about high phosphorous levels with a CRF kitty is nothing but pure bunk; a waste of time. Her position was strong, and she wrote with apparent authority. I read an article recently --written by a DVM-- which stated that we should never, ever, under any circumstances, feed dry food to a cat in any form, fashion, or amount. Another article (again, written by a vet) stated that the proper way to give medications is to secure the cat firmly (pillow, blankets, towels, etc.) and stuff-the-stuff into the cat as quickly as possible.bedside manner and patient-consideration apparently aren't something to be concerned with.

Look, we'd be in serious trouble without vets, but there's no need to tell you that's a world laden with controversy and conflict. Even worse is the world of Backyard Vets.you and me. Combine these two dubious resources, and we've got a recipe for Disaster Soup. The danger zone is that very thin line between those of us who need help, and those of us who offer it. Oh man, what a relief it is when someone (who seems to know what they're talking about) tells us what we want to hear. But emotional appeasement won't save Fluffy; only proper treatment will accomplish that. Which, of course, brings us right back where we started: "If you don't give Fluffy Ploxyglobin right away, she's a goner!" and "If you do give her that drug, she's a goner!" Conflict! Controversy! Grrrr!

Here's what I think: With a sick kitty and zippo knowledge about sick kitties, we have no choice but to seek advice, right? But unless the advice we get is supported by sound, proven research, we ought to consider it an opinion and nothing more, regardless of the source. Our first response should that of a cat lawyer: "Thank you; I'll take that under advisement."

Oh, we mean well, there's no question about that! Let me share something personal with you: When I lost my precious boy, Lewie, to improper treatment by a radical vet, my life changed drastically. I was hurt beyond any dimension I could possibly describe, and I became obsessed with helping others to avoid what had happened to me. I felt then, still do, and always will: "Yes, I took some wrong turns and my Lewie is gone, but we're not going to lose your cat, by God!" So there is no heart more pure than mine, but don't you think for a single minute that I'm incapable of giving you wrong advice! I'm very capable of doing just that, and so are you. And so is a qualified veterinarian. Not intentionally, of course: We all want to help, but let us remember that the Road-To-Ruin is paved with good intentions. A good heart is a wonderful thing, but intentions won't save Fluffy.

Question everything and everyone, that's the bottom line. I told you once in an earlier Newsletter that a vet who graduates 187th in his class of 200 gets the exact same license (with the exact same privileges!) as the one who finished in 2nd place. That alone is enough to get at least one eyebrow raised, and advice from un-trained folks (yes, like me) should leave you with an even greater sense of question as to validity.

I mean well --we all do-- and perhaps our advice or recommendation is the correct approach, but take it under advisement until you can prove it out! Don't jump on my (or anyone's!) wagon until you know for sure that the wagon is going to town.



Feline Obesity - Low-Fat Diets - YUK!

by Kathy Fatheree

Is your fat cat on a low-fat diet?

If so, does your cat act like he or she is starving all the time. begging relentlessly for food. and absolutely driving you crazy?

The reason may be because some of the low-fat diets are just too low in fat!

What? Too low in fat? How can that be?

Sometimes people think that to lose weight, it's best to cut out ALL fat. You might have bought the lowest fat content cat food available thinking it was best for kitty, however, fat is an essential part of a healthy diet. Your kitty's body actually needs fat to be able to absorb and use vitamins such a Vitamin A, D, E and K, which are called "Fat Soluble" vitamins. Fat-soluble means that the vitamins only dissolve in fat and are only available for absorption into the body in the presence of fat. Fat-soluble vitamins that are in foods that contain fat is a perfect combination for healthy absorption.

According to www.daily-vitamines.com

"Fat soluble vitamins are found in meats, liver, dairy, egg yolks, vegetable seed oils, and leafy green vegetables. Some foods such as milk and margarine are artificially fortified with vitamins A and D. These vitamins are metabolized along with fat in the body and require fat for absorption in the gut. "

Fat-soluble vitamins are also stored in the fat cells of the body and are released when the body needs them. If a no-fat diet or too-low-fat diet is feed over a long period of time, kitty's body will start to become deficient in these vitamins. When a deficiency begins, kitty's body will set up cravings and he or she will meow and beg trying to get more food in hopes of getting enough of these very important vitamins.

It's important to note that it is difficult to supplement kitty's diet properly with fat-soluble vitamins because they are stored in the body fat and too much can lead to toxicity. the body cannot easily get rid of these vitamins and if too much is stored in the body fat, your cat can become sick. It's best for your cat to receive these vitamins through a healthy cat food.

Another reason to make sure that enough fat is in the diet is because fat is what makes a meal satisfying. Fat makes kitty's food taste good and smell good. It also helps to keep kitty feeling satisfied longer because fat slows down digestion. Have you ever eaten a huge no-fat meal. you've eaten enough that you feel stuffed. yet you still want something else? It's because fat sends the satisfaction signals to your brain. Same thing with kitty... If kitty's diet food is too low in fat, kitty will never feel satisfied. Think about how you feel after eating a thick juicy hamburger! Satisfied!

If your kitty is driving you crazy with the begging, perhaps try a food that's just a little higher in fat. Your kitty may feel satisfied enough with the little-bit-higher-in-fat cat food that he or she will still lose weight while on a diet.



Kitty Potpourri -
Too Many Mouths to Feed!
by Dan Malenski

Recently a reader, faced with the dilemma of having to feed several cats, each with different dietary needs, was looking for suggestions to ease the process. Some cats required certain diets as part of a treatment plan for illnesses; others were on the chubby side and could afford to lose a few pounds. We did the best we could to help her and then decided to go into our weekly huddle to put together a list of suggestions for this article. If you live in a mansion, then merely ask your servants to feed the cats and go on about your business; however, if you're like the rest of us where the vet is the one who resides in the mansion, then you will have to be creative, so read on. All information came from us except the photo of the couch potato in the next paragraph, which came from an internet source.

It certainly is possible to fulfill dietary needs for multiple cats without hiring a full time cat sitter, or taking up the position of a 24 X 7 guard yourself, but we have some bad news for you: it's going to take some thought in creating a plan and being vigilant in carrying it out. In other words, you will not be able to spend five minutes or so making preparations, and then being able to fly off for that long weekend in your vacation cottage in Tahiti. Not all the news is bad, however! Several things you can do will make the process easier for you and your family. We're going to list several suggestions that we hope will help you in making your life easier when dealing with this issue, but they will be very broad suggestions that you will have to tailor to suit your cats, lifestyle, and home. With the exception of the first, they are merely food for thought, which you will have to tailor to your own situation. The first is a hard rule that must be followed at all times, however.

  • Free feeding must stop
    Unless you are able to stand guard over the food dishes twenty-four hours a day for each cat, free feeding must stop. This suggestion is likely the most difficult to implement for some, not necessarily because of the cats, but because of our feelings that we are depriving them by not allowing them food at all times. In most cases, the cats adjust to the change easier than we do!


  • Divide and conquer
    Segregate all the cats with common dietary needs. In most cases, this will mean separating all those chubby ones that may need to be placed on a diet from the others. This will help you in creating the final feeding plan. Most may only have two groups, but some may have three or more!

  • Designate specific rooms for specific foods
    If your living area permits, merely place each group in a specific room with their proper food at feeding time. For areas without doors, a tall baby gate may be intimidating to some cats, but most will probably laugh as they sail over the top or effortlessly climb over it. If this suggestion is not practical, then you may have to try the next and final suggestion.

  • Designate a single "feeding room"
    You may have to designate a specific room for feeding if your home or apartment is on the small side or if you have a large family. In this case, you will rotate each group through the feeding room with the proper food until all groups have been fed. Doing so may still seem tedious, but it has the advantage of allowing you to go on about your business and not have to watch over the groups as they eat, but be sure to leave each group in the room long enough for the slowest cat to get enough to eat. At first, you may have to remain in the room in order to determine how long all need to finish their meal.

Good luck and we hope that some of these suggestions had been helpful in making life easier for you and/or increasing the well-being of your furry companion. We would appreciate hearing from you if you have any other ideas to share.

 

 

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Copyright © 2003-2013 by Kathy Fatheree. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: Kathy Fatheree is not at all a medical expert. Contents of this web site are a collection of Kathy's assist feeding experiences as well as the experiences of other cat owners who have assist fed their cats. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, Kathy Fatheree or anyone associated with this web site cannot be held responsible for anything that may happen as a result of using the information on this site.