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

Vol. 1, No. 34

Table of Contents
Assist Feeding - Wash Me Kisses
Feline Nutrition - Call Me Shorty
Pro-Active Cat Care - With Love.
Feline Obesity - The Diet Food Revolt
Kitty Potpourri - So Kitty Can't See!...., Part II



Assist Feeding -
Wash Me Kisses
by Kathy Fatheree

Syringe feeding is for most kitties is generally not the cleanest form of eating.

What tends to happens is:

  • Too much food in the mouth squishes out the sides
  • A quick head turn and the food ends up on the side of the face
  • Food gets in the whiskers
  • The chin gets coated with food
  • And on and on.

In a previous newsletter, I have written about giving kitty a nice warm face wash with a wet toothbrush, but I have another idea for you.

After a syringe feeding meal, some kitties want the human to just leave them alone for a while, but if you live in a multi-cat household, you may have a built in kitty washer.

My calico Sissy was the first cat I ever syringe fed and I was terrible at it. She was my most patient kitty ever, but I still made an absolute mess. The event was very stressful for the both of us and my kitty Bubba was often near by just to give moral support. One day after a particularly bad feeding, I just let Sissy be still for moment and I left her face a mess. Bubba came over to make sure she was ok, and then he began to wash her face. He licked and licked and licked. Now I think Bubba was as much interested in the tasty kisses as much as he was wanting to comfort her so it was a win-win situation. He bathed her nice and clean and it sure did make her feel good! All that loving attention from her brother was a welcomed thing.

If you live in a multi-cat household, is one of your cats lovingly enough to bathe a kitty with a messy face? Next time you finish syringe feeding your kitty, instead of chasing the other cats away, allow your sweetest one to approach your syringe fed kitty, smell the messy face, and see if the natural cleaning instinct takes over. It may just be what the doctor ordered. Keep a watch on the bathing to make sure it all goes smoothly and no one gets agitated.

Note: You will have to still deep clean a little with a wet toothbrush and thoroughly dry with a tissue because the food can get way down in the fur, next to the skin. If this food is not removed, contact dermatitis can occur resulting in irritated skin and loss of fur.



Feline Nutrition - Call Me Shorty
by Garry White

I've had an incredibly busy week, so this article will be a little shorter than usual. However, Kathy and I had a discussion recently about a topic that I felt should be shared. So, exhausted or not, here we go.

You're probably aware of two situations among the Assist Feed crew: One, Kathy and are trying to swing our kitties into holistic foods as their primary diet. Two, I'm a big advocate of varying the diet routine. Well, it seems these two worlds have come into a small conflict that might be of interest to some of you. The problem: Kathy also tries to give her kitties other foods, and as a result her cats have lost interest in the holistic foods. Mine have not, and I think the reason may be procedural. First of all, let's remember that cats (like us) prefer things that are not always best for us (Ribeye steak or watercress salad?), and most of the "store brand" cat foods are laced with fats and aromatic ingredients to attract the nose. My own boys happen to like the holistic food, but I suspect that if I were to start feeding them more of the "Carved with Chicken and Gravy" stuff, they'd be begging for that far more than they do. But I don't, and I'm wondering if this might be the solution. Yes, they do get store foods, and regularly.but in very small doses; a spoonful or two maybe twice a day or so, but never a meal of it. And yes, the do sometimes beg for the wrong stuff, by sitting where I typically feed them the canned food, and I don't ignore it. But rather than give in, I make a big show out of shaking the bag of the holistic food, talking to them excitedly, and adding a little to their dish. And it works, at least so far. I guess this is what I see: Sure, they like treats, but they know where and what "their food" is.

Cats (and people) are so incredibly unique, and it's impossible to suggest a universal plan for something like this, but it's what works for my guys. Their primary diet is well established, and anything else is an occasional treat. I want so badly to keep them on the holistic foods, and I'm extremely conscious to avoid anything that might deter their interest in what I feel is an excellent diet for them.



ProActive Cat Care -
With Love.
by Garry White

  • Cats steal our hearts, there's no denying that. And how could it be any different? They give so much and ask for so little: when they do beg for something that's perhaps not in their best interest, it's almost impossible to say no. So in the interest of Love, we give in. Maybe extra food they really don't need, maybe a late-evening stroll outside where God-only-knows what awaits them, maybe more of those tasty table foods. Say NO when you know it's appropriate! Try offsetting their focus with something positive, like maybe a wiggly-jiggly string to take their attention away from that garlic-basted roast beef.
  • Do you do such things as this? A friend bought a huge, new TV recently, and I happened to be there when the big packing box was about to be demolished. Long story short: I dragged the thing (the box) home, cut some round holes in various places on the sides and ends, Duct-taped some smaller cardboard boxes inside in totally screwball configurations (and I cut holes in those, too). The cats LOVE it! Especially Wilbur, although I've caught Mr. Dignified Clark coming out of it more than once.with a look on his face: "Hey, I wasn't really having fun in there, you know!" Right-o, Clarkie boy.
  • In the name of love.my cats are strictly inside cats, because I want them to live happily and healthily for as long as possible. I know that the world outside offers toxins, poisons, predatory animals, and diseases, and I know that the predicted lifespan for an outdoor cat is incredibly short. So they're not allowed outside. That is to say, they're not allowed outside without ME at their heels! They are allowed some fresh air every day, but I don't let them out; I take them out. For short periods in the morning, and again in the evening. It's a treat for them, they look forward to it, and believe this or not.even Wilbur stops dead in his tracks when he starts to "wander" and I let out a bellow. Who woulda thunk it? Clark has always had good manners, and I guess Wilbur is learning.
  • What's your take on catnip? The research I've done suggests offering it sparingly, so I follow the concept, and my guys get a small dose every couple of weeks.
  • In the name of love.be extremely careful with plastic bags! Most cats love them, and they can be dangerous in a couple of ways: One, the toxins that are emitted from most plastics. And two, cats can.and DO.suffocate in them while playing. They say to cut holes in them, but my friend Lynn was here last week, and she came up with an even better idea: she tore out the whole bottom!
  • In the name of love.we're always thinking of little things that might bring a happy moment into their lives, and I ask this: Do you know of a human being who would be ecstatically happy with a cardboard box?


Feline Obesity - The Diet Food Revolt

by Kathy Fatheree

Last week I told you about the situation I was having with Phoebe and her revolt against her diet food.. The diet food which really isn't a "diet" food. it's just not as tasty as Maya's high fat high energy food!

To recap just a little. Phoebe has been losing weight too fast. 1 pound in 1 month. Cats should lose no more than pound in 1 month to protect against the potentially deadly disease called Fatty Liver Disease (or Feline Hepatic Lipidosis). I wanted Phoebe to eat a little more so I started giving her treats of Maya's food. Well next thing I know, Phoebe is staging a hunger strike waiting for offerings of Maya's food!

I wasn't about to give in and I was trying all sorts of tricks to get Phoebe to eat her diet food again, but Phoebe said "NO WAY!" Phoebe went for at least 24 hours without eating so I had to figure out what to do. I had written last week that I wasn't' going to give Phoebe anymore of Maya's food. that it was going to be 100% diet food, but I had to give in since Phoebe wasn't eating. Luckily our Garry (author of Feline Nutrition and Pro-Active Cat Care) called me one evening over the weekend and we talked about the revolt that was going on in my household. See. to give you the complete story. everyone in my household was off their food and holding out for Maya's food! I don't know when it became such the rave! Garry and I talked about the dishes I was feeding the food in, how many meals I was feeding, if the house was stressed out. everything. Finally, Garry told me that his kitties Wilbur and Clark LOVE to have a variety of food. Garry also told me that some kitties demand a variety of food. Perhaps THAT was the problem. I had accidentally shown the cats that they could have variety and then I took it away from them as fast as the variety was introduced. Garry said to let them have some of the good stuff and so I gave in right then and there. As Garry and I spoke on the telephone, I gave each kitty 10 pieces of Maya's food and that was it. BOY were they ever happy! I fed them in the den so that it would be a special treat. I decided that if they were hungry, they could eat their regular food at their regular feeding stations. If it's a treat, I will feed in the den. They seemed to understand and lo and behold. Phoebe ate her diet food later that same evening! So, here's what I'll do: once a day at the same time every day, I'll give the kitties 10 pieces of Maya's food. Then, for the rest of their meals, it's the regular food at their regular feeding stations. Period. We seem to be back to normal now. for this week anyway. and everyone is happy. especially Phoebe!

So maybe the secret to dieting is what my Dad has always told me. All things in moderation. When you follow this rule, a little treat every now and then isn't going to hurt you.



Kitty Potpourri -
So Kitty Can't See!...., Part II
by Dan Malenski

This week, we will talk about what you must do and be aware of as kitty's guardian in order to insure comfort and safety. We will then list what you must do if you move, such as if you will be making your vacation cottage in Tahiti your permanent residence. Due to the adaptive nature of cats and their ability to compensate with their other senses, a blind kitty can have a rich and happy life just as any sighted kitty, so do not allow the ability to see a deciding element when considering an adoption or become despondent if one of your own loses their sight.

  • A blind kitty must be an indoor kitty or only permitted in a securely fenced in garden because they are easily disoriented.

  • Do not clip your kitty's whiskers for any reason, as it will use them to determine how close they are to an object.

  • Use common sense in eliminating all hazards such as unprotected stairways, etc. from kitty's domain, and do everything possible to keep furniture in the same position, as kitties will rely on scent and memory to find their way about. In some cases, he will not memorize all routes and continue to bump into some objects, so be sure that those objects are not hazardous. Apply padding to those objects that cannot be relocated to minimize the chance for injury.

  • Allow kitty to navigate the household without picking him up. If you must do so, then place him in familiar surroundings so that it can easily get his bearings. Do not place him onto a raised surface under any circumstances unless it is a familiar object such as your bed or favorite chair.

  • Kitty's other senses will become more sensitive, especially the hearing sense. Supplying him with toys that make a sound, even a scrunched up paper ball or paper bag will provide stimulation and entice him to play. There are many cat toys available on the market that will also be appropriate.

  • Make every attempt to avoid making sudden noises or any other noises that are out of the ordinary. Be sure to shield him from any planned noises, and should he become frightened or startled, a warm hug will go a long way!

  • Finally, talk to him a lot, as he will love to hear your voice and will feel safe knowing that you are about. A radio tuned to a low volume may be very soothing when you are not home.

Over time, blind kitties learn to adapt so well that their condition of being blind may escape you. Their acute senses of scent and hearing will aid in their ability to adapt and you will be able to communicate with them as well as with cats with their sight.

If you must relocate your residence, this will be a stressful time for a blind kitty, but with the use of common sense and preparation, the transition could be a happy one. Prior to the move, get kitty accustomed to spending time in one particular room, so that temporary confinement in your new home will not appear too much out of the ordinary. Be sure to spend time and play with kitty in that room so that he does not associate being confined with punishment.

Getting kitty used to your new home may be more challenging, but introducing kitty to one room at a time will help. Allow kitty to get accustomed to the new room prior to allowing him to explore another. Use your voice to talk to him when a new room is being explored to reassure him, and to not be afraid of getting down on your hands and knees to "walk him around", as doing so will give him additional reassurance. If you have to relocate his sleeping quarters in the future, then you will largely have to again follow the process described above so that he doesn't become frightened or confused. Finally, if you sense that he gets upset, and even if not, then do spend some quality time with him, as reflected in the photo!

In sum, a blind kitty's love and companionship will be just as rewarding (or more) as a sighted kitty, and if you do see that "must have" kitty at your local shelter and learn that he is blind, do not allow his blindness interfere with the adoption-you will not be disappointed!

 

 

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Typos? Please email me at Kathy (at) AssistFeed.com

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.