Caring for Cats Newsletter
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Vol. 2, No. 2
Our greatest hope is that these articles are informative and beneficial to the readers, and in most case I thoroughly enjoy what I'm doing. This week is an exception: I did not enjoy this particular research at all, and I enjoy even less delivering the results to you. But my role is to research and write, and to provide what I feel is usable information, not to play judge.
Let's set the stage for this less-than-ideal subject. When do we consider a particular source an authoritative voice? Is it when the writer is entertaining? Is it when someone proffers confusing verbiage, therefore they must know what they're talking about because we surely don't? Do we consider information final and official if it comes from a government agency, or perhaps from a professional, or an educator? Actually, I doubt that we consider anything final and official anymore. These days, it seems that every issue is arguable, doesn't it? Nothing is above challenge, and I'm not sure if that's a good thing, or bad. Perhaps it is both. It's good that we now have so much information at our fingertips, ergo, more potential answers to any given problem. And it's bad when we're faced with a multitude of different solutions to a problem, because.which is right? Which do we choose? Certainly not all of them are correct, but even if they were, we cannot execute all of them, can we? Now, let's make matters even worse: We've discovered, sadly, that much of this instant-information, these seemingly authoritative and official proclamations-- are nothing more than someone's personal campaign for or against this or that. Which, of course, only serves to further degrade our ability to trust anyone's so-called final word.
All of the above leads to the topic of the day: Commercial pet foods: Are they good or bad for our cats? If you want two solid answers to this, ask fifty people and divide by twenty-five. As with most controversial issues, there facts and opinions here, and I stumbled onto something that I felt obligated to share with you. Be warned that it isn't pleasant reading, but I consider it factual and credible, and I saw no sign of "campaign mentality" in the writing; no sign of a personal agenda. To the best of my knowledge, its just information from what I'm forced to call a reliable source. Commercial foods are certainly a convenience for us, and I feed them to my own cats sometimes. Not exclusively, or not even often; but sometimes. Like you, I've read countless articles for and against everything under the sun, including what's (supposedly) really inside commercial pet foods, but this one made me stop and think about it.
Below is a link to the article, which I post here with great trepidation and strong caution: If you're sensitive to material that wasn't written to make you feel warm and fuzzy, or if you're of the mindset who just doesn't care to know what's behind Door #2, then I encourage you: DO NOT read the article. But if you want to see some things that were probably written in truth by a reliable source, then venture forth.with the understanding that this is a report only; I do not endorse the author personally. If the writer is a fake, then it's all worthless, but I doubt that's the case.
Assist Feeding - Update on Bert - FHL or Pancreatitis?
by Kathy Fatheree
Last week we met Bert, an 8-year-old male kitty whowas given the antibiotic Clavamox to treat his kitty acne. While Clavamox is a good antibiotic, some kitties react negatively and like in Bert's case, stop eating because they feel so sick from the drug. Bert developed kitty anorexia and stopped eating for about a week. When the owners began assist feeding Bert, he had an extreme aversion to food. The vet had done blood work and Bert's liver enzymes were slightly elevated and the drug Ursodiol was prescribed.
I lost track of the owners for a time due to what we finally figured out was email glitches. When I thankfully caught back up with the owners, they had spoken to their vet about Bert's extreme aversion to food and the difficulties they were having. Bert was drooling during feedings, spitting the food out and fighting their every move. Being a Friday (of course) the vet recommended. that as soon as possible next week, we redo the entire blood work-up as well as X-rays this time. He said to keep giving him the Ursodiol, too. He told us not to feed Bert tonight for dinner or before bedtime and to actually wait a day or two to 'wait him out'. The vet doesn't think there is a reason that he won't get his appetite back and eat on his own now. He doesn't feel that the Ursodiol is causing any ill effects because Bert stopped eating before the meds.
AHHH. don't feed Bert. wait him out?!? This makes me cringe because if Bert is developing Feline Hepatic Lipidosis (fatty liver disease), this would make matters ever worse! THANKGOODNESS the owners made the decision NOT to let him go more than a day without eating! Bert did NOT start eating on his own.
That next week. Bert stayed several days at the vet clinic where they took more blood and sent it to a pathologist and started Bert on fluid therapy. Blood-work examined by the vet at the office showed that Bert's bilirubin was elevated.
No diagnosis was made during the week, so... We brought Bert home for the weekend. The weekend went okay, but Bert started to get lethargic towards the end of the weekend and was a bit out of it. We started syringe feeding with a very small syringe (3 ml) and he seems to respond a lot better to the smaller amounts at a time. It takes a bit longer and he certainly lets us know when he's done but we feel like he is getting a bit more to eat per feeding.
When Bert was readmitted on Monday, he went back on the fluid therapy and his bilirubin levels were checked again and they had come down a few points. We heard back from the pathologist yesterday and they ruled out a few things and pretty much narrowed it down to either pancreatitis or liver disease. However they're not sure if the liver disease is what started the anorexia or the anorexia started the liver disease, classic which came first the chicken or the egg.
This morning Bert seemed to be doing a little better. Dr. H said that he was bright eyed and attentive but when they did his daily blood work his levels were not good. At this point Dr. H feels like he is at the end of his expertise and has referred us to a specialist.
We will talk to the specialist in the morning and hopefully get Bert in by noon. We were told to expect an ultrasound and probably a liver biopsy. Dr. H feels that if it's liver disease Bert has a 70% chance or better to survive. If it's the pancreatitis he said it's going to be a bit harder of a road to go down. Either way we're preparing ourselves for the long haul.
So that's where we stand right now. We're hoping that the specialist will be able to pinpoint exactly what is going on and start Bert on the road to recovery. He is home tonight and seems VERY glad to be here. He's been sleeping since he got home... a deep heavy restful sleep. I don't think he sleeps very well at the vets office and since he's been there for three days I imagine he's exhausted.
....Tune in next week to check in on Bert's progress.
Kitty Potpourri - The Super Bowl, Part I
by Dan Malenski
No, we are not referring to football, that is, that silly looking ball chased around a field by a bunch of guys built like SUVs. Amanda adds that some even look like SUVs! We are going to talk about items that our cats use with glee every day, that is, cat food bowls and water bowls. We had planned to talk about cat food bowls and water bowls only this week, but after Melissa, who helps with much of our research, came up with enough information to last us until at least August or September, we decided that we needed to talk about this subject next week also.
We soon learned that cat food bowls and water bowls should not be selected as objects that merely hold stuff, as there are many more considerations that are just as important. This week, we will talk about choosing the cat food bowl that your feline friend will be most pleased with; next week, we will discuss materials, other considerations, and show you some upscale products available.
When selecting a cat food bowl, what you will be putting inside it will be an important element and will determine its ideal shape and size. Cat food bowls that are somewhat narrow, deep, and have vertical sides are more suitable for water, as they will have a tendency to keep more of the water inside the bowl than out, particularly during play sessions. We recommend that you choose a large and heavy dish, particularly if more than one cat shares it. The water bowl in this photograph is placed beside one used for food for basis of comparison. In practice, I keep the water bowl far away from the cat food food bowl because one of mine has a habit of transferring bits of kibble into the water; thus, the water fouls very quickly. I am not telling who is doing this!
When the cat food bowl is used for food, however, some additional considerations apply. If the contents will be canned food, it should be at least five inches across and less than one inch deep. If used for dry food, it may be a bit deeper, but do keep it relatively full. The average height of cat food bowls is in the order of one and one-half inches. Amanda added that she feels very strongly that the size of the cat food bowl must be large enough to accommodate the cat's whiskers also, as cats hate to have their whiskers scrunched up against the sides of a deep walled and narrow dish. She also stated that she particularly hates to have her whiskers soiled in a food bowl, being that they are so hard to clean. Perhaps this is why some cats prefer to eat by removing food from the dish with their paw first. Perhaps they are telling us to come up for air and get them a larger dish!
Please note the three cat food bowls in the photograph above. The one on the left is most suitable for the canned variety due to its shallow sides and the wide lip that serve to minimize stray bits of cat food from getting out. The one on the right with the higher sides and at a sharper angle is best for dry, as it will serve to keep the food inside the bowl. Yes-you guessed it! The one in the center position due to its size and gentle sloping sides is best suited for both the canned and dry form, as long as it is wide enough to accommodate the cat's whiskers.
Please visit us next week for the Part II of this article, at which time we will talk more about the best choices for bowls, with respect to safety and comfort, and see some of the other products designed to whet our cat's appetite.
Caring for Cats - I love My New Title!
by Garry White
Caring for Cats. Yesiree Bob, that fit's like a glove! We certainly do care for cats, don't we? So, while Kathy was probably just "moving the furniture around", as women are inclined to do, she inadvertently (or was it intentional?) opened up new doors for you and I. Mind you, we'll still discuss proactive issues, since that's a big thing with me, and clearly it falls under the umbrella of general cat-care anyway. But the new title gives us more breathing room to expand on other avenues of caring for our furry little monsters. And so we shall.starting right now, by golly!
Respecting their intelligence. Just as our own existence requires more than a full belly and a non-leaky roof, so does the world of our feline companion; they need more than just our wallet.they need us. Watch closely, and you'll see that your kitty is subject to the very same moods that humans display: Playful spiritedness, serious times, anger, aggression, submission, love and affection, coyness, surprise, and the list goes on. But it's all there for those of who care to see it. Cats, unlike any other animal I'm aware of, are so closely related to human behavior that it's startling. One might think they're wishing they could be humans like us, but in truth, they're probably wishing we'd smarten up and become cats!
Do you talk to your cat? I do, and the reactions are what I'd expect from a human: At times."I'm not interested; leave me alone!" and other times they stare squarely into my face, their little head bobs around, and it's clear that they're trying so hard to understand those funny sounds coming out of my head! Oh, they cannot understand the words, but it's beyond question that they know I'm communicating with them, and they let me know it. Time of day or night makes a difference in their reaction; whether I'm headed to the kitchen for a glass of water or looking for my car keys so I can leave makes a difference; peaceful, meaningless chatter makes a difference. Cats are intelligent, and I solidly disagree with those who feel that a cat is just another animal who functions by instinct and habit. Sometimes you can get a kiss on the nose, or a great purr-song merely by being there. And other times we get the coy act."A little more begging, Pal, and maybe I'll give you a kiss." They play us like a fiddle, and I cannot attribute that to instinct or habit alone.
So when we look at our kitty's whole life, not just his/her existence, we need to include respecting their obvious intelligence. We should try to accommodate their desires, not just their needs. After all, it's a relationship, not a transaction. Someday --mark my words on this, and remember that you saw it here first-- some clever person is going to invent a device that converts kitty-speak into people-speak, and I think we're all in for a big surprise as to how much they really do know. Crazy thinking? Perhaps, but remember Dick Tracy."A tiny device you can hold in your hand or tape to your arm, and talk to people anywhere? Why, that's just comic-book stuff; it'll never happen!
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.