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Caring for Cats Newsletter

 

Vol. 2, No. 29                           

Table of Contents
Feline Nutrition: An important reminder if changing your cats diet
This week: "
An important reminder. "
Assist Feeding
This week: "Feeding a Starving Stray Cat"
Kitty Potpourri
This week: "Let's Go For a Walk!"
Food of the Week
This week: "Planet Zorgon Hooligans"
Caring for Cats
This week: "Taking Advantage"



Feline Nutrition
An important reminder if changing your cats diet
by Garry White

Busy Week = Short Article. 

Hard to imagine Yers Trewly without plenty to say, isn't it?  Actually, the message this week is a big one, but it won't take a lot of words to convey.  Besides, it's something we've talked about in previous newsletters, but I encountered a situation recently that prompted me to re-visit the issue.  Perhaps newcomers will benefit from it, or those who missed it the first nine times.

Changing a cats diet:
These days, great new foods are coming at us in a firestorm; an endless stream of new products that are exciting and pure and better for our kitties.  Good for us, right?  And Good for Fluffy, too, right?  Maybe. Well, okay; yes the best cat foods are better for Fluffy IF we implement the new diet correctly.  The logic is sound for switching from chemically processed foods to a natural or holistic diet, but we need to do it gradually.  Many factors such as age, type and breed of cat, physical condition, size all determine how we should make the switch, but regardless of all that, the most important thing to remember is that this new cat diet will probably be a drastic change to Fluffy's digestive system.  The new cat food may be richer in proteins, or fats, and will surely contain (or lack) ingredients as compared to the store-shelf foods.  So we have to step into changing our cats diet gradually and with strong observation. 

Innova recommends the following regimen for a cat diet change; they call it the 3-6-9 plan. 

Day 1-3  * 1/3 new and 2/3 old  

Day 4-6  * 1/2 new and 1/2 old

Day 7-9  * 2/3 new and 1/3 old

And then gradually wean out the old food entirely.

Looks like a good plan, but I'll add a couple of things to it anyway:

  1. Observe!  If Fluffy isn't responding favorably, back off!  If you're determined to press forward, do it more slowly and with smaller proportions.
  2. If the kitty is older or in poor health, assume their digestive system will need more time to adjust; add some time between those steps, and perhaps a few more gradual steps.

That's it for this week. 



Assist Feeding
Feeding a Starving Stray Cat
by Kathy Fatheree

I received a letter this week about a starving stray cat that was found by several friends. W hat a wonderful feeling to help a little soul in need! This kitty is described as 'pencil thin.' Poor Baby! She gobbled up a large quantity of dry food and since then has refused it eat anything at all! The rescue efforts AFTER the rescue are not always easy.

In most cases, when a cat has been starving for a long period of time, the stomach can be very sensitive… no telling what the kitty has been eating all this time… trash… rotten food… and he or she may have even accidentally ingested poison. When this stray kitty gobbled down that wonderful food, she probably ate more than her stomach was accustomed to and now she has a terrible stomachache. If she is dehydrated, she may become constipated. Worse yet, she may have a blockage from ingesting bones, for example, when she was scavenging on her own.

The very first thing to do is take this kitty to the veterinarian to check for diseases, worms, fleas, dehydration, etc. Be sure that the vet opens the cat's mouth to check for broken teeth and foreign objects lodged in-between the teeth, in the roof of the mouth and in the throat. If the kitty is dehydrated, ask the vet to give subcutaneous (under the skin) fluids to speed the hydration process, which is critical for good health and helping kitty feel good overall.

Of course if you have to wait several hours or even overnight before going to the vet, you will want to feed him or her. More importantly, provide fresh, clean water. Also set up a quiet, cozy, warm retreat to help kitty feel safe. I once rescued a little cat on a cold wintry night as a sleet storm was starting. She was so cold and I knew I needed to get her warm fast. You probably won't believe this, but I filled the bathroom sink with warm water and set her in the basin with my hands gently holding her shoulders. She sat very contentedly and purred and purred and purred. Knowing that she would get chilled if I did not thoroughly dry her, I used my Mom's very old hair dryer that had a super slow speed, to blow her fur dry. Again she purred and purred and purred. I know I had the exceptional stray cat rather than a normal fearful stray cat, so just providing a blanket to snuggle in may be enough if kitty has enough energy to generate his or her own warmth.

Even though tuna fish sounds like a delicious meal, DO NOT feed a starving kitty tuna fish. Tuna fish is very hard on the tummy and will most likely result in vomiting. Also, do not feed cow's milk as this will also will upset the tummy and cause diarrhea. Instead, feed just 1 tablespoon of canned food. Canned food has a high moisture content and is easy to eat (no chewing required). Most starving cats will respond well to a canned food that is really smelly… like a fish & chicken blend (chicken for easier digestion). Some of the better canned fish foods will actually have chunks of fish… HOWEVER, I recommend a pate blend (creamy smooth) that will be easier on the stomach. If the stray cat eats the tablespoon of food, wait 1 hour before feeding another tablespoon of food. Repeat this process until the stray cat has eaten ½ of the can. I would then suggest waiting 3 or 4 hours before feeding more.

If the stray cat refuses to eat on his or her own, a little human intervention may be necessary. Since you do not know the disease status of this cat, extreme caution should be taken when handling a stray cat. If you feel that the cat must eat before going to the vet, try finger feeding just a little bit of food to see if this will persuade the reluctant kitty to eat. "Finger Feeding" is simply taking a little bit of canned food on your index finger (pointing finger), then placing it either on the cat's tongue or on the roof of the mouth by scraping the food against the top front teeth. If the kitty will not let you put food in his or her mouth, one method for getting the mouth open is to place your hand over the cat's head (in front of the ears with your fingers below the front teeth) and gently pull his or her head towards the ceiling to encourage the mouth to open. This works best with the cat is in a sitting position. This is the same method used when giving a cat a pill. Some cats freak out using this method so go slowly speak gently to the kitty explaining what you are doing and why. Quite often, getting just a little bit of food in the cat's mouth will excite the senses and he or she will be ready to eat. Be sure to have 1 Tablespoon of food on a plate ready for kitty to eat. If you cannot tilt the head back, try gently grasping the kitty by the scruff of the neck then slowly and gently pull the scruff up towards the head. This will in most cases slightly immobilize the kitty such that you can place a little food on the roof of the mouth. As the kitty is licking his or her chops, SLOWLY release the scruff… do not make any quick actions, as this will scare the cat. Make the release almost unnoticeable. Again, have a plate with 1 Tablespoon of food in front on the cat in case he or she decides the food tastes pretty good and is ready to eat. If finger feeding does not entice the kitty to eat, wait an hour and try again. If kitty still does not eat, a trip to the emergency vet may be in order. If it's after hours and you do not have a 24 hour vet in your area, start calling vet clinics until you find a veterinarian ''on call'' willing to assist you.



Kitty Potpourri
Let's Go For a Walk!
by Dan Malenski

For those who want their cats to enjoy the great outdoors, leash training is the safest alternative to allowing a cat to run loose, although one must still be careful to protect kitty from hazards such as stray and unfriendly dogs, or from sticking its nose where it does not belong. Training a cat to accept a leash is a bit more challenging than doing so for a dog, but most cats will adapt to it quite well with some patience on your part.

While some cats will like the outdoors, Amanda and Melissa do not, preferring to pursue such indoor feline pursuits such as keyboard walking, napping on Dad's desktop, and ankle ambushes, particularly at bedtime.

If you do consider leash training, however, we suggest that you give it some second thoughts to determine if you really need to do this. An indoor cat is likely very happy to remain an indoor cat and may not accept leash training very well. On the other hand, those who find that they enjoy the outdoors may be frequently coaxing you to take them for a walk, or worse yet, may run for the door when they see it open. Your cat will be exposed to fleas and toxic substances; therefore, you must be particularly careful when taking kitty outdoors. If after considering the above, you still wish to leash train your cat, here is the drill and it is not complicated, and be sure to use a harness, not a collar of any sort.

Kittens between the ages of four to ten weeks are the easiest to train, although older cats may be trained to accept a leash with a lot more patience. The easiest method is one that employs a series of simple steps:

Step One: Obtain a harness of the proper size and fit it snuggly around your cat so that it is comfortable, but that it cannot be wiggled out of. If you are able to fit two fingers comfortably underneath, the harness is likely not too tight. Allow it to be worn for a half-hour or so twice a day for about a week.

Step Two: Attach the leash to the harness and allow your cat to just drag it around in your home, but only do so under strict supervision and in an area where kitty cannot get out of your sight, making sure that it does not get the leash tangled up or snagged on some object. This supervision is not only done for safety reasons, but to insure that your cat doesn't associate any uncomfortable or traumatic experiences with the leash. Allow your cat to do this daily for about a week, starting with short sessions at first, and gradually increasing them towards the end of the week.

Step Three: Now, we are almost there! Pick up the end of the leash and practice walking your cat around the house. Refrain from pulling on the leash and just allow your cat to wander around. Insure that your cat accepts the indoor walks and is completely at ease prior to taking it out to explore the outdoors.

The first few times that you go for a stroll outdoors with your cat, do so in a quiet area free of traffic, noise, pedestrians, or other animals and allow kitty to explore at his or her own pace. A quiet backyard would be the ideal place to accomplish this. If your cat becomes frightened during a walk, do not jerk the leash, but just hold it firmly, coaxing kitty back to you, and reward him or her with a treat. It is most important to insure that your cat does not associate a negative experience with the leash and it will enjoy the outdoor adventures much more.



Food of the Week
Planet Zorgon Hooligans
by Garry White

Sorry gang no new food for this week. The one we were scheduled to test and report on never arrived.  It was shipped several days ago, but we haven't seen it.  Maybe it was those Planet Zorgon hooligans again, or perhaps it got lost in the mail. Perish the thought!



Caring for Cats
Taking Advantage
by Garry White

Do you believe that people take advantage of our emotions?  If not, you're 2 days old or from another planet.  They do and it's sad, but it's how the world works.  We see it in every level of commerce, which we call marketing because it sounds better than "stealing".Apply this goop to your face and you'll be beautiful just like the model selling it (who, of course, was already beautiful long before she took the job to selling the goop).  If my livelihood is selling cars, I'll do my best to assure you that your entire life will turn around if you buy this car.  There isn't much we can do about it, and I suppose we have to attribute it to "just business." 

But there is another level of humanity that sinks well below someone just trying to hustle John. Q. Public out of a buck. They are the ones who capitalize on our souls, not just our emotions; the ones who make money by taking advantage of death, suffering, and misery.  Those who know that the more we hurt the more we'll pay, and so prices are developed accordingly.  And especially I refer to those who take advantage our hearts and souls during the illness or death of a pet.  They know we'll sell the farm for any weak straw that promises success; that we'll pay any amount for special tributes. 

I did some extensive research on this dreary subject recently, and I saw things that almost made me ashamed to a member of the same human race.  I saw claims such as, "Don't you want your Angel Baby to look down from Heaven and see how much you care?"  Which referred to a $279 wooden box, "Special Shrine" for ashes, a trinket-box that can be bought at Walmart for under $10.   I saw many such disgusting claims, but the one that really got to me was a book.  In fact, the whole thing was so full of rotten trickery that it was billed as a self-help article that would guarantee many, many more happy years of life for our cat.  Who wouldn't go read this one, right?  I did, and it was indeed lengthy. The author told of how she had gotten these amazing secrets from the very deathbed of an old woman whose cats had lived for 30.some even 40.years!  Imagine your precious baby being with you for 40 years!  But I saw no secrets, only her ranting and raving testimony that the old woman had developed such wonderful things, and that she had shared them with the author of the "article".  At the very end of this lengthy diatribe, the real scoop came out:  "All of those special secrets are included in my book for only $49.95".

Actually, there is no such secret that will keep a cat healthy and alive for 40 years, and we all know it.  But I wanted to see to what depths some people would go to get money, and my conclusion is that the pit is bottomless; there are no limits.  Why did I even do such research, you ask?  So I could share a thought with you:  Be careful, people.  If you're having a hard time with your kitty; perhaps an illness, or maybe you had to let one go on up to Heaven, you are vulnerable, and you're susceptible to the scum who are out there waiting to make some money off what you're going through.  Again, just please be careful and recognize your weakness at such a time. 

 

 

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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.