Caring for Cats Newsletter
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Vol. 2, No. 3
Feline Nutrition - The Rest Of The Story.
by Garry White
RE: Last week's unsavory discussion about commercial foods.
Few of us care to know the cold, hard facts about everything, and that includes this author. With a slight adjustment in DNA, I would have been a great Ostrich.
Besides, if we focused only on what's wrong, or bad, we'd have to live in a bubble. So we go through life in what we hope is a happy medium: We succumb to pleasure and convenience, but we try to be careful along the way. Thing is, we have to feed our kitties, and we cannot stand inside a pet-food factory and personally assure that every ingredient or process meets with our approval. So we're forced to trust people to do the right thing, and therein lies a conflict; we've learned not to trust anyone.
So where does that Belfield article (and others like it) leave us? I doubt that any of us are qualified to challenge his credentials, so we're stuck with assuming that his information is accurate. But is it true with every manufacturer? And if not, then can we please have a list of Good Guys and Bad Guys? Also, have most (or even some) of the manufacturers cleaned up their act since his article was written? Which ones? These are questions we can't answer, and while the article left me tilted, it didn't topple me completely.
Let's view a couple of facts: For openers, the pet-food industry is big business, and manufacturers are Federally bound to support their claims. I cannot logically imagine one of the big players risking their existence by lying about ingredients. "Ah, so you're saying the manufacturers are Good Guys, in spite of Belfield?" Nope, but neither am I implying that they're stupid. Here's what you do when the truth will hurt you: Shroud it inside something that looks like the truth. Maybe we'll call it 'meal', or 'dinner', or 'by-product', or some other creative name that has very loose guidelines as to content. You see, if the claim is 'beef', for example, the contents must be at least 95% beef, but if they call it 'meal' or 'dinner', they're only required to assure us that the contents are at least 25% beef. "Harrumph! What about the other 75%?" We're back to trust.or not; we can't know for sure.
Dr. Belfield: I also do not believe he'd risk his own professional reputation with slanderous, libelous, fictitious claims. Which means there's probably truth to his words, at least in large part. But Fluffy will starve to death if we sit on this fence and do nothing, so after all the flipping and flopping, here's where I stand, personally: Since some (most) manufacturers prefer to hide behind the cloak of "proprietary recipe", rather than give us all the facts, one is left wondering what they don't want us to know. Logic being; if we have something to brag about, we brag about it. So the bottom line is that I'll stay pretty much with the holistic foods that claim to use only human-grade ingredients, and only with the better brands that I feel (guesswork, really) are more reliable. Am I making the right choice? Ask me again in 15 years or so.
Assist Feeding - Bert's Liver Biopsy
by Kathy Fatheree
Last week... Bert was preparing for a visit to a specialist for an ultrasound and liver biopsy to determine if he has Feline Hepatic Lipidosis (fatty liver disease) or Pancreatitis....
Bert visited the specialist today and so far we've had somewhat good news. Dr. S did the ultrasound and the biopsy today (he did do the biopsy via a needle, no surgery) and from what he saw he is leaning heavily towards the FHL. We won't know for sure until tomorrow but Dr. S is pretty confident. Normally this would be devastating to us but right now we feel pretty good because we've been told there is a 90% survival rate. I know Bert has a long road ahead of him still but both my husband and I can't help but feeling like a little of the weight has been lifted. It feels good to finally pinpoint some type of ailment so we can get started on the road to recovery.
We dropped Bert off this morning for his needle biopsy and he got to come home at 5 o'clock so no overnight stay! Woohoo!! He was VERY groggy and out of it. They gave him a sedative and apparently some type of anti-sedative after the biopsy, which is making him loopy. They said it should wear off completely by morning but if it doesn't he'll need another anti-sedative shot.
When he got home the first thing he tried to do was use the litter box but after about five minutes of rooting around in there he wasn't able to go. After that he headed into the bedroom for some sleep. He is a burrower and usually sleeps under the covers on our bed and today was no exception. He curled up and was fast asleep. This evening we syringe fed him (around 9 pm) and he as still pretty out of it. His second eyelid was half closed and he was having trouble keeping his mouth closed, it was open about a 1/4 of an inch. Also he seemed a little shaky.
Tonight after we had gone to bed he started acting a bit weird, which is to be expected according to the vet tech at Dr. S's office. Bert would be down by my leg/feet sleeping when he would suddenly jump up and come out of the covers jump down, jump back up between us and then try to burrow back under covers. He would be under covers for about 2 minutes then jump back down and back up and burrow all over again. It was bizarre. He did this at least a dozen times before I got up (I am still not getting a lot of sleep :( ). He's seemed to calm down a bit then and he finally fell asleep between our pillows but it was really weird. The vet tech said he might act a little paranoid but I'm not sure that behavior falls under that category.
Dr. S said that if it is the FHL he would like to get Bert started on "total parental nutrition" which means the feeding tube.
Note: I think the vet meant Eternal Nutrition. According to the Merck Manual, "Parenteral nutrition is administered IV." "Enteral tube nutrition may be used in patients with a functioning GI tract to supplement oral feeding or to replace it entirely."
So that's the news for now. Not good but could be a whole lot worse. I will email again tomorrow when we get the official results of the biopsy and find out what our next move is.
Next Day's Email from Bert's Mom:
...Be sure to check in next week to follow Bert's journey!
Kitty Potpourri - The Super Bowl, Part II
by Dan Malenski
Last week, we discussed how to choose the optimum cat food bowls and water bowls for your feline companion with respect to the type of food being fed and comfort. This week, we talk about the various materials bowls are made of and what to avoid. Finally, we will talk about some of the specialty items available for feeding our feline companions, some of which have practical uses and others for snob appeal.
When shopping for cat food bowls and water bowls and choosing the material that they are made of, you will have several primary choices, that is, those made out of pottery, stoneware, glass, stainless steel, or plastic. Bowing to Amanda's insistence, we will talk about those made from plastic first, as she has several issues with plastic, and after discussing them, I have to agree. The only redeeming factors of plastic cat food bowls are price (sometimes) and their ability to withstand abuse, although some still may crack. However, they also have several disadvantages, some of which are serious.
The most serious potential problem with plastic cat food bowls is that many professionals have implicated them with feline acne and various skin lesions. Although many vets will treat these problems first with antibiotics, others will first take them off plastic. Another is their propensity to accumulate scratches, and these scratches may become a breeding ground for bacteria, particularly if the "dishwasher" is less than thorough. Finally, they are very light and may travel around quite a bit as your cat eats, unless weighted down by some other material within, such as sand. It is Melissa's opinion that unless one's middle name is "Butterfingers," there is no good reason to use plastic for cat food bowls, and I have to agree.
We have no problems with any of the other materials mentioned above, but we do prefer the bowls in the pottery/stoneware category due to their weight, ease of cleaning, and availability in any size or form. Those made of glass have the same advantages but if broken may fragment into much sharper pieces than the others. Finally, stainless steel bowls are better suited for water, as those used for food, particularly the canned or wet variety, will have a tendency to travel around the floor as kitty eats. How would you like your plate to move every time you speared a piece of food?
You must exercise care when shopping for the stoneware variety of bowls, however, as some may contain heavy metals such as lead and/or cadmium in their glaze. Other than sending it to a laboratory for an analysis, there is no sure method to insure that a bowl does not contain any of these metals, but there are common sense steps that you can take to minimize the risk. Avoid handmade bowls and those sold by businesses that are not dedicated to selling pet supplies, and, or course, the guy hawking cat food bowls near the newsstand where you get the paper every day! Finally, insure that the quality of the glaze is good so that it cleans easily and will not collect grease.
For the cat that has gourmet tastes, you may wish to explore the upscale products available for them such as multiple bowl feeding stations.Many contain up to four separate bowls in which several courses of the meal may be served. Many are also available in which the bowls sit in raised platforms that keep them off the floor, so that the kitties who have the reputation of being "couch potatoes" don't even have to bend their heads down to eat! These types of feeding stations may also be more comfortable for those kitties with certain physical problems. The feeding stations are available in many forms containing from one to four bowls on a raised platform. If you absolutely insist on the very best (and the very expensive) for your kitty, many platforms are constructed from handcrafted and varnished wood. The ones constructed of metal are the most affordable. If you are interested in any of these products, use of your favorite search engine on the World Wide Web will introduce you to a myriad of sources, all of which promise to insure that your checking account doesn't accumulate excess funds.
Caring for Cats - One never knows, do one?
by Garry White
I wish I could lay claim to that nifty phrase, but alas I cannot; it's from my favorite author, Lawrence Sanders. However, Sanders was a cat-lover, and he's an Angel now.like my Lewie.so perhaps he won't mind if I borrow a few of his words today for a worthy cause.
The mystery implications I refer to are the pitfalls we don't think about, but are nonetheless dangerous for our kitties. It seems like there's no end to the things we have to worry about, doesn't it? Oh well, Fluffy didn't force herself into our lives, so we're obligated to do our very best to assure her safety and good health.
That said, let's go over a few things that don't stand right out and pinch our nose, okay?
Do you take your kitties outside for some fresh air occasionally? I do, and they love it. I take them out singly, and I stay right with them, and we're out for only a few minutes. Which is more than long enough for them to lick up some anti-freeze from where a car may have parked recently. Need I expand on this one??
If your cat is a climber, be careful about leaving dresser drawers open, especially the top one. Accounting for leverage, the cantilever effect, and simple gravity, a 12-pound cat added to an extended top-drawer is often enough to topple the dresser over.and onto the cat!
Does Kitty have access to the laundry room in your house? If so, you probably have a small trashcan in there. Be sure to keep the lid closed, or put some kind of cover over it: Those little dryer sheets are highly toxic, and most cats love to lick them.
You're cooking dinner. If you have to leave the food area for any reason, look around first, and assume that Kitty will probably take this opportunity to inspect your handiwork. And assume that if you've left garlic, onion, chocolate, or any number of spices out in the open, that Kitty will most likely have a taste.which could easily set the stage for things like Heinz Body anemia.
Here's a sneaky one! I noticed that Wilbur LOVES to play with the water from a dripping faucet, and it was such fun to watch that goofball act up! Until we almost had a disaster. I have a portable dishwasher, the kind that you wheel into place and connect up to the kitchen faucet (okay, so I'm a little out of date, huh?). By total accident, I discovered that Wilbur's fascination with drippy faucets doesn't end there: He also loves to play with the drippy drain water from the dishwasher, as well. Which, of course, is laden with highly caustic detergent!
So in your light, Mr. Sanders, I ask these nice people to consider once again: One never knows, do one?
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.