Table of Contents
Feline Nutrition: A Bean is a Bean is a Bean!
Assist Feeding: Holding my Breath for Skip
Kitty Potpourri: Introducing “Mom”
Best Cat Food: Surf & Turf
Caring for Cats: Some-a-dis, Some-a dat
It seems like every time I turn around these days, I stumble head first into a new manufacturer of holistic/natural cat foods. You may recall that I predicted this gold rush some time ago, and now it is upon us and will surely grow as time goes on. There’s no question that we pet owners can and will benefit greatly from this new response to our needs, but we need to see this new inrush for what it really is in some cases.demand and supply. We demanded and they’re supplying. Sounds like a pretty good arrangement, and it is.as long as we understand that some of those rushing to take advantage of this new, wide-open market won’t be quite as scrupulous as we’d like them to be. As far as I know, there are no AAFCO or other government guidelines that establish what can and cannot be called a holistic or natural food, so it’s really a matter of trusting what the label says. Right? Well, no, not exactly. Indeed I am a big proponent of holistic and natural diet, but the mad rush to markets with one food after another makes me a bit antsy, and leaves me thinking: Aluminum Siding! Remember those days? A wonderful concept, for sure, but as soon as the idea took root, the scammers flocked to it. Meaning we’ll be exposed to good and bad foods that claim to be holistic, natural, pure; the very best thing your cat could ever eat!
But unlike aluminum siding, we clever folks can go deeper than accepting blind promises from a slick salesman, and one way to assure that a pet food manufacturer is on the up and up is by checking the source of ingredients. We tend to think that a bean is a bean, but that’s not the case; source is everything! I won’t get into a big technical spiel here, but let’s take protein for a quick example: A manufacturer light claim an impressive figure of 22% protein, and some of us are amazed.golly, that’s great! Others of us are asking: Fine, but what kind of protein is it: meat or grains? If it’s meat protein, what kind of meat, from which animals, and what parts of the animal are used? If it’s a mixture of meat and grain protein, what are the proportional percentages of each? And what kind of grains are used? It does make a difference, folks, and a big one. I can use feet, hair, beaks, and meat from road kill or even euthanised animals or animals with cancers and other deadly ailments, and call it “meat protein”, and be quite legal. I can use the cheapest possible wheat and soy grains and call it “quality grain protein”, and be quite legal.
Most of the holistic manufacturers won’t do this, but we have to accept the fact that some will, and unfortunately its up to us again to sort them out. Which isn’t as hard as it sounds, and what I’m telling you here is a first step in weeding out the bad guys. You’ll have to do a little research, but the Internet makes that pretty easy. And then you have to muster up enough courage to demand answers about the source of their ingredients. The good guys are extremely proud of their recipes and will talk your head off, bragging about the finer details. The bad guys will tell you that the recipe is proprietary, or that some legal constraint prevents them from sharing such information publicly, or some other neat quip to get out of telling you what’s really in that food. When you encounter the latter (and you will, believe me), run for tall timbers!
Skip is a precious 9-year-old who was diagnosed on July 8th with Feline Hepatic Lipidosis secondary to Irritable Bowel Disease and pacreatitis. A PEG tube was placed on July 19th. He was allowed to go home on the 22nd, but put back in the hospital on the 26th.
Skip started acting “odd” on July 8th. His behavior increasingly got worse over the weekend… he wasn’t acting himself. He seemed very down and didn’t want to hang around us much… highly unusual for Skip. The last time I know for sure that he ate was Sunday the 10th. On the 11th Skip was admitted into the hospital and stayed until the 13th. I syringe fed him that night. On Thursday they re-admitted him. He stayed until Friday night the 15th. On the 16th we took Skip to another vet for 2nd opinion. That vet agreed with our vet that Skip DID NOT need a feeding tube. I syringe fed him all weekend. Skip was stressed by the syringe feeding and more food came up than went in his belly. On Monday the 18th, Skip was again admitted into the hospital. **I was told that while Skip was previously hospitalized they were giving him all the calories he needed.** They then attempted to feed him too but failed. I INSISTED on a feeding tube. I didn’t know what kind but it didn’t matter as long as he had a tube. Since they were going to do a biopsy and exploratory surgery I told them it was the perfect time to insert a tube. They agreed. Skip weighed approx. 17-18 pounds when he stopped eating… Last Friday he weighed 15.
July 19 – Exploratory surgery of the abdomen, liver biopsy and PEG tube inserted.
July 22 – Morning – Dr. K told me that Skip looks really depressed and doesn’t look as good as he did yesterday. Skip is meowing but Dr K can tell he isn’t happy. Maybe Skippy will perk up some when he gets home. We can pick him up at 4:30. Skippy did urinate and defecate last night so that is good news. Dr K. says all the fluids they gave him is basically forcing him into being anemic so they stopped all fluids via the catheter. They changed Skip’s food to a kitten food for added protein. His incision area is still leaking due to all the fluid backup from the surgery. Skip is getting Baytril through the tube. Skip is getting his second feeding of the day at the vet right now. So far he has not vomited. Once I see Skip for myself and see how he is acting after we get him home and settled for a couple hours, I will get a feel for how well he is doing. Dr K reminded me that Skip is not out of the woods. I hate hearing that.
July 22 – Evening – Skip is HOME! Skip vomited while we were at the vet’s office so we were told not to give him any more food tonight. Skip was fed 120cc today. Because Skip got sick, we are suppose to start him off with 20cc food & a 5cc water flush every two hours instead of 30cc every two hours as was originally planned. The meds will be diluted with water and go through the tube. Dr K told us Skippy will have this tube for 2 months. In addition to everything else, Skip may also be diabetic. His glucose levels have been rising steadily over the last 3 days. Skip will go back for a recheck on Monday. They have Skip on PD so he gets a higher amount of protein. If Skip indeed is diabetic then his food will change. Skippy is still swollen. He doesn’t have a sockinette.Instead he has what looks like sports wrapping because of the leaking from the swelling. Dr. K told us that Skippy hasn’t slept much because it is so loud at the clinic. We are hoping he will get a good night’s rest tonight. Feedings will start in the morning. We were told to get him settled and kind of leave him alone tonight. I pet him for awhile. Skip looks at me when I call his name but he is really, really down right now. I think I will turn off the light and let him sleep for awhile.
July 25 – Dr. K admitted Skip again…there is still too much fluid and she believes it is due to the lack of protein in Skip’s system. Dr. K also said that Skip should be more perky. Dr K will consult with an internist to make sure she isn’t missing anything and to find out what else we can do for Skip. She said Skip should not be vomiting at all… especially on 20cc of food. Dr. K told me that she is not sure he is going to make it.
July 26 – Skip is growling at the vet tech because she is the one drawing blood and messing with him the most. When Dr K comes in, Skip purrs. 🙂 Skippy pooped again today so that is good news.
by Dan Malenski and Brigetta Walden
It is with great pleasure that I introduce Amanda’s and Melissa’s “Mom,” Brigetta Walden, to you, who will be helping them with the task of conveying their thoughts from the “feline side of life.” Brigetta will be working very closely with the girls so that their talents may be utilized to their greatest potential. Of course, I fully realize that prior to Brigetta coming on-board, the “score” between the girls and I was, the girls: 2, Dan: 0, and now it will be the girls: 3, Dan: 0! In spite of the increased odds, I welcome Brigetta on-board!
Brigetta has been working very closely with the girls lately and through her persistence, she had discovered hidden talents in them that I never knew they had. Here is what she has to say about Amanda’s newly discovered capability:
It seems that a family secret has come to light. Not only is Melissa our technical advisor, but it appears that our Amanda has the gift for poetry and has asked me if she could express some of her views from “the feline side of life”. That being said, I now turn it over to Amanda:
A kitten is what I’ve always wanted to be,
Having nine lives is what really intrigued me,
The purring and meowing is what I do best
It’s my way of keeping my Dad from his rest,
He cannot resist me, but then what Dad could
When I curl up beside him and make him feel good,
My fur is so shiny, my eyes are so bright
I just wish the fur balls would take a quick hike,
My Dad says I’m growing as quick as a weed
Having said that, it’s more toys I would need,
My Mom says I’m clever and quite the “cool cat”
I’m purrfectly willing to agree with all that,
My name is Amanda, and I’m now a grown cat
Who’s hoping to cheer you with this little chat,
So if you like poetry, and you like cats too
Maybe you can write me a line or two.
See you next time, cause here comes my Dad
And now it’s his turn to type on this pad.
Well, I knew that Amanda was the outspoken member of the family, but I never knew that she could even spell the word “rhyme”, much less use it in writing. Thanks to Brigetta for discovering her hidden talent, and perhaps in a few weeks, our Melissa will have her turn to express her thoughts.
Each week we are having our own cat food reviews to determine what we, or should I say, our kitties think is the best cat food.
Brand Name: Merrick Pet Foods
Product: ‘Surf & Turf’
“Pretty classy food, Dad! This is best cat food! And to think I almost ate Wilbur a while ago! He would have spoiled my appetite!”
“Right-o, Clarkie boy; good thing you waited.”
Another great food from the Merrick folks, gang, and this one is special! I opened the can and was tempted to go hide under the kitchen sink and eat this one myself! But Clarkie was watching, so I had no choice but to do the right thing. We’re talking Pacific Salmon, New England lobster, shrimp, crab, and of course plenty of good ol’ American beef, in a sauce that smells good enough to make even humans drool!
Of course there are plenty of veggies that we’ve come to learn are so beneficial for proper digestion, and the nutrient balance was as right on the money. But talk about going the extra mile, get this: Also included in the ingredients are Yukon Gold potatoes! In ‘Feline Nutrition’ this week, I talked about the source of ingredients being important, and this is a classic case. Yukon Gold potatoes are generally grown in a more pure grade of soil, they have far less starch than most any other potato, and they have a naturally buttery taste! They’re difficult to manage and must be kept cool at all times, and they’re much more costly (on average, about $20 for a 5-pound bag).but this is the kind of important difference I refer to when I talk about the source of ingredients.
Give it a try, folks. It’s hard to go wrong with this one, and there’s not much doubt that your fur-gang will love it.
Somewhere in the near future, Kathy and I will be doing a series of articles on the topic of managing guilt; the wicked and powerful emotion that befalls most –if not all– of us when a fur-baby is forced to leave us by whatever means. Like we’re some kind of experts, right? HAH! Not hardly, but we’ve decided it’s an issue worthy of serious, structured discussion. We go through many emotions when we lose a kitty, but no one can argue that guilt is the worst, and we’re currently formatting our thoughts in order to present this in such a way as to perhaps help at least a few readers. I’ll be writing the articles, but thoughts and ideas will be shared by Kathy and myself. Wanna give us a hand with this one? We surely could use it! Feedback (at) AssistFeed.com
I saw on CNN today that 200 US cities are under Extreme Heat Warnings. Hopefully your own cats are indoors, but if they’re allowed outside, even to a screened-in porch, be sure you limit the time they are exposed. If you have outside cats that you feed and water (your own, or even feral or neighborhood cats), you might wanna add a handful of ice cubes to that water bowl, and of course don’t leave a plate of canned food out in this heat for more than an hour, at most.
I experience something recently that chilled my blood, and I’ll use the nightmare as a caution. You may recall that we have an outside kitty here named Missy. Missy had some babies a while back, and they too are feral, frightened of humans. My apartment is on the second floor over a big accounting office (odd situation but it works for me). Anyway, I feed Missy on the upstairs landing, but I had not yet seen the babies around. Several mornings ago, I opened the back door as I always do, and caught movement in my peripheral vision: One of the kittens had apparently been up there and was frightened by the door noise, and instead of going back down the stairs, he/she panicked and jumped straight off the landing eighteen feet to the pavement! I was sick! The kitten ran off like a bullet, but I was sure it must have suffered some kind of damage from such a fall. Long story short, the kitten was back out playing with the others by afternoon, and is now a regular visitor for the morning and evening meals. All turned out okay, but take it as a warning: We cannot predict what a feral cat will do when frightened; be careful around them This could easily have been a disaster, and I’m amazed that it wasn’t!
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.