Vol. 2, No. 6

Table of Contents
Feline Nutrition:
 Petie Brigham Asks
Assist Feeding:
 Tube Feeding Bert… Is Your Tummy Full
Kitty Potpourri:
 Happy Landings!
Caring for Cats: Proactive Plan: Step-2

Feline Nutrition
Petie Brigham Asks.
by Garry White


“Are we overdoing it?” She’s referring, of course, to the new-wave rage of ‘designer-everything’ that we simply must do for our cats: Designer drugs, designer foods, confusing, time-consuming and obnoxiously expensive protocols and treatment programs if they sneeze more than twice a week; sneezing could be a sign of.


It’s certainly a valid question, Petie, and I wish I were qualified to stamp it with an official answer, but instead you’ll have to settle for my opinion: Yes, I think we are overdoing it. We’ve fallen prey to the world of techno-junkies and self-acclaimed radical gurus who know precisely how long to pause between ‘OH‘ and ‘MY‘ and ‘GOD‘.you’re feeding Fluffy WHAT? It’s scary, isn’t it? They know and you don’t, so you’d better change routines right away, or it’s tulip-time for poor Fluffy. Is it really? Or should we be asking ourselves who stands to benefit most from our fears? Whether the gain is monetary from a distracted and removed source, or an ego boost to the speaker if he/she can get you to follow their advice, the bottom line often isn’t where it belongs; in the cat’s best interest.


After lengthy email discussions and admissions that we are, in many instances, treating our cats with new-gadget mentality, Petie went on to ask whether or not I’d continue to talk about better nutrition. I will, because I believe that I stay well inside the boundaries of common sense, and I feel that the information I provide has a net worth. We cannot ignore clinical science or the results of extensive medical research, but in Petie’s defense.neither can we let our cats become lab-rats for everyone’s whim-of-the-day.


Bringing all of this back to nutrition: Is it wrong to feed our cats commercial foods? No, it is not. There are those who wouldn’t touch a can of Friskies or 9-Lives with a ten-foot pole, but I’m not one of them; I would and I do. Like it or not, we have to accept the fact that billions of research dollars have gone into these recipes that have kept millions upon millions of cats alive for a very long time. Yes, there are discrepancies about the integrity of ingredients used in commercial foods (my article-before-last, huh?), which only presents the next question: Can we take an approach that we feel is better, maybe safer, for our kitties, long term? Yes, I think we can, ergo our new “Food Of The Week” article.


So we’re at the finish line for this week, and who won? Are commercial foods bad? No. Are holistic foods better? Yes. I may go into politics if Kathy ever fires me.


I always admired Peter Falk as the ratty little Lt. Columbo, so I’ll play his character for a moment: Oh, just one more thing: Don’t disrupt your cat’s life and those very delicate systems just because someone says you should, whether it’s me, or a vet, or your neighbor. If it makes sense to you, then give it a try slowly and gradually, and if you see that it isn’t hitting the intended target… STOP! Let that cat be a cat; feed it what it likes and what works, and try again another day!

Assist Feeding
Tube Feeding Bert… Is Your Tummy Full
by Kathy Fatheree


Last week… Bert was released from the kitty hospital after having a PEG tube surgically implanted to treat his Feline Hepatic Lipidosis (FHL). Bert was fed through his tube at the hospital… now it’s time for Bert’s parents to take over his tube feedings.


Here’s this week’s Update from Bert’s Mom:
Before each feeding we have to check to see if his stomach still contains undigested CliniCare from his previous feeding. The tech said don’t feed him if his stomach aspirates more than 10cc’s into the syringe.


NOTE: Most of us know the word “aspirate” in the terms of a kitty breathing food down the wrong pipe… into the lungs. What the vet tech is referring to here is being able to pull liquid out of the stomach via the stomach tube into an attached syringe indicating that the stomach is still full. The online Webster dictionary shows one of the definitions for aspirate is “to draw by suction.”


We put the syringe on the tube to check for aspiration and there was only about 2cc’s… So we were good to go. I attached the syringe filled with CliniCare, only I pushed the syringe in too fast and my poor baby threw up! I wanted to bawl my head off!! The very first feeding and I made him throw up! 🙁 🙁 He threw up once and then laid back down.

We waited about 20 minutes to try again and the second time it went off without a hitch! Bert did fabulous! He just laid there with his head on my pillow, eyes half closed purring! If I didn’t know better I would say he even *enjoys* being fed!! I think he forgives me for making him throw up, it’s the forgiving myself that’s going to take a while! 🙁


Additional notes from Bert’s Mom about checking for a full tummy:

Before Bert eats, we uncap him and put an empty syringe on his tube (we usually use a 20cc syringe). Once the syringe is on, we gently pull up. pulling the fluid out of his stomach. The suction on the tube is probably the hardest thing to work with. As we pull up (and it’s hard to pull up!) we are fighting the suction from his stomach or gravity or something because it’s not an easy thing to do. LaLania said that the stomach sometimes folds over the tube (being the spongy type organ that it is) and that can make it harder to put food in or take it out. Also we have to go really slow because it can make Bert sick to have it sucked out and then put back in again. As we gently pull, we let up on it every few seconds so the pressure doesn’t get to be too much and then start pulling in again, if that makes sense. If the fluid level coming out reaches over 10cc’s we slowly allow the fluid to go back in his stomach and wait until later to feed him. We have to hold the plunger and slooowly let it go back in… it’s hard not to just let go and let it all go back in. After it gets down to about 3 cc’s, the pressure lets up and we can let go of the plunger. If the amount of aspirated liquid is less than 10cc’s (I think the highest Bert has been since we brought him home is an 8) we go ahead and feed him. It only takes a few minutes to check for a full tummy before we feed him, but it’s a great way to make sure he’s not getting too much.


Successful Feedings!
I just finished Bert’s FIFTH feeding and he gets better every single time. He’s in sleeping with Mitch, curled up around his legs, and he’s even sleeping on the side of the tube! We figured it would be too sore to sleep on that side but he’s completely sprawled out! I just pulled the covers back enough to get to the tube and fed him and the little booger didn’t even wake up!! Isn’t that the best news EVER!? I am so thrilled with the feeding tube. Already the jaundice is going away. Before the inside of his ears looked like someone took a yellow marker and drew all over, now they’re already turning back to a pinkish/white color! I fed him and he was sound asleep. (All three of my cats sleep like the dead when they sleep under covers with us!) About half way through I was rubbing his chest and he started purring his little head off. I know I’m gushing but I can not tell you how relieved I am. He’s just doing so wonderful Kathy! He’s alert and bright eyed, he’s purring and his drooling has dropped off by at least 50%. He’s not afraid of us when we come near him with the syringes; he doesn’t run or drool. His stress level has plummeted (as has ours!). I *KNOW* he’s going to continue to improve and it won’t be long before he’s eating on his own again!!


We have an appointment with Dr. S for next Friday for his first check-up and I’m keeping a journal of his feedings; amount, time, water given and medicine given. Also we’re keeping track of any issues he has and noting it as well. That way I can take it in for Dr. S but also Mitch and I have a record of when he was fed and of any issues. The clinic gave us a very comprehensive feeding schedule and a list of things to watch out for.

We’ll keep you updated if anything changes but for right now he’s doing fabulous!!

…Be sure to check in next week to follow Bert’s journey!

Kitty Potpourri
Happy Landings!
by Dan Malenski


The graceful agility of the cat has fascinated many a cat owner, and whether a cat is jumping to and from high (and often forbidden) places or merely tiptoeing across a countertop, it can best be described as poetry in motion. Melissa, who is of the feline species, but thinks and acts like a flying squirrel at times, inspired this week’s article. There is not one object in this household that has not been conquered at one time or another.


Being that our feline partners had to hunt to survive before the advent of pet superstores, their bodies are well suited for catching prey by being capable of quick bursts of speed and the capability to rapidly change direction. The cat has a highly developed cerebellum, which facilitates rapid and accurate movement through its sensory receptors. Their muscles are also far more flexible than many other animals such as d*gs, which give them the ability arch its back or curl up into a small bundle of fur on your favorite lounge chair. This flexibility also gives them the ability to rotate one-half of its spine relative to the other half nearly 180 degrees! This ability is very important when a cat attempts to right itself during a fall. In spite of their size, they also outnumber us in terms of the number of vertebrae in their spines. Humans have between 32 and 34 vertebrae versus between 44 and 58 in the cat, including their tail, which they are able to maneuver into surprising positions and is a vital component of their balancing ability.


Have you ever seen your kitty nonchalantly cross the top of a window using only the curtain rod? If so, I suggest that you place a support in the center of it, as I had to do so that it would not collapse when I learned that my Melissa was into acrobatics. The cat’s tail provides them with their balancing capability, which fully explains why we cannot walk across curtain rods or on fence tops even if they were able to support us. Cat use their tails much as tightrope walkers use a long pole, as a counterweight. Movement of the tail is controlled by the cerebellum, which receives its data from the cat’s eyes and a special organ of the inner ear called the vestibular apparatus. Amanda just nodded head in disapproval as I write this, meaning that she does not like my using words she cannot spell, so I will just say that the vestibular apparatus is roughly the biological equivalent of a gyroscope, a device use in mechanical devices to stabilize it and for navigation.


A discussion about balance will not be complete without an explanation of how cats right themselves in a free fall. Let me start by saying that due to many variables, cats do not always right themselves in a fall and sometimes do get hurt. It is safe to say, however, that their ability to right themselves diminishes the possibility of serious injury in a fall.

When a cat’s feet are higher than its body, a sequence of actions occurs, that, in effect, turns the cat’s body 180 degrees, so that it lands on its feet, having a safe and happy landing. First, the cat levels his head, turning it parallel to the ground and rotates its upper chest and front limbs while its lower half remains pointing upward. This is possible due to the flexibility of the cat’s spine, mentioned earlier. Then, the cat will twist its rear half to line up with its front, using its tail as a rudder to make any corrections in case it misjudges. As it comes in for the landing, and hopefully a happy one, it will arch its back and relax its legs to absorb the shock. If everything goes as planned, the cat will be able to traverse many more curtain rods, as Melissa is fond of doing.

Caring for Cat
Proactive Plan: Step-2
by Garry White


Setting up Fluffy’s Binder

First of all, let’s assume you’ve got a bunch of those little tabbed dividers in there to separate the sections, and then we’ll start calling this her Life Binder, because that’s what it really is; it’s where we’ll keep everything we know about her life.


I want us to think of the life binder as a fire extinguisher: Out of the way and unobtrusive, but there when we need it. Now, you and I both know that if we make this thing a complex, difficult affair to work with on a regular basis, it’ll never happen. Which means we have to structure it properly now, and I can assure you it isn’t rocket science. I’ll share with you what I do, which was learned from trial an error. You’re more than welcome to copy the format, expand on it or customize it as you wish, but the main thing is to follow the concept itself: We need an organized place for Fluffy’s information, and that bowl atop the microwave just won’t do. Here’s the layout that works for me, and here’s a sure to date every entry.


Section-1: Contact Information. Primarily vet and emergency-clinic phone numbers, and be sure to include their business hours!


Section-2: Diet information. Current diet on top, with periodic comments about her eating habits, how much per day, etc.


Section-3: Demeanor. If all we can say is that she was a lovable sweetie 2 years ago but she’s a reclusive grump now, then we haven’t said anything at all. We need to see the trend as she changed, and possibly tie it with other trends.that is information we can use.

Section-4: Litterbox. Unpleasant as this one is, we need to keep an eye on the normal routine and make sure we note any changes. You’re looking for dark stools, diarrhea, etc.

Section-5: Drinking habits. A normal, healthy cat should consume about 4 ounces or so off water daily, whether through drinking, canned food, or a combination of both. At 6-8 ounces consumption, there’s a problem.


Section-6: Vet visits. Assuming periodic exams, be sure to get a copy of everything that was done or observed by the vet!


Section-7: Blood test reports. If she’s having these done, make sure the latest is on top of the stack.


Section-8: Urinary tests. Same as with blood tests; latest on top of the stack.


Section-9: Medications. What it is, when started, dosage, how long has she been on it, reactions to it, and your own comments.


Section-10: Common ailments and symptoms. In your spare time, gather everything you possibly can about various common ailments and things to watch for. This effort is worth its weight in platinum!!!


Section-11: Questions for the vet. As things come to mind along the way, write them down in this section immediately; don’t assume you’ll remember it six months from now.


Section-12: Reference links. We’re always stumbling across great links.informational, where to buy supplies, particular ailments. Scribble the URL in this section.


That’s it. A little effort on our part right now, but a wealth of ready information if you ever need it. You may want to check earlier Newsletters for info on ailments, blood-tests reports, etc.

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.