Our Cat's Place – Living With Cats

thoughts, articles, & information on cats, their behavior, and their relationships with us.

  • Dec 29

    There has been an ongoing discussion among cat owners about whether dry or canned food is better. Do you feed your cat canned food? Should you? The answer is a big YES, and here are the top 3 reasons why.

    1. Water Content.

    In canned cat food, the main ingredient is water. This means that canned food is closer to what your cat would eat in his natural habitat. When a cat kills and eats prey, the animal flesh contains the water required to meet the cat’s nutritional needs. This is not the case with dry food.

    Because cats have evolved to get most of their water from the prey they hunt and eat, they are not well accustomed to drinking water from a bowl. Many cats do not get enough water if they are on a dry food diet, and easily become dehydrated. This can contribute to common feline diseases such as Urinary Tract Crystals, which often lead to kidney and liver problems.

    2. Animal Protein

    Most canned cat foods contain significant amounts of animal protein, and this is generally the second ingredient, after water, and before any carbohydrate content. Canned cat foods do not generally contain much carbohydrate, while dry foods usually contain a great deal.

    Is this important? Very much so! Too much carbohydrate for a cat can cause all sorts of problems, including a higher chance of developing Diabetes, more likelihood of becoming obese, and greater risk of Pancreatitis. A better understanding of cat nutrition tells us that lower carbohydrate and higher animal protein is a much healthier diet.

    3. Digestion

    Canned food is already partially broken down when the cat eats it. This makes it much easier to digest in the cat’s stomach and intestines. What this can mean for your cat is reduced incidents of vomiting and intestinal gas, and less risk of Bloat.

    I know it can seem inconvenient to deal with canned food, when with dry all you need to do is pour a little into a bowl each day. Maybe you dislike the smell of canned food. The tins and bowls are messy and they need to be cleaned or recycled. But once you know what your cat really needs for optimum health, you understand that it’s worth it. And think how much more inconvenient it would be if your cat develops diabetes or kidney problems, and you need to give him insulin injections or subcutaneous fluids each day! Not to mention how this would affect your cat’s happiness and sense of well being.

    So keep your cat’s health in mind, and consider making the switch if you have not already!

    all the best to you and your feline friends,

    Beth

    P.S. For a deeper understanding of how your cat’s diet can affect his health, download this free, full veterinarian’s report on cat nutrition, by Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM.

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  • May 3
    Winterkost

    Image via Wikipedia

    Cats, unlike dogs, are obligate carnivores, which means that they must eat animal protein in order to survive and thrive. In addition, a lot of the diseases that cats frequently suffer can be caused by mistakenly feeding cats the same way as dogs. Until recently, even veterinary science treated cats, nutritionally at least, as if they simply another type of small dog.

    The majority of cat owners feed their cats:

    – dry cat food
    – cat food with too much carbohydrate content
    – the wrong kind of protein, and/or not enough of it

    Cats are their own creatures, and deserve to be treated as the unique animals they are!

    So what exactly does it mean when we say that a cat is an “obligate carnivore”?

    Felines in their various forms and species have been around for millions of years, and as hunters of live prey, their bodies have developed specialized ways to digest and use the food they eat. Imagine what the nutritional content of the cat’s natural diet would consist of. There would be lots of animal protein, and a fair amount of fat. Also, there would be a certain amount of carbohydrate (consider the grainy contents of a mouse’s stomach!), but carbohydrate would be a relatively small part of the cat’s natural diet. Thinking about what a cat would eat in nature gives us lots of great clues to feline nutritional needs.

    Cats who are domesticated and living with humans depend upon us to feed them and to supply them with the nutritional elements they need. Many packaged cat foods are inadequate nutritionally, and in some cases even harmful. Also, until recently, most cats lived on the prey they caught. So because animal flesh is moist, cats did not drink much water. Cats who are fed only dry food must be sure to drink adequate water as well, which may not always come naturally to them.

    Many commercial pet foods contain primarily grain and fat, which do not provide many of the vitamins and minerals that a cat needs for good health. Grain filler is often used in order to lower the cost of manufacturing (animal protein is much more expensive). Also, grains help to bind the various ingredients of the food together, so it becomes easier to make the dry kibble.

    Luckily, pet food companies are becoming more familiar with the issues common to commercial cat food, and there are now a number of very high quality cat foods on the market. Be sure to check the ingredients carefully when you are buying food for your cat, or even consider making your own! You may also want to consult with your veterinarian about using a nutritional supplement formulated especially for cats.

    ’til next time,
    Beth

    P.S. To learn more about feline nutritional needs, and how a cat’s diet can affect his health, be sure to download your copy of this free, complete veterinarian’s report on cat nutrition by Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM.

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  • Jun 12

    — by Ariane Franke

    My cat Misty is getting on a bit and has started to pick up digestive and urinary problems that many cats tend to have when they get older. She is 15 years old now and might only three or four years left in her. She has had a good life though and I expect she’s had many adventures with other cats in our area as we live in quite a cat friendly neighbourhood. When I started noticing that Misty was finding it harder to digest her food the first thing I did was to change her usual cat food.

    I’m not a cat expert when it comes to the science-side of things and I kind of took what my vet told me and researched it a little bit more on the Internet. From what I can gather the main problem is that Misty has difficulty with bladder stones, which basically unbalances her urine and pH level causing digestion problems and pain. Following what information can be found on the Internet and advice from my vet I decided to go for Royal Canin Urinary SO that I could buy from the online pet shop Nutrecare. The reason why I chose this and you’ll have to bear with me because as I said I’m not too great on the science-side of things, but a lot of treatments out there tend to focus on only one type of urinary problem, which can actually increase the risk of contracting another type of infection!

    According to the information I have read from the Royal Canin Urinary SO packaging, this product actually tackles the two types of bladder infections that cats usually tend to get. Since I started treating Misty with this solution I have noticed a huge difference in her and she seems to be passing urine a lot easier than before. I have also noticed that she is a bit livelier so that seems to be a definite positive result. I will still be keeping an eye on the situation and ensure that she gets a regular dosage of this urine treatment.

  • Nov 21
    Catnip blossoms (Nepeta cataria)

    Image via Wikipedia

    When a cat has kidney disease, he may feel very lethargic and may not feel much like eating.  And to add to the problem, the foods that are often prescribed for cats with kidney disease tend to be blander and therefore less appealing to the cat’s senses.  So because you definitely want your cat to keep his weight up, you might need to get a little more creative with his feeding.  Here are a few tips.

    • First, do your best to get your cat to eat the special kidney diet that your veterinarian has prescribed.  These foods are lower in phosphorus than regular food, so they produce less waste and are kinder to your cat’s kidneys.  The same goes for homemade cat food.  Although this is probably the most nutritious food you can be giving your cat, especially when he is sick, he may not be interested in trying anything new right now.
    • The most critical thing to remember with feline kidney disease is that getting him to eat any food at all is much better than his not eating!   Look up the ingredients on any food that you buy and try to find those with the lowest phosphorus content.
    • Your cat may respond to a little catnip sprinkled into his food.  Catnip has a strong smell and taste, and most cats can’t resist it!
    • Try warming up the food a little in your microwave.  If the food is heated, the smell and flavor will become slightly stronger, which makes it more appealing to your cat.  Stir or mash up the food before serving it, to make sure it isn’t too hot.
    • While you are giving food to your cat, try holding her and touching or petting her gently.  Cats usually respond well to physical affection and encouragement, and this can help put her in a better state of mind, more receptive to your suggestions that she eat something.
    • You can also try adding a little strong flavored liquid to your cat’s food.  Things that work well are the water from a can of tuna, clam juice, or the liquid from a can of anchovies.   In addition to enhancing the scent and flavor of the food, this also adds moisture, which helps your cat stay better hydrated.
    • Rub a tiny bit of warm canned food onto your cat’s paw.  This will get him to groom himself by licking the food off.   If you have a small bowl of the same food right there, he may go from licking it off his paw to eating it out of the bowl.
    • Something else that can work well for a cat with kidney disease is to feed him by hand.  Put just a small amount of food on the palm of your hand, and let your cat smell it and lick it before deciding to eat.  Sometimes just the extra love and affection that you give your cat at this time can make a big difference in his appetite.

    There are other medical options that you may want to discuss with your vet if you cannot get your cat to eat with these other ideas.  He may be able to give you an appetite stimulant, which can be a good short-term solution.  Another thing that often helps a cat feel better and more like eating is subcutaneous fluids, that help your cat to be better hydrated.  If all else fails you may need to feed your cat with a syringe for a time.  Your vet is the best person to advise you on these alternatives.

    to the health of our cats,

    Beth

    Related Posts:

    Feline Kidney Disease – Common Causes and Symptoms

    What You Need to Know About Cat Food For Kidney Disease

    Treating a Cat With Kidney Disease Using Subcutaneous Fluids

    Living Day to Day With Feline Kidney Disease

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  • Nov 14
    Winterkost

    Image via Wikipedia

    If your cat is diagnosed with feline kidney disease, one of the first things your veterinarian will probably recommend is a change in diet. Many studies have been done on this subject, and there is a wide range of opinions about what is the best cat food for kidney disease. Here are a few things every cat owner should know.

    One school of thought is that for a cat with kidney problems, protein in the diet should be restricted. However, this idea is very controversial, even among veterinarians. Many feel that this thinking came out about because in humans, as well as in dogs, a high level of protein can indeed be linked to kidney failure. However, cats have different nutritional needs, and rely on protein to a great extent. What does really cause problems is the high phosphorus content in meat. Unfortunately, restricting phosphorus often implies restricting protein as well.

    The best thing you can do if you find yourself in this situation is to have a very open discussion with your vet about the pros and cons of restricting protein. In addition, do plenty of your own research. New findings are always coming out, so be sure you have the latest information.

    Also, at this point having enough water in the diet is absolutely critical to your cat’s health. Canned food is a better cat food for kidney disease, because it will provide more moisture than dry, and will help to prevent your cat from getting dehydrated, which is another very serious danger to a cat with kidney disease.

    In the end though, what is really critical is that your cat eats, period! When a cat has kidney disease, he doesn’t feel good, and doesn’t feel much like eating. He can easily lose weight, which will only make his condition worse. You may at some point need to have appetite stimulants prescribed for your cat in order to get him to eat. The saddest part of this is that appetite stimulants are among the worst smelling and bitterest tasting of feline medicines, and even getting him to take those can be a huge struggle. So most importantly, just get your cat to eat! Even if it means trying new foods, or tricking him into eating with a treat or catnip, just do it!

    One of the best things to try is making your own cat food at home. This provides the best nutrition of all, but here again, this is only effective if your cat will actually eat it. If she is not willing to give it a try, don’t force the issue, but this is at least worth making a good attempt. There are plenty of excellent books available that provide recipes for homemade cat food. Ask your veterinarian as well, and he/she may also have some good suggestions.

    Understanding cat food for kidney disease can take a little time and effort, and you may need to try a number of different foods to see what works out best with your cat. But having the best possible diet can go a long way toward management of his kidney disease and improvement of his quality of life.

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    to the health of your cats,

    Beth

    Related Posts:

    Feline Kidney Disease – Common Causes and Symptoms

    How to Get a Cat to Eat when he has Kidney Disease

    Treating a Cat With Kidney Disease Using Subcutaneous Fluids

    Living Day to Day With Feline Kidney Disease

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