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Elisa's 1st stop motion animation movie.
Click image to watch.
An Unexpected Friend Silent Movie

Vol. 1, No. 19

Table of Contents
Assist Feeding - Wash my Nose Please
Feline Nutrition - What's In That Can?
Pro-Active Cat Care - Sharing The Love

Feline Obesity - No More Grumbly Tummies
Kitty Potpourri - My Favorite Scratching Post


Assist Feeding -
Wash my Nose Please
by Kathy Fatheree

This past weekend my neighbors invited me over for dinner. The wife knows that I just adore cats so not 5 minutes after I arrived, she told me that something was wrong with her cat's nose and she was going to have to take kitty into the vet and wondered if I would take a look at her first. "Of course!" I said. "Kitty has black marks on her pretty pink nose that have been there for weeks" my neighbor said. I asked for a warm wash cloth, gave several butterfly passes, and pretty pink nose was clean!

If a cat eats out of a bowl, it's quite common for their nose to get dirty with food. When cats don't feel well and quite often as they age, they don't groom themselves as much as they did when they were young so it's important that we take time for the extra touches that help our loved ones feel their best.

If you suspect that you kitty has a dirty nose, try a gentle washing.

  1. Use a slightly warm wash cloth. Kitty noses are very sensitive, so warm-towards-cool is the safest. Always test the cloth on the side of your neck or the underside of your wrist first.
  2. Observe how the hair grows on the nose and wash in the direction that the hair grows, not against it. For the tip of the nose, make downward strokes.
  3. Press down only as hard as butterfly kisses. Don't scrub. You may need to wash in several sessions if it doesn't all come off the first time.
  4. Dry the nose off with a soft tissue.
  5. If nothing at all comes off, it may not be old food, so a visit to your vet may be in order.


Feline Nutrition - What's In That Can?
by Garry White

I can hear the groaning: "Oh No! Math! He's gonna take all them little doohickey ingredient thingies and break 'em down into itsy-bitsy nutriments, I bet." You're right; he is. But you don't have to, how's that? No math for you.

Nope, I get to do all the work and you get all the benefits (Which is very unfair - Kathy, I think a big, fat raise is in order, here). Kidding aside, folks, all we're going to do is take a very close look at two different, off-the-shelf foods; one of which (Brand-A) I consider to be a good-quality food, and it's what I feed my guys now. The other (Brand-Z) is a brand that I discovered to be lower in quality, and unacceptable for long-term diet management. Interesting thing, though: Both of these foods meet the minimum nutritional guidelines as set forth by AAFCO, and both can legally claim to be "Complete Foods"; a cat can survive solely on either of these foods indefinitely. But since both of these producers make the same claim, and I was reasonably sure that one of them was pushing the envelope, I called each manufacturer to see what they had to say. Now mind you, I didn't come right out and lie, but I do admit to being a bit reckless with the truth. I told each of them that my cats liked their food (which they do, actually), and that I was considering limiting their diet to just "this" food (which I'm not, actually), and I asked: Can my kitties live long, happy, healthy lives on just this food alone? Ohyesmostdefinitely. Uh-huh.

So you see, I have every reason in the world to believe that either of these foods would be just dandy for my two monsters. The controlling guidelines assure me of "adequate" nutrition, both are from well-known pet-food manufacturers, and both manufacturers gave me their personal assurance. Using the aforementioned criteria, there's no reason I shouldn't just stock the cupboards with whichever of these foods the cats prefer. But I'm not going to CLICK HERE and let's go see why.



ProActive Cat Care -
Sharing The Love
by Garry White

Multi-cat households offer a variety of challenges. To name a few:

  • Feeding issues: Some may prefer dry food, others might like canned, some may want a mix of both. And along with feeding comes that almighty cat personality: One kitty may be aggressive, while another is quite passive, and this is something we need to watch for.the passive kitty isn't getting the proper nutrition.
  • Water: For some odd reason, at least one of your kitties will hang out near the water bowl a lot. I've seen this in cat-habit research, and I've seen it with my own two. Perhaps it's a territorial thing, but the bottom line is that it may require watching, so that the less intimidating cats get the water they need. Maybe more water bowls. Another watering-hole issue is that usually one cat in a multi-cat household will play in the water. That means hair, dirt.bacteria!
  • Ailments and medical conditions: In order to monitor food and water intake, and other behavioral elements involved with a sick kitty, isolation is the only possible way. And this could be permanent. Sick kitties often require a special diet that isn't designed to provide adequate nutrition for a healthy cat.
  • Litter-box management: Oh boy..not our favorite subject, huh? First of all, let's discuss the litter itself: I used to buy the better-name stuff, whichever happened to be on sale at the time. Because cat litter is cat litter, right? No, not right. For starters, poorly manufactured cat litter will cause lots of dust, and while the dust annoys you, remember who's inhaling it while they're digging around in the box. But there's an even bigger issue with litter, which was pointed out to me by a vet: Bacteria! Some cats tend to get very "close to their work", if you know what I mean.they actually sit down in the litter. If the litter is one that doesn't have bacteria-resistant chemicals in the makeup, the litter will harbor and breed bacteria, and the cat is exposed to possible infections every time he/she goes to the box.
  • General observations: With a single cat, or possibly even two, odd things like eating or drinking habits, hiding, personality changes, will stand out like a red flag. With several cats, it's nearly impossible to tell "who didn't eat today", or "which one of them donated that pile of vomit", or "who that black stool in the litter-box belongs to". If you chose to have several cats, then you accepted the responsibility to be ever more vigilant in managing them properly. My advice? Watch a particular kitty for a couple of days. Sure, take care of the others as you normally do, but focus your attention on just this kitty for a couple of days.litter-box activity, food and water intake, personal behavior. And then do that same thing with another kitty periodically.

I could go on and on with anomalies that multiple cats present.little nuances like who gets to sleep on the pillow, are there enough window platforms for those who enjoy them, favorite toys, and so on. But perhaps the most significant issue we face with multiple cats is to be certain that our affections and our love get parsed out evenly and appropriately. Failure to recognize a cat that wants your love is a sure path to alienation, which leads to aggression, depression, retaliatory behavior, and probably ailments. This is a toughie, but remember: The cat who's emotionally out-of-tune is sending you a strong message; he needs your love and attention far more than the lovey furball who can't wait for you to lie down so they can lie down with you.

Postscript - You may be a person of the world: been everywhere, done everything. But if you haven't yet observed a kitten chasing his own tail inside a small box for, say, 5 straight minutes.then you've missed something in life. Our new little Wilbur does that often. He comes out after a while, blinks at me a few times, and topples over on his side. The town drunk has a similar act, minus the small box.



Feline Obesity -
No More Grumbly Tummies
by Kathy Fatheree

Has your vet instructed you to cut back on the portions? Your cat's food portions you silly! If so, your cat may not be too happy about this. I was talking with our friend Garry and he tells me that he actually studied the phenomenon of hunger when he was in the military! He told me that stomachs actually do stretch and shrink… and all this time I thought it was a myth!

The stomach has nerve ending that signal when the stomach is full and when it is starting to shrink from being empty. The stomach does not like to shrink, so when shrinking begins, so do the hunger pains and the grumbly tummy. If your cat has been free-feeding or grazing, your cat's stomach is accustomed to being a certain size. In order to lose weight, the number of calories need to be cut, which generally means less food.

I'm not a big fan of high fiber foods with minimal fat (cardboard!) so here are 2 wonderful tips to help your cat eat less, but still feel full and satisfied.

  1. Add a Delicious Liquid. Whether your cat eats dry food or canned food, add a delicious broth such as the broth from boiled chicken or meat. Boil the meat in plain water until well done, refrigerate the liquid so that the fat separates out and the wonderful gelatin sets up. Before each meal, slightly warm up a small scoop of this gelatin and add it to the food. You can cut back a little on the food portion and maintain the amount of volume that your cat's stomach is accustomed to by adding this low calorie delicious liquid. Over time, your cat will actually need less volume to feel full. Caution: Do not buy store bought broth because no matter what the label says, you can never be sure of the exact ingredients such as onion and preservatives.

  2. "Put the Fork Down between Bites." It takes the stomach several minutes before it realizes that food is being reintroduced. Feed your cat's meal in 2 or 3 portions. For example, break your cat's breakfast into 3 portions. Allow your cat to eat the first portion, then wait 2 minutes. Feed the 2nd portion allowing time for your cat to eat it, then wait 2 minutes. Then feed the 3rd portion. Your cat will think an all-you-can-eat buffet has just been served!


Kitty Potpourri -
My Favorite Scratching Post
by Dan Malenski

This is Amanda Kitty speaking. Meow! I want to tell you about some very important characteristics that a scratching post should have, and then my Dad will go on to tell you how you can make one that your kitty is likely to love just as much as I love mine!

Kitties need to scratch for many reasons, and the main reasons are to mark our scents on what we are scratching and to help shed the outer sheaths of our claws to keep them razor sharp! For this, we need a suitable scratching post. Too often, you humans buy us scratching posts that look good to you, but wind up being unused, and many times we get blamed for scratching elsewhere and it usually is because you don't provide us with a post that we like.

The scratching post described in this article is suitable for those cats who prefer to scratch on vertical surfaces, which constitutes most cats. I will describe posts suitable for cats who prefer horizontal (or inclined) surfaces and different materials in a future article.

A good scratching post should have all of the following characteristics:

  • The post should be tall enough to allow a cat to stretch out, typically more than 30 inches.
  • The post should not wobble or have a tendency to tip, as it will likely be unused. Would you humans attempt to climb a tree or ladder or even go near one that wobbles back and forth--of course not!
  • The preferred scratching surface is sisal rope, although some cats prefer carpet. The sisal rope has the advantage of being liked by most cats and it will last much longer than carpet, and shed very little material over time.
  • A big plus is a soft, warm pad on top of it for those all-important catnaps. We like to scratch when we wake, so having the post right there makes it a near certainty that we will use the post instead of something else.
  • Another reason for the pad on top is that it will serve as a perch that we could sit on and do some serious bird watching if positioned near a window. When we play, we also like to use it as a diving board!
  • Finally, as I said above, the ideal place for such a post will be beneath a window, as we love to watch the birds and squirrels! Also, the window should be near where I normally sit and sleep, near the family, and not in an isolated part of the house.

Ok, so you think that you will have to sell your car in order to buy us a scratching post like the one that I described above--not at all! The best scratching post can be made very easily using many materials that you may already have lying around the house or garage. For those who live in apartments, maybe you have a friend who has a house or garage that needs to have some "stuff" cleaned out of it! In many cases, the only item that you need to buy is the sisal rope, which should cost less than $10.00.

Before I turn this over to my Dad who will go on to describe exactly how to make this scratching post, I want you to look very carefully at the photograph and note that it fulfills all of the above characteristics.

You will also note in the photograph that an added touch that I think was real nice is that the post is also near a radiator that keeps us warm and cozy during the winter months.

Now, we are ready to get started, so please click on the following link and my Dad will tell you how you can make a post just like this!

How to Build My Favorite Scratching Post

 

 

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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.