Cat Care Newsletter
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Vol. 1, No. 34
Syringe feeding is for most kitties is generally not the cleanest form of eating.
What tends to happens is:
In a previous newsletter, I have written about giving kitty a nice warm face wash with a wet toothbrush, but I have another idea for you.
After a syringe feeding meal, some kitties want the human to just leave them alone for a while, but if you live in a multi-cat household, you may have a built in kitty washer.
My calico Sissy was the first cat I ever syringe fed and I was terrible at it. She was my most patient kitty ever, but I still made an absolute mess. The event was very stressful for the both of us and my kitty Bubba was often near by just to give moral support. One day after a particularly bad feeding, I just let Sissy be still for moment and I left her face a mess. Bubba came over to make sure she was ok, and then he began to wash her face. He licked and licked and licked. Now I think Bubba was as much interested in the tasty kisses as much as he was wanting to comfort her so it was a win-win situation. He bathed her nice and clean and it sure did make her feel good! All that loving attention from her brother was a welcomed thing.
If you live in a multi-cat household, is one of your cats lovingly enough to bathe a kitty with a messy face? Next time you finish syringe feeding your kitty, instead of chasing the other cats away, allow your sweetest one to approach your syringe fed kitty, smell the messy face, and see if the natural cleaning instinct takes over. It may just be what the doctor ordered. Keep a watch on the bathing to make sure it all goes smoothly and no one gets agitated.
Note: You will have to still deep clean a little with a wet toothbrush and thoroughly dry with a tissue because the food can get way down in the fur, next to the skin. If this food is not removed, contact dermatitis can occur resulting in irritated skin and loss of fur.
I've had an incredibly busy week, so this article will be a little shorter than usual. However, Kathy and I had a discussion recently about a topic that I felt should be shared. So, exhausted or not, here we go.
You're probably aware of two situations among the Assist Feed crew: One, Kathy and are trying to swing our kitties into holistic foods as their primary diet. Two, I'm a big advocate of varying the diet routine. Well, it seems these two worlds have come into a small conflict that might be of interest to some of you. The problem: Kathy also tries to give her kitties other foods, and as a result her cats have lost interest in the holistic foods. Mine have not, and I think the reason may be procedural. First of all, let's remember that cats (like us) prefer things that are not always best for us (Ribeye steak or watercress salad?), and most of the "store brand" cat foods are laced with fats and aromatic ingredients to attract the nose. My own boys happen to like the holistic food, but I suspect that if I were to start feeding them more of the "Carved with Chicken and Gravy" stuff, they'd be begging for that far more than they do. But I don't, and I'm wondering if this might be the solution. Yes, they do get store foods, and regularly.but in very small doses; a spoonful or two maybe twice a day or so, but never a meal of it. And yes, the do sometimes beg for the wrong stuff, by sitting where I typically feed them the canned food, and I don't ignore it. But rather than give in, I make a big show out of shaking the bag of the holistic food, talking to them excitedly, and adding a little to their dish. And it works, at least so far. I guess this is what I see: Sure, they like treats, but they know where and what "their food" is.
Cats (and people) are so incredibly unique, and it's impossible to suggest a universal plan for something like this, but it's what works for my guys. Their primary diet is well established, and anything else is an occasional treat. I want so badly to keep them on the holistic foods, and I'm extremely conscious to avoid anything that might deter their interest in what I feel is an excellent diet for them.
Last week I told you about the situation I was having with Phoebe and her revolt against her diet food.. The diet food which really isn't a "diet" food. it's just not as tasty as Maya's high fat high energy food!
To recap just a little. Phoebe has been losing weight too fast. 1 pound in 1 month. Cats should lose no more than ½ pound in 1 month to protect against the potentially deadly disease called Fatty Liver Disease (or Feline Hepatic Lipidosis). I wanted Phoebe to eat a little more so I started giving her treats of Maya's food. Well next thing I know, Phoebe is staging a hunger strike waiting for offerings of Maya's food!
I wasn't about to give in and I was trying all sorts of tricks to get Phoebe to eat her diet food again, but Phoebe said "NO WAY!" Phoebe went for at least 24 hours without eating so I had to figure out what to do. I had written last week that I wasn't' going to give Phoebe anymore of Maya's food. that it was going to be 100% diet food, but I had to give in since Phoebe wasn't eating. Luckily our Garry (author of Feline Nutrition and Pro-Active Cat Care) called me one evening over the weekend and we talked about the revolt that was going on in my household. See. to give you the complete story. everyone in my household was off their food and holding out for Maya's food! I don't know when it became such the rave! Garry and I talked about the dishes I was feeding the food in, how many meals I was feeding, if the house was stressed out. everything. Finally, Garry told me that his kitties Wilbur and Clark LOVE to have a variety of food. Garry also told me that some kitties demand a variety of food. Perhaps THAT was the problem. I had accidentally shown the cats that they could have variety and then I took it away from them as fast as the variety was introduced. Garry said to let them have some of the good stuff and so I gave in right then and there. As Garry and I spoke on the telephone, I gave each kitty 10 pieces of Maya's food and that was it. BOY were they ever happy! I fed them in the den so that it would be a special treat. I decided that if they were hungry, they could eat their regular food at their regular feeding stations. If it's a treat, I will feed in the den. They seemed to understand and lo and behold. Phoebe ate her diet food later that same evening! So, here's what I'll do: once a day at the same time every day, I'll give the kitties 10 pieces of Maya's food. Then, for the rest of their meals, it's the regular food at their regular feeding stations. Period. We seem to be back to normal now. for this week anyway. and everyone is happy. especially Phoebe!
So maybe the secret to dieting is what my Dad has always told me. All things in moderation. When you follow this rule, a little treat every now and then isn't going to hurt you.
This week, we will talk about what you must do and be aware of as kitty's guardian in order to insure comfort and safety. We will then list what you must do if you move, such as if you will be making your vacation cottage in Tahiti your permanent residence. Due to the adaptive nature of cats and their ability to compensate with their other senses, a blind kitty can have a rich and happy life just as any sighted kitty, so do not allow the ability to see a deciding element when considering an adoption or become despondent if one of your own loses their sight.
Over time, blind kitties learn to adapt so well that their condition of being blind may escape you. Their acute senses of scent and hearing will aid in their ability to adapt and you will be able to communicate with them as well as with cats with their sight.
If you must relocate your residence, this will be a stressful time for a blind kitty, but with the use of common sense and preparation, the transition could be a happy one. Prior to the move, get kitty accustomed to spending time in one particular room, so that temporary confinement in your new home will not appear too much out of the ordinary. Be sure to spend time and play with kitty in that room so that he does not associate being confined with punishment.
Getting kitty used to your new home may be more challenging, but introducing kitty to one room at a time will help. Allow kitty to get accustomed to the new room prior to allowing him to explore another. Use your voice to talk to him when a new room is being explored to reassure him, and to not be afraid of getting down on your hands and knees to "walk him around", as doing so will give him additional reassurance. If you have to relocate his sleeping quarters in the future, then you will largely have to again follow the process described above so that he doesn't become frightened or confused. Finally, if you sense that he gets upset, and even if not, then do spend some quality time with him, as reflected in the photo!
In sum, a blind kitty's love and companionship will be just as rewarding (or more) as a sighted kitty, and if you do see that "must have" kitty at your local shelter and learn that he is blind, do not allow his blindness interfere with the adoption-you will not be disappointed!
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.