Cat Care Newsletter
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Vol. 1, No. 41
The last several weeks we have talked about finding the right feeding dish for your cat. Every cat has his or her own preferences and it's important to find what your kitty likes.
It's equally important to find a water dish that your cat is comfortable with. This is especially important if your kitty is not feeling well. For example, Chronic Renal Failure (CRF) kitties tend to drink a lot of water and you want your cat to like the water dish and feel comfortable with it.
Here are some things to consider:
Colored or Clear? My cats seem to prefer drinking from a clear, glass bowl. Two of my cats like to play with their water, so maybe it's just an age thing! My older cat Bubba drank from a white Pyrex bowl.
Light or Dark? It is easier to see the water in a light colored dish, so I would suggest light.
Height Try to let your cat tell you his or her preference on this one. Maya uses her paw to drink and she plays a lot in her water so she enjoys a taller bowl. My older at Bubba, however, wanted to lie down while he drank so he preferred a short bowl. If a kitty has indigestion or acid reflux the height of the water surface should be above the stomach level. Bending down to drink can aggravate the acid reflux.
Location Place the bowl in a place where your cat will be reminded to drink. I keep two bowls out at all times. one in the kitchen and one on the bathroom sink. The one of the bathroom sink is plastic and I have found it on the floor a few times! Those rascally kids!
Freshness Supply cool, fresh water each and every day. Be sure to wash the bowl, too. If you live in an area that has high levels of calcium in the water, soak the bowl in vinegar to dissolve the calcium deposits.
The Benefits of Water
Water is as equally important for your cat as it is for you!
Proper Hydration is important for:
Make fresh water available at all times and help to make water drinking an enjoyable experience so that your kitty can feel his or her best!
These furry little beasts seem to always keep us in a state of flux, don't they? We go batty perfecting a process, the kitty changes gears, and all our work is out the window. Oh, poor us! Nah, not really; keeping up with them and their shifting needs is just something we do out of love.
This is true with every aspect of their life, but it's especially true with proper nutrition. As cats grow in size and age, their nutritional requirements will change drastically, and it's up to us as caregivers to stay right with them. And as if this business of changing requirements wasn't enough, we have to add preferences into the equation: Many cats will jump all over the place with what they desire.dry for a while, then canned stuff is delicious, then maybe both for a while. But we have to deal with it, using the simple (but absolutely true) knowledge that ya ain't gonna force a kitty to eat something it doesn't want, period.
So we're bound to managing these two dilemmas: What they will eat, and what's best for them at any particular life-stage. This can sometimes be a paradox, but it's also a Tiger that will bite us hard if we let go. It means we have to recognize what's needed at any stage of life (or current health condition), and we have to know what's available to fill those nutritional needs.
And guess what that means, folks? RESEARCH! The quality and content of commercially available foods changes all the time, and it's our job to stay up with what's happnin' out there.
There exciting points to all of this, too. First, we're doing something good and right for our babies, but another little thingie is happening that doesn't get much attention, and it should: The major manufacturers seem to be altering their recipes to accommodate our nutritional awareness as caregivers! One major brand, for example, has switched their recipes to holistic, pure foods!
Second only to emergency medical attention, proper nutrition is the single most important thing we can do for our little pals. It assures good energy, a healthy body, the likelihood of increased longevity, and it keeps their immune systems at peak.
However, there are exceptions to any rule or guideline. If your name happens to be Wilbur and you are a kitten, there's no need to worry about right food/wrong time.you simply stand in the middle of your brother's food bowl and eat until it's gone, or until you've had enough.
Many of you will think I've spun a gear with this topic, but I ask that you read it thoroughly before sending me off to the Funny Farm.
We kitty-folks are often stuck in no-man's-land when it comes to quality care and treatment for our little friends. Undeniably, the world of veterinary medicine is laden with conflict and controversy, and I suppose it's natural that we blame the vet when something goes awry. But it may also be wrong. Yes, there are bad vets, but certainly not all of them are incompetent. There are many factors to consider when dealing with vets, and it's unfair if we don't look at them all before concluding that vets are stinkers, per se.
Let's start with this: Human doctors spend an initial 6 or 8 years studying a single anatomy with specific pathology, and the rest of their life is spent perfecting just that. Conversely, vets are required to learn about many anatomies, many different organs and systems, and an almost infinite maze of aliments, drugs, and treatments. So it stands to reason that human medicine can be (and is) far more focused than veterinary medicine. To my knowledge, there are no felines-only vet colleges, so we're obligated --I don't like that word, but it's appropriate-- to understand that a vet's education is diversified, as it must be.
Now let's add some highly qualified cat specialists with no DVM after their name.and I'm referring to you and I. We have pets, we accumulate some knowledge through experience, and suddenly we know more than the vet. Nothing could be farther from reality than to have that assumption, folks. It's a fact that many of us don't see vets as "real doctors", and it's a fallacy. If you doubt that, invite one to lunch or dinner sometime and just shoot the breeze with him/her about kitties. You'll discover quickly that your "breeze" and his "breeze" aren't on the same wavelength.
So.Fluffy is sick and a vet is treating her, as are dozens of unqualified (but well-intending) folks like me, with advice as to what you must do. Fluffy isn't improving, so obviously the vet is a crum-bum who is letting our kitty die. Not so! The vet isn't at fault here; we are! This vet may have little experience with cats; perhaps he/she specializes in horses or dogs. But that's a choice, not a fault.and remember that he/she is still trying to help us with Fluffy, even though cats are not their niche. When we encounter a situation like this (and all to often we do), the responsibility is on us to discover it quickly, and to find a vet who does specialize in cats, not to condemn a Doc who caters to a different field of medicine. Yes, the vet world is a topsy-turvy arena, and it's because of that very fact that we must be in control, we must observe, and we must see to it that Fluffy is in the right hands.
You just have to read Dan's article below "Muffin Goes to the Beauty Parlor!" . it's great! Can't you just see me taking all 4 of my kitties to the beauty parlor. do you think Nicholas would dare set paw in a beauty parlor?
Talking about "Peticures". I have "Clip Claws" on today's "To Do" list. Maya, Miss Picasso and Nicholas keep their claws somewhat filed down because they run, jump, play and use the scratching post. Phoebe's claws, however, are another story. Since Phoebe is still so fat, she runs only a little bit and NEVER uses the scratching post. Her claws are like raiser blades. If fact, this morning, Phoebe was at my feet in the kitchen when I startled her.. And her back claws dug into my bare feet as she took off running. Nicholas has run across my bare feet as well, but since he's such a maniac. his back claws are worn down and are not sharp.
Phoebe's front claws are razor blade sharp as well. Sometimes when I forget to clip them, they become snagged on the carpet as she walks across it. This is a very dangerous scenario because she could break a toe or leg if she were to become snagged when she did one of her panic runs when I startle her. Yep. she's my "jumpy" cat.
Fat cats get in that Catch-22 situation. they don't exercise because they don't feel good, but if they exercised. they would feel good. Same thing with claws. they don't use the scratching post because it's uncomfortable to get that big body up to use the scratching post. but if they used it, their claws would not be as sharp!
Claws that are too long can also be a health danger to your cat. If he or she scratches, the sharp claws can actually cut the skin, allowing bacteria to enter. This can cause a serious infection.
Check your cat's claws at least once a month and trim them. If you've never trimmed your cat's claws it can be an experience! You will find your own technique that works best for you and your cat. You will get good at it over time and your get will get used to you clipping his or her nails. You cat will probably think it feels really strange and startling when you clip the nail, so be prepared for your cat to pull back. If you have never clipped your cat's claws before, ask your veterinarian or a cat friend to show you how.
There are several types of clippers you can choose from.
Another excellent idea to encourage fat cats to use their own energy to file their nails is to buy a scratching pad that lies on the floor. Phoebe actually likes to scratch up the carpet, so I've had to resort to this type of "scratching post" for her. Hopefully your fat cat will like this kind, too! Rub just a little catnip in the cardboard if your cat doesn't take to it right away.
The scratcher above is the "Cosmic CatNip Scratching Post." The picture is of their "double-wide." Phoebe likes a wider area to scratch than their single wide... it's not so much the scratching area that needs to be wide... she just needs a wider area for her back feet so that the scratcher doesn't tip over!
Recently, in the heart of Manhattan in New York City, the Meow Mix Café opened and it was quickly apparent that it was a huge success. It served only felines and their human staff, and, of course, no d*gs allowed! It is only appropriate that cats look their very best when visiting the café and other such upscale eateries; hence, it is also appropriate that there should be facilities available where they can enjoy a "peticure" or a massage after a good meal, and be able to purchase beauty supplies.
Amanda assisted with the research for this week's column and took note of a story about upscale pet products and facilities by MSNBC. It reported that a cat named Muffin, recently treated at her vet for an illness, received a gift certificate from her veterinarian for a day at a southern California pet spa where she could get a body bath, massage, and a "peticure". We think that these facilities are here to stay as more and more people realize that we do not own our cats-it's the other way around, and if we are to remain in their good graces, it would behoove us to insure that they have the facilities that they enjoy. I will not even speculate on the amount of the bill from the veterinarian who provided the gift certificate!
Some examples of items stocked in these upscale facilities are skin and hair care products, moisturizers, ear creams, and the very popular pet Pawfume K#9. The latter is available at Barney's in New York City at $45.00 for a four fluid ounce bottle. The girls were somewhat aghast at the price, and a search on the internet revealed that this product could be obtained from other sources for as low as $14.00 a bottle, although from firms not in the same upscale category as Barney's. In addition to the products mentioned above, you will also find vitamin enriched conditioners, deodorants, sunscreen for nose and tummy area, and a huge array of hair care products. Naturally, many of these products are made with the finest organic ingredients, and one company even goes as far as to certify that the products it sells are tested on humans first! The girls would not have it any other way.
Although most of these products are sold in exclusive pet boutiques and internet based companies, mainstream national chains are also taking notice. The trend caught the attention of pet supermarket chain Petco that recently opened four "petiques", that is, a specialty store within a store that retails designer petwear, pet jewelry, and much more. They hope to take a huge bite out of the market for these products. In addition to all the items mentioned above, many companies are also offering gift baskets loaded with goodies kitty will enjoy in addition to those stocked with items appropriate for "Fido". Some of these gift baskets retail up to $350.00 and even more in special cases.
Muffin the cat also received a gift basket, in addition to the gift certificate mentioned above, and in it was a bottle of K#9 PawFume, which she had been using for a few days. One day, in a hurry to attend a company meeting, her "father" grabbed the PawFume instead of what he usually used, and it was reported that the subtle scents of cucumber, amber, and orange peel netted him rave reviews in the office, and was such a hit with the women, that he was unable to concentrate on his work!
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.