Caring for Cats Newsletter
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Vol. 1, No. 8
There can be many reasons for constipation and it's very important to take action to help your cat. Constipation is likely anytime you see your cat really straining when trying to poop or if the poops come out bullet hard. Dehydration can cause constipation. A cat that has not eaten in a while can also become constipated when food is reintroduced or the amount of food fed increased. Not taking care of constipation can lead to an impacted bowel, enlarged colon, prolapsed rectum, to name a few. Constipation can either be a temporary thing or chronic (long term). If your cat vomits after visiting the litter box, constipation may be the culprit.
Lactulose is an excellent product that you can mix in with the food you are assist feeding. It is a sweet tasting syrup (with only a bit of an edge). It takes about a day or so to work so giving it every day is best. An average dose is 1ml 2x per day. Adjust the dosage until you find the perfect amount. If the stool becomes too lose, lower the dosage a little - but don't stop it all together for fear of causing constipation. Since Lactulose is a non-digestable sugar, it is safe for diabetic cats, but please talk to your vet first. In the US, Lactulose is by prescription only and can be purchased from your vet, or more economically from your local pharmacy. I can purchase a pint for $27 (16 ounces) from my local grocery store pharmacy. Paying by the ounce from my vet, I would have paid $128 for a pint! Ask your pharmacy for pricing and quantity options.
Definition of Lactulose from Medline Plus:
Do you have a kitty who will only eat fish? We all grow up thinking that cats eat fish, but eating too much fish can lead to nutritionally related disease.
According to Cornell University:
The only canned cat food that my cats would eat (so I thought) is one called "Savory Seafood Dinner." Here is a list of the protein ingredients: Mackerel, Salmon, Ocean Fish, and Shrimp. Oops! I certainly wasn't doing them any favors! So, I started purchasing a variety of canned food to ensure they don't eat too much fish.
Garry's Diet Caution: Remember that most domesticated cats originated in the Far East, which means desert, which means lots and lots of sand. Far as I know, fish don't live in sand, so let's just assume that Fluffy's basic system evolved around a subsistence of bugs, rodents, and birds. So, while she may dearly love the taste of fish, consider it the same as with me and good Bourbon: A little is okay, but too much is not a good thing. - Garry
"Hey cats are just cats; they're all alike!" Sure they are, and so are people: We have a heart, lungs, toenails, eyeballs we function with similar components, so we're all the same, right? You've heard this ridiculous phrase about pets many times - we all have - and it couldn't be farther from the truth! Just as people are unique within genders, races, cultures, and genetic architecture, so are cats just as unique. Perhaps even more so. And since our little friends cannot defend their individualities, it's up to us as caregivers to be aware of the differences and respect them.
This week we'll delve into some of the feline breeds, the species, and we'll outline a few of the anomalies associated with them. Like you, I wasn't aware just how diverse our little pals really are, and this has been an exciting learning experience. But they certainly are diverse, and along with that uniqueness comes special needs and special considerations.
Let's begin by laying to rest a philosophy that's been around for ages - even before me, which is a pretty long time (sigh). It's been written that animals live by habit, instinct, and nature. Period. Supposedly, they do not have the ability to "think", as we know it, and they do not have a "will" as we do. We argue: "But wait; when I ask Fluffy if she wants to go 'OUT', she runs straight to the door, so how can this be true?" The naysayers retaliate with: "Easy answer the cat has learned to associate the phonic sound of 'OUT' with the doorknob, and hence freedom." I ask you: Do you believe this? Do you think Fluffy's ability to understand is purely mechanical, nothing more than a process of habit and phonetic association? I do not, and there are many on my wagon who share the belief that cats do think, they do understand, and they do feel. Ergo, they are individuals!
(By the way: I've saved you a seat up front.)
The naysayers tell us that cats are just animals, predators "hunting" is a natural instinct. But are we any different? These days, we "hunt" at Stop-N-Shop instead of out in the woods, but there wasn't always a Stop-N-Shop, was there? The naysayers tell us that domesticity isn't chosen; it's forced tell that to the many cats who occupy our homes and our hearts. Ask Fluffy if she'd like to trade her warm hearth, friendly lap, and fresh Friskies for life in a Brazilian Rain Forest.
Okay, those of you who are true naysayers: It's probably a good time to work on your needlecraft, or go sharpen your bowling skills. For the rest of us: Let's head into this with the assumption - the premise - that Fluffy does have a mind, and that she knows how to use it. "As well as us?" you ask. Yep. In different ways, but with no less intensity. So we'll venture forth with a practical mind: Certainly, we humans have evolved to a higher degree than felines, so we can do some things that Fluffy cannot do. She's not our equal and she cannot compete in our existence. Big deal imagine being a cat for a while, and wonder how well we would do in her world.
Click here for Interesting Cat Breed Characteristics!
Have you been feeding a dry diet food without success? Perhaps a diet of canned food might help.
According to Dr. Jean Hofve, DVM, "Overweight cats may greatly benefit from a switch to an all-canned diet. Stick to foods containing 8% or less carbohydrate. Many all life stages and kitten foods fit this requirement. Carbs are usually not listed on the label. However, all you have to do is subtract the other ingredients from 100% to get an estimate of the carb content. Most cats lose weight more efficiently on a canned food than dry food diet. Even though theyre often eating more calories, these diets are more suited to the unique feline metabolism."
Switching to canned food may not be all that easy so you will need to start off slowly, be patient and expect to throw a lot of uneaten food away at first! Switching to canned food too fast may lead to tummy upset, or worse, your cat may stop eating all together. Some cats are addicted to dry food... I can't blame them... it's the CRUNCH thing! I love crunchy stuff, too! To start off, feed canned food only when your cat is hungry. If you have been leaving dry food out 24/7, take the food up for around 4 hours before feeding any canned food. Start off by mixing kitty's regular dry food with a little canned food. You can increase the percentage of the mix over time until you are feeding mostly canned food! Tricky huh?!? :-)
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.