Caring for Cats Newsletter
Advertise With Us!
Vol. 2, No. 16
A Helping Hand...?
by Garry White
Dietary supplements. We've flirted with this topic in past articles, but I thought we'd take some time to go a little deeper into the benefits and/or potential risks. Obviously, nature and evolution somehow missed carrying forth the Scotch gene, and I do assist with that occasionally, but other than good Scotch, I'm personally not a big fan of supplements. Why not? I feel that a regular intake of supplements can suppress the natural order of things. I could, if pressed, defer to research which claims the body 'learns', and eventually forms a dependency on supplemented agents.various systems and organs stop trying to produce certain agents, because they don't have to. BUT.my position is weak for a couple of reasons: One, there's plenty of opinion that nature (diet) doesn't always provide everything that's needed. Two, if a supplement truly is aiding biological maintenance, and we continue regular intake without fail, so what if the systems form a dependency? So you see, my position is based as much on personal philosophy as it is on clinical science.
That's my side of the fence, now let's look at the other side. Many people follow the path of dietary supplementation with their own proof or reasoning to support the practice. Research articles advise vet-approval before administering supplements, but the upside is that most compounds are essentially harmless, if given sensibly. A few, of course, get close to the threshold of risk, such as those with Brewer's yeast (digestive bacteria), B-Complex vitamins, Iron, Potassium, and a few others; I'd be careful in experimenting with these. But most commercially available supplements contain various herbs, fatty acids, and a few minerals that are deemed 'non-cumulative' (any excess simply passes through). The research was interesting, though, and turned up a vast array of supplements for just about everything imaginable: Urinary tract support, coat and fur enhancement, constipation, kidney & liver maintenance, loss of hearing, eyesight, arthritis and even 'joint-recovery' enhancement. I saw supplements claiming to help with obesity, anorexia, and a few that claimed to be a bona fide program to help 'detoxify' Kitty's whole body. Can I suggest these are bad, or ineffective? Nope, I cannot. Can I suggest that, in some cases, they may be potentially unsafe and/or unnecessary? Yup.
In summary, the risks are as stated: Possible dependency, possible overload of certain agents. But the benefits of a regimented plan (using supplements) could assure a perfectly-tuned system with all organs running at peak performance. Using proactive logic, it makes sense that organs which are exposed to exacting levels of specific agents (nutrients, minerals, acids), would last longer than those suffering excesses or deficiencies. So, in fairness, we can't discard the idea of a supplement program.
Shown below are a few links regarding supplements, and I have to be honest in saying that the only scientific articles I could find did not support using them (proper diet should be adequate, blah-blah). All other references were from manufacturers of supplement products.
Feed Him Grapes
by Kathy Fatheree
Bert is down to two feedings a day, 120 cc's per feeding (8 ounces a day). He's still on the Clinicare RF and does wonderfully with it. He was on three feedings a day but in an effort to curb his weight gain (isn't that wonderful!?) and to help him feel hungry Dr. Smith brought it down to twice a day. Before all of this started he was at about 17 1/2 lbs. Now he's holding steady at about 15 lbs. He looks great, nice and chubby but not as overweight as before.
Now that Dr. Smith feels Bert is "normal" again we are attempting to go 24 hours without feeding him. We're to feed him in the morning like normal and offer him his Eukanuba hard food throughout the day. Skip his 6 PM feeding and continue to offer the hard food until bed. If he hasn't eaten on his own by his next 6 AM feeding (24 hours later) we're to go ahead and feed him.
We're only supposed to try this about once a week. It is SO very important not to rush Bert at this point. Each kitty heals in his or her own time.
Dr. Smith feels that Bert should start to work up an appetite and eventually back to feeding himself. I am very doubtful right now though. We've done this ONCE before and Bert wasn't even concerned. He waited us out like a pro! LOL! We bring his bowl of food to him and put it in front of him a few times a day and he's not impressed to say the least. He'll calmly look at it, look at us, look at the food again and mosey off. I swear I can hear him saying "ummmmm, no. thanks anyway"!!
I know I've told you before how much Bert loves his tube feedings but I swear it's getting comical. Mitch gets up at 6 AM for work and I usually get up and feed Bert then, too. Well if I don't get up EXACTLY when the alarm goes off, he starts getting antsy. He'll walk over my head ten times meowing his little head off. Then if I still don't get up he'll sit in the hall and start barking at Mitch. He'll do his guttural elongated meows until Mitch gets the water started for his food.
We heat the syringes up in hot water instead of microwaving his food. Microwaves can break down vitamins and other nutrients. Warming the food in water takes a few more minutes, but it's worth it. It's easier to control the heat, too.
Once he sees that I've started his breakfast, he goes from antsy to excited. He starts to pace into the bedroom and back out in the hall to see if I'm done yet and when he sees me coming down the hall with his syringes he takes off running for the bed. He'll jump up and flop over next to Mitch's pillows (our 'regular' feeding spot). The entire time we feed him he sits and purrrrrrrs and kneads and closes his eyes. He LOVES it, absolutely LOVES to be fed. He's usually feisty during the first syringe (60 cc's) and plays with our hands or reaches back to bite at the tape on his tube. He loves to play with the watchband, too (we still time the feedings to make sure we don't go too fast). Right about the time that we start the second syringe his belly is getting warm and full and he starts getting sooo sllleeeepppy. His little eyelids get heavy and he drifts off to sleep. It's hilarious because we were talking to Lalena at the vets office and she said that we should start tickling his ears or something when we feed him, we've got to stop making it so darn pleasant for him!!
This is where my concern comes in... Dr. Smith is very confident that Bert is going to start eating on his own aaaany day now. Uh huh. I don't think so. Bert has already proven to us that the old adage "he'll eat when he gets hungry" is FALSE! Besides, I think his feedings are his favorite part of his day!!
Splish! Splash! Kitty's Getting a Bath Part I
by Dan Malenski
Bath? Did we say a bath? Yes, this week and next, I will talk about the bath that nearly all kitties view as their least favorite pastime, next to having to take a pill! This week's article will be devoted to all the precautions you should take when preparing to bathe kitty and be an overview for the actual task so that you will have at least a 50% chance of surviving. Next week, we will get very serious and give you all the specifics. Needless to say, I am on my own this week and next and will not be getting any help from the girls. The photograph in this paragraph reflects Melissa, who is demonstrating the only thing that she will be doing for the next two weeks in protest.
Keep in mind kitty's speed and choose a small room where you will be able to more easily catch kitty should it wiggle out of your grasp, and you know that will happen several times. The bathroom is ideal, but if it is more than five feet square, do consider jumping into the tub (with the cat, of course) and close the sliding glass doors. You will not be able to use this option if a mere shower curtain surrounds your tub because it will be able to reduce your curtain to its molecular components in a matter of seconds.
Be aware that the cat will not hesitate to use its claws to remove all your skin from your body, which will make that sunburn you got last summer feel soothing in comparison. I recommend two pairs of jeans (the outer pair large and baggy), a full upper torso flak jacket, steel mesh or carbon fiber gloves, and a motorcycle helmet with facemask. It would also be prudent to have an assistant outside the door to summon help should you be losing the battle and need medical attention.
Do insure that kitty does not see any of your preparations and without blinking, pick it up as if you are merely carrying it to its food dish. Given the nature of kitty's ability to read our minds, this likely will not work because you will not be able to find kitty; therefore, do allot an extra hour or two to capture it.
You finally captured kitty after a four and a half hour chase around the house and everything is in shambles, but you finally have it. As quickly as you can, get into the tub, close the sliding doors, dip kitty in the water, squirt on some shampoo, start working up a lather, and get prepared for the wildest ride of your life.
Keep in mind that cats have no built-in handles and will be slippery from the soap. You will not be able to hold on to it for more than two or three seconds at a time, so be prepared to tolerate some water in your lungsfrom all the splashing water. I hope that you did not forget to put on both pairs of heavy jeans; otherwise, you are likely to frighten kitty even further with your screams of pain. When the lather has been worked in all areas of its body, you may proceed to the final step.
Although you may think otherwise, the task of drying the cat is the easiest because kitty will be clinging onto one your legs for dear life. Reach down and open the drain plug allowing the water to drain and merely dry the cat with a heavy towel while it is clinging to your leg. After a week or two, kitty will be relaxed enough so that you will be able to coax it to release your leg.
Between now and the next time that you have to bathe kitty, do map out a different strategy because it will be wise to your defenses and will soundly defeat you, should your tactics not change.
Next week, we finish this subject by supplying you with the details of bathing your cat, now that you are trained and will have a decent chance of surviving.
Each week we are having our own cat food reviews to determine what we, or should I say, our kitties think is the best cat food.
Brand Name: Evolve
Natural Cat Food
I want more! More! More!
That's what she dreamed of after eating her first meal of EVOLVE NATURAL CANNED CAT FOOD SEAFOOD FORMULA. Mommy read some of the ingredients to her: Ocean-fish, chicken, chicken liver, cranberries, peas, all cooked in salmon broth. Her second meal was as scrumptious as her first. She knew she would be back for more! She dreamed about the other varieties of EVOLVE ALL NATURAL CANNED CAT FOOD - but that's a story for another time. She slept soundly knowing that she wouldn't go to sleep hungry ever again."
Caring for Cat
Proactive Plan: Step-12
by Garry White
General Home Safety
A Nebraska vet claims that nearly all incoming pet emergencies to her clinic (90+ percent) are due to home-related incidents: accidents, mishaps, bad judgment, poisoning. Less than 5% are a result of medical crashes. She also claims that a high majority of these incidents could have been avoided, and I agree with her. The pro's say we should 'Think like a cat', but I'll modify that.I say that if we understand our cat and think like a parent, most disasters can be avoided. We already know that cats are curious by nature, and we know they want to be a part of our life; active in whatever we're doing at any given moment. These two bits of knowledge alone should be enough to keep us on our toes, but now let's add a final, dangerous ingredient: Cats are intelligent, that much is inarguable. However, the 'smartest' cat on the planet is about mentally equal to a small child, primarily because animals lack reason and logic as humans know it. Indeed they can be clever, but their actions are not driven by planning and reasoning. In simplest terms, you and I avoid things we know are bad for us, but cats lack the analytical ability to understand what might be potentially dangerous.
So we'll try to cover some of the more obscure traps that might prove dangerous to Fluffy, and skip the obvious stuff (plants, anti-freeze, etc).
Holidays with Pets - These fun times present a whole array of hazards. Gift-packaging ribbons strangle many cats every year. Tinsel that can be ingested and must be removed surgically. Candles that can burn Kitty, or be tipped over in playful curiosity and burn your house down! Candies and other human treats are generally plentiful; many of which are toxic to cats.
Guests - Some of your guests may not be pet-wise, so expect those folks to leave toilet seats up, leave heated oven-doors open, leave medicines exposed on the bathroom counter. Also, don't assume they'll be overly conscious that Fluffy is not allowed outside. And if they stay for a few days, they'll probably do some laundry; don't expect them to check the dryer before hitting the start-button!
Children - The Nebraska vet said she fixes 50 or so broken legs (and tails) every year that happen from being slammed in a door.often by children, but not always! In one instance, a child dropped a open window on a cat's neck. Another, the child dropped the cat from a 3rd. floor balcony. Nuff sed??
Recliner chairs - My advice is simple here.if Kitty can get inside from the bottom, get rid of it now!
Home Sweet Home - Most of the essence oils that are used as catalysts for Potpourri are petroleum based and extremely toxic to cats.be careful! The same is true for most of those little set-out room deodorizers.
Swimming pools - Cats can swim pretty good, but pools present two very real dangers: One, they cannot jump out of the water.if the water level is below where they can reach the sides to pull themselves out, they'll drown. Two, pools have chlorine and other anti-fungal agents which are extremely toxic to cats.
Drapery and Venetian-blind cords - Most have a fixed loop at the end; an ideal way for cats to get tangled up and suffer strangulation. Many do just that, every year.
Insect repellents - Most of them (including dog flea powders) contain agents that are highly toxic to cats.
So, be safe. Don't try to think like a cat, think like a parent!
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.