Caring for Cats Newsletter
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Vol. 2, No. 18
Quick recap from last week:
A few new facts:
Okay, let's look at the kinds of foods we're concerned with:
First, let's correct a common misconception about dry food: Many feel that dry food will not spoil because there is no moisture to harbor bacteria. This is false! Dry food normally contains about 6-10% moisture, so it will spoil; it just takes a little longer. Remember too; the longer any food sits out in the open, the longer it's exposed to hair, dust, and host of other contaminants.
Commercially processed, non-holistic (supermarket) foods, whether canned or dry, are typically well-dosed with artificial preservatives. They're designed to delay bacterial growth, so they'll last longer at warmer (room) temperatures without spoiling. Also, the normal processing routines with these foods (sterilization and other chemicals) are designed to wipe out bacteria.
Commercially processed, holistic foods. Ah, we're learning to love the holistic concept, and the ingredients certainly are better for our kitties. But these organic or natural ingredients come with a very serious caution. Most holistic foods use only natural preservatives, such as Vitamins E or C, maybe a few herbs like Rosemary, Parsley, and so on. These natural preservatives definitely work, but they're far less effective at killing, preventing, or delaying bacterial growth than chemicals and sterilization processes. This is intentional, of course, because we know that most commercial processing not only kills bacteria, it also kills much of the "goodness" of food! So most holistic food manufacturers cook the foods much as you'd do it in your own kitchen, and we end up with a food much like what we'd prepare with our own hands. But Holistic foods spoil much faster than a can of something we'd pick up at the supermarket. Question is; are they worth dealing with this extra caution? You better believe it!
Raw Food Diets. Oh, my. I just read an article from a Germany author that asks, "Why are Americans so afraid of raw food diets? We've been doing it over here for a long time!" Those of you who have success with raw food diets, pay me no mind; maybe one day I'll see the light. But until then, I defer to my skimpy knowledge of bacterial growth and what it can do, and I'm not afraid of raw food diets.I'm terrified of them. Again, dozens of you are probably laughing at me, and that's okay.my philosophy is based equally on science and personal preference.
So, if you're feeding Kitty on the back porch this summer, or even by an open window, remember to change (and clean) the food and water bowls more frequently, and a trick I use is to set the food bowl in a low-profile pan of ice cubes which also gives them nice, cool water for drinking! It all helps.
From Emergency... to Barking for Food!
by Kathy Fatheree
We had a bit of an emergency with Bert this weekend. Nothing too dangerous but had the potential for it! We went to bed on Friday night at about 10:30 and right as we were drifting off to sleep Mitch felt something by his pillow. He picked it up and it turned out to be Bert's flange!! The piece that holds his tube in place! We jumped up and checked on Bert and sure enough his tube was slipping a bit. We have NO CLUE how he got the flange off; the entire rubber piece was split almost in two pieces. I suppose it's possible that he could have worked on it slowly and it got chewed on so much that it split. I'm thinking though, that it started to come apart when they loosened it months ago. So we made a fast trip into the emergency vet. We called our vet tech LaLena first (she gave us her cell phone number to call 24/7, we absolutely LOVE HER!) and she called ahead to the vet for us. It took about an hour (sadly, they seemed busy) but they put a new flange on for him and they didn't even charge us! (Thank god!) So Bert is fine and dandy but it could have really been trouble if Mitch wouldn't have found that flange. If that tube would have slipped it could have made him really sick. I don't think it would have slipped all the way into his tummy because it has tape on it but it would have made him really nauseous at the very least!
We are going to take Bert in sometime this week so LeLena can look at the new flange. I remember her telling us that Bert's tube was good for about six months though. After that amount of time it starts to disintegrate. She said if it looks like Bert is going to have to have the tube long term they put in what is called a 'port'. It's flush with the skin (no actual tube sticking out) and has a plug that is removable for feeding time. The feeding syringes literally plug into this port. This way he won't have to wear his shirt all the time and there isn't anything protruding to worry about. If I remember correctly it was plastic and round and about the size of a fifty cent piece with the plug in the middle.
Bert is Barking - A Good Sign!
Kitty Goes Off-road!
by Dan Malenski
Great news! Now that the articles on b-a-t-h-i-n-g cats is complete, the girls are now on speaking terms with me and eager to help with articles that they do not consider to be in the same vein as abuse. If it was up to them, anyone who would even think about bathing a cat should be banished to unloading bags of kitty litter from huge trucks for the rest of their lives.
Now that the warmer weather is upon us, some choose to take their cats outdoors, but there are some hazards associated with taking a cat outdoors using a leash. If your cat is one that will accept a leash, you may compensate for the possibility of it escaping by being particularly careful, but it will always be vulnerable to any free-roaming animals in the area, particularly d*gs! Even picking a cat up will not be enough to protect it from a d*g, except a very tiny one. Fortunately, there are now products that will protect kitty outdoors and enable you to enjoy the stroll along with him.
There are now many stylish strollers and SUVs available that will safely transport kitty anywhere you wish, and even those equipped for off-road use! We are going to describe just some of the models available and show you what they look like. Taking kitty outdoors is never going to be the same! What is common to all the models that we will describe is that the soft carrier is removable from the stroller and that both units are collapsible.
Kittywalk® Pet Strollers
Standard features for this model are as follows:
Now, for those of you who believe that every home must have a SUV parked in their driveway, this model also has a SUV version. This model is better suited for off-road use and for large cats that spend too much time making cat food disappear. It has all the features of the Fifth Avenue Stroller and adds the following:
Finally, for those who must indulge in
the ultimate of style and make eyes
pop at the same time, there is the
By this time, you might think that we a done and ready to say goodbye until next week-not quite! The above strollers were such a hit that the manufacturer had decided to manufacture a double-decker version of the Fifth Avenue pet stroller for those with multiple cats or have a d*g that must go along for the ride. You may wish to conceal this article from your furry companions, lest they force you to loosen up your purse strings and promptly empty it!
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: O&M
Our cat food contains Menhaden fish & fish oil, for example: That's a costly ingredient for us, but one that we felt well worthwhile for your kitty. The Menhaden Flounder is a 'middle-feeder' that lives solely off healthy, swimming fishes; not the grunge at the bottom or the scum floating on top of the water! In addition, O&M foods are supercharged with our special proprietary whole food enzyme complex for better immune support to help minimize chronic disease.
We strive to formulate the most Purr-Fectly balanced diet, and we're confident that your kitties will love O&M foods just like Clarkie and Wilbur do! I'm Marie; if you have any questions about our foods, please feel free to give me a call."
Caring for Cats
by Garry White
Everyone knows that men aren't supposed scream, but there are times in vet offices when I'm tempted.
"What seems to be the problem, Mrs. Jones?"
"Uh, Fluffy seems to have this."
"I see. Well, I'm afraid that Fluffy has chronic Zapilitis; we'll start her on Crypsolix right away."
Dr. Docinarush strikes again. Yes, I'm exaggerating, but not by much: Before we can complete a sentence, Doc has concluded what's wrong with Fluffy and what needs to be done. It seems to be the norm these days, but I'd like to voice a few concerns. First, the concept itself points out that we're no longer in charge; commerce is. We're expected to get to the back of the line, wait our turn, be thankful when they finally get to serve us, and settle for a precious few minutes of Doc's time. Secondly, it has been my experience that instant analysis generates.at best.a couple of less-than-ideal scenarios. One, quick-medicine often ends up with the wrong diagnosis or treatment. Two, Dr. Docinarush knows he cannot possibly diagnose properly in a rush, and schedules a long list of expensive and unnecessary test to cover that base. In either case, it's not really about Fluffy's problem anymore; it's about conforming to the clinic's way of doing business.
What should we do? I don't know about you, but I'm inclined to ask what I already did.wrong, that is. When and how did I allow myself to accept this convenience-store mentality when the life of my precious cat is at stake?? When and how did I settle for the fact that I'm going to pay more (far more) for less (far less)? I can't answer those questions, and neither can you. Because it didn't happen; it evolved slowly over a period of time, and it evolved because we allowed it. Little by little, commerce and the pursuit of a healthy bottom-line took the place of quality care."This is how we do things now", and we fell prey to it. I'm not referring to all vets, of course, but we'd be hard-pressed to find a vet today who isn't part of a group, consortium, or network. My old vet used to worry about the cat; the new vet worries about his/her investors.
Okay, we've identified a problem; is there a solution? There is for me. Look, I have cats and I need vets from time to time, just like you. And I'll settle for being pushed along with the crowd at Walmart, the ski-lift, or the checkout line at 7-11. But not with my sick cat who is trusting me to save his life! When I encounter Dr. Docinarush, I tell him/her as nicely as I can that we're going to take the time to do this right, or we'll go find someone who does have the time.
I understand and respect that many situations don't allow for challenging a hurry-up vet or clinic.maybe there are only a couple of vets within reasonable driving distance and you don't dare alienating one of them; maybe your lifestyle allows very little time for vet-visits. The list is endless, but remember this: Every time you allow a vet to tell you how things are going to be done, you help set the stage for everyone behind you, and a new precedent is born.
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.