Caring for Cats Newsletter
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Vol. 2, No. 25
Hmmm.what's he up to now, you ask? Well, I want to present a sensible solution to an old problem, but first I must attack another old problem in order to do it. I'm sure that makes a lot of sense. Anyway, before getting to the meat, I want to discuss plastic and cat food. Like you, I've been given the death-scare that plastic and cat food is a deadly combination. In fact, I've even said as much in these articles a few times. But I have to back-peddle on the issue, at least somewhat. First reason is that someone forgot to mention all the other plastics and synthetics in our household that Kitty is exposed to daily: Carpets, many furniture coverings are synthetic, shoes, shopping bags, toilet-paper wrappings, children's toys; I could go on endlessly with this, but we all know that plastic is everywhere.and none of that stuff seems to kill cats. Secondly, cat-food bags (and cans!) are lined with plastic; in bags it's there to control moisture and freshness, in cans it prevents the food from contacting raw metal. Third, I did some research on the issue, and while petroleum-based plastics do emit a certain number of particulates, whether tangible or in gaseous state (fumes), the amount is far lower than any threshold considered to be dangerous. From what I can gather, the biggest fear with using plastic feeding bowls is that plastic is more porous (and softer) than, say, steel or ceramic or glass. Thus, plastic being more susceptible to scratching, it could harbor bacteria more easily than glass or ceramic. Makes sense. So, given all of that.would I feed my guys in a plastic bowl? No, because of the potential for hidden bacterial growth. Then, am I afraid of exposing their food to plastic of any kind, in any way? No, I'm not, because actual particulate emissions are insignificant.
What a lead-in that was, huh? And it led us to the other half of this two-banger: Food storage. I'll even back my way into this part of it. Remember that a cat's hunger is driven (or deterred) by smell --aroma-- which means we need to understand that freshness is everything! We've all seen evidence of this by their response to opening a new bag of food; they tear into it, right? But with most cats (mine, at least) enthusiasm wanes as the bag depletes. If you've got a dozen cats and go through a 10-pound bag every few days, you're probably wondering what this article is all about; it's for the rest of us with a kitty or two, who buy the bigger bags to save a few bucks, and then struggle with getting them to eat the last half of the bag. It's not a mystery, folks; no matter how tight we seal that bag or container, freshness is lost every time we open it! So here's what I've done, and I can tell you that it works like a charm! I bought the bigger bag for the savings, and then I bought a box of the best quart-size zipper-loc freezer bags I could find. Then I parceled out the food into the bags and put them in the freezer. Dry food does have moisture, and it was my thought that freezing would hold in the aroma and it worked! Today we opened the first freezer bag, let it come up to room temperature, and they went after it like it was a brand new bag! Now, on the caution side of the fence: Logic tells me that a box of 250 bags for $1.29 must be made from some pretty cheap stuff; the same logic encourages me to believe that better brands are probably made with a little more care.
So those of you still afraid of exposure to plastic, please let the rest of us know where you plan to buy your new organic furniture, carpeting, and toys.and litter-boxes. And those of you tired of tossing out the last half or quarter of the bag, give this a try!
Learning more about PEG Tubes - Part I
by Kathy Fatheree
What an incredible journey Bert' story is. For those of you just joining us, we followed a sick cat named Bert from before he was diagnosed with Feline Hepatic Lipidosis (FHL) all the way through his PEG tube placement. And then to when his tube was removed and now he's happily eating on his own! I wish every assisted feeding / tube placement went so smoothly and ended so happily. I got lucky in following Bert's story, because if it had turned out sad, I would have been devastated. (About 7 years ago, I personally lived through a story that did NOT have a happy ending and I am devastated to this very day. (In a future newsletter, I might share what I believe were the many mistakes that were instrumental in the fall of that precious kitty if that might help someone...)
Bert's parents are so very fortunate to have been directed to a specialist who has a lot of experience with surgically implanting a variety of assisted feeding tubes. Bert is a young cat of 8 years and before his FHL, a very healthy cat. He stopped eating because antibiotics for his kitty acne made him sick to his stomach. By the time his anorexia was fully realized, FHL had already set in. Bert, you see, is rather plump shall we say, and overweight kitties have a greater chance of developing FHL.
Bert's specialist decided that since Bert's FHL would take several months to reverse, the best option for Bert was a PEG tube.
REMEMBER: Each assisted feeding option MUST be tailored to the individual sick cat's needs. If you have sufficient time to do research, explore ALL of your options before choosing any surgical procedure since surgery DOES have inherent risks and possible complications.
PEG is the acronym for Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy. Hum... so what does THAT mean you say. According to Cornell, enteral nutrition (also called tube feeding) is a way to provide food through a tube placed in the nose, the stomach, or the small intestine. A tube in the nose is called a nasogastric or nasoantral tube. A tube that goes through the skin into the stomach is called a gastrostomy or percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG). A tube into the small intestine is called a jejunostomy or percutaneous endoscopic jejunostomy (PEJ) tube.
Next week I will show you drawings depicting how a PEG Tube is placed and how it is removed.
Blackie's Day in Court
by Dan Malenski
Our feline companions are generally noted for batting toys around the kitchen floor, begging for their evening treat, or curling up in our laps on a cold winter's night, not fighting for their rights in court pleading that their right to free speech under the First Amendment is being denied. This article is the saga of Blackie the Cat vs. the City of Augusta, Georgia in the early summer of the year 1981.
The story starts at the time that Carl Miles was approached by a girl with a box of kittens and asked him if he had wanted one. He initially refused, but changed his mind after hearing a voice saying, "Take the black kitten" that he named Blackie. When Blackie was about five months old, Mr. Miles had him on his lap saying to him I love you. Blackie would then utter sounds, which convinced Mr. Miles that he was trying to talk to him, and started an intensive course of speech therapy involving lip-reading and the use of tape recorders. Ultimately, Blackie learned the ability to utter words that could be understood by others beside Mr. and Mrs. Miles, and that's when his problems began.
Blackie the cat's talent was taken to the marketplace where he spoke on radio and televisions shows such as "That's Incredible", and entertained the local populace with his oratory skills for a donation of one dollar. The City of Augusta deemed Mr. Miles' promotion of Blackie's skills an occupation, which required a business license. Mr. Miles did not agree; thus, he sued the city of Augusta Georgia stating that the monies collected were donations and that Blackie's right to free speech was being infringed upon.
While the suit was being heard in court, the presiding judge, the Honorable Dudley H. Bowen Jr. turned out to one of Blackie's customers! Here is Judge Bowen's recollection of the encounter:
.I have seen and heard a demonstration of Blackie's abilities. One afternoon when crossing Greene Street in an automobile, I spotted in the median a man accompanied by a cat and a woman. The black cat was draped over his left shoulder. Knowing the matter to be in litigation, and suspecting that the cat was Blackie, I thought twice before stopping. Observing, however, that counsel for neither side was present and that any citizen on the street could have happened by chance upon this scene, I spoke, and the man with the cat eagerly responded to my greeting. I asked him if his cat could talk. He said he could, and if I would pull over on the side street he would show me. I did, and he did. The cat was wearing a collar, two harnesses and a leash. Held and stroked by the man, Blackie said "I love you" and" I want my Mama." The man then explained that the cat was the sole source of income for him and his wife and requested a donation, which was provided. I felt that my dollar was well spent. The cat was entertaining as was its owner.
Unfortunately, in spite of Judge Bowen's pleasant encounter with Blackie, he ruled against the Miles', stating that Blackie was a business and any funds collected would be subject to taxation, which would include the dollar collected from Judge Bowen! The Miles' then stated that Blackie's right to free speech was being violated. However, the Court of Appeals refused to hear the claim, stating that he is not considered a person; hence, he is not protected by the Bill of Rights, and even if he was afforded such protection, stated, "we see no need for appellants to assert his right (for him). Blackie can clearly speak for himself".
We are disappointed that the court did not rule in favor of Blackie in spite of the fact that the city ordinance governing businesses was very broad and did not contain a provision for a talking cat or any other talking animals. Moreover, the court ruled that Blackie would have to raise the Constitutional issue in his own behalf and he couldn't do that. After hearing this story, the girls, Amanda and Melissa, made a wish that the judges who ruled against Blackie would come back as mice in their next life!
We all know that the best cat food, such as the holistic brands we present here, aren't always easy to come by. Logistically and cost-wise, feeding Fluffy the right stuff can be quite a challenge, and I'm betting that sometimes the urge is to ask "Is this really worth it. Is the extra cost and inconvenience really paying off." Well, I could say "yes" all day long, and you'd probably still be asking the question, so I put a few things together that show the human equivalent of bad diet, as compared to a similar bad diet for a cat. Desirable cat food nutrient values were established by averaging several of the better holistic brands, and comparing to stuff we can buy at the supermarket. Again, the object: If a cat eats one portion (one meal) of food with an excess (or deficiency) of "XYZ", what would have the same negative effect (impact) on humans.
Just so you know, the CAT nutrient values were taken directly from various nutrient reference charts for cat foods we buy every day. I didn't pick out the worst for sake of the article. As I said, the calculations were straight-line, and were based on a 12-pound cat and a 140-pound human one can of food for the cat, one meal for the human.
In this world, humans tend to think that we're the superior race among all other beings. And in many cases, I suppose that's true. We possess logic, we can understand and interpret complex issues, and we can act on what we've learned. Are we the only beings able to do that? If you think so, you're sorely mistaken.
Picture this: We have Clarkie boy, who admittedly has been somewhat of a cantankerous grump most of his life, and old age hasn't mellowed him a great deal. Then we have Wilbur; the exact opposite.full of fun, very social, gets something from every single minute of life. Clumsy, adventurous; Dennis The Menace! As Wilbur made the slow but sure transformation from kitten to cat, I suppose it was testosterone that encouraged him to try and "take the hill", so to speak. In fact, some of you know that Wilbur's longevity with us was dubious.his attacking was becoming a nuisance to Clark, and I was nearly "at that point". But I held off: Wilbur's attacks were explosive and physical, but not physically damaging. And while Clark was annoyed with Wilbur's craziness, he seemed to be holding his own. I suspected that Clark would "reach his own point" one day, and apparently he did. I'd say "unbeknownst to me", but more than once I've heard the godawfullest war going on in another room, and upon investigation discover Clark spitting out a mouthful of orange hair.and Wilbur behind the TV. So disregarding the fact that Wilbur is nearly twice the size and weight of 16-year old Clark, Clark has re-established his position that was, in reality, only questionable in Wilbur's mind to start with.
But the story gets better, and this refers to the starting paragraph of the article. Now, Clark chases Wilbur to play, and he has no compunction whatsoever about waking a sleeping Wilbur.Ummm.without too much notice. Payback?? But the most amazing thing of all is a new role-playing scenario they've developed. Wilbur, you see, has taken on the role of being Clark's personal entertainer, and it's hilarious to watch! I have to think they set the stage for this, because it truly is a setting! Clark will be lying near an open doorway, paws crossed, totally at ease. And Wilbur starts his performance of entertaining Clark. He'll flip, roll, jump in the air, fall down, twist in circles.about a foot away. Run across the room and come back at Warp speed, to twist in the air and flop before Clark like he'd been shot. Sometimes he drags stuff over by Clark and plays with it right there. Clark doesn't want to play, and I've concluded that Wilbur doesn't want him to play; he's simply showing off for Clark! Clark enjoys the show, and it seems that's what Wilbur wants him to do.
What do I conclude from this? Several things: First, Wilbur loves Clark immensely; that much is clear, and I believe it's reciprocal. Second, based on the enjoyment both of them get from this "routine", it's pretty obvious that it was somehow choreographed in whatever cat-language they use; Wilbur wants to please Clark, Clark certainly enjoys the show, and they've somehow figured out what it takes to make that happen. Third, the way this is implemented and carried out reeks of intelligence; many of the attributes that we humans feel are exclusive to us are openly displayed here. No, cats cannot exercise mental growth as we know it. They cannot turn a screwdriver or mix a good Scotch 'n' Water (sigh.), but can they design, develop, and execute a lifestyle of their own that's far beyond instinct, habit, or mere survival... You better believe it!
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.