Caring for Cats Newsletter
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Vol. 2, No. 32
Those itty Bitty Numbers
by Garry White
Before we delve into some serious stuff, I'd like to offer a big welcome to one of our newest Newsletter subscribers: Monica Ronzello. Monica is the wife of a business associate, and I'm told by a reliable source that her kitty rates quite highly in the Ronzello household. Gosh.who woulda thunk such a thing! Anyway, welcome aboard, Monica; the only thing we ask of new subscribers is that you submit a weekly (5000 word) essay on something easy, like defining the relational balance between prebiotic phytochemical enzymes and white blood cell count. (Just kidding)
In this Feline Nutrition article, I often hammer you with numbers; sometimes the numbers and values are so minute as to seem silly that we'd even bother to measure them! But measure them we do, and measure them you must! What has happened is that the world of feline nutrition and feline diet has taken a very serious turn for the better in recent years, and as pet folks it's our job to keep up with things. And as your trusty scribe, it's my job to help you learn what we feel will add years of healthy life to your kitty. That means a good diet of the right kind of food. That means getting involved personally and doing the research, versus grabbing whatever is on sale at Stop 'N' Go this week. Here, we take the proactive stand, rather than wait for a disaster and then try to react in time.
Is there really that much difference in cat foods?
I'll let you decide. For years, many big pet-food manufacturers focused on selling product, and the most effective way to do that is by making it taste good. Science proves that a cat's hunger is triggered first by smell, and fats smell good to a cat.load it up with fats and cats will love it! Also, we have to consider the simple logic that there "is no free lunch": You aren't going to find quality ingredients in a 39-cent can of cat food, and quality is what it's really all about. There are agencies which govern the pet-food industries, but the agencies only set mandates for "Daily Minimum Requirements" and for quantity standards. If the label says it's a Beef food, for example, then a certain percentage of the food has to be beef.but it doesn't say what part of the cow can and cannot be used. I'm not bashing commercial pet food manufactures, I'm simply presenting the logic that a manufacturer cannot put $2 worth of food in a can and sell it to you for 39-cents.
No question that you love your kitty a great deal, but perhaps proper nutrition just isn't something you've focused on, for any number of reasons. So that you can get a better feel for the importance of a good diet and what we're all about here in Feline Nutrition, I looked at three store-shelf foods I consider to be of poor quality, and I compared the results with three foods of excellent quality. I looked closely at nutrients we know will cause problems down the road, if the balance is wrong. Here's what I found, and remember these results are just for the poor-quality foods:
(DMR=Daily Minimum Requirement, per AAFCO)
Same question: Is there really that much difference in cat foods?
by Kathy Fatheree
We have been following a kitty named Skip and this week, Skip's Mom is presenting some history on Skip and timeline for Skip's illness.
Just like medical students, I think we all learn from reading case studies. Be sure to do a search on the terms and medicines that are new to you so that Skip's journey will teach you along the way.
I want to start off my mentioning that Skip has suffered from IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) since he was two years old. In addition to that, Skip has severe reactions to vaccines. Skip and his brother, Trace, came to me when they were approximately six weeks old. Genetics must play a role with vaccine reactions because I almost lost Trace too from his vaccinations. Other than the IBD and the vaccine problems, Skip has led a very happy and healthy life. Skip is one who LOVES attention from not only his parents, but anyone and everyone who comes to visit. Skip also loves to antagonize the dogs by flicking his tail right in front of them and patting at them.
for Skip's illness:
July 11th: Skip was promptly admitted into the hospital. Diagnoses not given. Fluids and antibiotics administered. By morning Skip was completely jaundice.
July 12th: Skip was diagnosed with Feline Hepatic Lipidosis, secondary to a severe pancreatic attack combined with an IBD flare up. Skip remained in the hospital.
July 13th: Skip was released from the hospital in the early evening. He stopped vomiting. I was instructed to syringe feed 120cc daily. We were sent home with Reglan and Baytril.
July 14: Skip began to vomit again. He was also stressed from the syringe feedings. Everything that went down came back up. Skip was re-admitted into the hospital. I asked about inserting a feeding tube and was told that Skip didn't need one yet.
July 15th: Skip was again allowed to come home. Skip didn't look any better but he stopped vomiting. Sent home with Baytril and Reglan.
July 16th: Took Skip to another vet for a second opinion. Second vet concurred that Skip did not need a feeding tube. He also concurred that Skip has FHL.
July 16-17th: Continued to syringe feed a very angry and depressed Skip.
July 18: Skip was re-admitted into the hospital. Given fluids and more antibiotics. Exploratory surgery was scheduled for the next morning. I INSISTED on a feeding tube.
July 19th: PEG feeding tube inserted. Exploratory surgery complete. Diagnoses of FHL was confirmed and so was the pancreatitis attack.
July 22: Skip came home and we began tube feeding. Skip was happy to be home but I could tell he really felt awful. I knew some of it should be expected due to the surgery but I just knew "something" wasn't right. Sent home with Reglan and Baytril.
July 23: Skip was diagnosed with cancer, specifically, hepatocellular carcinoma. Which appears to be a rare primary liver cancer in cats.
July 25: Skip was again admitted into the hospital. This time Skip was given HETASTARCH which increases the volume of blood plasma. In addition to the new fluid, Skip continued to get antibiotics and Pepcid.
July 29: Skip continues to get fed via his PEG tube. He actually enjoys his feedings and purrs the whole time. Skip is still on Baytril and Pepcid. The vet also gave Skip a pain medication (torbutrol). Skip has really made a turn around for the better. We finally have hope that we can get past the FHL and focus on treating the cancer. NC State has been given a copy of Skip's complete medical records. We are awaiting a consult. It is my understanding that in Skip's specific case, the hepatocellular carcinoma is inoperable due to the diffuse tumors throughout his liver. I have read studies stating that chemo is not beneficial. We are praying that NC State will give us new hope for treatment. As I write this, Skip is at my feet purring and kneading. We just got back from a check up the vet is very pleased to see how well Skip is responding to tube feedings. Skip's coloring is almost back to normal.
August 8: Skip lost a little more weight. He is now at 14 pounds. Dr. K says it is the cancer that is making Skip lose weight. She wants us to feed Skip 75cc 3 times a day and work our way up to (no more than) 100cc three times a day. We heard back from NC State. Two oncologists at NC State believe that chemo is NOT an option. Dr. K also contacted a local oncol who agrees that chemo will not be beneficial to Skip. Skip was placed on Piroxicam (10mg every other day). Although I have not researched this drug, I am being told that it will help with inflammation of the liver and it has cancer fighting agents along with an appetite stimulant. Skip will stay on the Pepcid too.
Tune in next week to get the latest update on Skip.
A Purr-fect Vacation!
by Dan Malenski and Brigetta Walden
For some, the task of caring for Kitty when one goes on vacation is delegated to a friendly doorman, or, perhaps, the hired help. However, there are those, like us, where the "hired help" is the person seen in the bathroom mirror in the morning, who must make their own arrangements for Kitty's care when going on vacation. Therefore, we have some suggestions that may help to reduce stress and put your mind at ease while you are away.
The Stay-at-Home Kitty
Cats, being territorial creatures, are most happy in their own, familiar surroundings; thus, we see this option as most desirable. In some cases, cats may be left alone for a day or two, but for the exceptions and longer absences, they should be periodically supervised. Moreover, there are the daily chores, such as insuring that they have fresh food and water and clean litter boxes. The photograph below shows what your house may look like when you return without the proper supervision:
A trusted friend or neighbor, who is familiar with your cat(s) and home, would be the ideal resource, but if this option is not practical because of distance or other reasons, you may consider a professional pet sitter. Employing a professional pet sitter may actually be more economical than boarding, particularly for multiple cat households, but be sure to do your homework prior to choosing this option.
Choosing a professional pet sitter service requires checking their experience, specialty, and references. Beware of the pet sitter that does not require an interview with you and your cat(s) prior to you departing on vacation. Resources for finding a professional pet sitter are:
to visit: Pet Sitters
Click here to visit: Pet-Sitters.biz
Whatever type of pet sitter you choose, insure that they have all the phone numbers they need to deal with emergencies, that is, the phone number for you and your veterinarian, and that of a friend or relative who can make a decision in your behalf, in the event that you cannot be reached. Moreover, insure that they are aware of any special needs that any of the cats should require, and that enough supplies exist in the household, to last the duration of your vacation, such as food, cat litter, etc.
Boarding Your Cat
Boarding is another option, particularly if your cat is one that is not happy alone. Boarding facilities need not be a kennel type facility, but may be a private residence. Whatever type you choose, be sure to visit the facility yourself, and ask a lot of questions, such as how many animals are boarded at one time, does sufficient isolation exist between other types of animals, are staff members available 24 hours a day, will they provide your cat the same diet, etc.
If you are uncertain how your cat will react outside its home, you may consider a "trial run", that is, boarding Kitty at the chosen facility for an overnight stay and evaluate how it reacts to the experience.
As with the pet sitting option, insure that the facility has the appropriate emergency and special needs information.
Kitty on Vacation With You
Or course, if we ever so much as suggested a vacation to our "girls", their first question would be: "could we take the kitty Winnebago®?"
Departure and Grand Homecoming
When you return, be sure to give Kitty plenty of extra attention and playtime, which should make the next time that you have to leave the house for an extended period less stressful for all of you.
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.
Name: Natural Balance
Our Comments: "Funny, you look so much like a knave, Wilbur."
"Funny, you look so much like a knave, Wilbur."
Phone: 1 (800) 829-4493
And so we begin this series of articles that we hope will shed some light on coping with the most difficult situation of all; the aftermath that strikes when one of our kitties dies. I want you to please understand that this is not to be seen as a lecture, or a seminar, or a qualified reference source. Rather, it's just Kathy and I talking to our friends, sharing personal thoughts and what we hope may be insights for some. Throughout, I'll say many things that may appear to be statement-of-fact, but indeed they are merely organized thoughts that perhaps someone can gain benefit from. Given that, I suppose every sentence should begin with, "In my opinion.", but that get boring rather quickly. So I'll say it now, once, and you'll have to assume it from here on. There are many little legs to the element of guilt, all of which are sensitive and complex, and as promised I will not hurry this.
So, what is guilt? Guilt is an emotion, of course, but it's notably different than other emotions. Love, hate, anger, frustration, curiosity, despair, these, too are emotions that affect us to varying degrees, but they are triggered by extraneous influence; perhaps an event, perhaps another person. But we don't just walk around in curiosity of nothing: We love something, or we hate something, or we're curious about something. I, for example, only despair when the price of good Scotch rises. But you see where I'm going with this; most emotions are shared emotions that require more than one player. Guilt is the exception. Guilt comes from within, not from without. Also, guilt is the only emotion that can be born of other emotions: Love hate, anger, these are bred from some other influence, not from another emotion. After all, we can't very well love something we hate, can we? Or we can't be un-pleased with something that's extremely pleasing. But guilt stands alone; it can be (and often is) born out of love and affection. It's a very personal emotion that is generated by us, and it's how we identify with misdeeds or fallacies that we feel responsible for. We can't weigh it or measure it, and certainly we cannot judge it; guilt just is! Guilt also is the most powerful, the most impacting, and the most controlling emotion we can experience, simply because we cannot blame the feeling on anyone or anything else. Guilt means we screwed up and we know it, or at least we have ourselves convinced that we know it.
When we lose a kitty, most of us go through a myriad of emotions, but eventually we end up with the guilt, asking ourselves over and over what else we could have done and why we didn't do it. When we've fussed and screamed at whomever we choose to blame for the loss, guilt is what we're left with when the lights go out; we could have, should have, done more! We'll explore those areas quite deeply and if those are reasonable thoughts, but for now, we've had a closer look at a dangerous enemy; an enemy that we all need to conquer!
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.