Caring for Cats Newsletter
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Vol. 2, No. 7
The Good Carbohydrates
by Garry White
I've said all along that Wilbur is a screwball, and now I have proof! Clark was eating cat litter, so I had to make this special litter box for him with shredded newspapers. In answer to the question you haven't asked yet, Yes, Clark had used the box before Wilbur became so fascinated with it!
Okay, that's enough about screwballs; let's discuss something more sensible, like oligosaccharides. Actually, that's just a cute name for inulin, which is a type of non-digestible carbohydrate.
Do we want inulin in Kitty's diet?
Glad you asked: The interesting thing about inulin is this: Unlike most other carbs, inulin is fermented in the lower parts of the intestinal tract. My research describes it as micro flora (bifidobacterium), but if it's all the same to you, I'll explain it this way: Inulin helps nourish the "good bacteria" for better digestion, and hinders the growth of infectious bacteria.
Does inulin offer other benefits?
Plenty! The research one could do on this neat little herb goes on to infinity, but let me hi-lite a few of the notable things I ran across:
Okay, so where do we find this 'inulin' stuff?
Why, at the inulin store! Uhh.no, that's not right. Inulin is found in a wide variety of well-known herb roots, but the most common source we see is Chicory root.
So the bottom line is that we want to be pleased when we see Chicory root in that list of ingredients, and now we know why it's there.
Does Bert have a Full Tummy - Part II
by Kathy Fatheree
Last week... Bert's Mom explained to us how they check Bert's tummy to see if he is still full from the previous feeding. or if Bert is starting to get hungry and ready for his next feeding. Since this topic of checking for a full tummy is so important with tube feeding, I thought I should contact Bert's Mom for more insight on this 'aspirate' procedure!
Here's what Bert's Mom had to say:
Note about the Spongy Stomach
...Be sure to check in next week to follow Bert's journey!
The Purr-fect Potty
by Dan Malenski
This week, I will talk about some of the new bathroom facilities available for our cats when they feel it is time to powder their noses. Although we will mention the basic litter pan, we will focus on some of the commercial products available, which are designed to make kitty's bathroom like part of your living room and make your neighbors green with envy. Gone are the days when the only thing available for this purpose was a (shudder) plain polypropylene pan, as we now have kitty bathroom facilities that are of furniture quality and have the same price tag. I must confess that Amanda and Melissa use standard bathroom facilities in our home, that is, two large, polypropylene pans with hoods. I am writing this article without their knowledge, lest I be faced with a non-negotiable demand for new bathroom facilities that would force me to take a second mortgage on the house.
Since all of us are familiar with the ubiquitous litter pans sold for cats, I will mention an alternative for those who need a very spacious pan for a cat nearly the size of a small pony, for which even the largest size available in your pet store will not do. A good alternate may be to use what restaurants use to tote dirty dishes from the serving area back to the kitchen. I'm sure that everyone had seen these huge poly pans at one time or another, but may not have thought that they also make world class litter pans! People generally visit restaurants for a dining experience and do not have cat litter on their minds. They are available in many sizes, easily washed, have large rounded edges, and are sturdy enough to tussle with a runaway SUV and win! You will find these inexpensive trays where restaurant supplies are sold under the names of tote boxes, bus boxes, or bus pans.
For those cats that must have the finer things in life, there are furniture quality enclosures available that will blend in with any home décor. They are available pre-stained or unfinished and may hold one or two large litter pans. The front of the cabinet looks like any piece of furniture, and nearly all of them have an entrance hole in one of the sides. The entrance hole may be made less conspicuous by placing the side with the entrance hole next to a wall or other piece of furniture. The front of the cabinet opens up, and the litter pan sits on a shelf that easily rolls out for ease of cleaning. The prices for this category range from about $50.00 to $150.00, with the higher ranges reserved for the better ones, which are suitable for any living room.
Finally, for those cats who demand the absolute finest, there are cabinets that will hold more than one litter pan and many are of dual use, that is, the lower portion houses the litter pan(s), and the top portion contains shelves that may be used for any suitable purpose. Cabinets in this category are also available with doors mounted on the upper portion that may be of various styles. Some doors are plain, while others may contain a stained glass pattern or even a hand carved pattern at extra cost. Cabinets in this category are priced from the area of $600.00 and up. You could purchase a large unit, such as the ones described here and easily pay a price in the four-figure category with the various options offered. You may ask if you still have to clean the litter pans, and the answer is yes!
You may find some of the more inexpensive cabinets at some of the larger pet stores, but for the most part, you will find the largest selection on the internet via your favorite search engine, using the key words of cat, litter, and cabinet. You will find some that will also build cabinets customized to your specifications from the ground up and leave you with a depleted wallet or purse. No matter how expensive, I could not find any that provided a maid with it, and the closest one to it was one particular model that was built to accept the Littermaid® self-cleaning litter box at additional cost.
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: Solid Gold
"Katz-N-Flocken was the first natural cat food in the United States. Historically made with lamb, brown rice, barley, menhaden fish, and healthy oils such as flaxseed oil and canola oil, this product is especially helpful for cats with skin problems, allergies, and digestive problems. Katz-N-Flocken does not contain any corn, wheat, soy, chemical preservatives, added sugar and salt, or chemical preservatives, which are often implicated in a myriad of problems including poor coat and digestive upset.
We have recently made this great product even better with the addition of fresh lamb, antibiotic free chicken meal, and chicory root. Chicken meal reduces the overall ash content of the product, which helps protect against urinary tract problems.
Katz-N-Flocken is packaged in 4 lb and 15 lb hermetically sealed foil bags, which help preserve the freshness of food without the addition of chemical preservatives.
For a free sample of Katz-N-Flocken, please contact our corporate offices at 800-364-4863.
Caring for Cats
Proactive Plan: Step-3
by Garry White
Observing Fluffy's routine habits
Given enough space, I could write a dozen pages on the importance of tracking (and recording!) their habits and routines over the days, months, years. This alone is probably one of the best tools we have for catching a problem in its infancy stages. We'll talk about some of the important things a kitty's behavior (habits, routines) can tell us, but first we'll set the stage so that what we're observing makes sense.
We're often wrong in our interpretation of why a kitty does some of the things it does. Covering their stuff in the box, for example, is often seen as good household manners."Oh, my kitty is so clean!" That may be true, but covering his/her stuff is instinctual; it keeps predators from tracking their scent. At least that's the theory, but if you've had Cat-A cover up stuff Cat-B left in the box (as I have personally witnessed), that theory is up for challenge, right? No, not really: What I witnessed was an act of instinct from Cat-A, and a show of affection for Cat-B!
As long as we're on the subjects of instinct and nature, let's see how it relates to illnesses and pain, and this is one you want to read carefully. We all know that cats will hide a problem, and you've seen me write many times that a condition is often 70-80% into progression before we even know something is wrong! Rotten little sneaks, huh? Well, not really. Remembering that cats came from the wild, they aren't intentionally keeping bad secrets from us; nature (and ancestry) has shown them that exposing weakness --sickness, pain, injury-- invites attack from predators.so by instinct they don't show pain until it's unavoidable. Sidebar: This business of self-preservation is instinctual in humans, too, and if you doubt what I say, try this: Pop a loud balloon in a crowded room and note how many people throw their hands up to cover their ears.and then note how many people attempted to cover your ears. Nope, nature forces us to take care of ourselves first. That's just how it works, and there isn't a thing we (or kitties) could do to change that.
So it would seem that the potential for early detection is slim, wouldn't it? I mean, nature is against us, here. Wrong again; nature works in our favor, too! Instinct will tell her to go hide, so that her pain or suffering (weakness) isn't visible to potential predators. AHA, there's a sign! The same instinct will tell her brain, "We're sick today, not hungry." AHA, poor appetite; another sign! Playfulness will wane, curiosity will disappear, instinct will tell her "we're sick, we're hurting; these things aren't important right now."
The signs are there for us to see, but we have to understand that they aren't blatant and flashing. We also have to understand --and this is the most important thing of all-- that any sign by itself is often meaningless. Fluffy being grumpy for a day means nothing. Fluffy being grumpy for a week (and getting grumpier by the day) means everything!
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.