Tips for a Healthy Cat

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Dear fellow Cat Lover Extraordinaire,

Does your cat have dietary health concerns? Let’s start here… did you know a cat’s stomach is only about the size of a ping pong ball?

Hi, my name is Irish Beth Maddock of The Cat Nanny Calgary, a.k.a. Cat Central Station & Cat Care Calgary.                                                          

The following information is based on cat-img1my experience in caring for our feline friends these last 35+ years, as well as from the vet diet training I’ve received from being a volunteer with The MEOW Foundation and other cat rescue organizations, such as the S.P.C.A. and Pawstive Match Rescue Foundation.

Firstly though, I want to thank anyone who even opens their heart to having a cat in their home, let alone feeding it. Just in this these felines have truly won the KITTY LOTTERY! Yet, there are so many kitties in need and not enough available, dedicated owners. The costs of keeping a cat are high these days, and even higher for those of us trying to adhere to the best possible diet for their needs. For those cat owner’s in a position to afford to do what it takes to keep their cats healthy food wise, feel free to read on.

Yours in cat care,
Irish Beth Maddock ~ Owner / Certified Feline Specialist
Cat Nanny Calgary / Cat Central Station / Cat Care Calgary 

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Specialized Vet Tips I Was Taught In Regards To Feline Diet:

A proper “cat” diet can help solve any cat’s health issues, or at least reduce their symptoms for a time and prolong their life. If you keep the kitten pipes clean from the start, the odds of your cat living the 20 + year life span that it is supposed to have, is very likely.

If you really think about it, giving a cat a proper diet, is a matter of thinking logically. A cat is a carnivore. They eat meat. Birds, mice, etc. Sure you can feed them beef or pork, but it is highly unlikely that a cat in the wild would take down a cow or a pig.

80% of our human bodies are made up of water. It would be natural to deduce that the bodies of mice, birds etc. would be of a similar H20 content, giving cats, (who are desert creatures by trade), the majority of their hydration.

So, the top food solution for our feline friends is a what they would naturally eat in the wild.

However, this is not an option for the majority of us who are especially trying to keep our cats inside and safe from the elements, not to mention adhere to City of Calgary Bylaws! The next best choice left to me then, is utilizing top of the line, 1st two or three ingredients are meat, (NO by products), wet food stewed down nicely with water. If you can go organic, more the better. We used to be taught that wet food is BAD for cats, particularly their teeth, however used in conjunction with a proper non-toxic dental treat kibble, the latest studies show otherwise.

IMPORTANT TO NOTE: Cat’s do not eat grain as a rule. A lot of pet food companies use grain, particularly corn or rice as filler for it is a cheaper alternative to meat. Too much grain, when ingested by a cat, turns into sugar. THIS is what is causing the overweight/diabetic cat epidemic of our time. Dry food, (known to some veterinarian’s I know as “kitty nachos”), especially with corn or rice as its first ingredient, is renowned also to cause constipation in felines. I’ve had clients who’ve had to put their poor cats down, because it was cheaper than the cost of the procedure to “unclog” them.

Let’s face it. Dry cat food, or “kitty nachos” is the norm! It is easy and we have all been trained by the pet food  industry to conveniently feed our cats this way, and hey, who wouldn’t want to eat nachos all day? But it is not a total diet solution. These processed little kibbles, especially when infused with grain, become very addictive to cats. I’ve seen some kitties who will not touch wet food because they are so attached to their dry food. I do however, use a “grain free” dry cat food as a nightly TREAT for my cats, just before I go to sleep. “Cat Sitting on my Head” syndrome has proven to me that wet food doesn’t always sustain my felines through the wee small hours of the morning!

Here is my testimonial: I had two cats, who were siblings and at age 14, were quite obese. This, in spite of me feeding them, what I was told was “top of the line” dry cat food. I discovered only after the abrupt death of one of them, that what I had expensively fed them their whole lives, had not only cut my one cat’s life short, but also likely caused the current renal failure issues in my cat who still lived. Upon doing the latter research, I changed my cat’s diet. Within two months, she lost five pounds!! That is five blocks of butter!! My cat became spry again, and had much more bounce ~ a definite new lease on life. This cat, named Buster, passed away recently, going into her 20th year.  I can attribute the timely healthy change in her diet that she outlived her litter mate for so long.

In addition, when I changed diets, my cat”s regular regurgitation problems stopped with the new stew like wet food diet I used to manage her renal failure issues. I discovered that when a cat eats dry food, it will absorb moisture and expand in their ping pong ball sized stomachs. If they over eat even in the slightest, it has no where else to go but UP.

Note: Many cats are developing allergies these days, sadly even to meat it seems. If this is your situation a hydrolyzed protein diet may be what you are looking for? Please speak to your vet.

Other Tips to Share:

Piped city water can be tough on our cats internal systems. Just look at the calcified ring around your cat’s bowl if you want proof! Using filtered water will help lessen the chances of your cat developing painful crystals in their urine, a problem typically more often found in male cats.  Foods low in phosphate will also reduce the risk of crystals in your cat’s urine.

Kittens after six months of being weaned become lactose intolerant. Say no to the proverbial dish of milk or cream.

Using specific cat acidophilous here and there is a great way to help ensure your cat’s digestion is running at optimum and thus all their other systems, Eg. skin, fur, mobility, mood, you name it. Adding some pureed pumpkin to their wet food can help too, great fibre!  Note:  Cat acidophilous is important to use if your cat is on medication.

Want to know if your cat has hairball issues before you see them hacked up on your nice new carpet? Not exactly a pleasant task but if your cats use a litter box, wear rubber gloves and take a fecal sample and break it apart. If there is hair within your cat’s deification, you might want to consider a few tricks some clients of mine use:  Vitamin E, fish oil (such as cod liver oil) or the latest and the greatest find, smear some organic coconut oil on your kitties paws. I personally do not advocate a hairball remedies with industrial mineral oil (aka Vaseline).

Kitty dandruff? It can be a sign of dehydration. Also adding that extra water to your cat’s wet food just might do the trick. Again, organic coconut oil, vitamin E or a fish oil might be helpful in addition to ensuring your cat gets enough moisturizer. If the problem persists, get your furry friend checked out by your vet.

Check your cats for Feline Acne. Some kitties have a tough time cleaning their chinny chin chins. Colloidal Silver gel is safe and non toxic for cats and works wonders at getting rid of any form of infection or wound on your kitty.

Beware of overtly large clumps of urine in your cats litter. This could be a sign of diabetes, hyperthyroidism or another health issue? Make sure you get your cat checked by a vet to be on the safe side.

For constipation issues, many vets prescribe “laculose” an orange colored liquid sugar you give your cat orally to help loosen their bowels. Try the above diet suggestions with adding water, as well as an oil administration such as organic coconut oil, Vitamin E or fish oil before resorting to feeding your cats this chemically colored sugar.

Lilies are poisonous to cats. As are many common house plants! Toxicity is a problem so research your plants to help keep your kitty safe by being aware, particularly at Easter when lilies are most popular. If your cat likes chewing on your plants, get them some cat grass instead for them to munch on. Here is a listing of plants to watch out for: https://home.howstuffworks.com/green-living/plants-kill-cat-poinsettas.htm

Another hazard for cats is diffusing oils in your home.  Cats cannot regulate oils out of their bodies like humans can and prolonged diffusion of oils into your home atmosphere can lead to inadvertently poisoning your kitty. https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/blog/essential-oils-cats/ Instead of diffusing, I mix the oils with water in a spray bottle and directly spray mist areas where I want my oil scents (like my pillow).  Another tactic I use is to put drops of my scented oil of choice onto a kleenex and keep it on my bed side table at night to still get the benefit of smelling it.

Bad breath? Drooling? Might be the sign of a sore tooth, a decay problem or something more. Best to have a vet determine the cause to make sure nothing is amiss.

If your cat stops eating for more than two days, take caution. Cats can develop “Fatty Liver Disease” after 3 days of not eating. This disease is often fatal if not caught in time. Be sure to contact your vet immediately if this happens to your kitty.

Short on cash to have your cat spayed or neutered? The MEOW Foundation has a program in place to help you, (apply online only) and if they can’t, phone the City of Calgary’s 3-1-1 Hotline…they may still have a program in place to assist you through their Animal Services division. Seeing as so many unwanted cat’s are euthanized EVERY MONTH, please spay or neuter your cat!

Lastly, I’ll leave you with this thought. Ever wonder why cats like cat nip? Because to them, it apparently smells like feline urine! Perfume for kitties…go figure!?! Honeysuckle may be a more relaxing cat stimulant and is available by pre-purchase from your friendly neighbourhood cat nanny along with other great kitty toys. Watch for Cat Central Station, our online cat supply store coming soon!