Recently in Cat Food Category

I got this email from Mimi, from Free Kibble Kat.com, she's continuing her great work to feed hungry cats and dogs, and tomorrow is a special day, 5 times the kibble for every answer right or wrong, so make sure you click tomorrow. Mimi writes:

"This is Mimi Ausland from freekibble.com. :-) I know that you have been very supportive of freekibble.com, and I wanted to give you an update on what has been going on. We have donated over 1,779,084 meals to homeless dogs and cats and have given this food to 13 monthly shelters and over 60 large one time donations to shelters across the country! We are starting to do some new things here at freekibble.com to raise even more food for homeless animals. Including an event called the Freekibble Hi-5! On November 5th, we will donate 5 times the kibble (50 pieces), for each person that plays Bow-wow trivia. Halo Pets is sponsoring the event with no limit on the kibble!

"Therefore, we want to get as many people as we can to go to the site - so we can raise a bunch of kibble! Our goal is to generate 5 million pieces of kibble on the 5th. I was wondering if you would consider posting the FreeKibble Hi-5 on FaceKitty to help spread the word? Or maybe putting a link to www.freekibble.com on your website, or tweet it! That would be awesome! This is a great opportunity to help feed a lot more dogs. Thanks so much!

Here is a link to more information... http://www.freekibble.com/hi-5.asp

MIMI"

And it's fun to play, I learned that in the 16th century, anyone visiting an English home would kiss the family to bring good luck! Ha I knew kissing Neo was a good thing!

pictures_cats_kitten.jpegIf you're like most cat owners, the thought of any connection between feline diabetes and dry cat food never crosses your mind. But it should. The ugly truth is that a steady diet of dry cat food often leads to major health problems like feline obesity and diabetes in cats. Here's what you need to know if you think your kitty is doing just "fine" on dry food.

Cats Are Obligate Carnivores

What is an obligate carnivore? Simply put, it's an animal who needs to get her protein from meat, not grains. Proteins are made up of amino acids. Meat contains all the amino acids needed by an obligate carnivore. Grains do not. People and dogs are able to make the missing amino acids, but cats can't. This is why you can't make your feline into a vegetarian. You can't argue with Mother Nature.

The problem is that dry food is made up mostly from grains. Why? Because grains are cheaper than meat, so using more grain is better for the bottom line of the pet food companies.

Don't be confused by protein percentage on the dry food bag label. It looks like dry food has more protein in it than canned food does. You have to look at the dry matter basis, which is the accurate way to compare them. On a dry matter basis, canned food has more protein. Also remember that the type of protein is critical too--whether it comes from grains or from meat.

Too Many Carbohydrates Leads To Feline Obesity

pictures_cats_healthy_cat.jpegAnother problem with grain-based dry food is that it contains too many carbohydrates. In the wild, your kitty would be eating mice and other prey animals. This diet contains only three to five percent carbohydrates. Compare this to dry food that contains 35 to 50 percent. Cheap brands contain even more.

The pet food companies recommend "free feeding," which means leaving dry food out in a dish for your kitty to nibble on whenever she wants to. Too many carbohydrates plus too much food leads to overweight cats. This problem is becoming an epidemic among the feline population, and only leads to health problems like a diabetic cat.

Can You Prevent Feline Diabetes?

I blogged about six diseases caused by dry cat food before, and now, Darlene Norris is writing about dry cat food and diabetes, one of the six diseases.

Some experts believe that diabetes in cats is a man-made problem that can be avoided completely by feeding kitties the right kind of diet. Since this disease can sometimes be reversed in cats with a change in diet, this may be true. It's much easier to prevent your pet from becoming a feline diabetic than it is to treat the disease once it's developed.

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cats-eating.jpgStart by feeding your feline friend a high-quality canned food. Lots of exercise is essential to burn up extra calories and keep her in top shape. Set aside time for two or three energetic play sessions every day.

Studies have shown that natural remedies for cats are also helpful in preventing diabetes in cats. Look for a product that contains astragalus, goat's rue, fenugreek, bilberry, and chromium picolinate. These ingredients are effective in maintaining normal blood sugar levels, and they're safe and effective.

Now that you have this information, what are you waiting for? Start making changes today to prevent feline diabetes.

Darlene Norris has combined her experience working at a vet clinic with her long-time interest in natural healing to bring you her new website, Natural Pet Diabetes Control. Learn how you can use natural remedies for cats to prevent and treat feline diabetes by visiting http://NaturalPetDiabetesControl.com

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By Jean Hofve, DVM

pictures_cats_eating.jpgCats are true carnivores, requiring a meat-based diet for optimal health. Their natural diet is prey such as rodents, lizards, insects, and birds. These prey consist primarily of water, protein and fat, with less than 10% carbohydrate (starch, sugar and fiber) content. Cats are exquisitely adapted to utilize fat and protein for energy. They are not at all like dogs and people, who are adapted to use carbohydrates for energy.

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When feeding our companion cats, the most logical strategy is to feed the diet that most closely mimics the natural prey diet. A homemade diet is an excellent way to accomplish this. Feeding more (or only) canned food is another way--one that is often easier for people to deal with. Canned foods are higher in fat and protein, and lower in carbohydrates, than dry foods. Their high water content increases the cat's overall fluid intake, which keeps the kidneys and bladder healthy. The higher fat contributes to skin and coat health. Because the ingredients are more easily digested and utilized by the cat's body, canned foods produce less solid waste in the litterbox.

Another feature of the cat's natural diet is variety. A hunting cat doesn't one day decide to eat only purple finches! He will eat any small prey he can catch: chickadees, mice, grasshoppers, robins, or rabbits. Likewise, we should feed our cats a variety of foods. Variety keeps cats from becoming finicky and food-addicted, lessens the chance of dietary excess or deficiency of any single nutrient, and may prevent the development of food intolerances, allergies, and inflammatory bowel disease. Feeding the same dry food year after year greatly increases the risk of these problems. With canned food, it is easy to vary the flavors and protein sources.

Pictures_cats_canned_food.jpgDry food typically contains 35-50% carbohydrates, mostly as starch. (The new "grain-free" foods may be as little as 20% carbohydrate). This is necessary because the equipment that makes dry food requires a high-starch, low-fat dough for proper processing. Cereal grains provide an inexpensive and plentiful source of calories, which allows manufacturers to produce foods containing adequate calories at an affordable price. A few dry foods provide less carbohydrates, in some cases substituting starchy vegetables and soy for cereal grains; but they are still heavily processed and just as dehydrating (if not more so) than regular dry food.

Adult cats need 2-3 times more protein than dogs. Yet dry cat foods generally supply only about 1/3 more protein than dry dog foods—about 30-35% in dry cat food compared to 20-26% for the average dry dog food. "Kidney" diets for cats in renal failure are even more restrictive with 26-28% protein (such diets should never be fed to normal cats; they will cause muscle wasting as the cat breaks down its own body for protein). Canned cat foods contain 45-50% protein, and canned kitten foods may contain up to 55% protein. (All percentages calculated on a dry matter basis.)

Cats are attracted to food that has a strong meat or fat flavor. Pet food manufacturers go to great lengths to make their starch-based dry foods palatable to cats. They may coat the kibbles with fat or with "animal digest," a powder made of chemically or enzymatically digested animal by-products. The result may be a cat who overeats, not because he's hungry, but because he loves the taste of the food and doesn't want to stop. (I think we've all been there!)

pictures_cats_dry_food.jpgDry food is very dehydrating. Our feline friends descend from desert-dwelling wild cats who are well adapted to limited water resources. Their ultra-efficient kidneys are able to extract most of their moisture needs from their prey. However, the end result is that cats have a very low thirst drive, and will not drink water until they are 3-5% dehydrated (a level at which, clinically, a veterinarian would administer fluid therapy). Cats eating only dry food take in only half the moisture of a cat eating only canned food. This chronic dehydration may be a factor in kidney disease, and is known to be a major contributor to bladder disease (crystals, stones, FUS, FLUTD, cystitis). Caution: adding water or milk to dry food does not solve the problem; and the fact that there are always bacteria on the surface of dry food means that adding moisture can result in massive bacterial growth--and a very upset tummy.

The high heat used in processing dry food damages (denatures) the proteins in the food. The resulting unnatural proteins may trigger an immune response that can lead to food allergies and inflammatory bowel disease.

There is increasing evidence that carbohydrates (starches and sugars) in dry food are simply not metabolized well by many, if not most cats. While obesity is caused by many factors, the free-choice feeding of dry food to a relatively inactive cat is a major player. Obese cats are prone to joint problems, liver and kidney disease, and diabetes.

Recent research has shown that high-carbohydrate diets are to blame in most cases of feline diabetes. Many overweight cats are carbohydrate-intolerant, and should be fed low-carbohydrate diets (think "Catkins" diet!). This means canned food. Experts are now recommending canned kitten food as the primary treatment for diabetes. Many diabetic cats can decrease or even eliminate their need for insulin, simply by changing to a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. Ultimately, canned food may be even more beneficial as a preventative for this devastating disease.

Overweight cats may greatly benefit from a switch to an all-canned diet. Stick to foods containing 10% or less carbohydrate. Many all life stages and kitten foods fit this requirement. Carbs are usually not listed on the label. However, all you have to do is subtract the other ingredients from 100% to get an estimate of the carb content. Most cats lose weight more efficiently on a canned food than dry food diet. Even though they're often eating more calories, these diets are much better suited to the unique feline metabolism.

If your cat is not used to eating canned food, add it to the diet slowly in small amounts. It is so different in composition from dry food that it may cause tummy upset at first.

If a cat won't eat canned food, it's usually because of a dry food addiction, or because he isn't hungry enough to try something new. Start by putting the cat on a meal-feeding schedule, leaving dry food out only an hour each, morning and night. Once he's accustomed to the schedule, put a little canned food down first. Most cats will be willing to try it at that point. (See "Switching Foods" for more information on why and how to make the change.)

pictures_cats_food.jpgQuality is just as important with canned cat food as any other type of food. See Selecting a Good Commercial Pet Food to learn how to read a label and assess a food's quality for yourself. If possible, buy the food in a larger can, and store leftovers in a glass jar in the refrigerator. Pop-top cans, by-products, and fish flavors of canned cat food have been linked to the development of thyroid disease in cats.

Dry food is a great convenience and may be necessary in some cases when the guardian is gone long hours or cannot feed on a regular schedule. But at least 50% of the diet (preferably 100% if you want to ensure optimum health!) should be a high-protein, high-moisture, low-carb diet such as canned or homemade food. Your cat will be healthier, and while you'll spend a little more on food up front, ultimately you'll save hundreds, if not thousands, on veterinary bills!

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By Jean Hofve, DVM

pictures_cat_big ears.jpgCats often develop "food allergies" or "food intolerances" to ingredients found in commercial cat food. The top allergens are: chicken, fish and corn (very common cat food ingredients), beef (often referred to as "meat by-products" or "meat and bone meal" on pet food labels), wheat, and dairy products. However, an allergy can develop to any protein to which the cat is repeatedly or constantly exposed.

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The symptoms of food allergy are typically either skin-related or digestion-related.

* Skin symptoms include rashes (particularly around the face and ears), excessive licking (typically paws, legs or tummy), and red, itchy ears.

* Digestive symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea. These are similar to the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, which you can read more about here.

The conventional treatments for food allergies are steroids (also called "corticosteroids" and "glucocorticoids" to distinguish them from the anabolic steroids that bodybuilders and athletes sometimes use), hyposensitization, and diet therapy.

Steroids can be given by long-lasting injection ("Depo-Medrol" or other injectable cortisone) or by mouth in the form of a tablet. The two most common oral steroids are prednisone and prednisolone. Prednisone is hard for cats to metabolize and must be converted to prednisolone in the liver before it will work. Therefore, it is simpler and less stressful to give prednisolone itself.

White_Cat_grooming.jpgHowever, steroids have many dangerous side effects. The injectable forms can cause diabetes. Steroids can also damage the kidneys. The primary action of steroids is to suppress the immune system, so that the inflammatory reaction to the allergen does not occur. This makes the cat more prone to infections. Steroids can also cause ulcers in the stomach and intestines. Cats receiving steroids should not be vaccinated because the steroid prevents the immune system from responding to the vaccine.

Hyposensitization is not often used in cats, and requires knowing precisely what the cat is allergic to. Once this is determined, then the substance is diluted and injected to signal to the immune system that the substance is not harmful and it doesn't need to over-react. The skin test is considered the "gold standard"; there is also a blood test for allergies (sometimes called a "Rast" test). While both work well in dogs, they are notoriously inaccurate in cats.

Diet trials use "novel" ingredients that are not commonly found in pet food. Novel protein sources include kangaroo, emu, venison, rabbit, and duck. Novel carbohydrate sources include green peas, potatoes, and barley. Lamb and rice used to be novel, but since the introduction of lamb and rice foods years ago, many animals have (predictably) become allergic to those, too. The prescription-type diets (using green peas and novel meat sources) are available from some veterinarians. OTC choices include Nature's Variety Prairie (lamb, duck, rabbit and venison), Petguard (venison and rabbit), EVO 95% meat varieties, and Merrick Thanksgiving Day Dinner (turkey). A diet trial must last at least 8 weeks and must include only the test food; no treats, no exceptions. Just one diet slip (such as giving a treat containing chicken) could invalidate the entire trial and you will have to start over.

preventing_stray_cats.jpgHolistic treatments for food allergies include homemade diets for cats using novel ingredients, natural anti-inflammatories like slippery elm and antioxidants, skin-healing supplements like Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils, flaxseed oil), and other immune-supporting treatments like BioSuperfood.

It should also be noted that even in cats who are not specifically allergic to something in the food still often do better with a hypoallergenic diet. It seems that the fewer allergens the immune system has to deal with, the less chance it will over-react.

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By Jean Hofve, DVM

If you're new here, please consider subscribing to my feed. If you love cats, you'll enjoy the posts we place online every day.  Thanks for visiting!

cats-eating.jpgHomemade diets are great for our cats. By making your cat's food at home, you control the quality of the ingredients, and commercial food additives such as colorings and preservatives can be avoided. Once you get the hang of it, homemade food is both time and cost-efficient. It's definitely worth the effort!

Before you put your companion cat on a home-prepared diet, Dr. Jean strongly recommends that you discuss your decision with your veterinarian or a holistic veterinarian in your area who understands nutrition and is comfortable with home-made diets. For a list of holistic veterinary practitioners by state, visit www.holisticvetlist.com.

Dr. Jean also suggests you obtain one or more of the following books, so that you have a more complete understanding of feline nutritional needs. It is essential that you follow any diet's recommendations closely, including all ingredients and supplements. Failure to do so may result in serious health consequences for your animal companion.

* It's for the Animals! Natural Care & Resources. Helen L. McKinnon. C.S.A. Inc. Available from It's for the Animals!; P.O. Box 1913; Fairview, NC 28730; toll-free 1-888-339-IFTA (4382). http://www.itsfortheanimals.com

* Natural Cat Care. Celeste Yarnall. Available from Celestial Pets.

* Home-Prepared Dog and Cat Diets: the Healthful Alternative. Donald R. Strombeck, DVM. Iowa State University Press. ISBN 0813821495. (Note: feline recipes are too low in taurine, and many recipes are slightly low in calcium.)

* Raising Cats Naturally. Michelle Bernard.

lots of cats eating.jpegThese recipes have not been formally analyzed or tested, but they are reasonably well-balanced for long-term use. Please read and understand all instructions before beginning! NEVER SKIP VITAMINS OR OTHER SUPPLEMENTS--THEY ARE CRUCIAL TO YOUR PET'S LONG-TERM HEALTH!

Variety is crucial to your cat's health! (This applies to any and all diets and recipes!) Do not get in the habit of feeding just one or two combinations of ingredients.

To make a large batch of food, increase portions and mix protein source, oil, vegetables, and calcium together. Freeze in meal-sized portions. Vitamins/minerals, enzymes, and probiotics should be added fresh at each meal.

The recipes utilize a good quality human supplement. Some of the cheaper human supplements, particularly those with a heavy coating such as One-A-Day, are not well digested even by people and should not be used for animals. Cats should get 1/2 of a human supplement per day.

Alternatively, you can use a specially made dog or cat vitamin supplement, such as Dr. Goodpet or Nu-Cat. (There are many good animal supplements available at your local feed store or health food store). Be sure to use the recommended amount.

You can grind up the supplements with a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle to add to the food; or get the kind that comes in capsules, and open the capsule and empty the powder into the food.

Probiotics include L. acidophilus and other "good" bacteria. They help maintain your cat's normal bacterial population and prevent colonization by disease-causing bacteria. Digestive enzymes are important to keep the pancreas from being overworked, and to aid digestion so your cat gets the greatest benefit from the food she eats. Human supplements can be used at the full human dose; they are impossible to overdose.

cat_food_bowl.jpgMeat may be fed cooked or raw. Meat amounts are given in raw weight. (While many holistic veterinarians recommend feeding raw meat, there are potential risks to your companion animal's health from bacterially contaminated meat. Please discuss this issue with your veterinarian before feeding raw meat.) If feeding raw, it is recommended that meat be frozen for 72 hours at -4 degrees F prior to use to kill encysted parasites. Most meats can be refrozen one time safely, so once you mix the meal, it can be put back in the freezer until thawed for feeding. Raw ground beef is not recommended; if used, it must be organic.

Feeding bones presents many risks; even raw bones can cause cracked teeth and intestinal impactions. Whole bones are not recommended. You can, however, substitute ground bone for bone meal in the recipes. Bone meal must be edible, human grade. Do not use bone meal intended for gardening or plants!

Cats should NOT be fed a non-meat diet. There are many potential problems and unanswered questions on the issue of vegetarian cats. Evidence is clear that cats are obligate carnivores who do best on a meat-based diet.

For cats, use ONE protein source. Meats vary tremendously in fat content; poultry is much lower in fat than any mammal meat, so do not exceed recommended amounts unless you are trying to put weight on your pet! Always follow standard safe meat handling procedures.

Diet for adult cats

Feed adult cats two or three times a day. Refrigerate leftovers promptly. Recipe makes 2 days' worth of food for an average 10-lb. adult cat. Increase for kittens, decrease for overweight cats.

Choose one protein source (meat amounts given in raw weight)

* 16 oz boneless skinless chicken white meat, minced

* 16 oz boneless skinless chicken dark meat, minced

* 15 oz boneless skinless turkey white meat, minced

* 14 oz boneless skinless turkey dark meat, minced

* 12 oz organic ground beef, 95% lean

* 12 oz domestic rabbit, minced

* 8 oz ground lamb or bison

* 8 oz pound beef, chicken or turkey heart, ground or minced

* 2 chopped hard-boiled or scrambled eggs may be substituted for 1/4 of any meat

* Optional: once a week, substitute 4 oz organic liver for 1/2 of any meat

* For a lower protein/phosphorus diet, substitute egg whites for 1/3 of any meat and 1/2 cup white rice (not quick-cooking) for 1/3 of any meat.

Supplements

* 1 slightly rounded tbsp bone meal (human grade)

* 1/2 tsp salt (sodium chloride)

* 1/2 salt substitute (potassium chloride)

* 1/4 multiple vitamin-mineral supplement including choline (human quality), powdered

* 1 probiotic/digestive enzyme supplement

* 1 capsule taurine 500 mg, or 1 tablet 500 mg powdered

* With poultry, add 1 tsp fish oil per pound of meat

* Optional: 1 jars organic vegetable baby food (sweet potato, garden vegetables, spinach); avoid corn and potatoes due to high carbohydrate content.

holistic_cat_food.jpgCats have no need for vegetables, but mixing all the supplements together with some nice juicy baby food before adding the meat makes the process a whole lot easier. It doesn't hurt them at all, and if mine are any judge, it adds a little flavor. Freeze what will not be eaten in 24 hours.

Pay attention to your animal companion's health: his weight, energy level, skin condition, odor, coat quality, stool consistency, and oral health. If these are not maintaining or improving, consult your veterinarian about changing elements of the diet.

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This article was adapted from it's original to focus only on cats, the original article addressed a homemade diet for both dogs and cats. I removed the information about dogs. To read the article in its entirety, visit Little Big Cat, Easy Homemade Diets for Cats.

pictures_cats_crouching.jpgThere is increasing evidence accepted by holistic and traditional veterinarians that turning to a raw food diet for cat and kittens reduces the likelihood of many of today's common cat health problems. Its no secret that our cats are obese, have bladder problems or develop kidney disease or diabetes. Its looking like the same rules that apply to humans apply to cats - high carbohydrate, low protein diets and poor exercise habits lead to disease. The good news is that the number one step holistic vets recommend is that you switch your pet to a raw food diet for cat program.

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Here's a short list of disorders that are fed by a low protein, high carbohydrate diet:

1. Dental disease

2. Bladder stones and Feline Urinary Tract Infection

3. Obesity

4. Diabetes

5. Kidney disease

6. Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome

Read the hot topics in Cat Fancy and Catwatch and you'll find at least two articles, if not more, reporting on the increase in cat sicknesses like feline urinary tract infection, diabetes and the rest. What do most of our house cats have in common? What they eat.

Now for the full the scoop on a raw food diet for cat and kitten...

Pictures_of_cats_fearless_mouse.jpgCats are dependent on a meat protein diet. Since World War II we've been fooled into believing that the commercially prepared dry or canned cat foods are the greatest invention since cat litter. These cat food products did not exist prior to the 1940's. They were developed during this wartime economic period because it was cheaper to feed our pets corn than it was to keep them on a raw diet for cat, kitten or dog. As a nation, we started moving towards a more urbanized lifestyle and we lost touch with our meat sources in our backyard. For the past few decades we've been loading up our grocery carts with Mighty Bad For Dog and Kitty food.

Cats and kittens require meat products. They can not convert vegetable proteins into the nutritionally equivalent minerals and amino acids that meat provides them. When was the last time you noticed your cat hanging from a corn stalk chomping through a cob of corn? Try this...

Let your cat wander through a corn field and I be he returns with a rabbit, mouse or bird - meat stuff - no corn. That's the natural approach.

A simple holistic cat health care solution.

You can make this change to a raw food diet for cat successful. Yes, it will require more work on your part. You will need to find a source of fresh rabbit, chicken or beef - those are in order of preference. Rabbit has the most nutritional benefit to your cat.

Don't go overboard when you start your raw food diet for cat program. Keep the quantities you purchase minimal so that you aren't freezing a load of meat. Freezing causes meat to breakdown and loose nutritional value. When you do freeze your raw rabbit, chicken or beef, package it in chunks. Don't slice all the meat up before you freeze it. Slice it as you prep for a new batch.

To further arm your cat from problems associated with illnesses like feline urinary tract infection and bladder stones or diseases like diabetes, you may opt to give your cat a little boost. Help your cat rid himself of bad toxins and impurities that years of commercial cat food poured into him. Add a homeopathic remedy that is proven to help pets purge toxins.

Don't shy away from including natural remedies in your raw food diet for cat or kitten diet. Long before anyone knew anything about diabetes, cancer or urinary tract infections our ancestors used herbs and nature to treat themselves and their animals. The Romans revered cats because cats kept the snakes and rodents under control - hmm, a natural raw food diet for cat and kittens way back then..

Article by Kate Rieger of Pet Natural Remedies.

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pictures_cats.jpgWe're all feeling the crunch, times are tight everywhere and unfortunately, pets are the ones who end up paying the price. Sometimes with tighter budgets, comes making choices about your cat's care that you never want to make. But if you've made a commitment to a cat, honor that commitment in the best way possible, by finding alternatives to abandoning your cat. YOur cat has come to love and rely on you and the sadness it feels when you abandon it is very real. So take some advice on how to save a little money while taking care of your cat.

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The best suggestion I can make to help you save money in the long run, is to keep your cat healthy. The two best ways to do that are to take your cat in for regular checkups and to keep your cats in shape.

The vet visit will make you incur expenses, but early treatment of almost all cat illnesses, results in less expensive and faster treatments. Seriously, if a disease or illness is caught early, it may only cost you the price of some medication, but if a disease is allowed to worsen, medications, hospital visits and special doctors add up quickly. Not to mention the fact that you might have to put your cat down if it gets really bad.

Keeping your cat in good shape is much easier to do, even if you are working double shifts or a second job to make ends meet. Dangle a string, toss a crumbled up piece of paper, or wiggle your toes under a blanket are all inexpensive ways to get you and your cat moving. You both need exercise, make it a game, you'll both be healthier for it.

Another idea is to prepare a few of your cat's meals or treats at home. If you are preparing chicken for yourself, make some without salt for your cat. There are lots of fancy recipes out there that contain flour, veggies, milk and other things that your cat really doesn't need, but if you want to cook up a batch of kitty cookies, be my guest.

cat_food_bowl.jpgMy guess is that the mashed up sardines will drive your cat wild before you even get the cookies in the oven, so why bother? Just give him a sardine - the whole thing. If you can get them with the heads on even better, then your cat is getting all the nutrients he needs. Supplement with a little cod liver oil, some good quality but not expensive cat food and you could save a lot of money.

I speak from experience. I buy Neo Medi-cal, an excellent cat food fortified with vitamins, minerals and omega fatty acids all preserved naturally with vitamin E. Sounds really healthy and it is, he has the shiniest coat around, but all those healthy ingredients come with a healthy price tag.

So, I check in with the fishmonger at my grocery store and pick up small, whole smelts, sardines and other small fish he has on hand and ask him to grind them up really fine, head and all. I get this little package of fishy goo that Neo just loves! I freeze it into proportions - he can eat about 3 tablespoons at a time and a little goes a long way. I've managed to shave $50.00 off my cat food bill every month just by sharing my chicken and fish with him, and feeding him this raw ground up fishy goo.

I still buy the super enriched, Medi-cal, but he appreciates the variety and I think he is healthier for it, eating raw fish and meat is natural to a cat. So little by little I am hoping to make the transition to raw food with him. But for now, I am taking it slowly because he can't handle too much fishy goo and I do not like wiping up a fishy goo mess!

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pictures_cats_eating.jpgA while ago, I posted Can you feed cats too much milk? and the answer was yes, any amount of milk is too much milk. Milk is a treat and should be fed that way. Cats aren't actually able to digest the mild properly and often milk is the cause of obesity and even diarrhea or vomiting (even if it doesn't happen every time). But what if you've been feeding your cat milk everyday and your cat has come to rely on it, even acts like he's addicted to it?

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There are two schools of thought on ridding your cat of his addiction. The first is weening him off of it slowly. There are two ways you can do that. One way is gradually give him less and less milk. So if you normally give him 1/4 cup of milk everyday, give him 1/4cup less 1 tablespoon for 4 - 7 days, then 1/4 cup less 2 tablespoons for the next 4-7 days, until he is only getting 1 tablespoon every day. Then 1 tablespoon every second day, then gradually no milk at all.

Another way of weening your cat off of milk, and I like this idea a little better, is to slightly dilute the milk at first then gradually reduce the amount. So if you give your cat 1/4 cup of milk everyday, first put in a tablespoon of water then fill up the measuring cup with milk so the milk is diluted by one tablespoon for the first 4-7 days, then increase that to 2 tablespoons of water for the next 4-7 days then three and so on and so forth until his is drinking mostly water. But there will come a time when your cat won't be interested in the milk any more, because it is too diluted. So use this to your advantage and stop giving him anything but water.

The other school of thought is to redirect your cat's addiction to something you both can live with. So let's say he's been drinking milk everyday, give him less milk and supplement it with cat treats. Kind of like the idea presented above about weening your cat off gradually. You can ween him off and give him treats or catnip to take his mind off the milk. Eventually, you can feed him only treats instead of milk.

With any option you choose, it's important to remember that your cat is getting a significant amount of calories from the milk. well.. significant to a cat, and those calories have to be replaced. Finding some good quality treats that help clean teeth or that off some benefits like omega 3 fatty acids would be an ideal way to replace the calories lost from the milk. Another option is to try feeding your cat cod liver oil, an excellent source of nutrients and calories for Kitty.

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Do cats really need supplements? Most people are doing the best they can to keep themselves and their cats healthy while still trying to save money. In this economic downturn, many people are turning to less expensive cat food to save some money and to hang on to their pets longer. But what about nutrition? how can you ensure your cat gets proper nutrition while eating cat food that may not have enough quality nutrition?

E3FAF546-CCDC-4F78-80F6-F44121215731.jpgSupplements. I know, I know, if you aren't able to buy supplements yourself, why would you start buying supplements for your cat? let me explain.

Fish oil, specifically cod liver oil is inexpensive and provides minerals that help keep eyes, joints, heart and lungs healthy. Not only for you cat, you can take it too! Cod liver oil is a high quality source of Omega 3 fatty acids.

Dr. Michael Fox says, "I get tired of plugging fish oil at every turn, but it IS a miracle supplement.... Cod liver oil, up to a tablespoon a day...may help your poor cat."

If you go to a pharmacy, or grocery store, you can find cod liver oil in capsule or liquid form. The oil is not expensive at all - I paid $5.00 for a quart and Neo loves it. Keep the oil refrigerated and give it to your cat as a treat, 1 tsp at a time. Your cat will love the fishy flavor and you can rest assured that you are providing good nutrition for your cat without spending too much money.

unhappy_cat.jpgA while ago, I blogged about how you can help shelter cats for under $10.00. In that post I recommend going to a dollar store and I still do, but be cautious when purchasing cat treats or cat food from a dollar store.

I found this article about Dog Treats from dollar stores. Apparently, to keep costs down, the actual nutritional value of the ingredients in the treats is really low so you are not really helping your pet, your really only feeding them junk food. Another issue is that often the pet foods are expired so you could make your cat very, very sick if you purchase discounted food.

But here is the underlying bigger problem, cheap or expired ingredients can contain poisonous toxins - do we have to revisit the Menu Foods cat food recall issue to be reminded that thousands of cats and dogs were killed due to poison in the food? By buying dollar store or discounted pet foods and treats, you are increasing your chances of feeding your cat poison.

If you are looking for low cost treats and you can't find ones that work with your budget or your cat's palate, try a little chunk of tuna from a can before you mix in the mayo, or a little bit of roasted chicken or raw liver (ever wondered what to do with the organ meat from whole chickens?) My sister's cat loves chicken livers as a treat. Just chop it and freeze it in treat size portions.

There are ways to be frugal without killing your cat.

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