Melanie: March 2009 Archives

pictures_cats_outside.jpgHave you ever heard that old song "I took my harp to a party, but nobody asked me to play. So, I took the darned thing away"? Last night we went to a friend's birthday party and as the friend lived down the other end of our rather long street, we decided to walk. We hadn't gone far when someone said "Meow". Ollie was coming to the party right along with us.

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"We can't take a cat to a party," I exclaimed to John.

John handed me the present and the wine. "I'll take him home," he said. He vanished around the back of the house with Ollie under one arm. I waited under a street light. John sped back casting furtive looks around him. "I put him over the back fence by the creek," he puffed. "Let's go, we're late."

We walked a metre or so. "Meow," said Ollie. He emerged from a Jacaranda tree ahead of us. He was definitely smirking.

This time I suggested that John take the cat right through the back gate and down to the creek. There were plenty of mice and other goodies at the creek to divert him - I gritted my teeth - we were very late. After a time John arrived back looking agitated. "That cat rules our lives," he scowled, "but we've won this bout."

The party was great and we were enjoying ourselves - until the cat arrived. Ollie marched in and sat in the centre of the room. What an opportunity it was for a star. The cat was equal to the occasion. He took the stage at once. He leapt onto a glass table top and sat down gingerly amongst the several crystal glasses displayed with the other presents. "Meow."

"Get him away from the crystal", someone screeched.

Our friend looked at me sideways. "He looks a lot like your cat," he commented.

"It's Ollie," I agreed grimly. I tip-toed forward. "Pussy, Pussy, nice Pussy."

I swear that cat laughed out loud. Criminal-style he had no intention of going quietly. He eluded my groping paws with ease and with delicate skill, missed smashing the crystal; with a couple of effortless bounds he landed on the supper table. "Ollie, Ollie, " I screeched but it was too late. Ollie had his face in the cream-coated birthday cake. In seconds he was wearing a cream moustache.

"Yuk," said someone. "I won't be eating THAT cake."

I was desperate now, John had vanished and I was on my own. "Ollie,Ollie." My fingers touched his fur briefly before he was away again. It was such fun - the party of his life. One graceful leap and he was in the jelly.

pictures_cats_smug.jpg"Yukkkkk" said one of the kids. Ollie didn't like the jelly much and he shook it off his front paw with disgust.

Now it was play time. Ollie's cream moustache was decorated with bits of green jelly. He upturned a plate of oysters and paused to snatch one off the tablecloth. I missed him when he landed on the chocolate log but finally caught him with his face in the beetroot. His cream whiskers had turned pink. And he had chocolate on his ears.

The cat had had a wonderful party but the party givers didn't seem to think so. We didn't stay - had to take the cat home, didn't we. "Sorry, sorry," I kept muttering as we collected our coats. "Don't know how this happened." I held the cat in a vice-like grip - the wretch was trying to bow to the audience. I likened our predicament to the song at the beginning of this piece - "I took my cat to a party, but ......."

Copyright © Beverley Dunlop

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cutest-sleeping-kitties10.jpgRemember the "Home Alone" movies? Remember all the mischief that young boy got into? Now, imagine that's your cat.

Our pets must sometimes be left alone. Perhaps, it's everyday, when you have to go to work. Your cat can be lonely without you. You need to give it some things to keep it busy and out of trouble.

If you can provide a companion cat, preferably a sibling, your cat will be better behaved and remain playful well into adulthood. Having another cat to romp and play with will help solve the problem of being alone.

You should definitely consider providing your cat with it's own furniture where it can scratch to it's hearts content. That could be just a scratching post or a cat condo. The cat condo gives it a place to play or rest and will accommodate more than one cat.

Secondly, provide some catnip toys. Cats love to push these little guys around, eventually hiding them for you to find later, pushed under furniture or the door of a closet or cabinet. There are also interactive toys, like Peek-A-Prize, Whirley Mouse and Squeak and Play, a variety of toys that make the sound of a real mouse, that can keep them busy for a long time. Keep their toys where they can easily find them. If you provide a 'toy box' they will know where to look.

pictures_cats_mischief.jpgFew indoor cats get enough exercise, often sleeping for up to 18 hours a day. There are now toys that will automatically release dry food or treats as your cat plays with them. This gives them a diversion with a reward! It's their treat for exercising.

A cat sometimes has a short attention span, so, the more diversions the better for keeping it entertained and out of trouble. With the proper surroundings, your cat can be kept safe, your furniture preserved and your precious pet will be happier.

The author, Pat Lemmons, lives in South Texas with her husband and five pampered house cats. She has owned cats for 10 years, knows cat behavior and operates a retail web site for cat products. The product prices are discounted for maximum savings and donations are made each month to animal shelters from the proceeds of sales on the site. The site features the latest technological products such as the newest, most unique automatic litter boxes, the best quality cat & kitty beds, pet doors, litter boxes & furniture covers, pet carriers, crates and containment, unique artist t-shirts, sweatshirts & nightshirts, and a large selection of kitty condos, trees, scratching posts, cat toys and treats. Nothing but the best for your pampered feline.

girl_grooming_cat.jpgUsually harmless, hairballs that your cat brings up every once in a while consist of fur ingested by the animal when cleaning itself. Some hairballs cannot be dislodged by the cat which is the time it can cause problems. At this point, if non-responsive to standard treatment (usually by way of laxatives), the cat might need surgical intervention or it could possibly die.

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Since hairballs are soft masses, they don't show up on x-rays so owners need to be aware of their pet's grooming habits. If you describe your cat as one that is always licking its coat and grooming itself, you should mention this to your veterinarian if the animal seems to be lethargic, losing weight and/or is disinterested in food.

Questionable Prevention of Hairballs

In his book Amazing Kitchen Cures, Joey Green claims that using a little Alberto VO5 conditioner in your cat's coat is a hairball prevention measure. He says the conditioner is safe because it's non-toxic and natural.

However, a March 2009 report regarding baby shampoos and children's bubble baths from big brand names like Johnson's, L'Oreal, Sesame Street, Huggies and Pampers, was cited in the news recently, saying that trace amounts of formaldehyde and other chemicals have been found in them. The cancer-causing toxins have not been separately added to the products (thus are not required to be listed as ingredients) but are by-products of chemical manufacturing and product development.

Although initial findings are not calling for product recall citing that the soaps are used quickly and then rinsed off children's skin and scalps, the same cannot be said for cats. If you put even a small amount of conditioner in a cat's coat, its grooming habits are such that the product will be ingested.

First Line of Defense Against Hairballs

pictures_cat_comb.jpgThe best thing you can do for your cat to prevent hairballs is to use a steel-toothed comb or a curry brush (one with rubber nubs) and comb her with it regularly. Simple, but there it is. Many cat owners find that the de-shedding tool called The Furminator ruins the animal's top coat (although dog owners tend to swear by it). Using a regular pet brush on your cat doesn't usually touch the undercoat, but can be add a nice finishing glossy touch to her fur.

If you have a kitten, this is the time to get her used to being groomed by you. If your cat doesn't appreciate grooming, a little at a time will help with periodic trips to a groomer whenever necessary. Grooming should always start with your hands, to feel for lumps, tangles or matted hair.

Holistic and Homeopathic Approaches to Hairball Prevention

Hairballs are comprised of a lot of fat in addition to your cat's fur. By adding a teaspoon of egg-based lecithin (not soy-based) to your cat's wet food twice a week, the fat is dissolved, allowing the hairball to pass through the intestinal tract.

Indoor-only cats should have access to "cat grass". This provides natural roughage to your pet's diet and seems have a mild laxative effect, which can help eliminate the fur that is ingested by your cat when grooming.

Slippery Elm Bark (a herb that turns slimy when you mix it with water) works by coating the digestive tract, again helping your cat to expel hair balls naturally. This is another preventive measure which you can give your cat twice a week. One way to prepare slippery elm bark is to mix 2 capsules with a tablespoon of boiling water. When it cools, add it to your cat's favorite wet food.

Food Supplements That Help Avoid or Get Rid of Hairballs

Pictures_of_cats_vacuuming.jpgIf your cat enjoys a pat of butter, you can treat her twice weekly with about a half teaspoon to help lubricate her digestive system. Soft bulk is another approach to help her pass hairballs, serving a teaspoon of pureed vegetable two times a week, like canned pumpkin (natural with no additives) or squash.

Pet Store Hairball Products

Petroleum-based laxatives that have been approved by the FDA for use in veterinary medicine include brand names like Drs. Foster and Smith Hairball Remedy, Felaxin, Kat-A-Lax, Lax'aire, Laxatone, to name a few. As with the homeopathic products and some of the foods, the vaseline basically coats both the hair in the cat's stomach and intestines, helping it to pass through the animal's gastrointestinal tract, and also lubricates the colon and stool itself.

In any of the laxatives, there can be a decrease in the body's ability to absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, & K) especially when it is used frequently and on a long term basis. Speak to your vet about vitamin supplements if you are regularly providing your cat with any hairball prevention foods, herbs or products.

Freelance writer Stephanie Olsen has been involved in animal rescue for many years. If you have questions about your cats or kittens, visit Kitten Adoption Info to read more informative articles.

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Pictures_cats_cleaning_ears.jpgFirst, let's define what is meant by "feral." Technically, the term refers to a cat that has had no human contact and is thus truly wild. However, in everyday usage, most people think of feral and stray as the same thing: cats who bunch up and form colonies, create messes, are a health hazard, and produce great numbers of wild kittens.

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Practically speaking, it probably doesn't matter whether we call them feral or stray. The fact remains, they are shunned by humans and left to fend for themselves in whatever environment they occupy. In cities and towns, this may be abandoned buildings, alleys, behind restaurants, or wherever they might find food and water and some shelter. In the rural areas, where many town people dump unwanted cats, they must find these basic needs in a much more difficult scenario. There is little if any water, no shelter, and food is sparse or non-existent. Hunt, you say? Hunt what? Does anyone really think mice are that plentiful? Does anyone really think a former housecat has hunting skills? Instinct, yes, but skill, no. That has to be taught. They don't have time to learn it the hard way.

They need what we need... what any living being needs... food, water and shelter. And for that people hate them? Being stray or feral isn't even their fault, yet we blame them for many things anyway.

pictures_feral_cat.jpgThese are the most common misconceptions about feral cats:

1. They are a health hazard because they harbor many diseases. Ferals, or strays, are typically quite healthy, in fact, as long as they're thriving in their environment. Perhaps someone is feeding them, or possibly they are in a "managed colony" where compassionate people have already trapped them, "fixed" them, and returned them to their neighborhoods. Or maybe their living area provides sustainable options, such as shelter, food and safety. Under good conditions, they are not likely to have any diseases. Even rabies isn't common among cats.

2. They are dangerous and could attack if you get too close. Ferals, and most strays, are fearful of humans and won't approach. And if a person tries to approach them, they run away. That's why Trap Neuter Release programs use traps. Granted, once trapped, they are extremely terrified, so it's not a good time to touch one. You will be bitten and/or scratched.

3. They can never be tamed and put into homes. This can be true if the cat is mature and has grown up without human interaction. However, feral kittens usually can be tamed. Mature cats that are stray may have been abandoned from a home life with humans. They can be retamed by people who understand cats and are willing to work with them. Still, even a feral can be taught to trust a human, but typically this will only be one or two regular caretakers, and cuddling is out of the question.

pictures_cats_feral.jpgWhat is the answer? Only one that works: Managing them. "Trap-and-kill" has never worked, and never will. Ignoring them only encourages the situation. The best way to manage them is to trap, neuter, and return them to their locations, where they settle down, live out their lives, and do not reproduce. In time, the population at that area dwindles, sometimes to no cats at all. But if there is no continued management, more strays arrive and the cycle of misery repeats. And where do these new arrivals come from? People who dump cats they no longer want. Therefore, managing a colony must also be supported by restrictions about abandoning pets. In some areas, abandoning them is against the law.

The bottom line is that whether a person likes or dislikes animals, they must be responsible enough to protect their communities by doing what works.

Learn more about the problems of cats from Dr. R.J. Peters.

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My friend Cheri sent me this picture of Winston Piggy Churchill. She writes, "Here is a picture of Winston Piggy Churchill. He is now a porch cat because he ate three thousand petunia seedlings. I secretly have forgiven him, but he likes it better in the porch because he doesn’t get into so much trouble."


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pictures_cats_cute_grey_cat.jpgDid you know that most cat food manufacturers give away free samples of cat food, treats and other products? I was surprised when I found a website called Free Mania - and I clicked through to their Free Pet Samples section. There is also another website called Free n Clear Pet Samples that has freebies for cat lovers.

If you are thinking about changing your cat's food or if you are just wanting to try another brand, this might be the way to try it without buying it. In some cases you have to pay shipping and handling or answer a survey, but take a look and let me know what you think of these freebies.

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Picture-1.jpgThe cat came back! Funny story, a couple from Spokane, Washington donated a couch that was later bought by a couple who moved it into their house. They heard a mysterious meowing, but couldn't find the source, but when someone felt movement under them while they sat on the couch, Callie the cat was discovered.

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Turns out there was a hole in the back of the couch that Callie crawled into, the hole was against a wall so she couldn't get out. Her owners were very happy to see her, they were even singing! Read the whole story and see the video of Sofa Surprise, Cat found inside $27 used couch.

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pictures_cats_litter_alternatives.jpgIndoor cats use litter boxes, and those litter boxes need to be filled with litter. I, personally, am allergic to clay litter. Since I have an indoor cat, I have to find an alternative to clay litter. I'm going to review a few of the alternative non-clay litters that I have tried, namely PaPurr Scoop, World's Best and Swheat Scoop.

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My criteria for a good litter are:

- Dust-free (or as dust free as litter can get)

- Good odor control

- As little tracking as possible

- Good clumping for easy removal

- Smells good

With that, let me get on with the review of each.

PaPurr Scoop Review

First off, let me

review PaPurr Scoop.

PaPurr Scoop litter is a clumping litter made out of recycled paper. It is lightly scented with a somewhat floral scent. This litter does not have much dust since it is made out of recycled paper. What I like about this litter is that it feels just like clay with the little round particles. It feels good to the touch, so I would imagine it would feel good to a cat's paws as well.

My cat is really good with his litter box habits and so he will use whatever I put in his box. Which works great for me as I don't have to worry when switching litters for testing purposes. When I first put this litter into his box, he came over and sniffed it. He used it, but he didn't really like the smell of it. It made him sneeze. It made me sneeze too after it was sitting there for a while. It was the fragrance they put in it.

It didn't work out . . .

Moving on to World's Best Cat Litter . . .

World's Best Cat Litter Review

World's Best Cat Litter is made from corn. I know some cats and some people are allergic to corn, so caution needs to be exercised in this regard.

pictures_cats_clay_alternatives_litter.jpgThe litter is lightweight and so it does track quite a bit, unfortunately. This litter IS dusty. I ended up with a fine layer of corn dust everywhere my cat stepped. And my cat, whose feet are white, ended up with yellow feet a few weeks into using this litter . . . It was kinda funny . . . and if you happen to own a yellow cat, then this wouldn't be a problem . . .

Clumping-wise, World's Best does clump well. The clumps are rather loose though. My cat would end up playing with the clumps to the point of breaking it into many little clumps which would end up not getting scooped since they were so little . . . Not good.

World's Best is good at controlling odor though. The bag states that you can use this littler up a month, but I was only able to use it for about two weeks before it started smelling foul. This is probably due to my cat breaking apart his clumps . . . (I scoop twice daily.) And another note, a rather interesting one at that. This corn litter attracts moths, a lot of moths. It took me a few days to realize where they came from . . .

Next, we have Swheat Scoop.

Swheat Scoop Review

And thus, my trials took me to Swheat Scoop, my current favorite.

Swheat Scoop is truly a dust free litter. But again, this litter is not for those with wheat allergies.

Swheat Scoop has small granules that are denser than World's Best and so it tracks a bit less than World's Best.

It's odor control is great. I like the light scent of the wheat as well. My cat isn't bothered by the smell of it either. Out of these three litters, this is the only one that does not make him sneeze.

The clumps are hard and I haven't seen any broken clumps since I started using this product.

One word of caution, the bag states to keep at least 3 inches of litter in the box. This is a necessity! If you keep less, then you will end up with a mushy pile of litter at the bottom of the box. Not very pleasant to clean up . . . I currently keep about 4 inches of it in my jumbo size box (I have a big cat). It works great!

Thanks for reading! And I hope this helps in your search for a good alternative to clay cat litter.

Article by Amy Yang. Read more of Amy Yang's reviews at her blog, Best Cat Care Products.

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Just like in real estate where location is crucial, so it is for your cat's litter boxes.

Here's some ideas and tips on how to effectively locate them for good cat litter box habits.

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Pictures_cats_litter_box_location.jpgWhen you think about cat litter box placement, imagine if it's a place where you'd like to do your business. We humans generally cherish a quiet and private location. Your cat isn't much different. She'd like her cat litter boxes placed where she can feel safe while voiding. When animals eliminate, this is a vulnerable time for them, and if your cat doesn't feel safe and comfortable, she'll find her own location to fulfill this need.

Depending upon the cat's age and mobility, an ideal litter box location is someplace where humans don't tread constantly. Take a look around your house and think about this as you ponder locations. Some ideal places are your basement, rarely-used bathrooms, and larger closets.

If you have a room that doesn't get much traffic and won't let the odors waft all through the house, then set up a litter box in that location.

If a family member's bedroom will work (assuming that person won't be jarred awake at 3 AM when kitty is busy digging a hole to China to bury her output!), use that as well.

Many cats prefer to have a cat litter box near their favorite "hang outs." This way, they don't have to go far when nature calls.

The most desirable location will be quiet, somewhat secluded, and afford kitty the luxury of time and the feeling of safety to properly eliminate in her cat litter box.

Sometimes your cat will decide a location for you. In my home, my kitty Scout prefers the cat litter box in the exercise room in lieu of the one in the basement (which would be my first choice) and another in a nook off the kitchen.

But she doesn't like those locations as well, so it's critical that I keep that cat litter box up to her standards - clean, no deposits left over from her brother JJ, and leaving the door open - even when I'm using the exercise bike or the cross trainer! If I forget any of these things, she lets me in the most direct way possible - by not using a litter box when she needs to eliminate.

If there was ever a case where cats have staffers and hired help, I'm living proof! So take a hint from your cat...try to accomodate her preferred location for successful, consistent cat litter box usage.

Article by Nancy Wigel who solved the cat urine odor problem in her home, and kept the cat that caused it. Read "18 Ways to Stop Cat Urine Odor Problems" to discover your solution.

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Cat_litter_box.jpgAutomatic litter boxes live to do one thing - clean up after your kitty's visits to the box. Around the clock, they scoop and clean the litter bed removing waste and leaving the pan fresh for the next call of nature. The most obvious benefit of a self cleaning box is in the time saved, but you might not realize that these boxes can actually be healthier for your kitty and you. Read on to learn how this new technology can protect the health your pet and your family.

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It's no secret that cat boxes develop an odor rather quickly. This is in part due to the fact that they hold kitty's waste. It is also partly due to the fact that bacteria can develop in the box, creating an odor and a health hazard.

Bacteria thrives in warm moist areas, just like the bottom of your litter pan. The longer waste sits, the more likely it is that bacteria will grow and thrive. The result is odor. Worse still, every time your pet visits the box they can get that bacteria on their paws and track it on to furniture, laps, and everywhere else they go. This spread of bacteria increases the chance of your pet becoming ill and possibly members of your family as well.

The solution? Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of your kitty's litter pan. Ideally, you should scoop after every visit as this will prevent the waste from sitting and the bacteria from developing. Realistically, no one has the time to constantly monitor their pets litter box. Fortunately, there are many options available in the way of automatic litter boxes.

Most self cleaning litter boxes work around the clock to clean up waste after your pet. Every model also has some type of storage for waste material so that it doesn't sit where it can develop a smell or come in contact with your pet. Maintaining one of these litter boxes is as easy as emptying out the waste compartment. There is even one type that cleans and disinfects it's self using a cleaning solution.

If you would like help choosing the right automatic litter box for you and your kitty's, be sure to check out my site for a number of litter box reviews. On my site you will find feedback from other cat owners on the variety of self cleaning cat boxes on the market and learn which ones work best and which ones are better avoided.

Article By A.J. Lowery

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american-long-hairjpg.jpgThe Irish have it right! Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I wanted to tell you about a CD that's coming out called, Irish Drinking Songs for Cat Lovers! Look for some of your favorite Irish songs rewritten about cats. Like When Kitty Eyes are Smiling, Lord of the Pounce, and others. If he ever gets the CD done, it will be really funny.

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pictures_cats_litter.jpgIn our discussion of litter boxes and why cats pee outside the box, we've touched on litter box size, litter box odor and number of litter boxes as possible causes. And just as important as cleaning, size and number of litter boxes, is what you put inside the litter box. Today's discussion is about types of litter.

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The regular clay litter is the cheapest and most plentiful on the market. I mean you can get a huge bag that takes two people to carry for under $5.00. That's a plus, cheap litter at a time when most people are trying to save some money. But there are some disadvantages that may make Kitty not want to use the regular clay.

The clay produces a lot of dust, which can be harmful if inhaled, by you and your cat, and the dust tracks through the house on little paws. Often the clay contains additives like antibacterial agents and perfumes - which seem like a good idea, but your cat is very sensitive to smells so perfumes aren't the answer. And the clay gets really heavy when wet, so it can be hard to clean out the box.

Another problem is that many communities require that litter be put into the garbage, so it goes to landfills. Fortunately some communities are catching on and have included kitty litter in their community composting program - either they pick it up or you drop it off and it gets composted. But again, that's a lot of weight to be lugging around.

Clumping cats litters contain Bentonite which is highly absorbable and forms into clumps that can be removed when you remove the solid waste. Clumping clay really reduces odor and is often used in multi cat houses. But sodium bentonite can cause illnesses, especially gastrointestinal blockages and respiratory illnesses.

pictures_cats_litter_types.jpgThe bentonite clay can absorb up to 12 times it's weight in fluid which means that if kitty cleans his paws after using the litter box, he is eating some of clay and it can absorb liquids in his system and cause a blockage in his intestinal tract. The same can happen in his lungs if he breathes it in, it can block his air ways. Kittens are especially at risk but consult with your vet.

In both cases, clay can be economical but you end up using a lot of it to keep your cat happy and your litter box odor free. So in the end, that huge bag of litter may not be worth it, after you factor in your gas, time and effects on the environment. The health risks are also a little worrisome. Using a product that can harm your cat if swallowed, doesn't seem like a good choice.

If you are considering making a change or if you have a kitten I would consider a green product like world's best cat litter or President's Choice Green Twice as Absorbent Clumping Cat litter that's made from corn so it's natural, long lasting, safe, clumping, and is odor free and dust free. Oh and it can be flushed down the toilet. (more on that tomorrow)

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Pictures_cats_kitten.jpgSpring is here, and with it lots of kittens. If you have an animal shelter near you, perhaps you want to consider asking if they send mother cats and kittens to foster homes and opening up your home to foster a family of kittens.

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Many shelters have found that sending the mother cat and her kittens to a foster home is a great way to save shelter money and a great way to keep the kittens away from diseases that are found at animal shelters.

Offering your home as a foster home for kittens is a great way to help the animal shelters, and a great way to be involved in helping your community. But there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

First, if you already have cats, be sure to get them vaccinated for the most common cat diseases. The kittens and their mother that you take in could be carrying diseases such as feline leukemia and Feline Infection Peritonitis.

You will also want to make sure your cats do not have anything that could be harmful to the mother and her kittens. Having your cats tested for worms and given a health exam would be helpful in keeping the kittens healthy while they are at your home.

Another thing you want to consider is the responsibility. During the weeks you have them, until they are old enough to be altered and adopted out, you will be responsible for their care. If they get sick, the shelter will probably cover the expense, but you will be the one administering the medicine.

You will also be responsible for taking care of the mother and keeping the kittens safe. With a mother cat and her kittens visiting your home you will not be as free to go away, especially not on any overnight trips.

Those are the difficulties of being a foster home for kittens. What are the benefits?

pictures_cats_Queen_kittens.jpgFirst, the enjoyment you get from helping these little creatures. Many kittens kept at shelters do not survive because of disease. It is not the fault of the shelter, but with all the animals coming and going there is little chance kittens won't get ill. Depending on how weak or strong they are, these diseases can kill them or weaken them for the rest of their life.

Second, you will enjoy watching these kittens as they get old enough to play with each other. Kittens are so cute, and you will get to enjoy them at their cutest until they are old enough to be adopted out (which in some areas is at about three months).

Third, if you want to get one or two kittens (or more) this is a great way to get to know their character before making any decision. And if you do keep any, you will have the pleasure of having known them since they were very tiny, which is a lot of fun.

All these are great reasons to host a homeless cat and her kittens if you are a cat lover.

Visit Carol Stack's blog, Cat Lovers Portal

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pictures_cats_dirty_litter_box.jpgImagine you are out for the day, someplace nice, someplace that you like to be...visualize the place... is it a shopping mall or an amusement park, a movie theatre... a public pool, a nice park or at the zoo? Ok, get a clear picture in your mind of a really nice, fun place to be. Got it? Ok. Now let me ask you a question.

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How would you feel if the bathroom to this really nice place was smelly, had toilet paper strewn all over the place, no running water and someone urinated on the floor? How would it make you feel to have to walk through the urine with your bare feet? How would you feel if you couldn't wash properly after?

Pretty disgusting image isn't it? I've been in my fair share of scuzzy bathrooms. Some of them, I've just turned right around and 'held it' until I could get to a clean bathroom. And other times, when I had no choice but to use the facilities, I've felt like I needed a shower after just walking in there, let alone getting half naked to do my business. Ok maybe this is too much information.. but you get the idea. I swear there have been times when I considered peeing in a bush somewhere instead of using the bathroom.

So now, imagine what it's like for your cat whose sense of smell is 4x more sensitive than a human's. If you think it smells bad, just imagine what it must smell like for Kitty!

And to make matters worse, imagine what it must be like to have to walk in there, dig around in dirty litter then cover it up. Then you have to lick your paws clean? That's what it's like for your cat to use a litter box that isn't kept clean.

Another issue with smelly, dirty litter boxes is that in your cat's mind, that smell is attracting predators. Your cat may feel vulnerable and frightened to use the litter box. In the wild, predators locate their prey by scent, so a smelly litter box is like a neon fast food sign to predators. That's why cats are so careful to clean themselves all the time.. they don't want to become the lunch special to a coyote!

So do your cat a favor and keep his litter box clean and I bet the peeing problem will go away. So here's what you have to do.

Pictures_cats_litter_box_scoop.jpg1. Scoop out the clumps and poop every day - yes I said every day, just go one day without flushing your toilet and you'll understand why you have to do it everyday! Some cats like it done twice a day.

2. Add in a little bit of fresh litter to replace the wet and soiled litter you scoop out every day. This only amounts to a cup or two of litter but it makes a big difference to Kitty because cats like a lot of litter to dig around in.

3. Once a week (or more if your cat is particular about her litter box), empty out all the litter, wash out the litter box with a mild detergent - dish soap works well, but nothing too harsh like bleach or perfumed because it smells way stronger to your cat than to you and you might end up with an unhappy cat peeing on the floor again. Then fill the litter box with fresh, clean litter.

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People are constantly complaining about litter box issues so I am taking sometime to get to the bottom of this issue, once and for all! I have a theory that if you have one cat, you need two litter boxes; two cats, three litter boxes; three cats, four litter boxes and so on.

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pictures_cats_litter_box.jpgI blogged about litter box size a few days ago but the number of litter boxes might be an issue your cat needs you to address. Most vets and cat experts will tell you that if you have one cat, one litter box is fine, and if you have more than one cat, you need one litter box for each cat, plus one more. Well, that advice is correct to a point. If your litter boxes are the correct size for your cat and you clean them out regularly, you may only need one box per cat plus one more.

But I have a theory that even if you only have one cat, you might need another litter box. If you think about it, it makes sense. In the wild cats don't eliminate in one place all the time, that would be suicide, all a predator would have to do is hide at the pooping place and wait for Fluffy to come along and then the predator would have an easy snack.

Also, you don't know what could be bothering your cat on any given day, cats are sensitive to their environments - maybe the phone has been ringing too often and the sound is bothering him, so he doesn't want to use his litter box where it is because he's afraid that darned phone is going to ring again and scare him right in the middle of a big poo. Or maybe you are doing some cleaning and you keep walking by his litter box several times a day. Any number of things can make your cat want to go somewhere else.

So by offering your cat a second (or third litter box) you are providing a more natural way to eliminate. A second location gives your cat an alternative if he is feeling anxious or if he is not entirely happy with the first litter box or its location.

Because cats are so particular and like to stay clean, one small, dirty litter box is sure to cause some stress in your cat and stress is the number one cause of peeing outside the box. So when you are placing your litter boxes think about what it might be like for a cat in the wild - would they want to pee close to their, would the want to poop where there are loud, frightening, would they want to pee while people or other animals walk, would they like a big light shining on

The litter boxes should be in nice, quiet, locations, and the litter boxes should be big enough for him to turn around and dig around and find the best position for eliminating. I'm going to put my second litter box far away from the first so that Neo has a choice about where he goes. I'll let you know how that goes.

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I get so many people emailing me about cats peeing outside their litter boxes. Even Neo does it and I thought he had a urinary tract infection, I've tried different types of litter, cleaning his litter box every day and putting his litter box in quiet areas. Everything they experts have suggested.

Cat_Litter_Box.jpgThe only thing he seems to like, is to go outside - so I let him out as often as I can, but that doesn't always work. But there is hope for all of us with the problem of cats urinating outside the litter box.

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According to Dr. Tony Buffington at Ohio State University, a litter box should be 1.5 x longer than your cat - that's 1 and a half cats!

Neo is about 20 inches long so an ideal cat litter box for him would 1.5 x 20 which equals 30 inches. The ideal litter box for Neo would be at least 30 inches long! When I measured him, I didn't include his tail because cats usually lift their tails out of the way when they use the litter box. Besides, Neo has a freakishly long tail!

30 inches is way longer than a standard litter box, so what can you do? A suggestion is to get one of those clear plastic storage containers. I'm going to find one this weekend and let Neo try it out. I'll let you know how it works.

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pictures_cats_love.jpgDoubters will say that a cat only shows affection when he's hungry or wants something and that a cat is not truly capable of love. Those people obviously have never felt the love of a cat. I have to admit that food does play a part in it, but it does with people too - you know, the old adage "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach"

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So by feeding and caring properly for your cat you are actually laying the groundwork for love. But how do you know if your cat actually loves you?

Well there have been clinical studies done about how a person's heart rate lowers when they pet their cats and that can lead to a longer, healthier life. And the same studies have been conducted on cats. It turns out that their heart rate lowers when you show affection toward them, which is a sign of bonding, and love. According to these studies, the presence or touch of their human reduces stress.

Just think about when your cat is under stress, what does he do? He may run and hide, until the stress time is over, but then he usually appreciates your love and cuddles after the fact. Some cats run to their owners for safety during the stress time. Like Neo presses himself into me so hard, he'll push me off balance.

And I can remember a story Wendell told me about Maddy- she got tangled up in some netting and she was struggling and meowing - clearly under stress because she couldn't get out. But as soon as she heard Wendell's voice, she stopped struggling and let him gently untangle her.

Now that we know cats can bond with humans and feel love. What signs can you look for in your cat to know if he loves you?

pictures_cats_love_2.jpg1. Contributing to the household - you may not see it that way, but when your cat catches something, a mouse, a bird or even a toy and brings it to you and drops it at your feet, that's a sign of love. He wants to contribute and show that he can provide for you too.

2. Following you around - your cat may act casual about it, you know saunter into the room after you've already been there, or casually look away when you glance back at him. But clearly, your cat is interested in you and wants to be where you are.

3. Getting depressed when you leave - you may not see this, but if someone else is at home when you go, they might see it. Your cat may meow for you, or just go find a quiet spot and sleep until you return. If you have a predictable routine or make a distinct sound when you come home, your cat will be excited to see you. Again he may act casual about it, but trust me, he's excited to see you.

4. Sending you Cat Kisses - when your cat stares at you and then squints or closes his eyes. That is a huge sign of affection - in the cat world, that is the signal to other cats that this cat is not a threat. Your cat is completely vulnerable to you at that time. Send cat kisses back to him.

5. Overt signs of affection - rubbing his head on you, and walking by and tapping you with his tail - nothing a cat does is by accident, so if your cat rubs against you or touches you with his tail, it's love!

6. Lying on his back - exposing the tummy is sure sign that your cat trusts you - if a cat did this in the wild, he'd be lunch. But don't think your cat wants a belly rub - most cats don't want their tummy's rubbed, they might like a gentle stoke from chest to belly, but you have to know your cat and what he wants before you touch an exposed belly.

Just because cats can't kiss you, and hug you and hold your hand doesn't mean they don't love you - if you open up your heart and eyes and really see what your cat is doing, you'll understand that he loves you, he really loves you.

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By Jackson Galaxy

picture_of_black_cat_peek_a_boo.jpgIt seems odd to put "play" together with "therapy." After all, cats seem to keep themselves very well entertained without interference from us.

However, there are good reasons for us to "interfere." Many emotional and behavior problems in cats result from stress. Animals feel stress when they are helpless to change the conditions of their lives. Our cats, especially indoor cats, have little control over their environments. Along with the ordinary stresses of modern living such as noise and air pollution, it's no wonder our cats have problems!

There are two important factors to consider when dealing with feline behavior. First, the stressors that cats experience on a daily basis, and second, the outlets - how cats manifest (or hide) that stress:

Common Stressors

* Territory. A cat's territory is crucially important. When we urbanized as a culture and made our cats mostly indoors, we decreased their natural sense of territory by about 90%. Now imagine the stresses in a multi-cat home or one with small children.

* Routine. Cats prefer everything to happen in the same way, at the same time, every day. They don't like surprises! Fortunately, the stress that disruptions in routine can bring can be wonderfully soothed with play therapy. Examples of stressful disruptions include remodeling, with all its scary noises and strangers coming through the house; neighborhood cats in the territory; and new babies or other new residents in the home.

* Boredom. Our cats are not far removed from their wild ancestors. A natural hunter with no prey to stalk is like a kid without recess - bored, edgy, and looking for trouble!

Common Stress Outlets

pictures_cat_scratching_.jpg * Internalization. Some symptoms that your cat is taking in more than he or she can handle include excessive grooming; tension tail twitching; and somaticizing (obsessive-compulsive behaviors, vomiting, appetite disorders, and other chronic medical problems).

* Externalization. More extroverted cats can (and probably will) act out their stress in one of the following ways:

* Play Aggression. To a cat, play and prey are the same thing! That inner hunter has to come out somehow! These actions are not spiteful, just misdirected.

* Redirected Aggression. One way of letting off steam in a multicat home is to take it out on the other cats. "Redirected" means that the cat who got whacked just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It can take a long time to normalize relations again. Stress is not usually the major cause of redirected aggression, but heightened stress levels most certainly can help precipitate an event.

* Other Behavior. Litterbox problems, scratching furniture, and middle-of-the-night vocalizing may all have a stress component. Stress alone doesn't often cause these problems to continue, but it is usually a contributor.

Treating the Problem - Let's Play!

The first step toward establishing a difference between casual play and play therapy is routine. Incorporating a play therapy session around the times of your cat's highest activity level will help dissipate a lot of stored frustration, stress and energy.

Interactive toys are used for play therapy; the best one is called Da Bird. It's a fishing pole toy with a unique feather configuration at the end that sounds like flapping wings. It's totally irresistible!

Pictures_Kitten_cats_Attacks.jpgIt's not enough to dangle the toy while watching TV. You have to be the bird! You've probably seen your cat perched in the window watching real birds. Now, let the cat follow a pattern of flight around the room long enough to get completely involved in it: with rapt attention, tensing muscles, and a little twitch of the tail. Talk to the cat in a light praising tone.

At some point, swoop the toy close enough for the cat to make a grab. When he catches you, play dead, but keep gentle tension on the string. When the cat relaxes, you make your escape! Fly around a bit, then allow yourself to be caught again. This whole routine can be repeated, of course, ad infinitum, until the cat is finished. But watch out for the "second wind!" This routine should truly tire the cat out.

The final step is a high protein snack. Kitten food, a dried liver treat, or a teaspoon of meat baby food work well. This completes the natural cycle of hunt-catch-kill-eat.

Once the session is over, put away the special play therapy toy. It only comes out for these special sessions. Regular daily play therapy work will make your cat happier and more confident, and less likely to manifest stress in unpleasant and unwanted ways.

Many cats benefit greatly from flower essence therapy. Spirit Essences offers many formulas to help with behavioral issues. In this case, "Feline Training" will help adjust to the new lessons of play therapy, especially during that crucial first few weeks of often frustrating un-learning of bad habits, and redirection towards appropriate outlets.

For a comprehensive, in-depth, 9-page report on this topic, including details about stress behaviors, specific "prey" strategies, and explicit how-to instructions for encouraging your cat to participate, see "What's Play Got To Do With It?" in the Little Big Cat bookstore! For personal assistance with your cat's health or behavior problems, call Jackson Galaxy at Little Big Cat! Schedule a consultation at 310-376-6616 or find out more at our consulting web page.

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

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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

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).

* 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.


* 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.

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