Melanie: June 2009 Archives

Article by Darlene L. Norris

pictures_cats_comfortable.jpegHave you ever heard any of these myths about feline diabetes? If you have a diabetic cat, you need to know the truth about this disease, not a bunch of old wives' tales. Don't be paralyzed by ignorance. Know the facts about your feline diabetic, and learn how you can help him.

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Myth #1. You'll Have To Put Your Diabetic Cat To Sleep

Not necessarily. Unless your pet has other health issues like kidney failure or is very elderly, it's possible to manage this disease. However, you do need to realize that it does take quite a bit of time, especially at first, to learn how to check your furry friend's blood sugar and then to give him an insulin injection, if needed.

pictures_fat_cat.jpgMyth #2. You Can't Prevent Feline Diabetes

Actually, some experts firmly believe that this condition is a man-made disease, and that it's totally preventable by feeding your pet a high-quality canned food instead of dry cat food.

The biggest issue with dry food is that the carbohydrate level is much too high for your kitty. Felines are meant to eat meat, not grains, and most dry foods are overwhelmingly composed of grains. Although this is good for the bottom line of the pet food companies, it's not good for the bottom line concerning your pet's health.

Feeding too much of the wrong kind of food leads to an overweight feline, which is a sure recipe for many other health problems, including diabetes in cats.

Myth #3.You Can't Check Your Kitty's Blood Sugar Levels At Home

Of course you can. In fact, you should. It's essential to know what his blood sugar level is before you give him an insulin injection. You'll also save a lot of time and money if you don't always have to be taking your pet to the vet for a blood sugar check. Plus it's much less stressful for your furball if you can do it at home. Your vet can and should teach you how to to this.

Myth #4. Once Your Furball Is On Insulin, You'll Never Get Him Off

Actually, diabetes in cats can sometimes be reversed by changing your kitty's diet. As mentioned above, he shouldn't be eating dry food at all. Canned food is best. If he's overweight, he needs to lose weight, but slowly and carefully, as a too-rapid weight loss can lead to very serious problems.

Get your kitty exercising more. Encourage him to play by tempting him with a toy on a string. Exercise will help him lose weight, and is a great way to manage blood sugar levels naturally. Start slowly, and work up to two or three ten-minute sessions a day.

really_fat_cat.jpgMyth #5. Natural Remedies For Cats Are A Waste Of Time

Research has shown that herbs, including goat's rue, fenugreek, and astragalus, along with the mineral chromium, are very effective in controlling blood sugar levels in pets, as well as in people. In fact, by using a combination of diet, exercise, and herbs and dietary supplements, you may be able to dispense with insulin injections completely.

Don't buy into any of these myths about feline diabetes. Stop feeling helpless and take charge of your kitty's health today. Learn more about how diet, exercise, and natural remedies for cats can control and even reverse diabetes in cats.

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 treat your diabetic cat by visiting

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pictures_cats_rescuing_kittens.jpegRead this article by Dr. Peters of Hi Plains Animal Welfare Society before you try to remove kittens you find. You can also read more about Kitten Season there.

Just yesterday, a group of children brought me a box of kittens and asked me to "rescue" them. Their mothers had told them to put the kittens back where they found them. The kids were unhappy with that order and soon located me.

I'm the local cat rescuer, so it seemed logical to ask me. But the facts of the situation show how little people know about cats, kittens and proper rescue procedures. The mothers weren't too far off with their advice, except that it doesn't solve anything. It only would have helped these kittens survive in their current situation... maybe.

Are They Really Abandoned?

pictures_cats_kittens.jpegThe first mistake the kids made was to assume the kittens were lost or abandoned. But when they approached and gathered them up, they saw the mother cat dart away. They then felt justified in assuming she was abandoning them, and if they were to survive, it would be up to them.

This action deprived the kittens of their mother, the one who is best equipped to raise them, and it deprived the mother cat of her young, to whom she is physiologically and instinctively committed. Without naturally weaning and releasing them herself, she will now go into heat soon and become impregnated again.

The overpopulation cycle actually speeds up with this simple theft of the young from the nest. It mimics what cats do: Roaming males, or tom cats, seek out females to reproduce with. If they find kittens they didn't father, they kill them, the female soon goes into estrus, and the male completes his mission to reproduce his own gene pool.

Have a Plan

So how can we end the overpopulation cycle? First, we have to be smarter than the cats. Simply collecting kittens without a plan only contributes to the stray cat problem. Even with barn cats, I no longer accept what farmers often call "excess" kittens without their mother, who must be spayed before they are returned to their barn life. (After accepting 3 litters from the same cat at one farm, I learned that these people weren't going to fix the problem, so I did, and it became a policy of my shelter that mothers, if available, must accompany surrendered kittens.)

This is how the children should have handled yesterday's litter:

When they discovered the crying kittens, all nestled together in a grass thicket or a wood pile, they should have called their local shelter (or some responsible adult who understands cats) to request help rescuing this little family. While waiting for help to arrive, their mission would be to keep an eye on things from a non-threatening distance. The mother cat would most likely return, and then might remove her babies to another, safer (in her mind) location. Cats seek privacy when they have babies to care for.

Call an Experienced Rescuer

pictures_kitten.jpegIdeally, help would arrive before she moved any, in the form of someone with a trap. One or all of the kittens could be placed into it, as "bait." Then, when mama kitty goes in, you have them all safely confined and they can be moved.

Admittedly, that kind of luck is not common. Therefore, the next method is to gather the kittens and take them to a safe place, while a trap is set for the mother at that location. Keep enough distance so she will return to see if the babies are still there. Instead of using food as bait, place a cloth that has the kittens' scent on it inside the trap. If you put food in it, some other cat might go in to eat, and you will collect the wrong cat.

Never Leave a Trap Unwatched Too Long

The trap needs to be watched so you can take her quickly to join her young ones, probably to a shelter where she can attend to them in a comfortable, quiet setting. If they are put into a cage in the general, noisy or bustling surroundings, she might kill them, as mother cats often will refuse to raise a family in what they consider to be a threatening environment.

This is most likely to happen with feral cats, as they are afraid of humans. Strays, on the other hand, are usually abandoned former housecats and may be wary, but not terrified. (Warning: It's still wise to deal with all loose cats cautiously to avoid injury. Even a tame mother animal can be a tornado if frightened. Therefore, do not try to touch them.)

Feral moms should be spayed and vaccinated before being returned to their territories, while strays may be adoptable after they have weaned the little ones and have been spayed.

Though cats can reproduce at any time of the year, spring and summer are the most common seasons to bring new cats into the world. It's called Kitten Season, and is the time when most people encounter kittens in all kinds of scenarios and may try to "rescue" them. It's critical to do it correctly if you truly want them to survive. Dr. RJ Peters established a rescue shelter in 2002 and likes to share the lessons learned to help others.

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