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What would you recommend to PREVENT this from happening again in the future with other cats?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I think my remaining three cats are healthy, but if anyone has any recommendations for prevention of such a problem in the future, I'd be truly grateful. 

 

What I feed the beasties is this:  Innova Evo dry food (low carb), sometimes Evo canned, other brands of canned food, and fresh-cooked leftover meats, including sometimes salmon.  Maybe I should get them to lap up some butter once in a while?  Maybe some coconut oil?  Maybe some cod liver oil or salmon oil?

 

Thanks in advance.  I know the cats won't live forever, but I would prefer to spare other cats from what I've just gone through with Callie.

 

 

Pam Maltzman

post #2 of 17

Aw Pam, I went and read about your Callie. My heart goes out to you. hugs.gif What a terrible decision you had to make. alright.gif It is good that you're trying to learn more about kitty nutrition...I count that as a way to honor Callie; she would be proud of you.

 

Others will chime in, but here's some info to get you started...

 

Do not feed kitties kibble (dry) food, no matter how great it seems. Dry food is convenient for the human, but not good for kitties. Kibble contains a very low moisture content, therefore, kitties are in a constant state of dehydration because of this. Even if fresh water is provided, they just don't biologically have the thirst mechanism that humans, dogs, and other mammals do, so the won't drink enough to stay hydrated. They need to get the majority of their moisture/water from the food they eat. There are quite a few conditions that feeding kibble may contribute to: Diabetes, CRF/CKD, obesity, FLUTD, pancreatitis, IBD, etc. A couple good sites regarding why to NOT feed kibble: http://www.holisticat.com/no-kibble.html and http://www.catinfo.org/.

 

What to feed: A grain-free, minimal carbs at around 5% (no carb would be ideal) high meat canned food. Kitties do not process grains, vegetables, fruits like humans do. These carbohydrates make the pancreas respond by releasing more insulin, which may cause low blood sugar, which in turn causes the kitty to feel hungry, requiring more food. This cycle causes the accumulation of fat in their body which leads to obesity, while not meeting their protein requirements and setting them up for diabetes in the future.

 

Occasional meat scraps are okay if not seasoned--just plain meat. If this gets to be around 10-15% of their diet, you will need to look into feeding a balanced cooked or raw diet, because meat alone is not balanced most especially with regards to the calcium to phosphorus ratio. Meat is high in phosphorus so this needs to be balanced with calcium in the form of a supplement (in the correct ratio for the type of meat) or ground bones. Also, an important amino sulfonic acid, Taurine, would need to be supplemented (cooking depletes taurine in meat moreso than raw meat).

 

Butter, no, unless you need to help them gain weight, and then it should be unsalted butter--or other animal fat.

 

Coconut oil, no. Kitties can't process this because they are obligate (true) carnivores and derive their nutrition from animal sources.

 

Cod liver oil, no. It is too high in vitamins A and D, which are fat soluble vitamins and would be stored in their body. Excess can be toxic with either of these fat soluble vitamins.

 

Salmon oil would be good. Choose one that comes in capsules with no other ingredients besides what is there for the composition of the capsule. Human salmon oil capsules are better than ones for "pets." I would stick with approximately 125mg per kitty a day (if the capsule is 500mg it is okay to divide this between your three kitties). If they don't accept salmon oil, you could use Krill oil at the same amount as salmon oil. All three of mine will not touch salmon oil, but readily accept krill oil.

 

I have fed my kitties a balanced raw diet for quite a few years, but I remember the days of canned...and kibble. If ya ever want to jump to raw, we can help with that. I don't want to start controversy here, but raw meat is better digested by our little carnivores than cooked meat--JMO, but cooked can work as a jumping off point to transition to raw. I think just getting on track with feeding as outlined above will be great...for now. biggrin.gif Hey, you already have them accepting cooked meat, so I had to tease you a bit. laughing02.gif

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

Wholly Cat, thank you for writing me back.

 

The boy cat whom I recently rescued from a neglectful situation will ready eat canned food but so far won't touch the Evo dry (which is low carb but still dry).  I don't think his previous owners were feeding him very much or very often. 

 

I have read Michelle T. Bernard's book, "Raising Cats Naturally."  Have not started them on raw yet, but sometimes when I get hold of a piece of London Broil beef, I will cut off a chunk and cut it up into little pieces for them.  At least one of mine likes that.  My oldest tortie likes some raw meat.  The 7-year-old tortie and white, who was raised in rescue before I adopted her at the age of about 1 year, will rarely eat anything but kibble.  Even fresh-cooked salmon, which the oldest girl adores, is still something that she does't really go for yet.

 

I don't give them highly-seasoned meat, but when we have chicken left over, I often cut up the pieces.  Callie would eat pretty much any kind of meat... she liked chicken, pork, and beef.  And if she saw me with a plate of food at my desk, she wanted some of it.  I think she had been starving before being caught as a tiny baby, and I don't think they were feeding her much at that pet clinic except kibbles, and not much of that.  At any rate, when I got her home, she ate a lot.  She got to liking the dry food too.

 

I've been feeding them canned tuna, canned salmon, fresh-cooked salmon.  I've been feeding them canned Friskies which I get by the case at Sam's Club.  I'm aware that this isn't the greatest stuff out there.  With my next paycheck, I can get some of the premium canned food.  A local place, called A Better Way Pet Care, sells some of these, including Evo canned and various others.

 

When we finally get out of here, I want to try them on a raw diet similar to what Michelle Bernard describes in her book, noted above.  I have a used grinder which will handle chickens.

 

Okay, this summer, I will attempt to get all three cats in to a vet for fecal examinations, on the off-chance that any of them has parasites.  Will also update vaccinations (will at least get them rabies vaccinations), and I know that some folks consider vaccinations, even for critters, to be controversial.  However, where we hope to move in Arizona does have a problem with rabies, and they will probably want that done.  I hear that some landlords may want proof of rabies vaccinations.

 

I have printed out your post to me.

 

Pam Maltzman

post #4 of 17

HI Pam - just a quick note, as I noticed you mentioned using canned tuna, salmon etc...

 

I noticed my stores are regularly carrying a "low sodium" tuna for us people.

If that's an item you regularly go with, I'd opt for that on your shelf, as those "regular" canned fishes are packed to the gills, no pun intended,happy.gif

with sodium - too much is not great for our felines.

 

I love your attitude - I'm learning too, keep up the good fight!

post #5 of 17

Are you feeding Innova Low Fat dry food? I don't see low carb on the site. I would recommend if you are going to stick to dry (I'd rather you eliminate dry from their diets if possible) to feed Innova prime. Its grain-free, high protein, high fat and much lower carbs than what your feeding. Plus cats filter excess fat through their kidneys and fat is actually good for cats, carbs are the enemy.

 

Here's the link: http://www.innovapet.com/products/1745

 

And here's a good read for you:http://www.littlebigcat.com/nutrition/why-dry-food-is-bad-for-cats-and-dogs/

 

I definitely agree with adding an omega-3 supplement such as krill, salmon, herring, sardine oil. Most cat foods (especially dry) are high in omega 6's and low in 3's which can lead to inflammation and poor coats and skin. Also note that flaxseed oil which is added as a omega-3 source in cat food cannot be digested by cats (as mentioned above they can only digest animal sources of nutrients). One brand that I recommend is Ascenta. They make supplements for humans and pets, and you can find them at natural health stores if not at the pet store. They also add vitamin E which is required for cats to properly synthesize it.

 

Also I would avoid feeding fish often especially cans of tuna due to the high mercury levels, I would stick to chicken and salmon (Salmon-once in awhile, max once a week). Cats aren't actually required to eat any seafood, since in the wild they would only be eating small mammals and birds. Seafood has been incorporated into a cats diet in order to sell rancid/leftover fish parts not because they need it.

 

Let us know what you find! wink.gif

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

Okay, both of you, thanks for writing.  The Innova dry food (sometimes canned) I am using is Evo, which is low carb.

 

I will go back to A Better Way and ask their advice on some different canned food.  Sometimes I had tried the supposedly premium canned foods, and my cats turned up their noses even though I thought they smelled pretty good.

 

One of the problems with getting cats from rescues (or indeed, any source but a breeder who is aware of such things) is that they are frequently raised on dry kibble only, which saves their lives in the short run, but, as you mention, slowly dehydrates them over time.  Plus most kibble is full of carbs. 

 

One of my remaining cats was raised in rescue until she was about a year old, at which point I adopted her.  She mostly won't eat anything but kibble, although if I put some soft food (canned) on a finger, she will lick it off.  She sometimes will eat a bit of meat from our plates if we give it to her.

 

I realize there was more I could have done in terms of nutrition.  Well, Callie had been captured at a time when she was starving.  The vet clinic was seemingly feeding her only cheap supermarket kibbles (I realize that a lot of vets aren't up on nutrition).  She was seriously undersized, and would literally eat anything.  I was amazed at how much she could put away.  I'd give her half a can of food, plus kibbles, when I got up, and she'd want to eat again in the wee hours, while I was still working at the computer.  Plus, she'd graze on leftover cat food, plus she'd want some of whatever I was eating.  She'd even slurp up leftover egg yolk after I was done eating several over-easy eggs.

 

So... at least she wasn't starving while she was with me, and I loved her a lot.  She was very, very playful.  She had made friends with one of my remaining cats (the 7-year-old tortieand-whte), although the oldest red tortie would mostly avoid her.  Callie was chirpy with me.  She had gotten to jumping on our bed in the night sometimes and snuggling down with us, either by our sides or at our feet. 

 

Had she lived, I was going to take her in to a vet and get an estimate on excising that BB from under her skin.  Some dumbass down there was probably using her for target practice, and she came to me that way.

 

Another weird thing about her is how her coat colors and textures were changing.  When I got her, she was very short-haired.  She had some smoke-colored patches on her to indicate that she was a tortie.  She had the barest suggestion that she'd have some stripes on her, light brown, which, as she grew, did become characteristic red tortie stripes.

 

She had eyebrows, which at first weren't very colorful, but got kind of coarse and spiky,  Those, too, were getting more colorful as time went on.  The skin around her eyes looked a little weird, kind of wrinkled, maybe a little irritated ?  Not sure.  I was going to have had a vet look at that too.  Her little face had freckles of color on it.  She seemed to see okay, but every once in a while would run into my feet, and I stumbled over her a couple of times because I am clumsy and also have some diabetic neuropathy in my legs.

 

My oldest tortie, now 11 years old, also changed her markings after I got her as a tiny kitten.  She was originally kind of charcoal colored, with spots indicating that she was a tortie.  As she grew, she got in literally waves of color... sable, brown, black, cream.  But her coat has always been very soft. 

 

The tortie-and-white was about a year old when I adopted her, and her markings haven't changed all that much.  She has white feet and white splotches on her throat and belly.  She has a harlequin face, half black and half cream. 

 

The first tortie I ever had, I rescued from an alleyway where she'd been dumped.  She didn't live to be an old cat, but I have loved torties ever since.  She was long-haired, and her colors looked like somebody had thrown paint spatters on black velvet. 

 

I sometimes see people coming out of stores with a lot of large bags of kibble (usually Purina), and on those occasions where I've asked about it, they are rescuers.

 

I realize that low-sodium canned tuna would be better; usually I don't buy it because it can get very pricy.  I also don't buy canned fish at the health food store.  I can soak the stuff in water to get out some of the salt.  I use sea salt on our human food.

 

Okay, thanks again!

 

 

Pam Maltzman

 

 

 

Pam Maltzman

post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

Okay, I will look for lower sodium canned tuna in the grocery stores from now on.  Thanks. 

post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 

I am familiar with a few of the supposedly premium brands out there.  have used Wellness in the past.  Also a couple of the ones that look like people-grade meat stews.  Will go back and look again.  I won't be doing much in the way of raw (except for tidbits) until we are able to get out of here.  I bought a used-once Tasin grinder off eBay (the guy was selling it from his father's estate), as per Michelle Bernard's book and recommendations.

post #9 of 17

Have you tried feeding them canned food that's in slices? I have a cat who won't touch wet food unless its chunks of meat in gravy, whereas my other cat loves pate and mushy wet food.

 

Some chunky brands are:

 

Wellness: Minced, sliced cans or Wellness pouches.

Blue Wilderness Wild Delights

Nature's Variety Prairie

Natural Balance Platefulls

Blue Bistro

 

I'll send you a link with the highest quality brands of dry and wet food: http://www.naturalcatcareblog.com/2010/12/the-7-best-natural-commercial-cat-foods-so-far/

 

 paranoid.gif One think to note, is that mercury poisoning can cause blindness, over-excitement, irritability, incoordination, convulsions, stiff hind legs, and tremors. I many owners who have had cats with one or more of these symptoms from feeding tuna or salmon on a regular basis and I have witnessed it myself. PLEASE do not feed fish more than once a week and try to stick to small fish such as sardines and herring (they bioaccumulate less heavy metals in their system). Even if your not seeing these symptoms right away, they will eventually show up, since heavy metals accumulate.

 

Hope you find something that works for you and your kitties!! And when you do, share it with your fellow cat lovers, because the best way to have healthy cats is to educate others on the importance of selecting a species-appropriate diet! wink.gif

post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 

Violetxx, thanks for your post.  I will print it out.  I have heard of some of those cat food brands before, had tried one or two of them.  Will start buying stuff like that with my next paycheck.  I know that a lot of the commercial supermarket brands out there still have stuff in them that the cats shouldn't be getting, like wheat gluten and grains, soy and soybean oil, etc.

 

 

Pam Maltzman

post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 

Okay, question:  I understand why not to feed tuna and salmon more than once per week.

 

however, at the markets I see smelt offered.  Would those be okay to cook and give them? 

 

Also, once in a while I will boil shrimp, peel it, and cut it up into little pieces for them.

 

They don't go for canned mackerel.  The oldest goes nuts when she smells fresh salmon being cooked.  I think the most often I've ever given that is maybe twice per week.  I also have some of the skinless-and-boneless salmon that is canned, and I sometimes give them that.

 

 

Pam Maltzman

post #12 of 17

I read about Callie ;(  My heart goes out to you.  Personally just for me I would prefer an all wet diet but I do feed kibble.  About 15% of my cat's diets are kibble, the rest is wet food. All 4 of them munch on it now and then but the "real" mealtime are the 2 wet feedings during the day.  I rarely feed tinned fish to them but now and then I will.  I buy in oil and low sodium for myself and when I make tuna/salmon salad etc. I will give each of them a taste of it.   Nutro Max Cat is one of the wet foods they eat and it is chunky in gravy which you indicated your kitties like.  You can find out more about it at http://www.nutro.com/natural-cat-food.aspx  I also feed Nuto Natural Choice wet and several other brands.  My kitties like different textures so I try to mix it up for them.  About the only thing they don't care for is sliced for some reason. 

 

Best of luck to you and your babies!!!
 

post #13 of 17

Smelt should be fine, it is very bony so you may want to pick out the bones or even put it through the blender. I am glad your feeding human-grade salmon,quality is much better than salmon in cat food. I would say if your not feeding any other fish than salmon, than twice a week isn't horribly bad as long as its not their only meal. Are you able to find sardines? Most cats adore them and they are a great source of omega's. Just make sure you choose the ones in water only. Shrimp should be fine as well. On that note, when you see shellfish in cat food, the amount in the food is usually very minute since shellfish is expensive for humans, they usually use the non human grade part such as the shells so there not usually worth what they cost.

 

Yes commercial cat foods at the supermarket are the worst, their packed with fillers, preservatives, dyes, etc. You want to minimize your cats exposure to them as much as possible.

post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 

My cats who will eat wet food seem to readily accept both pate' and the formed food.  They had accepted the Whiskas stuff that was textured in pouches, although I know supermarket stuff isn't the best.  Of course, Callie would eat darned near anything, but toward the end she preferred Friskies pate', and I went with that.  With my next paycheck, I will go get some of the better stuff. 

 

I will probably be adopting another tortie kitten from someone who is in a nearby town.  There are SO many cats and kittens being offered on Craigslist, I could get a dozen if I had the room and the time for them. 

 

My oldest definitely prefers the fresh-cooked salmon to any canned stuff, even the stuff I canned salmon I get at Costco which is human grade and boneless and skinless.  When I get fresh stuff on sale and cook it, she comes down to the kitchen and hangs out until it's in a bowl for her.

 

I had gotten some human-grade canned salmon on sale with skin and bones in, but they didn't like it.

 

My significant other doesn't like salmon, so when fresh wild-caught stuff is on sale, I have the meat counter worker cut it up for me, and I cook it and share it with the cats.

 

 

Pam Maltzman

post #15 of 17

Funny story - my hubby came home from a fishing trip last week where he had a bunch of steelhead salmon and lake trout, I guess it was -

 

We have our alpha male cat "Calvin" who is a bit of a pill and is a fairly scared of my hubby,

and who also is a finicky eater and has NEVER eaten scraps or homemade stuff...

 

So hubby was at the kitchen sink scaling, cutting up the fish and packaging it all up -

when all of a sudden - WHOMP!!!

Calvin bonzaii-jumped up onto the screened open window from outside at that sink

and clung on and peered at hubby with devil possessed eyes - GIMMEE WHAT YOU HAVE!

 

It was the most bizarre, out of character thing for Calvin -- cats, gotta love 'em.  jumping.gif

post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 

4CATS, that's a great story!  I can just see it now!

 

My oldest tortie girl... haven't fed her raw fish of any kind, but she does chirp/meow at me a lot when she smells the fresh salmon in the oven.  Callie would eat just about anything.  I believe she had been starving when she was caught as a tiny feral.

 

Thanks, every one of you, for posting information and also the link to the Natural Cat Care Blog.  I've got my reading cut out for me.

 

The male I adopted from the neglectful situation is a sweetie.  He's not as big as my two older torties.  He is seemingly not an alpha male.  Hasn't fought with the girls or even growled at them, although they have hissed and growled at him.

 

I talked to a lady at the clinic where I adopted Callie.  She still remembered Callie, and emailed me the digital pic she had taken.

 

I have posted a fair number of cat pictures to my facebook page.  If you're interested, look me up there:  I'm Pamela B. Maltzman in Lancaster, California.  I will be posting other pictures of cats as I either take them, or scan one or two paper pics of Mr. Timothy, gone but not forgotten.  I have no pictures of other cats I've had, but will do that from now on.

 

I will be adopting another tortie soon.  Some lady posted an ad for a cat in the first person:  "I'm an ugly cat but I need love too."  Well, she's not ugly, she's a tortie, and she's pregnant.  So I will take her in, let her have the babies, find them homes, and then have her spayed and vaccinated.

 

Pam Maltzman

post #17 of 17

Ha, I have an old tortie girl girl too - POLYESTER - she is 20 years old and a little cantaknerous. She doesn't like to brushed anymore but still loves a good head rub!!! The crabby tortie females seem to go on forever!!!!

R.I.P My dear little Zelda 1992 - 2009 and Maverick, the most gentle and beautiful soul ever Oct 2002 - 30/6/2012

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