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A Noob's Q's on Health & Nutrition

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hi there,

I'm sure the answers to my questions are all here amongst these threads, but I've spent SO much time on this site I can't get anything done around the house so I thought I would start a new thread and hope you all don't mind answering them again.

I'm new here..and a new Mommy to a gorgeous little DSH, Bosco . Bosco is 15 wks old now. Ever since we took him home I've been feeding him the dry brand the pet store had him started on which is Nutro Natural Choice Complete Care Kitten Food. To date, I've only fed him the dry...and I've received mixed feedback regarding what to feed him. Is it wrong to only feed dry? I heard that it was best for kittens since it's really good for their teeth. Am I depriving him by only feeding him dry? How often should you feed them? So far, we've just been topping up his dish when it's low and ensuring there's always fresh water there too. He comes and feeds when he needs it. Is this practice ok?

Litter-- so far we're just using a clumping scent-free product. A friend told me that once he's fixed we shouldn't use the clumping stuff because it might get stuck in his urinary tract. Fact or fiction?

Finally...there seems to be small 'sores' ...hesitant to even call them that...maybe irritation is a better word...on the bottom part of his mouth (the fleshy part). My boyfriend pointed them out last night. He seems to have on on either side of his mouth and he said it looked almost like one had been bleeding a little the other day. Silly question, but can cats get 'cold sores'? Any ideas? He doesn't appear to be in any pain...his eyes are bright and his eating and bathroom habits appear all regular...and he has BOUNDLESS energy. I'm just a worried mom. Any advice would be more than appreciated. We're keeping an eye on it and if it gets any worse at all we'll take him to the vet right away. Thought an expert on the forum might have seen or heard of this before.

Ok, enough rambling!! Thanks for any and all advice you can offer!

&
Amber & Bosco
post #2 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunshine_Amber
Is it wrong to only feed dry?
No, however wet is better for urinary tract health and if you continue feeding only dry that's what he'll prefer and you may never get him to eat wet.
Quote:
since it's really good for their teeth.
Well, some studies show dry produces less plaque build-up, but I wouldn't say it's "really good for their teeth." Regular toothbrushing and tooth cleaning is a better choice.
Quote:
How often should you feed them?
I'm in favor of fixed mealtimes, but whatever works best for you and the cat.
Quote:
once he's fixed we shouldn't use the clumping stuff because it might get stuck in his urinary tract. Fact or fiction?
Fiction
Quote:
but can cats get 'cold sores'?
Yes, well, something like that, anyway.
The mouth sores (ulcers) that a cat gets are generally due to the calici virus. There is a strain of the herpes virus in cats (a different strain causes human cold sores), but it generally produces respiratory symptoms. It's not quite that simple, but I don't want to bore you.

Maybe you want to have those mouth sores checked out by a vet.
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for your speedy reply, Tim. I really appreciate it. Is there a good wet food that you recommend? How many times do you recommend the wet? Daily? (First time kitty owner, here :P)

I'm glad to hear the scoopable litter thing is fiction! *phew* SO much easier to clean!

As for the "something like that" reply to the 'cold sore' thing...is this a common thing? Should I be concerned?

&
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Okay, Tim, perhaps I should OPEN my eyes and READ all that you wrote....I saw only the smiley after "something like that".

OOPS!

I think I'll call the vet tomorrow.

Thanks again!!!!!!
post #5 of 18
About clumping litter and kittens...the "fact or fiction" you noted in your OP is fiction, but there is some controversy out there over kittens ingesting clumping litter and causing intestinal blockage. I don't know of any conclusive proof one way or the other on that. It sounds rather far-fetched to me. But some claim it's true, and I suppose to err on the side of caution, if it was me, I'd stay away from clumping litter until the cat is older. But then, that's me.
post #6 of 18
You could use World's Best Cat litter. It's clumping but it's made of corn, so it's safe if the cat eats some.
post #7 of 18
Hi Sunshine Amber,

Our four eat primarily Nutro brand, both the Natural Choice and MaxCat. They split one Natural Choice moist packet in the morning and another one mid-afternoon, the rest of the day they have Nutro dry food available perpetually. We will sometimes pick another brand for the afternoon moist food, just for a little variety, but Nutro is the one that all four cats agree upon. Our vet seems happy with the choice, too.

Moist vs. dry: I've heard the pros and cons of both, and ultimately I want our cats to rely on the dry food and consider the moist food a daily treat.

Free feeding vs. scheduled: We (MommyCat and I) got into the habit of free feeding the dry food back when we were both working long hours. The only problem so far has been with our orange tabby Dubya, who goes through bouts of bingeing and purging, or as our vet calls it "scarf and barf".
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much everyone!! I knew I'd get some answers on here. I like the idea of the corn clumping litter. We're running low, so I'll have to look for that. I like the clumping stuff cuz, let's face it, I'm lazy and it's so much easier to clean. I like to try to sift thru it daily.

So far Bosco hasn't had a taste of the wet stuff...and I think I'll primarily keep the dry stuff out..and 'open bar' because Chris & I both work...but I think when I'm out getting the food and litter I'll look for a wet 'treat' to try him on. He's a pig and a mooch...always sniffing into everything...and eating his own grub when he finally realizes we're not sharing, so I'm sure he won't be overly fussy.

Shoulda seen him when a friend brought me a lobster as a treat. I'd thought he'd go into convulsions...:P

Bos and I are currently playing fetch with his new mouse as I type this. I'm such a multi-tasker
post #9 of 18
Are you feeding the cat out of plastic dishes? They are known to cause feline acne, which could possibly be the irritation you are seeing.
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by squirtle
Are you feeding the cat out of plastic dishes? They are known to cause feline acne, which could possibly be the irritation you are seeing.
Actually, his dish is plastic...again, I'm a new kitty mom...very green. Thanks for the suggestion, perhaps it's that. Would feline acne just be primarily around the mouth like that? They don't look like "sores", per se, more just a redness now...

I still feel like I should take him to the vet. We were just there for his 2nd set of needles and the vet said he looked in great health (though I didn't notice the redness then, either). My b/f says I worry too much...figures we should wait to see if it clears or if it gets any worse before we go. I'm just not sure.
post #11 of 18
Hi there...you've already had some pretty detailed answers, I'll try not to repeat anything!

I think free-freeding your kitten dry food is fine, but do hope you'll work in some canned (or pouch) food - once or twice a day (Nutro has good pouch food for kittens).

Re dental care and wet vs dry...here is an interesting article by a vet on the topic:click here

In my kitten days, I used plain unscented clay for litter, moving to clumping later in life when tasting litter was not an urge they had At this age, you should be just fine...I also like World's Best, though I don't currently use it (and I swear when wet, it gets the most amazing aroma..weird!)
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunshine_Amber
Actually, his dish is plastic...again, I'm a new kitty mom...very green. Thanks for the suggestion, perhaps it's that. Would feline acne just be primarily around the mouth like that? They don't look like "sores", per se, more just a redness now...

I still feel like I should take him to the vet. We were just there for his 2nd set of needles and the vet said he looked in great health (though I didn't notice the redness then, either). My b/f says I worry too much...figures we should wait to see if it clears or if it gets any worse before we go. I'm just not sure.

Dori developed small bumps around her mouth when I was feeding her in the plastic dishes. (her water bowl was plastic as well). To be honest I can't remember what they looked like well enough to describe it Maybe someone else is familiar and can descriibe.... But her vet recommended that I not use the plastic bowls at all. I did take her in because I too was worried. Don't worry I sounded just like you when I got her, she was my first (and only). One of the most important things I have realized with a pet is to go with your gut instinct. If you feel more comfortable taking Bosco to the vet, then do so. The vet won't care, it just shows your a responsible owner

I use ceramic bowls now and within a couple of weeks of me switching her bumps were gone.
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat & Alix
Hi there...you've already had some pretty detailed answers, I'll try not to repeat anything!

I think free-freeding your kitten dry food is fine, but do hope you'll work in some canned (or pouch) food - once or twice a day (Nutro has good pouch food for kittens).

Re dental care and wet vs dry...here is an interesting article by a vet on the topic:click here

In my kitten days, I used plain unscented clay for litter, moving to clumping later in life when tasting litter was not an urge they had At this age, you should be just fine...I also like World's Best, though I don't currently use it (and I swear when wet, it gets the most amazing aroma..weird!)

Thanks for your reply!! I read the article you included, and that, and the other replies on the posts have alleviated my concerns, and I think I'll get a few cans of the 'good stuff' for treats. He seems to chow down on the dry well, and I think wet will just be a treat. He now gets Pounce treats daily and there's never a crumb to be found!

Hmm...wet litter with an 'amazing aroma'...that I'd DEFINITELY have to witness to believe!!
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by squirtle
Dori developed small bumps around her mouth when I was feeding her in the plastic dishes. (her water bowl was plastic as well). To be honest I can't remember what they looked like well enough to describe it Maybe someone else is familiar and can descriibe.... But her vet recommended that I not use the plastic bowls at all. I did take her in because I too was worried. Don't worry I sounded just like you when I got her, she was my first (and only). One of the most important things I have realized with a pet is to go with your gut instinct. If you feel more comfortable taking Bosco to the vet, then do so. The vet won't care, it just shows your a responsible owner

I use ceramic bowls now and within a couple of weeks of me switching her bumps were gone.
Thanks for the advice Tanya; when he gets a little tired (currently running crazy around with his new mouse) I'll get a better look. It doesn't look like bumps though...more just a more pronounced redness where the line of the mouth is. Maybe just a rash? But yeah, the plastic (cheapie dish that has one hole for water, one for food that came with cheap 'beginners pack' we bought at Wal-mart) may be at fault.
post #15 of 18
Your making me miss the days when Dori was a little kitten She is only 2 and 1/2 now, but I bought her a new toy this evening and she didn't even walk over to take a look!
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by squirtle
Your making me miss the days when Dori was a little kitten She is only 2 and 1/2 now, but I bought her a new toy this evening and she didn't even walk over to take a look!
Aww...I'll hate when it gets to that! I could sit and watch Bosco play for hours...he'll play with anything...the toy I bought was a furry mouse with a bell on it, inside a wire ball...but the holes between the wires were so wide Bosco QUICKLY got the mouse out with no apparent trouble.... so now he has two toys I guess....a toyless wire ball and a mouse that likely is lost in the couch cushion by now! My b/f will play hide & seek with him...sooooo cute, and he fetches when he feels like it!

post #17 of 18
Congrats on getting your first cat, i hope you have plenty of fun with him. I would try and get him used to eating wet food, even if it is only once a week, as if you ever need to get medication down him, it is sometimes the less stressful way, and cats that arent used to it will get suspicious after a few days of getting it. I like all mine to have a mixture of both, but whatever works best for you. Also, if he is eating purely dried food, make sure he drinks enough water to avoid probs with his urinary tract.
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by booktigger
Congrats on getting your first cat, i hope you have plenty of fun with him. I would try and get him used to eating wet food, even if it is only once a week, as if you ever need to get medication down him, it is sometimes the less stressful way, and cats that arent used to it will get suspicious after a few days of getting it. I like all mine to have a mixture of both, but whatever works best for you. Also, if he is eating purely dried food, make sure he drinks enough water to avoid probs with his urinary tract.
Hi there! Thanks for the advice! I've already added some 'wet' cat food to my list of things I need for Bosco, and thanks to you all, will introduce it as a 'treat'...perhaps like once/week, like you suggest. I'll let you know how he gets along!

Bosco

Amber
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