Tag Archive for cats

3 Reasons to Rotate Proteins in Your Pet’s Diet

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How many of us have found a food our pets like and eat well so we stick with that? We feed them the same thing at every meal, day in and day out. How would that go over with you? How healthy do you think your diet would be if you ate like that? I doubt we would choose that for ourselves, yet we choose it for our pets.

3 reasons to Rotate Proteins

3 Reasons to Rotate Proteins

Alleviate Boredom

I think this one is pretty obvious once you think about it. We would find eating the same food every day pretty boring, at least eventually. I realize we are not dogs or cats, but in the wild, our pets’ ancestors did not eat the same thing every day. They are designed to eat multiple sources of protein to meet their nutritional needs. Different tastes and textures will make mealtime more exciting for your pet and reduce the chance of them becoming a picky eater. Once they are used to the same thing over and over they are less likely to want to try new foods.

More Complete Nutrition The 3 Reasons to rotate proteins in your pet's diet

Just like we need a variety of foods for complete nutrition, so do our pets. All pet food on the market must meet the standards set by AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials); however, it is unlikely that any one formula is the ideal food for the life of your pet. No matter how complete and balanced a food claims to be, it is unlikely it contains everything all dogs or cats need for their entire lifetime. If a formula is low in a particular nutrient, your pet could become dangerously deficient. Nutrients like amino acids, fatty acids and minerals all vary from protein to protein. Varying what your pet eats means they will get a better balance of nutrients.

Prevent or Heal Food Allergies and Intolerances

Pet food allergies develop due to overexposure. For decades, pet food has been made from chicken and beef which, by no coincidence, are the most common pet allergens. In order to make pet food cheaper, animal protein was partially replaced with plant protein from corn and wheat, the two most common grain allergens. By rotating proteins and feeding foods that are grain-free you will reduce the risk of your pet developing a food allergy or intolerance and can likely heal an existing one.

 

You can rotate proteins in your pet’s diet using a combination of canned, freeze dried, and raw. I don’t recommend dry food but at least dogs don’t have the hydration issue with dry that cats do. Rotate brands as well as protein sources.

Remember to change food gradually if your pet has a sensitive stomach and is used to one food. I feed my cats homemade raw food and change their protein with every batch I make — about every 10 days. They are used to eating a variety and don’t require a gradual change.

Rotating proteins will help your pet live a longer, healthier life.

Are you already feeding your pet a rotation diet? How does it work for you? If not, have you considered it?


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Pine Pellet Litter and a DIY Litter Box

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Pine (Wood) Pellet Litter and a DIY Litter BoxAs a pet sitter, I see and experience lots of different pet products, from food and treats to toys and even litter. Yes, litter.

I try to go green whenever possible so I prefer biodegradable litter which is available in pine pellets, recycled newspaper pellets, and litter based on corn, wheat, walnut shells and safflower seeds. The litter I personally have been using for almost a year is corn based and you can buy it here. A 9-pound bag easily lasts as long as 30-pounds of clay litter and, in my opinion, controls odor much better.

Biodegradable Litter

  • Comes from a renewable, sustainable source
  • Virtually dust free
  • Weighs about half as much as clumping clay litter
  • Superior odor control
  • No silica dust so healthier for your cat
  • Safe if ingested during grooming

Biodegradable litters can be composted if you are so inclined. I wrote about that, well, actually my cat wrote about that, here. Even if you use biodegradable litter, it still stays in the landfill pretty much forever if you dispose of it in a plastic bag.

Clay Litter

  • Strip-mined
  • Non-renewable
  • Non-biodegradable (it sits in a landfill forever)
  • Heavy
  • Contains silica dust which can cause health problems for your cat when inhaled
  • Dust gets all over everything
  • Doesn’t control odor very well
  • Can build up in your cat’s digestive system

Pine Pellet Litter

Recently, I began caring for some cats who use pine pellet litter. I am always glad when I find a client using biodegradable litter.

While I was cleaning the litter box, I remembered that I had tried pine pellet litter once many years ago and quit using it because it is so hard to scoop. Unlike other types of litter where you scoop out the clumps, the pine litter falls apart as it absorbs liquids. The litter needs to be sifted rather than scooped and this is very time consuming in a traditional litter box.

Special sifting litter boxes are intended to remedy this. These double boxes allow the wet litter to fall through an insert which holds the intact pellets. I tried one of these, too, many years ago and found them somewhat unsatisfactory. Mostly, they were just plain too small and the sides were too low, which is the case with litter boxes in general.

DIY Pine Pellet Litter Box

What actually prompted me to write this post is a pin I saw on Pinterest. The blogger at Meow Lifestyle created her own wood pellet litter box. She used plastic storage boxes, similar to the ones I’ve used for my litter boxes for years, so I really like the project. The boxes are large and the sides are high which gives your cat plenty of room and keeps more litter in the box. Click on the link for complete instructions.

Pine Pellet Litter and a DIY Wood Pellet Litter Box

Photo courtesy Meow Lifestyle

 

What type of litter do you use? If you use biodegradable, do you compost it? If you try this project, let me know how it works for you.

If you are not up for making your own box, here are a few suggestions.

 

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The 2 Most Dangerous Things About Dry Food

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Tabby cat - 2 most dangerous things about dry foodIf you feed your cats dry food, the best thing you can do for their health is to STOP. I know it is convenient. I know it is less expensive. I know your cat loves it. But it is not good for your cat. Here are, in my opinion, the two most dangerous things about dry food.

Too Little Moisture

The ancestors of our domestic house cats were desert-dwelling wild cats of the Middle East. These ancestors passed down to our pets super-efficient kidneys designed to extract the maximum amount of water possible from their prey. Cats have a low thirst drive and usually don’t drink until they are about 3% dehydrated. This may not sound that bad but it is a level at which many veterinarians would consider giving supplemental fluids.

A cat’s natural prey, the mouse, is about 65-75% water. Dry food is less than 10% water. When all sources of fluid intake are added together, what’s in their food and what they drink, cats eating a dry food diet consume less than half the water of a cat on a canned or raw diet. On a dry food diet, minerals from the kibble and metabolism build up in the bladder because of the reduced frequency of urination, producing hyper-concentrated, over-saturated urine leading finally to blockage. In addition to urinary crystals and stones, this chronic dehydration is responsible for or contributes to many other health issues including bladder infections, constipation, and kidney disease.

Too Many Carbohydrates

Dry foods, no matter how premium or even prescription, are mostly grain-based (or now, other inappropriate carbohydrate sources like potato and pea flour) and contain about 25 to 50% carbohydrates. Cats have no nutritional requirement for carbohydrates and feeding them a diet high in carbohydrates is detrimental to their health.

Pet manufacturers may tell you their pet food contains carbohydrates for energy. Humans use carbohydrates for energy but cats use protein and fat and have little ability to digest carbohydrates. When cats process carbohydrates, they are turned directly to fat which promotes obesity. Obesity leads to many other health issues like high blood pressure, pancreatitis, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and so much more.

Carbohydrates raise blood sugar levels higher and faster than other nutrients and trigger the release of insulin. When cats have dry food available all the time, they nibble multiple times a day causing multiple sharp swings in blood sugar and the release of insulin. Over secretion of insulin causes cells to become insulin resistant. That’s just one reason dry food is a major contributor to feline diabetes.

Give Your Cat the Gift of Health

So, no matter how healthy your cat may seem on a dry food diet, consider what it may doing in the long term. If your cat is a dry food addict, there are many articles on the internet to help you transition your cat to a wet or raw food diet. It might take a good amount of time but don’t give up. Your cat’s health depends on it.

 

Additional reading:

Live Science: House Cats’ Wild Ancestor Found

Little Big Cat: 10 Reasons Why Dry Food is Bad for Cats & Dogs

Feline Nutrition Foundation: What Dry Food Does to Your Cat’s Pee

 

Keep your pets hydrated and active!

This post contains Amazon Associate links which means we receive a small commission if you click from our site and make a purchase. Thanks for your support!


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DIY Pet Treat Jar — Repurposed Plastic Container

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DIY Pet Treat Jar finishedI try to be green whenever possible. I recycle, compost and try to reuse whatever I can. When I have an especially cool and useful-seeming plastic or glass container, it makes me crazy to put it in the recycle bin. So I have a collection of glass and plastic containers that I try to find ways to reuse. This DIY pet treat jar is a fun way to use them.

I like to give my clients a little something at this time of year and many of my saved containers are perfect for holding healthy, homemade pet treats. If you aren’t into making treats, you can always fill them with store bought treats for the pets in your Flourworld.

This square plastic container is one of my favorites. The ones I have came from Costco with shredded cheese in them. I use them to hold things like partial bags of baking chips, small amounts of flour, etc. They are also a good size for treats for a medium to large dog or cat treats for a multiple cat household.

DIY Pet Treat Jar Instructions

1. Remove the label from the container by running it under hot water for a few minutes then gently pulling it off. If you are going to cover the entire area with another label like in this project, you don’t even need to worry about getting the residual glue off. If you are going to decorate in another manner, you can get the glue off by rubbing it with cooking oil. It may take a little while, but it should all come off. Wash and dry your container.

2. Measure the area for your label. This container’s label is 7½ inches by 3¼ inches. I created a document in Photoshop with those dimensions. I always take a lot of pictures of my clients’ pets so I had plenty of photos to choose from. I laid out the design and added the text. If you are artsy, you can simply draw your design on the label which would probably be even more appreciated by the human recipient. I’m not an artist so I stick with Photoshop!DIY Pet Treat Jar project laid out

3. I printed out a test on regular paper and cut it out to see how the placement worked. I made a few adjustment to the layout and printed on a full sheet of label paper.

4. I used a rotary cutter to cut it out so the edges would be nice and smooth but scissors will work just as well.

5. Carefully place the label and smooth out any air bubbles.DIY Pet Treat Jar lid

6. The lid also has a label that you can leave on if you are going to cover it up or remove as above if you are going to embellish the lid in some other manner. I cut out a circle the size of the lid and used a rubber stamp and embossing powder to decorate it.

7. You can continue embellishing with raffia, ribbon, stickers, tags or whatever else strikes your fancy. A gift tag will be my finishing touch on this DIY pet treat jar once it is full of homemade treats.

Left side of pet treat jar
Right side of pet treat jar

Now I’m off to the kitchen to make those treats. Look for the recipe next time along with a roundup of my favorite treats on the internet.


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Therapy Cats

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I have followed Sparkle the Designer Cat for some time now and was so sad to hear that she was so very sick. I fear that as of this writing, she is no longer with us. She wrote a couple of posts in anticipation of this, including one introducing her “replacement” gift for her human, Summer.

love on a leash therapy catSparkle’s human had been looking for some time for a cat that could be a therapy cat. Now this intrigued me. Of course, I have heard of therapy dogs and I am involved in equine therapy. I have even thought about raising puppies for the blind but fear I would have such a hard time letting them go. But a therapy cat? Although it is no surprise to me that cats make wonderful therapy pets, I had never really thought about it. So, I did some research.

Research shows that felines can relieve stress and lower blood pressure, and studies have found that the hormone oxytocin is released when we’re around pets, triggering feelings of happiness.

What are the Requirements to become a Therapy Cat?

Right off the bat, I learned that my cats would not qualify as I feed them a raw diet. Somehow, the thing that is best for them is not good for the humans. A raw diet puts people — especially those with compromised immune systems — at a higher risk for infection. Hmm… I’m on chemotherapy. Should I not be making raw food for my cats? I know I am not supposed to be eating anything raw myself. A definite question for my oncology team!

Other than the diet requirement and a few age and time requirements, it all seems to boil down to the cat’s temperament. The cat needs to be laid back and friendly, non-aggressive, and comfortable with loud noises and unpredictable situations. The cat must walk on a leash. 

A variety of organizations give training and certify pet therapy teams both in person and online. Pet Partners and Love On A Leash are two of the largest, but some areas also have local organizations. 

So what do you think? Do you know a therapy cat? Do you have a cat that you think would do an awesome job? Tell us in the comments.

More info on therapy cats and getting therapy cats certified:

Cats As Therapy Animals? Here’s How To Get Your Feline Certified
How to Get Your Cat Certified as a Therapy Cat
ASPCA Animal Assisted Therapy Programs
Pet Partners Therapy Animal Program • Frequently Asked Questions

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Raw Diet for Cats: How a raw diet can affect behavior

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I haven’t been able to make raw food for several months and I have been paying the price. All kitties in the household acted like they were starving to death at meal times, no matter how much I fed them. Two, including Christy, got raging diarrhea (again!). The diarrhea continued for both, even on grain-free food.

Finally, a couple of days ago, I made a batch. Everyone but Echo was quite excited by the idea. I had a very difficult time transitioning Echo to raw food in the beginning and it looks like Mr. Picky is going to try me again. All the other kitties, however, snarfed it down without hesitation. I could see them thinking, “It’s about time!”

Feeding a Raw Diet can affect Behavior

The most interesting thing to me is the change in their behavior. As I mentioned,Patiently waiting - how a raw diet can affect behavior they were acting like they were starving to death. They would mill around while I was getting their food ready, meowing and fussing with one another. My most Siamesey mix was driving me crazy with her yowling. Even before meal time, she would go to the area where she is fed and start up. Oh my gosh, please shut up! After only two days back on raw food, they patiently wait while I get their food ready then they race to their designated area to eat. No more meowing, yowling or fussing.

I had one cat that had taken to living in a bedroom upstairs, except at meal time, because she would get chased as soon as meal time was over. No more. She is now back down stairs and content. No one seems to feel the need to chase her.

I am actually feeding them less raw food than they were getting of commercially canned food. They get about two ounces twice a day of raw versus the three ounces twice a day of commercial. Their appetites are more easily satisfied with higher quality protein with no grain or vegetables as filler. 

Benefits of a raw diet

  • Improved digestion
  • Greatly reduced stool odor and volume
  • Healthy coat, less shedding, fewer hairballs
  • Increased energy
  • Weight loss is easily achieved if overweight
  • Better dental health
  • Better urinary health

A raw diet has so many benefits but this change in behavior is one of the most welcome. Oh, and the diarrhea has already cleared up.


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Wordless Wednesday: Think Adoption First!

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Think Adoption First!


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Buyer Beware

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About three years ago, MeoowzResQ was turned onto a discount pet medication website by another rescue. I do some of the buying for MeoowzResQ so I was asked to research this potential opportunity. Vaccination Services (their website is fleastuff.com) has a membership program and once you pay a reasonable fee, you receive a 20% additional discount on the already discounted products they sell. Sounds pretty good, right? Well, as they say, let the buyer beware.

When I first contacted this company, our main interest was for Advantage II. Their representative explained to me that Advantage and Advantage II are the same–they just updated their packaging. Trusting that the “expert” new what he was talking about, I let him sell me Advantage.

Over the next two years, we kept getting complaints from fosters that they buyer beware - all flea treatments are not the samecouldn’t get rid of fleas. I kept telling them that if they were using the Advantage as directed and vacuuming regularly, this should not be happening.

When we kept getting complaints, I started doing some research. I discovered that Advantage and Advantage II are NOT the same. Advantage II contains a growth regulator that plain Advantage does not have. This keeps hatching eggs from growing into adult fleas thus breaking the life cycle.

So, several months ago, when I placed our order, I very specifically ordered Advantage II and said, “Do not send us regular Advantage,” and have reminded them of that with every order. I had had a flea infestation and certainly did not want to have another!

Well, about three months ago, I started seeing the telltale signs. My cats were scratching. They started running across the carpet and eventually refused to be on the carpet. They would move across rooms on the furniture. They preferred to lay on the kitchen floor or other hard surfaces like the kitchen counters. Ugh!

I had been using the regular Advantage that we had been getting in the past so I went to the rescue to get some of the new Advantage II they had been getting. When I was handed a tube, it said “Advantage” on it, not Advantage II. The only ingredient listed was the pesticide. I figured this must have been an old tube but was suspicious. It was time to reorder so I asked them to keep all the packaging when the new order arrived. 

When the order arrived, I was shocked! Twelve tubes of Advantage were packaged in an Advantage II box for six tubes with a sticker placed on it that said 12 tubes. The tubes said Advantage, with the single ingredient, while the box said Advantage II with the two ingredients. 

Of course, I called the company. The gentleman again began to try to tell me they are the same. When I confronted him on the ingredients, he said, “Return it to me and I’ll give you a full refund.” When I wanted it replaced with Advantage II, he finally admitted that they don’t actually have Advantage II, only what they shipped.

So, I have been fighting another flea infestation! At least this one is fairly mild compared to the last one as I recognized the signs early. I still have not actually seen any fleas in the carpet, etc., only on the cats. During my last infestation, they were jumping all over the place, including on me!

Needless to say, we have found another, reliable source for our Advantage II. Here is an article about some other online scams to avoid: 

Seven Dog Scams to Avoid Online


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Save Money Treating Fleas with Revolution

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save money treating fleas with RevolutionIn our last post I told you how to save money on flea treatment by splitting large tubes of Advantage, made by Bayer, and Frontline, made by Merial. You can do the same thing and save money treating fleas with Revolution but there are a couple of differences. 

Advantage and Frontline are regulated by the EPA and are now available over the counter. Revolution, made by Zoetis, still requires a prescription and is regulated by the FDA rather than the EPA.

Although it is a little more expensive than Advantage and Frontline, Revolution helps protect your pet against a wider variety of parasites. The active ingredient in Revolution is selamectin. It works by penetrating the skin and entering your pet’s bloodstream. Concentrations of selamectin in the tissue and bloodstream prevent heartworm disease. Selamectin also redistributes into the skin from the bloodstream and kills adult fleas, American dog ticks, and ear mites, and prevents flea eggs from hatching. It is also an anthelmintic, which means it fights to expel parasitic worms. Parasites ingest the drug when they feed on the animal’s blood. Revolution is safe for pregnant and lactating pets. Revolution doesn’t have a growth regulator in it but the active ingredient in it does prevent flea eggs from hatching.

The thing I really like about Revolution is that it is quick-drying and non-greasy. If you are splitting tubes, it is imperative that you leave it in the tube it comes in and draw it from the tube with a needle as described in our previous post. The ingredient that makes it quick-drying also makes it very volatile. Once out of the tube and in a larger container, it can totally evaporate! Make sure the tube is tightly capped. I have read that it is advisable to store it in the refrigerator once opened.

The largest packet of Revolution is PLUM colored (for Extra Large Dogs) and is labeled for dogs 85.1 – 130 lbs. The volume of each dose of topical solution is 3 mL and the concentration of the drug is 120 mg/ml. THUS, each dose of PLUM Revolution for Extra Large Dogs (360 mg) can treat 24 kittens or 8 cats!

Revolution dosage chart

Please note: Veterinarians and drug manufacturers warn against tube splitting and doing so may void their liability. Some dog-only products, such as Advantix, can kill a cat. Do your own research and if you decide to split tubes be sure to:

  • Handle safely – wash your hands thoroughly after use
  • Store properly – in a cool, dark place
  • Use the appropriate dose

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Save Money on Flea Treatment

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save money on flea treatmentDid you know you can save money on flea treatment for your cats and small dogs by purchasing the largest size package of Advantage II (Extra Large Dog – over 55 lbs.) or Frontline Plus (89-132 lbs.) for dogs and using a portion of a tube at a time? You can also use plain Advantage and Frontline the same way but these products do not contain the second ingredient that the II and Plus versions have which is a growth regulator and I cannot stress how important this is in avoiding a flea infestation.

The plain versions of these products kill adult fleas but do not stop the eggs that fall to the floor or furniture from hatching and becoming adult, biting fleas. Yes, once back on your pet the adults die, but that doesn’t stop the cycle and an adult flea can lay up to 50 eggs per day! That’s where the growth regulator comes in. It interferes with the normal growth cycle of the fleas and prevents them from becoming mature adults.

The drugs in Advantage II for Dogs and Advantage II for Cats are exactly the same drugs (Imidacloprid 9.1% and Pyriproxyfen 0.46%) at the exact same concentrations. 

Advantage II Application Guidelines:
Cats up to 9 pounds – 0.4ml

Cats 10+ pounds – 0.8ml
Dogs 11-20 pounds – 1.0ml
Dogs 21-55 pounds – 2.5ml
Dogs 55+ pounds – 4.0ml

Frontline Plus for cats contains 9.8% fipronil and 11.8% (S)-methoprene (and 78.4% inert ingredients). Frontline Plus for dogs contains 9.8% fipronil and 8.8% (S)-methoprene (and 81.4% inert ingredients). The amount of growth regulator in the dog version is LESS than in the cat version so certainly should be safe for your cat. Don’t use the cat version on your dog.

Frontline Application Guidelines:
Cats 0.5ml

Dogs 11-22 pounds – 0.67ml
Dogs 23-44 pounds – 1.34ml
Dogs 45-88 pounds – 2.68ml
Dogs 89-132 pounds – 4.0ml

Here’s How to Save Money on Flea TreatmentSave money on flea treatment. What to use and how much. Photo of bottle, syringe and flea medication.

Using the dog versions of Advantage and Frontline on cats is nothing new. You will find uninformed people on the internet saying don’t do it, but shelters and rescues have been doing it for years. That doesn’t in and of itself make it right, but it is vet approved, including by my vet.

I have found the easiest way to portion out the product if you are treating multiple animals is to empty a tube into a small (1/2 oz.) bottle with a dropper tip. You can cut off the tip to accommodate a syringe and draw up the proper amount. I prefer to draw it out this way rather than wasting what sticks to the outside of the syringe if you just stick it down into the bottle. You can then just squeeze out the syringe onto your pet. I highly recommend using a syringe for accurate measurement–this is not something you want to eyeball!

A second method, especially if you are treating only one or two pets, is to use a syringe with a needle and draw what you need directly from the tube. Remove the needle and apply to your pet.

Please note: The above information is for Advantage and Frontline only. Veterinarians and drug manufacturers warn against tube splitting and doing so may void their liability. Some dog-only products, such as Advantix, can kill a cat. Do your own research and if you decide to split tubes be sure to:

  • Handle safely – wash your hands thoroughly after use
  • Store properly – in a cool, dark place
  • Use the appropriate dose

Advantage II Extra Large Dog 6-Pack (Misc.)


List Price: $79.27 USD
New From: $56.00 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

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