Green Little Cat

Cat Health

Rah Rah Raw! – Learn About Raw Food Diets for Cats

Despite the title of this post, I’m actually neutral about raw meat anti anxiety diets for cats as I haven’t actually tried it. About the time I heard about a convenient way to feed Furball raw food (see post on The Honest Kitchen), it was no longer an option since I had a baby. It’s pretty disturbing when your child reaches under the TV stand and triumphantly raises his hand up in the air with a piece of cat litter held perfectly between his forefinger and thumb. I certainly don’t want to see him picking up raw cat food too.

Nevertheless, I’ve heard from people who swear by raw meat diets for their cats, citing that it’s much more natural and it helped their cats overcome a slew of health problems.

If you are interested in learning more, The Conscious Cat is hosting a free teleseminar on feline nutrition. Margaret Gates, the Executive Director of the Feline Nutrition Education Society, will talk about the Benefits of a Raw Diet for Cats and answer questions about feline nutrition in general and raw feeding in particular.

Time and Date: Thursday, July 22, at 8pm Eastern Daylight Time

The seminar is free, but long distance phone charges may apply. To participate in the conference, dial 1-712-432-3100. When prompted, enter conference code 674470.

10% Off PetzLife Natural Dental Care

I just received this email promotion from PetzLife.  They’re having a Memorial Day sale and offering 10% off all of their products.

I wrote a review about their gel product awhile back. Suffice to say, it did a great job of keeping Furball’s teeth clean and he loved the taste of it.

Visit their website at www.petzlife.com and enter the code: “Memorial”

The coupon expires on June 1, 2010

Nature’s Variety Issues Nationwide Voluntary Recall On Raw Frozen Chicken Diets With A “Best If Used By” Date Of 11/10/10

Just got wind of this recall posted on the FDA site.  I’m not that surprised since this was the company that wouldn’t tell me whether their products were processed by Menu Foods, citing confidentiality.   See “Related Articles” to read what I learned about Nature’s Variety in the Natural Cat Food Throwdown.

Excerpts from the FDA release below:

Nature’s Variety has initiated a voluntary recall of their Chicken Formula Raw Frozen Diet for dogs and cats with a “Best If Used By” date of 11/10/10 because these products may be contaminated with Salmonella.  The only products affected are limited to chicken medallions, patties, and chubs with a “Best If Used By” date of 11/10/10.

If you are a consumer and have purchased one of the affected products, please return the unopened product to your retailer for a full refund or replacement.  If your package has been opened, please dispose of the raw food in a safe pharmacy-no-rx.net manner by securing it in a covered trash receptacle.  Then, bring your receipt (or the empty package in a sealed bag) to your local retailer for a full refund or replacement.

Nature’s Variety became aware of a potential problem after receiving a consumer complaint. Subsequent testing indicated that the lot code related to the consumer complaint tested negative for Salmonella.  However, additional subsequent testing found the “Best If Used By” date of 11/10/10 to be contaminated with Salmonella.

Pets with Salmonella infections may become lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, or vomiting. Some pets may experience only a decreased appetite, fever, or abdominal pain. Infected, but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed any of the affected products and is experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/UCM200248

Why Antibacterial is Anti-Cat and Anti-Human

I was recently reading the latest newsletter from the David Suzuki Foundation.  If you’re Canadian, you know who he is.  If you’re not, David Suzuki is like the Al Gore of Canada, only he’s been in the public eye supporting the environment since the 70’s and no one questions the science he presents because it’s always sound.  Anyway, the newsletter had a great article which sums up why most antibacterial soaps and cleaners are harmful.

With the H1N1 scare going around, I’ve noticed people are going overboard with the hand sanitizer.  Also, with a new baby, I keep seeing ads advising people to wipe all sorts of surfaces that your baby comes into contact with (eg., toys) with a certain brand of antibacterial wipe.

Personally, I never use the stuff because I feel that they’re worse than the bugs going around.  And, if you’ve got a cat, antibacterial cleaners really make no sense to me.  Your cats rub up against you, you pat them with your “sanitized” hands and they lick the stuff off of your hands. I could never give an adequate, scientific explanation to people why they should stop using antibacterial cleaners, other than the increased resistance of bacteria to these products and a general feeling that any sort of chemical you rub into your hands is not a good idea.

However, thanks to the David Suzuki Foundation, I now have a better explanation other than my gut tells me it’s wrong.  Here it is:

“Triclosan is one of the most common antibacterial agents in household cleaners and personal-care products. It creates a known carcinogen, dioxin, as a by-product. Dioxin causes skin disorders and liver problems, and impairs reproductive functions and the immune system (to name a few effects).”

Notice the reference to impairing the immune system.  This is important to note because I read a friend of a friend’s Facebook post saying that they used antibacterial cleaners because they had a compromised immune system and didn’t want to catch anyone’s cold.  The David Suzuki Foundation article also mentioned that studies show that hand sanitizers aren’t any more effective than washing your hands with soap and water.

Here’s where to read more and get recipes on making your own hand sanitizer:

http://beta.davidsuzuki.org/library/finding-solutions/web/get-off-the-antibacterial-crazy-train/

Wee Cleaner — Is It Really Non-Toxic?

In January, I wrote an entry about eco-friendly natural cleaners for eliminating pet odours and stains. One of the products I came across was Wee Cleaner. Their website made it sound fantastic for getting rid of the smell of cat pee: “WEE CLEANER is non-toxic, fragrance-free, dye-free, phosphate-free, and enzyme-free. It is biodegradable and produces no fumes.” As a result, I included it in my review.

Over the past few months, I’ve been learning a lot about cleaning products, largely spurred by becoming a Wowgreen Independent Distributor.  The more I learned, the more surprised I was about what is actually in common household cleaners.  I knew they weren’t that great, but I didn’t realize how scary some of them are.

As a result of my newfound knowledge, I kept wondering, how can Wee Cleaner possibly clean without enzymes?  It HAS to use chemicals. I contacted Wee Cleaner and requested an MSDS, that’s a Material Safety Data Sheet. This is a document that manufacturers have to provide for their cleaning products when they’re used in a workplace setting.  The MSDS identifies the hazardous chemicals in the product’s formula as well as the risks associated with product exposure. Interestingly, manufacturers do not have to disclose this information for HOUSEHOLD cleaning products.

Wee Cleaner did not have an MSDS for their gastrointestinal product, but they did provide me with an ingredient list.  Here it is:

Distilled water, hydrogen peroxide (35{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} grade), sodium laureth sulfate, cocamidoproply betaine, cocamide MEA, sodium chloride, magnesium chloride, citric acid

Nothing in the list is considered a hazardous chemical, but I started looking up the ingredients in the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic Safety Database.  They give ingredients a rating based on how hazardous it is.  Keep in mind that ingredients are rated in the context of using them as cosmetics as opposed to carpet cleaners.

Hydrogen peroxide got a really scary rating of 3 to 8 (depending on product usage) out of 10 on their hazard scale.  A 3 is considered a moderate hazard and anything over 7 is considered a high hazard.  It was flagged for cancer, neurotoxicity, persistence and bioaccumulation, organ system toxicity, endocrine disruption, biochemical or cellular level changes, and more…

Sodium laureth sulfate, which you might think is worse since we’ve heard so much about sodium lauryl sulfate, is actually rated less hazardous.  It was rated between 3 to 6 depending on product usage, making it a moderate hazard.  It was flagged for cancer, persistence and bioaccumulation and organ system toxicity.

Definitely makes you go, “Hmmm”.  I think I have to look up all of the ingredients in my toiletries now…

Understanding Why Your Vet Has Prescribed Hill’s C/D

Here’s a guest post by Adrienne DeArmas. She shares her incredibly detailed research into struvite crystals and a cat’s diet. Thanks for sharing your findings Adrienne!

Struvite vs. Calcium Oxalate Crystals

Struvite crystals are usually formed in response to urine that is saturated with magnesium, ammonium and phosphorus combined with an alkaline urinary pH (not acidic enough). So, the goal of pet food manufacturers is to lower magnesium and phosphorus, thereby increasing the acid level in the urine. BUT, increasing the level too much can cause the calcium oxalate crystals so you don’t want to go too far in the other direction.

How do struvite crystals form in the first place? #1 cause is grain-based food #2 not enough moisture (dry food diet). If you are not going to feed a raw diet, get a water fountain ASAP. Or, you can always make your own out of a fish tank pump and a bowl full of rocks. The latter is harder to keep clean for some reason, never figured that out. Also, make sure you filter the chlorine from the tap water your cats drink with a Brita or similar type product. Another option: get a rain barrel and use that water (as long as the water is not coming off an asbestos roof etc). #3 and, believe it or not, STRESS.

Water

Cat’s don’t need it if you feed a raw diet, they do if you don’t. Canned food has water, dry food does not. It is a marketing myth that dry food is good for cleaning cat’s teeth. Dry food has one purpose: a cat owner’s convenience. Cats prefer dry food to canned food like people prefer potato chips to carrots. Salt (sodium, sodium chloride) is often added to make cats thirsty, thereby encouraging water consumption.

pH: Alkaline vs. Acidic

The recommended urinary pH for cats is 6.0-6.5. Want to test your cat’s urine ph? Go to Petsmart and get a pond water test strip. I use Jungle Lab’s simply because that’s what my PetSmart carries but there are others out there. Simply dunk the strip in the urine after he pees I would imagine. Never done it but it should work.

Ignorance and Greed

Veterinarians are usually not nutritionists. They recommend prescription diets like Hill’s and Royal eta-i.org/provigil.html Canin because the manufacturers’ reps come to them and sell them on the products. Plus, veterinarians get “kickbacks” on the sale of the food.

What To Look For in a Cat Food

  1. Grain-free is best (especially avoiding any corn products)
  2. No by-products
  3. Not processed at a plant like Menu Foods or Diamond so that you can rest easy about recalls due to contamination
  4. A 4th factor, depending on your politics, is animal testing. Yep, that’s right, there are actually pet food manufacturers that keep laboratory animals for testing food and the testing they do is unbelievable. You don’t want to know how they determine how much zinc makes it into puppy’s teeth and nails after 5 weeks of a special diet… IAMS (also makes Eukanuba) is a vile company. I’ll send you references if you want, but I can’t look at the pics. Hill’s and Purina are also on the list but I will be honest – I cannot do much research on this topic – it upsets me too much. If PETA and ASPCA say they do it, that’s good enough for me.

NOTE: If your veterinarian insists on a “prescription” diet, you can tell him or her about Wysong Struvatrol or find a new vet. Struvatrol™ is designed to provide nutritional support to the urinary tract and production of acidic urine through archetypal nutritional balances, biochemically rich ingredients and non-thermal processing.

What you feed your cat is your decision. What your cat eats is ultimately his or her decision. If your child only wanted to eat candy bars, would you let them? WARNING: cats are stubborn and will not eat if they don’t like their food!! This can be life-threatening, so be prepared to try different varieties and mix them in with their current food, changing the ratio over time until they are eating good food. Switching cats from dry food to canned is often seemingly impossible. You may waste good (expensive) food to start, but just think of the vet bills you’ll save later!!

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Food Comparison Chart

References

Probiotics for Your Cat’s Digestive System

felinedoph

Lactobacillus acidophilus is a type of bacteria that grows naturally in the digestive tract. It’s known as a “beneficial bacteria” (I should probably be saying “bacterium”) because it helps us to digest food. Acidophilus is a common dietary supplement for people, usually taken in the form of a capsule, powder or liquid. People take probiotic supplements to aid digestion, but did you know there are also probiotics for cats?

Natren, a company based out of Westlake Village, California, makes probiotics for humans and for pets. FelineDophilus is their gel-based product, which includes two strains of beneficial probiotics: lactobacillus acidophilus and enterococcus faecium. Big long words, but the short of it is that a variety of probiotics is better than just one.

Natren states that FelineDophilus helps to promote thicker shinier coats, enhances energy levels and supports overall wellness by promoting healthy digestion and weight management. To top it off, it also helps cats with hairballs.

The company was generous enough to send me a sample of FelineDophilus, which I kept in the fridge for a number of weeks (probiotics usually need to be kept refrigerated to maintain their potency). I didn’t want to give Furball a supplement unless he needed it. That day arrived when he started puking up hairballs becaues he was stressed about the arrival of a new baby in our household. When Furball vomited up his dinner one night, I decided to try the FelineDophilus.

FelineDophilus comes in a plastic syringe that is unbelievable easy to use. I squirted some onto my finger tip and he licked it up. At his next meal, I squirted a full serving into his bowl and he ate it with no issues. The barfing stopped. I was impressed. I caution here that if you want to try this with your cat, I would highly recommend that you clear it with your vet first. Vomiting can be a sign of serious illness, so you shouldn’t delay treatment. Furball was under the care of his vet and diagnosed with “anxiety” as the cause for his hairball puking so I knew there was not another underlying medical issue.

The only other caveat I have about the product is that since it needs to be kept refrigerated, it was delivered in a highly over-packaged box with styrofoam and cooler packs. We kept the box and the cooler packs to reuse for something else, but in the future, I’m going to hunt out a local distributor to minimize the packaging.

https://www.doondoc.com/doc/tramadol-100mg/ can be prescribed if the patient has a diagnosed kidney or liver failure. Such state requires specialized dosage. The approach is similar in case of elderly patients.

I’ve found that you can’t easily find FelineDophilus at the pet store, so I order online. I was reading the company literature and while it’s supposed to be refrigerated, it’s designed for a certain amount of the healthy bacteria to degrade via transit. I wouldn’t order it in the summer without an ice pack, but it seems just fine in the spring, fall and winter. To order online, visit Amazon for some of the lowest prices on Natren FelineDophilus Probiotic Gel.

Arm & Hammer Essentials Natural Clumping Cat Litter – Eco-Friendly Litter Made With Corn Cobs and Baking Soda

Arm & Hammer is best known for their baking soda, but they also make an environmentally-friendly cat litter too. Arm & Hammer Essentials Natural Clumping Cat Litter is made from corn fibres, which makes it 50% lighter than other litters. Unlike some other corn-based cat litters that take corn out of the food stream, Arm & Hammer’s litter uses corn cobs that would otherwise be left to rot in the fields. Of course, baking soda is also a quintessential component of this litter. It’s great for absorbing odours and I routinely sprinkle some into Furball’s cat box.

I also learned a cool green fact about Arm & Hammer. Did you know they were the only corporate sponsor for the very first Earth Day in 1970?

I haven’t used this cat litter myself, but did do some quick web searches for cat litter reviews. The reviews were all over the map with some users claiming it was the best thing since catnip and others saying it was the worst litter they had ever used. I think the reviews depend on your expectations. Check these out for yourself:

As a user of eco-friendly cat litter (Furball uses Cat Country), I find green cat litters do an adequate job of odour control so long as the cat box is cleaned daily and a few scoops of litter are added every few days to refresh the box. I’ve never used the traditional clumping clay litter, although my parents did about a decade ago for another cat. From what I recall, that litter was really easy to use and did indeed help cover the stink factor if you were a lazy scooper.

When you compare eco-friendly litters to that standard, then no, it really doesn’t work as well. However, when you factor in the impact that clumping litter has on the environment, daily scooping isn’t really that big a deal. I’m still doing it AND I have a newborn baby to look after, so if I can do it, anyone can.

It is similar to Accutane; however, it has a distinct and quicker method of transportation to the tissue. I’ve read lots of feedbacks at Skincarepillsshop that demonstrate its effectiveness.

Read more about Arm & Hammer Essentials Natural Clumping Litter

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Is Your Cat Sleeping in a Chemical Cesspool?

Now that I’ve got your attention, a friend emailed me an interesting website that lists the toxic chemicals found in pet products.  Did you know there are no government standards for hazardous chemicals in pet products?

logo-stuff
HealthyStuff.org tested over 400 products for toxic chemicals and lists the results on their site.  Most of the tested products were for dogs, but there were some cat beds and toys tested as well.  You can probably assume if there are toxic chemicals in dog products, the same is likely for cat products.

Here are some facts listed on HealthyStuff.org:

  • 45{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} of pet products tested had detectable levels of one or more hazardous chemical, including:
  • One-quarter of all pet products had detectable levels of lead.
  • 7{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} of all pet products have lead levels greater than 300 ppm — the current CPSC lead standard for lead in children’s products.

Natural Herbs and Acupuncture to Stop a Cat from Peeing All Over Your House

Dr. Sara Skiwski is a Holistic Vet, which means that not only is she a licensed veterinarian, she is also trained in herbs and acupuncture for pets. She shared with me an interesting case about one of her patients, Spring, who at the time of treatment was a 3 year old female tabby. Spring’s case was interesting to me because she had begun urinating in every room of the house, especially the baby’s room. This started about the same time her owners had a new baby and also moved to a new home, which is similar to what my situation will be. The last thing I need when the baby arrives is for Furball to start peeing everywhere!!!

Spring’s family naturally made sure to rule out any physical causes for her inappropriate urination. She was checked for UTI and also had her blood tested, but nothing significant was found. She was given a couple of medications to try, but these didn’t help. Her owners also worked with a behaviorist, but this didn’t help either.

When Dr. Skiwski first met Spring, she noticed that the cat was “chatty” and “pacing/searching” when outside of her carrier. She also observed, “Nose was dry, tongue observed when mewing- red/dry. Teeth mild dental tartar and gingivitis. Pulses R>L- choppy, with deficiency in 1st L side mostly. Fur- a little dry and shedding a lot.” The stuff about Spring’s pulses is Chinese medicine speak :).

Based on her examination, Dr. Skiwski recommended an herbal medicine for Spring and also gave her an acupuncture treatment. In a follow-up visit two weeks later, Spring was doing a little bit better. She was still urinating in some rooms, but at least not all of them. She was also less restless at night. Dr. Skiwski gave Spring another acupuncture treatment.

Two week later, there was more improvement. Spring had stopped peeing in all of the rooms except for the baby’s room and she only did that when the door was left open. Dr. Skiwski gave Spring another acupuncture treatment and recommended that Spring continue with the herbal medicine.

In a follow-up a month later, Spring only had one accident and she was also more relaxed at home. She received another acupuncture treatment and kept up with the herbal medicine. At a 2 month follow-up, Spring was doing so well that she no longer had any accidents in the house. Spring would also join the family when the baby was playing in the room. She received another acupuncture treatment and her herbal medicine dosage was reduced in half.

At the 4 month recheck, unfortunately Spring had a relapse when the family ran out of the herbal medicine. Dr. Skiwski gave the cat an acupuncture treatment and put her back on the herbal medicine. Success! The family followed Dr. Skiwski’s recommendations and reported that Spring stopped urinating inappropriately even when they moved again a few years later.

I found this case really interesting because the traditional western approach of medication didn’t help. Even a behaviourist failed to alter Spring’s behaviour. However, the combination of herbs and acupuncture seemed to do the trick. It just goes to show that you can use acupuncture to treat a host of issues, not just pain. In Spring’s case, this treatment helped improve her mental state of mind, which resulted in a positive change in her behaviour. The same thing applies to us humans too. Of course, hopefully you’re not urinating inappropriately! 😉

If you’re looking for a Holistic Vet for your cat or dog and you live in Northern California, I’d highly recommend Dr. Sara Skiwski. Her website is: www.thewesterndragon.com

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