Green Little Cat

Cat Health

The Natural Cat Food ThrowdownFirst Contender: Tiki Cat by Petropics

Here’s the first contender in the Natural Cat Food Throwdown, where I sent emails to pet food manufacturers asking how eco-friendly they are.  The winner will be selected as Furball’s new food of choice (provided of course, he likes it) to help control his struvite crystals.

Out of the six companies I contacted, the first to reply was Petropics.  I received a very thoughtful email from the President of Petropics within five hours of my original email.  Here’s what she had to say:

Hi Holly,

Happy to hear from you. We have a “No Compromise Food Philosophy” defined as follows:

We are manufacturing our foods overseas in Bangkok, Thailand. All foods are caught wild in the Pacific Oceans where the waters are cleanest or are locally farmed. None of our food ingredients are outsourced. Because our original and core business is wild caught seafood, this is the most eco-friendly logistics scenario possible because we are canning at the source. Sadly, according to Monterey Bay Aquarium standards, fish caught off our Atlantic and Gulf Coasts are unsafe for human consumption and there is not enough supply/support for fishing off our immediate pacific coast to support our food. We have a symbiotic relationship with the human market in food supply, sharing the tuna, sardines, mackerel, etc… intended for human consumption. Because we already produce a considerable amount of wild caught seafood varieties, we share the load with our human USDA chicken formulas farmed locally and share the ocean containers.

We use a factory that provides much higher, stricter standards for manufacturing than any other pet food manufacturer in the U.S. including European Food Quality Control Standards. We wanted a human only cannery that does not handle any pet grade ingredients to produce our formula’s which sadly cannot be achieved in the US. We supply all the food safety standards that we currently meet in detail on our website at

We were one of many natural food manufacturer’s that were not impacted by the food recalls, especially Menu Foods. Our business grew considerably during this recall period. We only use whole food ingredients, no fillers or manipulated ingredients apart from oil, which automatically removes us from the contamination risks that so many companies expose themselves to when they compromise with their ingredients. You could share a Tiki meal with your pet!

We have some of the most life altering testimonials from our foods. We use only human grade ingredients, we don’t use any fillers, they are all low glycemic index, low magnesium, and low phosphate and have been approved not only for healthy adult maintenance, but also serious wellness diets for animals with CRF, Diabetes, Kidney and Liver Diseases, etc… We haven’t come across one special diet we can’t feed and vets across the country are beginning to get into holistic foods and treatment because of their experience with Tiki Cat.

We are waiting for one viable US partner to expand her manufacturing capability and update her equipment to handle our quality control and volume requirements which will allow us to improve our US operation, allow us to maintain strict standards, and reduce the carbon footprint associated with poultry. We have been working on this since the start of our company in 2005.

We are very concerned about minimizing our environmental impact and operating in a responsible way.

  • Our business model reduces the amount of trucks on the road, fuel usage, etc….
  • We work political to push for improved rail systems for commerce which reduce energy/fuel usage considerably which was lost as we farmed steel and other industrial production overseas.
  • We work political to defund the oil market and support alternative fuel cars, trucks, and industry. It only cost $100 more per vehicle for the flex-fuel option which we are pushing to force upon auto makers. India and France have an “Air Car” and Delivery vehicles that literally run on AIR and have a positive, clean air impact on the environment. Of course, every Congressman in DC has investments in the oil industry, many in the auto industry, and many in Wall-Street and Air cars wouldn’t be good for their pocketbooks, however it would be a huge, positive impact on our economy and our security by eliminating our addiction to oil and the costs associated with it.
  • We work with only “Clean Trucks” to reduce smog/pollution.
  • We don’t work with beef products; Cow “emissions” is the world’s top destroyer of the environment and is the greatest threat to our climate, forests, and wildlife. Beef is not a good source of protein for any animal to consume with the least protein absorption out of all the protein sources which is not good for humans or their pets.
  • We strive to recycle all materials in our office/warehouse, purchase materials made from recycled materials, and are in constant evaluation of how to reduce waste, etc…

Please let me know if I missed anything. I appreciate your passion and responsible consumer spending, and careful feeding selection! I wish we had more people like you, because the health of pets and our environment would benefit and we would have a much greater market share!


What’s a throwdown without a judge critiquing the results?  Obviously, Simon’s not here, but I’ll offer my two cents worth.  The ultimate judge, however, will be Furball.


  • Bonus points for getting back to me the same day and for the President to be concerned enough to write back herself
  • Human-grade processing facilities that exceed U.S. standards
  • Human-grade ingredients
  • Politically active in supporting alternative fuel transportation methods
  • Aware that their overseas facilities is contributing to a larger carbon footprint and looking for options to reduce this
  • Appear to integrate green principles into company methodologies and processes
  • Don’t use beef because of its larger carbon footprint
  • Not affected by Menu Foods recall
  • Available from my local pet food store and comes in a variety of fish flavours, which is what Furball likes best


  • Manufactured in Thailand
  • Local pet food store only carries the small cans, resulting in more packaging

On the whole, I thought the email was very thoughtful and that Petropics is mindful of their environmental impact.  It looks like they’re trying to find the best balance when making their business decisions and  looking to see how they can be more green. Plus, the logo is really cute!

If I decide to go with this brand, I could always ask the pet store to stock the larger cans.  Tiki Cat gets a pass and is moving on to the next round!

For more information on Petropics and Tiki Cat:

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The Natural Cat Food Throwdown

Blame it on watching late night TV on the Food Network, but I came up with the title for this series of posts after seeing a couple of episodes of “Throwdown with Bobby Flay”. It’s time to see which natural cat food manufacturer has the green muscle to go the distance.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been looking for a natural diet to help Furball control his struvite crystals. This came about after I learned that his current vet-recommended food is made by P&G and it uses an assortment of chloride ingredients to lower the pH level.

I took Furball to see a holistic vet and she recommended that Furball switch to a low or no grain diet of wet food with a high protein level. This is a tough choice to make as I have to weigh my cat’s health against the extra packaging used for wet food vs. dry food. I considered a raw meat diet too, but decided against it because we’re expecting a little one and the last thing I want right now is to have raw meat at crawl level on the floor and the chance that the cat may distribute some bacteria from the meat around the home.

Ultimately, I decided to go with a canned wet food and I’m now trying to choose the most eco-friendly option that will be best for Furball’s health as well as the health of my family. Going green isn’t easy and we all have to weigh our choices to see where we may need to compromise and hopefully green it up in other areas of our lives.

Klonopinshop helped me out on the train, when one night there was a parking lot for about 6 hours. I took it and fell asleep without running to the station at 2 AM at night on the passageways in search of a toilet.


I sent out virtually identical emails to six different natural pet food manufacturers that were recommended by the holistic vet. The contents of the email are listed in my post on Tough Green Questions to Ask Manufacturers When Choosing a Natural Cat Food. The emails were all sent about the same time at 2pm PST on a Friday afternoon. Here are the contenders:

  • Natura Pet Products
  • Nature’s Variety
  • Natural Balance Pet Foods
  • Petropics
  • Solid Gold
  • Wellness

Will any of these manufacturers make the score when it comes to being green? Will the cat food help Furball control his struvite crystals? Stay tuned! Results will be reported throughout the week. One of these natural wet cat foods will be declared the champion to go head to head with Furball’s palate.

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Holistic Vets vs. Traditional Vets — What’s the Difference?

Furball has used two of his nine lives. He had a blocked bladder once and acute pancreatitis another time. Under those emergency situations, I took him to his regular vet and they did a great job of diagnosing and treating his condition. However, after getting through the emergency phase, I found there wasn’t really much that conventional veterinary medicine could do for him. I was told that they didn’t really know why he got pancreatitis. They did give me a special diet for his struvite crystals, but I noticed that his coat became dull when I fed it to him.

So, when Furball uncharacteristically hacked up hairballs and some spit-up over the course of a few days, I decided to take him to see Dr. Sara Skiwski. Dr. Skiwski is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and she also specializes in acupuncture and herbs for pets. She gave some great advice for dietary changes and also recommended some acupressure points to help strengthen his digestive and urinary systems (For more info, see “Related Posts” at the end of this blog entry).

For people new to the concept of Holistic Veterinary Medicine, I asked Dr. Skiwski to explain what it is and when it might be appropriate for your cat. Here’s what she had to say:

Green Little Cat: What’s the difference between conventional and natural medicine?

Dr. Skiwski: A whole world of philosophy and outlook.

Natural Medicine

  • Emphasizes disease prevention
  • Views the body as a living microcosm, with disease resulting when it is unbalanced
  • Views the body as capable of self repair and administers treatments to support self healing
Conventional Medicine

  • Emphasizes diagnosis and treatment
  • Views the body as essentially a machine with disease a result when parts break
  • Views the body as the passive recipient of treatments that fix it

Green Little Cat: When and why might it be better to take your cat to see a Holistic Vet?

Dr. Skiwski: Holistic medicine can be useful in helping the body heal from any disease. However, it is best to seek traditional or conventional veterinarian in an emergency that would require triage or surgery or hospitalization. After the pet is stabilized and home, then it is a good time to add holistic medicine to help the pet fully heal. Holistic medicine is a great help to any chronic ongoing condition- skin, allergies, asthma, kidney disease, etc.

Green Little Cat: What conditions are acupuncture good for treating?

Dr. Skiwski: Acupuncture bridges a gap between medicine and surgery. In the Western world acupuncture is used primarily when medications are not working or are contraindicated. In China, it is often used as the primary treatment before conventional medicines.

In small animals acupuncture is most commonly used for:

1. Musculoskeletal Problems

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Arthritis
  • Intervertebral disc disease
  • Long Term Injuries

2. Nervous Disorders

  • Traumatic nerve injuries
  • Certain types of paralysis

3. Respiratory Problems

  • Feline asthma
  • Many other conditions have also responded

4. Skin Problems

  • Lick granulomas
  • Sensory neurodermatitis

There are many other conditions acupuncture can be used for, these are just a highlight of the most common uses.

Dr. Sara Skiwski practices in the San Jose/South Bay area of California. If you’d like to book an appointment for your cat or dog, please visit her website at:

I am completely satisfied with the therapeutic effect of the use of Levitralab erectile dysfunction treatment. Therefore, I recommend to anyone who has similar problems with erection. Try it if you have no contraindications.

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Tough Green Questions to Ask Manufacturers When Choosing a Natural Cat Food

Furball and family moved into our new home last weekend.  Now that Furball is mostly adjusted, it’s time for me to start researching which cat food to switch him to in order to help control his struvite crystals.  We had previously taken him to a Holistic Vet who recommended a high protein/minimal carb wet food diet.  She listed quite a number of different brands, so now it’s time for me to tackle the list and get more information from the manufacturers.

Here’s an email that I’m going to send to each manufacturer.  I’ve included some tough questions beyond the usual based on my previous research into organic cat foods.  I’m going to shortlist the foods based on the responses I get and I’ll post them up in a future blog entry.

If you’re thinking of switching your cat to a natural cat food, please feel free to use this email yourself and edit as needed.  I’d love to hear about what you learn so feel free to send me an email.  furball [AT]



Recently, [CAT FOOD BRAND HERE] was highly recommended to me.  I have been thinking about switching my cat to a new formula and would appreciate it if you could please answer a few questions about your product.  Not only am I very concerned about the quality of the ingredients, but I also am concerned about where my pet’s food is manufactured as well as how eco-friendly your business practices are.

[INCLUDE THIS PARAGRAPH IF IT’S ORGANIC FOOD] I would appreciate it if you could please tell me which governing anti fungal body certifies your food as organic as well as the general standards they require for organic certification.  What percentage of [SPECIFIC PRODUCT] is organic and if it’s not 100%, which ingredients are not organic and why not?

Could you please tell me where your product is is manufactured in terms of the ingredients and the processing?  Given the ongoing safety issues of overseas ingredients, I would prefer that the food I feed my pet is sourced and manufactured in [YOUR COUNTRY HERE]. This would greatly allay my concerns about safety as well as reduce the environmental impact of transporting pet food such a great distance. If your food is locally made, that’s amazing. If not, what is your company doing to move in this direction?  Are any of your products outsourced to other companies?  Are any made by Menu Foods?

Finally, I have been changing my purchasing habits to support businesses that implement sustainable practices and take a proactive approach to reducing their environmental impact. I was wondering what [PET FOOD MANUFACTURER] is doing to adopt greener business practices and support the local community.

As you know, switching a cat’s diet is not something to be taken lightly.  I am currently evaluating several different brands and will make a decision based on the answers I receive to my questions.  I look forward to your response.




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Acupressure Points for Struvite Crystals, Urinary Tract and Digestive Health

I came across this article on acupuncture for pets from Health Day on Yahoo! News.  It lists some anecdotal stories about the effectiveness of acupuncture for muskuloskeletal disorders affecting animals.  It also gives a very basic overview of what acupuncture is and how it helps.

As someone working on my Masters in Traditional Chinese Medicine (acupuncture, herbs, massage) for humans, I have to say that I’ve seen acupuncture tremendously benefit people suffering from pain and mobility issues.  Shoulders, knees, backs, neck, arthritis, injuries, repetitive strain, you name it.  I’ve seen it work firsthand on dozens of people.  It’s also great for many other chronic illnesses, but people seem to try it first for pain and then as they get more familiar with it, they find it helps out for many other issues.

So, I find it really cool that acupuncture’s benefits for pets is starting to be publicized in the mainstream.  Furball, himself, hasn’t had acupuncture.  However, his vet did recommend a few acupressure points to help with his urinary and digestive systems.

He had a blocked bladder about 5 years ago, so the Holistic Vet recommended BL-23, which is the “Back Shu” point for the kidney.  Basically it helps strengthen the kidneys and promote urinary tract health for dealing with his struvite crystals.  She also strongly recommended changing his diet to minimize carbohydrates and maximize protein.

For Furball’s digestion, she recommended BL-20 which is the “Back Shu” point of the spleen.  In Chinese medicine, the spleen and stomach meridians are related and this point is excellent for strengthening digestion.  She also recommended a couple of points in depressions located around the joints of his forelegs, but those have no human equivalent and are kind of hard to describe without actually feeling them for yourself.

I usually give Furball a little acupressure massage while he’s eating.  He’s a hyper cat and not super touchy-feely, so it’s easiest for me to massage these points while he’s occupied intently on his food bowl.  He seems to really like it.  After the first time I gave him the massage, he came looking for me at his next mealtime because he wanted another one.

If you’re interested in trying acupressure for your pet, I’d really recommend visiting a Holistic Vet first.  They’re licensed veterinarians who take additional training in acupuncture.  You can find one by visiting the American Holistic Veterinary Medicine Association website.  Furball’s vet had one of those plastic anatomy models of a cat, which really helped me understand exactly where the points were.  She also demonstrated the correct amount of pressure and massage technique to use.

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A Natural Diet for Struvite Crystals and Furball’s Visit to the Holistic Vet

Furball was vomiting on and off for the past week so we took him to see Dr. Sara Skiwski, a holistic medicine veterinarian. As a Holistic Veterinarian, Dr. Skiwski (aka Dr. Sara), is not only a licensed veterinarian, she also studied veterinary acupuncture and herbs. I had been wanting to take Furball to see a holistic vet to discuss what would be the best diet for him given that he has struvite crystals and also had a bout of pancreatitis about two years ago.

I was becoming increasingly dissatisfied with his current diet of 1/2 Pinnacle dry cat food and 1/2 IAMS prescription diet for struvite crystals. Let me clarify that I love the Pinnacle brand of cat food, but my concerns are about the IAMs food. I discovered on Day 21 of my new year’s resolution of the 30-Day Green Cat Challenge that IAMs was owned by Proctor and Gamble, a company I had boycotted for over a decade because of ethical concerns about how they run their business. Plus, I had noticed that Furball’s coat went dull when he was fed a 100{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} diet of the prescription diet for struvite crystals.

However, when I researched natural methods for dealing with struvite crystals as well as organic foods, I was overwhelmed by how complicated it was to find a natural diet for struvite crystals. I decided the best thing to do was to consult with a holistic vet. Furball was probably sending me a hint to go sooner rather than later as he started hacking up hairballs and gooey spit-up about two weeks ago. His appetite also decreased, which is highly unusual for the cat who loves to eat anything and everything and he was a bit cranky too. I was going to take him to see his regular vet, but the cat’s vomiting seemed to stabilize and then taper off.

The appointment with the holistic vet was a week away. I booked the appointment, then cancelled it when Furball got better. Then, Furball promptly vomited up some more gooey spit, so I rebooked the appointment. At that point, I decided regardless of whether he was better or worse, I’d take Furball in for a check-up. I’m glad we kept the appointment.

Furball’s fine. However, I gained some valuable insights into how struvite crystals, pancreatitis and vomiting/gastrointestinal issues are related to diet. Dr. Sara also gave us a recommended list of natural cat foods that would be beneficial for our cat. The list is like gold to me because I didn’t know where to start. I’m going to research each product over the next few weeks and post my findings.

In the meantime, here’s a summary of what I learned. PLEASE DO NOT TRY TO SELF-MEDICATE YOUR CAT BASED ON THIS INFORMATION OR CHANGE YOUR CAT’S DIET WITHOUT CONSULTING WITH YOUR VET FIRST. I may have misheard what Dr. Sara said or misunderstood it or remembered it incorrectly. I’m also paraphrasing and adding my own opinion. The information is provided only as a starting point for your own research into natural diets for struvite crystals and pancreatits. You should always SEE A LICENSED VETERINARIAN FIRST!

  1. What’s good for humans is NOT GOOD for cats. People benefit from seeds and plant oils such as flaxseed oil. However, these types of fats are not beneficial to cats because cats are carnivores. Cats are completely carnivorous and would do just fine on a diet of only animal protein. In fact, flaxseed oil could actually trigger pancreatitis because the cat’s pancreas is not designed to process this type of fat.
  2. Cats should not be eating carbohydrates. This includes wheat, rice, corn, etc. As mentioned above, cats are carnivores. Carbohydrates have a higher pH level (lower acidity) which actually contributes to the formation of struvite crystals. Dry foods are full of carbs.
  3. A higher acid diet (lower pH) helps to prevent the formation of struvite crystals. What this means from a natural perspective, is that a higher protein diet will naturally result in a diet with a higher level of acidity. Unfortunately, many commercial cat foods for managing struvite crystals raise the acidity level of their formulas by adding ammonium chloride to their products. I don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that ammonium chloride is not the same as animal protein.
  4. In general, canned food naturally has more moisture and animal protein than dry cat food. While the label may say x amount of protein, this figure is determined by measuring what’s left over after the food is burned down to its basic composition. There’s no distinction between animal protein and plant protein, or melamine for that matter.
  5. The moisture level and high animal protein in a quality canned food should be sufficient to help reduce struvite crystals. Even though we add large amounts of water to Furball’s dry food, it’s not the same as him getting his fluid from wet food. The water needs to soak into the dry food. This is better than him drinking the water because cats naturally metabolize their water better through their intestines. By drinking the water, the cat’s kidneys are forced to do most of the work. This can lead to kidney issues later on in life.
  6. High heat rapid cooking alters the structure of the oils in food, making them not that healthy for your pet. Slow-cooking at lower temperatures is better. This is much like how olive oil is good for you unless you heat it at a high temperature.

Based on this information, we’re ready to start transitioning Furball very slowly to a diet of wet food only. One other thing to note, the holistic vet said it was ok to give Furball the small amounts of grapeseed extract found in his PetzLife natural dental care product. In fact, she was selling the product in her office.

Here’s the list of brands/foods that the holistic vet recommended:

There were a few other brands, but I couldn’t find them online (possibly renamed?). The brands on this list are the ones that the holistic vet has experience with. They’re all high animal protein with low or no grain content. I’ll be researching them over the next few weeks to decide which to try. Although, Furball’s finicky feline palate may be the determining factor ;).

Check Out Furball’s Cat Toy Book!
Furball loves to play and was so hyperactive as a kitten that I invented dozens of toys and games for him and even wrote a book about them. The book features instructions for over 50 cat toys that are not only eco-friendly, but also can be made in minutes, if not seconds, from stuff you have around the home.

If you’ve ever bought a fancy cat toy and found your cat preferred the bag it came in, please check out Make Your Own Cat Toys.

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However, the hardest thing is if you ever have to stop without switching to another benzo.

Day 25: Holistic Vets and Acupuncture for Cats — The 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

Reiki for cats, quantum energy for cats, herbs for cats, cat massage, cat acupuncture… These days, cats have many of the same alternative healing therapies available to them as their human companions. However, many people are suspicious and skeptical of non-traditional healing methods even for humans, let alone for cats. This is unfortunate because people often endure much suffering for chronic conditions that fail to respond to allopathic medicine. It is only when they are pushed to desperation, that they then seek an alternative practitioner. At this point, their condition has worsened and has become much more difficult to treat.

As a student of acupuncture, I’ve seen this pattern repeated many times in the teaching clinic at school. I’ve seen people with chronic shoulder pain for years who respond immediately to their first acupuncture treatment. I’m not saying that there isn’t a purpose for western medicine, just that people should be more open-minded to alternative treatments.

With this in mind, I’ve decided to present a couple of alternative healing modalities for cats. Before anyone writes this off as quackery, please note that the people who practice these healing arts must also be licensed veterinarians.

Acupuncture for Cats

Acu-CatMy first introduction to the concept of acupuncture for cats was an ad I saw in Acupuncture Today for Acu-Cat: A Guide to Feline Acupressure by Nancy Zidonis. Of course, I couldn’t resist buying the book and I found it was a great introduction to the basics of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It explained concepts better than some of my textbooks. However, in terms of practical usage, Furball was way too hyper to hold still for some cat acupressure. This was clearly demonstrated when I tried to massage “Yin Tang” to “calm spirit” and he promptly tried to nip me.

However, according to the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture (AAVA), acupuncture is known to have therapeutic effects in a wide variety of animal diseases and it may also be used for pain modification, gastrointestinal diseases, respiratory problems, urinary disorder, musculoskeletal disorders and dermatological problems. I personally have a hard time envisioning my cat holding still for an acupuncture needle, but I could see older, calmer animals getting relief for joint motility and pain issues. Hey, I’ve seen so many humans recover from knee, shoulder, back, ankle, wrist pain, etc. It’s not a stretch to imagine acupuncture helping cats.

If you’d like to find a cat acupuncturist, check out the AAVA site where you can search by location to find an acupuncturist for your cat nearby. In the United States, AAVA members must also be licensed graduates of a college or school of veterinary medicine.

Holistic Veterinary Medicine

This is actually a broader term that encompasses acupuncture for cats. According to the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA), “Holistic (or Integrative or Complementary) Veterinary Medicine is the examination and diagnosis of an animal, considering all aspects of the animal’s life and employing all of the practitioner’s senses, as well as the combination of conventional and alternative (or complementary) modalities of treatment.”

It can include a variety of treatments such as modern drug therapy, surgery, nutrition, supplements, behaviour modification, homeopathy, herbs, and veterinary chiropractic. The holistic practitioner looks at your cat as a whole being, not just a presentation of symptoms. They’ll consider genetics, nutrition, family relationships, hygiene, and stress factors with a goal of finding the true root of what is ailing your cat.

Seventeen years ago, over twenty volunteers with injuries of different degrees (for instance, after an accident) took part in a medical experiment. 50% of them received and other 50%- placebo within a week of trauma. After a month and a half of therapy, patients who received placebo demonstrated better recovery dynamics after damage.

It was a holistic vet who recommended that I increase the amount of water in Furball’s diet. This has been immensely helpful at preventing a recurrent incident of blocked bladder as I discussed in Day 21 on natural methods for dealing with struvite crystals.

To find a holistic vet, please visit the AHVMA website.


Learn more about alternative treatments for your cat and for yourself. Here’s a good start:


Holistic Veterinary Medicine:

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Day 21: Natural Methods for Dealing with Struvite Crystals — The 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

I had planned out topics to cover for the 30-Day Green Cat Challenge on how to give your cat a green makeover in a month. However, I just got thrown a curveball yesterday and am so disturbed that I have to blog about it today.

As you may recall from Day 17 in my review of green cleaning products, I quite proudly proclaimed from my green little high horse that I had not owned a single Procter and Gamble product in 15 years. My task yesterday was to confirm that the green cleaning products I reviewed hadn’t been bought out by a big conglomerate. Since I was doing research anyway, I decided to visit the P&G website and found out that they own IAMs.

Furball has a prescription for the low pH formula produced by IAMs. I’m not happy giving him this food, but I didn’t know what else to do since he had the blocked bladder relapse. I noticed that the IAMs formula caused his coat to go dull almost immediately, so I mixed in half of his regular brand, Pinnacle by Breeder’s Choice. They received the thumbs up on Day 11 when I learned that it was made and sourced in the U.S.A. from human grade ingredients. Now that I’ve learned that IAMs is a P&G brand, I can’t continue buying this product for him. I was kind of turning a slight blind eye to feeding him IAMs because I didn’t want to put his health at risk by not giving him this food, yet on the other hand, I don’t want to put his health at risk by giving him this food.

So today, rather than live in continued ignorance, I am researching about struvite crystals. Furball has been diagnosed as having struvite crystals in his urine and these were the cause of his original case of a blocked bladder. When he first had the problem, I couldn’t accept the vet’s diagnosis that the low pH food might help, but that once he had this problem, he would always be prone to it. My friend’s brother’s cat had this problem recur so often that he had surgery to remove part of his urethra (aka snip that penis) and now the cat suffers from occasional incontinence.

So, I took Furball to a holistic vet who told me of cases that she treated and of cats that had been brought to her despite following the prescribed diet. Her advice was to give him lots of water so that the crystals would always be diluted and that the increase in urination would keep the crystals moving through his system. She recommended what seemed like an insane amount of water. I forget the amount exactly, but it was very precise lik 543mL or something like that. I followed her advice by adding water to Furball’s meals (probably not as much as she recommended, but still a lot of water) and Furball was fine for about four years until he had a recurrence in 2007.

At that time, I didn’t know why he had the recurrence since I gave him so much water. The vet mentioned that it might just be because Furball was getting older. So I decided to put him on the formula for minimizing struvite crystals. I did note that the vet’s advice seemed to contradict the technician’s comments. The technician who first examined Furball was very surprised that he had not had a recurrence in several years. He thought that was really good and quite out of the ordinary. He also was surprised to learn that Furball was seven, he thought he was a lot younger.

One thing to note of importance. When I took Furball to the vet with early signs of urinary discomfort, the first vet said the cat was fine after examining him, that was until he peed in his box and there was blood in it. However, the best thing he did was to tell me the cat was overweight. I had asked several vets about an ideal weight and they all said something to the effect that Furball was fine, but shouldn’t gain any more weight. This was the first doctor to tell me point blank that the cat was fat and should lose weight.

In a subsequent visit months later, a different vet at the animal hospital remarked that it was great that Furball had lost weight. I asked her if the weight loss would help with the blocked bladder and she said it definitely would. Why didn’t anyone tell me this sooner? I would have put him on a diet years ago.

The patient’s symptoms disappear after 20 minutes after taking medicine (tablets or capsules).Tramadolbest Drugs affect the central nervous system.

With the weight loss and learning that his formula is made by P&G, I think it’s worthwhile to reconsider switching Furball’s food. I’ve decided that if I’m going to consider taking him off IAMs, I should make an educated decision. Here’s my action list:

  • Call the vet to see if there is an alternate formula.
  • I found a great article about Feline Cystitis. It shed a lot of light. Basically struvite crystals form when the urine has a high pH (alkaline). The diets work because they are acidic and help to bring down the pH balance of the urine. The article also mentioned, “It has been shown that environmental stress can produce the opposite of acidic (alkaline) urine. This is why cases of feline cystitis are associated with stress, e.g. travel, new pets, new people etc.” This helped me understand why Furball had the recurrence. It happened shortly after we moved (high stress). Then, my husband accidentally dropped the cutlery tray causing a huge crashing sound and knives and forks flying across the kitchen while the cat was in the room. Finally, we had a minor earthquake that freaked the cat out so much that he wouldn’t eat for a half a day. If you know Furball, NOTHING stops him from eating.
  • I’m researching foods for urinary tract health. I found Wysong Vitality has a formula to promote a healthy urinary tract and low pH.
  • This Blakkatz website says that low pH dry foods can also cause problems.
  • I’ve been told wet foods are better, but most are made by Menu Foods and Furball started having problems with wet food after the pancreatitis.
  • Look for a holistic vet where we live. This whole issue is so complicated I need the opinion of a professional.


  • How would you like to take an action that is natural and could prevent future health issues for your cat? If your cat is overweight, start him/her on a diet after discussing this with your vet.
  • If you have any information on natural methods for dealing with struvite crystals, please leave a message by clicking the “Comments” link below. Thank you.

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Day 10: Natural Pet Dental Care The 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

At Furball’s last visit to the vet, the doctor commented that Furball’s teeth and gums were in excellent condition. I’d love to claim credit for being a good cat mommy and brushing his teeth, but I’m admittedly not that devoted. Plus, if I approached him with a cat toothbrush, he’d attack it and think it’s a toy. The concept of being able to brush your cat’s teeth is simply ludicrous to me because Furball would simply not stand for it and would most definitely let me know by using said teeth and claws.

However, I can give credit to a couple of natural pet teeth cleaners. Based on the vet’s comments and given that Furball is over seven years old, I have to assume these products really work. So, I thought I would share them with you, since pet dental care is something that people often overlook. I’m sure the idea of brushing your cat’s teeth is not commonly considered by most people. Luckily, keeping your cat’s teeth clean can be fairly simple. And, as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I read somewhere that to get your cat’s teeth cleaned by the vet, they put them under. That’s something I’d rather avoid. So, here’s what I use to keep my cat’s teeth and gums clean and healthy:

Feline Greenies Dental Treats

cat dental careThese are little fish-shaped cat treats that contain chlorophyll. They’re also quite crunchy, based on observation, not ingestion ;), which helps to remove food bits on Furball’s teeth.

  • PROS: On the plus side, they’re made with ingredients you can pronounce and don’t contain any artificial colours or synthetic preservatives. They really work, are easy and fun to feed to the cat, and Furball loves to eat them.
  • CONS: On the negative side, Greenies are not organic, and they’re made by S&M Nu-Tec, owned by the Mars, Inc. conglomerate. This is actually news to me. I was buying Greenies when it was still a small company. It looks like they got bought only a few years ago, which coincides with when I noticed that the packaging changed and a bunch of new flavour options appeared. There was also a class action law suit against them a couple of years ago because some dogs were choking on the treats. Greenies has since changed the formula and shape for dogs. Hmm, now my challenge is to find a greener alternative.
  • Greenies website

Petzlife Oral Care Gel with Salmon Oil

natural pet dental careThis gel contains grapeseed extract as the primary ingredient for natural pet dental care. It also contains a number of herbal oils as well as salmon oil. It’s supposed to be really good for removing tartar build-up on your cat’s teeth. PetzLife has before and after photos of pet’s teeth on their website. After ingesting the gel, Furball gets a bit droolly which is supposed to help clean his teeth.

  • PROS: All natural ingredients and produced by a local company. I give this to Furball only occasionally, and he has minimal tartar build-up on his teeth. The salmon oil seems to do the trick because the cat loves eating the gel.
  • CONS: The initial cost is a bit high, about $30 for a 4 oz. bottle. The cat will also not eat it out of is bowl so I have to hand-feed it to him, one dab at a time on my finger tip. He likes to lick it off. Because it’s pretty tedious to feed it to him, I only do it every few weeks as opposed to the recommended twice a week. I also only manage to give him about 1/2 of the recommended amount because that’s all he’ll eat.
  • PetzLife website


Well, now that I’ve learned that Greenies are on the no-no list since they got bought out by Mars, I will resolve to give Furball the PetzLife Oral Care Gel once a week to keep my cat’s teeth clean. I’m going to aim for twice a week to ensure natural pet dental care for Furball, but I will definitely guarantee at least once per week.

If you are taking the drug with alcohol, the risk of side effects, written at Ambienpro, is increasing. Doctors consider an overdose potentially life-threatening.


If you haven’t given much thought to your pet’s dental care, today is the day to start. If your cat likes fish, then the PetzLife product is worth a try. Your cat deserves to have a beautiful smile :D.

Day 4: How to Safely Dispose of Expired Pet MedicationThe 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

RecycleSymbolLgFurball has some leftover pet medication from his bouts with pancreatitis and a blocker bladder. To date, his expired mediation has been sitting in a cupboard and as I’ve moved apartments, I’ve just moved it with me. Today, I called his vet to find out what the proper procedure is for safely disposing of his pet medication.

Here’s what the pharmacist at the animal hospital had to say:

  1. If it’s liquid, do NOT pour it down the sink.
  2. Regardless of whether the pet medication consists of liquids or tablets, don’t thrown it away in the regular trash.
  3. Bring it back to the vet and they will follow the proper procedures to safely dispose of the pet medication.


  • Check to see if you have any expired or leftover medication that your cat no longer needs
  • If you do, don’t pour it down the drain and don’t throw it in the regular trash.
  • Call your vet and ask them for their recommended actions.
  • If they ask you to throw it away, I would recommend calling a local animal hospital and asking them if they will take the medication and dispose of it for you.