As our cats get older, they are often afflicted by some sort of medical condition. I’m sure as a cat (or even dog) owner, you have encountered this issue. In cats, thyroid, kidney, or even your cat is simply overweight and you need to switch foods. Of course, the first step is to take your cat to the Vet for a check up and follow the instructions that your veterinarian gives you for a new cat food.
Prescription cat foods are generally used for a variety of health conditions such as allergies, diabetes, obesity, thyroid or even hairballs. And, let’s be honest, our finicky cats are going to know that this new food isn’t his regular cat food! Some cats are pickier than others and have difficulty adjusting to any new food!
Below are 5 tips to help your cat eat the new or prescribed food!
1. Mix new food into old food
First, try to introduce the prescription diet by slowly mixing the new food with the former cat food for five days unless your veterinarian advises otherwise. Each day, add more of the new food and less of the original diet until your cat is eating the prescription diet exclusively. You can even throw in some of your cat’s favorite food in little morsels to make it more palatable while switching.
2. Feed many small meals instead of one large one.
Feed multiple small meals instead of one large one. Divide your cat’s daily food portion over three small meals to gradually introduce the new diet and encourage the cat’s appetite. If your schedule doesn’t permit this, at least transition the food over two meals.
3. Mix dry and canned food
Mix the dry and canned prescription cat foods. Canned food often smells (and tastes) more appetizing to a cat than dry food. Factor in your cat’s total calorie intake when you mix wet and dry food so that you do not over feed him. In other words, don’t use a whole can when mixing the food if that is the cat’s entire daily intake.
4. Follow the prescription diet as closely as possible
Follow your veterinarian's instructions about the prescription diet. Make sure to feed your kitty the correct amount of food for his or her weight and health condition. If your cat is on a weight maintenance prescription, it is important to only feed him the recommended amount. Reduce your cat’s food quantity to the prescribed amount gradually so that the cat's appetite adjusts to the new amount of food.
5. Do not give your cat food outside prescribed diet or food
Do not give your cat food outside of his prescribed diet. Other food may interact with the prescription or make it less effective. The prescription diets are scientifically developed to manage specific feline health conditions and provide complete nutrition.
If all else fails, you can always ask your veterinarian for an alternative prescription cat food if he or she refuses to eat the new food after many attempts. Or you can always go the holistic route and check to see if there is a natural food that addresses your cat’s condition.
It is never easy to transition your cat to a new or even prescribed food, but it can be done. Be vigilant and clever in how you feed your kitty and hopefully the transition will be easier than you think!
As summer is upon us, many pet owners use this time to take a summer vacation. When you travel, especially if it for more than a week, some dog owners like to take their pups with them. When traveling with your dogs, there are some important things that you should remember.
Below are 7 quick tips for traveling with your dogs.
1. Skip the sedative and/or tranquilizer.
Unfortunately, medicating your pet is no longer an option. Giving tranquilizers to your pet when traveling by air can increase the risk of heart or respiratory problems. Tranquilizers also dull a pet's ability to brace themselves during bumpy flights, and they can get injured. Once the plane gets off the ground, most dogs will fall asleep on his or her own.
2.Check your pet's safety.
Pet owners who are riding along in the cabin should monitor their pet throughout the journey. Before boarding, owners can and should confirm that their pets are on board and reconfirm at boarding with the captain, either directly or via a note to the flight attendant.
If the plane taxis or sits on the runway for an extended period of time, owners can ask the captain to check the temperature in the cargo hold. If the flight suffers from long layovers or extreme temperatures, pet owners can insist that they get their pets at baggage claim.
3. Research airport dog parks.
If connecting between flights, owners with dogs should walk them before the plane takes off again as many airports now have dog parks just outside their terminals. The website petflight.com will give pet owners the directions to those parks.
4. Plan ahead if you decide to have your pet fly alone.
When a pet has to fly without its owner in the plane, it must travel as cargo. For these flights, planning ahead is vital. Because reservations don’t exist for cargo travel, pets may have a long wait for an available flight. That's when pets are vulnerable to illness, injury or loss. You should also book a direct flight which would make it easier on everyone involved.
5. Consider a pet travel service.
If you can't go with your pet, look into hiring a pet travel service to coordinate all aspects of pickup, shipment and delivery. There are many great services available.
6. Make sure to prepare your dog's crate.
Owners should provide a crate big enough for your dog to turn around, but not so big that the dog can be bruised during a bumpy flight. A plastic bag containing dry food and feeding instructions on top of the crate is handy in case of delays.
A small bowl of frozen water inside the crate insures a supply of fresh water and prevents spills. Be careful to avoid ice cubes, which pose a choking hazard, as do toys and muzzles.
7. Pet insurance may be an option.
When traveling, you might consider purchasing pet insurance. The amount is pretty minimal and it will mean that greater attention will be given to your pet.
Traveling with a dog is never easy or fun, but hopefully these tips will help you cover all the bases. And, as always, have your veterinarian’s number handy in case of emergency.
We love our quirky cats with all their funny antics and behavior. They do many strange and fun things, including “Cat Butting” or putting their rear end in your or another cat’s face. While this seems odd and not quite enticing, there is a reason that cats meet and greet this way. And, our feline friends are the cleanest of animals, so it’s not quite as disturbing as it could be!
The Cat ‘hello’
When cats greet each other for the first time, they sniff each other's faces and neck as a sort of introduction. This could be compared to when you nod a greeting to a stranger at your first meeting. Think of it as shaking hands. However, with cats, they actually produce cheek pheromones that signal friendship, so sniffing this area can actually help calm feelings ofaggression or fear. (It is the complete opposite of catnip.. more of a ‘relaxant’.)
Once the cats feel comfortable with each other, cats progress to sniffing parties. The rear or tail area holds the scent of othercat’s body rubbing or a human's petting hand so it tells the sniffer quite a lot about the cat.
Well, hello there!
The Cat ‘sniff” to other cats
Of course there is the lovely sniff of the behind beneath the raised tail. This is where the cat's specific scent is found. Cats that keep their tail down and don't want to be sniffed might be compared to a shy person hiding her face. Other cats have no problem with raising their tails, asking to be ‘sniffed’.
And, then there is the raised tail which signals “Dude.. let’s be friends… I mean no harm”. So the combination of a raised tail AND a butt-sniffing is the equivalent of a human's enthusiastic hug or a kiss on each cheek in greeting. Hard to believe, but it is true! I think I like our way better.
The cat ‘butt’ to you
When your cat presents his tail in your face, does he really expect you to sniff? Not necessarily. Cats are smart, and as much as they love us, they realize that we are not a cat! They are really just sending us a message that they trust us and are opening up to us in their own special way. The cat butt sniff is a back-handed feline compliment even if you and I prefer a kiss or a nudge.
But, don’t worry, you certainly aren’t expected to sniff your cat back. All you have to do is pet your cat along his or her back or wherever he prefers most as an affectionate gesture. Let your kitty know that this is OK that he does this.. he is giving you a feline compliment, after all.
The next time your cat butts you or another cat, at least you will know that this is very typical behavior of our feline friends. They are just saying ‘hello’ in their strange yet unique way.
Vegetables in your dog’s diet and minor amounts in your cat’s diet can be great for their health and provide a rich supply of nutrients, enzymes, healthy fiber and antioxidants. In the wild, dogs and cats would have acquired plant foods through the semi-digested remnants in the stomachs of their prey; vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.
As we pet owners are starting to move away from toxic, poor grade and species-inappropriate commercial pet food, natural, holistic, homemade and raw diets are being favored, which can include healthy plant-based ingredients (not grains however, which are used as cheap fillers in commercial products and ill-suited the physiology of cats and dogs). The beauty with homemade meals is that you can ensure fresh quality ingredients and easily incorporate vegetables and fruit. You can also see, first hand, what goes in your pet’s food.
How many vegetables should you give your dog or cat?
Where dogs can eat around 30% of plant foods in their daily diet, cats only require around 5-10%. With both dogs and cats, make sure that the vegetables are blended well as they do not easily digest cellulose. This also makes it easy to mix the vegetables with the rest of the homemade meal. As cats only require a very small proportion of veggies in their meal, you can blend veggies and freeze the mix in an ice-cube tray, defrosting one cube a day for their meals.
Include a range of vegetables and always aim to include something green. Green vegetables contain chlorophyll which is cleansing and detoxifying. Chlorophyll is a great liver ally, assisting in the removal of toxins and heavy metals from the body and also shows anti-carcinogenic potential. You can use throw away vegetable parts such as outer leaves, ends and stems or left over cooked vegetables that you don’t consume. Raw is always preferable however as nutrient and enzyme content is maximum.
You can supplement your dog or cat’s diet with vegetables such as kelp or alfalfa (the latter more suited for dogs) and algae such as chlorella and spirulina. These are very alkalizing however and as dogs and cats in particular require an acidic diet, only very small amounts are advisable. Always research dosage amounts before giving any kind of supplements.
You can experiment with most vegetables. Try any of the following: carrots, celery, chard, spinach, avocados, kale, squash, watercress, cabbage, turnips, broccoli, peas, green beans, cauliflower and asparagus. Carrots and sweet potatoes are higher in sugar content and should be used in smaller proportion to any above-ground vegetable choices. You can add some occasional fruit also such as blueberries, bananas, apples, papaya or pear.
Remember that raw onions are not friendly on your pet’s digestive system and can be dangerous to their health so should be avoided. Garlic is also a health risk for cats, though minor amounts occasionally in your dog’s diet may serve as a natural flea repellent.
Nuts and seeds can also be a valuable addition to your pet’s diet, containing healthy oils (walnuts and flaxseeds are particularly high in omega-3 oils), as well as vitamin E and minerals such as selenium (a powerful antioxidant particularly high in Brazil nuts).
As always, if you want to change your pet's diet to a healthy, holistic, species-appropriate diet or are embarking on a natural homemade or raw food diet, consult your veterinarian first and your cat or dog next. If they don’t like eating it, what’s the point! Make sure that you keep your pet’s diet well rounded and he or she will thrive.
If you are a new cat owner, this article will help you with the ten fundamentals of cat care. It’s just a quick overview to get you acquainted with caring for your cat. Every cat reacts differently to owners and environment, but the below are some stead-fast tips/rules that a cat owner should abide by.
1. Spay or neuter your cat. This will keep your kitty healthier and help decrease the number of cats put down every year because of cat overpopulation.
2. Feed your cat a nutritionally balanced diet and provide fresh water at all times. Educate yourself on your cat’s nutritional needs, or ask your veterinarian for advice on what and how often to feed your pet.
3. Make sure that your cat has a visible ID that includes your name, address, and telephone number or has some sort of tracking device such as a microchip. No matter how careful you are, there's always a chance your cat could run out the door. Your cat is more likely to get home safely if he has ID.
4. Keep your cat safe by keeping your kitty indoors, safely confined to your property or walked on a harness and leash. While some owners allow their cats to go outdoors, there are too many reasons why you shouldn’t including fleas and your cat never coming home! Make sure to keep the washer and dryer kept closed and check inside before each use. (Some cats like to climb in these appliances if they’re left open.) Get into the habit of closing all drawers, closets, and cupboards before you leave and make sure there isn’t a kitty lurking inside.
5. Take your cat to the veterinarian for regular check-ups and vaccinations. If you don't have a veterinarian, ask your local animal shelter, rescue group, or a pet-owning friend for a referral. Medical care is as essential for your cat as it is for you. If you already have dogs or cats at home, make sure they are up-to-date on their shots and in good general health before you introduce your new cat.
6. Keep the litter box clean. Cats are clean by nature and most will instinctively use a litter box. You just have to show your cat where the litter box is. Don’t pick your cat up and place her or him in the litter box as it will upset your cat and may make him leery of the box. Scoop out the poop at least once daily and wash the box weekly with liquid soap and hot water. Because cats also value privacy, place the litter box in a convenient but quiet spot.
7. Groom your cat often. All cats, whether long- or short-haired, should be brushed regularly to keep their coats and skin healthy, prevent matting, and reduce shedding and hairballs. They also need to have their claws clipped to keep them from growing into their paw. Grooming is also a good opportunity to discover any lumps, fleas, injuries, etc., and bond with your kitty.
8. Make time to play and provide entertainment. Cats often entertain themselves, but regular play sessions with your pet will provide him with the physical and mental stimulation he needs and strengthen the bond you share.
9. Give your cat toys and scratching posts to distract her or him from your couches. Cats love to play and will appreciate simple and inexpensive toys. Toy mice, little balls and opened paper bags (remove the handles) can provide hours of fun. A comfortable perch by a window can become your cat's very own entertainment and relaxation center. Rotate your toys to maintain your cat's interest in them.
10. Provide your cat with some basic training to help him get along in your home. It's true that cats usually have their own ideas about how to do things. Even so, most cats can be taught not to scratch the couch, eat plants, or jump up on the kitchen counter. With repeated, gentle and consistent training, your cat will learn the house rules. Don't yell or hit your cat ever. It is mean and counterproductive.