Thursday, October 18, 2012

How to Choose the Best Food for Your Cat

Cat's digestive systems aren't designed for carbohydrates or cereals. They just poop it all out and don't get any nutrition from it. It's just a filler. Protein is what they need, and they need it from animal sources. Fish needs to be used sparingly, but most cats love it. Once a week, a taste, that's fine. I found that out the hard way, when my Fluffy got sick. I had them on fish for about a month, and suddenly she dropped half her weight. Her kidneys about shut down, and now she's on life-support. If she makes it, it will be a miracle, but her vet says it's end-stage kidney disease. That's why I say to use beef or chicken, and duck, rabbit, lamb, or venison in a combination with beef or chicken.

Feeding our cats is so different than what we eat, and their dietary needs are so misunderstood by most cat owners. Even me. I've had to learn all this stuff, talking to vets and experimenting with my own cats. It may be cruel to experiment on my cats, but if I can keep someone else from losing their cat, then it's a good thing. Pet food makers are out for the most money off the cheapest ingredients they can use. That's just the story. I don't blame them, cause everybody is out to make a profit in business. But if it causes harm, then I advocate against it.

Most of the pet food producers don't know the harm they do. They look at calories, protein and vitamins, and get people to say that the food is good according to their organization. There is an organization that regulates pet foods specifically. They use research and tell us what is good or bad, but just like all other organizations, they can be influenced by money. The money that supports the organization, most of the time, comes from the producers of the foods. They don't get government money, or money from you and me. So, they are going to say that the foods are good for pets. Only by trial and error can a pet owner know what works for their pet.

I'm here to tell you what really works and what really doesn't. I get paid from you, not from the pet food makers.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fluffy Got a Bath

I gave Missy Fluffers a bath the other day. No, I didn't take photos. She did fairly well. I couldn't find the vaseline to put in her eyes, but the shampoo didn't get there, only the rinse water. She doesn't look too good because I used cream rinse to make sure she wouldn't have mats. It didn't work, and didn't rinse out very well. I guess it's a good thing she doesn't groom herself anymore. At least she doesn't have any more fleas!

Yep, she's really weak. She got on my lap once this past weekend. Only once. She is affectionate, but seems tired. She just wants to sleep and lol around in the sun. It was very warm yesterday and I opened the windows for a while. She got up in the windowsill, then laid in the cat tree - her favorite place - and sunned for a while.

She loves her wet food, and that's probably what's keeping her going. They each get 1/4 can of food a day, spread over 2 feedings. I have to spread it or Beasley gets sick. He still gets sick, but not so much as he does if I give him more at one time.

I don't know if Fluffy will make it this next two weeks until I get home again. I have several friends watching her and the others. There is a vet we can take her to, if we need more fluids.

Like "if" is possible at this point. Of course she needs more fluids...  Poor baby.

I wonder if she was saying goodbye last night, when she got on my lap. She didn't stay very long, just long enough to be uncomfortable. One side is very tender, and the other you can pet without her flinching. She tends to lay on the tender side, possibly protecting it. But it hurts her, so she moves around and seems restless, without being restless, if that makes any sense. She gets comfortable, closes her eyes, and dozes. She still wants to be around all the action.

As long as she wants to stay, I'll help her stay.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Cats Dealing with Death

Cats deal with cat death differently than we do. Dying cats tend to isolate and the other cats tend to "cut the ill one out" of things. Not meanly, but just as a matter of course. The sick one doesn't participate much, and the others fill the void. They just move into the empty space.

Right now, I'm losing one of my cats. Fluffy has CRF (chronic renal failure) and she is dying. We keep giving her fluids, but she isn't strong enough for dialysis. She won't be. She's too far gone. But she's alert, and interested in things going on around her for the most part.

She sleeps in the main room, opening her eyes and gathering comfort from the noises and activity around her. When she wants to be involved, she gets up and gets involved. She even plays a little bit when I bring out the toys.

I give her "baths" with a wash cloth, My vet taught me how to do it, with a corner of a wash cloth dipped in hot/warm water and wrung out so it's only damp. The heat is more important than the wet. I run my fingers with the cloth over an area and then stop. She seems to like it. She doesn't even wash behind me. And it does seem to keep her cleaner.

She came up on the bed last night and got some snuggles. Later, I woke, she was gone and another in her place. They all know she's dying. Even Fluffy knows it, I think. She is slowing down, and just not ready to say good night for the last time yet.

So, my sweet girl is leaving me. I knew they would all leave me eventually. They are all about the same age - about 10-12. It just happened that way. But to have the first one be Missy Flufferdoodle -- it's hard. She's always been so sweet and loving. Kind of stand-offish, but not, and always ready for snuggles and food. She masticates fingers with her kisses. She's always had problems with the mats and grooming herself, but she's always been patient when it was time to groom or cut off the mats, too. And she's always been ready to play. She's never had a problem with the others, and they never had a problem with her. She was just happy to be out of that cage and have a home.

CRF isn't contagious. It has to do with body chemistry and stuff. It's the kidneys having trouble with cleaning the blood. Sometimes it happens because of the breed of cat; sometimes because of weight issues, and Fluffy has been heavy; and it can happen because of heart issues and holding or losing fluids in the blood, like hypertension and heart disease.

Older cats are all at risk for CRF, so if you see any difference in your cat - drinking more or less, weight loss, or anything out of the ordinary, have it checked. The tests aren't expensive, and it could save your cat for years to come. If your cat develops CRF, you, too may have to go through this part - the end-stage of CRF, with your cat.

A soft place to sleep, and gentle handling. Love and comfort. Your cat will tell you when she's done. They always do.