Posts

The Bowl-Free, Natural Way to Feed Your Cat

When your cat “hunts” for its food, it’s happier and healthier.  Doc & Phoebe’s Indoor Hunting Feeder is the fun and easy way to feed your cat as nature intended – by hunting! Manage scarf and barf, alleviate anxiety and destructive behavior, and prevent litter box issues with this veterinarian designed feeder by Doc & Phoebe.

Bowl feeding can cause many downsides for your cat – aggression, scarf and barf, night walking, etc. Your cat’s stomach is the size of a ping-pong ball – the size of a mouse. In nature, cats spend 80% of their waking hours hunting for food. Cats need to hunt, catch, and play with at least 5 small meals a day.

The Indoor Hunting Feeder is a complete bowl replacement for one cat. Hunt, catch and play with five small meals a day.

The Benefits of Hunting

1 – Prevent bad behavior.

Cats redirect the hunting instinct into bad cat behavior. Exercising natural hunting instinct improves your cat’s mood and preserves your furniture!

2 – Sleep through the night.

Your cat will hunt for feeders at night, instead of hunting you!

3 – Stop scarf and barf.

Your cat’s stomach is the size of a ping-pong ball. Hunting multiple small portions eliminates scarf and barf.

4 – Litter box solutions.

Cats show distress by peeing outside of the litterbox. Hunting feeders relieve stress and can eliminate this terrible problem.

5 – Weight management.

Portion control + exercise = healthy weight.

6 – Prevent boredom.

Your cat will happily spend the day hunting, receiving much-needed exercise.

So how exactly does it work? The feeding system comes with five plastic feeders, each one with a removable, washable mouse “skin” that simulates the feel of real prey. Simply portion your cat’s food into the five feeders and hide them throughout the house. At first, you can hide the mice in easier to find locations until your cat gets the hang of it, then graduate to more challenging spots.

Your cat will use its sense of smell to find each mouse, grab it and toss it around until the food spills out so that just the right amount fills your cat’s stomach. By repeating this multiple times throughout the day, your cat will stay physically and mentally stimulated while eating properly portioned meals.

We love that the mouse skins are washable, and the plastic food dispensers and scoop are BPA-free and can be washed in the top rack of a dishwasher. Multiple sets can also be used in a multi-cat household!

Cats can become obese, lazy, anxious and even destructive or sick in the absence of hunting and interacting with their food. So what are  you waiting for? Doc & Phoebe’s new Indoor Hunting Feeders are available for your kitty now at the Brookside Barkery & Bath!

Whisker Stress – Does Your Kitty Have It?

Does your cat pull her food out of her bowl before she eats it, leaving a mess for you to clean up? Or does she eat only a few mouthfuls from the top of her dish and then beg for more, completely ignoring what’s left? You might think she’s a picky eater, but there’s probably a valid reason why she’s doing this, and it’s not just to make your life difficult. She may have what’s called whisker stress.

What is whisker stress?

Whisker stress, also known as whisker fatigue, is caused when a cat’s whiskers are forced to come in contact with the edges of their food bowl or dish. To really understand this issue, you must first understand your cat’s whiskers.

Whiskers provide cats (and all other mammals) with information about the objects they come into contact with. Many cats’ whiskers are so finely tuned that they can even pick up air movement. They help enhance the cat’s senses, particularly short distance vision. Although whiskers look like a type of hair, they’re actually rich in blood vessels and nerve endings, so they’re extraordinarily sensitive. They help cats navigate their surroundings.

A cat typically has between eight and twelve whiskers on each side of her face, as well as shorter whiskers on her chin, above her eyes, and even on her legs.
Each whisker is essentially set up to transmit information about pressure being applied along its length to its base, which contains the follicle and receptors. The tip of each whisker has proprioceptors, sensory organs that are incredibly sensitive to even the slightest pressure. Cats can use their whiskers to determine how far away an object is, where it’s located, and even its texture.

So what does this have to do with your cat’s eating habits?

Because the proprioceptors in her whiskers are so incredibly sensitive, it can actually be painful for her to eat or drink out of a bowl that’s too narrow to accommodate her whiskers without having them touch the sides. Here are some signs that your cat might be experiencing whisker stress:

  • Using paws to scoop food out of their bowls
  • Eating off only the top of the bowl
  • Leaving food in the bowl, but still hungry
  • Meowing at the bowl, standing or pacing nearby although there is food in it
  • Leaving a mess behind on the floor

In all of these examples, the cat is trying to avoid having to cram her sensitive whiskers into the bowl, something that’s very uncomfortable for her.

What can you do to solve the problem?

Luckily, the fix is relatively simple. Just start feeding and watering your cat from bowls that take the span of her whiskers into account. The bowls should be both wide enough and shallow enough that her whiskers don’t touch the sides, even if she puts her whole head in to get food on the very bottom.

An option we offer at the Barkery is Dr. Catsby’s Bowl for Whisker Relief. The Dr. Catsby bowl provides a wide, shallow eating surface that allows food to fall to the center of the bowl, but still provides enough of an edge to prevent food from being pushed out of the bowl.

The high-quality stainless steel bowl is dishwasher safe and includes a cutaway for easy lifting. It can be easily cleaned and won’t harbor acne-causing bacteria like plastic can. The Dr. Catsby bowl is our store cat’s favorite! If you’re experiencing eating issues with your kitty, give this bowl a try.

Feline Nutrition 101

Feline Nutrition 101. It’s more straightforward than the marketing would like you to believe! For National Cat Health Month, we want you to understand your cat’s nutritional needs. There are a couple of basics you ought to know.

1. Cats are Obligate Carnivores

This is a statement you may have heard once or twice at the Barkery. This means that their diets should consist almost entirely of meat. An obligate carnivore is an animal that, by its genetic makeup, must eat the tissue of other animals in order to thrive. In nature, cats don’t eat grains or carbs of any kind. Many grain-free foods are substituted with starches, which are just as bad but allow pet food companies to market as “grain-free.”

Since meat is so important to feline nutrition, the quality of the meat should also be carefully considered. Not all meat is created equal, and how it’s cooked can also make a big difference.

2. Cats Need Wet or Raw Food to Stay Hydrated

Our furry feline friends evolved from big desert cats, and while that’s been happening for millennia certain things haven’t changed. Given the scarcity of water, they adjusted to staying hydrated from the fresh meat of their prey rather than drinking water. This is why most cats aren’t big drinkers.

When cats eat dry food only, they tend to become dehydrated after a period of time. This is because dry food is between only 8-12 percent moisture. Wet food mimic’s a cat’s natural environment by keeping them hydrated through the food they eat. Many common feline health issues, like renal failure and urinary crystals, are a result of a lifetime of dehydration.

3. Cats are Prone to Vaccinosis

Many conventional veterinarians recommend both puppies and kittens get their core vaccines first and annually thereafter. Since vaccinations stay in your pet’s body for much longer than the 1-year recommendation, over-vaccinating  can cause major health problems for your kitty, including allergies, tumors, seizures, and autoimmune problems. To prevent vaccinosis, consider a titer blood test instead. This test shows immunity levels of your pet to the virus which you are vaccinating for, and there is no harm in checking before you vaccinate your animal. This will ensure the health and vitality of your cat.

Hopefully you feel a little more knowledgeable about the health of your cat. For National Cat Health Month, we’re giving away one free can of Fussie Cat to our cat-owning pack members in February! For questions on cat health and vaccinosis, visit your local Barkery and speak with a nutrition specialist today!

 

3 Big Nutrition Messages for Cat Guardians

Sadly, estimates are that over half of kitty companions over the age of 10 suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD), which is also referred to as chronic renal disease or chronic renal failure. There are many causes of CKD in cats, but one of the most common and preventable influences is a dry food diet.

Cats are designed to meet most or all of their body’s moisture requirements through their diet, not at the water bowl, so they don’t have the desire to drink water the same way other species do. Kibble provides a very small percentage of the water cats need in a daily diet.

Kitties fed an exclusively dry diet suffer chronic mild dehydration that causes significant stress to kidneys over time. As Dr. Lisa Pierson, a feline-only practitioner and cat nutrition expert, writes at her fabulous CatInfo.org website, “It is troubling to think about the role that chronic dehydration may play in causing or exacerbating feline kidney disease.”

Dr. Pierson’s Big Three Nutrition Messages for Cat Guardians

Dr. Pierson realizes that feline nutrition can be overwhelming for cat guardians, and tries to keep things simple. Her recommendations are based on what a cat would eat in the wild – a mouse, bird, lizard, or some other small animal.

  1. Feed a diet that’s high in moisture.
    Dry food (kibble) is cooked to only maintain 5-10% moisture, whereas a bird or mouse is around 70% moisture. When a cat is fed a dry food, they don’t make up that deficit at the water bowl.
    Now, many people say, “but my cat drinks a lot of water.” Studies of cats on all-canned food diets vs all-dry food diets show that cats eating canned food (which has a very high water content) rarely went to the water bowl, yet they consumed double the amount of moisture as cats eating kibble. The kibble fed cats did not demonstrate a high enough thirst drive to make up the water deficit at the water bowl. A water-rich diet, like canned or raw food, is the first key to a healthy diet.
  2. Feed your cat a diet that’s animal-protein rich.
    Cats are obligate carnivores, and must get their dietary protein from animals, not plants. When we look at a can of cat food, we want to see that the protein is coming from animals – chicken, beef, etc. – and not from plants like corn, wheat, soy, or rice.
  3. Avoid carbohydrates.
    Cats aren’t designed to eat carbohydrates. A bird or a mouse is a very high-protein, moderate-fat meal, with maybe a percent or two of carbs on a dry matter basis. So diets containing more carbs aren’t appropriate for cats.

It’s also important to remember that although high-protein, low carb dry cat foods are flooding the market these days, they are inappropriate diets for cats because they’re water depleted. Many cats suffer from Urinary Tract Disease, and it is caused by urethral obstructions from a water-depleted diet. Cats on water-rich diets can develop UTIs as well, but it’s extremely rare.

What’s the Scoop on Prescription Diets?

Once a cat is diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, many veterinarians recommend a prescription “renal diet,” many of which are dry kibble. These formulas do not meet the dietary hydration requirements of cats, especially kitties who are losing large amounts of water due to worn out kidneys.

“I must say that I find it truly amazing when I hear about the very large numbers of cats receiving subcutaneous fluids while being maintained on a diet of dry food,” writes Pierson. “This is an extremely illogical and unhealthy practice and every attempt should be made to get these cats on a diet that contains a higher moisture content.”

Prescription renal diets also typically have reduced levels of protein, which is not ideal for cats, who are obligate (strict) carnivores requiring high levels of quality animal protein for optimal health. According to Pierson:

“Renal diets restrict protein to the point that many cats – those that are not consuming enough of the diet to provide their daily protein calorie needs – will catabolize (use for fuel) their own muscle mass which results in muscle wasting and weight loss.”

Pierson also points out that interestingly, there’s no FDA oversight of prescription pet diets. They oversee drugs, but these diets are marketed as “prescription,” when there’s nothing in them that requires a prescription. Clinical trials aren’t performed before these foods go on the market, and could be formulated in a far healthier manner if these “prescriptions” underwent much closer scrutiny.

Why Veterinarians Recommend Prescription Diets

Dr. Pierson focuses on helping cat owners formulate diets that are customized to that cat’s individual needs. She says that it’s extremely common that people are hesitant to feed a wet food rather than the “prescription” food another veterinarian recommends. Her clients are commonly led to believe that the only diet option for a kidney sensitive kitty is a prescription diet.

Pierson says that unfortunately, veterinarians are extremely busy trying to keep up with their continuing education, and nutrition is typically not very interesting to most of them. It’s much easier for a vet with a feline kidney patient to simply grab the “prescription” diet off the shelf. There isn’t a lot of critical thought going into nutrition for pets.

Switching Your Cat to a Better Diet

The transition to wet or raw food from kibble can be surprisingly difficult. Cats that have eaten dry food for most of their lives can become addicted to it. And cats, unlike dogs, will literally starve themselves if you aren’t feeding what they prefer.ca

Dr. Pierson refers her clients to the page on her website called Transitioning Dry Food Addicts to Canned Food. She encourages cat guardians to have patience, as it took her three months to get her own kibble addicts to switch to canned food.

If you’re first getting started, try a variety of proteins and textures in wet food. See if you can get your cat to respond positively to one or more, and gradually transition to an all-wet diet. And remember – patience, patience, and more patience!

 

6 Solutions to Shedding

You love your cat, but you don’t love all the hair on your carpets, upholstery and your best suit. These holistic approaches to excessive shedding will keep her healthier and you happier. From Feline Wellness.

“Some days it seems like my cat flings fur at my black coat like a porcupine flings quills,” Judith says. “He’s mostly white, so it really shows up and it’s very hard to get off.”

Every cat sheds, but if yours seems to be losing an excessive amount of fur, it’s time to do a little investigating. Too much hair loss can be a symptom of an underlying problem. Genetics, illness, poor nutrition, environmental toxins and stress all play a role in your cat’s overall health, and can affect the condition of her coat.

1. First of all, a trip to the veterinarian for a check-up is in order. The vet will look for hormonal or thyroid problems and will check for fleas and other parasites. Blood tests may not pinpoint the answer but could rule out a number of causes. Holistic practitioners look at the big picture. Some, like veterinarian Dr. Paul McCutcheon, can analyze your cat’s hair to see if there are heavy metal or mineral imbalances in his body. This non-invasive procedure can reveal information from the past three or four months.

2. Try a change of diet. If your cat has been eating the same food for years, he may have become sensitive to one or more of the ingredients, causing allergy, skin issues and excessive shedding. Read the labels on all foods. Look for ingredients you recognize – chicken or other meats should be listed first. Key words to avoid are by-products, ground meal, gluten, artificial colors, corn and wheat. Foods made with natural ingredients and few or no fillers or grains are much healthier than cheap commercial foods. Premium packaged foods, raw or home-cooked diets are best. “The diet should be changed slowly,” says Jodi Ziskin, holistic nutritionist and wellness consultant. “Start with 75% of the current food mixed in with 25% of the new. Every couple of days add more of the new and less of the old. The process can take two or three weeks. During this time, the body will be going through a detox or ‘healing crisis.’ Your cat may shed a bit more as her body rids itself of toxins. This can last for several days but when it’s over, your cat will have a shiny, healthy coat.”

3. Make sure your cat gets enough water. Most cats get needed fluids from their food, not the water bowl. A wet diet is preferable to one that’s entirely dry. You might want to try a dehydrated or freeze-dried food with the proper balance of meat and vegetables (about 90% meat, 10% vegetables and fruits). Rehydrating helps add needed water to the diet. Also make sure your cat has 24/7 access to fresh, filtered water.

4. When your cat’s shedding problem is food related, he may need supplements to jump start his improvement. “Add an Omega 3 oil to whatever diet you choose,” says Jodi. “There are wild salmon oils on the market, made for cats and dogs, or you can use cod liver oil, organic first cold pressed flaxseed oil, or borage oil. Another wonderful oil that is becoming quite popular is emu oil. It can be used both internally and externally.” These oils help improve skin and coat health.

5. Environmental factors can affect your cat’s coat health. Fabric softener, laundry soap, floor wax or carpet shampoo, air fresheners, candles, bath soap or body lotions can trigger an allergic reaction in your cat that may lead to skin problems and excess shedding. Paint, new carpet, glue, and even new cat toys might also contribute to the hairy problem. Try to use as many non-toxic household cleaners, building materials and personal care products as you can.

6. Stress is another culprit. “Look at everything,” says veterinarian Dr. McCutcheon. “Routine checkups will not uncover stress problems that may be emotional, environmental or a product of a poor diet.” A child moving away from home for the first time can stress your cat just as much as an obvious reason like thunder or fireworks. And a stray cat seen through the window has stressed many an indoor cat. Identify potential stressors and either eliminate or minimize them.

If your cat has been eating the same food for years, he may have become sensitive to one or more of the ingredients, causing allergy, skin issues and excessive shedding.

Even if you think you see a smirk on your cat’s face as her white hair coats your black pants, excessive shedding is not a planned event but a symptom of a larger problem. Finding the cause and implementing some changes will help keep your clothes and carpets free of fur, while improving her overall well being.

How to Care for Orphaned Kittens

Caring for Kittens Without a Mother

If the kittens are under four weeks old, they need to be housed in a way that keeps them safe and warm, and they need to be bottle-fed until they are big enough to graduate first to gruel, then solid food. The tips here from Moderncat.com will help you set up a cozy and safe home for the kittens and will let you know what to expect in those first weeks.
A warm kitten is a healthy kitten

7220144234_e997f1c014_bKeep kittens warm. A dog crate or kennel is a good choice of enclosure for keeping the kittens safe and contained, as well as for monitoring the temperature. This is important because keeping kittens warm is crucial. Janice Dankert, Best Friends community cat program supervisor, explains, “When kittens are cold, their bodily functions quit working.” If any of the kittens are limp or minimally responsive, or are cool or cold to the touch, this is indicative of an emergency situation – you should provide heat to the kitten and take him or her to the vet right away.

Best Friends veterinarian Dr. Patti Patterson recommends keeping the room temperature above 75 degrees or so. Kittens also need constant heat by way of a heating pad, without an automatic shutoff, set on low. Trielle Gritton, senior manager of adoptions and outreach at Best Friends Animal Society–Utah, says, “The heating pad should be covered in cloth – old towels, throws or blankets work well. And it should only cover half the enclosure so the kittens can move away from it.” An alternative to a heating pad is a microwaveable disc (called SnuggleSafe) made just for keeping pets warm.

Regular monitoring is important to ensure the kittens aren’t too hot or cold. Dr. Patti says, “If the kittens feel cold to the touch, they’re too cold. They should feel toasty warm, but if they are panting or seem to be stretched out away from each other, this may indicate too much heat – you can turn down the heating pad or open the top of the dog crate to allow the area to cool down.”

Trielle adds, “It is also very important to remember that a kitten should never be fed cold formula, and they should never be fed if they are cold.”

Feeding time

“Kittens need to be bottle-fed formula until they’re about four weeks old, and then they can280501585_0c8f5413c2 begin to wean,” says Trielle. If you have found the kittens after the pet supply store has closed for the day, you can use goat’s milk as a stopgap, but this should not be used for an extended period of time. Kitten formula, bottles, rubber nipples, and cleaning supplies are available at most pet supply stores, and even many grocery stores. Follow the instructions carefully on the formula package to ensure proper mixing and handling.

Trielle says, “It is important to note that kittens should never be fed on their backs, but their bellies should always touch the floor (or other surface) when being bottle-fed.” Best Friends veterinarian Dr. Patti Patterson recommends allowing the kittens to eat until satiated. On average, it should take approximately 10 to 15 minutes to properly feed each kitten at every stage until weaned.

Kittens also need help eliminating (going to the bathroom) until they are about three to four weeks old. To do this, use a warm, damp washcloth to gently massage the anal area until they go. This should be done every time you feed each kitten. A litter box with only non-clumping litter can be introduced when kittens are about three weeks of age. Kittens will not have solid stool while still drinking formula.

 

Brookside Barkery and Bath has a list of recommended shelters in the Kansas City area if you are needing assistance with an orphaned kitten.

Top 10 Cat Conditions

Cats are experts at hiding illness and injury – that’s why it’s important to pay attention to small signs that something may be wrong. On the other hand, sometimes symptoms are present but we are baffled as to what is actually wrong. Cats may have nine lives, but you want to make sure kitty hangs on to all of them for as long as she can. No matter how much love and care you give your furry companion, things happen. But by knowing how to recognize the most common conditions affecting cats, you may just be able to save your pet’s life.

 Here are the top 10 most common conditions in felines – from Pet 360

10. Hyperthyroidism The most likely cause of hyperthyroidism is a benign tumor on the thyroid gland, which will cause the gland to secrete too much of the hormone. Take your cat to the vet if it starts drinking and peeing a lot, shows aggressive and jittery behavior, suddenly seems hyperactive, vomits and/or loses weight while eating more than usual.

Treatment depends on other medical conditions but can range from using drugs to regulate the overactive gland, surgical removal of the gland, and even radioactive treatment to destroy the tumor and diseased thyroid tissue.

9. Upper Respiratory Virus If your kitty is sneezing, sniffling, coughing, has runny eyes or nose, seems congested and has mouth and nose ulcers, chances are it has an upper respiratory virus. The two main forms of the virus are the feline herpesvirus and calicivirus. Once at the vet’s office, the cat may receive nose drops, eye ointments and antibacterial medication, especially if it has a secondary infection.

8. Ear Infection Ear infections in cats have many causes. These might include mites, bacteria, fungi, diabetes, allergies and reactions to medication; some breeds are also more susceptible to ear infections than others. So it’s definitely a good idea to have your kitty checked if it’s showing symptoms such as ear discharge, head shaking, swollen ear flaps, stinky ears and ultra sensitivity to ears being touched. Treatment, of course, depends on the cause, but will include eardrops, ear cleaning, ear and oral medications and in severe cases, surgery.

7. Colitis/Constipation Colitis is a fancy word for inflammation of the large intestine. While the most obvious sign of colitis is diarrhea, sometimes it will hurt the cat to poop. Thus, in trying to hold it in, the cat may develop constipation.

There are many causes of colitis, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, allergies and parasites, among other diseases. Signs include straining to poop, lack of appetite, dehydration and vomiting. Your vet will test for the underlying cause and treat it accordingly. This may include a more fiber-rich diet, de-worming, antibiotics, laxatives and/or fluids.

6. Diabetes Like humans, cats suffer from diabetes, too, though this is usually seen in older, overweight cats. Symptoms include increased thirst and peeing, peeing outside the litter box, lethargy and depression.

While causes of feline diabetes are not really known, there is a link with diabetes and being overweight. Treatment, therefore, includes daily health monitoring, diet changes, exercise, and depending on the cat’s needs, either daily oral medications or injections.

senior-cat-thinkstock-463675029-335sm37145. Skin Allergies Kitties, like you, are known to suffer from allergies, although their allergies show on the skin. If your cat scratches, or chews on its skin a lot, has a rash or loses hair in patches, a trip to the vet is a good idea.

Causes of skin allergies vary from reactions to food, fleas, pollens, mites, and even mold and mildew. Treatments may include allergy shots, diet changes, medication and antihistamines.

4. Intestinal Inflammation/Diarrhea Diarrhea is a sure sign of an intestinal inflammation. It affects either the cat’s small or large intestine and may due to a variety of factors, including diet changes, eating contraband foodstuffs, allergies, bacteria overgrowth, worms and even kidney disease.

Symptoms include diarrhea, lack of appetite and vomiting. A visit to your vet will sort out the cause, and treatment may include hydration therapy, a bland diet, dietary changes and anti-diarrhea medications.

3. Renal Failure This is a serious condition, which is common in older cats. While the underlying causes are not yet understood, recent research suggests a link with distemper vaccinations and long-term dry food diets. Make sure you request blood tests on your regular wellness checkups, since symptoms often don’t show up until 75 percent of the kidney tissue is damaged.

The main symptom is excessive thirst and peeing, but the cat may also show signs of drooling, jaw-clicking, and ammonia-scented breath. While it’s not curable, renal failure (when not severe) can be managed through diet, drugs and hydration therapy. Kidney transplants and dialysis can also be used.

2. Stomach Upsets (Gastritis) An inflammation of the cat’s stomach lining is simply referred to as gastritis. This condition may be mild or severe, but regardless of its type, make sure you bring your cat to visit the vet if it doesn’t show improvement in a day or two, or if the symptoms are severe.

Gastritis has many causes, from eating spoiled food to eating too fast to allergies or bacterial infections. If your cat is vomiting, belching, has a lack of appetite or bloodstained poop or diarrhea, a visit to the vet will help straighten things out. Treatments depend on the cause, but generally include medication, fluid therapy and even antibiotics.

1. Lower Urinary Tract Disease Coming in at No. 1, lower urinary tract disease can turn very quickly into a life-threatening illness for your cat, especially if there’s a blockage caused by crystals, stones or plugs. When total blockage occurs, death can occur within 72 hours if left untreated.

Therefore, whisk your cat off to the vet or emergency center ASAP if you see any of the following signs: peeing outside of the litter box, straining, blood in urine, crying out while attempting to pee, not being able to pee, excessive licking of genitals, not eating or drinking, yowling while moving and lethargy. These signs will generally occur regardless if the urinary tract disease is due to stones, infection or urethral plugs. Treatment includes catheterizing to drain the bladder, medication to dissolve stones or blockages, and in recurring cases, surgery.

Treating Your Cat the Healthy Way

Great tips from Pet360.com on treating your cat

Cat owners show cats their love by giving treats as well as affection. While your everyday cat treats are basically empty calories and should be kept to a minimum, there are some special types of cat treats available that will give your cat a bit of supplemental nutrition.

Targeting Your Cat’s Specific Needs

You may be wondering what sort of cat treats your furry friend could possibly benefit from?

  • Weight Control/Loss: If your cat is overweight, look for treats made to be low in fat and calories and high in fiber.
  • Joint Care: If your older cat is slowing down and has trouble getting around, providing him with some extra ingredients for joint care (i.e., glucosamine and chondroitin) is now common practice. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can also be added to cat treats to help reduce inflammation and soothe painful joints.
  • Dental Care/Bad Breath: Tartar buildup in the mouth can cause some serious halitosis in cats. Cat treats in this category have special chemicals or textures designed to help break down plaque and tartar. This can help reduce the amount of bacteria in your cat’s mouth, and thus the offensive odor.
  • Skin Health/Hair: Cats that have dry, flaky skin and rough, brittle hair can benefit from added omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in their daily diets. These fatty acids can come from flaxseed, fish oil, or other natural sources.
  • Digestive Health: If your cat has issues with a touchy digestive tract (irritable bowel or colitis), providing some extra fiber and/or beneficial probiotics/prebiotics might help to balance things out. Some ingredients you might see in these kinds of cat treats include fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), yogurt, chicory, Brewer’s yeast and beet pulp.

Advantages/Disadvantages of Functional Cat Treats

While these functional ingredients can certainly provide some benefits, there’s always a chance of giving your cat too much of a good thing. Even though these cat treats are considered “healthy” and do provide added nutrition to your cat’s diet, it is best not to overdo it. Be sure to read the package to find out the correct amount to give based on your cat’s weight and consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your cat’s health.

We have several cat treats and cat food that fit perfectly to each of the above cat needs. Stop in and chat with one of our friendly staff members today!

 

Health and Nutrition for Senior Cats

A proper diet is more important than ever as our pets begin to age

Did you know that you should start your cat on a senior balanced diet starting at age 7?

According to a recent article from the ASPCA this will help to maintain a healthy weight, along with slowing or preventing the development of chronic disease. You will also minimize or improve clinical signs of diseases that may already be present.

Health issues that the article mentions may arise along the way:

  • Deterioration of skin and coat
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • More frequent intestinal problems
  • Arthritis
  • Obesity
  • Dental problems
  • Decreased ability to fight off infection

The article goes on to discuss the importance of muscle mass and vitamin intake in order to maintain a healthy cat. You can read more about health and nutrition for your aging cat by clicking here, and as always, feel free to stop in and chat with a knowledgeable Barkery team member for expert advice.