Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The importance of canned food in your cat's diet.

This post is meant to inform you of the reasons to feed some canned food (not ONLY dry, in other words) and some issues that can come up if you do not. Firstly, let's talk about the way cats are used to getting the majority of their water. Cats do not have a very strong "thirst drive" so do not drink a whole lot of water from a dish (some cats can be encouraged to drink more if the water is moving, like it is in a fountain waterer) normally. This is because they normally would get a lot of water from their food (a mouse is about 70% water). This lack of a thirst drive can be a problem because many cats eat primarily dry cat food (it is convenient, after all and many cats love it!). Cats that primarily eat dry food live in a state of chronic dehydration (sometimes mild, sometimes more serious depending on your particular cat's thirst drive).

As in humans, dehydration can (and does) cause "issues" with the urinary tract. Because of this, cats that eat dry food are more likely to have cycstitis (inflammation), crystals (stuvite, calcium oxilate, etc.), or urinary tract infections. By feeding even just a little canned food, you are making it much less likely for your cat to experience the pain and suffering of having a UTI. Think about it this way: each amount of canned food you feed "washes" out the bladder, making it harder for bad things (bacteria, crystals) to develop or stay in the uninary tract. There have been studies that showed that cats that do not eat canned food consume, on average, only 50% of the water that cats that eat canned food do. That is HUGE! So, while canned food may not smell good and may be somewhat less convenient and more expensive, it is something that should be viewed as a preventative and should be given to all cats.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Wellness TruFood

I was given the opportunity a few weeks ago to let my kitties try Wellness TruFood. I was sent (free of charge) a full-sized "sample" (2lb bag) of the Chicken, Chickpeas & Chicken Liver Recipe and my cats really like it. It is unique in that it has these little "superfood nuggets." The red ones (no artificial colors) are butternut squash and sweet potato based, and the yellow ones (again, no artificial colors) consist of mangos, nectarines, and orange peppers. It also is less processed than many pet foods today and is made in small batches. While it is not the main food for my cats, it will remain in the rotation for my cats. I am very happy to have been given the chance to try this food for my kitties!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Pet food news...

I must say that I am saddened to hear these two news stories today because these were both fairly good pet food brands. Innova is being discontinued (EVO is NOT from what I have heard but Innova is). Also released today was the news that Merrick was bought up by Nestle Purina. This last bit of news is very concerning because, while not announced yet, Purina will very likely change ingredients to increase profit margins and Merrick has been a really good food up until now. One also has to wonder why Purina is buying a good food company when they have said time and time again that by-products are healthy, nutritious ingredients and that corn is a good ingredient (of course, this also doesn't make sense when they already have their Beyond brand, which is corn and by-product free). The only answer, of course, is that they are in it for the money and really don't care (and will say anything to make money).

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Update 4/15/15

Everyone has been doing well and Toothless got a new cage last weekend (she was getting too big for the cage she was in). Sunny may have lost a bit of weight though I have not weighed her so I don't know for sure. I found that the cats like seafood flavors of canned food (I'm not super happy about this but whatever since I am tired of throwing away food that they don't eat). I added a few foods to the review page (Acana, Orijen and Iams Grain Free Naturals) and updated the Evo ingredients list since it has changed (since they were bought by Mars). If you have a food that I haven't reviewed and want to know about, comment here or the review page and I'll review it for you and add it to the page. I'm always looking to add to the list.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Toothless Tuesday!

I do not think that I have mentioned the newest addition (even though this addition occured last fall!)... My bearded dragon, Toothless! She is a normal colored juvinile bearded dragon who is very sweet. She likes to "cuddle" and fall asleep on me and eats from my hand. Her favorite foods are fruits such as apples and veggies like bell pepper.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My Piece of the Ocean: An Overview of My 20-Gallon Nano-Reef.

I have mentioned my coral reef tank on this blog before, however, I have never given an overview of what I have and how the whole tank is run. First off, I have a 20-gallon tall (24"L x 12"W x 16"H) aquarium with a black rim. The equipment is listed below.
Filters: 2 Aqua-Tech 5-15 filters with phosphate removing filter pads and carbon
Heater: Tetra 10-20
Lights: Odyssea 4x24 watt (96 watt total for those who don't want to do math!) T5HO lights with a DIY retrofitted moonlight LED (Tetra GloFish LED). Bulbs are all WavePoint brand (1 actinic "Super Blue460", 2 10,000K "Sun Wave", 1 purple "Reef Wave")
Protein Skimmer: Lee's Counter Current Medium skimmer run with an Aqua-Tech 40-60 air pump and limewood air stone (run from outside due to pH being low if run inside).
Powerheads: 2 Koralia Nano 425's
Corals: green mushrooms, blue mushrooms, kenya trees, clove polyps, zoas, acan, blasto.
Inverts: 6-7 blue legged hermit crabs, brittlestars, asterina stars.
Fish: Royal Gramma
Food: Ocean Nutrition Prime Reef (frozen), Brightwell Aquatics Zooplanktos-M, Kent Marine CromaPlex (very rarely used), Omega One Super Color Flakes.
Water Changes: ~2-gallons every week. I usually use Instant Ocean Reef Crystals or Aqua-Vitro Salinity salt mix with distilled water.
Parameters: Calcium 450-460ppm, Alkalinity 7-8dKH, pH 8.1-8.3, Nitrate 5-10ppm (most often around 6ppm), salinity/specific gravity 1.024-1.025
Here are a few pictures of some of the corals.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Protein in cat food. Myths and truths.

It is an topic with many opinions and questions: Should cat food have high levels of protein? Does that protein cause kidney disease? Do cats with kidney stress need low protein foods?
My opinion is that cats are obligate carnivores and therefore, are made to eat protein (and fat). However, the TYPE of protein and quality of that protein determines how that protein is assimilated and used. Cats, being carnivores, are made to eat protein from meats and not plants. However, many dry foods use plant proteins (corn, soy, etc.) which do not have as high of a biologic value (they cannot be used as well) as meat proteins. Meat proteins also contain required amino acids that plant proteins do not (taurine, for example, is only found in meats). So why is it that many pet food companies and some veterinarians say that excess protein is hard on the kidenys and is bad? Well, it comes down to this... when you include soy or corn protein (or animal sourced proteins like lower quality by-products and by-product meals), it becomes hard for the kidenys to assimilate that protein and deal with the waste that cannot be assimilated. Another issue is that low-quality meats and meat meals have more ash than high-quality meats and meat meals. This is also hard on the kidneys and will likely lead to problems in the future. In addition to all the above, protein delivered in food that is more natural to a cat (more similar to what they would natually eat) and has a high water content (cats have a low thirst drive) is much easier on the kidneys.

Many "senior" foods have less protein because as cats age, if they have been fed a lower quality food, they will have kidney damage and these foods are thought to minimize future damage. HOWEVER, senior cats actually need MORE protein in their diet due to aging processes that can cause muscle wasting.

So, what is the best way to feed a cat the protein they need without compromising kideny health? Feed your cat(s) the way they are meant to eat, with a food that has sources of high-quality protein at reasonably high concentrations. Dry foods are OK if they are of a high quality (and I feed one as a "base" diet as well) but, if possible, you should really include a canned or other wet food (I feed raw as well as canned) to your cat's diet to help maintain their kidney health for many years to come. However, if your cat has a medical condition, always talk to your veterinarian before switching diets.